8 ALBUM COVERS THAT SCREAM “EIGHTIES!”

With this selection of bold and colourful 80s album covers, I’ve tried to steer away from the dead obvious – rolled up jacket sleeves, bushels of big hair, heavy metal cartoon covers – yet capture something of the vibrant self-belief embodied in these sleeve designs. Naturally there were many others vying for inclusion – Joe Jackson’s Beat Crazy and Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual almost made the cut – but I hope this 80s sampler will brighten your day.

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Marshall Crenshaw 80s

Bowie Lets Dance 80s

Visage 80s

Motels 80s

John Wetton Caught

Rolling Stones 80s Dirty Work

Vice 80s

Level 42 True Colours

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Given that the back of the Europeans album was used as the ‘Featured Image’ for this post, it’s only fair to include the front of the album as a bonus.

Europeans 80s

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THE ALBUMS

Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw [Warner Bros 1982]

David Bowie – Let’s Dance [EMI 1983]

Visage – Fade To Grey: The Singles Collection [Polydor 1983]

The Motels – Shock [Capitol 1985]

John Wetton – Caught In The Crossfire [EG 1980]

Rolling Stones – Dirty Work [Columbia 1986]

Vice – Made For Pleasure [1988]

Level 42 – True Colours [Polydor 1984]

Europeans – Vocabulary [A&M 1983]

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Horrifying? Nostalgic? Favourites?

Over to you…

41 comments

  1. Lovely stuff. The Wetton is a new one to me. Also good to see ‘True Colours’ get a mention, a very original choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hoped you wouldn’t mind me straying into your territory, Matt, so v glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

  2. The Europeans = Steve Hogarth?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The very same. Before he was Marillionised.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have one album from pre-Marillion called How We Live. But no Europeans!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, Europeans need a special visa, don’t they?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. A number of artists with which I’m not familiar: Visage, John Wetton (though I see he’s a member of Asia, and I have heard of them), Vice, Europeans. My favorite? Easy: the Bowie. It would have been a must for your list, even had we not not lost him in January (which still doesn’t seem possible).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Bowie’s loss still feels surreal. I played Ziggy Stardust last night and felt quite odd.
      As for these covers, there was an effort to stay away from well-known albums in an effort to focus attention on the design aspects, so no embarrassment in not knowing most of them!

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  4. Having a hard time getting that Stones album cover out of my head. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A word that springs to mind is ‘lurid’!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. photographically, i like the stones’ best 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a few suits like theirs, presumably? 😉

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      1. a wonderful, white jacket that disappeared from my wardrobe in the early 90’s. my mother was acquitted for lack of evidence

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Gotta watch those wardrobe snooping mums!

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  6. I kinda like the Marshall Crenshaw cover, after that it’s primary color hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marshall is my fave too.

      Like

  7. Great covers – just moving into the 80s in my own articles as I’ve plumbed the 70s mightily in preparation for a forthcoming book. I only have two of these – the Bowie, and the excellent John Wetton album – my favorite of his before Archangel. This is Wetton after U.K. but just before Asia. Martin Barre from Jethro Tull, and others contribute guitar, and the songs are tuneful – the direction he wanted to take U.K. but fully realized here. “Cold is the Night” alone is worth the price if you aren’t cherry-picking individual tracks. Never did collect Visage…wondering on that one will have to listen..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not being a huge Stones fan, although I always still followed them a bit, I have no recollection of Dirty Work. It’s a cool album cover, though. This was a fun post. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Marty.

      Like

  9. Haha, was going to suggest Dirty Work when I saw the subject, of course you already had it!
    There seemed to be a ‘more is more’ philosophy when it came to yellow in the 80s?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yellow and red and green and… !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bruce – just consulted my LP collection, I’ll add Daryl Hall John Oates Rock ‘n Soul Part 1 as an honourable mention!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good get Geoff. That was on the short list!

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post…..interesting reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Very entertaining selection. But Marshall Crenshaw? Who the is that? (Rhetorical question – I looked him up.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops! WordPress seems to have deleted the ‘bleep’ in my comment. Perhaps I shouldn’t have put it in angled brackets? That last question should have read “Who the bleep is that?”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Censorship? Bah!
        Glad you enjoyed the covers.
        Marshall Crenshaw is a very fine songwriter in the Beatles tradition of melodic power pop. But you know that now 😉 . That first album is great fun.

        Like

  12. Some might say “Don’t judge a decade by its album covers”, but lordy, look at these. Pleased to say I’d never heard of, and never want to hear Made For Pleasure by Vice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What? Never wore knee-pads and cut-off shorts with your poodle perm? Shame.
      Vice is, of course, an abomination, but there is something vibrant about the bold blocks of colour in some of these covers, isn’t there?

      Like

  13. Vile, vulgar decade! Mind you I rather like the look of those vice chicks.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Late to the party, Bruce! Couple of right belters in there (I’m looking at you, Dirty Work and Vice!). Quite a time for horrific poses don’t you think?

    Two I would add to your list would be Duran Duran’s wonderful Seven and the Ragged Tiger and INXS’ Kick. While we’re on the subject of INXS, their first two albums have fairly magnificently 80s covers …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. … Though A Kind Of Magic is hard to beat!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fine nominations, all. That comment on poses is fascinating too. I wonder if there are styles of self-draping that correspond to the decades?

        Oh, I think that INXS suggestion – a beauty, too! – may have actually appeared at VC before…
        https://vinylconnection.com.au/2014/08/15/six-shooter-roulette/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think the 80s was all about either posing as though lounging around in a cocktail bar or looking dangerous. One or the other!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. … also, I recall that INXS one, but that’s not what I was thinking of!

          Liked by 1 person

  15. We thought these looked good at the time! I was just listening to that Marshall Crenshaw record a while ago and thinking how lurid the cover is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good album though, eh? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow. Vice cover is just the ultimate in crass bad taste isn’t it? And without even trying. Dirty Work – remember thinking ‘stupid old men’ at the time. Of course, now I am significantly older than they were in ’86. But I still feel 21 – and don’t think I would have worn the Miami Vice gear even then!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really, it’s just ghastly, isn’t it?

      Like

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