More album cover art with an emphasis on art.
Here are ten record covers with portraits of the artist. Some are from the Vinyl Connection collection, a couple were sourced from the internet. Several were suggested in the comments section of the initial post and are gratefully included.
Let’s continue the pattern of starting with a classic 1960s cover.
This one first appeared in Vinyl Connection’s series of vertical gatefold covers. The art is by Roger Law, later part of the team that created Spitting Image. There is a strong Eastern theme, eloquently described by Melody Maker’s Nick Jones as containing “a lot of freaky looking Indian cats and gods, sages and one guy with an elephant’s trunk for a nose or something”.
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE — Axis Bold As Love (1967
Talking of elephants, multi-cultural world music pioneers Osibisa commissioned Roger Dean for their first two album covers, the first of which has that memorable image of a winged pachyderm, then sought the services of visionary artist Mati Klarwein for 1972’s Heads.
Mati is a favourite artist around these parts. In fact the two posts on Mati’s contribution to the art of the record sleeve still receive regular views, which is nice.
Back to Osibisa. Included here is the full gatefold image so you have the complete picture, though whether that makes it more or less disturbing is a moot point.
OSIBISA — Heads (1972)
Returning to rock trios, here are a pair or somewhat pedestrian portraits for a household name (well, if yours is a prog rock home) and a relatively unknown blues-rock outfit from the early 1970s. If you’ve never seen an image of Ginhouse before (and I hadn’t), included is a photograph of the lads, either recreating their relaxed poses or revealing the photo that inspired the painting.
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER — Trilogy (1972)
GINHOUSE — Ginhouse (1971)
TALKING HEADS — Little Creatures (1985)
Which is the more complimentary term, Fan Art or Naive Art? Either way, a very busy painting by Rev. Howard Finster adorns Talking Heads’ 1985 LP. Personally, it doesn’t do much for me; I greatly prefer the back cover photo. Would welcome other takes, of course.
THE BAND — Cahoots (1971)
An interesting portrait by Gilbert Stone was chosen for The Band’s 4th studio album. Dark, distorted, brooding and a touch surreal.
The use of sky+clouds for Weather Report may not be surprising, but it works beautifully due to the blending of the portraits with the cumulous clouds. Dick Hess was the artist.
WEATHER REPORT — Sweetnighter (1973)
The first Return To Forever album was entitled Light As A Feather. The cover featured a striking photograph of a single plume, effortlessly creating a sense of air and lightness. The band’s second album works much harder to achieve the same effect, with less success. The placing of the portraits within the birds wings is awkward, as best. The sun/sunlight/clouds backdrop is, however, beautifully realised in a post-psychedelic style.
RETURN TO FOREVER — Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy (1973)
One more Split Enz cover, the third featuring a portrait of the band. This is the oddest composition; trousers dominate the image while a puddle shaped like a rear-vision mirror reflects the faces. Perhaps the golden glow suggests sunset; Conflicting Emotions was the penultimate Enz LP and the last one with Tim Finn.
SPLIT ENZ — Conflicting Emotions (1983)
Our final portrait for this post is another from the vertical gatefold series of 2018. (If you’d like to explore the series, just type ‘vertical’ into the search field on the right). George Underwood, lifetime friend of David Bowie, created the artwork.
GENTLE GIANT — Gentle Giant (1970)
There’s material for another instalment in this ever-growing series, if folk are interested.