10 MORE ALBUM COVERS WITH ARTIST PORTRAITS

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

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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)

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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)

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GINHOUSE — Ginhouse  (1971)

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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There’s material for another instalment in this ever-growing series, if folk are interested.

18 comments

  1. Elton John, Monkees, Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Buddy Holly, XTC … keep ’em coming, VC

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The XTC… Brilliant get!

      Fortunately this series is confined to bands, but it sounds like you might enjoy a solo-portrait gallery at some point, Tref?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds good to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Hendrix is probably my favorite of these. Osibisa should have stuck to the Roger Dean flying elephants on their first two albums (great covers!) instead of inserting their heads inside one. Yech! “Cahoots” is a pretty good one, though a little morbid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s something both ‘of its time’ and eternal about the Axis cover, isn’t there?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Meant to add, Rick, that although I’m a big fan of Mati Klarwein’s art, I don’t consider this a high point when compared to, say, Abraxas or Bitches Brew.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Few of those in the pile. One that I embarrassingly forgot was West Bruce & Laing, ‘Whatever Turns You On’. One I have no idea where I got it. Molly Hatchet, ‘Take No Prisoners’ You brought me back from the Crawdad Hole for this series. As usual you have sent me on a listening jag. I’m deep into the Band since you started this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The West Bruce & Laing is the cartoon one, yes? I looked up the Molly Hatchet. Yikes!
      I’ve been listening to The Band as well, CB. Great minds (or at least great ears)!

      Now you need to translate Crawdad Hole for an Aussie, if you’d be so kind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes WBL are in a state of cartoon (Crumb Like) debauchery.
        “Crawdad Hole” I best let Big Joe Turner or Jerry Lee Lewis explain the little crustaceans (crayfish) in song.
        “Yikes!” perfect,

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I always liked that Talking Heads cover – they look a little too mundane on the back. Gentle Giant gatefold for the win though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the Heads’ threads: as eclectic as one might expect. My favorites in this bunch are the Weather Report and Split Enz (and the latter is my favorite of the three Enz releases you’ve included in this series). Looking forward to the solo artist installment(s).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like the Weather Report cover too. I lifted the colour saturation a tad to emphasise the faces, but it’s still excellent sans tweaks.

      There’s one more ‘band portrait’ post to come. After that I think we’ll take a break and return for the solo edition some time in the future. (Joni on standby).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Yes, interested! So fun…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. PS. Another one from the pile that “Yikes” reminded me of. That easy listening Baker Gurvitz Army album. All dressed up for a Canadian winter of pillaging.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In fact *both* of the initial Baker Gurvitz LPs. The first one has the band interacting with aliens. They’re both pretty bad, though! 😅 But the, so is ‘Trilogy’. Thank heavens we only have one instalment to go, CB.
      Hope the crustaceans are jumping and the fisherman is high.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Im here to the bitter end (actually enjoying it). Yeah, Baker stole the microphone a couple times on those sets and added his vocals or whatever you call what he was doing.
        Crawdads are crawling and the fisherman is higher than a kite.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. […] only the white-shirted sitting character looking outwards towards the listener. To me it evokes Little Creatures from the previous […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The ’70s tell the tale.

    Liked by 1 person

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