10 ALBUM COVERS WITH ARTIST PORTRAITS — FINAL SET

Welcome to the final part of this meandering series of album covers featuring what we will loosely call portraits of the band.

Once again we’ll begin in the 1960s, with an all-time favourite.

I love the way artist/designer Bernard Yeszin utilised the television image of The Monkees (Davey’s shirt, Mike’s beanie) to create an engaging less-is-more silhouette that transcends the flowery era of its creation. Yeszin recalled,

The Monkees were so popular and so hot at the time that I could do just about anything that reminded you of The Monkees. I could do an album cover and just show their outline and people would identify them.

The Monkees — Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd [1967]

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On the Beach Boys cover, note the way the faces are echoed in the clouds and what is presumably a river (or lake). Their record company chose another portrait, this time in a Sixties flower-power style, for the 1978 compilation Endless Sumer.

Beach Boys — Friends [1968]

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Yardbirds — Little Games [1967]

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One of my favourite Sixties throwback covers adorned XTC’s excellent Oranges & Lemons album in 1989.

XTC — Oranges & Lemons [1989]

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On Road To Ruin there is a cartoon flavour to the artwork totally in keeping with the Ramones aesthetic. It’s a ripper, as is the Cheap Trick cover that follows. Rockford takes the cartoon style to a minimalist extreme, with fine results. The geometric heads would make Euclid swoon.

Ramones — Road To Ruin [1978]

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Cheap Trick — Rockford [2006]

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There is a fan art feel to the painting on Matt Finish’s 1981 debut album, yet it is quite a striking image with only the white-shirted sitting character looking outwards towards the listener. To me it evokes Little Creatures from the previous post.

Matt Finish — Short Note [1981]

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Dutch band Focus were sitting ducks for this compilation album cover. But would Rembrandt have been impressed? And how about The Rubinoos? Were they inspired by the Gentle Giant cover (also in the previous post)?

Focus — Dutch Masters [1975]

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The Rubinoos — The Rubinoos [1977]

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Let’s head to the finish line with something a bit special. Face Dances was The Who’s first album of the Eighties and the first new studio recording after the death of Keith Moon. His place was taken by Kenney Jones.

Notable artist Peter Blake, he of the Sgt Pepper cover, commissioned sixteen British painters to create one unique 6″ x 6″ portrait. These appear in a four x four grid on the cover. Left to right, the artists are:

Pete Townshend: Bill Jacklin, Tom Phillips, Colin Self and Richard Hamilton
Roger Daltrey: Michael Andrews, Allen Jones, David Inshaw and David Hockney
John Entwistle: Clive Barker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin and Patrick Caulfield
Kenney Jones: Peter Blake, Joe Tilson, Patrick Procktor and David Tindle

The Who — Face Dances [1981]

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We may return with a ‘solo’ version at some point, but for now I hope you have enjoyed this rogues gallery.

Thanks to all those who made suggestions for the exhibition, including (in this edition) Victim of the Fury (Cheap Trick), Arterrorist (sorry Quo didn’t make the cut), CB (Focus), Transfets (Matt Finish), and Geo. Raymond (XTC).

As a little archival post-script, a couple of bonus portraits from the series presenting vertical gatefold album sleeves. The first is for JDB.

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20 comments

  1. That’s the spice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found it interesting that group portrait covers rarely feature on the 50′ to 60’s jazz albums in my collection. Instead these often provide a photo portrait of the main artist. There are covers like Bird and Diz, Monk and Coltrane but the band don’t get a look in!
    Anyhoo, I’ve enjoyed the wander through these, thanks Bruce.
    Cheers
    DD

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right. Jazz albums tend to emphasise the leader, usually via a photograph. Interesting to speculate about the different approaches. I was browsing a Taschen book of album covers tonight and notices that from the late 50s to about 1964 most pop albums featured some kind of pedestrian photograph of the artist/band. Got me wondering about how it changed around the time that pop/rock musicians started taking drugs.

      Like

      1. Indeed your response got me thinking. I wondered about the role of coloured cartoons on Film and TV, particularly TV, on perceptions of young folk in the fifties and artistic sensibilities. That’s in addition to psychedelics, because
        I’m also thinking that if the change was related to the impact of opioids, then jazz albums would have got there first, Hahaha.
        That’s all folks.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There’s a book in there somewhere, DD. 🙂

          Like

          1. Possibly a PhD and chair?

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Dutch Masters is a great pun….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CB was responsible for that addition. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good work CB!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That Queen album cover is one of the best. On their last tour, they incorporated the robot a lot in the show and it looked amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robots, especially big ones, enhance any entertainment. 🤖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is true!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Such fun stuff. Thanks for this entire series. The Monkees cover–my favorite in this set–flooded me with memories of my sister’s LP collection when she was a teen. Oranges and Lemons is on my list of all-time favorites, both musically and album art-wise. And thanks for the Queen! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great. Thanks JDB. I’ll consult you in advance of a sequel on portraits of solo artists. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All good ones here. One that I like that I’m not sure you did was “Best Of Blur” which also has nice minimalist portraits of the band.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice, Rick. Would have fitted into this particular set very neatly.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You did it. Done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    That Who one is quite special, hadn’t thought about that one in a while. I really liked a couple tracks from that album. They made a nice brief comeback with a video or two as I recall then, and like Yes perhaps really leveraged MTV well I think. And that Queen one triggers a memory I have as a small boy being terrified by that image on an 8 track I discovered in my uncle’s bedroom I think, crawling around. A reminder why we shouldn’t go poking our noses around in other people’s rooms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those unexpected images from childhood can remain so vivid. All of a sudden a cartoonish image of a 50s robot becomes a crime scene.

      Liked by 1 person

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