The widow Cobain has always given, as a meal to the media, transgressive (mostly trash) images of herself, that were in any way linked to rock sound of his recordings. With this album, the rebellion music and the human musician went to knock on a dreamy cover, almost paradisaic, in which is portrayed in a pinky atmosphere a winking Courtney Love. To strengthen this (fake) icon of sweetness a pair of wings is put on his back; Courtney is angelical for her characteristics too: she’s blonde and she’s got blue eyes. The only “R’n’R” thing is a stylistic electric guitar scribbled on with a red crayon. Moreover, the sense of love and purity of the illustration goes perfectly well with the surname of the artist. The image (thanks to a very ’60s font ) has an impact and a very considerable appeal…beautiful to see and excellent technique in the design (the picture is signed
bottom left). A creative grace that unfortunately isn’t balanced by equal quality sound tracks.
Among the many covers in which painting has given a touch of originality and strong surrealism, stands one of the most famous: “Nursery Cryme “(1971) by Genesis (band that included two strong personalities such as Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins). The cover in question is a disturbing picture in which a little girl is playing
croquet using instead of the usual balls, small heads! The warm colors, the fantastic atmosphere and a touch of the artist made this cover one of the best known of the ’70s, an icon of progressive rock…a myth so that the original cover was stolen by thieves. The author of this masterpiece Paul Whitehead is one of the undisputed masters of album arts world and creator of many cover spread over thirty years of career (Le Orme, Van Der Graaf Generator, etc. …). His works are always different stylistically, but recognizable in atmosphere.
This cover fully reflects the blend pop-art and music, indeed on a completely white background stands a yellow banana designed Andy Warhol. A work of art donated to music? Not only. On the cover, next to the fruit, stand the words “Peel slowly and see”, a pointed out that the banana was actually a sticker on the cover which, if lifted,
showed a psychedelic pink banana just peeled! One outcome absolutely in style with the language of art by Warhol, which will influence many other artists in the years to come.
In the 80’s exploded at a technical-graphical level the use of the airbrush, after the computer was not yet widespread so the creatives (like their predecessors) relied mainly with brushes and acrylics. The beautiful cover belong to this strand painting and carries the signature of Mark Ryden who, taking cue from the title of the disc, shows the inside of a garage in which a man repairs a huge guitar, a Fender Stratocaster (Beck’s one), while in the street a van is taking away an already repaired. The interior of the space also shows huge pallets, giant picks and speakers, pedals and a billboard on which are written the names of the owners of the shop: Jeff Beck, Terry
Bozzio and Tony Hymas, the authors of the album.
Stanley Donwood explains how he creates art for Radiohead
The “gimmick covers” had the particularity of using materials from the newspaper as textiles, metals and board details. In this special strand must be filled the cover of “Sticky Fingers ” by Rolling Stones, created by Craig Braun on concept and photos by the pop artist Andy Warhol already coverist for the Velvet Underground. The cover shows a close-up of a pair of jeans (this vision unleashed the wrath of many shopkeepers who refused to put the album on their shelves); the particularity of this artwork is represented by the zip applied on the photo. This one is in fact a real zip, beyond which are the slip of the model (the sexy-known actor Joe Dallesandro from Warhol’s factory). This layer, beyond a curious creative fiction, has also an important protective function because the zip could scratch the vinyl content inside (specifically the track “Sister Morphine”). The cover of “Stiky Fingers” is remembered by the fans of the British band thanks to another trick chart, as appeared on the back for the first time the famous red tongue, which will become the icon of the band.
An illustration that takes full cue from the title of the disc in which the observer, from a window of a plane, casts a glance at a curious Manatthan whose buildings are actually cups, spoons, plates and boxes with food. The protagonist of the scene, however, is the friendly waitress that, in the same position of the statue of liberty, raises a glass of orange (instead of the note torch) while the other hand takes a menu that shows the album title. An idea very effective and very well represented by Aaron Rapoport (photo) and Mickey Haggerty (design) that have made it even more special an album recognized as the best of the american band. It should be remembered that, on the back of the pack, the members of the group appeared seated for breakfast in a bar, each with a newspaper of his hometownin the hands. The cover of “Breakfast in America is one of the best known of the 70s and ultimately affect future campaigns Advertising menu, cartons of orange juice and milk.
In 1969 comes “In the court of the crimson king” by King Crimson: famous album and superfamous cover (inspired by the opening song “21st Century Schizoid Man”). A dramatic and scared face stands on all 30 cm of the cover, in a effect of high voltage (accentuated by the purple-like colors of the painting) which also supplies the curiosity, since it is not reported or forward or behind any kind of text. Author of this work (one of most famous artwork in the history of rock music) is Barry Godber, who gave thanks to this work a jolt chart initiator of vein progressive in the world of cover art: this is one of the first cases of “painting-cover” linked to progressive music which will use, in fantastic symbiosis, the painting technique as a tool for creating its visual representation.
In the 70s androgynous and asexual icons were in vogue in the rock youth sphere, where the quest for sexual freedom and expression embraced ideologically the desire of the new generations to overcome the well-thinkers static diagrams. The cover of “Horses” is perhaps the most obvious representative of this social period with the young musician immortalized in man’s clothes standing in front of a white wall: the clothes, the expression and the haircut (and the little breast) show ethereal artist, female in passion but male in the provocative and disruptive attitude. The author of this step is Robert Mapplethorpe (who will sign other covers for Smith) one of the most
important photographers of the twentieth century, who shared with the musician a hotel room in New York at the beginning of their careers, when the Big Apple saw important personalities of the scope of music, painting,
film and visual!