Topping the US charts for nine weeks, Tattoo You was number one for longer than any other Stones album.
An interesting touch about the album’s release on vinyl is that it features an “up” side of rockers such as “Start Me Up” and “Little T&A” and a “slow” side of ballads and softer numbers such as “Heaven” and “Tops” so the listener can choose the side according to their mood.
The LP cover artwork often takes centre stage, sometimes the additional inner sleeve designs and back covers can get over looked. In this series we examine just a few of these treasures that complement the sleeve design and give us greater insight into the artist designers and overall aesthetic created for a specific body of work we know and love as the vinyl album.
The Clash - London Calling
Photography by Pennie Smith, Design by Ray Lowry
Pennie Smith photography coupled with Ray Lowry design and a lot more than just a nod and a wink at the first Elvis Presley LP, an absolute combination of creative talent wrapping up an equally eclectic musical gem.
Back in the day when all you had were these amazing photographs and lyrics, these inner sleeves gave the listener and fan an insight into the energy and attitude around the group at the time. The photo’s most of which taken from their US tour sitting side by side with lyrics from Guns of Brixton were confusing and intriguing and helped you get a glimpse of the action albeit from your sofa. Many bought this record without seeing the band and many more will enjoy this perfect punk/pop package in years to come. These inner sleeves are a tribute to the band and their entourage as the 70’s musical landscape entered into the 80’s
Madonna – The Immaculate Collection
Photography by Herb Ritts
Surprisingly this early nineties retrospective has a rather uninspiring front cover but tucked away are some excellent photo’s of Madonna at the height of her popularity.
These images are the work of American fashion photographer Herb Ritts, famous specifically for his black and white photography and portraits with his signature “clean, minimal aesthetic”. During the 80’ and 90’ Ritts also photographed celebrities including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson and directed numerous music promo’s that included Madonna’s “cherish”. Seeing these images together and in the context, they almost take on a ‘mirror mirror on the wall…’ appeal. As always Madonna undeniably pleasing on the eye, Ritts capturing just one of her many ‘looks’ perfectly.
Colourful infographic on the growth of Vinyl
Diggin the Blogosphere is an original compilation of the best in new music from artists now working in the digital realm. Produced by young Parisian record label Heavenly Sweetness, The compilation presents a selection of discoveries from all corners of the worldwide web including Shigeto, Chet Faker and AbJo. The cover artwork is illustrated by French visual artist Jean-Louis Duralek. Diggin the Blogosphere Volume 2 is available now on Vinyl and Digital release only. “For many artists, the web is the only way to spread their music, without the help of any record labels”. This is a significant move which is signals the end of the CD-Era and further establishes vinyl and digital in the ‘digital’ music industry today.
'The Next Day' is David Bowie’s 24th studio album to be released after a surprise announcement at the start of this year on David Bowies’s 66th Birthday. This month sees the special edition release on vinyl.
The original cover for ‘Heroes’ is used as the background for the cover with a white square obscuring the front. Jonathan Barnbrook designer for the ‘The Next Day’ explains the thought behind the reworking of the original cover after receiving critical responses to the Design. Barnbrook describes the obscuring and reinvention of the cover as being about “spirit of great pop or rock music which is ‘of the moment’, forgetting or obliterating the past”1. The use of a white square and aesthetic is also a reference to David Bowie’s changeable identity over the years.
Heroes was selected for ‘The Next Day’ as being the most revered “it had to be an image that would really jar if it were subverted in some way”1.Heroes as is one of Bowie’s Best known tracks and is considered one of the best by critics. Released in 1977, Heroes features portraits of David Bowie shot by Photographer Masayoshi Sukita. Masayoshi is a long time collaborator with David Bowie with a career spanning 40 years.
One direct influence for the cover artwork is the Painting Roquairol by the German Artist Erich Heckel. The painting is part of the Expressionist movement, a movement in modern art which originated in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. This was a becoming influence for Heroes, which was recorded in Germany and was the third album to be produced in Berlin. Bowie reflect on his time “by now I was living full time in Berlin so my own mood was good. Buoyant even. But those lyrics come from a nook in the unconscious.”2 Contrasted with today’s release of ‘The Next Day’ the cover contemplates and reflects on David Bowie’s career over the years.
Paul X Johnson illustrations feature on the recent release of ‘Anna’ The third studio album by The Courteeners. “It’s just got such a cinematic feel; it’s elegant and dark, kind of stoney, but also quite beautiful in parts. This embodies the whole record for me.” Liam Fray describing their choice of image for the album. Paul also illustrated the Single ‘Lose Control’ released in 2012.
backstagepassmusic:The Flaming Lips release anatomically correct chocolate hearts containing USB of love songs.
Spiritualized Album Covers, Sleeve by Sleeve -
Jason Pierce, the creative force and only constant member of Spiritualized describes his work, sleeve by sleeve. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space’ is available on artvinyl.com
Despite the naysayers, it seems that 2012 was another great year for the vinyl record. According to the stats released by Nielsen Soundscan, sales of vinyl records hit another, modern-era record in 2012 with 4.6 million units.
For U.K. Vinyl fans, it was The xx’s second album, Co-Exist which topped sales, whilst Jack White’s solo effort, Blunderbuss headed up the U.S. charts.
What was YOUR vinyl record of the year for 2012?