The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and photographer Don Hunstein

CBS staff photographer Don Hunstein captured this much-imitated image of Bob Dylan and girlfriend Suze Rotolo in 1963 at the corner of Jones Street and West 4th Street in New York’s West Village. The initial plan for Bob’s second album had been to photograph Dylan and Rotolo inside his nearby apartment, but struggling to get the shot, Hunstein suggested… Continue reading The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and photographer Don Hunstein

Pete Fowler – “the inspiration behind the illustrator…”

Vibrant illustrations from Pete Fowler made Super Furry Animals’ record sleeves became synonymous with the band’s playfully subversive image. Christopher Barrett finds out what inspired the man himself. Often mixing psychedelic landscapes, unusual beasts and references to technology, Pete Fowler’s awesome artwork has been used across the vast majority of Super Furry Animals’ albums, videos and merchandise. His brightly coloured creations for the band were … Continue reading Pete Fowler – “the inspiration behind the illustrator…”

The Story Behind The Sleeve #20: John Phillips – John Phillips

John Phillips (John, The Wolf King Of L.A.) was the eponymous 1970 solo debut album by The Mamas & The Papas’ bandleader following the turbulent break-up of the California band. Recorded with members of The Wrecking Crew, with Phillips’ vocals low in the mix the cosmic Americana veils some dark subject matter. Despite featuring his best-known single, Mississippi, it was a commercial failure. The album’s … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #20: John Phillips – John Phillips

The Story Behind The Sleeve #19: Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Spiritualized main man Jason Pierce had been attracted to Mark Farrow’s work with Pet Shop Boys, telling him at the first meeting for the Ladies And Gentlemen… cover simply, “music is medicine for the soul”. That mission statement sparked Farrow’s take on a tablet box to accompany a hugely ambitious album that included Dr John and The London Community Gospel Choir among its guests. Pierce … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #19: Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Sonic Youth’s Goo – The Story Behind The Sleeve

Released in June 1990, Goo was the sixth studio album from Sonic Youth and their major-label debut. However, it nearly had an altogether different title. The band wanted to call the album Blowjob? inspired by a caricature of Joan Crawford by Arizona artist Raymond Pettibon, brother of Black Flag frontman and guitarist Greg Ginn. Kim Gordon had been an admirer of Pettibon’s Indian ink style … Continue reading Sonic Youth’s Goo – The Story Behind The Sleeve

Massive Attack’s Mezzanine – The Story Behind The Sleeve

Released in 1998, Mezzanine arrived as the Britpop flame was dying out. The album cover was a result of the first collaboration between Robert Del Naja, aka 3D, art director Tom Hingston and famed fashion photographer Nick Knight OBE. During the making of Massive Attack’s third album, Del Naja had become fascinated by spiders, dreaming vividly of arachnids and the patterns on their backs. It … Continue reading Massive Attack’s Mezzanine – The Story Behind The Sleeve

The Story Behind The Sleeve #15: Debbie Harry – KooKoo

In the spring of 1980, Blondie’s Chris Stein and Debbie Harry met HR Giger at a New York party, where his Academy Award-winning work for Alien was on display. The pair asked Giger to design the sleeve for Harry’s first solo album. The Swiss artist agreed and was “greatly pleased to be allowed to create something for such an attractive woman”. Giger had recently undergone … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #15: Debbie Harry – KooKoo

The Story Behind The Sleeve #8: Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

It may have been his h studio album, but 2005’s Illinois was the breakthrough release for instrumental polymath and genre polymorph Sufjan Stevens. It remains his best-known work and musically surpassed its precursor, 2003’s Michigan (he’d planned to base an album on each of the 50 States, an ambition he’s since admitted was “a joke”). Illustrator Divya Srinivasan’s cover art, featuring Al Capone and the … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #8: Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

The Story Behind The Sleeve #13: The Durutti Column – The Return Of The Durutti Column

A situationist statement designed to destroy the other records around it, The Durutti Column’s 1980 debut album was released in four initial runs totalling 3,600 copies. Its sleeve had two sheets of sandpaper adhered to it, with some copies sprayed with ‘FACT 14’. Under Tony Wilson’s command, Joy Division and A Certain Ratio assembled at Alan Erasmus’ flat in Manchester. They were reportedly paid £15 … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #13: The Durutti Column – The Return Of The Durutti Column

The Story Behind The Sleeve #14: Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Having conceived the artwork for debut album On Avery Island himself, Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum called in a previous offer of help from R.E.M. and Green Day sleeve designer Chris Bilheimer for this 1998 follow-up. Remaining heavily involved, Mangum wanted “turn-of-the-century, penny arcade kind of imagery”, had a postcard he wanted to use, and had already commissioned some illustrations, which ended up inside the … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #14: Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea