The great British album cover. Designers photographers and artists as diverse as Hipgnosis, Barney Bubbles, Roger Dean, Jamie Reid,Guy Peelaert and Pete Saville have created, over the years, album covers that define and compliment the music within. This is no easy task and hard to define why a particular image works hand in glove with the ethos of the band/singer and the music within. When it works it is often simply a happy accident but those happy accidents were used to create iconic images. The art of the album cover is now something of a relic of a bygone age as CDs and downloads lead the market.
Unlike the other great movement in record sleeve art; the brilliant Blue note record sleeves from across the Atlantic, the British music scene and the art that it created has some diverse and interesting works to be enjoyed and appreciated for the impact the sleeves gave to both the record buying public and the musicians who benefited from the iconography.
A new band lineup and a new cover that somehow made the fantasy/mysticism
of Roger Dean look fresh
A striking alien image that set the tone perfectly for Bowie's next career phase
An intricate multi layered cover for Elvis Costello and the Attractions' Armed Forces that reflected the complexity of the lyrical messages within
The Clash's blistering debut album had a cover that captured the urban confrontational context of the band
The cover of Unknown pleasures by Joy Division hinted at just that; unknown
How to follow up Dark side of the Moon? Wish you were here successfully managed the impossible and the oblique nature of the music was matched by Hipgnosis' cover art
The Smiths' record covers were masterpieces of capturing Britishness and this image of a young Yootha Joyce tells a story, albeit subtlety
The maelstrom of the Happy Mondays in design form
The Rolling Stones as feted heroes arriving at the feast; a perfect summation of there power at the time
Marc Bolan in grainy relief with an amp for company giving a feel of raw power
A simple group portrait that is so much more, defining the fab four
Britain at the time that Parklife was released is somehow encapsulated by this image
Possibly the greatest team up of music and art both image and music matching up exactly