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Covered!: Classic Record Sleeves & Their Imitators [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Jan Bellekens , Simon Robinson

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Book Description

1 Jun 2011
You re browsing through some albums or CDs and all of a sudden one crops up which causes a moment of recognition and a 'haven't I seen this cover before somewhere?' The answer is that you might well have done. For just as popular music of the present day seems to rifle the albums and bands of earlier generations, so the sleeve designers also often lean on the past for inspiration. Sometimes this is done by way of a deliberate reference point. In other cases the band might be wanting to pay homage to their influences, or peers. It might simply be that they have just seen an old cover which they like so much they want to borrow it. On other occasions the similarities are less well intended, designed to mimic or (dare we say it) even poke fun at classic designs and bands. Sometimes the new covers are simply a deliberate spoof of a well-known piece of artwork, done for subversive or mischievous reasons. So you get Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, just kicked out of the group and understandably angry at them, referencing one of his former band s classic covers, but highlighting himself and blurring away the rest of the group on purpose. Then there is comedian Barry Humphries commissioning a very clever pastiche of the familiar Sound Of Music album cover, only with himself in a frock dancing up the hill instead of Julie Andrews. Paul Weller s former band The Jam did an album called Sound Affects, and wanted a cover which recalled the pioneering series of BBC Radio sound effects albums of the sixties, a knowing design which only older fans would have even been aware of. Perhaps one of the most famous examples is that of the Clash single London Calling, which brought together a photograph of the arch Punks trashing their guitars and lettering lifted from an early iconic Elvis Presley sleeve. The list goes on. For this fascinating book, Belgian based collector Jan Bellekens has scoured the second hand stores and record fairs of Europe and assembled an amazing collection, of which this book contains a selection of over 650 sleeves. The original covers are shown alongside their newer cousins, with explanatory notes for music fans and designers.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Easy on the Eye Books; first edition (1 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095614392X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956143921
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 20.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,097,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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You re browsing through albums or CDs when a cover crops up which causes a moment of recognition, a feeling of 'haven't I seen this cover before somewhere? ' So begins the jacket blurb for Covered Classic Sleeves And Their Imitators , neatly setting out the volume's raisin d être in one sentence. The first book from Easy On The Eye, Covered illustrates how many well-known album covers have been copied and inverted, subverted or perverted by a variety of other artists, be they copyists (Raging Slab's Pronounced Eat-Shit , for example), innovators (Monster Magnet's Dead Christmas single) or loonies (of which there are many, including Sleepasaurus's Master Of Muppits [sic]), setting the original artwork against what others were to make of them. Obviously, the majority of the copies are rather tongue-in-cheek (Hatebeak's Beak Of Putrefaction features a budgie's head slapped across the Screaming For Vengeance artwork), and the numerous takes on both Kiss's Rock And Roll Over and Roxy Music's Country Life show that once an idea gets into people's heads there s no shifting it. You might jib at the compilers lack of admiration for the metal genre in general (how can anyone not like the original Derek Riggs Iron Maiden covers?) but Covered is an eclectic collection of trivia and tackiness, lavishly illustrated and beautifully laid out, which goes some way to showing that imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery. Oh yes, and one of my own personal favourites, Wargasm's 1994 Fireball EP whose cover naturally enough is lovingly ripped off from the Deep Purple original, makes an appearance. How cool is that? as anyone under 25 might say. --Fireworks Magazine

A photo of four chaps on a zebra crossing is far from being the only image on the front of a record to have inspired a parody or two. It's amazing to discover just how many album sleeves have led to affectionate tributes or scurrilous pastiches over the years - in some cases more than onece. Although several adapted 'versions' of that Beatles 'Abbey Road' cover do appear at the start of this colourful collection, a wide range of celebrated releases have been given the same treatment. This very attractively designed paperback carries a wealth of faithfully reproduced examples, with album fronts from the world of pop and rock - and some occasional jazz ones - set alongside a small photo of the relevant original. Among the more bizarre artistic endeavours, an album by the Muppets was one of more than a few records graced with a piece of artwork that was influenced by the sleeve to 'With the Beatles' - and vintage TV comics Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker brought out 'Band on the Trot', an enticing prospect whose cover was based on a certain LP by Paul McCartney and Wings. The book compiled by specialist enthusiast Jan Bellekens incorporates captions giving dates and other information which have been written by Simon Robinson, an acknowledged authority on Deep purple - and its pages include quite a few adaptations of album covers from that particular band's back catalogue --The Beat Magazine

There we were thinking that record sleeve books had been exhausted. Well, we've been proved wrong with this; a bizarre and well-researched project, compiling record sleeves that copy classic record sleeves. What's great about Covered is that it's been staring us all in the face for ages, but only now, and across 160 pages, do you realise just how much has been used and abused by so many. Highlights and lowlights decorate every page, while the book is presented with the same graphic enthusiasm and anarchy that has created the homages in the first place. The depth and multi-genre studies that must have gone on over the years to put this together must be admired; the results are fascinating. We had no idea there were so many classic sleeve rip-offs, nor so many totally obscure ones. There are, alone, 20 sleeves mimicking Abbey Road, nine for Warhol's VU banana and at least 19 for Never Mind The Bollocks. Most fascinating are the unexpected oddities: hilarious homages to Saturday Night Fever, insane King Crimson send-ups. A classic folk album becomes Japanese metal deconstructivism in a blink of an eye. --Jonny Trunk, Record Collector Magazine

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