Most iconic 70 album artworks of all-time revealed
Most iconic 70 album artworks of all-time revealed
An exhibition commemorating 70 years of iconic album artwork has been launched today (8th October 2018), as part of the UK’s first National Album Day celebrations.
The public exhibition has been launched at London’s Waterloo Station before it will be travelling to Manchester Piccadilly and Glasgow Central Station.
Spanning 7 decades of popular art, music and design, the exhibition marks the cultural milestone of the 70th anniversary of the album format. It shines a light on the most iconic album designs in popular culture and explores the fascinating history behind some of the most renowned designs of our time.
In association with the Best Art Vinyl Awards, an expert panel of judges were enlisted to select the best album artwork to represent each year from 1949 – 2004. These contribute to the last 13 winners of the Best Art Vinyl Awards which has been running since 2005 and the result, in many ways, is a definitive retrospective of UK popular culture one 12 inch at a time.
The exhibition begins with work from 1949 with a design by Alex Steinweiss who is regarded as the world’s first sleeve designer. In this case, it is for one of the very first LP releases of music by Beethoven. This marks the beginning of a visual journey which pays homage to classic album covers including the likes of Miles Davis ‘Bitches Brew’, Nick Drake ‘Pink Moon’, Grace Jones ‘Night Clubbing’ to more recent artistic designs including The Strokes ‘Is This It’ to Run the Jewels ‘Run the Jewels 3’.
Surprising highlights in the exhibition include The Beatles who are the only music artist to feature twice. One of the Beatles albums to make the list is ‘The White Album, whose minimalist thought provoking design brings in debate and questions on the importance of sleeve design well into 21st century.
Outside of these well-known names in music, there are also well-known names from the art world that have given so much of their time and talent to sleeve design. Most notably Sir Peter Blake for The Beatles Sgt Peppers, Banksy for Blur’s Think Tank and all the way back to the sixteenth century for Pieter Bruegel the Elder, whose painting was used for the eponymous Fleet Foxes LP in 2008.
Alison Fielding, Head of Creative at Beggars Group discussed being a judge on the panel: “This is a wonderful project to be involved in and very close to my heart, especially as I was researching some of the beautiful old vinyl sleeves. There was a real craft to them, hand drawn type, vibrant colours, collage (which would have all been hand done) and really out there photography. You can’t even begin to imagine how long these sleeves took to do. It’s interesting to see how sleeves have evolved, but also how many contemporary sleeves borrow from the past and genres are constantly recycled. I love so many of the choices on the list, The Beastie Boys, Elvis, The Miracles, Miles Davis, The Pixies, but for me the standout sleeves on the list are the Freddie Hubbard – Hub-Tones – any Blue note sleeve really does it for me – always has. Joy division – Unknown Pleasures - of course, the sound of my youth and the The Royal Blood cover featuring Dan Hillier’s work is gorgeous – I love his illustrations and bought a series of his prints as a result of seeing this sleeve.”
The general public will be able to visit the exhibition for free at the following Network Rail stations.
- London Waterloo Station: 8th – 21st October
- Manchester Piccadilly Station: 22nd October – 5th November
- Glasgow Central Station: 6th November – 19th November
Andrew Heeps, founder of Best Art Vinyl, expands on the locations stating that “this is a very public exhibition honouring the visual expression and identity of the music contained within the album sleeve. It allows commuters and passers-by to experience the magic of cover art which they may already own or can afford to own themselves”.
The list of artworks was chosen by a panel of highly respected music industry design experts:
- Patrick Burgoyne – Editor, Creative Review
- Novelist – Recording Artist
- Matthew Cooper – Artwork Designer (Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Noel Gallagher)
- Alison Fielding - Head of Creative, Beggars Group
- Rob O’Connor - Creative Director at Stylorouge
- Simon Raymonde – Founder of Bella Union Records
- Ashli Todd - Owner of Spillers Records, Cardiff, the oldest record shop in the world
- Colleen Murphy - Founder, Classic Album Sundays
- Andrew Heeps – Founder, Best Art Vinyl
In a bid to find the nation’s favourite, the public will be invited to select 3 pieces of artwork from the 70 selected designs and can cast their votes at the Art Vinyl Website. This will determine the UK’s ultimate album cover which will be revealed at the end of November.
1940s / 1950s
1949 Beethoven - Symphony No.3 in E Flat Major opus 55 (Eroica)
1950 Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Orchestra - Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé
1951 Bernard Herrmann - The Day The Earth Stood Still
1952 Count Basie - Basie Rides Again!
1953 Duke Ellington - Ellington Uptown
1954 Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins
1955 Lightnin' Hopkins - Lightnin' and The Blues
1956 Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley
1957 Little Richard - Here's Little Richard
1958 Chuck Willis - Chuck Willis, The King of the Stroll
1959 Billy Mure - Supersonic Guitars Volume I
1960 Conjunto Primavera - Bailemos Twist Con Texaco
1961 Hi! We're The Miracles - The Miracles
1962 The Beach Boys - Surfin' Safari
1963 Freddie Hubbard - Hub-tones
1964 Donald Byrd - A New Perspective
1965 Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass - Whipped Cream & Other Delights
1966 13th Floor Elevators - The Psychedelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators
1967 The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
1968 The Beatles - The White Album
1969 Scott Walker - Scott 3
1970 Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
1971 Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
1972 Nick Drake - Pink Moon
1973 Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
1974 Kraftwerk - Autobahn (UK Edition)
1975 Brian Eno - Another Green World
1976 Ramones - Ramones
1977 Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks
1978 Blondie - Parallel Lines
1979 Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
1980 The Pop Group - For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?
1981 Grace Jones - Nightclubbing
1982 Duran Duran - Rio
1983 Billy Bragg – Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy
1984 This Mortal Coil - It'll End in Tears
1985 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - The Firstborn is Dead
1986 Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill
1987 The Cure - Kiss me kiss me kiss me
1988 Pixies - Surfer Rosa
1989 The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
1990 Sonic Youth - Goo
1991 Primal Scream - Screamadelica
1992 Tom Waits - Bone Machine
1993 Suede - Suede
1994 Oasis - Definitely Maybe
1995 Aphex Twin - I Care Because You Do
1996 DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
1997 Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen… We Are Floating in Space
1998 Massive Attack - Mezzanine
1999 The White Stripes - The White Stripes
2000 Goldfrapp- Felt Mountain
2001 The Strokes - Is this it (UK Edition)
2002 Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons
2003 Blur - Think Tank
2004 Kanye West - The College Dropout
2005 Hard-Fi - Stars of CCTV
2006 Thom Yorke - The Eraser
2007 The Cribs - Men's Needs, Women's Need, Whatever
2008 Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
2009 Muse - The Resistance
2010 Klaxons - Surfing The Void
2011 Bright Eyes - The People's Key
2012 The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap
2013 White Lies - Big TV
2014 Royal Blood - Royal Blood
2015 David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock
2016 The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You've Come To Expect
2017 Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 3