Following on from a highly enjoyable 5 Favourites post in March, I have decided to make the feature a running one.

Sparks – Propaganda

The brothers Mael find themselves in a series of tricky situations for the cover of their 1974 album, Propaganda. The middle sleeve is the photograph I used for the cover of this post, but these two can also be found gagged and bound in the back of a car on the back cover of this wonderful album. The album itself is an astonishing and flawless work of art, please do listen to it.

Supertramp – Crisis, What Crisis?

These three famous words, misattributed to Labour leader Jim Callahan in 1979 during the Winter of Discontent ( who actually said “I don’t think other people in the world would share the view [that] there is mounting chaos”), were the inspiration for the dramatic cover you see above. Although if we look back further the line was Zinneman’s 1973 film The Day of the Jackal. Anyway, the cover itself is quite striking. The background was a still taken from a Welsh mining town which brings home the point the cover is trying to make even more.

Thomas Dolby – Aliens Ate My Buick

This is one of my favourite albums ever, it is flawless start to finish, inventive and novel. It is the kind of album which leaves you feeling like you’ve been missing something your entire life when listening for the first time. But in terms of the album artwork, this 1950s comic book esque cover with Dolby and his girl in the foreground is just great. Aliens are destroying buildings and eating his nice Buick, while nicely dressed people are running for their lives. It’s just great. The back cover is even better, the faint outline of the car and some fiery traces, at a drive in movie about aliens stealing cars is totally inspired.

The Kick Inside – Kate Bush

“…and then I find it out, when I take a good look up. There’s a hole in the sky, with a big eyeball, calling me….come up and be a kite, and fly a diamond night…” Kite, Kate Bush

Jay Myrdal was the photographer who gifted us with this wonderful cover. The idea is said to have come from Pinocchio, when Jiminy Cricket floats past the whale’s eye using his umbrella like a parachute (Kate Bush News). Kate, a then relative unknown, came to Myrdal’s studio, driven by her father with a car full of wooden sticks and yellow material. The rest, as they say, is history.

Grace Jones – Hurricane / Dub

Another one of Jean Paul Goude’s masterpieces and lessons in photography, the cover of Hurricane / Dub shows Grace in 2008, then 60 years old, wearing a rhinestone studded bowler hat and smoking a cigarette. The open mouth and position of the head are reminiscent of the cover of Slave to the Rhythm, which we will certainly cover later. This stunning hat was the focal point of the below performance in 2010, where Grace became a self styled disco ball. Having seen Grace live myself (a quasi-religious experience), I can understand why the crowd absolutely lost their minds.


Tune in next month for 5 further favourites.