One of the many positives of the recent vinyl resurgence is the potential for some decent album covers again. For a while, it seemed as if the art was being lost.
Back in the ’80s, as the cliché goes, you would generally buy an album, stick it on and then peruse the cover at some length while you listened. The best covers seemed to take on a life of their own. Budgets were healthy, the musicians cared and you could see the time and effort that went into the work.
I particularly liked those covers with a ‘psychological’ aspect, some kind of story or scene, an image that maybe enhanced the lyrical themes of the album. Or, failing that, one that would look pretty good on a wall or even in a gallery.
Here are eleven album covers of the ’80s that still beguile, from the spooky to the decidedly Spielbergian.
11. Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays: As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls
Design by Barbara Wojirsch
Photo by Klaus Frahm
10. Weather Report: Procession (1983)
Artwork by John Lykes
9. It Bites: The Big Lad In The Windmill (1986)
Cover artwork by David O’Connor
8. Wayne Shorter: Phantom Navigator (1988)
Cover artwork by Jean-Francois Podevin
7. Level 42: Level 42 (1981)
Cover artwork by Joy Barling Loyla
6. Japan: Oil On Canvas (1983)
Cover artwork by Frank Auerbach
5. George Duke: Guardian Of The Light (1983)
Cover artwork: unidentified (anyone know?)
4. Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop (1989)
Cover artwork by Mark Ryden
3. Peter Gabriel: 3 (1980)
Cover artwork/photography by Hipgnosis (Storm Thorgerson/Audrey Powell)
2. Talk Talk: The Colour Of Spring (1986)
Cover artwork by James Marsh
1. Gil Scott-Heron: Moving Target (1982)
Photography by John Ford, artwork by Donn Davenport