Sure, everybody knows that Andy Warhol did the artwork to The Velvet Underground and Nico and Sticky Fingers, and that Annie Leibovitz did the cover shot for Born in the USA. But honestly, from what you read on the Internet sometimes, you’d think they’re the only two artists to have ever moonlighted in designing record covers. That’s of course not the case at all — plenty of other renowned artists have been responsible for cover artwork over the years. Indeed, we’ve addressed this topic before, but with Grizzly Bear’s Shields out this week — complete with a sleeve featuring a painting by figurative painter Richard Diebenkorn — we thought we’d have a look at some other great record sleeves you may not have known were designed by famous contemporary artists. Did we miss any?
Debbie Harry — Koo Koo
Artist: H.R. Giger
As Giger says ruefully on his website, “many small bands over the years, presumably fans of mine, [have] appropriated my artwork for their album and CD covers. I find it very disappointing that, even today, it continues to happen.” But Giger’s also designed his fair share of covers, and our favorite is this one for Debbie Harry’s 1981 solo album. The artist relates his thoughts on the cover in his own inimitable way: “I was greatly pleased to be allowed to create something for such an attractive woman, although I had never heard anything from the group. This was due to the fact that I was more interested in jazz.”