And so we come to another album cover post, the last one having been posted the summer of last year. This post was largely instigated by a windfall of album cover art recently sent to us by a reader of Pigtails (thank you!), and there are definitely some lovely images here. Not all of these are from this reader, but most of them are. It’s an all-nude/deminude edition of Album Cover Art, so let’s get started!
Edit: information for the first album has been updated. – Pip
The first is split single for he Finnish black metal band Horna and the Swedish black metal band Woods of Infinity, with relevant images on both front and back covers. I recognize both of them from the photographic anthology The Family of Children, which I have. The front cover image is by Swedish photographer Nils-Johan Norenlind, and I’ve featured it on Pigtails once already. The back cover image is from Germany-based photographer Jean-Gil Bonne, who doesn’t seem to have much representation on the web.
Here’s a better version of the original image which isn’t marred by the Klaxon Productions logo and address stamp:
Our next example comes from a modern psychedelic pop band called Brief Weeds who appear to have only released two albums thus far, A Very Generous Portrait and the one on which this cover image appears, Songs of Innocence and Experience (observant readers will note this title is taken from the similarly-titled Songs of Innocence and of Experience, a collection of illustrated poetry by William Blake). Indeed, the “Experience” part of this album shows another nude male/female couple, but this time they’re adults firing rifles.
Grunt is another Finnish band but of an altogether different sort than Horna. They’re sort of an experimental industrial noise outfit (think Throbbing Gristle but with less music). Not my thing, but I do love this cover. In fact, I think it may be my favorite out of the collection. Just a really clever layout. If you don’t count Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, which features the same two children photographed multiple times, this cover might hold the record for the number of nude children appearing on an album cover, most of them girls.
The front and back covers of obscure ’70s Belgian pop duo Jess & James’s The Naked (which I think was a single rather than a full album) are pretty much just reverse images of each other, but I’ll post both of them anyway, as there are some slight variations in layout and coloration in addition to the image reversal. The back cover also contained the lyrics to the main song.
Finally, the only album cover in the batch with a full-color cover, Pelle Carlberg‘s The Lilac Time.
The rest of these images come from my own collection.
Christian Death was one of the original groundbreaking goth rock bands, having been founded in 1979, at the inception of the goth scene. This cover is from an early live album, 1985’s The Decomposition of Violets, when the band was still fronted by Rozz Williams.
Now here’s another image we’ve seen before: the cover art (minus the encircling serpent design) is by John Bauer, one of the very first artists I profiled on Pigtails waaaay back in February of 2011. All of the images in that post appeared in the book Swedish Folk Tales, including the one used for this album cover from Norwegian black metal band/musician Mortiis. Are you detecting a trend here? Ah, the Scandinavians. What would we do without them? There seems to be two different covers for this album, but this is the relevant one. Incidentally, the title of the album, Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør, translates into English as The Spirit Who Rebelled.
And finally, I’m not at all sure on the gender of the child here, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a beautiful cover design. The image appears on the cover of Dream Child by the Finnish (yep) band Mattsson, which is fronted by Lars Eric Mattsson.
This concern an album not listed here, but this post seems the most logical place on which to submit it.
The matter of albums being re-released with changed, “non-controversial” covers has come up various times in the past here.
I have “Taboo and Exile” by John Zorn on a CD, acquired in 2004.
The cover shows a beautiful picture of a little girl who is topless, at least above the stomach area. It seems that it now exists with a completely different cover:
I found this at All Music but Discogs only has the version you mentioned.
Yet another occurrence of vinyl records being released with alternative, “non-controversial” covers:
Right now, somebody in the U.K. is offering “The Naked” by Jess and James on E-Bay. 45 RPM record, Belgium, 1970.
But the cover shows a picture of Jess and James instead of the cover shown here.
I wonder if that one could be the version sold at that time here in the United States.
Discogs shows a few different version available.
TKBIK, thanks a lot for telling us about Discogs.
I quickly became a customer on there.
P.S. This was especially good to learn about, because the similar business called GEMM (Global Electronic Music Marketplace) ceased to exist some time ago.
I can only imagine what would happen if someone photographed and published Jean-Gil Bonne today. Many would see this as sexual exploration which would not be acceptable in todays American culture.
I’m surprised by the number of nude children appearing on the Grunt album cover, most of them girls. I’m surprised that so many parents were comfortable with this (in 2003). I wonder how the children felt about it.
I personally love the older ‘naked’ album and the song lyrics. I appreciate the innocence and joy of the images, as well as the message in the lyrics. I look at these children and imagine what the world could be like, young and old alike. They wear things as clothes, hats and gloves, as if ‘naked’ is almost a foreign concept. I also see how this world is tearing down that dream, and tearing down the innocence. Is this what the 60s and 70s was like?