COVERED – CLASSIC SLEEVES AND THEIR IMITATORS by JAN BELLEKENS and SIMON ROBINSON’ (Easy On The Eye Books ISBN 978-0-9561439-2-1)
“You’re browsing through albums or CDs when a cover crops up which causes a moment of recognition, a feeling of ‘haven’t I seen this cover before somewhere?’” So begins the jacket blurb for ‘Covered – Classic Sleeves And Their Imitators’, neatly setting out the volume’s raisin d’être in one sentence. The first book from Easy On The Eye, ‘Covered’ illustrates how many well-known album covers have been copied and inverted, subverted or perverted by a variety of other artists, be they copyists (Raging Slab’s ‘Pronounced Eat-Shit’, for example), innovators (Monster Magnet’s ‘Dead Christmas’ single) or loonies (of which there are many, including Sleepasaurus’s ‘Master Of Muppits’ [sic]), setting the original artwork against what others were to make of them.
Obviously, the majority of the copies are rather tongue-in-cheek (Hatebeak’s ‘Beak Of Putrefaction’ features a budgie’s head slapped across the ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ artwork), and the numerous takes on both Kiss’s ‘Rock And Roll Over’ and Roxy Music’s ‘Country Life’ show that once an idea gets into people’s heads there’s no shifting it. You might jib at the compilers’ lack of admiration for the metal genre in general (how can anyone not like the original Derek Riggs’ Iron Maiden covers?) but ‘Covered’ is an eclectic collection of trivia and tackiness, lavishly illustrated and beautifully laid out, which goes some way to showing that imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.
Oh yes, and one of my own personal favourites, Wargasm’s 1994 ‘Fireball EP’ whose cover naturally enough is lovingly ripped off from the Deep Purple original, makes an appearance. ‘How cool is that?’ as anyone under 25 might say.
John Tucker / Fireworks Magazine