Sir Peter Blake is often referred to as 'the godfather of pop' and this label couldn't ring more true. We glance back at the often overlooked and always understated wealth of record covers Blake has designed over the past 40 years...
Peter Blake as artist, man and personality has been a huge influence in the art world. Not simply in his affect on the genre of Pop Art, but also on British art and design as a whole and in more recent years, increasingly on a wide-reaching collection of emerging contemporary British artists.
His found art and collage works, some of which created decades ago, have transcended time and are seemingly as current now as they ever were. Such a unique quality to produce artwork that hints at the era created whilst appearing timeless in design has led Blake to be much in demand to create album sleeve artwork.
This list shows some of the better-known record sleeves designed by Blake released between 1967 and 2011.
The Beatles: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 1967
Paul McCartney originally envisaged that the Dutch psychedelic artist group “The Fool” would design the sleeve. However, noted 60’s art dealer, Robert Fraser suggested that a psychedelic cover would soon be forgotten and suggested a cover by a "proper" artist, Peter Blake. The rest as they say is history
The Pentangle: Sweet Child – 1968
Blake worked on the cover for the group's second album release.
The Who – Face Dances – 1981
Peter Blake was entrusted with designing the cover and recruited fifteen other British artists to paint portraits of the four band members. The now illustrious list of artists included Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Clive Barker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Caulfield, Joe Tilson and Blake himself.
Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas/Feed The World – 1984/ Live Aid - 2005
The first of the two works for the original and anniversary charity events. Both have since been released as editions commemorating the works and historical events.
Eric Clapton – 24 Nights – 1991
Eric Clapton played a series of concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall over 24 nights in 1990 and 1991. Peter Blake attended several of these concerts and produced a series of sketches and photographs of the shows. He drew the cover artwork showing Clapton on stage and the audience and stage on the inside of the gatefold.
Paul Weller – Stanley Road – 1995
The cover illustration is a typical Peter Blake collage illustrating milestones in Paul Weller's life.
Various - Brand New Boots and Panties: Tribute to Ian Dury – 2001
Blake and Dury were long standing friends and Blake numerously created artwork for both Dury and the Blockheads so it seems only right that he should paint Ian Dury's portrait for the cover. Twelve famous artists each performed a song from Ian Dury & The Blockheads' 1977 album "New Boots and Panties".
Oasis – Stop The Clocks (single and album) - 2006
Sir Peter Blake provided the artwork for Oasis' first compilation album released in 2006 as a limited 3 LP set in a slipcase. Each LP had a unique sleeve and a 12 inch (30 cm) book designed by Sir Peter.
Various - John Peel: Right Time, Wrong Speed - 2006
John Peel was the longest serving DJ and programme presenter in the BBC's history. To commemorate the man and his milestone, Warner Bros. put together a tribute album of tracks John Peel loved. Sir Peter Blake, by now intrinsically linked to the British music scene through his artwork, was asked to paint John Peel's portrait for the cover.
Ben Waters - Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart – 2011
Blake’s most up-to-date music/art project is for the tribute album to the boogie-woogie pianist Ian Stewart (1938-1985). Stewart was a founder member of the Rolling Stones and the first to answer Brian Jones' advert for members to form a band. Blake, like with so many of the musicians he has collaborated with, has a long history associated. Regarding The Stones, this goes back to the early album covers Blake produced for Chris Jagger, Mick’s brother.