Young Brit Art?

Les Reed set up Chapter One records, and wrote an enormous number of well known theme tunes, as well as the hits Delilah and It’s Not Unusual for Tom Jones.

This ace Les Reed sleeve which I got at a fair a few months back, doesn’t feature the work of YBA Damien Hirst. Rather it was done by Donna Reed,  Les’ daughter, for the front (and back) of her father’s double easy listening album Colour Me, credited to The Les Reed Orchestra (released in 1971 – Chapter One CCS1/2). 40 years on, Donna now runs her father’s music business.

The titling is very early seventies, Letraset used to do this font, Bookman Bold Italic (which originated back in the 19th century; most web sources say it was redesigned in 1975 but this sleeve predates that by four years). I certainly got through a few sheets back then. I’m not sure todays digitised version has the fancy extra swashes which really made it stand out.

Curiously the sleeve credit says the abstract painting is based on a Spirograph original, which is clearly wrongly remembered. However there was a toy back in the early 70s which allowed you to squirt paint onto a spinning sheet of paper – fixed to a small turntable driven by batteries – to produce art like this (they still make a version in America, the Paint n Swirl). Maybe Spirograph marketed something similar back then?

One can only assume young Damien had one as a kid, and decided to revisit the concept. Colour Me cost me a couple of quid; a Hirst equivalent will set you back £30k or so.

About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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