You’ve got to feel sorry for the designer John Kosh. He is commissioned by Bell Records and goes to a lot of trouble to develop a smart gatefold sleeve for one of the first big glam-rock star’s 1972 album Glitter, but fails to put any photographs of Gary on the front or back! So while some might admire the clever way Kosh had done a sort of Hollywood Walk of Fame-style star and pavement in different types of coloured glitter, the owner of this particular copy decided they could do a much better job. So she carefully glued (and in a couple of instances when the Lion Gum ran out, Sellotaped) pictures of her hero (snipped from Jackie hence my assuming it to be a her), to the front, back and even the inside (though in the case of the latter leaving the original sleeve pictures visible).
If the album had any value – and given that Gary Glitter has rather blown any chance of funding his retirement years with retro tours this seems unlikely – then our budding John Heartfield has probably taken even that small sum away. However as a way of looking at how some people regarded album sleeves as their own personal canvas, to be decorated to the point where even the artist’s name and album title have been obliterated, it’s a great example.
As the owner grew out of her Gary Glitter phase, the album probably got relegated to a cupboard somewhere and (perhaps following the recent court case) finally carted down to the charity store. Where the woman behind the counter didn’t even blink when I handed over my fourty-nine pence!
And John Kosh? Well if you own the Abbey Road album, you can find him credited there (in his guise as creative director at Apple Records) with perhaps one of the most famous album sleeves of all time.