Fashion

We all probably have regrets about unwise fashion choices we’ve made in the past, but if you were in a band this once hip gear is often captured for all time on an album sleeve for all to marvel at (or not) years on. Neither of the two covers here would win awards but do provide interest for fashion historians.

Pussycat First of All.jpg

Pussycat were not a band known to me, an EMI Dutch based septet but licensed out to the Sonet label in Britain in 1976 when a hit beckoned. The cover shots on this debut album are credited to Jaap Sluis and illustrate the dangers of guys going shirtless with just ill-fitting jackets. The women (all sisters) come off somewhat better although the blue bin bags nailed up for a backdrop are a bit low budget. The group had a number one hit with Mississippi, which is why it dominates the titles on the front, though it doesn’t ring a bell with me. For Pussycat that was about it for about Britain (about to see the dawn of Punk), but they continued to have success in Holland for years. I have left on the original Woolworth’s price label too; I usually take these off if it’s a sleeve I really like but here I’m happy for it to remain part of the history of the album. £3.25p.

Budgets were obviously higher for the much better known New Seekers, as their much sharper clobber on the front of this 1972 album demonstrates. The clothes are a lot better made and work well for a band studio photograph. Much of this would have not seemed too out of place as evening wear at the time with the possible exception of the detailed leather ensemble centre top. Curiously the photo is not credited, although the overall design is by Graphreaks, a team who did lots of great cover work for Polydor during the Sixties and into the Seventies. This is not one of their best however, with an awkward cut out job on the front to montage the group unconvincingly onto the slopes of Holyrood Castle. The group had huge chart success and this album contains their first UK number one, I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing, plus our Eurovision entry for 1972 (beg Steal Or Borrow) as the sleeve makes much of. The contest was held that year in Edinburgh, hence the background choice, and one suspects a bit of a rush job to get this out in time for the event (they came second).

New Seekers.jpg

The best thing about the sleeve (apart from the clothes!) is the band’s logo, which I think is a great design. After a couple of uneventful attempts, this logo first turned up on their Beautiful People album in 1971, credited to Robert L. Heimall, a busy sleeve designer for most of his life (he did some of The Doors covers). Here he just gets a credit for the logo. It is both contemporary and very elegant, and although the words “the new” tend to get lost, the band wanted to retain the familiarity of the original seekers so that was no bad thing.

Graphreaks did one of the James Last sleeves on the site.

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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