Sheffield Covered

The Sheffield Star were going to review the new Covered book recently, but wanted a local Sheffield connection before they did so. I went through and dug a trio of covers and their doppelgangers out. After spending time getting the scans prepared and text done, they changed their minds (and went with a two page spread on a future project instead, so I can’t really complain!). So ST33 get to see the covers instead. The book as blog readers will be aware, focuses on covers which recycle earlier sleeves, and Sheffield bands have been involved on both sides. Although 95% of the material on ST33 is original, in this case I do not own all the records shown, and the images come from the book.

Def Leppard and The Damned from Covered bookPunk band The Damned issued the single Stretcher Case Baby in 1977. The sleeve featured a famous illustration by American Charles Allen Gilbert. Painted in 1892, and appearing to be a woman in front of a mirror, from a distance the image turns into a skull. Sheffield rockers Def Leppard copied the illustration for their 1993 compilation Retroactive, but did so with a photograph taken by Nels Israelson rather than a painting. Must have been great fun setting it all up.

David Bowie and Pulp from Covered bookPulp’s 2001 track Bad Cover Versions was issued as a single. The single cover (sadly only ever issued on CD to the best of my knowledge) was clearly based on David Bowie‘s 1972 album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust. At first it looks as if the group went to the trouble of tracking down the actual location of the Bowie sleeve on Heddon Street (just off Regent Street in London), and recreating the cover. But the story is more serendipitous than that. The lad on the cover is Mark Webber. He was a massive David Bowie fan as a youngster and sometime in the very early eighties he persuaded his dad Tony to help him find the exact location of the Bowie cover and then take a photo of him in the same spot. Mark became a guitarist, and joined Pulp in 1995. He treasured the snap and it was decided to use it for the single. It would be hard to do today as some idiot has painted the building white and tarted it up. K. West were a furriers and are long gone. The cover was designed at the Peter Saville Studio, with the photo credited to Tony Webber. The band split up not long afterwards.

Lastly to Electro-pop pioneers Human League‘s Being Boiled, which was their first single, issued in 1978. The sleeve was very simple, but this hasn’t stopped it being copied. Girls On Top reproduced it almost exactly for the cover of their single Being Scrubbed in 2000, and even gave Phil Oakey a credit on the cover. The single was actually a mash-up of the original song together with r’n’b girl group TLC’s track No Scrubs. Girls On Top was a project by producer/DJ Richard X who enjoys spending the dosh he makes producing stuff like Will Young on this more fun material. And who could blame him?!

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