The Roxy Music album Country Life, issued in 1974, came in a very memorable sleeve which caused much comment at the time due to the attire (or rather lack thereof) of the models on the cover. In reality covers just as risque had been around in the 50s and 60s, but this was a mainstream rock release on a major label. In recent years this Roxy cover in particular has been the inspiration for a number of look-a-like images, a trend which seems to be growing.
The American guitar-pop ‘supergroup’ Sweet Apple recreated it for the cover of their debut CD Love & Desperation (2010), while Canadian based Electro / Funk outfit Axxe did their own version on an EP sleeve the same year. Both covers sort of copy the original, but don’t quite get it right – so the Sweet Apple cover girls are both topless, while on the Axxe cover they’re both wearing a bra.
Instances of blokes covering the photo shoot are (for obvious reasons!) less common, but a 2004 12″ of Boys by Robots In Disguise had a go. The guy on the right on the sleeve was comedian Noel Fielding (from The Mighty Boosh UKTV series). How did this come about? Robots In Disguise was his girlfriend’s band!
The promotional photograph of Hollywood-based electronic duo The Valentines is also clearly referencing the Roxy cover albeit in a boy / girl way.
Away from music, there has been a trend for artists to do recreations of album covers lately, of which we have a couple of examples. The first is from German artist Pia Dehne who did her version in 2008. Dehne has been interested in doing detailed recreations of album sleeves (Queen’s Bicycle Girls, Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland) and old masters for a while.
The other copy is by a busy performance artist called Ann Magnuson who replicated the Roxy sleeve for an album of 70s cover versions she was planning (but which seems not to have happened).
Outside art and music, there are the amateurs such as the two Japanese girls making a brave effort [albeit in bikinis]. Knowing the Japanese there is probably a whole web site devoted to people all doing the same thing (though sadly if so I’ve not yet found it!).
Poxy Music was a submission to a Radio 6 Music competition for listeners to submit their own sleeve tributes, and in a similar vein comes the shot of Pete and Bill recreating the cover. They’re too young to have been born when the album first came out.
Lastly comes a full role reversal tribute shot from 2005 by German gay artist Harald Seiwert, featuring René and Rik posing, with the tree background generated via a 3D computer modelling programme. My thanks to Harald for giving me permission to use the image.
There is a feature on the Country Life sleeve on ST33 which looks at the photo shoot, out-takes and alternate covers.
These images are in part from a new book which takes a detailed look at the phenomena of record sleeves designs which copy, steal, spoof, plagiarise or otherwise take inspiration from earlier covers. The Covered book is now reviewed on the site here.