Cover story: magic, myth and music

Ian Inglis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Sgt. Pepper remains the only album within popular music whose cover has attracted as much attention and debate as the music it contains. Despite the musical innovations, commercial transformations, and proliferation of styles and related cultural practices that had redirected the production and consumption of popular music since the birth of rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-1950s, the art of the album cover had remained largely untouched. The principal pre-war album design strategies – painterly covers, poster-like covers, graphic covers (Jones and Sorger 2000, pp. 72 – 3) – had gradually converged to produce a post-war adoption of ‘the personality cover’ (Thorgerson 1989, p. 10) on which a positive, attractive image of the performer(s) was presented alongside their names and the album title. With very few exceptions and little variation, this approach had persisted unchallenged. Indeed, the Beatles’ first six albums (Please Please Me to Rubber Soul) had broadly confirmed the practice, and it was not until the whimsical photograph-and-illustration design of Revolver that the group attempted to consider any other possibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSgt Pepper & The Beatles: It Was Forty Years Ago Today
EditorsOlivier Julien
Place of PublicationFarnham
ISBN (Print)978-0754667087
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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