Category: album cover


Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, 1969

The photo used for the album cover is by Susan Wood, taken in Room No. 1, Second West Ward, Queen Charlotte Hospital, Hammersmith during Yoko’s troubled pregnancy in November 1968, which ended in a miscarriage on November 21.

John had begun his stay with Yoko in a bed next to hers, shown below. When the hospital needed the bed for another patient, John brought in a sleeping bag and stayed on the floor.  The photos here are taken from the CD release, with additional context from Graham Calkin, here. (Tons of great stuff on his site – do click around when you have a chance!)

In the photo below, as well as John’s dirty stockinged feet on the bed, note the photos of the other three Beatles above his head! Those look like Ethan Russell’s portraits included with The White Album, which was in the mixing stages while John was making Unfinished Music, and released during Yoko’s time in the hospital.

There’s so much hype around The Beatles and so much noise around John & Yoko that it’s easy to forget that they were also humans with lives who were just trying to get through the day. These are some of my favorite photos of them.

Pink Floyd, Atom Heart Mother, QUADRAPHONIC 8-TRACK

Bob Dylan and Sally Grossman, wife of his manager Albert, in their Woodstock home, an alt take for the cover of Bringing It All Back Home, by Daniel Kramer, via bobby_grossman (no relation). See this post for the rest of the story.

Bob Dylan, outtake from the cover shoot for Bringing It All Back Home, 1965, by Daniel Kramer. 

“This is one of the shots I’ve been sitting on for 50 years. It has never been seen before. I wanted the shot to express the fact that Bob Dylan was about to change. He’s not the guy in the leather jacket any more. Now, he’s the guy in the dark sport blazer wearing nice cufflinks. There’s no guitar in the shot because I saw him not as any one kind of performer but as a prince of music. I had been in the sessions for the album, so I knew now who he was musically. 

The photo was shot in Albert Grossman’s house. The room was the original kitchen of this house that’s a couple hundred years old. The fireplace is big enough to cook in. The divan, which was multicolored, was a gift from Mary Travers, of Peter Paul and Mary, to Albert and his wife, Sally, for their wedding. Bob contributed to the picture the magazines he was reading and albums he was listening to. Bob wanted Sally to be in the photo because, well, look at her! She chose the red outfit.”

Bob Dylan, 1966, by Jerry Schatzberg for the cover of Blonde on Blonde: 375 West Street at Morton Street, Greenwich Village, New York. Eventually used for the cover of The Cutting Edge 1965 – 1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12

David Bowie & Twiggy, from the cover shoot for Bowie’s Pin Ups, 1973, by Justin de Villeneuve.

“[Twiggy and I] met Bowie a few times socially, and he mentioned that he wanted to be the first man on the cover of Vogue. I called them to suggest this, with Twiggy, of course, and after a bit of a hoo-ha, they agreed.

Bowie was working on Pin Ups in Paris, so we flew there to do the shoot. When Twigs and Bowie were together and lit up, I looked through the viewfinder and realised that David was pure white, whereas Twiggy was tanned from a holiday in Bermuda. There was a moment of panic because I knew it would look bizarre; but the makeup artist suggested drawing masks on them, and this worked out even better.

I remember distinctly that I’d got it with the first shot. It was too good to be true. 

When I showed Bowie the test Polaroids, he asked if he could use it for the Pin Ups record sleeve. I said: ‘I don’t think so, since this is for Vogue. How many albums do you think you will sell?’ ‘A million,’ he replied. ‘This is your next album cover!’ I said. When I got back to London and told Vogue, they never spoke to me again.”


The Who, Who’s Next 8-track, August 14, 1971.

Iggy Pop at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, May 1970 by Robert Altman, color edit for the Gimme Some Skin singles box at amazon

The Doors, by Guy Webster, a photo used for the cover of their 1967 debut album

David Bowie, Young Americans, fantastic Eric Stephen Jacobs photo from August 30, 1974 (eyebrows not grown back yet), via davidbowiewonderworld