Drew Struzan is a genius. Look above and below and you may or may not recognise the images from Alice Cooper’s (who I’ll be seeing shortly if the bloody ticket actually arrives…)Welcome to my Nightmare and Black Sabbath’s front and back images from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
Struzan did these as a staff artist at Pacific Eye and Ear (google them along with Hipgnosis for unending joy) back in the early 70’s and created icons that endure, you can still buy t-shirts with Alice and the evil man’s death bed scene below (the good man’s death bed scene just isn’t metal enough for a t-shirt).
Struzan also did all the Indiana Jones movie posters as well as a bunch of other stuff including Star Wars, a lovely style he’s got.
Album covers used to be something you could look at for the 39 minutes the album lasted, lose yourself in the story, hoover up the detail and draw a version of it on your school jotters. It made the album more that it ever would have been otherwise. Cramming a CD to the brim with songs because it’s expected just isn’t the same, sometimes less is more.
I’m glad these images still attract and fascinate new eyes and old, art is more important than people realise. As soon as folk had time to rest inbetween chasing mammoths, they drew them on the cave walls. Art is in our DNA, and as much as I think a lot of what is lauded today in the art establishment is actually meritless pish, it still took creativety to realise it, regardless of whether the motivation was to make something to delight or dismay or just to see what they could get away with while trying to keep a straight face.
Times are hard, money is hard to catch even with a big net, but let’s not lose what lifts us out of mere existence: the capacity to create and enjoy the abstract, the esoteric and the irrelevant.