LONDON IN ALBUM COVERS
London houses one of the most prosperous music scenes in the world, ranging from indie rock to experimental electronica, and everything in between.
In addition to inspiring music and authors, it has been immortalized on the covers of unforgettable records:
OASIS: (WHAT’S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY
This is the Oasis album which contains the single Wonderwall, a global success that landed at the top of the charts all around the world. The idea for the cover was Noel Gallagher’s, the guitarist of the band, and it transposes a concept that he loves to repeat: life is full of questions that never find enough answers. He therefore opted for photographing two unknown people on a road, surrounded by a slightly blurry effect, to represent a sense of the indeterminacy of existence. The photographs were shot on Berwick Street, in front of the Sister Ray record shop, where a film crew began shooting at five a.m. when the road was still deserted.
Noel arrived at the scene several hours later when the work was already finished. Of over thirty pictures, the first of the roll was eventually chosen, portraying two lads out of focus, while, on the back of the album only one of the lads can be seen from behind. Understanding its meaning is not easy, but perhaps this is one of those questions to which there is no answer.
PINK FLOYD. ANIMALS
When Animals was released in January 1977, Pink Floyd were already well-known around the world. The five tracks that make up the record were recorded at Britannia Row recording studio, located on the opposite side of the Thames from Battersea power station, which is portrayed on the album cover: the themes of the lyrics are inspired by the novel Animal farm by George Orwell.
If you look at it, amongst the white chimneys of Battersea Power station immortalized on the cover, you will see a flying pig. It is a balloon installed specially for the shooting of the picture in December 1976. Shame that the animal broke free from the rope that bound it to the ground, heading at high speed to over nine thousand metres in the air. The air traffic departing from Heathrow was blocked and Lucy Sparrow, artistic director of the project, was arrested…
DAVID BOWIE: ZIGGY STARDUST
David Bowie, born in South London, chose Heddon Street, parallel to Regent Street, as the location for the album cover of Ziggy Stardust. At number 23, between a lamppost and a fur shop bearing the sign K WEST, during a dreary night in January 1972, about twenty pictures of Bowie wearing a guitar around his neck were taken.
The film roll chosen for the shoot was black and white and, to achieve the particular effect that characterizes the cover, the image was colourised at a later date by English artist Terry Pastor. Today the atmosphere of the street has changed completely, except for a commemorative plaque in the same place as where the “K. West” sign used to be.
THE CLASH, THE CLASH
In the seventies, Camden market was the hub of the London punk scene. Right there was where the cover of the first album by The Clash was shot. Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon stand upon the ramp of the Stables, which once hosted the horses employed along Regent’s canal. To get the correct angle from which the photo was taken, head outside The Cuban cocktail bar at Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AH.
THE BEATLES, ABBEY ROAD
Abbey Road’s zebra crossing is situated outside Abbey Road studios in St John’s Wood, and it is one of the most iconic destinations for lovers of the Beatles. On 8th August 1969 photographer Iain Macmillan spent about ten minutes taking six pictures of The Beatles walking across the pedestrian crossing situated to the left of the studio entrance.
The result was the creation of the iconic image that became the Abbey Road album cover. It was the only Beatles album sleeve to show neither the artist name nor the album title on its front cover.
Take the Jubilee Line train to St John’s Wood Station on the London Underground system. A 5-minute walk along Grove End Road will bring you to the junction with Abbey Road. At the junction bear right and you have reached the crossing and Abbey Road Studios. However, you can now also watch it via webcam: http://www.abbeyroad.com/crossing