In this decade, the stlyle was distinctive – bold graphics, bright and neon colours, and plenty of swagger to make these albums covers stand out in the record store:
A whole lot of sex appeal in one simple photograph – Loverboy’s Get Lucky from 1981:
The Boss also went for it with Born in the USA from 1984
The Rolling Stones, now in their third decade, embraced the neon for the 1986 cover of Dirty Work .
Another great example of bold and neon – Men at Work’s Business as Usual from 1982:
While The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry also went for the neon style:
And for bold – how about the memorable cover of Van Halen MCMLXXXIV aka 1984:
These images, many over 30 years old, are distinct, bold and definitely made the ol’ record store a place where many fans clamoured for the poster for their bedroom wall.
Spotted near Toronto’s Dundas Street West..a cute image…
This decade’s distinctive style came from many creative minds; for several bands, their album design and image was created by a Japanese artist: Tadanori Yokoo.
(Above – Emerson Lake and Palmer 1972)
His unique use of photo collage style to create a distinctive album cover became a distinctive quality – especially his use of photography, graphics, symbolism and layering to give the album covers depth as well as for those who were curious – a lot to consider.
(Above – Tangerine Dream 1976 & Miles Davis Agharta 1975)
Starting his career in the theatre, Yokoo was fascinated by mysticism and psychadelia that was prevalent in the 1960s. By the 1970s, the Japanese designer was an internationally recognized artist, with a major exhibition at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 1972.
The two above from Cat Stevens and Earth, Wind and Fire (1972 & 1976) mix the unique images of the band with well-known images of history, art and religion. And somehow in the 1970s, this as a design that didn’t provoke discussion or controversy.
Spotted near Toronto’s Dundas Street West…
Wake up Toronto! (Faile, Bathurst Street mural)
The politics of the ’80s were soon shown via pop stars Wham! when they adopted the designs of British designer Katherine Hamnett and her memorable t-shirt: Choose Life.
Hamnett had created a series of oversized white t-shirts with block letter design. The Choose Life t-shirt was addressing the issues of suicide and drug abuse, a prevalent problem of early 1980s Britain.
The simple, bold tshirt logo of Choose Life captured the attention of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! was the one that said Choose Life.
Wearing it in their music video in 1983 for their pop single Wake Me Up Before You Go Go!, the duo added a political dash to their lightweight dance music.
Teen fans, wanting to emulate their band, soon began to seek out the t-shirts, and found the originals as well as numerous knockoffs. But Wham! weren’t the only fans – Roger Taylor of Queen also wore the Hamnett t-shirt in the band’s video of the song Hammer to Fall as well as wearing another tshirt at the inaugaral Rock ‘n’ Rio Festival.
Hamnett’s t-shirts were making a statement – from nuclear war to pollution to preserving our wildlife – and were clear messages about what needed to be done, not just pop culture marketing messages.
In 1984, Paul Morley, seeing the success of Hamnett’s design, created the logo Frankie Say for Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The t-shirts were designed exactly like Hamnett’s t-shirts and featured the words Frankie Say Relax, Frankie Say Don’t Do It and Frankie Say War! Hide Yourself.
This bold tshirt design was a recognizable style that continued through the decade and still brings back the memories of the political activism hid in between the pop dance lyrics of Brit new wave in the early 1980s.
It’s me, Owl. (Faile, Toronto’s Bathurst Street mural)