Album Cover Art – Spring 2015 Edition

It’s time to post some girl-related album art again, and let’s start with a couple from Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish.  These are both single covers, and the first is a beautifully illustrated image for a fantastic but melancholy song called Eva (originally from the album Dark Passion Play) about a mistreated little girl who runs away from home.  In the image, we can see the girl is wearing a period costume from late 19th or early 20th century.  She stands on her front lawn at night, carrying only a few meager belongings and looking back at the home she is about to leave, perhaps forever.  It’s a lonely image for a sad song.  Poor Eva.

Artist Unknown - Nightwish - Eva (single cover) (2007)

Artist Unknown – Nightwish – Eva (single cover) (2007)

Oh, and if you’d like to hear the song itself, you can check it out here.  I find it quite moving myself.  And the lyrics are here.

The next image is for the song Ever Dream, which was released before the album it would appear on, Century Child.  In this case, however, the cover art for the single release has little to do with the content of the song.  It’s just a nice romanticized image of a little girl.

Artist Unknown - Nightwish - Ever Dream (single cover)

Artist Unknown – Nightwish – Ever Dream (single cover)

This next cover image is one of my favorites that I’ve encountered over the last several months.  It’s from the band Royal Bliss, and the album is called Waiting Out the Storm.  The cover image artfully references The Wizard of Oz, as well as featuring some really lovely border art that recalls Constructivist poster designs.

Artist Unknown - Royal Bliss - Waiting Out the Storm (cover)

Artist Unknown – Royal Bliss – Waiting Out the Storm (cover)

Artist Unknown - Royal Bliss - Waiting Out the Storm (cover) (detail)

Artist Unknown – Royal Bliss – Waiting Out the Storm (cover) (detail)

The next cover design I’m fairly certain comes from Jugend originally, but I do not know which issue or who the artist is.  I just thought it was a lovely composition.  The band is Tangemeenie and the album is The Gilded Age.  Beyond that I know nothing about it.

Artist Unknown - Tangemeenie - The Gilded Age (cover)

Artist Unknown – Tangemeenie – The Gilded Age (cover)

And here is another stunning album cover design, this time for Wild Child‘s album The Runaround.  A nice use of digital photocollage here.

Artist Unknown - Wild Child - The Runaround (cover) (2013)

Artist Unknown – Wild Child – The Runaround (cover) (2013)

Here are a couple from female singer Tei Shi.  The first cover image—for Tei Shi’s rendition of Beyoncé‘s No Angel—looks to be a simple family snapshot of Tei Shi herself as a child, possibly in a Halloween costume or some sort of ballet outfit.  I love her tutu!  I have never seen one with that color combination before.  The cover itself has no text.

Photographer Unknown - Tei Shi - No Angel (single cover)

Photographer Unknown – Tei Shi – No Angel (single cover)

This second image is for Tei Shi’s single M&Ms and also seems to be a childhood snapshot of the singer herself, this time in a swimsuit and painted face and holding a bunch of balloons.  A birthday party photo perhaps?

Photographer Unknown - Tei Shi - M&Ms (single cover)

Photographer Unknown – Tei Shi – M&Ms (single cover)

Now here’s a classic!  This is the cover of the Rolling Stones album It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, which came out in 1974.  The design is a photocollage where the artist, after completing the collage,  then went and hand-painted over the photos.  I’m guessing the little girls came from photos taken at one of Isadora Duncan’s dance schools.  The costumes are right at any rate, and notice the poses of the girls in the bottom left-hand corner and compare it with this image.  There’s something oddly suggestive about this image, hinting that the Rollings Stones have sex appeal to females of all ages, including little girls.

Artist Unknown - The Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock 'n Roll (cover) (1974)

Artist Unknown – The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (cover) (1974)

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to share for ages and just never quite got to it.  But here it is now.  This is the cover image for The Enchanter Persuaded album by Sinoia Caves (a.k.a. Jeremy Schmidt), an electronica musician.  I quite like this album, especially the songs Through the Valley and Evil Ball.  The photographer is Dewitt Jones, and the photo originally appeared in the April 1976 issue of National Geographic as part of a story on the poet Robert Frost (a big thanks to one of our readers for providing this information!)

Dewitt Jones - Sinoia Caves - The Enchanter Persuaded (cover)

Dewitt Jones – Sinoia Caves – The Enchanter Persuaded (cover)

Dewitt Jones (official site)

Last but not least, here we have the cover for Little Dragon‘s Nabuma Rubberband.  Little Dragon is an electronica band from Sweden.  This is a great cover, very dynamic.

Artist Unknown - Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband (cover)

Artist Unknown – Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband (cover)

Update: Throbbing Gristle Album Art

About this time three years ago I made a post about the album art featured on proto-industrial band Throbbing Gristle’s album D.o.A: The Third and Final Report, where I mentioned a calendar that was included in the first one thousand pressings of the record back in 1979 when it was first released, but I could never find a decent version of the calendar image.  Well, thanks to a tip from one of our readers, I was informed that the girl in image was named Kama Brandyk, and a quick search of the name brought me to not only a large (albeit somewhat frayed) version of the image but also to several pages from Drew Daniel’s band bio Throbbing Gristle’s Twenty Jazz Funk Greats about these images and their context, set within a deeper discussion of the slippery nature of what constitutes child pornography and what doesn’t, though it is quite annoying to try to read linearly because not all of the pages were present (it’s one of those book preview things you come across on the web every so often).  It’s an incredibly interesting read and prompts me to want to read the book in its entirety.  I’m not going to share the entire excerpt here (here’s a link if you want to read it), but there is a paragraph quoted from a band member in a newsletter that I think is worth re-quoting:

The young girl on the cover of D.o.A. is called Kama Brandyk.  She is the daughter of a friend of ours who lives in Poland, with whom Gen stayed when he was there.  Her mother is called Ewa Zajak and co-wrote the “Weeping” lyrics.  Kama, the little girl, was listening to Alice in Wonderland in Russian and it was International Children’s Day when the photo was taken.

I find these kinds of details about the origins of particular art and design pieces to be fascinating.  Anyway, a big thank you to Thomas for providing me with this information.  This is a supreme example of why we at Pigtails love for our readers and fans to come forward with details they may have about particular works.  It can lead to further discoveries that only enrich the blog.  So, thanks again Thomas!

Artist Unknown - Throbbing Gristle Calendar (1978)

Artist Unknown – Throbbing Gristle Calendar (1978)


The Children of Sunshine Finally Get Their Chance to Shine

Kids creating their own pop and rock music is fairly common today, with a few of them (Smoosh, Tiny Masters of Today, etc.) going on to relative success with their music.  But in the 1970s the musical landscape was quite different.  Though the early ’70s were a great decade for musical experimentation, independent music hadn’t quite come into its own yet, and studios were hard on the trail of the next Beatles or Rolling Stones.  In that environment it’s a wonder that Kitsy Christner and Therese “Tres” Williams, then both ten years old, were able to record an album.  Even so, the album Dandelions by Christner and Williams (a.k.a. Children of Sunshine) was an indie production with only 300 copies released, a novelty item that came and went quickly with little fanfare.  In all likelihood the album would’ve passed into the void of history unheard of by most if not for two key elements: the discovery of a copy at a garage sale by a local record collector and the internet.  You can read about how the album came into existence and how it attained fame over forty years later in this article at the Riverfront Times website.  It’s a fascinating story in and of itself.

As for the music, the entire album has been released on YouTube by ’60s/’70s acid rock aficionado The Psychedelic Garden.  It’s a short album and every bit as entertaining as it’s billed to be.  The music is stripped down and basic, and the girls are clearly musical fledglings, but that in no way detracts from the album’s charm and humor.  I’d say a reissue of Dandelions is well overdue, wouldn’t you?

By the way, be sure to read the newspaper article attached as a photo to the RFT article!

Edit: I urge you to read the replies section of this post as well, for the discussion brought forth another salient point about the nature of the relationship the girls had with their guitar teacher.

Frank Ackers (with Kitsy Christner & Tres Williams) - The Children of Sunshine - Dandelions (cover) (1971)

Frank Ackers (with Kitsy Christner & Tres Williams) – The Children of Sunshine – Dandelions (cover) (1971)


Richard Avedon and Kenny Rankin’s ‘Family’ Album

I confess I had never heard of Kenny Rankin until one of our readers pointed me toward this album cover.  The cover is from Rankin’s second studio album, Family, and features the musician holding his two daughters Gena and Chandra.  What I particularly love about this cover is that it is a simple, straight-up photographic portrait of father and children, except that everyone is nude.  The cover symbolically says, “This is just me and my children, no pretenses.”  The album was released in 1970 and is very much in keeping with the hippie spirit of the times.

Ray Harris over at Novel Activist has frequently pointed out that children raised in free-spirited, unconventional households, including kids who have appeared in challenging artistic images, often wind up going on to do amazing things, and Rankin’s kids definitely fit that trend.  Gena Rankin-Ray is apparently Vice President of Operations at Freshwire and has held several other important positions in the music industry.  And according to this article, Chandra has a doctorate, though the article does not specify what she is a doctor of.

Anyway, a beautiful cover and a beautiful family.  Rankin passed away in 2009 of lung cancer, and it’s a shame he left us before I even got to know his work.  Meanwhile, some of his music is available on Spotify if you want to check it out.

Edit: Man, talk about missing the boat.  If I had only read all of the long article I posted earlier, I would’ve learned that the image was actually taken by world-class photographer Richard Avedon!  Now that’s something to be excited about!  Avedon was, of course, one of the most well-respected photographers in his field, most famous for his glamor and fashion photography, as well as a certain nude portrait of actress Nastassja Kinski with a snake.

Richard Avedon - Kenny Rankin - Family (cover)

Richard Avedon – Kenny Rankin – Family (cover)

Wikipedia: Richard Avedon

Kenny Rankin (official site)

Wikipedia: Kenny Rankin

Karen Maria Schleifer Album Cover

Just a quick post here.  I don’t know anything about this musician, but the photo is apparently of her at age 2-and-a-half.  To be honest, I don’t even remember how or where I first came across this adorable image.  Probably Spotify.  Anyway, it’s clearly an independently produced album.  I just got a big chuckle out of it and thought it was worth sharing here.

Photographer Unknown - Karen Maria Schleifer - Yes, You Can Touch It (cover)

Photographer Unknown – Karen Maria Schleifer – Yes, You Can Touch It (cover)

A Provocative Perch

This story begins with a press photo I noticed on a sales site. I loved the impish expression of the girl while she sat on the head of the White Rabbit sculpture in Central Park, New York. Since the sculpture ties in to the whole Alice in Wonderland culture which is associated with a plethora of material about little girls, I decided it needed to be presented on this site. After a little digging, I realized this photo is historically significant as it was one of many taken during the unveiling of the statue in 1959.

Press photo (uncredited) (1959)

Press photo (uncredited) (1959)

I had no idea that this sculpture existed and even if I lived in New York, I would still probably not have known about it. Since beginning work on Pigtails and working with artists that deal with Alice lore extensively, I now feel it a duty to get to know some of this material (it would be impossible for any one person to keep track of it all). There are many sculptures in Central Park but this is one of the few depicting fictional characters. This piece features most prominently Alice, the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit along with a few other charming characters and details from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 story. The statue is located on East 74th Street on the north side of Central Park’s Conservatory Water. The publisher George T. Delacorte Jr. commissioned the work from José de Creeft, in honor of Delacorte’s late wife, Margarita, and for the enjoyment of the children. The sculpture tries to follow John Tenniel’s whimsical illustrations from the first edition of the book Alice in Wonderland. Some sources suggest that de Creeft’s daughter Donna may have served as the model for Alice. The project’s architects and designers were Hideo Sasaki and Fernando Texidor, who inserted some plaques with inscriptions from the book in the terrace around the sculpture. The design of the sculpture attracts many children who climb its many levels, resulting in the bronze’s glowing patina, polished by thousands of tiny hands over the years. The casting was done at Modern Art Foundry Astoria in Queens, New York.

Owen Kennedy - Central Park's Alice in Wonderland (2009)

Owen Kennedy – Central Park’s Alice in Wonderland (2009)

Pip informed me that had I been more attentive, I might have noticed that there were a number of iconic images featuring this Central Park sculpture. In 1988, it appeared in Slick Rick’s music video, Children’s Story. But by Pip’s reckoning, the most notable photo was probably the one of Jimi Hendrix and his band sitting on the sculpture with a bunch of children. It was used as the back cover of some pressings of the Electric Ladyland album. Jimi actually wanted it for the front cover, but the studio in England insisted on a more provocative photo of nude women—a rare instance where the artist wanted a tamer image than the studio! Editions produced for the American market just feature a closeup of Jimi’s head, reflecting the more prudish attitudes in the U.S.  The image was photographed by Linda Eastman, who later married musician Paul McCartney.

Linda Eastman - The Jimi Hendix Experience's Electric Ladyland (back cover) (1968)

Linda Eastman – The Jimi Hendix Experience’s Electric Ladyland (back cover) (1968)

Sculptor and Photographer Unknown - (Title Unknown)

Sculptor and Photographer Unknown – (Title Unknown)

And while we are on the subject of children playing on statues, I have a bonus for you. This photograph also appeared online, but does not have any identifying information. The seller believes the statue is somewhere in Europe, but could offer no more than that. Anyone knowing anything about this piece is encouraged to come forward with the information and perhaps some better photos.

Wikipedia: Jose de Creeft

Linda McCartney (Linda Eastman) (official website)

Wikipedia: Linda McCartney

Wikipedia: Hideo Sasaki

Central Park (official website)

Jimi Hendrix (official site)

A Little Clair-ity: The (Un)tainted Love of Gilbert O’Sullivan and Clair Mills

Here’s something new, and a refreshing change of pace.  Although I don’t ordinarily dip into music (other than the visual aspects of it such as album covers, music videos, etc.), in this case I will make an exception.  There may be other examples in the future too, since music is an art form, though I am a little out of my element.

Anyway, I would like to draw attention to a song that perfectly illustrates the seemingly gargantuan disconnect between artists and the culturally unengaged when it comes to issues involving children, sex and love.  In late 1972 pop musician Gilbert O’Sullivan released a winning ode to a girl he greatly adored, Clair Mills.  This was nothing new—love songs are a staple of pop music and have been since its origin.  What made this song different is that Clair was a preschooler O’Sullivan sometimes babysat—the daughter of his manager, in fact.

Okay, so it’s a sweet song about a little girl.  So what, right?  Well, when you consider some of the lyrics in the light of today’s pedo paranoia, the situation becomes a little more complicated.  Lines like “I don’t care what people say, to me you’re more than a child” and “But why in spite of our age difference do I cry; each time I leave you I feel I could die” the meaning changes from a simple display of affection and admiration for a child’s innocence (a theme so clichéd in music of the late ’60s and much of the ’70s that even true believers began to find it cloying, and rightfully so) to something a little deeper and seemingly more romantic.  It would appear, then, that this song is what it sounds like: a romantic love song for a 4-year-old.  But what exactly is romantic love?  Is sex a necessary component of it, and if so, is it possible that a romantic attraction to a child must be tainted and uncouth by design?  I wonder.

In my estimation we have far oversimplified these issues in modern times, accepting as a given that there can be no healthy “romantic” (a loaded word) relationship between adults and children.  Now, before I go on, let me offer a little, er . . . clarity here: the immediate impression of many to such a statement is that to even consider the possibility that it is anything less than entirely loathsome for adults to be ‘in love’ with children—especially those that aren’t their own—marks you out as a vile and detestable defender and/or practitioner of kiddie rape.  There is no middle ground for a lot of people, and therefore no quarter shall be given to anyone broaching such ideas.

It should be apparent to any thoughtful person that this simplistic black-and-white view of a very complex and deeply misunderstood issue is more than a little problematic.  In any other context such thinking would be immediately and correctly aligned with a totalitarian worldview.  The Nazis, the Fascists and the Stalinists could only have stood in awe of the degree to which Western society has come to embrace the absolutist stance towards this matter that has taken root here amongst a mind-boggling array of political and social factions, bookended though it may be by the false/extremist feminists and the hardline religious types.

Photographer/Designer Unknown - Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair (cover) (1972)

Photographer/Designer Unknown – Gilbert O’Sullivan – Clair (cover) (1972)

All of that being said, is it to be assumed that O’Sullivan’s ode to a beloved child is an open and blatant admission of a pedophilic attraction to a small girl, and if so, how did it fail to make waves when it was released?  After all, adult-child sexual encounters were still largely condemned by most of society even in the free-wheeling 1970s.  Does this mean that everyone in that decade was so hopped up an drugs that they barely noticed the sexual connotations in the song, which, to add insult to injury, had the unmitigated indecency to become a #1 hit in much of the English-speaking First World?  If all of that isn’t shocking enough, there was even a proto-music video made at the time that depicts “Uncle Ray” and little Clair frolicking together en plein air, with the little girl wearing a pedo-fetish dress if ever there was one that unavoidably flaunts her tiny panty-clad behind for O’Sullivan and all of his perverted ilk to gawk at.  And my God!  O’Sullivan joyously fondles that same behind right on camera!  Why hasn’t his head been served on a platter and delivered to Oprah yet?!

Unfortunately, there are people out there on which the facetious nature of the above paragraph will be entirely lost.  A lot of them.  And herein lies the problem.  A thoughtful, even-headed person will soon realize that this song “Clair” uses the language of romance in a transcendent way to underscore a relationship that young Clair herself has framed in her own mind, innocently or not (your definitions of the word ‘innocent’ may vary, faithful readers), as romantic (“Will you marry me, Uncle Ray?”)  I have myself been the recipient of just such a request by a girl of around the same age.  In that case I am certain it was very innocent.  But that’s neither here nor there.  Back to Gilbert and Clair.

How do we know that Mr. O’Sullivan wasn’t a creep who really did take advantage of this little girl?  We can start by reading Clair’s own words in response to a slew of insults and attacks that appeared at YouTube underneath the above video.  The poster of the video corresponded with the now middle-aged subject of the song, pointing out the horrendous libelous attacks on O’Sullivan’s character, to which he received the following reply:

Sorry you have to read the awful posts about the song Clair..
I was a toddler !!!!!! Please feel free to tell them that from me.
He is also a very kind and lovely man who I adore still to this day and I would ask them kindly to refrain and respect our wishes.

And there you have it, folks.  It is the statements of these outraged citizens who have been the most hurtful to Mills, not the innocent and well-meaning O’Sullivan.  And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with much of society with regard to this issue.  In their effort to stand squarely and unquestionably in the corner of justice, they have been too blinded by their own emotionalism and moral indignation to see the real complexities twined beneath the seemingly straight-edged surface of these things, and they often wind up doing more harm than good in the process, which is the inevitable result of taking any moral position, regardless of what it is, too far.  That’s why they can listen to a song that cleverly one-upped the teen love ballads of the era with a charming, audacious and somewhat tongue-in-cheek romantic ode to a preschooler and hear only a tribute to the object of a child molester (or at best an encouragement to child molesters), or why they can look upon photos of naked children by Jock Sturges or Sally Mann and see only sinister motives behind the photos.

But I can’t help coming back to this question: who are really the ones obsessed with child sex?  Is it people like Sturges or O’Sullivan?  Obviously not.  I have a few quotes that I read from time to time, to keep things in perspective.  Here are two that really apply:

All seems infected to th’ infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic’d eye. – Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism


Every political good carried to the extreme must be productive of evil. – Mary Wollstonecraft


Photographer Unknown - Gilbert O'Sullivan and Clair Mills, The Australian Women's Weekly (June 6, 1973)

Photographer Unknown – Gilbert O’Sullivan and Clair Mills, The Australian Women’s Weekly (June 6, 1973)

Editor’s Note: I was quite moved by the O’Sullivan-Mills relationship and though such relationships are reasonably common, we are fortunate in this case to know about it because of one of the participants being an artist and expressing himself through song. However, I feel it important that those who have not personally experienced this kind of relationship get a firmer understanding of what is happening and a conventional Freudian interpretation is highly misleading and overly simplistic. These relationships can be complex and deeply emotional and no patent and lazy platitude is going to shed real light on it. It should never be naively assumed that because Mills was 4 years old at the beginning of this relationship, that she was simply a passive or subordinate participant. This is a real relationship involving two people and each contributes and benefits differently.

Before going on, I should say something about the nature of genuinely abusive relationships. Almost without exception, these situations involve desperate people that, because of their life circumstances, are not capable of engaging in and appreciating more sophisticated relationships. In the case of O’Sullivan and Mills, we are dealing with people with some leisure, who can enjoy the pleasures of life and have the ability to express compassion.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the cuteness and behavior patterns of children and babies motivate adults to treat them with tenderness and affection. I am reminded of an uncle who told me that he never dreamed he would be such a devoted father until after the birth of his two daughters. A man’s bond to his family is complex because, unlike a woman who literally experiences a series of hormonal switches upon pregnancy, birth, and suckling that help establish her attachment with her child, a man’s bond is emotionally triggered by his psychological involvement in the family. Therefore, it is possible for a man who does not have his own family to become attached to another–perhaps that of a sibling or close friend. This, I believe, was the allure from O’Sullivan’s point of view, and with sufficient affection and attention on the part of Mills, that relationship would have strengthened and evolved over time. Of course, as an adult O’Sullivan was capable of expressing a more adult notion of love through songwriting. This could be confusion over the intensity of his paternal-friendship love, but most likely it is a reflection of the difficulty in communicating this level of emotion to a general audience.

The young Mills would have had a lot of appealing qualities that she would not be conscious of which would facilitate a special bond, and that, simply put, is interpersonal chemistry. Even one who is generally good with children would likely have a special bond with a particular favorite and with whom there is a strong reciprocity. The most obvious benefit to the child is that she gets additional attention which certainly promotes healthy development–being held, consoled, fawned over, etc. More subtly, the girl gets a lot of feedback about her value, character and emotional needs which she subconsciously uses to judge the quality of relationships later in life.

Those fortunate enough to be involved in these kinds of relationships experience intense emotional attachment and perhaps the best word to describe it is romantic. But whatever word is used, it is a genuine form of mutual love devoid of inappropriate sexual connotations. -Ron

Gilbert O’Sullivan (Official Site) – Whatever happened to the real Clair?

Wikipedia: Clair (song)

Wikipedia: Gilbert O’Sullivan

Album Cover Assortment #1

Among my many loves is music, and I am extremely eclectic and wide-ranging in my tastes, though I tend towards avant garde pop and rock, especially the dark and haunting varieties.  Anyway, I encounter a wide range of fascinating album covers as I seek out new music, many of which fit the theme of this blog.  Rather than do them mostly as single-image posts as I tended to on the old Pigtails site, because of the large quantity of them (with more being discovered almost daily) I encounter in my musical adventures across Spotify, I’ve decided to post them in groups.  There will generally be no particular thematic or stylistic groupings, just a random selection of covers I really like.  And so, here is the first batch.

(Note: unless otherwise specified, the artists, photographers and/or designers of these album covers should be assumed to be unidentified.)

This one is adorned with a cute photo of the singer herself as a bare-bottomed toddler.  Love those boots!

Karen Maria Schleifer – Yes, You Can Touch It (cover)

Random Axe – Random Axe (cover)

Thad Fiscella – Love Without Words (cover)

The Nixons – Foma (cover)

This next one was actually released under two different titles, both with the same artwork.  Here is one version, The Inmost Light.  The alternate title is All the Pretty Little Horses.

Current 93 – The Inmost Light (cover)

Jamie Barnes – The Fallen Acrobat (cover)

Pearl and the Beard – Prodigal Daughter (cover)

This is the cover for Erasure’s single release of “Love to Hate You,” my favorite Erasure song, in fact.

Erasure – Love to Hate You (cover)

I’ve seen the fnords!  No, not the band–Robert Anton Wilson would understand. 😉

Note: a reader of the blog has correctly identified the artist for this cover as John Kenn Mortensen, who just goes by John Kenn on his blog (highly recommended for fans of Edward Gorey, Charles Addams, etc.)  So a big thanks to that reader!

John Kenn Mortensen – The Fnords – Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Fnords (cover)

This cover is just absolutely enchanting:

D’aLan – Light of the Ice Fairies (cover)

Dolour – The Years in the Wilderness (cover)

Various Artists – My Old Man: A Tribute to Steve Goodman (cover)

Conrad Keely

In addition to being the lead singer of the excellent alt rock band …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Conrad Keely is also an amazing illustrator whose work has been used as the band’s album/promotional art (e.g. The Century of Self album cover and the jaw-dropping steampunk album cover and poster for Tao of the Dead (see also here)—the latter is actually relevant to this blog as it does contain a young girl in the image, and the former is tangential), but I don’t know if the image I’m posting is connected to any of the albums. It may be interior art for The Century of Self given the thematic and style similarities, but I really don’t know. I know one thing though: Keely needs a website devoted strictly to his art!


Conrad Keely – (Title Unknown)

Wikipedia: Conrad Keely

Bow Wow Wow

You may remember this British band from the 1980s.  Well, they were pretty much a one hit wonder, but oh, what a hit they had with I Want Candy.  What you may not know (and what makes that song’s lyrics so ironic) is that the band’s vocalist, Annabella Lwin, was only fourteen years old when she joined the band in 1980.  Bow Wow Wow may not have been a brilliant musical act, but they had their day in the sun and with no shortage of controversy, given the singer’s youth.  Thus, when the fourteen year old Lwin—who certainly looked much older than her years—posed nude for the cover art for the band’s first LP See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy (the image was a parody of Édouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, which was itself controversial in its own day), Lwin’s mother flipped her lid and alleged sexual exploitation, resulting in a full-blown investigation by Scotland Yard.  As a result the cover was scrapped in the U.S. and England, though it did appear in many European countries where the album was released.  No big surprise there.  Even so, the image reappeared on the cover of the band’s EP The Last of the Mohicans a year later and went out without a problem.  In fact,The Last of the Mohicans turned out to be the band’s best-selling album stateside.  And Bow Wow Wow’s sexually provocative cover art featuring the gorgeous Ms. Lwin didn’t stop there.  Not only did this not hurt the band’s sales, in all likelihood it probably helped.  Nevertheless, Lwin was ousted from the band a couple years later, owing, I expect, to all sorts of complications and burdens put on the band by having an underage singer.


Bow Wow Wow – See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy (front cover)

Bow Wow Wow – See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy (front cover) (detail)

Bow Wow Wow – See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy (front cover) (detail)

Bow Wow Wow – See Jungle! See Jungle! (2-disc remaster – back cover)

Bow Wow Wow – See Jungle! See Jungle! (2-disc remaster – back cover)

Bow Wow Wow – The Last of the Mohicans (front cover)

Bow Wow Wow – The Last of the Mohicans (front cover)

Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy (single) (front cover) (1)

Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy (single) (front cover) (1)

Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy (single) (front cover) (2)

Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy (single) (front cover) (2)

Bow Wow Wow – Teenage Queen (single) (front cover)

Bow Wow Wow – Teenage Queen (single) (front cover)

Bow Wow Wow – Teenage Queen (Japanese single) (front cover)

Bow Wow Wow – Teenage Queen (Japanese single) (front cover)

Photographer Unknown – Annabella Lwin (1982)

Photographer Unknown – Annabella Lwin (1982)

Wikipedia: Bow Wow Wow

Annabella Lwin (Official Site)