sábado, 12 de diciembre de 2015

Fairport Convention - Unhalfbriking (1969) – Tea time.

Fairport Convention
Eric Hayes
Sleeve Design
Diogenic Attempts LTD
Record Company
Island Records, 1969

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Island Records - ILPS 9102) - Front cover

Fairport Convention’s Unhalfbricking (Island Records - ILPS 9102), the second of three albums the folk rock group released in 1969 (and third overall) was recorded between January and April 1969 at Sound Techniques and Olympic Studios, London and was released on July 3, 1969, in UK[1].

The album has been described as transitional, the one in which the group shed its closest ties to its American folk-rock influences and started to edge toward a more traditional British folk-slanted sound[2]. The album contains what is often considered the official beginning of the English Folk-Rock movement, the classic 11-minute rendering of the traditional tune A Sailor's Life[3]. The record features for the first time Dave Swarbrick's fiddle-playing, who was later invited to join as a full-time member for the follow-up, Liege & Lief.

The front sleeve design for the UK release featured neither album title nor band name. It was the style of Island Records’ releases at the time for their acts name and album title not to appear on their sleeves, choosing instead just their logo and catalogue number. Up until the late Sixties, where there was a picture cover, it would normally have featured a portrait of the musicians, the acts name and album title positioned quite prominently. But then something of a revolution began to take place and, thanks to the likes of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, more creative ideas ideas started to appear[4]. The photo, by photographer Eric Hayes, captured Fairport’s singer Sandy Denny's parents (Neil and Edna) standing outside the family home with the band taking tea distantly visible through the garden fence[1]. The misty church spire in the distance underlines the image's assertion that this is rock music unlike any other, rock music from a different lineage[5].

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Island Records - ILPS 9102) - Backcover

The back cover photo, also by Hayes, reveals Fairport gathered more intimately around a large, friendly table as they dig into a simple but nourishing feast. The decidedly un-glamourous and very domestic shot corresponds nicely with Fairport Convention's attempts to reconcile the past with the present by gently blending traditional folk music with contemporary rock instrumentation[3].

Although the album gave the band their first UK chart success (reaching number 12 in the UK album chart and "Si tu dois partir" single achieved number 21 in the UK singles chart[1]), the release of Unhalfbricking would be sullied by tragedy. On 12 May 1969[6], two months before the album was released, drummer Martin Lamble and guitarist Richard Thompson's girlfriend, Jeannie Franklyn, were killed in a car crash as the band were returning from a concert in Birmingham. Fairport's van crashed on the M1 motorway, near Scratchwood Services, on the way home from a gig at Mothers. Lamble was 19[7].

Martin Lamble – photo (unknown)

Simon Nicol later said:

“That was a big watershed, I think. In the aftermath, we thought a lot about what to do, whether to call it a day. It had been fun while it lasted but it took a definite effort of will to continue. It had given us a lot but now it had taken away a lot: was it worth it if it was going to cost people their lives? Martin was only 18 or 19 years old. He would have gone on to have been so much more than just another drummer, another musician: there was something very special about him”[1]

The band’s manager at the time, Joe Boyd, recalls:

“That cover shot was taken in early spring, right before the crash, I think”[4]

Ashley Hutchings also said in relation to the album cover photograph:

“My memory of it is bound up with the terrible car crash. On the back cover we're all eating around a table. The shirt and the leather waistcoat I'm wearing are what I had on when the crash happened. I can clearly remember them being bloodstained. You don't forget things like that“[8]

Album title

The title arose from the word-game, "Ghost", played by the band while travelling to and from gigs. Its object was to "avoid completing a real word", and "Unhalfbricking" was Sandy Denny's creation.[9]

Ghost is a spoken word game in which players take turns adding letters to a growing word fragment, trying not to be the one to complete a valid word. Each fragment must be the beginning of an actual word, and usually some minimum is set on the length of a word that counts, such as three or four letters. The player who completes a word loses the round and earns a "letter" (as in the basketball game horse), with players being eliminated when they have been given all five letters of the word "ghost".

Ghost can be played by two or more players of any age and requires no equipment, although it can be played with pencil and paper instead of being spoken aloud.[10]


The house shown on the album cover was Sandy Denny’s parents' place at the time (9B Arthur Road, SW19, Wimbledon, south London)[5]. St Mary's Church, Wimbledon, can be seen in the background[1]. St Mary's Church is a Church of England church and is part of the Parish of Wimblendon, south-west London, England. It has existed since the 12th century and may be the church recorded in the Domesday Book in the Mortlake Hundred. It is still in active use today.[11]

St Mary's Church – photo (unknown) 

Diogenic Attempts LTD

Diogenic Attempts LTD were responsible of the design of the sleeve. This wasn’t the first nor the last time that they worked with Fairport Convention, as they also designed the sleeves of What We Did On Our Holiday (Island Records ‎– ILPS 9092) and Liege & Lief (Island Records ‎– ILPS 9115). During the late sixties and early seventies Diogenic Attempts LTD designed album covers for several folk and rock acts such as Nick Drake (Five Leaves Left – Island Records ‎– ILPS 9105) and The Pentangle (Basket Of Light– Transatlantic Records ‎– TRA 205) among many others. For a wider list of their designs go to:

Eric Hayes, a 23-year-old canadian photographer, spent a year and a half in London, England, backstage and in recording studios, documenting the lives and performances of musicians who have become some of the biggest names in Rock & Roll[12]. He was chosen by the band to shoot the cover for the album. He liked what Fairport’s were doing and they were fans of his work for other musicians.

Eric Hayes in 1969. Photo (unknown) – 
Source http://www.erichayes.ca/

"I was their photographer and I did the album cover for Unhalfbricking. I was quite proud of that." - recalls Eric[13].

The shoot took place at Sandy Denny’s parents house in Wimbledon on a Sunday afternoon. More close-up shots of the band were taken but few of them had surfaced since then. The reason that the sleeve for Unhalfbricking works is because the band aren’t the main focus of the photograph; in fact they are only just visible through the trellis. After the shoot, the band were treated to a fry-up which was also photographed by Hayes and used for the back of the sleeve.[4]

A picture of the band taken during the Unhalfbricking cover photoshoot - Photo Eric Hayes

A picture of Sandy Denny taken during the 
Unhalfbricking cover photoshoot - Photo Eric Hayes

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. For more cover variations go to: 


Country: US
Label: A&M Records ‎– SP 4206

Unhalfbricking's cover in the US, released by A&M Records, consisted of a picture of circus elephants with a small inset image of the band taken by Eric Hayes during the same photoshoot of the UK cover. Some sources claim that "the group apparently so upset their American label that they replaced it with an image of trampolining elephants"[14] but it was quite common for labels to be redesigned for the American release.

The cover was done by Tom Wilkes, A&M Records art director, whose credits include “The Flying Burrito Bros ‎– The Gilded Palace Of Sin” (A&M Records ‎– SP-4175) and “George Harrison ‎– All Things Must Pass” (Apple Records ‎– STCH 639) among many others.

Tom Wilkes. Photo (unknown) – 
Source http://www.discogs.com/

For more info about Tom Wilkes go to:

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (A&M Records ‎– SP 4206) - Front cover

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (A&M Records ‎– SP 4206) - Backcover


Country: Italy
Year: 1980
Label: Island Records ‎– ORL 8374

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Island Records ‎– ORL 8374) - Front cover

Country: Italy
Year: 1986
Label: Island Records ‎– ORL 19102

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Island Records ‎– ORL 19102) - Front cover

 Country: Italy
Year: Unknown
Label: Island Records ‎– Slir-il 22.037

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Island Records ‎– Slir-il 22.037) - Front cover

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Island Records ‎– Slir-il 22.037) - Back cover


Country: Australia
Year: 1982
Label: Festival Records ‎– L-33512, Island Records ‎– L-33512

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Festival Records ‎– L-33512, Island Records ‎– L-33512) - Front cover

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbriking (Festival Records ‎– L-33512, Island Records ‎– L-33512) - Backcover

Official Fairport Convention website

Official Eric Hayes website

1. Unhalfbricking.  http://en.wikipedia.org/. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unhalfbricking. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
2. AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger http://www.allmusic.com/album/unhalfbricking-mw0000650131 Retrieved 12 December 2015.
3.  England's 1969 Rock World Comes Alive At Photo Show. Ron Foley Macdonald http://www.erichayes.ca/press/260303.html Retrieved 12 December 2015.

4. Great album covers #5: unhalfbricking. July 12, 2012.

 http://simplymarvellousmusic.com/441/ Retrieved 12 December 2015.

5. Sandy Denny List, Frequently Asked Questions - Unhalfbricking Album Cover

6. Martin Lamble - Artist Biography by Richie Unterberger

7. This Day in Music Spotlight: The Highway Wreck that Killed Fairport Convention’s Drummer. Andrew Vaughan. 05.25.2011
8. Unhalfbricking, Fairport Convention. The Observer. Sunday 20 June 2004. John Harris
9. Playing Games. David Greenberger.
10. Ghost (game).  http://en.wikipedia.org/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_%28game%29  Retrieved 12 December 2015.
11. St Mary’s Church, Wimblendon.
12. Eric Hayes. Photographer. http://www.erichayes.ca/ Retrieved 12 December 2015.
13. Shooting stars. By Stacey Colwell http://www.erichayes.ca/press/050303.html Retrieved 12 December 2015.

14. Pavement to penthouse. Frieze Issue 68 June-August 2002.  Aubrey Powell.

martes, 20 de octubre de 2015

Blondie – Parallel Lines (1978) – Blondie is a group

Parallel Lines
Art Direction & Design
Ramey Communication
Frank Duarte
Jerry Rodriguez
Record Company
Chrysalis , 1978


Front cover

Blondie’s third album, Parallel Lines, was released in September 1978. Produced by British songwriter turned producer Mike Chapman (responsible for a string of hits for artist such as Sweet or Suzy Quatro), the record became the group’s most commercially successful album making them worldwide stars.

The cover is a slick and rather simple design, it’s just black and white parallel lines with the band in front. A confrontational Debbie Harry in a white dress standing out in front of the smiling boys of the band dressed in black suits. The band logo and album name in red. It’s just that.

Despite its simplicity (or precisely because of it) the cover was an instant success and has become iconic. Sometimes less is more and the cover has stood the test of time as it’s still wildly popular in its simplicity.

The cover caused some controversy among the fans and within the band itself.


On the backcover, more parallel lines and another photo of the group form the same photoshoot. On the lower side there are pictures of the shoes of each member of the group. Notice that Debbie Harry is changing her outfit for another more appropriate and Clem Burke is wearing Converse sneakers with different color in each foot. Also with Converse sneakers, Nigel Harrison is wearing a nice pair of Mr. Spock socks.

Inner jacket – Side one

Inner jacket – Side two

In the liner notes in the inner jacket, there are lyrics listed for a "Parallel Lines" song, though no such song exists on the album. The lyrics for the song, written by Debbie Harry, are:

The lines I have written that you read between
The lines on the pages
The lines on the screen
Of lines spoken - I say what I mean.
It's parallel lines that will never meet

Ship in the desert
Ships in the night
Ships that pass in the night

Evangeline stream - Evangeline's dream,
It's parallel lines that will never meet.

The sleeve’s concept was the band’s manager Peter Leeds’ idea and although Parallel Lines is now viewed as an iconic album cover, for the band it’s a symbol of manipulation.
“I don’t think it’s a great design, personally” says Harry. [1]

Debbie Harry with manager Peter Leeds in 1978. Photo by Chris Gabrin. Source http://www.gettyimages.es/

Apparently the band were sold on the idea that they would fade in and out of the stripes, which was the one element they liked. The facial expressions – Harry’s sexy as hell scowl contrasted with the guys’ goofy grins – were also Leeds’ idea. According to Harry, he tricked them into pulling the expressions once and then proceeded to make the cover without showing them. [2]

 “Everyone just flipped out” Harry said “We were shocked that the artwork had been completed without our approval and that the decision had been made without the band.” [1]
“We were all pissed about how we were smiling in the cover photo” says Chris Stein “We picked out the shots that we liked but our manager picked the one shot he liked and went with that. Everyone was annoyed because we wanted to look more rock & roll”. [3]

In 1979 the band decided to part ways with Leeds who was replaced by Shep Gordon, Alice Copper’s manager.

 “I was not fond of Peter” says Harry “He told the boys that they could all be replaced, I was the only important one.” [1]
Debbie Harry often eclipsed the rest of the band and the people were having trouble realizing the fact that Blondie was not just one person, as the name suggests. That wasn’t the way Harry or the band wanted it to be and was increasingly becoming a problem and the cover did not help their cause. So by 1979 the band felt the need to start a “Blondie is a Group” button campaign.

Blondie is a Group button

At the time photographer Roberta Bayley was employed by Blondie and she hired Edo Bertoglio for the shoot. Roberta Bayley was one of the “official” photographers of the New York punk scene, she made the cover photograph for The Ramones first album and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers' album LAMF. Roberta took some photos of Debbie Harry and the band before the session begun at Edo's studio.

“For the cover of ‘Parallel Lines’,” Roberta recalls “I enlisted the coolest downtown photographer I knew, Edo Bertoglio. His French girlfriend, the divine Maripol, was the stylist. She tried to get Debbie to go for a mini look on the shoot, but failed”. [4]

Left: Debbie Harry with Roberta Bayley (1980 – Photo: Bobby Grossman) –Right: Edo Bertoglio (Photo: unknown)

Edo Bertoglio (born 1951 in Lugano, Switzerland) was a photographer and filmmaker (Face addict, Downtown 81) who was a satellite of the Andy Warhol scene in New York in the 1970s and 80s. He took photos for magazines as well as album covers, completing many assignments for Atlantic, Arista, and Warner Brothers Records, Blondie's Parallel Lines being his most well known work.

 Photo by Roberta Bayley - Source http://www.gettyimages.es/

Photo by Roberta Bayley - Source http://www.gettyimages.es/

 Photo by Roberta Bayley - Source http://www.gettyimages.es/

Photo by Roberta Bayley - Source http://www.gettyimages.es/

Michael Ochs Archives- Source http://www.gettyimages.es/

 Chrysalis Advertising - Photo by ? – Source: http://www.poprockposters.com/index.php/DECADES/1970s/1970s-0820

 Chrysalis Advertising - Photo by ?


The dress
“Stephen Sprouse designed the dress and most of Debbie’s stage clothes” recalls Roberta Bayley[5]

 “I got a lot of shit for that dress”, says Debbie Harry, re-examining herself on the cover of Blondie’s 1978 album Parallel Lines through a pair lorgenettes on a string round her neck. Back in the day, the badger hair, hard faced stare and fists-on-hips confrontational stance were all deemed just punk enough. The strappy, below-knee white dress, however, was not. “In the UK, especially, the dress created two camps,” remembers Harry. “People who wanted to fuck me. And the ones who wanted to kill me for not being punk enough.” [6]

The shoes

The shoes worn by Debbie Harry on the cover are a pair of Genie by Polly of California[7]. She got her shoes in a little place in Manhattan, New York, called Paradise Bootery[8]. This is the shoe that appears on the feet of a bikini-clad Marilyn Monroe in the wardrobe tests for her last, never-completed film, ''Something's Got to Give.'' [7]

Genie by Polly of California. Source photo:  http://www.polly-of-california.com/


Illustrator Frank Duarte is also credited for the illustration of the cover of Jethro Tull’s “Repeat: The Best of Jethro Tull, Vol. 2” (1977).

Art Direction & Design

Ramey Communication were also responsible for the Art Direction and Design of the cover of the second Blondie's album, “Plastic Letters” (1977).

There are some variations of the Parallel Lines cover artwork. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.

Here it is the Parallel Lines 12"Picture Disc (catalogue number PCDL 1192)

Front cover jacket

Back cover jacket

Side One - Photo by Martyn Goddard

Side Two – Photo by Edo

The 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Parallel Lines was released with a different cover.

Front cover - Goodbye parallel lines

Blondie has used the black and white parallel lines on several other releases’ covers and promo material. Here are some examples.

Hanging on the telephone 7” single cover (1978)

Front cover

Also in the Hanging on the telephone promo video (1978)

Blondie-The_Platinum_Collection (1994) – UK Edition

Front cover

Back cover

Back of the booklet

Even more parallel lines: Blondie - Singles Box (2004) : Booklet front cover

Front cover

The Parallel Lines must be one of the most recreated covers ever. Here are some examples.

"In another stunning picture, the band re-create Blondie's classic Parallel Lines album cover--with Damon [Albarn] transforming himself into Debbie Harry”… "...Damon ditched his bowlcut for a blonde wig, silk white dress and high heels to look like Debbie Harry shortly before Blur shot to stardom."[9] 

Photo by Kevin Cummins (1991) - Source http://www.gettyimages.es/

Big Bang Theory cast on The Daily Edit – Wednesday 10.17.12

 the The Daily Edit – Wednesday 10.17.12

The Brazilian rock band Bidê ou Balde on the MTV magazine.
Bidê ou Balde

 The cover recreated by fans (or those sold as such by publicists) of  Disney XD’s teen sitcom "I’m In The Band"

I’m In The Band

Garbage - Why do you love me promo video

Garbage - Why do you love me promo video screenshots

There’s even a Parallel Lines Converse All Star shoes.


Official Blondie website
Interesting article about the Parallel Lines album recording.

1. Harrison, Andrew; Saville, Peter (2001), Q magazine Special Issue - The 100 Best Record Covers Of All Time.
3. Blondie - Parallel Lines - 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition CD Liner notes.
6. Q Magazine (June 2011)  Words: Michael Odell http://www.deborah-harry.com/press/qmag.phpRetrieved 06 May 2012.
7. Polly, The Talking Mule, By Mim Udovitch, Published: August 17, 2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/17/magazine/polly-the-talking-mule.html   Retrieved 20 October 2015.
8. http://enchantedvintageclothing.com/pollys/    Retrieved 20 October 2015.
9. Stuart Maconie, 3862 Days: The Official History of Blur (London: Virgin, 1999) (Dingwall, 9 July 1999, 56)