Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aloof's revolution

Andrew Aloof's Handsworth Revolution album cover for Steel Pulse
The album cover for Steel Pulse's seminal July 1978 Handsworth Revolution album was based on an original concept idea from two of the band's members, former art students David Hinds and Basil Gabbidon. However, the final artwork and illustration on the album, bought and seen by hundreds of thousands of fans over the years, was actually the handiwork of artist Andrew Aloof. He recalls, "Bloomfield-Travis were the design company that got me involved. I'd just finished my graphic design degree and was doing well for myself as a freelance illustrator, in fact I'd already had my own exhibition, mostly with portrait and figure work. To be honest, I've done tens of thousands of pieces of artwork ranging from the Sunday Times and Radio Times, to the Royal Ballet to an album cover for Status Quo (Whatever You Want, 1979). I did a few record covers but I'd never heard of Steel Pulse when I was asked to do the artwork. The designers gave me a creative direction and briefing based on something like urban regeneration or suchlike but it was so long ago that I can't really remember. I don't even have a copy of the illustration and I certainly didn't realize the band were still going. Strangely, lots of people have commented on that particular cover, more so than any other album sleeve I've designed. It was the 2nd or 3rd record cover I'd done."
I've always felt that the sleeve design was more akin to an apocalyptic scenario where a handful of young survivors are left to carry on whilst all around them is destruction and chaos. The picture has stayed with me for more than thirty years and is something I can recall as instantly as the timeless Steel Pulse logo that you can see in the top left-hand corner of the record cover.
Andrew Aloof's Staus Quo album cover for Whatever You Want

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