Damien Hirst Beats Beatles In Peter Blake Album Redesign

Peter Blake

Artists Dominate Peter Blakes Redesign Of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album Sleeve

The album cover for the Beatles’ album ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ is one pop culture’s most iconic images. It was co-designed by Sir Peter Blake in 1967; and now, in celebration of his 80th birthday, Blake has created an updated version for 2012, replacing the images of 1960s glitterati with some of the best know faces of the moment.  While the first design featured the Beatles (obviously), Bob Dylan, Mae West, Sir Robert Peel, Simon Rodia, and a number of Hindu gurus, the new design features Blake’s ‘Family, Friends and Icons’, including David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin, Eric Clapton, Alexander McQueen, Amy Winehouse, JK Rowling, and Noel Gallagher. Only Paul McCartney of the original design remains, and Blake has placed himself in the mix, flanked by his wife and daughters.

But now the design is the subject of controversy abject failure to feature black celebrities. Fair enough if this is ‘Friends and Family’ alone, but, famous though he is, Blake presumably is bezzies with all the featured superstars. And so to make an almost-exclusively white list of ‘icons’ in the present day cultural melting pot sticks out like a sore thumb. Interestingly enough, Blake’s co-designer Jann Haworth has voiced regret for similar omission on the original design – a marked lack of women, with only five out of the 61 people featured on the cover.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. It was a worldwide critical and commercial success, spending a total of 27 weeks at the top of the UK Album Chart and 15 weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200. A defining album in the emerging psychedelic rock style, the album was critically acclaimed upon release and won four Grammy Awards in 1968. In 1994 it was ranked number one in the book All Time Top 1000 Albums. In 2003, the album was placed at number one on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of ‘The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time’. Sgt. Pepper is one of the world’s best selling albums, having shipped 32 million copies.


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