Guy Peellaert, 1934–2008


Diamond Dogs (1974).

Many people know this classic album sleeve even if they don’t recognise the name of the Belgian artist who painted it. Guy Peellaert died this week and this is easily his most famous picture. I remember being very struck by its appearance in the local record shop window which always displayed gatefold album sleeves opened out as above. By then the notorious dog’s genitals would have been removed from the picture to protect the delicate sensibilities of Bowie’s listeners; the copy here is from a later CD reissue.


Taxi Driver (1976).

Peellaert’s work was very visible in the 1970s, especially his book of rock star portraits, Rock Dreams, a ubiquitous pop culture item along with Roger Dean’s Views and Alan Aldridge’s psychedelic whimsy. I always liked the Bowie cover, it hinted at weirder music than the rather mundane post-Velvets/Mott the Hoople rock which the album contained, but much of the work in Rock Dreams seemed garish and awkward. Far more successful was Peellaert’s painting for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, undoubtedly commissioned on the strength of his earlier work but superior to nearly everything in his book.

Peellaert’s official site has several galleries of his paintings.

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The album covers archive
The illustrators archive