MC Escher album covers


L The P (1969) by Scaffold. Art: Ascending and Descending (1960).

A follow-up to yesterday’s post. MC Escher lived long enough to see his work move from curiosities appealing to a small circle of print collectors, through enthusiasm among scientists and mathematicians, to mass acceptance in the late 1960s thanks, in part, to the general vogue for any art that looked weird or far out. New Worlds magazine used Relativity on a cover in 1967, while Thomas Albright writing for Rolling Stone in 1970 introduced a generation of American heads to Escher’s work. A year earlier, another Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger, had tried to persuade Escher to create something for the cover of Let It Bleed; the artist declined but that didn’t stop others using his prints for cover art.


Mott The Hoople (1969) by Mott The Hoople. Art: Reptiles (1943).

Escher’s work is so well-suited to a vinyl sleeve that I’m surprised his lithographs and woodcuts haven’t seen more use. Liverpool group Scaffold beat Mott the Hoople to the first usage by a few months in 1969 (unless there’s an earlier example I don’t know about); L The P is a play on the Scaffold’s big hit, Lily The Pink. As is often the case with these music design histories, things start off well with sympathetic treatments of the artwork then degrade when hamfisted amateur designers take over. I can’t imagine Escher being flattered by some of the later examples. If you know of any others, good or bad, then please leave a comment.


In A Wild Sanctuary (1970) by Beaver and Krause. Art: Three Worlds (1955).


Puzzle (1970) by The Mandrake Memorial. A gatefold sleeve which opened out to reveal the whole of Escher’s House of Stairs I (1951). Inside the gatefold was Curl-up (1951). Design by Milton Glaser who also designed the group’s second album, Medium.

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