Great Album Covers #6: Goodbye Jumbo

July 12, 2012. No comments.

(originally posted 29th April 2011)

World Party's Goodbye Jumbo

World Party – Goodbye Jumbo

Ensign, 1990
Design by Karl Wallinger & Michael Nash Associates
Photography by Steve Wallace

Elephant Ears by Edward Durdey.

Listening to World Party’s 1990 classic, Goodbye Jumbo, it’s obvious that the band’s leader, Karl Wallinger, was going through the most Beatles inspired period of his career. It’s fitting then that the cover of the album seems to take some inspiration from Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band while the inner sleeve features a very deliberate pastiche of the poster from “The White Album” created by pop-artist, Richard Hamilton. In fact the main inspiration for the concept behind the artwork came from a photograph of Tim Buckley.

The theme behind many of the songs on Goodbye Jumbo was the environment. Wallinger was one of the first musicians to campaign on behalf of Green politics and Friends Of The Earth before the turn of the millenium saw many more acts jumping on the eco bandwagon.

Wallinger said that idea behind the artowrk came to him during a brainstorming session with him and design agency Michael Nash Associates:

“I’d been looking at the cover of Tim Buckley’s Greetings From LA. The front cover is a postcard shot of Los Angeles shrouded in a veil of thick brown smog and on the back is a photo of Tim Buckley wearing a gas mask. He was making a point, and I saw a way of playing with the idea and making the gas mask an elephant’s trunk. It’s also a symbol of Green politics because we’re all aware of the environment. And on the cover, because I’ve got the mask on, I’m in danger.”

Tim Buckley with the gas mask

The gas mask makes for an effective trunk but the most striking feature of the photograph is the elephants ears made by artist Edward Durdey out of plaster of Paris and which were built on a stand into which Wallinger had to fit for the final shoot. Durdey was artist in residence at the Woburn Abbey estate on which Wallinger had rented The Old Rectory for the recording of the album.

Framing the main picture is a collage of images that represent the music, the man behind it as well as a collection of corporate junk in which we are all drowning that had been cut from Innovations catalogues among other sources. Some of the corporate items had to be replaced later and the cover reprinted.

“The cover is like a chocolate box. You want to pick all the things up and play with them, taste everything”, said Wallinger and I have to agree that it might be fun to be able to play around with the items in the collage, jumble things about a bit. But what I’d really like to do is to make the band’s name stand out a little bit more – I’ve always felt that being printed on the gold stars it doesn’t stand out quite enough. Otherwise I do love this album cover though it definitely work better as a 12″ rather than 12cm square.

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