Bring back some good or bad memories


March 29, 2023

Amazing Outtakes From the Photo Session for the Cover of David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory” in 1971

Photographed by Brian Ward, Bowie’s classic 1971 Hunky Dory album cover was a colorized version of the black and white photograph below.

In the early 1970s, illustrator Terry Pastor was asked by Bowie’s childhood friend and fellow artist George Underwood to do the artwork for the album cover. According to Terry, it wasn’t George’s style – “He was also an illustrator and David asked him to do the Hunky Dory cover, but he didn’t really use an airbrush or do that sort of work so he passed it onto me.” Both George and Terry shared a design studio in Catherine Street, Covent Garden, London operating under the name Main Artery.

Terry reddened the musician’s lips, made his hair yellower and added some eye-shadowing, “although I didn’t want to go over the top and make it overtly androgynous, because at the time Bowie wasn’t really projecting that image yet”.

According to biographer Nicholas Pegg, Bowie’s decision to use a re-colored photo suggests a hand-tinted lobby-card from the days of the silent cinema and, simultaneously, Warhol’s famous Marilyn Diptych screen-prints. The Hunky Dory cover art was influenced by a Marlene Dietrich photo book that Bowie took with him to the shoot.

Although Bowie normally waited to name his albums until the last possible moment, the title “Hunky Dory” was announced at the John Peel session. Bob Grace got the idea from an Esher pub landlord. He told Peter and Leni Gillman, the authors of Alias David Bowie, that the landlord had an unusual vocabulary that was infused with “upper-crust jargon” such as “prang” and “whizzo” and “everything's hunky-dory.” Grace told Bowie, who loved it.

The original UK cover featured Bowie’s name and the album title; in the US the title was instead printed on a sticker and placed onto the translucent wrapping. According to Cann, initial UK pressings were laminated, which enhanced the color to create a “superior finish”; these pressings are now collector’s items.

The back cover featured Bowie’s handwritten notes about each song from the album.] It also bore the credit “Produced by Ken Scott (assisted by the actor)” – the “actor” being Bowie himself, whose “pet conceit,” in the words of NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray, was “to think of himself as an actor.”


Post a Comment



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10