Island Records ILPS 9103 August 1969 CD Chrysalis 7243 5 35458 2 6
The iconic image on this album is a wood engraving by american artist James Grashow. Just out of school when he got the commision from Jethro Tull’s manager Terry Ellis. A friend of his had introduced him to Ellis. Upon seeing his work he was offered the job of designing the album sleeve.
Grashow was taken to see the band in concert to give him a feel of what they were about, the gig obviously have him plenty of ideas. Soon after the gig work began on the sleeve and Terry Ellis suggested that a pop up element sould be incorporated into the inner gatefold. James Grashow worked on three individual pieces for the sleeve and took one month to complete the work The majority of the time was spent on the front cover engraving which portrayed the band sitting down rather than standing up.
A mistake was made while working on the front cover but went un-noticed until it was too late Ian Anderson had been given a fifth finger.
*Grashow told Classic Rock – PROG Magazine. ”Because it was of all of the band, I had to make the representations as realistic as possible. That took time, but the band loved what i had did and made no changes were made.” Classic Rock presents Prog No 13 January 2011
Both the front and back of the cover were wood engravings and the pop up element in the gatefold was a wood carving with photographs of the band members faces. The album went to No1 in the charts and the cover was given (quite deservingly) the accolade of being voted Album sleeve design of the year in the New Musical Express 1969 readers poll. The original gatefold pop up vinyl Island album is a much sought after collectors item, its not hard to see why !
One of my top 5 sleeve designs of all time and one of the first dare I say it, novelty sleeves, but amazing nevertheless. John August 2011