JacoBLOG readers know there are common blog post themes we occasionally come back to. Two “regulars” are Classic Rock and vinyl. And in today's post, it's a “Guest List” that combines both of these – with a special bonus: “Star Wars.”
That's right. We're talking tributes, parodies, homages to the classics. Musically, there's the pro circuit, featuring Weird Al and his amazing renditions of pop songs. And in radio, there was always those impeccable “Twisted Tunes,” courtesy of the brilliant Bob Rivers.
But parody album covers? That's a whole different thing.
And so when Seth Resler found London-based Steven Lear's brilliant work online, and circulated it throughout our company, the consensus was that his imagination and his art are literally out of this world.
Seth contacted Steven who was kind enough to open his soul and share his work with us. Today's “Guest List” tells us the inspiration behind his top five favorite album cover/”Star Wars” mash-ups. They're fun, clever, and very buzzworthy.
Album cover art is as foreign to today's teens as cassettes and 8-tracks. In fact, the album itself is becoming extinct as consumers shy away from owning and collecting music, in favor of building their preferred lists for a monthly subscription fee.
The record album was more than just a a dozen songs, arrayed in a certain order. Each Bob Dylan album represented a phase in a recording artist's history – in much the same way Picasso went through his various periods on canvas. Steven Lear has captured that spirit with his mash-ups, all of which pay tribute to great albums as well as one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.
You can start thinking about other iconic album covers that could be blended with the many visuals, phrases, and names from the “Star Wars” films. Feel free to list them in our “comments” section, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.
May the fresco be with you. – FJ
More info on Steven Lear here. And information about how to purchase his work at the bottom of the post.
I’m a digital artist who is predominately known for my “Mash-Up Art” which usually consists of mixing famous album covers with movie characters and scenes. My most popular designs and the ones that have got me noticed are my “Star Wars” images.
I’m an obsessive film and music fan and my artwork generally reflects that. I worked several years as a record store manager so I was seeing daily the classic album covers that inspire most of my work. My love of “Star Wars” was cemented through my childhood, through repeat viewings of the original trilogy and playing with the Hasbro toys.
1. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here
One of the first “Star Wars” parody albums covers I did was Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” and it was the one that first made me think I was onto something. I think my art works best when the idea is simple and the imagery is quite subtle – when you may have to look at the image twice before noticing what is different.
I toyed with several different “Stars Wars” characters before ending up with Princess Leia giving the Death Star Plans to R2D2; it's an iconic moment in the first “Star Wars” film that’s visually quite striking. It's an album cover I’ve used several times in my work and will no doubt return to again.
2. Björk's Debut
My personal favourite of all the album covers I have done is the Björk “Debut” cover where I replaced the Icelandic songstress with the legendary Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. I’m not sure why this works so well, but I’m a huge fan of the original album art; it's completely iconic and simplistic and documents Björk at the very start of her career.
Many of her albums have replicated the image, going slightly more avant-garde in line with the type of music she’s playing at the time. The image of Leia is from a series of images Carrie did to promote the first film and shows her staring defiantly into the camera with the classic “hair buns” look and I think the mash-up between the two somehow works.
3. Massive Attack's Blue Lines
I avoid puns as a general rule as most “mash-up” art uses this approach and I find it quite jarring and, although good for a quick laugh, is often not particularly clever. People often suggest ideas to me and they are usually based on bad puns with little thought as to how the image would work as a whole. My ‘Massive ATAT’ is one of a few times I’ve worked from the title and been happy enough with the level of ‘punnery’ to base the image around. Again, the original album cover is iconic in its own right and one of the stone cold classics of the 90s that was suitably easy to adapt for my own use.
4. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours
Possibly the most popular of my album covers and the one that probably gets shared around the most is Fleetwood Macs ‘Rumours,’ replacing Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks with the characters of Han Solo and Princess Leia. The fiery relationship between the two musicians mirrors quite well the prickly love between the two Star Wars characters. From a Photoshop point of view this was incredibly difficult to make it look natural and I remember struggling for several days to replicate the font correctly. I often spend more time on the fonts than anything, as finding an exact match is very difficult and time-consuming and — annoyingly for me — the thing that people tend not to notice.
5. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
I’ve chosen the “Sgt. Pepper's” cover as it is, without doubt, the album cover that took me the longest amount of time to complete. After doing “Star Wars” covers for several months, I knew I had to tackle the most iconic album cover of all time at some point, and I decided one day to just get on with it.
Replacing John, Paul, George and Ringo with the “Star Wars” foursome of Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca just seemed like a natural fit, and then searching through the original trilogy’s array of characters and replacing them one by one on the original artwork was quite a task. It took me several weeks to perfect, but was something I was glad that I did.
Mark Hamill himself is a huge Beatles fan and he has shared this image on his Twitter feed, which made all the effort worthwhile. Despite the painstaking effort of a piece like that, I went back to “Sgt Pepper's” to do a Prequels version which, although I don’t have as much love for the characters, also turned out to be popular due to the next generation of “Star Wars” fans growing up with this new set of characters (Jar Jar Binks, et al.).
You can find more of Steven Lear's artwork — and even order prints or t-shirts — on his website, WhyTheLongPlayFace.com.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.