Sunday, August 22, 2010

The charisma of a forty-year-old piece of window dressing

This large piece of hardboard is a reminder of just how important record sleeve art once was. This was put in the window of the old HMV shop in Oxford Street in 1973 to mark the release of "Burnin'", the second Island album by Bob Marley and The Wailers. My old friend and colleague Steve Wright rescued it when the display period was over and it took pride of place in various hippified pads in north London. It used to look down on Saturday nights as we returned from the pub to sit round smoking and listening to the new John Martyn album. Anyway Steve moved to Australia and ten years ago when he died a friend and I had the job of sorting out the stuff he'd left in Holloway. We found the Wailers hardboard and, rather than see it on a skip, I took it home. It did stints in the office and at university halls of residence. It has holes in the corner where a cord has been threaded to hang it from a picture rail. It's still in one piece after nearly forty years. Son wants to keep it and is therefore going to get it framed, which seems the most sensible way to ensure its survival. Odd the things that survive.


  1. That is lovely. This is not as old but I've kept this piece of pop advertising for quite a while too. It's an edwyn collins "poem on the tube spoof" I got at a concert. Not sure if they ever put them up on the tube but it looks good on the wall.

  2. I used to work for Steve Wright in HMV many years ago, rolling out the TRACK stock control system that is still used to this day. A really nice guy and a pleasure to work for, his death came as a great shock, even though I hadn't seen him for some years. It's nice to get this glimpse into a part of his past!

  3. Ah, a thing of beauty. Tell your son if he tires of it there's a home waiting here.

  4. Hi,

    I am the photographer of that image of Bob in profile. An amazing find. I am in London and it would be great looking at it. Great. Thanks for posting it.

    Esther Anderson