The retro-yet-modern album cover for Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ Get Happy!! LP was designed based on a photo of Elvis lying on a street grill.
The packaging for Elvis Costello’s Get Happy!! (1980) sleeve was designed by brilliant graphic artist Barney Bubbles, who had worked with Costello at Stiff and Radar previously, designing the iconic covers for My Aim is True and This Years Model. Barney did not receive a credit in line with his insistence on anonymity. The photo was taken on the group’s first US tour by Keith Morris, one of Britain’s great rock photographers, in 1979.
The cover of this galloping classic was designed to look like an old-school record from the classic soul period, complete with vinyl ring wear marks and mod imagery suggesting a 50s/60s vintage, knowingly filtered through a New Wave lens complete with decorative oblong shapes and fluorescent colours.
Declan MacManus was given the sobriquet Elvis Costello by Stiff Records’ supremo Jake Riviera in 1976 but Bubbles’ visual contribution to the early part of Costello’s career helped to calcify his spiky persona. So too is Bubbles’ visual stamp all over the early Costello catalogue, from the scuff marks pre-printed on Get Happy!!, the graphic tour de force that is Armed Forces, to referencing the visual stylings of Blue Note designer Reid Miles for Almost Blue.
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