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Stuart Baker's top seven punk record sleeves

A new book published by Soul Jazz records, 'Punk 45', explores the art of the ’70s punk single. We asked its editor to pick his favourites


'Lovers of Today' – The Only Ones

‘This is the debut single by The Only Ones. My only real comment would be: “What the fuck is that guy wearing?” Fortunately this sleeve didn’t start a trend for fishnet onesies.’


'Kill the Hippies' – The Deadbeats

‘Los Angeles punk released on Dangerhouse. Dangerhouse rule for exciting, vibrant, eye catching and different sleeve designs.’


'Bunch of Fives' – The Flys

‘Possibly my favourite ever sleeve and label. I love the printing on paper sleeve, and the innocence of the band walking along the street (complete with skinny tie). In the 1990s, Soul Jazz Records started releasing music by new bands, one of which was called Scott 4. We based the sleeve of their first album on this sleeve. (‘Based’ means ‘copied’, essentially!)’


'East Sheen' – O Level

‘Lo-fi starts here! This sleeve is perhaps the ultimate in lo-fi DIY art: a drawing on white paper. O Level are name dropped in the TV Personalities’ ‘Part Time Punks’ single, and this song has the best sarcastic snarl since Johnny Rotten - and all about the suburban abyss that is East Sheen.


'Hillside Strangler!' – The Hollywood Squares

‘Square Records with a round hole. I love the extremely minimal, type-on-paper sleeve. The Hillside Strangler was an unknown serial killer in Los Angeles – one of the victims was in the punk scene. Murderers were a relatively common theme in punk: Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’, Chain Gang’s ‘Son of Sam’, The Adverts’ ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes…’


'Being Boiled' – The Human League

‘Released in June ’78, this iconic sleeve showed how ‘other’ punk could be. It was a perfect match to the song inside, which had strange and somewhat illogical lyrics about anti-silk farming and Buddha, combined with synthesizers, drum machines and no guitars. Punk would never be the same again.’


'A Factory Sample' – Joy Division, The Durutti Column, John Dowie and Cabaret Voltaire

‘This is Jon Savage’s copy of the iconic first release on Factory Records. It was also Peter Saville’s first sleeve for Factory. Once again: punk would never be the same again.’


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