While design agency Hipgnosis are best remembered as the creators of most of the iconic album covers of the 1970s and early 1980s – for everyone from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to The Scorpions and 10CC – they also spent a few years working on fledgling British softcore porn magazine Club International. Launched in 1972 by the Paul Raymond organisation, Club International was – like many a girly magazine of the time – decidedly aspirational. You really could buy these magazines for the articles. Club, under the editorship of Tony Power, gathered together the best writers and creatives around, and Hipgnosis were charged with creating several photo spreads and illustrations for the magazine. Some of this imagery would later be reworked as ideas for album covers.
Club International is still going, but like most soft porn magazines, it’s shadow of its former self, all subtlety and artistry thrown to the winds of naked commerce. Yet I can’t be the only person who thinks that, in the face of relentless, free internet porn, the future for girly magazines would be a lot brighter if they stopped trying to compete on what will always be an uneven playing field, and instead once again made an attempt to be upmarket, both in design and content.
Images mostly lifted from the essential http://www.hipgnosiscovers.com/, where you’ll find huge amounts of classic (and obscure) Hipgnosis album sleeves and more.