Art Indie Rock Punk Visual

Controversial Album Art: Sonic Youth – Goo

Sonic Youth’s major-label debut Goo is a solid, respected Indie Rock album. Sonically, it continues the bands evolution from No Wave inspired noiseniks to the tunefully dissonant elder statesmen (& woman) of Alternative Rock.

The cover art, by artist Raymond Pettibon (famous for record art for underground artists like Black Flag & Minutemen), depicted a black & white, ink line drawing of “two sunglasses wearing British mods” (wikipedia). A caption read : “I stole my sister’s boyfriend. It was all whirlwind heat, and flash. Within a week we killed my parents and hit the road.” This image has become embedded in the cultural consciousness via T-shirts, posters etc. There are hosts of tributes to it featuring characters from other media.

What I wasn’t aware of until very recently though (I’m probably the last to know) was who the image depicted. The drawing was modelled on a newspaper image of two witnesses in the Moors Murders trials. The witnesses pictured were actually Moors Murderer Myra Hindleys Sister & Brother -in-Law, David & Maureen smith, whose statements to the police eventually led to the arrest & incarceration of Hindley & her fellow murder Ian Brady. It’s an interesting choice of subject. I find it ties into similar themes to artwork like Jamie Reid’s Sex Pistols sleeves or the détournement of Gang Of Four’s Entertainment! It’s designed to either shock the viewer or to instil feelings of vague discomfort.

Jamie Reed’s God Save The Queen artwork & Gang Of Four’s Entertainment!:

Other examples of Raymond Pettibon’s sleeves:

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