Episode 17 – Bill Smith

In this episode of Art on your sleeve, I speak with graphic designer and art director, Bill Smith. Since the 1970s, Bill has been one of the busiest designers servicing the music industry and he’s worked on so many record sleeves that a book has been published celebrating his amazing portfolio. In the introduction to the show I read from the back cover of the book – a succinct summary of a life’s work…

“Bill Smith and his studio have been designing record covers since 1976. In those five decades they have worked with over 200 bands and artists, creating hundreds of album covers, singles bags, and CD covers. Bill Smith Studio worked with some of the world’s best photographers, illustrators and painters on covers for among others; The Jam, The Cure, Kate Bush, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, King Crimson and Mike Oldfield.”

With such a massive portfolio of work, it’s a challenge to cover all bases in a one-hour podcast but we cover plenty of ground and I’m thankful to Bill for his honest insights about the creative process and key artists he’s worked with, including: The Jam, Toyah, The Cure, Genesis, Thomas Dolby, Queen, Kate Bush, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Alison Moyet.

This episode is an audio supplement to a Pop Art feature I wrote for Classic Pop magazine, issue 50, published in March 2019. This issue of the magazine is now out of print but it is available to purchase in digital format from: https://pocketmags.com/classic-pop-magazine/march-2019-the-specials


The book, Bill Smith Studio – Cover Stories – 5 decades of album art is published in May 2021 by Red Planet Books and is available in hardback at this link: www.redplanetmusicbooks.com/collections/full-catalogue/products/cover-stories

Instagram: @coverstories_thebook

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