In order to commemorate the madness of September 11, 2001, The ARChive has placed in its window an album cover by Supertramp that depicts a New York still augmented by the World Trade Center twin towers. We’d also like to commemorate an old friend.
The album is called Breakfast in America. Look close at the photo and you’ll see that it really is NOT New York City at all, but a clever arrangement of breakfast implements (salt and pepper shakers, egg cartons, coffee cups and silverware) placed in a manner that, if one were to only take a glance at the graphic, one would think that it was a fair representation of New York City seen from the air.
This cover was designed by Mike Doud, and he won a Grammy Award for it. He was a person I knew back in my Hollywood days. I must have met him in the late seventies at some nightclub. He dressed well and liked to hang out and drink. At that time, I liked to drink, too. I remember going to his apartment to drink and listen to records. I was horrified to see his records lying all over his living room—many of them out of their respective covers. For a guy who designed album covers for a living, he didn’t treat them with much respect.
During his career, which started as an in-house designer for A&M Records in London before he moved to Los Angeles, Mike designed about 100 covers. Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin, Kool & the Gang, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Badfinger, Van Morrison and many other, mostly major label releases, benefited from his keen eye. As I mentioned, Mike liked to hang out, and when he did, it was often with punk rockers and he sometimes worked on their album covers. The Circle Jerks, Tupelo Chainsex and The Vandals all employed him and they probably couldn’t afford him if he wasn’t their friend. He also designed the cover of The Go-Go’s debut album, as well as that of a rather obscure rockin’ R&B group called Phast Phreddie & Thee Precisions.
As September 11 approaches, we at the ARChive feel it is important to remember those people who were important to us and to keep them in our hearts. This year we remember Mike Doud, the creator of many fine-looking album covers and our friend. He died in 1990.
ps – Don’t forget our first exhibitione here at ARC, One LP, photographs by Will Ellis, Sept 19-Oct 3.