Alan Aldridge, 1943-2017

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Appropriate imagery for an obituary: Alan Aldridge’s inside spread to Cream’s album, Goodbye, from 1969

When thinking of the 1960s, a lot of classic imagery would seem to have grown from two artists: Peter Max and Alan Aldridge. Although this is a vast oversimplification, Max and Aldridge gave shape to 60s psychedelia. It would be easy to assume either man had a hand in the film Yellow Submarine, though neither did. Aldridge was present in many ways: book covers, posters, body paint, album covers, etc. reaching far beyond the 60s. His cover for Elton John’s album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975) is a classic, typically filled with imagery done in hard outlines and soft airbrushing, which typifies Aldridge’s work.

Many people know Aldridge through his work on The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (1969):

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A few of Aldridge’s designs through the years:

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above: Aldridge’s cover for “Tiger! Tiger!” by Alfred Bester, 1967

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above: Illustration from “The butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, 1973. This book was later adapted into a short film; you can read about the film’s soundtrack here.

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above: Aldridge and Harry Willock, illustration for The Lion’s Cavalcade, 1980.

Alan Aldridge was 73 years old when he died. I expect some coffee-table book, perhaps with a touring exhibit of his work, will be assembled in the next few years. Certainly he deserves one.

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