What if Your Favorite Album was a Book?

Rock classics from from Arcade Fire to Zeppelin, reimagined as book covers.

The full library of Christophe Gowans' literary musical covers lives here. He's also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

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What if your favorite rock album was a book? Christophe Gowans was wondering the same thing. “I got to thinking, well, what would those records look like if they actually were books, if the name of the album was actually the title of a novel or reference book?” Gowans, a graphic designer who lives in London, did just that, reimagining everything from Air to Zeppelin as something you might find on your shelf or in a used bookstore. After creating the covers, he digitally ages them—”I know my way round a retouch or two”—to look as well-loved as the LP sleeves and CD booklets that accompany their musical originals.

The results are as idiosyncratic as the albums themselves. Prince’s Purple Rain is transformed into a sci-fi fantasy by one P. Rogers Nelson. The Beatles’ Abbey Road feels like a well-mannered Penguin Classic. Arcade Fire‘s The Suburbs looks like a Book of the Month Club hardcover selection circa 1955. Patti Smith’s Horses trades its famous Mapplethorpe portrait for the look of a popular series of kids’ reference books. And the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks looks like something you’d stuff under your mattress (and then wash your hands).

The full library of Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

 

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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