Kanye West isn't the first to shell out major money for an album cover
A 1967 album’s artwork once took the title for “most expensive.”
Before Pusha T dropped his long-awaited, Kanye West-produced, seven-track LP DAYTONA yesterday, he revealed to Power 105’s Angie Martinez in a new interview that the album’s artwork was not just a last-minute, admittedly nerve-racking decision made by West, but an expensive one.
“He definitely makes me nervous. He makes me so nervous. He changed my artwork last night at 1 a.m. He changed my artwork at 1 a.m. ‘Cause he wasn’t feeling it. 1 a.m., my phone rings. No Caller ID. ‘Yo.’ ‘Hey, yeah, I think we should change the artwork and I like this other artwork.’ Now, this other artwork is 85-grand. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t wanna pay for that. And I wasn’t even gonna ask you to pay for that. We picked what we picked. It’s here. It’s ready.’ ‘No, this what people need to see to go along with this music. I’ma pay for that.’”
As we know now, the artwork for which Kanye footed the licensing fee bill is actually a familiar 2006 photo of Whitney Houston’s drug paraphernalia-filled bathroom, taken in her Atlanta home during the peak of her drug addiction.
But before Kanye made this brace-for-impact power move in the name of art, the Beatles pulled something similar for their own era.
A collage of approximately 60 photographs and wax figures, the artwork for their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band featured of range of very famous faces chosen by the band members and included Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Marlon Brando, Sonny Liston, Shirley Temple, Bob Dylan and others. And after shelling out payments to use their likenesses, the album artwork cost around £3,000 to create, a pricey departure from the then-£50 norm, and became the most expensive album cover ever made at the time.
So, unsurprisingly, ‘Ye remains sitting among the greats.