Art of British Rock: 50 Years Of Rock Posters, Flyers And Handbills

Art of British Rock: 50 Years Of Rock Posters, Flyers And Handbills

by Mike Evans

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Celebrating a half century of design in posters, flyers and advertising ephemera, The Art of British Rock highlights the UK’s distinct contribution to rock’n’roll graphics. From custom designed posters for provincial ballrooms in the late 50s to the computer-generated images of today, rock music illustration has reflected – and…  See more details below


Celebrating a half century of design in posters, flyers and advertising ephemera, The Art of British Rock highlights the UK’s distinct contribution to rock’n’roll graphics. From custom designed posters for provincial ballrooms in the late 50s to the computer-generated images of today, rock music illustration has reflected – and influenced – crucial changes in popular visual art. With classic examples (some unseen for many years) of key styles including pop art, psychedelic illustration, punk 'do-it-yourself' and digital imaging, the book documents the stunning visual style of British rock from the era of the Beatles and Rolling Stones to the present-day art of indie guitar bands, cutting edge soloists and contemporary clubland.

Arranged chronologically, The Art of British Rock features more than 350 posters ranging from the work of anonymous artists to internationally acclaimed designers including the Hapshash group in the 60s, Hipgnosis and Barney Bubbles in the 70s, and Malcolm Garrett, Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver in the 80s and beyond. All are the subject of special features within each chapter. Concluding with the mix of retro and state-of-the-art design that has characterized rock poster illustration in the first decade of the 21st century, this is a unique account of more than 50 years of British rock’n’roll art.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
London-based writer and broadcaster on pop music and culture Evans, writing with musician and designer Palmer-Edwards, here gathers art associated with British rock music from the mid-1950s to the present. Divided chronologically and arranged by designer within the various eras, the beautifully reproduced color images tell stories about the fashion and politics of their respective times, the changing environments and technologies of playing music, and the promotional milieu surrounding that industry. Although many images and designers' names will be familiar from album-cover art, Evans doesn't attempt to chronicle that design aspect, wisely concentrating instead on posters and other promotional materials while commenting succinctly on the various eras and personalities to provide important context. The contemporary examples, showing graphic creativity to be alive and well, retain a hint of nostalgia for earlier days when music and graphic design worked together in a vibrant, creative environment. VERDICT A reasonably priced, well-done, engaging volume that could easily become a standard source on the subject. Knowledgeable and informative without being stuffy, it offers plenty to love for collectors, rock fans of all ages, graphic designers, and anybody's boomer aunt.—Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY
From the Publisher

All the heroes of British music graphics are here, including Hipgnosis, Barney Bubbles, Michael Garrett and Peter Saville. Caution: the psychedelic green-orange DayGlo cover is as eye-watering as a protracted guitar solo." - Bookseller "

Everybody will find an image that triggers a host of memories." - Evening Standard"

As the music industry becomes ever more digitised, it might seem that this sort of graphic ephemmera is losing its importance. This book shows that apparent trivia can ultimately prove something to treasure." - Metro "

A worthy addition to any bookcase... Informative as well as easy on the eye, while pithy observations abound." - Classic Rock"

This is a truly wonderful book for anybody who's ever looked at an album sleeve or advert and thought, maybe even unconsciously, how great it not only sounds but looks. Designs like these are the mark of genius - and sadly these days, there's far too little of that around." - Ham & High "

The writing by Mike Evans is succinct and entertaining, and the book's design by Paul Palmer-Edwards is really stunning." - The Market"

Nothing transports us back more than rock posters for gigs in the provincial ballrooms of our youth. And now, 50 years of classic UK rock'n'roll graphics have been brought together in The Art of British Rock. Bet you'll spot examples you had on your bedroom walls." - Saga"

Music fans should enjoy this artistic trawl through the 50 years of rock posters, flyers and album cover art. Worth the money alone for the explosion of colour and style an the late 1960s" -. Artists & Illustrators "

The pictures may induce nostalgia - such as the days when Jimi Hendrix played a hotel in Windsor - but they are also a warning that we all grow up and calm down. People who bought The Clash's first single, White riot, in 1977 are now more interested in their morgages; and most of those drawn to the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival by the event's poster, could now get there with their pensioners' free bus pass. Fans of virtual band Gorillaz have been warned." - Mail on Sunday "

If you're the kind of person who hankers for the halcyon days when promoting a gig didn't simply involve cobbling a Facebook group together, 'The Art of British Rock' deserves a spot on your coffee table..Try to resist the urge to cut them all out and Blu Tack them to your wall." - ShortList"

8 Awesome British Rock Posters" Featured gallery - Huff Post Books, THE HUFFINGTON POST

"Each chapter highlights influential designers and artists, showing the creative directors behind the music. The book begins with rock and roll and continues to light on the graphic art that came out of mod, punk, pop rock, and rave music. Including everyone from Jimi Hendrix to David Bowie to the Sex Pistols to the Queens of the Stone Age, this book is a complete look at the vibrant visual movement that arose along with British rock." - COMPLEX ART & DESIGN"

...explores British Rock...specifically from about the 1960s to almost present day with a heavy focus on the 60s and 70s. It's a really pretty book, filled with a lot of great pictures. There are also really interesting back stories about some of the artists behind some of the iconic music art..This book would make a fantastic gift for the art or music lover in your life!" - A BOOKISH AFFAIR

Product Details

Lincoln, Frances Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.22(w) x 11.64(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

With a background as a musician on the 60s rock scene, Mike Evans began writing about popular music in the 70s. As a freelance journalist he was a regular contributor to Melody Maker and his work appeared in UK rock magazines including Sounds and Cream. As author his books have included the much acclaimed The Art of the Beatles in 1984, the best-selling Elvis: A Celebration (2002), Waking Up In New York City in 2003, and Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul in 2005. The Beats (an illustrated account of the Beat Generation) appeared in 2007, and Woodstock: Three Days That Shook the World in 2009. He lives and works in London, dividing his time between writing and a freelance editorial consultancy.

Ever since he first started working, Paul Palmer-Edwards has been lucky enough to combine his love of music, and of design and designing; from making coffee for Brian Eno, to pasting-up music ads and record covers for EMI records in the 1970s, he managed to find time to perform with a succession of bands (appearing on the short-lived Cabaret Futura live album). Throughout the 1980s, he honed his design skills working for many of the major design companies of that era, while continuing to gig around London, until finally hanging up his guitar to concentrate on design. In 2000, he co-founded Grade Design, specializing in publishing, and has since worked on many award-winning projects as well as being a regular contributor to the Mojo letters page.

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