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Queen – News of the World album art

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Sep 5th, 2020. Artwork published in
October 1977
.
    Front cover signed by Brian May and Roger Taylor.
    Source: https://www.pristineauction.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover signed by Brian May and Roger Taylor.

    Probably the most iconic use of Umbra? The shadow-only capitals designed by Robert Hunter Middleton grace the album art of News of the World. The sixth studio album by Queen was released on 28 October 1977 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States.

    The album’s cover was a painting by American sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas. [Drummer Roger] Taylor had an issue of Astounding Science Fiction (October 1953) whose cover art depicted a giant intelligent robot holding the dead body of a man. The caption read: “Please… fix it, Daddy?” to illustrate the story “The Gulf Between” by Tom Godwin. The painting inspired the band to contact Freas, who agreed to alter the painting for their album cover, by replacing the single dead man with the four “dead” band members (with Taylor and Deacon falling to the ground, and Taylor only visible on the back cover).

    The inner cover (gatefold) has the robot extending its hand to snatch up the petrified fleeing audience in the shattered auditorium where the corpses were removed. Freas said he was a classical music fan and did not know Queen, and only listened to the band after doing the cover “because I thought I might just hate them, and it would ruin my ideas”, but eventually liked their music.

    The layout and sleeve coordination is credited to Cream.

    [More info on Discogs]

    Back cover (US pressing by Elektra).
    Source: https://www.pristineauction.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back cover (US pressing by Elektra).

    Gatefold.
    Source: https://www.ebay.com auto69man. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Gatefold.

    Inner sleeve with lyrics set in  and titles in .
    Source: https://www.ebay.com auto69man. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Inner sleeve with lyrics set in Gill Sans and titles in Umbra.

    Record label ft. .
    Source: https://www.ebay.com taminage. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Record label ft. Gill Sans.

    “We Are The Champions” / “We Will Rock You” (1977) single sleeve, with a detail from the album cover.
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    “We Are The Champions” / “We Will Rock You” (1977) single sleeve, with a detail from the album cover.

    Back side of the German release on EMI Electrola.
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back side of the German release on EMI Electrola.

    “Spread Your Wings” / “Sheer Heart Attack” (1978) single sleeve, reusing a detail from the gatefold artwork.
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Spread Your Wings” / “Sheer Heart Attack” (1978) single sleeve, reusing a detail from the gatefold artwork.

    Queen – News of the World album art 9
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typefaces

    • Umbra (Ludlow)
    • Gill Sans

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    1 Comment on “Queen – News of the World album art”

    1. The painting by Frank Kelly Freas had been reused before: It can also be seen on Ballantine’s paperback cover of Astounding: John W. Campbell Memorial Anthology from 1974:

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