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Bob Marley & the Wailers – Survival album art

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Oct 25th, 2020. Artwork published in
October 1979
.
    Album cover (front).
    Source: https://www.ebay.com crisco93 (edited). License: All Rights Reserved.

    Album cover (front).

    Survival by Bob Marley and the Wailers was released in October 1979. The iconic album cover with a grid of African flags was designed by Neville Garrick. The Jamaican-born artist takes credit for several of Marley’s best-known album covers. For the typography of Survival, he chose City, a modernist, low-contrast slab serif. The typeface is used in its boldest weight, and exclusively in all caps.

    In an article by Elodie Maillot for PAM, the Pan African Music Magazine, Neville Garrick touches upon the design process:

    Bob used to come up with the titles for the albums, but I would always suggest that he used a strong word like ‘Survival’, ‘Uprising’, ‘Confrontation’ […] Survival was a very political album. I was immediately drawn to the new African flags and their green-yellow-red colors. I didn’t know all the countries, so I contacted the United Nations to make sure I wouldn’t forget any! Of course, I didn’t include the apartheid-run South Africa. And then I also included shots of the holds of the slave ships where the slaves were crammed into. This drawing was supposed to represent the Black diaspora outside of Africa, otherwise I would have had to wonder if I should include a flag of Jamaica or of the United States! My issue was that Zimbabwe was still called Rhodesia and had a colonial flag. I finally included the flags of the two parties fighting for the country’s independence, ZANU and ZAPU.

    [More info on Discogs]

    Album cover (back). For the credits and the Marcus Garvey quote, Garrick used another slab serif. First cast in 1929,  is just one year older than City (1930).
    Source: https://www.ebay.com crisco93 (edited). License: All Rights Reserved.

    Album cover (back). For the credits and the Marcus Garvey quote, Garrick used another slab serif. First cast in 1929, Memphis is just one year older than City (1930).

    The inner sleeve shows the lyrics in all-caps Memphis, white on black. The image of Africans on a slave ship (see comments) is repeated on both sides, with a caption (in  Italic) that reads: “This plan of a slave ship shows the stowage for the dreaded crossing of the Atlantic. The branded slaves were packed like so many non-human commodities.”
    Source: https://www.flickr.com vinylmeister   (edited). License: CC BY-NC.

    The inner sleeve shows the lyrics in all-caps Memphis, white on black. The image of Africans on a slave ship (see comments) is repeated on both sides, with a caption (in ITC Souvenir Italic) that reads: “This plan of a slave ship shows the stowage for the dreaded crossing of the Atlantic. The branded slaves were packed like so many non-human commodities.”

    The promotional poster provides state names to the flags and basic information about each country. A map with 53 numbers helps to locate the countries on the African continent. The spots for South Africa (#42) and Zimbabwe (#53) are intentionally left blank. Western Sahara (#50) is listed with the note “Territory in dispute (no flag at present)”. At the bottom center, the Tuff Gong logo (in ) is shown between the flags of Mali and Mauritania.
    Source: https://www.facebook.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    The promotional poster provides state names to the flags and basic information about each country. A map with 53 numbers helps to locate the countries on the African continent. The spots for South Africa (#42) and Zimbabwe (#53) are intentionally left blank. Western Sahara (#50) is listed with the note “Territory in dispute (no flag at present)”. At the bottom center, the Tuff Gong logo (in Mansard) is shown between the flags of Mali and Mauritania.

    The choice of all-caps City fett was also picked up for a number of related releases. This is the German/Dutch single cover for “Survival” / “Wake Up and Live”, 1979. Designer unknown. [More info on Discogs]
    Source: https://www.flickr.com Stars And Vibes. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The choice of all-caps City fett was also picked up for a number of related releases. This is the German/Dutch single cover for “Survival” / “Wake Up and Live”, 1979. Designer unknown. [More info on Discogs]

    The single sleeve for “So Much Trouble In The World”  (1979) is a direct adaptation of Garrick’s album cover. [More info on Discogs]
    Source: https://www.flickr.com Stars And Vibes. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The single sleeve for “So Much Trouble In The World” (1979) is a direct adaptation of Garrick’s album cover. [More info on Discogs]

    Typefaces

    • City
    • Memphis
    • ITC Souvenir

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    2 Comments on “Bob Marley & the Wailers – Survival album art”

    1. The illustration of African men on slave ships has been incorporated by various 20th-century artists and designers. I can think of at least two in the collection at Letterform Archive:

      Chip Thomas, Criminal Justice Reform Now, 2016

      Chip Thomas, Criminal Justice Reform Now, 2016

      And this issue of The Black Scholar, which cites the drawing’s origin:

      More info, and the original drawing, at Wikipedia.

    2. Thank you for this addition, Stephen! I didn’t know about the origin of the drawing. I’ve added an image showing the inner sleeve. There, Garrick shows the illustration with a caption that reads: “This plan of a slave ship shows the stowage for the dreaded crossing of the Atlantic. The branded slaves were packed like so many non-human commodities.”

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