Thursday, November 20, 2008

On My Christmas List

Cartoon Beatles - "Meet The Beatles" ltd-edition sericel print
In Stock (1)

Limited-edition (one of only 500) sericel, 14"H x 14"W overall image area, unmatted/unframed. Shipped in deluxe presentation folder.

This sericel is a recreation of the Beatle character model sheets originally created by artist Peter Sander. It is presented in the now-famous "Meet The Beatles" album cover format.

About Rock'NToons/DenniLu products and The Beatles Cartoon series - These limited-edition cels depicting The Beatles, George, John, Paul, and Ringo, are inspired by The Beatles Saturday morning cartoon series. The show premiered on September 25th, 1965 on ABC television and ran until April 20th, 1969. In all, thirty-nine episodes of The Beatles cartoon were produced by Al Brodax and his King Features team.

As part of his effort to make the show more appealing to an American audience, Brodax decided to use well-regarded voice talent (Paul Frees for John and George, Lance Percival for Paul and Ringo), with the actors using simple British accents versus the Beatles' own Liverpudlian ones. UK audiences - and the Beatles - were unhappy with this fact, and so the series got very little airtime there, whereas in the U.S., the show proved to be VERY popular!

Each color used in the re-creation of this image has been screen-printed with exact precision, one color at a time, onto the cel. The lithographed background accompanying this cel has been printed on premium acid-free paper.

This work of art is from a general edition of 500 sericels. In addition, there are 50 "publisher's proofs" numbered PP 1/50 to PP 50/50 and 5 hors de commerce numbered, HC 1/5 to 5/5, bringing the total of all images to 555 pieces. Conforming to the practice of fine art printing, the elements used to create the edition are destroyed when the edition is closed.

The original art cels for both the cel and the background are archived with the publisher. No additional multiples of the sericel version of this image, including proofs, have been produced in this limited edition except only as necessary to replace pieces in this edition that are damaged in production or shipment, but still maintaining the stated edition size.

The prints are created, designed and licensed by the DenniLu Company, and manufactured and distributed by RockNToons Animation Studios, LLC. These collectibles are officially authorized and licensed by Apple Corp, Ltd.

Find this and other rare collectible items at

Cover Art Stories

As always, I want to thank Michael Goldstein over at for the exclusive rights to reprint his material:

Cover Story Interview - The making of the "Yellow Submarine" sericel, with new designs & artwork by Jon Blosdale

Cover Story for November 19, 2008

Subject - The making of the sericels based on the original artwork for The Beatles' Yellow Submarine film soundtrack, released in 1969 on Apple Records, with new artwork and layout done by artist Jon Blosdale.

Released in 1968 and nominated for a Grammy (TM) for its Soundtrack, Yellow Submarine was a departure for The Beatles from the live-action films they had made to that point. Using a very simple animation technique and a psychedelic palette of colors, the film and its animation was directed and supervised by George Dunning, the director of The Beatles’ TV cartoon series, and was art directed by Heinz Edelman. It took a production team of over 200 over 11 months to create the sequences used in the film.

Sir George Martin composed the film’s instrumental score, and in addition to the title song, other songs featured included “Baby You’re A Rich Man”, “Hey Bulldog”, “Only A Northern Song”, “When I’m Sixty-Four”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and the previously-mentioned “All Together Now”.

A large troupe of artists, animators and voice-over artists worked on the film (including many who also worked on the TV series) and, contrary to popular belief, Peter Max did not participate in the production, although it seems clear that his approach to painting was greatly influenced from that point forward by the film’s style and color palette.

The film’s plot was simple and in keeping with the band’s peace and love through music world view. A magical, musical place under the sea – Pepperland – is attacked by an army of music-hating Blue Meanies, who seal Pepperland’s protectors – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – inside a bubble and then go about their business of paralyzing the populace and draining the land of all its color.

In an effort to enlist help to save the land, Pepperland emissary Old Fred sets off for Liverpool in a yellow submarine to try and convince The Beatles to come back with him. The journey back takes them through the Seas of Time, Science, Monsters, Nothing, Heads and, finally, through the Sea of Holes (meeting many strange travails and characters along the way), arriving back in Pepperland, where the band disguises themselves as the imprisoned Sgt. Pepper’s band and sets off to rescue all of the hostages and return music and color to the land. Using a hole that Ringo had taken from the Sea of Holes, they release the real band from their bubble prison and Pepperland is saved, but rather than vanquish the Blue Meanies, John offers them friendship, which so moves the Meanies that they accept and everyone lives happily ever after (music, flowers and color, included!).

In the film’s final, live-action scene, The Beatles return to Liverpool loaded with souvenirs (including the Yellow Submarine’s motor!), but John announces to the theater audience that another band of Blue Meanies has been spotted outside the theater and that the audience would need to sing – “all together now” – if they wanted to make it out safely. The lyrics of the song appeared on-screen (in many languages) and, we can assume, audiences the world over sang along.

One of the millions of young people drawn into Beatlemania early on was Jon Blosdale who, later, after a long career in the entertainment/production business, decided to “follow his dream” and focused his efforts on re-capturing a personal piece of the “Peace and Love”/”All You Need is Love” spirit by obtaining all of the necessary permissions he’d need to help him use his artistic talents to re-introduce fans to important snippets of their animated Beatles memories.

Most-recently, he’s released an awesome recreation of the iconic cover of the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album, and so for today’s Cover Story, I’ve asked him to take us all down the path that ultimately lead him to create this masterwork. So – “all together now” – let’s read on….

In the words of the artist, Jon Blosdale (interviewed in October/November 2008) –

I was only 8 when the Beatles invaded America on Ed Sullivan and that was it. I was hooked, along for the ride and never looked back. Like a lot of us, I grew up with the Beatles. And through the good times and bad, the Beatles and their music always kept me company. Looking back, it seemed as though my life evolved around the Beatles, each new song, album, TV appearance was what I was waiting to hear, buy or see. Nothing else really mattered.

Life went on and I was in the entertainment business for almost 20 years before embarking into the animation art business. Frustrated and burned out with the film and television production scene and, to be honest, tired of the distant locations, 5AM calls, bad catering and the ever-present Hollywood ego, I decided to follow my passion for animation and art. How was I going to start this new career? Of course, by starting with my other favorite passion – The Beatles! But that wasn’t going to happen quickly or easily - at least not for a couple more years.

In 1998, with the exception of a couple film productions in between, I quit the entertainment business (or it could have quit me), and started to learn about computer graphics and graphic arts. I took Photoshop and Illustrator courses, delved into books, took more courses, and then I took a real departure in my career - I went to work at a sign shop.

Astoundingly, working as a computer graphics person in a sign shop proved to be the most-valuable way to gain experience for what I do today. It’s those skills that I learned - layout, design, font structure, color combinations, etc. - which I applied to the animation art I do now. Unfortunately for me though, the sign shop closed and I was then out of a job. I had this new skill, a passion for creating art with my new skill, and no place to apply it. That’s when I decided to go with what always made me happy as a kid – that being The Beatles, and especially the Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoons". Then a light went off in my head - or it may have been above it - either way, I saw something! I saw an opportunity to possibly do what I love and do it with the Beatles cartoons. Then the light went a bit dim as I thought – “How on Earth am I going to pull this off?”

Purely out of curiosity, and really not knowing what I was going to do if and when I found what I was looking for, I began my search for animation from the original King Features Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoon" series. I quickly found there were few or no original production cels remaining in existence, nor was there much information about the original series for that matter. The reason for this was that, in the mid-1960s, there was no forethought about an aftermarket of the Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoons", and the Beatles themselves were not in the animation art business. So, most of the original production acetates (cels) were either reused for other cartoons or simply trashed.

While doing some additional research, I came across a great book by Mitchell Axelrod called "Beatletoons, the Real Story Behind the Beatles Cartoons”. This answered a lot of my questions, but not the most important one I had, which was “how do I get the licensing rights to recreate the images from the 'Saturday Morning Cartoons'?” From that point, my plan was pretty straight-forward. I would use my newly-acquired skills to create animation cels from old 16mm films of the cartoons, commonly known as “sericels”. This decision then set me on a 2 ½ year quest to find the licensing agency that handled the Beatles merchandising and trying to convince them that I was the right person that could pull this off.

When I first made contact with the licensing agent, he had indicated to me that the "Saturday Morning Cartoons" weren’t really on Apple’s high priority list, but if I wanted to submit a proposal and some samples (then more samples, and then even more samples) to go ahead and “see if you can knock our socks off”.

That was just the challenge that I needed. I worked for 10 straight days and nights coming up 3 of 4 sample images of the "Saturday Morning Cartoons", packed them in a box with my 2 page proposal and new pair of sweat socks. That got the licensing agent to chuckle (to this day, I can say the artwork has always spoken for itself, but I think the new sweat socks didn’t hurt either).

All in all, I think I submitted over 30 sample cels to the licensing agent and Apple Corps Ltd. over those 2 ½ years, and finally my persistence paid off. In April of 2004, I signed a licensing contract with Apple Corps Ltd.! I can’t tell you the feeling I had to see my name next to “Apple Corps Ltd”, “Neil Aspinal” (then, Apple’s managing director) and, of course, “The Beatles”. They say never give up your dream, that all can be possible with hard work and passion. I say that it is possible and when it does come true, it’s time to go to work!

A couple of years into my license, Apple asked if I’d like to take on Yellow Submarine. I accepted wholeheartedly and decided the way I wanted to launch the animation art for Yellow Submarine was to start with the album cover itself as a special triple-layered over-sized animation cel. What’s interesting about my overall license is that Apple gives me ample latitude and a tremendous amount of creative license with both the cartoons and Yellow Submarine. That’s not to say I haven’t had my share of rejections when submitting art to Apple. As I’ve learned, there are reasons behind their (Apple’s) choices. I don’t take it personally – I just keep on developing, keep on submitting and do my work.

As far as the Yellow Submarine album cover idea, I had the layers visually figured out in my head. The first layer would be printed on archival paper and feature the background of just the mountain, psychedelic plants and the words “Nothing is Real”. The second layer would be a silk-screen printed cel of the support cast (the Captain, Jeremy, the Mayor, Blue Meanies, Snapping Turks, etc.) and, finally the third (top) layer would be of the Beatles, the Submarine and logo, also silk-screen printed. Finishing the art, each layer would be trimmed with a colored matte and a hidden 1/8” frame that floats between the layers – it gives the piece an almost 3D effect.

Above - some sample images showing the various layers used to create the final image...

Now, that’s how I thought that I would do it. How it would actually piece together was another story altogether. Because I decided to go big with the image area, my challenges were not only the materials, but how to separate the artwork for the silk-screening process and lining it all up in the frame. Also, the art itself is over 22 colors, making the silk-screening the biggest challenge, both physically and economically. The camera-ready art process took the longest time. I had to vector every detail on the entire album cover before I could separate the art for silk-screening. Vectoring is a computer graphics process that creates line-art that I can manipulate any way I desire and get it “camera-ready”.

Once the art was vectored and the silk screens were ready for the coloring process, I had to choose a special acetate. It had to be a thicker mil weight because of the 20” x 20” image size and - most importantly - it had to fit the screen printer’s apparatus. In order to keep the manufacturing costs down, we ran the two layers side-by-side on one large sheet of 48” x 32” acetate and then trimmed it to size after the colors were done.

The framing took some trial and error, but I used the same techniques I use with the smaller framed cels and, amazingly, it framed up better than expected. I think that it turned out to be a stunning piece of art - not because of me, but because the brilliant style of the original art done some 40 years ago for the original animation still holds up. All I did was come up with a clever new way to present the Yellow Submarine album cover.

Because I also develop the "Saturday Morning Cartoon" images and the time it takes to go through the approval processes, etc., the concept and development of the Yellow Submarine album cover piece took about a year. When I presented my concepts to Apple’s head of merchandising and the licensing people, they flipped out. Apple said nobody has ever done anything remotely like this triple-layered art of the Yellow Submarine album cover.

It was a privilege and an honor to be given the opportunity to recreate the Yellow Submarine album cover and then other images from Yellow Submarine. The feedback from Apple is and has always been enthusiastic praise. I feel that I’ve earned the trust of Apple and the licensing agent. Just as long as I stay true to the original art of both Yellow Submarine and the "Saturday Morning Cartoons", they’re pretty much on board. Apple and the licensing agent have been very favorable to me in many ways. I could never thank them enough for their ongoing support.

And so, in the end, if you’d ask me what inspires me and provides my style guide for the artwork, I would have to say “the money”…just kidding!! The money may provide the oil for the engine, but the Beatles are the gas. And, as a final note, just before Neil Aspinal (Apple’s managing director and longtime friend of The Beatles) passed away, I was able to give him a finished piece of the album cover. It was delivered to his hospital room and hung on the wall for him to enjoy. I heard it brought a smile to his face. Now, that’s an honor in my books!

About the artist, Jon Blosdale –

Photo of Jon Blosdale (right) with Peter Sander, one of the original Yellow Submarine/"Saturday Morning Cartoon" illustrators

Jon Blosdale is the owner/artist for the DenniLu Company, an animation art company that is officially licensed by Apple Corps Ltd. to manufacture and market animation art of the original 1960’s Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoon" series and Yellow Submarine.

Prior to getting involved with the Beatles animation art, Jon Blosdale had a career behind the scenes in film and television as a producer and production manager. Throughout his producing career, Jon has worked with Robert Conrad’s television company, director Charlie Matthau and on a variety of commercials. In 1998, utilizing his parent’s names (Dennis and Lucette), Jon formed the DenniLu Company and traded in his 20 year career in film and TV production for a new start in the computer graphics business.

Six years later in 2004, the DenniLu Company signed a licensing contract with Apple Corps Ltd. and has since added Yellow Submarine animation art to his company's offering.

In a matter of 4 years, the DenniLu Company has formed relationships to sell its merchandise through numerous catalogs, online stores and to a number of fine art galleries worldwide. Their animation art can also be seen at the “Love” stage show boutique at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, as well as the Hard Day’s Night Hotel in Liverpool.

To see more of Jon’s work, you can either visit his web site at

Or to see the collection of Dennilu items available at RockPoP Gallery, just click on this link –

To learn more about the Yellow Submarine film and soundtrack (released in 1969 on Apple Records), please visit their website at

About Cover Stories - Our series of interviews will give you, the music and art fan, a look at "the making of" the illustrations, photographs and designs of many of the most-recognized and influential images that have served to package and promote your all-time-favorite recordings.

In each Cover Story, we'll meet the artists, designers and photographers who produced these works of art and learn what motivated them, what processes they used, how they collaborated (or fought) with the musical acts, their management, their labels, etc. - all of the things that influenced the final product you saw then and still see today.

We hope that you enjoy these looks behind the scenes of the music-related art business and that you'll share your stories with us and fellow fans about what role these works of art - and the music they covered - played in your lives.

All images featured in this Cover Story are Copyright 2008, Jon Blosdale/Dennilu Company (DenniLu Company is under license by Apple Corps. Ltd. to manufacture and market Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon and Yellow Submarine sericels, hand-painted cels and giclees. Apple Corps Ltd. does not endorse this website) - All rights reserved. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2008 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.

Top Ten TV Theme Songs

As I said yesterday, I found this feature at and think it will be fun to look at. Let's explore what song comes in at #9:

9. Gilligan's Isle - "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle

It's a sea shanty with foreshadowing ("A three-hour tour"), suspense ("The Minnow would be lost"), a key change when they make it through the storm and a convenient way to introduce the characters—though the original reduced The Professor and Mary Ann to "the rest."

I would bet that almost anyone over 40 could sing along with this tune and not miss a word. Me, never liked the show, seemed silly to me; although I will confess that I did watch it (my Mother liked it and she ruled the TV set!)

There were two versions of the theme during the run of the show: one for the first season and another for the second and third. In the original theme song, the Professor and Mary Ann were referred to as "and the rest". Actors Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were originally considered "second-billed co-stars", but with the growing popularity of their characters, their names were inserted into the lyrics. Wells has stated that it was Denver who went to the studio executives to get them added to the opening credits. The studio originally refused, stating that it would cost too much to re-shoot and re-score the opening. Denver pointed out that it was in his contract that he could have his name anywhere he wanted in the credits, so they could move it to the end credits along with Johnson and Wells. The studio capitulated. Wells said that Denver never mentioned this to anyone in the cast, and she did not find out until years after the show ended what he had done.

The first season version was recorded by The Wellingtons and had a folk music sound. It starts with an acoustic guitar strumming for two bars before the lyrics start. The instrumentation, which includes a slide guitar, is subdued and very Hawaiian sounding.

The second and third season version was not credited to a particular group in the credits, but according to Russell Johnson in his book Here on Gilligan's Isle, it was performed by a group called The Eligibles. It begins with a mini-fanfare, and has a more traditional pop music sound but with spaghetti western-like underpinnings. The instrumentation is much more prominent in this version, and it does not have any slide guitar.

Here is a version that they didn't air:

interesting tidbits:

The show's original pilot episode featured a calypso theme song by John Williams with different lyrics. Notably, the original length of the voyage was "a six-hour ride", not "a three-hour tour".

The theme song has been covered by many bands, most notably Bowling for Soup for the TBS show The Real Gilligan's Island.

In a 1978 made-for-TV movie, Rescue From Gilligan's Island, the castaways did successfully leave the island, but had difficulty reintegrating into society. During a reunion cruise on the first Christmas after their rescue, fate intervened and they found themselves marooned on the same island at the end of the film. It starred the original cast except for Tina Louise, who refused to participate and was replaced as Ginger by Judith Baldwin. The plot involved Soviet agents seeking a memory disc from a spy satellite that landed on the island and facilitated their rescue. Gilligan and the Skipper "rescue" Mary Ann right as she is to marry her long time fiance, which contradicts the series where it was established that Mary Ann had no boyfriend after having made up a story about a boyfriend to keep the others from feeling sorry for her.

In a 1979 sequel, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island, they were rescued once again, and the Howells converted the island into a getaway resort, with the other five castaways as "silent partners". Ginger was again played by Judith Baldwin. This sequel was intended as a pilot for a possible new series in which the castaways would host new groups of tourists each week, using the all-star cast anthology format made popular by The Love Boat. The series never materialized, though the premise was the basis of a short-lived 1981 series titled Aloha Paradise.

Note to everyone- they are still on the island!

Music News

Cardigans singer announces new album plans

The Cardigans' lead singer Nina Persson is set to release a new album with her band A Camp.

The band, made up of Persson and Atomic Swing member Niclas Frisk, will release 'Colonia' on February 2 next year.

It will be preceded by the single 'Stronger Than Jesus' on January 19.


McCartney Disputes Rigby Document

Paul McCartney has made a statement denouncing Sunbeams Music Trust who claimed they received a document from the singer proving the identity of Eleanor Rigby.

McCartney told Agence France-Presse, "Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictious character that I made up. If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that's fine with me."

McCartney also told Absolute Radio that he wouldn't mind doing a collaboration with either Bob Dylan or David Byrne.


Stanley Talks Kiss Album

Paul Stanley has told Britain's Classic Rock magazine that KISS is open to the idea of recording a new album. When asked about a new record now, Stanley said, "Well, I thought that I'd be content for Kiss to remain a heritage act, just playing our greatest hits, Detroit Rock City and all that. But the new Kiss line-up with Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums) is proving to be so good, so strong in spirit, it would interesting to see how we perform in the studio."


Hank Jr. for President in 2020!

Hank Williams, Jr. alluded to it last month, but now he's come out and said that he will run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican during the next primary season.


Glitter Band Reunion

The Glitter Band, former backup for Gary Glitter, say they are working up a comeback album. The band did have success after Glitter, but now want to do more to distance themselves from their former leader. John Rossall says that they are looking to do something "heavy, really tribal, really do something with our sound."

There's no love lost between Rossall and Glitter. "Glitter was difficult to work with even when we first met him in 1964/65 when we were his backing band in the Starr Club in Germany. Even then he insisted on staying in a hotel whilst we had to share digs in bunk beds behind the stage. He was always a prima donna really."

Classic Rock Videos

Time Is On My Side - The Rolling Stones-1965

Rainbow Puts Together a Different Kind of Reunion

One of the 70's best heavy metal bands, Rainbow, is set to reform but in a bit different way than what has been popular over the last couple years.

The new version of Rainbow, which will be called Over the Rainbow, will contain members from different eras of the group's history along with founding member Ritchie Blackmore's son, Jurgen Blackmore, on guitar.

Rainbow first came about in 1975 when Ritchie Blackmore quit Deep Purple over differences with the other members. He brought in Ronnie James Dio, Mickey Lee Soule, Craig Gruber and Gary Driscoll to form the original group which released Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow in 1975.

The next year, Blackmore and Dio decided to change the group's sound a bit by getting rid of their first three support members and bringing in Jimmy Bain, Tony Carey and Cozy Powell. This line-up recorded the second album, Rising.

Itteratin three for the Long Live Rock 'n' Roll album in 1978 replaced Bain and Carey with Bob Daisley and David Stone. The album and single were huge successes in England, but Blackmore decided to take the group in more mainstream rock direction which was of no interest to Dio.

Lineup four formed after Blackmore went on a far reaching search for a new lead singer, eventually settling on Graham Bonnett. The supporting group also changed once again with Roger Glover and Dan Airy joining the group. 1979's Down to Earth produced two big singles but was not a major album hit. In addition, Bonnett proved to be a handfull, getting fired after a particularly drunken performance.

Group five brought in Joe Lynn Turner on lead vocals and Bobby Rodinelli on drums, producing 1981's Difficult to Cure and 1982's Straight Between the Eyes.

A sixth and final line up formed in 1983 with David Rosenthal on keyboards and Chuck Burgi on drums, for the album Bent Out of Shape. Blackmore soon after left to rejoin a rejuvinated Deep Purple where he stayed until 1994.

Four previous members of Rainbow will join in the reformed group, representing almost every era.

Joe Lynn Turner on Vocals (1980 - 1984)
Tony Carey on Keyboards (1975 - 1978)
Bobby Rondinelli on Drums (1980 - 1983)
Greg Smith on Bass (1994 - 1997)
Jurgen "J.R." Blackmore on Guitar

Tony Carey told Britain's Classic Rock magazine about his decision to join. "Having done everything from country to opera, I thought it would be fun to play some rock again without the burden of singing everything. Over the Rainbow re-unites members of one of the most distinctive sounding bands of all time and introduces a hidden treasure to the world in J.R. Blackmore.''

Greg Smith added, "I know there is a big demand for this music. The fact that all members are ex-Rainbow from different periods in the band's history will give the music the integrity it deserves. A Blackmore on guitar will give it even more authenticity."

Source: Classic Rock

Record Store Day Returns in 2009

Retailers, record labels and bands will once again come together to remember an era when music fans had the dignity to actually legally purchase their music.

The second annual Record Store Day, a promotional holiday of sorts organized by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, will go down April 18. Like last year, the nationwide event will feature events at independent record stores across the country, in-store performances and releases exclusive to the day.

It's part of the NARM's efforts to make listeners remember the joy of sifting through the stacks at their favorite record store. Because, admit it: You just can't get that special self-righteous smirk from a 19-year-old hipster record-store clerk when you purchase something unhip from iTunes, can you?


Album Cover Art

Let's continue our look at the list of the top 50 dirtiest and sexiest album covers (as compiled by their staff- Gigwise comments in quotes):

33. The Slits: ‘Cut’ – "London’s very own recently reformed punk rockers, The Slits, caked themselves in mud and wore nothing but loincloths for the cover of their 1979 debut ‘Cut.’ Considered by many as a punk classic, it’s not only the music that the record is remembered for…"

The Slits are a UK punk rock band. The quartet was formed in 1976 by members of the bands The Flowers of Romance and The Castrators. The members were Ari Up (Arianna Forster) and Palmolive (Paloma Romera, who later left to join The Raincoats), with Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt replacing founding members Kate Korus and Suzy Gutsy. Palmolive was replaced by male drummer Budgie (aka Pete Clarke), formerly of The Spitfire Boys and later to join Siouxsie & the Banshees.

At their outset, the Slits played a brand of brash, fun, snotty, catchy punk rock naturally suited to supporting The Clash on their 1977 White Riot tour along with the Buzzcocks and the Subway Sect (documented both on- and offstage by Don Letts in The Punk Rock Movie).

As also captured on a Peel Session, the Slits' originally extremely raw and raucous live sound was subsequently cleaned up and considerably polished by the time of their reggae influenced, dub heavy, Dennis Bovell produced 1979 debut album Cut (Island Records). The album's cover art depicts the band naked save for mud and loin-cloths.

Their sound and attitude became increasingly experimental and avant-garde during the early 1980's, when they formed an alliance with Bristol post punk mavericks The Pop Group, sharing a drummer (Bruce Smith) and releasing a joint single, "In The Beginning There was Rhythm" / "Where There's A Will" (Y Records). The band toured widely and released a second LP Return Of The Giant Slits before breaking up.

Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt reformed the band with new members in 2005, and in 2006 released the EP "Revenge Of The Killer Slits". The EP features former Sex Pistol Paul Cook and Marco Pirroni (ex-Adam & the Ants, and Siouxsie & the Banshees) as both musicians and co-producers. In fact, Cook's daughter Hollie is a member of the current line-up, singing and playing keyboards. Other members of the reformed band were NO (of The Home office) in guitar, German drummer Anna Schulte, and Adele Wilson on guitar.

The band toured the United States for the first time in twenty five years during 2006's "States of Mind" tour. In 2007 they toured Australia as well as returning to the United States where they opened for Sonic Youth at NYC's McCarren Park Pool. In their first ever visit to that country the band did a short tour of Japan in October 2007.

In 2008 the band again toured America. Adele Wilson left the band and No was replaced by American guitarist Michelle Hill.

In November 2008, the band will be playing Ladyfest Manchester. They will visit London Astoria the following month.

A book celebrating the Slits and their seminal album Cut is being written by music writer Zoe Street Howe, due for publication in 2009 through Omnibus, to mark the 30-year anniversary of the album's release.

Studio albums:

Cut (Island Records, 1979)
Return of the Giant Slits (CBS, 1981)
Revenge Of The Killer Slits (EP),(2006)

Guy Peellaert, album designer for Bowie and the Stones, dies

22 hours ago

PARIS (AFP) — Belgian pop artist Guy Peellaert, whose work includes album covers for the Rolling Stones and David Bowie and posters for films such as "Taxi Driver," has died, his agent said Wednesday.

Peellaert died Monday in Paris aged 74 after a long illness, Noemie Mainguet said.

He designed album covers for several rock stars, including "Diamond Dogs" for David Bowie and "It's only Rock and Roll" for the Rolling Stones.

He also created the posters for the Wim Wender films "The Wings of Desire" and "Paris, Texas," for Martin Scorcese's "Taxi Driver" and for Robert Altman's "Short Cuts".

The Brussels-born artist, whose work has been featured in major exhibitions in various cities across the world, was one of the first cartoonists to embrace the Pop Art movement that began in the late 1950s.

In 1972, he provided the surreal pictures for the book "Rock Dreams," written by Nik Cohn, a fantasy tribute to the greats of rock and roll music.

Here is some of his famous art: