Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Viva Betty Davis

Today marks the release of two new CDs I designed for Light in the Attic Records, both by the legendary funk queen Betty Davis: Nasty Gal (which I'll post about later) and Is It Love Or Desire, a previously unreleased album Davis recorded in 1976. Here's some info on Betty excerpted from a review in a recent Other Music update:
As a young fashion model in New York in the mid-'60s, [Betty Davis] ran with the cutting edge of black musicians from Sly Stone to Jimi Hendrix to Miles Davis, whom she married in '68. Miles himself says that Betty played a significant role in the development of his groundbreaking electric sound of the period, but the young fireplug was just too wild for the jazz genius (it's also been said that an affair with Hendrix contributed to the breakup), and Betty moved to London, where she began writing the songs that made it onto her self-titled 1973 debut. Everything that made Davis' music breathtaking and beautiful – her raw, outspoken, often shocking lyrical content, her tough-as-nails funk grooves, and her blistering vocal delivery – also ensured that she would be marginalized in the tame pop market of the time.
Is It Love Or Desire is every bit as intense and soulful as any of Davis' best work, a heavy, grinding, howling album of sex, wine and deep deep worries that fueled this iconoclast from the beginning, that made her spit blood and fire and ultimately marginalized her art for all these years.
Here's the cover:

When I started working on these CDs, Betty's whole flavor – her personal style, her strength and fierce independence combined with her raw sexuality – reminded me instantly of Viva, "The International Magazine for Women" published between 1973 and 1979 by Bob Guccione (of Penthouse infamy), and edited by his wife, Kathy Keeton. The typography I used on the cover, which is gold and silver foil-stamped, was inspired by Viva's logo.

Viva pushed its sex-meets-sophistication point of view with extremely smart art direction and the use of very high quality photography and styling. Anna Wintour was the magazine's fashion editor, before moving on to Condé Nast.

Click here to read more about Viva magazine in a feature we ran in V magazine a few years ago.

Visit Light in the Attic for more on Betty Davis and to order the new CDs, as well as Betty's first two albums, Betty Davis and They Say I'm Different.


wonting said...


Lee said...

Great piece...I love how you've been able to combine your experience and knowledge of both industries...offers a unique design POV!

Michelle Cohen said...

Holy shit strath, you have the coolest job and you rock at it! I am so proud of you!

jessica m. said...

I just bought both of the reissues, I love her, you did a fabulous job!!!

Mr Raymond said...

I thought it was an original sleeve. Nice work!

Anonymous said...

Shitttt you are so funky talented dammit