What if Your Favorite Album was a Book?

Rock classics from from Arcade Fire to Zeppelin, reimagined as book covers.

The full library of Christophe Gowans' literary musical covers lives here. He's also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


What if your favorite rock album was a book? Christophe Gowans was wondering the same thing. “I got to thinking, well, what would those records look like if they actually were books, if the name of the album was actually the title of a novel or reference book?” Gowans, a graphic designer who lives in London, did just that, reimagining everything from Air to Zeppelin as something you might find on your shelf or in a used bookstore. After creating the covers, he digitally ages them—”I know my way round a retouch or two”—to look as well-loved as the LP sleeves and CD booklets that accompany their musical originals.

The results are as idiosyncratic as the albums themselves. Prince’s Purple Rain is transformed into a sci-fi fantasy by one P. Rogers Nelson. The Beatles’ Abbey Road feels like a well-mannered Penguin Classic. Arcade Fire‘s The Suburbs looks like a Book of the Month Club hardcover selection circa 1955. Patti Smith’s Horses trades its famous Mapplethorpe portrait for the look of a popular series of kids’ reference books. And the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks looks like something you’d stuff under your mattress (and then wash your hands).

The full library of Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

 

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate