Who are The Smiths' album cover stars?
7 November 2023, 13:57
Morrissey was famous for picking his heroes to appear on the sleeves of the classic Manchester band's albums. But who are these mystery celebrities that grace your record collection?
Listen to this article
The Smiths - The Smiths (20 February 1984)
Morrissey's love of 60s culture led him to feature one of the "stars" of Andy Warhol's Factory group of artists and scenesters on the cover of the Manchester band's debut album. Joe Dallesandro was a model, actor and would-be superstar and featured in the controversial 1968 film Andy Warhol's Flesh, which was directed by Paul Morrissey (no relation) and tells the story of New York hustlers. The un-cropped photo also features actor Louis Waldon, who plays a gymnast in the movie.
Dallesandro later became famous among gorehounds for his starring appearance in two Warhol-sponsored, Morrissey-directed 1970s horrors: Flesh For Frankenstein and Blood For Dracula.
The Smiths - Hatful Of Hollow (12 November 1984)
This much-loved compilation album features a photo snipped out of the July 1983 issue of the French culture magazine Liberation. Included in a feature on the French author Jean Cocteau was this photo of a fan called Fabrice Collette who bears a tattoo based on one of Cocteau's drawings.
The Smiths - Meat Is Murder (1985)
The young soldier on the cover is Marine Corporal Michael Wynn and is pictured on 21 September 1967 in Da Nang, South Vietnam, in the middle of what was termed “Operation Ballistic Charge”. The shot was used as a publicity still for the film In The Year Of The Pig by American director Emile de Antonio, which was one of the first documentaries that was critical of the US involvement in the Vietnam war.
Morrissey and designer Caryn Gough changed the slogan on the soldier's helmet to reflect the album's title and repeated the image four times, like an Andy Warhol silkscreen. You can read more about Michael Wynn and his reaction to being the star of Meat Is Murder here.
The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (16 June 1986)
The third Smiths album features a shot of the French-Swiss actor Alain Delon, taken from the 1964 film L'Insoumis (aka The Unvanquished). Delon plays a deserter from the French Foreign Legion and was also a producer on the picture. It's taken from the final scene, where Alain's character lies dying on the floor.
The Smiths - The World Won't Listen (23 February 1987)
The second Smiths compilation was emblazoned with a photo of some lads taken some by German photographer Jurgen Vollmer in the early 1960s. His book Rock 'N' Roll Times featured this picture, plus the image of girls at a fairground used on the back cover (also used on the Complete digital release) that Morrissey thought looked like the band themselves. Vollmer's book features photographs of The Beatles back when they were playing their Hamburg residencies between 1960 and 1962.
The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs (16 March 1987)
A month after The World Won't Listen appeared, this American double-album found its way into UK record shops. The cover features the author Shelagh Delaney, who penned Morrissey favourite A Taste Of Honey, taken from the Saturday Evening Post of 21 October 1961. She also appeared on the cover of Girlfriend In A Coma.
The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come (28 September 1987)
The final Smiths album bears a photo of the actor Richard Davalos, while filming the 1955 film East Of Eden, which also starred one of Morrissey's heroes, James Dean. The image is heavily cropped so you can only see the blurry image of Davalos's face. When interviewed years later about the cover, Davalos wondered why Morrissey hadn't used a better picture.
The Smiths - Rank (5 September 1988)
Actress Alexandra Bastedo - best known for her role in the late 60s superhero TV show The Champions - appeared on The Smiths' posthumous live album, recorded at Kilburn's National Ballroom in 1986. The image was taken from the charmingly-titled photo book "Birds Of Britain".