the best sleeve artwork in punk?
the best sleeve artwork in punk?

the best sleeve artwork in punk?
the best sleeve artwork in punk?

The best artwork in punk?

No contest. It’s the Buzzcocks’ Orgasm Addict designed by Linder Sterling.
The seven-inch single was the perfect pop medium. One song, no messing and, from the mid seventies onwards, the package came complete with the single sleeve.

The punk era was the last stand of the seven-inch single and neatly coincided with a sudden explosion of sleeve art. Every week another great, savage image would accompany the latest missive from the punk rock front line. While there was a never ending onslaught of eye-catching cut and paste jobs, Linder’s was perfect.

The Orgasm Addict sleeve depicts a nude model with her head sliced off and replaced by an household iron; her nipples are replaced with gleaming teeth. It was tough, sexy, dangerous, funny, and made a bold and powerful feminist point. The bright yellow background made it look even more stark.

Linder should be really famous now. She was a mentor to the Buzzcocks and Morrissey’s muse. Without her the whole Manchester music scene would have been very different. She subtly provided the art aesthetic for the city. She was always there in the background, inspiring and leaving her mark, as her recently released book Linder Works 1976-2006 proves.

However, when they came to tell the Manchester story, she was missed out. It seems like history has been rewritten again. If punk has become the story of the Clash, missing out all the awkward and interesting bits, then the story of Manchester has been reduced to a series of blokes taking drugs and making records. It’s a crime. Linder deserves her place in history for the Orgasm Addict sleeve alone.

Don’t you agree?

4 COMMENTS

  1. The Manchester scene seems to be either overlooked or centred around Joy division, when it comes to telling the story of punk.

    Manchester was the birthplace of “Indie Music”, with “SPIRAL SCRATCH” (35 YEARS OLD THIS MONTH!!!).

    BUZZCOCKS do not get the credit they deserve. They were as imoprtant as both the Pistols & The Clash.

    Their music was far more diverse, from the beginning, which most people do not give them credit for & the records were always accompanied by great artwork.

    And in May this year, Howard Devoto will bw joining them on stage, to perform Spiral Scratch for the 1st time in 35 years!!!!

  2. Great piece John, I am a huge fan of Linder Sterlings and often thought that she is hugely underrated. So much of punk art history seems centered around Jamie Reid that the fantastic Sterling gets somewhat overlooked

  3. Yes, Linder deserves a credit obviously – but you should really note that while she provided the collage, it was Malcolm Garrett who actually designed the sleeve. He provided the layout, typography, colour choice, arrangement and treatment of the image (the original was in colour) that makes it all work – and he decided to turn it upside down. I really do think he deserves credit here…

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