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?