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30 years of rock
In 2007, Hot Press will celebrate its 30th anniversary. By way of a prelude to the up-coming festivities, at Music Ireland ‘06, we will be unveiling the Hot Press Covers Exhibition featuring a selection of the great, and historic images that have adorned the front page of the magazine, from June 1977 onwards...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 21 Nov 2006
Yep, it’s a mighty long way down rock ‘n’ roll. But it’s not just the fields of technology, media and, indeed, musicianship and songwriting that have developed beyond all recognition in the context of the Irish music industry. As part of the Music Ireland ‘06 extravaganza, Hot Press will be exhibiting some of the most extraordinary front covers, from the last 29 years of sound and vision, and it’s a testimony not just to the quantum leaps in terms of digital design and photographic talent evident under the HP banner, but also just how savvy bands and artists have become in harnessing the power of the image.
So, here’s the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll in images. Cast your eyes over the stark black-and-white cover featuring Rory Gallagher, in front of a cast of reprobates (we’re talking about the guys seated around the cabinet table) on the very first HP – a Macroom Festival special, which hit the streets in June 1977. Gaze in wonder at U2 before they were shaving, on their very first cover story. Then there are the controversial blue nudie show shots, that were the source of considerable controversy when the good burghers of Ireland got their first look at them: Jerry Fish (or Ger Whelan, as he was known in An Emotional Fish days, when he graced the cover in his altogether back in ‘93); Shane O’Neill from Blue In Heaven, with offending tufts of pube peeking from his jeans; and Madonna, wearing little more than a come hither look (now a collectors’ item, and not just among the raincoat brigade).
Then there are some truly iconic shots: a panda-eyed and pancaked Dylan in a craftily out of focus pic from Slane 1984; a film noir shot of Bruce in a wifebeater vest (recently voted one of the best Bruce covers of all time on Boss fansite), and Zooropa-era Bono in robe, hood up, looking like Bruce Willis’s pug character in Pulp Fiction. Recent years have been just as impressive: Glen Hansard doing his alas-poor-Yorick bit with a skull in a hippy-hat for the first Frames cover, a gorgeous Rodrigo Y Gabriella portraiture shot, Pete Doherty looking like a man on the run in a first Babyshambles HP cover and a wonderfully evocative sepia-toned rendering of reclusive My Bloody Valentine genius Kevin Shields. All these and dozens of others too...