Designed By Peter Saville: The Many Faces Of “Rage In Eden”

I am a graphic designer. I knew I wanted to be one by the time that I was 10 or 11 years old. Every move I made from junior high onward was to further this goal. I didn’t encounter the work of Peter Saville for another five years at best, but even if I had not a clue as to what I wanted for a career, graphic designer probably would have moved to the front of the queue following my exposure to his work.

Of course, he’s famous for being a partner in Factory Records and having designed the vast majority of that famous label’s output from 1978 onwards for the better part of a decade. My first exposure to the name on a sleeve came in 1980 when I bought “Flesh + Blood,” the seventh album by Roxy Music. My next significant exposure to Saville’s work was the cover of the US compilation of the first two albums by OMD in early 1981. Also that year, he began designing the sleeves for another of my favorite bands of the time, Ultravox. He began with their “Vienna” single sleeve [and carried through with each release up to 1984’s “Lament” single] but the first one I bought was their 1981 album, “Rage In Eden.”

It was 29 years earlier when the lead off single from this album first appeared as an import. I saw it the week it hit these shores, in early September, but didn’t buy it at the time.

Chrysalis | UK | 7" | 1981 | CHS 2540

  1. The Thin Wall [edit]
  2. I Never Wanted To Begin

What was I thinking?! [actually, I bought John Foxx records with my meager stipend that week instead] The sleeve alone, with its references to Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” should have made me immediately purchase it. The photo was actually carried over from the song’s music video, as directed by Russell Mulcahy. It was first the video that liberally quoted from the ’65 Polanski film as these stills reveal:

"Repulsion" | Dir. Roman Polanski | 1965

"The Thin Wall" | Dir. Russell Mulcahy | 1981

When Saville designed the sleeve it was being informed by the video. Of course the hands and arms in clown white with black nails as photographed by Trevor Key looked far more dramatic than in either film. If you bought the 12″ single you got more than extra music as seen below.

Chrysalis | UK | 12" | 1981 | CHS 12 2540

  1. The Thin Wall [LP version]
  2. I Never Wanted To Begin [extended version]

It’s always appreciated when the 7″ and 12″ single sleeve art is unique!  I have to admit; the composition of Trevor Key’s photograph is far more Bauhaus here than on the 7″ photo! Either sleeve stands as a testament to the power of a two color design. Black ink on white paper with a second metallic gold ink can go places that four-color fears to tread! Ironically, the B-side on the 12″ single was an extended version of “I Never Wanted To Begin” that escaped my scrutiny for many years, as recounted here.

When “Rage In Eden” appeared in late September, the sleeve was exquisite. Little did I know at the time that it was almost fully appropriated by Saville from an existing work. Compare and contrast below.

Chrysalis | UK | LP | 1981 | CDL 1338

  1. The Voice
  2. We Stand Alone
  3. Rage In Eden
  4. I Remember [Death In The Afternoon]
  5. The Thin Wall
  6. Stranger Within
  7. Accent On Youth
  8. The Ascent
  9. Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again]

Hervé Morvan | "Cinemonde" | ca. 1930-1939

Hervé Morvan [1917 – 1980] was a famous French poster artist and illustrator best known for his Perrier campaign in the 1950s. Saville’s use of metallic inks [carried over from “The Thin Wall” sleeve] is breathtaking on the UK pressing but I have to admit, that the coloring [and lighting] of the Morvan original is more striking to my eye. This was one of Saville’s boldest appropriations in a career liberally sprinkled with them and Morvan’s family were quite, uh, perturbed at his unauthorized usage. Subsequent pressings of “Rage In Eden” over the years varied from this original Morvan derived design due to the threat of lawsuit from the artist’s family.

Also of interest was the poster that came with the first pressing of the album in the UK and Spanish [“Furia En El Eden”] territories. There may have been others. It certainly wasn’t included in the US copy I also have, but I can vouch for the Spanish copy with poster since it’s also in  my collection.

“Rage In Eden” only had two singles and the second was “The Voice,” released approximately a month following the album release. This time the singles sleeves were identical, but the contents of the disc still varied.

 

Chrysalis | UK | 7" | 1981 | CHS 2559

  1. The Voice [edit]
  2. Paths + Angles

Chrysalis | UK | 12" | 1981 | CHS 12 2559

  1. The Voice [LP version]
  2. Paths + Angles
  3. All Stood Still [live @ Crystal Palace]
  4. Private Lives [live @ Crystal Palace]

The single sleeve art for “The Voice” got another use when Chrysalis licensed the Ultravox material to the Toshiba/EMI label for use on a compilation of B-sides and album cuts for the Japanese market. At roughly the same time as the “Rage In Eden” album was released, the “New Europeans” compilation was released in Japan to capitalize on a surprise hit single in Japan that Ultravox netted when “New Europeans” from the year-old “Vienna” album was licensed for use in a Japanese television ad.

Toshiba/EMI | Japan | LP | 1981 | WWS-81465

  1. The Voice [edit]
  2. I Never Wanted To Begin
  3. Paths + Angles
  4. Passionate Reply
  5. All Stood Still [live]
  6. Private Lives [live]
  7. Herr X
  8. Alles Klar
  9. Waiting
  10. New Europeans

As you can see, the art for “The Voice” just got slapped on a white background with some compatible typography to set it off. This was the last “Rage In Eden” related release of 1981. But the very next year saw a new variation used for later pressings of the album that wouldn’t raise the ire of Hervé Morvan’s family.

Chrysalis | UK | LP | 1982 | CDL 1338

The sleeve for “New Europeans” was now getting re-used as the “Rage In Eden” cover for the second pressing of the UK LP. Unsurprisingly, when it came time to release the album on CD in 1983 for the first time, this was the cover that got a variation. The typography and icon were scaled up for the smaller proportions, but the basic effect was the same as the Japanese album.

Chrysalis | UK | CD | 1983 | CDP 32 1338 2

  1. The Voice
  2. We Stand Alone
  3. Rage In Eden
  4. I Remember [Death In The Afternoon]
  5. The Thin Wall
  6. Stranger Within
  7. Accent On Youth
  8. The Ascent
  9. Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again]

As the track listing reveals, the contents were a straight dub from the original master tape with no bonus material. The album eventually received a US release and I was shocked to see that the cover used was the original design. Though the coloration lacks the metallic gold ink color and is more than a bit crude in comparison. One imagines that Chrysalis US was completely in the dark regarding the legal issues that previously scuttled this design in Europe and the UK.

Chrysalis | US | CD | 1988 | VK 41338, F2 21338

  1. The Voice
  2. We Stand Alone
  3. Rage In Eden
  4. I Remember [Death In The Afternoon]
  5. The Thin Wall
  6. Stranger Within
  7. Accent On Youth
  8. The Ascent
  9. Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again]

In 1997 the remastering and reissue of the album on expanded CD required another cover, this time the design was based on the poster that accompanied the original UK LP pressing, as seen below. Not a bad compromise, you’ll agree.

EMI Gold | UK | CD | 1997 | CDGOLD 1097

  1. The Voice
  2. We Stand Alone
  3. Rage In Eden
  4. I Remember [Death In The Afternoon]
  5. The Thin Wall
  6. Stranger Within
  7. Accent On Youth
  8. The Ascent
  9. Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again]
  10. I Never Wanted To Begin
  11. Paths + Angles
  12. I Never Wanted To Begin [extended version]

But this tale isn’t over yet. Of course, there was eventually an 2xCD remaster of the title in 2008 and by this time EMI squared the use of the Morvan face image with the artist’s representatives. The basic album was issued on disc one and the B-sides and unreleased material filled out disc two on tracks 6-13. The paperboard slipcase for the jewel box is pictured below.

Chrysalis/EMI | UK | 2xCD | 2008 | CHRX 1338

Disc 1

  1. The Voice
  2. We Stand Alone
  3. Rage In Eden
  4. I Remember [Death In The Afternoon]
  5. The Thin Wall
  6. Stranger Within
  7. Accent On Youth
  8. The Ascent
  9. Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again]

Disc 2

  1. I Never Wanted To Begin
  2. Paths + Angles
  3. I Never Wanted To Begin [extended version]
  4. Private Lives [live @ Crystal Palace]
  5. All Stood Still [live @ Crystal Palace]
  6. I Remember [Death In The Afternoon – live @ Hammersmith Odeon]
  7. Stranger Within [live @ Hammersmith Odeon]
  8. Rage In Eden [live @ Hammersmith Odeon]
  9. Accent On Youth [live @ Hammersmith Odeon]
  10. The Ascent [live @ Hammersmith Odeon]
  11. Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again – live @ Hammersmith Odeon]
  12. Stranger Within [work in progress mix]
  13. The Thin Wall [work in progress mix]

Finally, the reformation of Ultravox in 2009 for some of their first live shows in nearly 25 years prompted the release of the “Return To Eden” album earlier this year with 2 discs having the full release of their 2009 show at The Roundhouse along with a DVD [NTSC/0] of the full concert and a documentary on the group’s meetups and rehearsals for the tour.

Chrysalis/EMI | UK | 2xCD + DVD | 2010 | 631 5102, 50999 6 31510 2 2

Disc 1

  1. Astradyne
  2. Passing Strangers
  3. We Stand Alone
  4. Mr. X
  5. Visions In Blue
  6. The Thin Wall
  7. I Remember [Death In The Afternoon]
  8. Rage In Eden
  9. Lament

Disc 2

  1. One Small Day
  2. All Stood Still
  3. Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again]
  4. Vienna
  5. Reap The Wild Wind
  6. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
  7. Hymn
  8. Sleepwalk
  9. The Voice

Obviously, the Morvan estate was compensated again. That face has gotten a lot of usage in the last 29 years and this release brings the “Rage In Eden” story up to date. For now. This has been the first episode of “Designed By Peter Saville” and while the focus on the “Rage In Eden” period strayed fairly far afield, the next time we have one of these features it might not be so blurry.

– 30 –



About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to Designed By Peter Saville: The Many Faces Of “Rage In Eden”

  1. ronkanefiles says:

    Nice to see “Repulsion” name-checked. Shame there was never a (jazz) soundtrack LP for it. Polanski always put the music to good use in his films of the 60’s. I remember noticing that Ultravox had pinched his famous hallway walls. After John Foxx, it always seemed to me that Ultravox paid a lot of attention to their covers – while re-using designs etc.

    rk

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Actually, I still have yet to see “Repulsion.” The earliest Polanski film I’ve seen is “Fearless Vampire Killers.” Last year, fave rave Billie Ray Martin performed a live soundtrack to showings of “Repulsion” in select venues. That would have been great to experience!

      Like

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