By the time Oasis had got to '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?' it was obvious they were about to go stratospheric and the record would sell a boatload. As a result, the budget for packaging was increased and as sleeve designer I was delighted to hear the record would come in a triple panel gatefold cover! With this in mind, I set myself two tasks, one was of course to conjure up the front and back sleeve, but just as important in my mind, was the vast expanse that was the triple inner.
Below - My original 1995 Creation records copy of 'Morning Glory' showing the inner three panels.
A large title solution, sleeve notes and lyrics were first applied leaving almost two full panels for imagery. Whilst not yet the household names they would become, I figured most fans knew what the band looked like so no need to have typical head shots, we could afford to be a bit more creative. This led to a photo session for each member of the band. At that time, getting all the band together for a photo shoot was not as easy as it sounded – they were mad busy, gigging, doing promotions, recording – it never seemed to end. You’ve also got to bear in mind that unlike today when images can be created and then published online in a matter of minutes, the manufacturing and promotional process took weeks if not months, meaning we were working at least six weeks up front of release to deliver artwork. In 1995 from the end of January to the end of March they were in the States on tour, from March to June they were recording the Morning Glory album & having some rare time off and in the Summer they were doing festivals and travelling all around Europe and Japan.
Below - Shot of Liam's eye applied to the album promotional teaser poster.
We had to shoot them wherever and whenever we could. I wasn’t yet living in London, so had to travel down for the Morning Glory sleeve test sessions and final shoot. We found we could grab Liam and Alan White while I was staying at the Copthorne Tara Hotel for the test session. The ‘Liam Eye’ shot that was used not only on the sleeve interior, but promotional posters for the album, was taken while I photographed him staring into the old-fashioned looking bellows camera seen below. This shot is now available for the first time in 3 sizes, both framed and unframed HERE
Below - Photograph of Liam being photographed, London 1995.
Liam was photographed in the morning, which didn’t stop him from enjoying a pint – which can be seen by his feet! We shot Alan through a mirror to give the ‘double’ effect. So that was two down, three to go – Noel, Guigs and Bonehead would be photographed at a later date.
Liam's eye - taken while looking into the bellows camera in the pic above.
Alan White - Shot scanned directly from the original album sleeve.
The only window we could find for the remaining three was when they had some down time at the Irvine Beach gig on the 15th of July 1995. This then posed another problem – as everything was shot on film back then, it was impossible to review the shots of a session on the spot on a laptop, you had to wait until at least the following day to get the developed results back and that was if you happened to be in a city with a professional quick turn around photo lab. If for any reason the shots weren’t up to it we would be screwed as the band were off to Europe then Japan. I had foreseen this, so for the sake safety of uniformity all band members were photographed using large format Polaroids – which developed instantly, solving the approval problem, and in any case had a beautiful, slightly ‘soft’ quality to the images.
Below - Guigs photographed in the band's dressing room Portakabin at Irvine Beach.
Guigs was pictured against the venetian blinds in the band’s Portakabin dressing room, backstage at Irvine Beach whilst Noel was shot in the same Portakabin against the yellow door.
Below - The back of Noel's head, a shot that was also applied to the record label.
The inner packaging of the original Creation Records version of the record has three shots of each band member. In Noel’s case I had decided they would be one of the hand he used to strum his guitar, one of his guitar being held by his ‘fret’ hand and one of the back of his head. The shot of the back of his head I also chose to adorn the label of the record itself. Noel at the time was often quoted about his dislike of the ‘Corporate Pigs’ that ran the major record labels. Whilst Oasis were signed to Creation and founder Alan McGee would definitely NOT have been regarded by Noel as being in the ’Corporate Pig’ bracket, Creation were ultimately owned by Sony, a massive corporate entity. We all realised that ‘Morning Glory’ would be huge and all the ‘Corporate Pigs’ would be presented with platinum discs celebrating the record’s success. Each one of those platinum records would bear the label of the record, which depicted Noel turning his back – showing only the back of his head, a veiled snub to the corporates.
Below - The back of Noel's head on the record label.
By the time we had set up both Guigs and Noel’s shots we ran out of time to shoot Bonehead and there was no way the photos could be done after the gig – the adrenalin would have been flowing after what was Oasis first really big shows and everybody was in party mode.
Another date and location had to be found for the final piece of the jigsaw – Bonehead.
We came really close to the deadline wire with this one, but, despite being a crazy time – we never ever missed a production deadline. We found Bonehead was available to nip into Orinoco Studios, where Owen Morris was mixing the album in South East London to have his shots done. Unfortunately, when the day arrived, Bonehead was full of flu and even by his own admission, looked terrible. But, as he realised we were close to deadline and is the total consummate professional, he decided the show must go on. We found a box of tissues on top of a piano in the studio and Bonehead rocked back and forth pretending to be sneezing to create a blurred image so as not to look like shit in the final pics!
Below - Bonehead and the box of tissues.
So there you have it, five band members, three locations, three different dates – one album packaged.
Prints of the shot of Liam being photographed being photographed can be found HERE
More Oasis gear including signed pieces HERE
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