Billboard magazine recently showcased its esteemed ‘Best Album Covers of All Time’ list, and among the legendary album jackets are entries from both Bob Marley and the Wailers as well as the enigmatic Grace Jones.
Grace Jones’ “Island Life,” a hit compilation album from 1985, proudly sits at #27. Meanwhile, Bob Marley’s iconic “Rastaman Vibration,” which saw the light of day in 1976, secured the #22 spot. A point of pride: the artwork for “Rastaman Vibration” was the creation of Jamaican graphic maestro and photographer, Neville Garrick.
In a recent interview, an ecstatic Garrick reflected on the achievement, noting, “I’m very excited. It was my first album cover for Bob Marley, who later ascended as a global musical icon.” A versatile talent, Garrick is also recognized for his art direction in the 1970s and designing numerous album covers for Marley. He’s also famously linked with major reggae events and artists, including the Reggae Sunsplash festival and bands like Burning Spear and Steel Pulse.
Diving into the story of “Rastaman Vibration’s” cover, Garrick reminisced about a specific encounter with Chris Blackwell of Island Records, leading to a revision of the initial design. He said, “Bob Marley felt the first design resembled another of my works. So, with a tight deadline from Chris, I focused on a new concept that emphasized the roots connection. The moment Bob saw it and acknowledged, ‘A di album cover dat?’ I knew we had something special.”
Following this, Garrick’s talent took him to Los Angeles to finalize the cover art with specialized printers. Among his numerous creations for Marley are revered albums like “Exodus,” “Survival,” and “Kaya.” Beyond design, Garrick’s contribution to Marley’s legacy continues as the founder and executive director of the Bob Marley Museum. In recognition of his significant impact, he will soon be honored as a commander of the Order of Distinction.
“Rastaman Vibration” notably marked Marley’s entry into the top 10 of the Billboard 200 Albums chart. With hits like “Roots Rock Reggae” and “Crazy Baldhead,” the album achieved gold certification in the US and UK.
Grace Jones, in collaboration with Jean-Paul Goude, gave the world the unforgettable cover for “Island Life.” An artistic marvel, it features Jones in a collage of dynamic poses, resulting in a cover that’s hard to forget. The album itself boasts of hits like “My Jamaican Guy” and “Pull up to The Bumper,” and has secured gold and platinum certifications in multiple countries.
Topping Billboard’s prestigious list is “The Velvet Underground & Nico” from 1967. Other remarkable albums that have made the cut include classics from Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Madonna, and Marvin Gaye.