What if Your Favorite Album was a Book?

Rock classics from from Arcade Fire to Zeppelin, reimagined as book covers.

The full library of Christophe Gowans' literary musical covers lives here. He's also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


What if your favorite rock album was a book? Christophe Gowans was wondering the same thing. “I got to thinking, well, what would those records look like if they actually were books, if the name of the album was actually the title of a novel or reference book?” Gowans, a graphic designer who lives in London, did just that, reimagining everything from Air to Zeppelin as something you might find on your shelf or in a used bookstore. After creating the covers, he digitally ages them—”I know my way round a retouch or two”—to look as well-loved as the LP sleeves and CD booklets that accompany their musical originals.

The results are as idiosyncratic as the albums themselves. Prince’s Purple Rain is transformed into a sci-fi fantasy by one P. Rogers Nelson. The Beatles’ Abbey Road feels like a well-mannered Penguin Classic. Arcade Fire‘s The Suburbs looks like a Book of the Month Club hardcover selection circa 1955. Patti Smith’s Horses trades its famous Mapplethorpe portrait for the look of a popular series of kids’ reference books. And the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks looks like something you’d stuff under your mattress (and then wash your hands).

The full library of Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

The full library of Christophe Gowans’ literary musical covers lives here. He’s also collected his works in a book, The Record Books: Volume 1.

 

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate