The Most Beautiful Cover Art from David Bowie's Singles, 1972-1984


You may have noticed that we’re big fans of David Bowie here at Flavorpill, and as such we were excited (and just a bit jealous) to read about a new exhibition of the artwork from the singles he released between 1972 and 1984. In total, Bowie released 45 45s during this time, almost all of them good — and their artwork chronicles their creator’s aesthetic evolution, from Ziggy Stardust through the Thin White Duke and the cracked Pierrot of “Ashes to Ashes.” The exhibition is co-curated by the Vinyl Factory and designer/punk historian Toby Mott, and we asked Mott to choose his favorite sleeves and share some recollections of the times they evoke. Click through to check out his picks.

“Rebel Rebel”

Photography by Mick Rock, RCA Germany, 1974

“Dancing at the school disco and stamping our feet to ‘Rebel Rebel’ brings back memories of flares and Dunlop green flash plimsoles. At home I listen to records as I study my homework, or at least try or pretend to. Between writing and daydreaming I consume music like it’s food.”

“Young Americans”

Photography by Eric Stephen Jacobs, RCA France, 1975

“This tune was another signpost for me to go to America, where all seemed possible. I last saw Bowie perform at a stadium concert during the Glass Spider Tour in New York 1987. I was house painting for Martin Scorsese, who gave me tickets.”

“Sound and Vision”

Still from The Man Who Fell to Earth, Germany, 1977

“This is one of the tracks from Low, which was a melodic break from my punk diet. Bowie is the only artist in my record collection who could be called a ‘pop star’, although I would never see him that way. To me he is connected to Kraftwerk and Joy Division.”


Photography by Masayoshi Sukita, Germany, 1977

“In my bedroom I listen to Heroes with my girlfriend Sophie, often in the pitch-black at full volume. We are teenagers, we make love with an intense narcissism.”

“Helden / V2 Schneider”

RCA Germany, 1977

“This song awakens memories of my first visit to Berlin — we wait in line to cross Check Point Charlie and slowly inch into the grey East, where posters and billboards depict American nuclear aggression. We stare at the Brandenburg Gate, groups of soldiers goose-stepping past.”

“Beauty and the Beast”

Photography by Masayoshi Sukita, Germany, 1977

“Another track from Heroes. The album’s lyrics articulate my punk romance, with the added allure of being recorded in the divided city of Berlin. The Cold War progresses and this isolated city-island appears to exist in a vacuum, a place to escape.”

“Breaking Glass”

Photography by Gilles Riberolles, Spain, 1978

“This reminds me of the Stage tour 1978, Bowie is one of a few artists who manages to cross the great Rubicon from glam into the new wave.”

“Boys Keep Swinging”

Photography by Brian Duffy/Art direction by Derek Boshier, France, 1979

“Memories of Berlin, where nights are spent drinking lager and smoking cigarettes at Cafe Einstein and Paris Bar. Later, we dance to electro new wave at the Zoo nightclub.”


Design by Edward Bell, Germany, 1980

“I see those same lights from The Stage concert at Rusty Egan’s Saturday nightclub, The Playground at the Lyceum, now flashing in sequence to The Human League surrounded by asymmetric hair.”

“Ashes to Ashes”

Photography by Brian Duffy, Germany, 1980

“I’m wearing suits and going to the Blitz Club. Bowie is the crown prince of the New Romantic scene, Boy George and Steve Strange his ambitious courtiers. He comes to the club one night to cast for his apocalyptic disco video ‘Ashes to Ashes.'”