Suicide was a New York-based musical duo, consisting of Martin Rev, and Alan Vega. Suicide were very stylistically influential on many artists and entire music genres that emerged in the early 1980s and in years following. Suicide has a very unique sound. Raw vocals, with intermittent screams, 1950s drum machines and early synthesizers, all combined with a bizarre array of lyrical subjects from comic book characters (Ghost Rider) to claustrophobia and poverty turning a man to murder (Frankie Teardrop).
Suicide’s 1977 self-titled record Has been repressed and reissued numerous times, the cover art stays consistent for each release, with the exception of the cassette recording, which still shows the iconic original design, only slightly altered.
Timothy Jackson designed this iconic cover for the band in 1977, very little additional information about him is known. Jackson’s first mockup of the album art was used for publicity in Punk magazine. While the mock-up was in black and white, indications of where colour would be are visible.
The artwork, in my opinion, fits very well with the way the album sounds and represents the band. A limited palette with one very sharp colour mirrors the musical style, while the crude yet very beautiful work done below the text too, seems appropriate to represent the subject matter covered in the songs on the album, as well as accurately, but respectfully gives tribute to the band’s name.
The design done for this album has been reproduced many times over the decades, on shirts posters and other merchandise, as well as for rereleases of the album. I myself own two reproductions of the image, in the form of a record sleeve, and an insert that was included with the record.
“Suicide Master Release.” Discogs, www.discogs.com/Suicide-Suicide/master/22168.
Wray, Daniel Dylan. “’It Was like Going into the Trenches’: How Suicide Rioted against Plastic Punk.” ‘It Was like Going into the Trenches’: How Suicide Rioted against Plastic Punk, The Guardian, 18 July 2017, www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jul/18/suicide-23-minutes-over-brussels-alan-vega-martin-rev-punk-riot-1978.
Walrod, Jim. “Suicide Album Advertisement Mock-Up for Punk Magazine.” Furniture Pimp: The Collection of Jim Walrod , Wright, 3 May 2018, www.wright20.com/auctions/2018/05/furniture-pimp-the-collection-of-jim-walrod/136.
Siegel, Evan. “Punk Legend Alan Vega Was So Much More Than ‘Ghost Rider’ .” Milk XYZ, 1 Aug. 2016, milk.xyz/feature/punk-legend-alan-vega-was-so-much-more-than-ghost-rider/.