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BONEY JAMES – SWEET THING

This is one of six covers I did for Boney James and by far the most controversial. We’d met when I was hired to work on the package for his Seduction album and he’d had something in mind – an image of a sexy lady – while I suggested that, rather than showing the obvious, he’d be better off with taking a more metaphorical approach to the cover image (a scene of moths fluttering about a light bulb). He was very happy with the results and we agreed to adopt that approach for the next several records. For Sweet Thing, the piece of fruit you see was cut in half and the pit taken out. The original design had a black and white photo by James Minchin on the cover. Nothing was done to this piece of fruit – no retouching – just shot as-is. After seeing the photo, a very upset head of the Warner Bros Jazz label called me and said, “You can’t show a vagina on the cover of this album,” to which I replied “that it’s not a vagina, it’s a piece of fruit.” The conversation went back and forth for two weeks, with the final compromise being to use a color photo because they felt it looked “less human” than the black and white version!

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