YOU GOT GOOD TASTE! The Very Best of The Cramps’ Album/Single Covers

By Neve Robinson

Good lord, I love the Cramps (like any respectable Bad Girl Should). They’re hyper-sexualised, no holds barred, grimy punk perfection. Shit loads of leopard print, shit loads of leather, shit loads of stillettos. Endearingly sleazy. To love the Cramps is to celebrate one’s own filth in all its grungy glory. And what better way to pay tribute to the kings and queen of camp than to traverse through their endless library of excellent album covers? Featuring predominantly the blisteringly beautiful Poison Ivy herself, these covers are some of the most iconic of their genre, and epitomize everything the Cramps are about. Here are ten of their best album or single artworks, from the bootleg to the bikini-clad girls with machine guns in hand…

10 THE CRAMPS / BOOTLEG ALBUM: TALES FROM THE CRAMPS / 1977-79

This comic book-esque cover for an amalgamation of their earlier works is a belter. The muted colour palette and art are reminiscent of slightly later punk album cover artists like Raymond Pettibon, who did the Sonic Youth Goo cover and some of the Black Flag covers. I also really enjoy the idea of them knocking around a graveyard with a fuck-off spotty guitar. BIG fan.

9. SMELL OF FEMALE

This is definitely one of their most iconic covers, and I absolutely love the seedy sex show vibes – not to mention those to-die-for crushed velvet scarlet gloves. My only qualm, and completely unintentionally so I’m sure, is that it reminds me far too much of that XXX sex shop that got knocked down recently on Tib Street, Manchester. Perhaps brings down the immersion of a late seventies sextravaganza of the cover when I’m just thinking of a drunken urination spot in NQ.

8. LOOK MOM NO HEAD!

What a name, what an album. Iggy Pop’s feature on Miniskirt Blues makes this a record you can’t forget. Set in a sinister house of mirrors, we get multiple Ivys necking multiple wines. You love to see it, really. It’s a little less sleazy than some of their other covers though, and I like a bit of filth in my punk single/album art. Maybe if she had a weapon or a bikini of sorts it would be a bit campier and more appealing to me. I’m easy to please (or sleaze).

7. WHAT’S INSIDE A GIRL?

The single cover to What’s Inside A Girl? really shows us, erm, well, what’s inside a girl. Lux’s x-ray eyes gives us a cracking view of Ivy’s pelvis, something I’ve always wanted to take a gander at. All jokes a side, while it’s a pretty paint-by-numbers cover, I do like the campiness. I can see this being a pretty cool advert on a billboard, you know? Or maybe in a doctor’s office…

6. FIENDS OF DOPE ISLAND

Their final album bears a cracking cover. Lux looks like a sort of Nosferatu character – incredibly intimidating and yet undeniably sexy, I shan’t lie. I’d love a black vinyl pressing of this record, it looks like it’s been fished out of the Black Lagoon. I really think it is emblematic of that gothic side that the Cramps capitalised on in their later years, and reminiscent of old horror films of yore. Big into it.

5. DATE WITH ELVIS

Oh, yes. Now we are talking. Probably their most iconic album, A Date With Elvis gives us the most 70s pornography-feel cover of the bunch, really. It looks straight off the back of a seedy VHS found in the 18+ section of the local offy, and I love that. The satin background makes me want to reach out and stroke it. Satanic symbolism never looked so sexy!

4. FLAMEJOB

A nineties record, Flamejob is by no means their best work, even it is rather impressively produced by Interior and Ivy themselves. However, the impressiveness of this cover is undeniable. A sleek all-PVC number with killer stillettos and flamethrower? The polished power of this stance sticks in the mind, that’s exactly what you need from album art, surely – even if Mean Machine is one of the only tracks really worth a damn on it.

3. STAY SICK!

Have you ever seen a sexier cover? It’s raw, it’s animalistic, it’s sexually perverse and SICK!!! The zebra print really makes this record pop and amps up the camp. Ivy’s hair style is particularly fabulous in that this is arguably their most psychobilly record (even featuring a cover of Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock), and she has the 50’s rockabilly pinup girl hair down to a T. 12/10.

2. CAN YOUR PUSSY DO THE DOG?

Well? Can it? One of the sexiest songs by The Cramps surely deserves one of their sexiest covers, and Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? does not disappoint. The illustrations are almost cave paintings and primal, which more than fits our tiger girl and her incredible striped suit. I would KILL for an outfit like this, seriously. The colours are completely clashing and yet somehow completely work. Here kitty kitty, you better move along…

1. BIKINI GIRLS WITH MACHINE GUNS

Ah yes, the magnum opus of Cramps covers. Truly a sight to behold. It has everything one could want from a punk record’s cover really – a badass woman wearing a badass sequin bikini with a badass machine gun in hand. And don’t even get me started on that lush wallpaper. If they sold this in B&Q, that would be well plastered in my living room let me tell you. From the beloved aforementioned Stay Sick, this single cover more than packs a punch and does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s bold, it’s beautiful, it’s bloody cool. I don’t need to say much more on the matter other than that I am simply desperate to be this woman. The Cramps forever and ever, man.

3 replies to “YOU GOT GOOD TASTE! The Very Best of The Cramps’ Album/Single Covers

  1. Great selection, I remember having Bikini Girls on shaped pic disc back in the day. And I loved the Off The Bone 3D cover, not their best but iconic all the same. Going to give them a spin again.

    Like

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