What's hot, sweaty, and filled with sexual innuendo? I'm talking about disco—what did you think I was talking about?—but I'm also talking about the design that was created to sell this era of suddenly decadent lifestyles.
The new book Disco: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Cover Art of Disco Records includes over 2000 (!) album covers from the 70s and 80s, with at least 95 percent of them featuring scantily-clad and/or greased-up female body parts. There are interviews with musicians, designers and producers from the era, and the covers themselves include so many oh-so familiar names like Donna Summer, Chic, Gloria Gaynor, Grace Jones, Isaac Hayes, and Kool and the Gang, as well as hundreds of more obscure acts.
With disco seeing somewhat of a resurgence—have you heard Giorgio Moroder's new single?—plus the Memphis-esque design of the era also having its own comeback, the art doesn't actually feel that visually dated anymore; if anything, it will be inspiring to the current generation of designers. But if all this talk is making you nostalgic for the smell of moist Spandex and the glittery spray of a mirrorball, don't worry: There's a soundtrack to accompany the book as well.
The Canadian label was best known for Lime, a husband-and-wife group headed by Denis and Denyse LePage.
This 1977 album was art directed by Cyd Kilbey with the cover illustration by Bruce Emmett. Plus dancing tips on the back cover!
Racy! This 1978 album was designed by Glenn Ross with photography by Buddy Rosenberg and Bob Levy.
This African-influenced disco album was produced by the legendary Richie Rome in 1980. Illustration by William Rieser, design by Vartan.
Roller disco, the most important subset of disco. Design by Gribbitt, Murry Whiteman and Michael Kevin Lee, photography by Scott Hensel.
Le Pamplemousse (French for "grapefruit") had a bunch of hits, this one in 1979. Design by The Committee, and photography by James Mares.
The 1978 disco-salsa crossover featured art direction by Stan Hochstadt, photography by Frank Kelleogy and design by Lori L. Lambert.