New book features single sleeves from the 1980s

The following is the first in a series by author Matthew Chojnacki, who has written a wonderful new book featuring artwork from many noteworthy singles from the 1980s. This is the music that I grew up with and I was excited to see a quality, full-color book that includes many of my favorite titles and artists.

Put the Needle on the Record is currently available for pre-order through and the author’s website. Twenty percent of the royalties will be donated to the Keep a Child Alive
foundation, which provides first class AIDS care, treatment,
surrounding support, and food for children and families affected by
HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.

The book has a stunning layout and design and a large percentage of the proceeds will go to a very good cause. With the holidays are just around the corner, what could be a better gift for an album art aficionado?

— Fritz

Thanks to Fritz for the opportunity to guest blog here. I’ve been following this site for years.

I wanted to let everyone know about an ’80s single cover art book named Put the Needle on the Record that I just
finished writing. The book contains over 250 7″ and 12″ single sleeves from the 1980s, with original commentary on
the artwork from 125+ musicians, graphic designers, photographers, and record execs—everyone from Annie Lennox
to Gary Numan to Yoko Ono. Additionally, the book includes a foreword by Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters) and an
afterword by Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran).

Buy Now
I have quite a large collection of vinyl singles, and over the years continued to dig through my stacks to absorb
the artwork. However, while album cover art books are ever-present at bookstores, I was surprised to see the lack
of attention directed at the 45. 

With the dawn of MTV and music videos, the ’80s in particular had artists focusing more than ever on packaging and
design, and with this decade came stunning vinyl single images that rivaled the quality and impact of LP covers.
However, while ’80s LP covers continued on, albeit in a smaller form (CD-sized to now 1″ x 1″ iPod images), single
sleeves vanished within a few weeks or months, depending on their success. I am pleased to bring these images
back, along with never-before-heard stories from the artists behind them, not to mention a selection of banned sleeves
that never saw the light of day. 
I went one step further, pairing sleeves that were analogous in theme and design. My intention was to pack a
visual punch with every page turned. For example, as a teaser for the book, below is Cyndi Lauper’s stunning 7″
for What’s Going On, lensed by Annie Leibovitz and based on the Man Ray photograph Larmes (Tears). It’s amazing
in it’s own right, but I thought it look on new life when placed next to Luther Vandross’ similar extreme close-up
for It’s Over Now (and, of course, Vandross passed away in 2005). I have to say that I got a little chill when
initially seeing these images next to each other, as if they were meant to be viewed as a pair. 


The book contains 125 additional such pairings, and I can’t wait for you all to see it. 
— Matthew 


Twitter: @RecordNeedle

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