Dead Kennedys artwork

While paging through a stack of newspapers and magazines I found in the cellar of a house in Parktown that was about to be demolished in 2011 – I found the source for an image from Dead Kennedys iconic album ‘Give me convenience or give me death’

The publications were all from 1952 – 1956 an included copies of Sunday Times. Farmers Weekly, Femina, Illustrated, The Star and Outspan. The one featuring the image was American magazine Collier’s from November 8, 1952. The image of a man’s face wrapped in barbed-wire is from an advert for Barbasol – a shaving cream for tough ‘whiskers’

Barbasol print ad from 1952

Barbasol print ad from 1952

The Dead Kennedys album was released in June 1987 and was a kind of ‘Best Of’ featuring tracks from other albums and unreleased material. I had part of this album on tape and all my best songs were there: California uber alles, Too drunk to fuck & Holiday in Cambodia. The other side of the tape was a still unknown punk band (unkown to me anyway) and part of The Cult’s ‘Electric’

The DK sleeve was designed by Winston Smith who appears to have designed many of the labels sleeves (Alternative Tentacles). The image below is from his site which can be visited here

Dead Kennedys album cover

Dead Kennedys album cover

From the Wikipedia article

The album consists of songs (or in some cases, different versions of songs) that were not released on the band’s studio albums. The original vinyl version had tracks 16 and 17 on an extra flexi disc. The album was certified gold by both BPI and the RIAA in December 2007. The title is a play on the famous ultimatum by Patrick Henry, “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!“, and is intended as a commentary on American consumerism. Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death was the last Dead Kennedys album that Biafra approved the production of, which also led to it being the last album released through Alternative Tentacles.

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