The Illustrated Aldridge

Alan Aldridge was the illustrator whose airbrushed images captured the ethereal essence and comic brilliance of the Beatles’ lyrics in a two-volume work titled “The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics” (1969 and 1971), which he edited and  included the graphics of other significant illustrators along with his own. Although Aldridge’s art is not psychedelic in the San Francisco style, it is certainly drug-inspired in a fab-gear-mod-London way — the pictorial analogue to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” They were an essential document of the era and an inspiration for many aspiring hippies, like me.

Now he has a website that his full of his kandy koated kaleidoscopic kraziness. And it can be found here, along with the airbrushed fantasies seen on this post and more (like his sneaker designed for Paul Smith in 2009). And read my EYE magazine story on Aldridge here including this excerpt from a conversation with John Lennon referencing his first set of illustrated lyrics:

‘Is this Alan Aldridge?’ asked the caller with the distinctive Liverpudlian nasal twang.

‘Yeah this is me,’ Aldridge replied, knowing immediately who it was.

‘This is me, too, John Lennon; I just wanted to say I reeeaaallly like your work.’ 1

‘Thanks I like yours, too!’

‘D’you sell stuff?’

Aldridge was caught off guard, as he never seriously thought of selling his work.

‘Yeah I got a few drawings!’ he said.

‘Maybe I’ll come by sometime, see ’em?’

‘Sure, I’m in Holborn.’

‘Oh by the way, yer got “Dr Robert” all wrong!’

A week later John Lennon visited Aldridge’s studio in John Street off Theobalds Road, on his way to Abbey Road.

One thought on “The Illustrated Aldridge

  1. Gary Will

    As a long time admirer of Alan Aldridge, I was delighted to have been in London a couple of years back where the Design Museum had a quite amazing exhibition of his work. In fact, I believe it was voted number one exhibition in the capital for that year. A short while later, we were honored to have the great man give a lecture at the university I teach at in Illinois – Bradley. I had the opportunity to have several conversations while he was in town and discovered his exhibition was traveling around the globe from Europe to South America. However, it appeared that not a single North American city had picked up on it! Now I’m aware that he was/is very much a British icon, but he moved to the States in the late 70’s, early 80’s and went on to work on projects such as House of Blues, Hard Rock etc. Plus a host of band identities and movie related projects, so he has plenty to show this side of the pond too.

    So I guess I’m just mystified why Chicago, NY, or San Fran etc. Have not invited him to bring the exhibit to their cities, when I have little doubt it would be a huge success and a once in a lifetime opportunity for baby boomers to reminisce and today’s youth to be amazed at the incredible talent and body of work on show at this wonderful exhibition.

    And if anyone knows a city in the US who is planning to host the Alan Aldridge exhibition, I would love to know 🙂

    Gary Will
    Bradley University