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.