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Simon Napier- Bell: David Sylvian & the Importance of Image

Click on the picture to order a copy



Simon Napier- Bell: “In 1979, I was in the States for some promo for Japan. This was long before the group had charted in the UK and they were still signed to Hansa. In America they were with Ariola, still in in its pre Clive Davis days and being run from LA by Jay Lasker, previously the VP of Motown.


There was next to no budget for this downtrodden promo trip and the group was staying in a bottom-class motel. We had to do a photo shoot for a new album sleeve (for upcoming Japan album Quiet Life) so I went to see Jay and cajoled him into giving me a budget for the group to buy clothes – $3,000. Not bad really, probably the equivalent of $15,000 today – so off they went to Rodeo Drive (no second best for them).


Two hours later they came back with just one item. David had commandeered the entire budget and bought himself a red jacket cut from leather as soft as satin. Everyone else just had the t-shirts they’d arrived in from England.”


“Never mind,” David told me, “The others don’t need to be in the picture.” So they weren’t. And the sleeve became iconic.” (click here to see the photo: )



Simon Napier- Bell’s next book is TA-RA-RA-BOOM-DE-AY a complete history of the music business.


Pledge now by ordering a copy here:



click to watch on youtube (outside Germany)

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