From page 33 of Classic Rock Magazine April 2011
Where that iconic front cover came from.
As Warner Bros worked towards a release date of December 28th 1983 in order that 1984 would hit stores before the turn of the New Year, one of the last tasks remaining for the band would be to find the perfect cover for what the record company hoped would be the band’s blockbuster album. But, as perfect as that cover now seems, it came about entirely by accident.
As the cover artist Margo Nahas recalls, it was Rick Seireeni, a creative director at the band’s label, who first contacted her and asked if she would work on something quite different. “It was a chrome design using dancing figures that someone else – someone in the Warner Brothers art department – had probably comped together from existing art. I had done so much work in chrome by that time – and this was before computers – that I couldn’t imagine doing all the reflections than an illustration like that involved.” Margo’s husband and fellow designer, Jay Vigon, nonetheless decided to take some of her other work over to the band for them to look at. Flicking through Margo’s work, the band immediately seized upon the now famous illustration that would eventually adorn both the album, and its first single, Jump.
The model for the illustration was four-yearold Carter Helm (now aged 31), the son of Margo’s best friend. “He looked like the classic boy model. So when it came time to photograph him, I brought along some hair goop and some candy and some candy cigarettes. I put the goop in his hair to try to make it look something like a Mohawk.” Speaking to insideheavy.com in 2010, Carter himself reflected on the effect this album cover has had on his life. “It’s kinda mind-blowing to think how many homes my picture’s in – someone even sent me a picture of a tattoo someone had with that picture covering their entire calf. It’s hard to fathom that my face is kinda plastered all over the place like that.”
Amongt Margo Nahas’s other album cover work dating back to the early 70s were illustrations and logos for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Toto, Rick James, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Sammy Hagar (the logo on his 1984 album, VOA ). Margo’s husband Jay Vigon, meanwhile, went on to work on early David Lee Roth solo records, Crazy From The Heat , Eat ‘Em And Smile , and Skyscraper , including the sleeve of Roth’s 1985 single Just A Gigolo/ I Ain’t Got Nobody , which itself appeared as a wry take on Margo’s 1984 illustration, with Roth actually sporting a pair of wings.