Sunday Times Magazine January 1970 | Colin King

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This is Colin King's famous Sunday Times Cover Commission from 1969, available as a print for the first time, exclusive to RoomFifty.

The Sunday Times Beatles cover, January 11th 1970 was a prestigious commission so early in my career. I was 26 years old and just a year out of the Royal College of Art, London.

Ironically, I wasn't a big Beatles fan at the time, although as a student I had saved up to buy the Sgt Pepper LP. It was Dylan's songs which got me hooked then and they still do.

Michael Rand, the art director, had given me carte blanche to produce a cover idea. I remember being more nervous about visiting the Apple building than actually producing the illustration. I shared a taxi to Saville Row with Philip Norman, who was to write the article about Apple. Later, Philip went on to become an acclaimed Beatles Biographer. He seemed un-phased at the prospect of meeting the Beatles and his relaxed conversation put me at my ease.

Unfortunately, The Beatles were not in the building that day, but I think Derek Taylor their publicist was there. The staff were mostly friendly and very laid back. As I toured the building, I made some notes and did a few sketches. (It had not occurred to me to take a camera).

I remember being mesmerised by the amount of people milling around and was fascinated by the music equipment about the place. I worked on the illustration, using my sketch drawings and Philip’s draft article as a guide. Sadly, my initial pencil roughs have not survived and the Sunday Times kept my Artwork.

I used the cutaway idea as a means of conveying the diverse activities at Apple. The strange perspective and blank doorways expressed the surreal atmosphere that pervaded the building. In retrospect, I regret not meeting The Beatles, but there is always the music.

Colin King

Limited edition of 125 in each size (plus 5 artist's proofs), printed with genuine Epson ink on Epson enhanced matte paper. Numbered and sent with a certificate of authenticity. Available framed in a choice of black, white or natural; or unframed for your choice of frame.

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