What if Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? had been a business self-help book spun off a reality TV show titled “The Experience”? If Robert Zimmerman (that is, Bob Dylan) had penned a pulpy 1958 thriller about a lover’s spat titled Blood on the Tracks? If Bruce Springsteen’s anthem-filled rock classic Born to Run had instead been an emotional autobiography chronicling “his rise from squalor to victory in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics”?
U.K.-based graphics designer Christophe Gowans deserves serious accolades for re-imagining dozens of iconic albums as stylized, chuckle-worthy works of prose — figurative transliterations, if you will.
Like Patti Smith’s Horses, here a DK Publishing-style children’s reference book “concerning all things equine.” Alas, writes Gowans, “many of the illustrations within have been disfigured with juvenile amendments and additions, in biro.”
Or try The Beatles’ Abbey Road: a yellowing, water-stained paperback about a pair of Catholic sisters growing up in postwar Britain. “Guess what?” says Gowans. “It doesn’t end well.”
And remember all the worry about acid rain? Now there’s Prince’s Purple Rain: a sci-fi classic (authored by P. Rogers Nelson) about corrosive precipitation “caused by a comet ploughing into Uranus” (just go with it) that stunts the growth of every creature on Earth. Thankfully there’s hope, says Gowans: “When a group of pygmies realize that the peach is the only plant unaffected, they found a new society, with the peach stone as its currency.”