Only available on the 12-inch format, the photo showed the group against the backdrop of the Centre’s exterior glass curtain wall, with Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor standing around one of the distinctive planters. The photo was bathed in shadowy purple, in keeping with the lead track being a club-oriented ‘Night Version’ of ‘Planet Earth’.
The photo was was taken by Andy Earl, then just starting his career, and who would go on to become an important figure in the music industry, shooting memorable sleeve images for Pink Floyd, Prince, Gary Numan, Madonna, Johnny Cash and countless others.
The sleeve’s design was created by Assorted iMaGes, the design company established by Malcolm Garrett in 1977 after designing the ‘Orgasm Addict’ sleeve for Buzzcocks. Garrett’s and Assorted iMaGes’ distinctive design style would imprint themselves deeply on 1980s music culture in the UK, with sleeves for Simple Minds, Heaven 17 and Peter Gabriel.
There’s a high likelihood that it you look through your record collection (or your parents’ record collection), you will find numerous examples of Earl and Garrett’s work. ‘Planet Earth’, however, caught them both toward the beginning of what continue to be important careers in photography, design and the way that presentation powerfully draws us to music releases.
Duran Duran archive photos: Andy Earl
Interview and additional photography: Mat Smith