Raymond Pettibon’s provocative imagery for Black Flag in the early 1980s remains some of the finest specimens of album art ever created. I can still remember seeing those CDs in the store all clustered together, hardly believing my eyes. Slip It In, My War.... I think my favorite cover was Family Man.
After Sonic Youth jumped to DGC after Daydream Nation, they saw an opportunity to give Pettibon a more mainstream platform. For Goo, SY’s first album for DGC which came out in 1990, Pettibon repurposed a 1966 news photograph of Maureen Hindley and her first husband, David Smith, who were witnesses in the Moors murderers trial in the U.K., to create an instant classic, indeed one of the most iconic album covers in rock history. Surely many among the DM readership can recite Pettibon’s ineluctably lurid caption by heart: “I stole my sister’s boyfriend. It was all whirlwind, heat, and flash. Within a week we killed my parents and hit the road.”
Something about Pettibon’s deadpan use of comic strip tropes and the curiously cocked head angles of the two principals has made the Goo cover a nearly irresistible object of appropriation and parody. The Tumblr Goo Mashups provides a handy collection of Goo-related images. There have been reworkings that reference Star Wars, Breaking Bad, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Adventure Time, Bob Dylan, The Simpsons, Twin Peaks, Tom Waits, and on and on.
Goo mashups are so plentiful that not even the Internet can contain them all. About two months ago I was in Stockholm and a guy passed me on the street wearing a Goo shirt addressing North Korea with its odious dictator Kim Jong Un on it. The banner text was something like “Double Pleasure,” as I recall. Never did find anything about it online. (I don’t think it’s this one.)
Here are a few choice examples:
Batman & Robin
Wild at Heart
Sonic Anal (whatever that is)
Sonic the Hedghog
Brangelina, based on a chance photo in which the celebrity couple happened to be postioned like Hindley & Smith
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Sonic Meth: Sonic Youth meets ‘Breaking Bad’ tee-shirt
Teen Age Riot: Ferocious Sonic Youth concert from German TV, 1996