Having created imagery that helped define not one, but three important pop cultural moments, Key is something of a Zelig-like figure. It was his surrealist photograph that appeared on the cover of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells – the album that launched Virgin.
Key then exerted a major influence on punk – for which Oldfield represented everything that was wrong with music. His central role in the creation of the Sex Pistols’ album art and promotional material is often overlooked.
And as punk became post-punk, he worked with Peter Saville to produce some of the most loved sleeve art of the 80s and 90s for New Order and OMD. And he even found time for more mainstream, but no less-loved artists such as Peter Gabriel (who Key and Saville transformed into a contemporary pop star for the cover of the multimillion-selling So), Wham and Phil Collins.
On September 20, to coincide with the opening of Trevor Key’s Top 40, an exhibition of Key’s album sleeve photography, Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic, Scott King and Key’s former assistant, photographer Toby McFarlan Pond, will join CR Editor Patrick Burgoyne to discuss Key’s work.