A2 — Average White Band
Alan Gorrie from the Average White Band takes time out from touring to tell BLJB the story behind the cheeky, enduring logo he designed on a napkin way back in 1974.
The idea for the logo was to simply make a metal badge, de rigueur for all early-70s bands. We had used John Pasche’s ‘golliwog-in-negative’ design for the badges from the prior ‘Show Your Hand’ album, and I wanted something new for this next project.
The first line drawing I did was literally on a napkin — a piece I wish I had in my possession — and somehow it found its way to Atlantic Records’ hierarchy, who, at first (though they loved the concept) felt it too racy for US mega-stores like JC Penney, Sam Goody etc. to be on a cover in 1974. However, braver heads prevailed, and [artist and sculptor] Tim Bruckner was hired to draw up my graphic professionally, ready for print, and they went ahead with it for the eponymous Average White Band album.
The rest is history on that score, and it is still very much in demand today on souvenirs and all AWB publicity material. Suffice to say, other than as a performing member of the group and the benefits commensurate with that, I’ve never received a penny as the originator of the idea and the line drawing that started the ball rolling.
No regrets, though — a logo is worth a thousand bits of blurb in the life and success of a band or performing artist. It’s synonymous with the appeal of AWB!
Thanks for your interest. That's reward enough, as a designer and art addict such as myself to this day.
Average White Band play the Royal Albert Hall on 1 July. Their latest album, ‘Inside Out’, is available now and features four new songs, the band’s first studio recordings in 15 years.