In 1985, with The Who virtually retired (for the next four years at least), MCA Records brought out an album in the US of unreleased and rare The Who recordings under the title ‘Who’s Missing’. Richard Evans decided he would like to design a sleeve that had the look and feel of a record cover from the first days of The Who – a cover with a late 50s/early 60s feel. The front would be full colour image, gloss laminated and the back, matte white with black type and clean graphics plus real ‘old-fashioned-style’ sleeve notes by The Who’s Pete Townshend.
Four years earlier in 1981, Richard had the pleasure of working with Peter Blake on the cover for The Who’s album ‘Face Dances’ and it was Peter’s enormous influence on Richard that led him to produce this homage to his hero. The Who ‘Who’s Missing’ was inspired by an early work of Blake’s entitled ‘Got A Girl’, and both feature the strong red, white and blue chevron. The chevron for The Who ‘Who’s Missing’ was painted on wood from a packing case that Richard found outside the old Marquee Club in Wardour Street, Soho. Now, how authentic is that? The four faces of the The Who band members are a montage of postcards, sepia photos and pages torn from magazines, retouched and repainted. The military ribbons were part of a collection that Richard was using at the time for his cover for Pete Townshend’s solo album ‘White City’. The back cover layout was based on the oldest album in Richard’s collection, that of 16-year old teen sensation Ricky elson.
It’s somewhat poignant that these two The Who artworks re-produced for Rockoptic, have such a double entendre associated with them today. Who’s missing? Well, we all know who’s missing. Two’s missing, John and Keith, that’s who.