John Patrick Byrne

Self portrait

John Patrick Byrne is a renowned Scottish artist, a close friend of Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly. He did LP sleeves for their various enterprises, usually signed ‘Patrick.’

Byrne was born in Paisley and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1958 to 1963. He has worked as an artist, playwright and theatre designer. Byrne uses a variety of styles and techniques as he has always tried to avoid being associated with particular styles or movements in art. In 1967, following a lack of success with London galleries, Byrne produced a series of paintings under the guise of ‘Patrick’, which he claimed was the name of his seventy-two year old father. These were met with interest, much to the artist’s amusement.
National Galleries of Scotland website

Bryne is of interest because he wasn’t a sleeve illustrator for hire, but a fine artist who would do work for his friends’ records.

The Humblebums

The Humblebums: The Humblebums, Transatlantic LP 1969

Gerry Rafferty

Can I Have MyMoney Back? Gerry Rafferty, Transatlantic LP 1971


This was in Donovan’s laird of a Scottish island phase, so retains a Scottish connection.

HMS Donovan: Donovan, Dawn LP, 1971
fold out centre

Billy Connolly

Live! Billy Connolly, Transatlantic LP 1972

Stealers’ Wheel

Gerry Rafferty was very keen on the artwork. Stealer’s Wheel tried to look like a band on the first LP. In reality it was Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, the only ones carried over to the second album.

Stealers Wheel: Stealers Wheel, A&M LP 1972

Stuck in The Middle with You is such an overwhelmingly popular and great song, that it is a lead weight around an artist’s future career. It was also such a big hit that A&M were prepared to go to great lengths on Ferguslie Park, a year later. Illustrated inner sleeve and centre labels.

The rear announces “Stealers wheel is Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan.”

Ferguslie Park: Stealers Wheel, A&M LP 1973

It’s a greatly under-rated album ad a gem too. So much so that it’s a candidate for the Reviled! series of under-appreciated records on this site.

Right or Wrong: Stealers Wheel, A&M LP 1975

The 1978 ‘Best of’ album recycles images from 1975 and switches the credit to Gerry Rafferty & Joe Egan

Stuck In The Middle With You: Stealers Wheel: Gerry Rafferty & Joe Egan, A&M LP 1978

Gerry Rafferty solo

City To City: Gerry Rafferty, United Artists LP 1978

The one with Baker Street.

Gerry Rafferty: Night Owl, United Artists LP, 1979
Snakes and Ladders: Gerry Rafferty, United Artists LP, 1980
Another World: Gerry Rafferty, Icon Music CD, 2000 CD booklet paintings

The Boys of The Lough

The Piper’s Broken Finger: The Boys of The Lough Transatlantic LP 1976

This is attributed to “Artwork: Paul Clare”. Either this Paul Clare guy was a brilliant imitator of John Patrick Bryne’s style or it’s a pseudonym, like ‘Patrick’. Given that it’s straight from the Scottish folk scene and that it’s on the Transatlantic label, I don’t have any doubts.

Theatre Company of Scotland

The Cheviot, The Stag & The Black Black oil: 7.84 records, 1974

The Beatles

This is the BIG time. 1980. It’s also just like the first Stealer’s Wheel album, and The Piper’s Broken Finger.

The Beatles Ballads: The Beatles, compilation LP, EMI Parlophone 1980

There is a persistent story that this picture was commissioned as the original The Beatles (aka White Album )sleeve in 1968. That came out in November. The tale that it was to be called A Doll’s House but was changed after Family released Music in A Doll’s House is strong.

On an exhibition site it says this:

 A year later, Byrne was commissioned to paint the cover for the Beatles new album entitled Dolls House. For inspiration he took the artwork from Alan Aldridge’s book The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics. The album was retitled Double White and issued with the famous all white cover. Byrne’s artwork was later used on the Ballads compilation released in 1980. The Beatles: “De Mooiste Songs” (The most beautiful songs) was also released on Dutch Parlophone in the same year with a similar cover. 
Scotiafile, online

To me the style is so similar to the first Stealers Wheel sleeve, that one or the other has to originate the composition. Also Byrne’s images reflect content and there is no dolls’ house theme in the picture. Then if they were commissioning in Autumn 1968, John’s hair had only recovered as far as his shoulders (after being cropped for How I Won The War) and photos of Paul are beardless. In The Beatles Anthology Paul McCartney suggests the minimalist Hamilton cover was the original idea for the album.

The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, p 6 -7

The Beatles Encylopaedia says they found the picture in Alan Aldridge’s The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics published in two parts in 1969 and 1971. In the combined edition, which I have, it accompanies the Foreword on pages 6 ad 7. That contrasts with the Byrne exhibition that it was found there, as it was published at least a year later.

That means that it pre-dates the Stealers Wheel cover. We still don’t know when it was done or why. It doesn’t reference a particular lyric.

Wet Wet Wet

A further Scottish connection.

Picture This: Wet Wet Wet, The Precious Organization / Mercury 1985

Barbara Dickson

A tribute album to Gerry Rafferty

Each & Everyone: The Songs of Gerry Rafferty: Barbara Dickson, CD 2013

DVD covers

Both the DVDs are strongly music related. Tutti Frutti is about a rock group. Your Cheating Heart is set in the Scottish country & Western scene.

Tutti Frutti: BBC TV series 1987

Robbie Coltrane is the Scots connection here.

Your Cheating Heart: BBC TV series 1990

The Slab Boys

Play, TV series and film written and directed by John Byrne in 1997. This is the soundtrack CD: