1973, Front Cover
1973, Cover Spread
1973, Inside Spread
1971, for Island Records
Emerson Lake & Palmer / Island Records 1971 / Reached no 1 in the U.K album charts 1971
This album was literally a monster, the armadillo was simply a doodle created from a fusion of ideas while working on the Rare Bird Album "As Your mind Flies By" I had produced a gun belt made up of pianokeys, which somehow led to WW1 armoury, nobody liked the idea, but the little armadillo remained on the layout pad. Later on we were asked to submit ideas to E.L.P for their 2nd album. David Herbet and I put tank tracks on the little fellow, and it went along with all the other so called "Finished" ideas. yet it was still basically a doodle. However, Keith Emerson spotted it and loved the idea, so we developed him further. Dave and I presented it too the band at Greg Lakes home in Chelsea. After hearing the substance of "Tarkus" on the "Acetate" I developed the ideas along with Keith and Greg, and painted all the other creatures too, it came to the point that I had too much material and many of the creatures had to be left out to fit the sequence.
The name Tarkus has puzzled many, and been open to all manner of misrepresentations, it is however an amalgamation of two elements. The first is found in the Bible at the second letter of Peter chapter 2 verse 4. A condition of deep spiritual debasement is mentioned called "Tartarus". The other is the term "Carcass" hence the name was painted in bones. ( you heard it first here folks!) Thus Tarkus essentially stood for the futility of war, a man made mess with symbols of mutated destruction. Tarkus went on to become a true progressive rock statement, in fact, the armadillo is still remembered by folk who never even bought the album! He also has a revival in all manner of guises, and parodies, copying is considered a form of flattery? ....so be it. A poster of Tarkus was used, especially for full page ads in the music press Melody Maker and Sounds, this image is perhaps less known, and of the two possibly the strongest. Also of interest the webs visitor testimony suggests that if ELP fans had to choose one album, Tarkus would probably be it.
This was the final album I produced with C.C.S, a great experience, and tremendous folk to work with, however, the time had come to move on, and working with E.L.P. was a natural and obvious progression. Pictures at an Exhibition followed soon after.
A high detail scale model of Tarkus has been made by and is reproduced here by kind permission of Mr Wataru Numata of Tokyo. The model can be seen on permanent display at "The Rock Kitchen 84" in Asaga Tokyo.
Click here to view a gallery of images of the finished model, and during construction.