Guy Peellaert, 74, a Belgian painter-collagist whose fervid imagination produced surreal album covers for John Lennon, David Bowie and Mick Jagger, as well as images for a seminal book about rock mythology, "Rock Dreams," died of kidney cancer Nov. 17 at a hospital in Paris.
The book was a collaboration with the prominent British rock journalist Nik Cohn, who wrote how they intended to convey a "cinematic approach" to pop history and "approached the project, not as commentators or fine artists, but primarily as fans. Even more than the actual music, we were both obsessed with pop mythology."
"Rock Dreams" was published in the early 1970s and reportedly sold more than a million copies. It featured a bloated Jerry Lee Lewis clutching a bottle to his chest and stumbling along a neon-lit street; the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, drug-dazed and muse-abandoned, sitting alone in a garbage-strewn practice room; Ray Charles, his arm cradling a woman, cruising behind the wheel of a convertible.
A reviewer for the London Independent described Mr. Peellaert's images as rock iconography -- "almost as thrilling as the music itself, but obviously not the same thing. It was the pornography of rock. It was also its stained-glass window."
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