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The Wailers
Island, 1973
Designers: Rod Dyer and Bob Weiner

nless you bought this album around the time of its initial release, chances are your copy is enclosed in a regularly constructed cover featuring a picture of Bob Marley smoking a joint. But if yours is in fact one of the first 20,000 copies issued of Catch a Fire, you are -- according to Tim Clark, former director of marketing and art at Island Records -- the lucky possessor of a collector's item.

Label head Chris Blackwell had commissioned designers Rod Dyer and Bob Weiner to strike up something special for this LP. Dyer and Weiner conceived of a cover modeled after a Zippo cigarette lighter, which has a hinged top. "The top half," says Clark, "was riveted to the bottom half, which was a receptacle for the record and its inner bag, so the thing literally opened as a Zippo lighter would."

A clever idea, but not a practical one, as it turned out. "The problem was getting the top half to fit the bottom," says Clark. "Each copy had to be hand-assembled." Since this was hardly cost-effective, a more standard design was substituted after the first shipment -- with a shot of Marley catching his own sort of fire.

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