What do a swimming baby with a dollar bill as bait, a girl on a swing set with shadow of an evil man in front of her ,and a baby angel smoking a cigarette have in common? They're all album cover artwork that are as memorable as the classic records themselves.They also all have children on them. Maybe it's the child's innocence or perhaps it's just mere coincidence, but these records tend to sell more copies for the group than the rest of their repertoire.
Many have wondered what happened to these kids when they grew older. Luckily, we live in a day and age where finding this information is easy. Even more fortunate, UpVenue has done the homework already so you don't have to.
Nirvana's Nevermind Baby
Most people had only discovered Nirvana after their second album, Nevermind, began to flood MTV. The music video for their single, Come As You Are, featured a water scene similar to the cover art; however, the baby and the dollar bill were replaced by a floating gun. Spencer Elden, who was undoubtedly referred to as "The Nevermind Baby" during his school years, grew up just fine. His parents earned a mere $200 for the classic picture and they didn't even know who Nirvana was at the time. To be fair, nobody really did in 1991. Spencer recreated the Nevermind cover for Rolling Stone magazine in 2001 and then again in 2008, this time for a cool $1000. He also graced the cover of cEvin Key's, The Dragon Experience, in 2003. Elden now works as an artist.
Spencer Elden Living The Life Aquatic (1991, 2001, 2008)
The Conjoined Twins from Siamese Dream
Many are unaware, but the two girls who appeared on the cover of Smashing Pumpkins' 1993 album, Siamese Dream, were probably not conjoined twins to begin with. A simple flip of the album reveals a picture of the girls as separate entities in white dresses. In a blog post in 2007, the Smashing Pumpkins announced that they were looking for the girls but were unable to locate them:
"NEED HELP! Looking for girls from Siamese Dream album cover. There's no one better to ask than the super fans themselves! We are trying to locate the girls that adorn the cover of Siamese Dream. As you all know, they were quite young when the photo was taken. They are not conjoined anymore, as far as we know."
It's been three years since that post and nothing has turned up. Neither Virgin Records, Billy Corgan, nor the photographer have the names of the girls.
UPDATE: The following note was posted on the Smashing Pumpkins' Facebook page. Either their basist is one of the two girls or Corgan has gotten so annoyed at getting asked this question that he's claiming it's her. What do you think? Is Nicole Fiorentino actually one of the girls from the cover?
Flip the album over and they aren't conjointed, problem solved!
The Boy on Illmatic from NAS
Illmatic, the debut album from NAS, is considered one of the most important records for East Coast Hip Hop. It marked a high point for the scene in the mid 90s. The cover art consists of a young boy superimposed over a grainy backdrop of New York City. Whatever happened to the child? Did he beat the odds and become a successful adult or did the ghetto engulf him?
This one is pretty easy to solve. It's a picture of 7 year old NAS taken by his father. It's that simple. He's also been on the cover of all of his other albums.
Nas = Nas, no way!
The Baby Angel from Van Halen's 1984
Van Halen's 1994 featured a great art piece by Margo Nahas. She took a photograph of young Carter Helm who is the smoking angel model on front cover. Yes that's right, he's a real person (sans the wings of course). The baby, the cigarettes (which were actually chocolate cigarettes), and the sky in the background were all part of the original picture taken by Margo. She painted in the marble table and the wings to complete the illustration.
So what happened to Carten Helm and Margo Nahas? Check out the interview below to find out:
The Girl on the Swing From KoRn's album
KoRn's self-title debut album depicted a little girl alone on a swing set. On the ground, a mischievous looking shadow of a man with tools could be seen. The girl was Justine Ferrara, who doesn't remember much from the shoot except that man was actually nice for covering the light in front of her. The tools were added to the picture in post processing. Justine was 6 years old in 1994 when the picture was taken. She graduated in Communications at New York University in 2009 and now works as an Administrative Assistant for The Threadshop at Sony Music Entertainment. She isn't a KoRn fan.
"KoRn girl" is all grown up now
Those kids on Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy
Considering the age of the album, I didn't expect to find any information on the kids that were on the cover of Houses of the Holy. Low and behold, Daily Mail made life easy for me by doing the research a few years back. Check out their great article here.
Here are the cliff notes: The boy is actually Stefan Gates from BBC2's Cooking In The Danger Zone. Who would have thought! His sister, Sam, is happily married and now lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her husband and daughter.
This isn't a complete list obviously; there are tons of more album covers that feature kids. Don't worry, we may just write up a second chapter to this article.