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News August 11, 2022

Ian McCausland, Pioneer of Australian Music Art, Dies

Ian McCausland, Pioneer of Australian Music Art, Dies

Ian McCausland, a dominant figure in the late 60s psychedelic underground with iconic album covers and posters, has passed away after a long illness.

McCausland was 78.

In Ed Nimmervoll’s book on his art “Under the Covers” he revealed that he was very influenced by San Francisco’s psychedelic Fillmore posters, Robert Crumb, and Kelly of Mouse Studios.

As Australian rock started to stamp its identity, his cover artwork reflected what the music was doing.

He was responsible for the covers of Daddy Cool’s “Daddy Who, Daddy Cool” and “Sex Dope Rock’n’roll: Teenage Heaven”, Chain’s “Towards The Blues”, Spectrum’s “Milesago”, Carson’s “Blown”, Company Caine’s “Product Of A Broken Reality”, Skyhook’s “Guilty Until Proven Insane” and “Straight In A Gay Gay World”, Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons’ “Screaming Targets” and Dragon’s “O Zambezi”.

He created the logos for Little River Band and Skyhooks.

McCausland’s best know poster was for The Rolling Stones’ 1973 Australian tour.

It showed a plane flying into Mick Jagger’s mouth, with Australia as a background, and remains a highly collectible item.

The Stones liked it so much that they commissioned him to design posters for New Zealand.

The Rolling Stones

Keith Richards invited him he come up to Sydney to hang out with them and Charlie Watts asked McCausland to submit a design for their upcoming “Goats Head Soup”.

He was paid an advance of $600 ($3,936 in today’s money) which he put towards a deposit for a house.

He recollected on the I Like Your Old Stuff website, “I mailed the package to the Rolling Stones office in London and never saw it again. Neither did they, apparently.

“Shortly after I was contacted again by mail (no phone in those days) by the Stones inviting me to submit a design for a new album “Love You Live” (1977).

“This time the package got through, but I didn’t get the gig. They sent the art back and let me know they’d given the job to Andy Warhol.”


McCausland’s start in music was as a singer in bands around Melbourne in the early 60s.

The best known were the Strangers who snared the gig as the house band on TV’s “The Go! Show,” and “The Rondells”.

But becoming a father at 22, he needed a steady income and switched to illustrations.

The major pop magazine “Go Set” ran a competition to design a poster for the 1968 visit by the Who, Small Faces and Paul Jones landed him a job with “Go-Set”.

He later moved to the provocative underground press “The Digger” (whose offices were raided by the vice squad over one of his illustrations), “Planet”, and a series of dope comics

He became Mushroom Records’ first artistic director, stamping his style on its early releases, and later freelancing for ad agencies whenever they wanted something “trippy”.

A statement by McCausland’s family on his Facebook page announced his passing.

“Ian was a true legend and a pioneer of Australian music art.

“His granddaughter Dia (Taylor, filmmaker) will continue to keep his legacy alive by keeping this page, his website, and his work going.”


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