Ray Lowry 1944-2008

Cartoonist Ray Lowry was found dead at his home on Tuesday. He was 64. Over the years, his crudely drawn, but brilliantly observed cartoons have appeared in all sorts of publications – from Private Eye to Mojo. But the ones that introduced me to his work appeared weekly in the NME in the late seventies and early eighties. They usually consisted of characters such as Elvis or some old Delta bluesman sat on his front porch but with some surreal, post-modern twist and some wry, satirical dialogue. They were nearly always inspired, and the drawings, crude though they were, were instantly recognisable as his.

His sleeve design of the Clash’s London Calling, with that iconic Pennie Smith cover shot of Paul Simenon, was probably his most widely known work – the lyrics handwritten in that inimitable scratchy style. He didn’t just draw musicians – his takes on politics and popular culture had the same trademark, intelligent iconoclasm.

I wish I’d kept all those old NME ‘toons.



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