Five Live Stiffs line up for the first time since 77

Five Live Stiffs posters designed by Barney Bubbles, photography by Chris Gabrin, 1977.

Posters, each 60" x 40" designed by Barney Bubbles for the October 1977 Stiff Records UK tour Live Stiffs. Photography: Chris Gabrin.

The series of five Live Stiffs posters designed by Barney Bubbles using Chris Gabrin photographs.

Exhibits in Chris Gabrin's exhibition at Dimbola Lodge, Isle Of Wight.

Chris Gabrin’s exhibition From Hear To Photography includes a doozy for Barney Bubbles fans – for the first time since their creation more than three decades ago, Bubbles’ huge Live Stiffs poster designs are displayed together.

Each measuring 60″ x 40″, the posters are among the best examples of Bubbles’ vivid application of colour. Their Warholian fizz captures the energy of Britain’s new wave scene at its height.



Photo: Chris Gabrin.


Larry Wallis, 60in x 40in poster, 1977. Barney Bubbles design using Chris Gabrin photograph.


Photo: Chris Gabrin.

The exhibition at Dimbola Lodge on the Isle Of Wight presents Gabrin’s 70s music work. In this period his photography was used in many Bubbles’ designs.

“About a third of the 70 or so exhibits are based around work I did with Barney,” says Gabrin, who points out that the show was the brainchild of Brian Hinton, curator at Dimbola Lodge (once the home of 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron).

“I first saw her work when I was at college in the late 60s,” adds Gabrin. “The museum and galleries are a charitable trust run by part-timers and volunteers. It’s a national photographic institution which deserves as much support as possible.”

Photos used in Barney Bubbles designs from Chris Gabrin's exhibition From hear To Photography.

Photo: Chris Gabrin.

Poster for Chris Gabrin exhibition From Hear To Photography.

Gabrin shot the poster portraits of Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, Larry Wallis and Wreckless Eric during a photo-session for the Stiff Records’ autumn 1977 Live Stiffs UK tour.

This shoot produced a range of imagery which found its way into promotion, advertising and, in the case of the live album which followed, a couple of record covers.


Music press ad, 1977.


Music press ad, 1978.


Front cover, 12in sleeve, Stiffs Live Stiffs, various artists, Stiff Records, 1978.


Reissue, Music For Pleasure, 1980.

From Hear To Photography is on until October 2 at Dimbola Museum & Galleries,  Terrace Lane
, Freshwater Bay, Isle Of Wight.

Full details here.

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One Response to “Five Live Stiffs line up for the first time since 77”

  1. Kosmo Vinyl Says:

    The last time I saw all five posters together was at 32 Alexander St, which was the Stiff HQ and disembarkation point for the tour, which returned to West London at night regularly. It was either just before or during the tour and the posters look as hot now as they did then. Handsome !

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