Mick Haggerty’s design for No Reservations stands as both a musical and graphical anomaly. A band named to honor its member’s ancestry, Blackfoot’s debut No Reservations launched their career as a competitor to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The music boasted southern-fried sonics of the now-legendary studio where it was recorded: FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The visuals on Haggerty’s cover used a high vantage point revealing a field of strict geometric cones—Native American tipi—rendered with thick, comic book-inspired borders and active primary colors. Haggerty choose to populate the composition with conical shapes to suggest a density of Native peoples, a likely visual companion to lyrics:
My heart belongs in an Indian world / A place that I can call my home
I’ve been livin’ in a white man’s world / Taught nothing of my own
Notice the curved highway in the upper corner. See the road framing the lower corner of the neighborhood. Haggerty seemed to project a vision for an ideal world that is suburbanized, modern, orderly, and accessible to transportation. His vision of a prospering Native peoples is speculative idealism—a commentary in direct opposition to a tribespeople’s otherwise complicated history in the United States. Few of Haggerty’s covers featured the degree of graphical abstraction, nor the approach to composition seen on No Reservations (achieved before designers used computers). Comparatively, nothing else Blackfoot ever released would follow the sound of No Reservations either.
Mick Haggerty would later design album covers for David Bowie, Simple Minds, and the Police. His cover for Breakfast in America, by Supertramp, won the 1979 Grammy for Best Album Package. Blackfoot lead singer, Rick Medlocke, has played guitar and toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd since 1996. FAME Studios owner and record producer, Rick Hall, died on January 2, 2018 at age 85.
Haggerty, Mick (design). Blackfoot, No Reservations, 1975. Island Records (ILPS 9326). LP jacket, 12 3/8 x 12 3/8 in. (31.4 x 31.4 cm). Creative Commons_TBD