The Tapsa Rantanen top 10
If you have ever stumbled across a Finnish album released in the 1980s chances are the cover will be created by one mr. Tapsa Rantanen. Here’s the top 10:
10. Bella Italia!, 1981
The new decade sees a new start from the disco craze of the seventies. People want fresh tunes – and that’s what the mediterranean country of Italy can provide them. But the early 80s is also the time for fresh faced graphic designer T.Rantanen to try his hands on designing a cover for a compilation of this fashionable music.
He likes it.
9. Amore Mio, 1983
Two years later Italian music is still fashionable. Tapsa Rantanen doesn’t quite know what he is doing yet, but K-tel still lets him design covers for covers since there is noone else around who knows how to do it.
Tapsa Rantanen liberally sprinkles some pictures around the front cover and sends the thing off to the printer’s. The album costs 57 mk to buy in the shops.
8. New Italian Disco, 1984
Italian music is still big the next year, but now it has evolved into Italo Disco. Once again K-tel sees an opportunity for money to be made, and calls Tapsa Rantanen, who happily puts together a cover.
By this time he’s so confident he refers to himself as “Art Director Tapsa Rantanen” on the back cover.
7. Italian Disco Music, 1984
So big is in fact Italo Disco in 1984 that not one but two compilations is put out that year. Tapio Rantanen (as he now calls himself) actually manages to create his first half decent cover. To celebrate he purchases a Lacoste polo shirt and starts using gel in his hair.
6. Breakdancin’, 1984
However, Italo Disco isn’t the only thing that explodes that year: a new fad called breakdancing has also hit the streets. Tapsa Rantanen has never worked harder than in 1984. He’s high on graphic design, life and possibly cocaine. And he creates his version of what he imagines breakdancing to be: black and pink people writhing on the floor.
Whatever. It’ll still sell.
5. Breakdancing, 1984
And you know what? That breakdancing thing really takes off and K-tel puts out another compilation that same year. Tapsa Rantanen now does some research. Okay… so that’s what b-boys look like? Better go with pictures now to play it safe. This won’t take long, I’ll have it sent off to the printer’s in less than 20 minutes.
4. New Let’s Dance, 1984
And while the kids go wild on Italo and breaks regular pop music is naturally also being released. Tapsa Rantanen is now just doing all the covers in Finland. Every single one.
3. Bogart Co.: Dance Station, 1985
By 1985 new and emerging band Bogart Co. has heard of this wonder kid doing all these rad album covers. They want him. They want him bad. After all, their new album is being produced by hot Swedish producer Ulf Wahlberg, so why not get the best man for the cover?
The result is one of the most enigmatic album covers to date to feature papier mache balls sprayed silver and some chick retouched into a rock. Bogart Co. is more than happy.
2. Bogart Co: Only Lonely, 1986
So happy in fact that they let Tapsa Rantanen create their next album cover as well. But at this point some people start getting a bit uncomfortable. Tapsa is not… starting to lose his magic, is he?
1. Italo Disco, 1986
Tapsa Rantanen of course shakes this off as nonsense. After all, is he not Tapsa Rantanen, creator of album covers for fine K-tel released compilations of music? As 1986 is nearing it’s end Tapsa Rantanen designs one more cover for an Italo Disco compilation.
That’s when everybody knows it’s over.
Bonus: Hip Hop Rap, 1990
Four years later this compilation for a new craze called Hip Hop/Rap hits the shops. The album cover artist is completely anonymous.
But Tapsa Rantanen aficionados everywhere knows Tapsa is alive, well and has entered the Nineties.