Molly Hatchet – The Warriors of Southern Rock
The southern rock band, Molly Hatchet, has been going strong for more than three decades. During that time the band has undergone major changes in its lineup, but one thing, besides the music, that has remained nearly constant is the use of the heroic warrior on the Molly Hatchet album covers. The fantasy art on Molly Hatchet record albums has been consistently some of the best cover art in rock and roll history.
The band, originally from Jacksonville, Florida, released its debut album, “Molly Hatchet” in 1978. This was the first album to display the famous warrior art that is now associated with the band’s hard driving rock image and the album found a huge fan base, ultimately going platinum.
This strikingly dark warrior on a massive stead was the creation of famous, fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. His art work would also appear on Molly Hatchet’s next two albums, “Flirtin’ With Disaster” (1979) and “Beatin’ the Odds” (1980).
The multiplatinum album, “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, and the song of the same name, were Molly Hatchet’s best received work to date.
“Beatin’ the Odds” also went platinum although less popular than Molly Hatchet’s second album.
Molly Hatchet’s fourth studio album, “Take No Prisoners” features the members of the band on the album cover in a fantasy art painting by Peruvian artist Boris Vallejo. Frank Frazetta, the artist who created the three previous album covers, was replaced by Boris Vallejo, reportedly because Frazetta tripled the price he demanded for his album cover work. The Take No Prisoners album was less successful than any of the three previous albums.
Molly Hatchet’s fifth studio album, “No Guts No Glory” is the only studio album where Molly Hatchet deviated from the fantasy warrior theme on the album cover, in this case in favor of a western-cowboy theme. The photo used on the “No Guts No Glory” album cover was taken by Bob Seidemann and was reportedly shot at Six Gun Territory, a western theme park, near Ocala, Florida. Released in 1983, “No Guts No Glory” was not a commercial success, but it is generally considered a favorite among Molly Hatchet fans, as it marked the return of lead singer Danny Joe Brown, and is therefore more similar to Molly Hatchet’s first two albums.
“The Deed is Done” was Molly Hatchet’s sixth studio album released in 1984. Although aiming for a broader listener base with a more commercial, FM-friendly, hard rock sound, this album failed to excite the mass market. This album was the first Molly Hatchet album without cofounder Steve Holland who had had enough of the band. Molly Hatchet returned to its fantasy warrior theme on “The Deed is Done” album cover using the art work of Ezra Tucker.
Ezra Tucker is an internationally renowned commercial artist/illustrator whose clients include Scholastic Books, Boys’ Life Magazine, Arizona Highways Magazine, the National Park Service, the National Forestry Service, Universal Studios, Walt Disney, Anheuser-Busch, Coors Brewing Company, Seagrams, Carnation, Kelly Tires, Brunswick, and MGM Grand Hotel. Tucker graduated from the Memphis Academy of Arts earning a BFA Degree in Advertising Design. Tucker describes his style as “Nouveau Victorian Realism” where animals, people and landscapes are realistically depicted in fantastic settings. This style is reminiscent of the Victorian period painters. Ezra Tucker is recognized for his mastery of detail and has won numberous awards. His work is included in museum, private, and Fortune 500 corporate collections. Although Ezra Tucker is remarkably versatile in the type of works he has done, his true passion is for painting wildlife.
Molly Hatchet’s seventh studio album, “Lighting Strikes Twice” was released in 1989 and also features the art work of Ezra Tucker. This was the first album without Molly Hatchet’s other cofounder Dave Hlubek, who left the band due to his struggle with drug addiction. Hlubek was replaced with guitarist, Bobby Ingram.
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