Antony Genn and Martin Slattery, former members of Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, formed a new band, The Hours, in 2004. The Hours released five singles and two full-length albums and then disappeared–releasing no new material under The Hours moniker since 2009.
From the start, Damien Hirst was involved in designing the cover art for The Hours‘ releases. I haven’t found out how he came to be involved, but a clue could be that Hirst had designed the cover for Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros‘ “Rock Art & the X-Ray Style” and three singles, “Yalla Yalla“, “Tony Adams (the Morning Sun)” and “Bankrobber 99” (well, I don’t suppose Hirst “designed” the cover for the latter, as it was a bootleg recorded at Sweden’s Hultsfred’s Festival in 1999. The cover was simply a black & white copy of the design on the “Rock Art & the X-Ray Style” cover).
Damien Hirst and Jason Beard are credited with the cover designs.
The Hours‘ first four singles, “Ali in the Jungle“, “Back When You Were Good“, “Love You More” and a second version of “Ali in the Jungle” were all taken from their first album “Narcissus Road” (sadly, only released on CD).
There were two promotional CDs for “Narcissus Road”; one in a normal CD card sleeve and a three-inch, four-track CD in a booklet.
The four singles from the album were released on CD and as limited edition 7″ vinyl. All came in sleeves decorated with more of Damien Hirst‘s signature skulls:
And each had a slipcase and the first “Ali in the Jungle” (with the yellow cover) also included a 7″ sticker with the cover image. Also available from Damien Hirst‘s web shop was a three dimensional skull that was meant hold the CD:
I don’t have one as it cost a cool £4,000 and my budget isn’t that elastic (anyway, where would I put it?)
The Hours‘ second album “See the Light” was released on 20th April 2009 this time on double vinyl and CD. The LP also included a booklet with more Damien Hirst art. Once more the design was a skull, but this time as one of Hirst‘s Spin Paintings.
The promo for this album came as a USB in the shape of a skull (what else?)
A beautiful double 12″ was released with six remixes of the title track “See the Light”. There were autographed copies for sale from The Hours‘ website, but I missed out on one of those, but managed to find one much later (and considerably more expensive.)
The final 7-inch single was “Big Black Hole” and, as far as I can see, the rarest of The Hours‘ five 7-inchers.
There were also several other promotional CD EPs and singles released. A card sleeve promo of the “See the Light” album, a limited edition CD only available from HMV shops and three CD-r singles from the “See the Light” album all with similar artwork to the double 12″ of remixes.
There were three promotional CD-rs released prior to the “See the Light” album. Two contained the track “See the Light” and the third had Calvin Harris remixes of the song.
There was also a digital single with yet more skulls.