When the Happy Mondays’ third LP was released in November of 1990, one UK music magazine reviewed it under the headline “Shambolic Mancunians In Really Good Album Shock.” The two prior Mondays LPs were at best sporadically decent with perhaps at least one brilliant moment, but Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches was, and remains, fantastic. It comfortably blended the dance and rock genres; (perhaps unfortunately) gave U2 the musical blueprint for their first comeback and proved for the Mondays (but not Shaun Ryder) an impossible act to follow.
It also has an impossibly fantastic cover. The sleeve, with its dozens of copyright violations, must have worried someone at Electra, the band’s U.S label, because the cover that appeared in the States is considerably different. While the U.S cover is not entirely awful–it is still garishly colored and overly busy–it certainly pales in comparison to the one with the candy on it. The “censored” cover has seemingly crossed the Atlantic and was for a while the only one that was available in the U.K. as well.
There appear to be at least two different versions of the candy cover. In the one above, the image of Minnie Mouse in the A and P of Happy is conspicuous in its absence. Below is the sleeve as I believe nature intended. The cover was designed by Central Station Design, who often contributed artwork to Factory and Mondays releases.
This label was affixed to some initial copies of the LP.
The front and back of the U.S. edition.
The next five images were, I believe, created for the 2007 U.K. only reissue, which restored the cover to the candy original.