The Digital Journalist
© Henry Diltz
Richard Pryor's record company asked my partner Gary and I to go up to his house and take a picture for his first album cover. We knocked on his door; his wife answered and said, "You go try to get him out of bed." As we stood looking down at him he opened one eye and said, "Just take the picture here, of me in bed. That'll be the cover." We begged and cajoled a bit and he got up and said, "I want to do something roots-y." This was way before the book "Roots" came out. Gary said he knew a shop that sold aboriginal weapons and Richard said he knew of a small cave in a cliff above Beverly Hills. That's how it all came together. Richard posed naked with the weapons by the cave, and the outcome looked so much like a National Geographic photo that Gary had his artist friend Rick Griffin draw a pseudo-National Geographic border around the picture. When the album came out we got two letters: one from the lawyers from National Geographic threatening to sue us for defaming their famous logo, and another from NARAS nominating us for album cover of the year. The border was changed for the second pressing.