The VERY colourful lives of album cover child stars

Nirvana’s famous naked baby has sued the band for child pornography after appearing on their iconic 1991 Nevermind album cover. 

Spencer Eldon, now 30, said Nirvana and the estate of Kurt Cobain ‘trafficked’ his image as a naked baby and is claiming $2.5million in damages for being ‘exploited as a minor’.

But Spencer isn’t the only child star to feature on cover albums, so what has become of the others?

FEMAIL has taken a delve into the archives to uncover their very colourful lives – including ones of the siblings on Led Zepplin’s iconic 1973 album cover Houses of the Holy, who is now a celebrity TV chef.  

Elsewhere, the 12-year-old boy who appeared on Placebo’s debut album claimed the album’s success caused him to be bullied at school and ostracised from his peers. 

Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy 

Stefan Gates is now a cookery TV star. Pictured, with Sian Williams on Secrets of your supermarket

Stefan Gates is now a cookery TV star. Pictured, with Sian Williams on Secrets of your supermarket

Stefan's sibling Samantha Gates has a daughter named Tallulah (pictured, together)

Stefan’s sibling Samantha Gates has a daughter named Tallulah (pictured, together)

The six children on the iconic 1973 Zeppelin album shot on Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland, are actually just a collage of two siblings Stefan and Samantha Gates who were five and seven at the time. 

Both blonde and naked, they were photographed by Aubrey Powell as they climbed up a section of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

The black and white photos were then printed several times to give the illusion of 11 children roaming free. 

These days, Samantha Gates, 55, has a daughter named Tallulah, while her younger brother, Stefan is a cookery TV star, most notably for BBC2’s Cooking In The Danger Zone. He also used to present Eating Insects with Stefan Gates and has since admitted to finding the album’s artwork ‘disturbing and haunting’.    

Placebo, debut album   

The 12-year-old boy in that red jumper tugging his cheeks is David Fox, an unemployed chef from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire

The 12-year-old boy in that red jumper tugging his cheeks is David Fox, an unemployed chef from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire

He claims the album's success caused him to be bullied at school and ostracised from his peers. He took a year out of school, eventually dropping out of his GCSEs as a result

He claims the album’s success caused him to be bullied at school and ostracised from his peers. He took a year out of school, eventually dropping out of his GCSEs as a result

The 12-year-old boy in that red jumper tugging his cheeks is David Fox, an unemployed chef from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. 

His cousin was a professional photographer, and he took some photographs of the family for his personal use. 

In an interview with The Times, David said: ‘What had happened was my brother had just passed away, and my cousin came up from London to see me.

‘He was a professional photographer, and he took some photographs of my family for his personal use. He brought up all his equipment and got me to do a few poses outside.’

His claimed his cousin called him a month later to say he was going to be on the cover of a rock album, remarking: ‘Isn’t that cool?’ 

Instead, he says it turned his life into a nightmare. The album sold phenomenally well and reached number five in the charts. David’s face was everywhere.

‘It was in Virgin, it was in HMV, it was in Tesco, it was all over the place,’ he said. ‘I was watching EastEnders with my mum and I saw one of the billboards by the Tube station and it had my face on there.’

David, who had been popular at school, claims he was teased by his classmates and slowly edged out. ‘Nobody wanted me on their side or anything like that,’ he said. ‘Even the teachers used to pull me aside and ask me about this CD cover.’

In the end the bullying got so bad that he claims his mother had to drive him home from school every day so he could avoid the pupils waiting for him at the gates.

He took a year out and then dropped out of his GCSEs as a result. David then trained as a chef but was made redundant in the recession.  

KoRn

Justine Ferrara, who featured on the swing from KoRn's self-titled album, was six-years-old in 1994 when the picture was taken

Justine Ferrara, who featured on the swing from KoRn’s self-titled album, was six-years-old in 1994 when the picture was taken

Now grown up, Justine (pictured) doesn't remember much from the shoot except that man was actually nice for covering the light in front of her

Now grown up, Justine (pictured) doesn’t remember much from the shoot except that man was actually nice for covering the light in front of her

The girl on the swing from KoRn’s self-titled album was six-years-old in 1994 when the picture was taken.

The cover art shows a little girl alone on a swing set and a mischievous looking shadow of a man with tools on the ground. 

The girl is Justine Ferrara, who had been encouraged to take part by her uncle Paul Pontius, who had signed the band to Immortal/Epic Records. 

Now grown up, Justine doesn’t remember much from the shoot except that the man was actually nice for covering the light in front of her. The tools were added to the picture in post processing.

‘He was a super-nice guy,’ Ferrara said, speaking to The FW. ‘He was doing me a favor, by blocking my eyes from the sunlight.’ 

She also went onto say how when the band’s popularity began to grow, her parents became concerned she would be recognised by fans and that the family may land themselves in hot water with their daughter’s school – because their uniform featured in the snap.   

In 2009, Justine graduated from New York University in 2009 with a degree in communications. 

The album cover child star admits that she isn’t a fan of the band, but dreams of working in the music industry in the future. 

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

The 1993 album Smashing Pumpkins famously starred two smiling young girls who donned fairy wings (pictured)

The 1993 album Smashing Pumpkins famously starred two smiling young girls who donned fairy wings (pictured)

Ali Laenger and Lysandra Roberts (pictured) have since spoken of the day they shot the album cover

Ali Laenger and Lysandra Roberts (pictured) have since spoken of the day they shot the album cover

The 1993 album Smashing Pumpkins famously starred two smiling young girls who donned fairy wings. The adorable cuties, Ali Laenger and Lysandra Roberts, have since spoken of the day they shot the album cover.

During an interview with setlist.fm, Ali recalled ‘playing dress up with Lysandra’ and said it was ‘the ultimate childhood dream day.’

She added: ‘We ate lemon heads and enjoyed rocket pop popsicles from the ice cream truck that happened to pass by during the shoot all while being dressed up in a cute dress with angel wings of course any 7-year-old would love that.’ 

However, being young meant the pair didn’t understand the magnitude of the photoshoot.

‘Overall I know I was super little girl crushing on Billy – after all, he was a rock star!’ Lysandra told the publication. ‘I remember thinking that it was pretty amazing that I was going to get paid for having that much fun, and wondering if everyone enjoyed their jobs this much. I thought it was pretty neat that it was for a rock band, and I couldn’t wait to hear what their music sounded like.’ 

Since then, Ali has pursued a career in nursing, while Lysandra, who has two children – a boy and a girl – spent years travelling around the world before settling down in Arkansas.

‘I live and play in the Ozarks which is a truly beautiful place and try to spend as much time in nature as possible,’ Lysandra said. ‘The rivers alone in this state are incomparable, and the people are mostly courteous and congenial.’

Now, the mother-of-two is a support tech worker for a small IT company.  

Notorious B.I.G – Ready To Die

Ready to Die is the iconic debut studio album of the late  Notorious B.I.G, who was murdered sixteen days before the release of his second record Life After Death in 1997

Ready to Die is the iconic debut studio album of the late  Notorious B.I.G, who was murdered sixteen days before the release of his second record Life After Death in 1997

The news broke that Bronx native Keithroy Yearwood was the star of the cover in 2011, when he told the New York Daily News that he was chosen to feature on one of the most iconic album covers in hip hop history

The news broke that Bronx native Keithroy Yearwood was the star of the cover in 2011, when he told the New York Daily News that he was chosen to feature on one of the most iconic album covers in hip hop history

Ready to Die is the iconic debut studio album of late rapper Notorious B.I.G, who was murdered sixteen days before the release of his second record Life After Death in 1997.

The news broke that Bronx native Keithroy Yearwood was the star of the cover in 2011, when he told the New York Daily News that he was chosen to feature on one of the most iconic album covers in hip hop history.

His mum said that the famous head of hair on the cover art had been making it difficult for her son to book other modeling gigs and that despite the millions of copies sold, he only made $150.

When I first found out about it, it wasn’t a big deal to me,’ Yearwood told the publication. ‘Now, of course, it’s a big deal to me.’

Yearwood currently lives in New Jersey and works as the Executive Community Manager for a company that holds events and conferences for business executives around the globe.

Keithroy is married and shares a home with his wife Candace, their pet dog and cat. 

Fall Out Boy – American Beauty/American Psycho

Jake Karlen featured on the Fall Out Boy's American Beauty/American Psycho album cover in 2015

Jake Karlen featured on the Fall Out Boy’s American Beauty/American Psycho album cover in 2015

He said in an interview with MTV that he had never listened to the band before being chosen to feature on their album, but that he has since become a firm fan

He said in an interview with MTV that he had never listened to the band before being chosen to feature on their album, but that he has since become a firm fan

Jake Karlen featured on the Fall Out Boy’s American Beauty/American Psycho album cover in 2015.

The California-based actor was just 13-years-old when his photograph was selected to feature on the band’s cover art, which showed his face with half of a black American flag painted on staring into the camera.

The shoot took place in Los Angeles and took four-five hours and Jake says he is often recognised at school and over social media after appearing on the record cover.

He said in an interview with MTV that he had never listened to the band before being chosen to feature on their album, but that he has since become a firm fan.

‘I knew their name but not their music so well’, he said.

After working with Pete [Wentz] and seeing how he works with the cover and all the details he wants from it I know the details are important to him, so I went and listened to their music, and I love it.’

After appearing on the album cover, Jake went on to act alongside Haley Bennett and Ilya Naishuller in the action movie Hardcore Henry and has since appeared in several television adverts.

His theatre credits include playing the son of Annette Bening and Angus Macfadyen in Medea. 

Van Halen – MCMLXXXIV

Many people think that the famous painting of a smoking angel-baby on the controversial Van Halen album 1984 was simply just a drawing - but it's actually based on Carter Helm

Many people think that the famous painting of a smoking angel-baby on the controversial Van Halen album 1984 was simply just a drawing – but it’s actually based on Carter Helm

Carter grew up in the US but eventually moved to Oxford for university before moving London where he worked as an insurance broker and eventually returning to his home country

Carter grew up in the US but eventually moved to Oxford for university before moving London where he worked as an insurance broker and eventually returning to his home country

Many people think that the famous painting of a smoking angel-baby on the controversial Van Halen album 1984 was simply just a drawing – but it’s actually based on Carter Helm.

A photograph of the four-year-old was used as inspiration for the sleeve, created by Margo Z. Nahas, for the rock band’s sixth studio album.

And the fact that the photo featured on the album was complete luck, with the initial design concept to feature four dancing chrome women.

However when Margo declined their offer, the band stumbled across the painting of Margo’s friend’s son in her portfolio and instantly wanted the image to feature on their sleeve.

Carter grew up in the US but eventually moved to Oxford for university before moving London where he worked as an insurance broker and eventually returning to his home country.

Today, Carter is 44-year-old and lives in San Francisco where he works for a company of Inland Marine and property specialists.

‘It was not until I was in third grade when it kind of hit me that being on that cover was something special’, he told NME.

Nirvana, Nevermind 

The latest: Nirvana and estate of Kurt Cobain are being sued by Spencer Elden, a man, now 30, who was the baby seen on the group's Nevermind album cover in 1991 (pictured)

The latest: Nirvana and estate of Kurt Cobain are being sued by Spencer Elden, a man, now 30, who was the baby seen on the group’s Nevermind album cover in 1991 (pictured)

Claims: Elden (pictured recreating his famous Nirvana cover) claimed that the band, record companies and creative personnel had 'trafficked' his image for profit

Claims: Elden (pictured recreating his famous Nirvana cover) claimed that the band, record companies and creative personnel had ‘trafficked’ his image for profit

Nirvana’s famous naked baby has SUED the band for child pornography after appearing on their iconic 1991 Nevermind album cover.

Spencer Eldon, now 30, said Nirvana and the estate of Kurt Cobain ‘trafficked’ his image as a naked baby and is claiming $2.5million in damages for being ‘exploited as a minor’.

In the suit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, Elden said his parents never gave their release in writing for the photos, and were not paid.

This is despite 2008 reports that photographer Kirk Weddle paid Elden’s father Rich $200 for 15 seconds of work to appear in the snap, according to NPR. 

Elden, from Los Angeles, said that his ‘identity and legal name are forever tied to the commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor which has been distributed and sold worldwide from the time he was a baby to the present day.’

He alleged that band members, record companies and creative personnel had ‘trafficked’ his image for profit, according to court documents reviewed by CBSLA.

Elden is asking for $150,000 from each of 17 defendants named in the suit, which include Cobain’s bandmates Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, the executor of Cobain’s estate, and the estate’s managers Guy Oseary and Heather Parry.

Others include photographer Kirk Weddle; art director Robert Fisher and a number of record companies that released of distributed Nevermind in the past three decades.

Elden is also thought to be suing artwork photographer Kirk Weddle and designer Robert Fisher, and Nirvana’s drummer from 1988 to 1990, Chad Channing.

He said that ‘defendants failed to take reasonable steps to protect [him] and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking.’

The image was snapped in 1990 at the Pasadena aquatic center when he was four months old.

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