Howard Finster’s Gift to Music

We’ve talked up Paradise Gardens in Summerville, Georgia a lot. It was the home of famed artist Howard Finster, and the beautiful surroundings are just teeming with his renowned folk art.

If you’ve never been, this free public park is a site to behold.

Howard’s art was feature on a number of prominent album covers throughout the years. One classic LP in particular from one very iconic NYC band just made the news, which we feel presents a great opportunity to highlight Finster’s impact on album cover art.

Howard Finster's Gift to Music
Photo Courtesy of The Paradise Garden Foundation

There’s something about really eclectic artists that draw the strange in all of us to them, and them to each other. Being individuals, being unique and saying something in our very own way one could say is at the core of great art everywhere.

When it comes to music, David Byrne of the Talking Heads is one of these sound and performance-art gems, and it’s no big mystery why he commissioned Finster to create the cover art for their 1985 album Little Creatures.

Little Creatures was just ranked as the Talking Head’s 7th best album by Spin Magazine. Many fans will tell you that musically, this is where it belongs. But it also happens to be Byrnes’ best selling album, and the only one to reach double platinum. Accident? Perhaps not.

From Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, “Some three decades after its release, music fans are still debating how Little Creatures, the Talking Heads’ only multi-platinum-selling album, ranks in the band’s oeuvre.

Well, let’s just leave it that it was Howard’s greatest hit, too! That record is a big reason why many Finster fans continue to make the pilgrimage to Paradise Garden in 2024, which we greatly appreciate.”

Another Finster album cover of note is R.E.M.’s Reckoning LP. The gardens are also featured in the band’s 1981 Radio Free Europe music video, and includes an appearance by Howard himself towards the end. [Video below]

Other notable covers include albums by Blackhawk and Adam Again, as well as several single releases from the Talking Heads. Howard also created the covers for his very own poetry and folk music recordings.

If you’re not right there with me as of yet here’s where all of the colorful signs are pointing. For those in the Atlanta metro or nearby, the magical Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens are practically right in your back yard. (From a day-trip perspective anyway)

It’s near Rome and less than 100 miles from the ATL in Northeast, Georgia. Finster’s weird, wild and breathtaking art will capture you just like it did these musical acts – for it’s visual beauty and profound meaning. So take a short road trip, and listen to the Talking Heads and R.E.M. on the way.

Follow us here: Facebook | X | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube | MSN | TripAdvisor | Flipboard | NewsBreak

All articles belong to 365 Atlanta Family LLC, and all photos belong to us as well, unless otherwise noted. It’s all copyrighted. Please don’t repost anything elsewhere without asking me first. All rights reserved. This site uses cookies to enhance your experience.

We make no guarantees of any price listed on our site. We are not responsible for content on external web sites linked from ours, including linked resources, an external blog post, any partner site, hotel property sites, or affiliate sites. We only write about places we love in an attempt to help you in your adventures, but we can’t guarantee you will love them, too.

Posts may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Several of our trips are also compensated by the respective tourism boards for the city or state we are visiting, restaurants, attractions or brands. This never impacts how we share the destination with you – opinions are always our own and we pride ourselves on that. We do not sell links or accept unsolicited guest posts under any circumstances. Don’t even ask.

United States Copyright, 365 Atlanta Family, LLC

View our Privacy Policy | Subscribe to our Newsletter | Contact Site Owner | View Terms & Conditions | About Us

Howard Finster's Gift to Music