Secret 7” is back with limited-edition vinyl cover art to aid War Child

Secret 7” returns with it charity auction of seven new mystery tracks sealed behind 700 uniquely designed vinyl cover sleeves (and anyone can bid)

Secret 7" record covers in aid of War Child. On the left there is a rainbow background with green sculptures. On the right there is an abstract swan with a human body tucked into the nape of its neck
(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

After a four-year hiatus, the much loved Secret 7” charity record sleeve auction returns for March 2024, with a fresh line-up of legendary musicians and artists. Relaunched by War Child, the quirky concept involves seven musicians to provide a track, each featuring on a limited-edition press of 100 7” vinyl records. Every record has a uniquely designed sleeve, with the mystery track encased, and it is all up for grabs. When the bidding is over, the designer of the sleeve and the musician who created the track will then be revealed.

This year’s 700 cover designs were created according to the inspiration of each artist when they listened to the track. The project originally ran from 2012 to 2020, and raised over £500,000 for charity during its first iteration.

Secret 7” 2024 in aid of War Child

Glossy red lips with a stem from a rose between them

(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

Creatives from across the globe have submitted their one-of-a-kind sleeve design, including fashion designer Sir Paul Smith, photographer Rankin, contemporary artist Cho Hui-Chi, and Jamie Hewlitt, the vision behind Tank Girl and Gorillaz, alongside up-and-coming talents selected via an open submission. NOW Gallery in Greenwich Peninsula will display all 700 records in a free exhibition, before they are sold via an online auction on Peggy (and they're worth making space for in your vinyl storage). 

Pinks and oranges emulate a bouquet of blurred flowers

(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

Uniting music, art and humanitarianism, the project is a fantastic display of creative interpretation, drawing on tracks including ‘A Different Kind of Human’ by Aurora, ‘Stop This Flame’ by Celeste, ’Swan upon Leda’ by Hozier, ‘Lullaby’ by Siouxsie & The Banshees, ‘Pipes of Peace’ by Sir Paul McCartney, ‘Skipping Like A Stone’ by The Chemical Brothers featuring Beck, and ‘ We Sell Hope’ by The Specials.

A golden dress in a field at night

(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

‘Artists have creative freedom to interpret the tracks in whichever visual ways they choose,’ said Emily Simms, strategic project manager at War Child. ‘We just have one requirement: do not include the musician’s name or the name of the track. This year we received thousands of submissions spanning a diverse array of artistic practices – from stained glass to ceramics, textiles, digital and sculptures. It's the autonomy we grant artists that results in such a fantastic variety of sleeves.’

Previous contributors include Yoko Ono, Ai Weiwei, Gilbert & George, David Shrigley, Julian Opie, and Jenny Holzer. The 2018 roster includes another Turner Prize winner, Jeremy Deller; fashion designer Paul Smith; artists Jake and Dinos Chapman; The Clash bassist Paul Simonon; and set designer Es Devlin.

An eye in a cloud overlooking a swan on a lake

(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

Secret 7” was rumoured to have showcased its final edition in 2020. Simms tells Wallpaper* about its much welcomed return: ’We couldn’t have relaunched Secret 7” without Kevin King, the co-founder. Together, we've reimagined the project for 2024 and have some very exciting new additions for this year’s exhibition. For instance, there will be seven REGA Planar 1 turntables available for auction, each screen-printed by critically acclaimed graphic artist Anthony Burrill, along with limited-edition merchandise including tote bags and slip mats. For the first time, the vinyl records will be pressed in the Secret 7” colours, featuring a b-side etching also designed by Burrill.’

Psychedelic blues, pinks and purples hint at a human face

(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

Simms continues, ‘These records are truly one-of-a-kind collectibles for record enthusiasts and art connoisseurs alike. And, of course, we're incredibly excited about showcasing all the sleeve artwork. Visitors won’t know which piece belongs to which artist until after the auction closes, making it a thrilling game of guess who! Perhaps most importantly, we also want visitors to understand the difference Secret 7” will make to children affected by conflict. No child should be part of war, ever. Yet, around the world, thousands are living through this nightmare. All money raised will help War Child provide aid and safe spaces for children to play, learn, and access psychological support.’

A a yellow and orange cartoon of people in a full car

(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

Lit matches shaped into a heart

(Image credit: Courtesy of Secret 7")

The 700 records will go on display in a free exhibition at NOW Gallery on Greenwich Peninsula from 2 - 17 March 2024. All money raised from the auction will support War Child. The online auction on platform Peggy will run simultaneously.

Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, she has contributed to BBC Wales, Ford UK, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, with work spanning from social media content creation to editorial. Now, her role covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.