Nursing home residents re-create iconic album covers while in lockdown

Rock on, Nana!

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/ Source: TODAY
By Maura Hohman and Caroline Radnofsky

Music and art have become two popular pastimes during the long months of coronavirus lockdown, and one nursing home in the U.K. found the perfect way to combine the two.

Residents at Sydmar Lodge Care Home in Edgware, outside London, took photographs re-creating famous album covers, from makeup to the perfect pose. The re-creations cross genres and decades, including covers by David Bowie, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Madonna and more.

A re-creation of Taylor Swift's 2014 album, "1989."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home
Elvis Presley's self-titled album from 1956.@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home
David Bowie's 1973 album, "Aladdin Sane."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home

The staff member who headed up the project, activities coordinator Robert Speker, told TODAY that he tries to keep his residents entertained with "topical" ideas and that they got on board with his plan "pretty quickly."

Madonna's 1986 album, "True Blue."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home
Johnny Cash's 2002 album, "American IV: The Man Comes Around."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home

He wanted to achieve a mix of current and classic albums that were "well-known," he explained. After he'd chosen the albums, he then had to decide which artist best suited which resident.

"When I was matching the residents up, I had a quick think. Who would like to participate, and which would best suit them? Who wouldn’t mind having tattoos drawn on their arms or zigzags painted on their faces?" Speker said.

Blink-182's 1999 album, "Enema of the State."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home

"I wanted the resident’s personality to shine through. I feel I managed that, unbelievably," he continued. "The reaction they had was so lovely."

Speker took and edited the photos himself, and when necessary, he did the makeup, as well. For British singer Rag'n'Bone Man's album, he even had to draw tattoos on a resident's arm. It took a couple of weeks to complete the entire project, he said.

A close-up shot of the re-creation of British singer Rag'n'Bone Man's 2017 album "Human."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home

"They all had great fun, and it was nice to spend some one-to-one time with them in this time," Speker added.

The photos were posted on Twitter last Friday by Speker in a tweet that amassed tens of thousands of likes and retweets. Another Twitter user named Tim Frost also posted about the project in since-deleted tweets to say his "nan" was front and center in the re-creation of Adele's album "21."

Adele's 2011 album, "21."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home

"Thank you all for the kind words and the shares! I cannot wait for the day I can visit Grandma and show her how much she is loved!" Frost wrote.

Michael Jackson's 1987 album, "Bad."@robertspeker/Sydmar Lodge Care Home

Speker told TODAY that the reaction to the photos has been "so positive."

"I thought my friends would see it, but obviously it’s spread in a ridiculous way," he said. "I feel really overwhelmed and humbled by the response."