Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Ernie Cefalu and Pacific Eye and Ear

Ernie Cefalu – Notable album cover works include – Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic, Jesus Christ Superstar Original Soundtrack; Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare;  Captain Beyond – Captain Beyond;  Bee Gees – Main Course

Ernie started his career on Madison Avenue in the late 1960’s. He was hired at Norman Levitt Advertising and his award-winning work for Decca Records (including designs for the Jesus Christ Superstar album) quickly established his creative genius and created demand for his talents. As a young designer in the late 60’s, Ernie had the honor and privilege of working side by side with many great, emerging artists. Ernie’s drive and passion for excellence led him to a new chapter in 1970 when he joined forces with Craig Braun, Inc. in New York. Knowing the importance of first impressions, he wanted to make a mark on his first assignments. The results have become rock icons – the tongue logo for The Rolling Stones and the rule-breaking Sticky Fingers album. Three months later, Ernie opened a satellite office for the agency in California where he would be the head Art Director. The hits kept coming for Ernie.. Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, Cheech & Chong’s Big Bambu, and Captain Beyond, among others..

In 1972, Ernie was at the top of his game and knew it was time to leave and start his own agency. He opened the legendary “Pacific Eye and Ear” agency where, over the next 13 years, he created another 183 album covers for rock legends such as The Doors, Aerosmith, The Bee Gees, The Guess Who, Black Sabbath, Jefferson Airplane, Grand Funk Railroad, and Iron Butterfly. Pacific Eye and Ear was now on the map forever – easily recognized as one of the top three album design companies in the country. As Pacific Eye & Ear’s Owner/Creative Director, Mr. Cefalu was the conceptual link for some of today’s top illustrators, designers, writers and photographers, including Drew Struzan, Ingrid Haenke, Joe Garnett and many others. During his tenure at Pacific Eye & Ear, Ernie earned three Grammy Award nominations, 10 Music Hall Of Fame Awards and four Creative Director Awards of Excellence from The Los Angeles Art Director Club.

In the late 80’s, as work in the music business was slowing, Ernie knew it was time to reinvent himself. He would “go mainstream” where traditional advertising was expected, but he would offer clients a very different kind of service and product. If they were half as bored as he was with status quo in advertising, packaging design, consumer promotions, and merchandising materials in stores, he knew he would have an exciting, thriving business. He felt he was really in touch with people – he understood how they thought, how they felt and how they acted. Ernie felt different businesses require different solutions…but they all need an attitude, a heart and a soul. Ernie could provide that connection. In 1989, Ernie added an unlikely account to his client roster – Nestlé USA. Over the next decade, his work helped over 20 brands in Nestlé’s five divisions post double-digit sales growth.

More recently, Ernie was Senior Creative Director and Co-Owner of Y & M Associates in Los Angeles, an agency known for its breakthrough business solutions fueled by keen strategic focus and unparalleled creative design. He sat at the helm of this cutting edge boutique and his eye, and hand, touched and guided every client’s assignment. He remains a leader in this industry.

Today, Ernie Cefalu is the owner and Senior Creative Director of HornBook Ink, where he is retained by four Fortune 100 companies as their in-house Creative Director, with Cott Beverage (the #1 non-name brand beverage company in the World), HSBC Financial, Chang Beer (Southeast Asia’s #1 Beer), Coca Cola and Energy Club being the most recent additions to Ernie’s client roster, and with the recent releases of new albums by Alice Cooper and Burton Cummings, this brings the total number of albums designed to date to over 210.

Ernie Cefalu, Pacific Eye & Ear, album cover

Ernie Cefalu at home

To see more of Ernie’s work – and to purchase an original work from his collection, please visit his web site at http://www.originalalbumcoverart.com or his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ernie.cefalu

Porfolio images

Album Cover Art –

Ernie Cefalu, Drew Struzan, album cover

From Left to Right, Top to Bottom – Jefferson Airplane – Baron Von Toll Booth , Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,    Modern Jazz Quartet – In Memoriam, Kenny Rankin – Silver Morning – Bee Gees – Main Course, Alice Cooper – Welcome To My Nightmare


From Left to Right, Top to Bottom – Jesus Christ Superstar Original Cast Recording, Alice Cooper – Dada, Mary Travers – Circles and Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic; Captain Beyond – Captain Beyond; Iron Butterfly – Scorching Beauty

Packaging –

EC_ART_School_01csComps for various elements to be included in Alice Cooper’s School’s Out record package

EC_ART_Bambu_01bsComps for various products derived from the packaging for Cheech & Chong’s Big Bambu recording


Details of the various elements that made up the cigar box-style packaging PE&E created for Jefferson Airplane’s Long John Silver album.

Merchandise –

EC_ART_Licks_01bsRolling Stones – Lips & Tongue art and merch


Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic T-shirt

Ernie is also working on a book about his career and was able to provide us with some comps from his work so far:


It’s great to be able to see the scope of the works created by Ernie and his team of very talented artists. We’ll update this profile with more info on this publication as it is made available.

Interview links –

3-part interview with Ernie – includes discussions about his earliest efforts, Jesus Christ Supertstar, the controversial Lips and Tongue work for The Rolling Stones, and his work with renowned poster artist Drew Struzan –

Part 1 – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/05/cover-story-interview-jesus-christ-superstar-with-designs-by-ernie-cefalu.html

Part 2 – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/07/uncovered-interview-part-2-rolling-stones-lips-logo-by-ernie-cefalu.html

Part 3 – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/10/uncovered-interview-the-pacific-eye-ear-years-with-designs-by-ernie-cefalu-and-drew-struzan.html

All images featured in this story are Copyright 1970 – 2013 Ernie Cefalu and HornBook Ink – All rights reserved – and are used by the artist’s permission. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2013 – Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com (www.albumcoverhalloffame.com) & RockPoP Productions – All rights reserved.

4 responses to “Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Ernie Cefalu and Pacific Eye and Ear

  1. Dave – glad you liked the article. I hope to feature more of PE&E’s work on the site as time goes on – keep your eye on this space for more! MG

  2. People may not of gone to art galleries and such, but the artwork that Ernie Cefalu gave to the public with Pacific Eye & Ear was seen and did influence many, as can be seen in the world today. Thanks for sharing!

  3. You might have heard me say this before but I think that its critical that I reiterate it once more here and now. “In the early days of Pacific Eye & Ear I was lucky enough to be able to surround myself with creative people that were so much more talented than myself and It would be selfish of me at this point, not to give further credit to them.

    My fellow artists and creative types that all worked together in the creating of the images that I am displaying and that you the art and music fans are so favorably commenting about now in this survey.

    There are many great artists to mention and I might forget one or two because it was quite some time ago… but here goes. First there was my partner Tony Grabois, who wasn’t really a graphic artist per say, but a real artist with sales. Then there was Dean Marion, Joe Garnet, Drew Struzan, Bill Garland, Joe Petagno, Carl Ramsey, Bob Engelsiepen, Ingrid Haenke, David Coleman and Rick Lynch.

    With all my heart, I want to thank you one and all for your hard work, dedication and awesome talents at Pacific Eye & Ear that has made this awareness and acclaim possible today. Also, I want to thank Mike Goldstein and “The Album Cover Hall Of Fame” for this most prestegious honor I am truly thankful and greatly humbled. – Ernie