Album Cover News Recap – mid-August 2013
For those of you who might have missed some of my daily reports, here’s a re-cap of the most-interesting album cover-related articles I’ve found since the beginning of the month:
August 15 – Thanks to Eric Feldman and Gil A. for this one (it missed my Google alert filter, it seems!) – The Canadian postal service recently released a series – titled Canadian Recording Artists 2013 – of four postage stamps featuring four of their best-loved recording acts (and featuring some re-working of notable album cover work by artist Louis Gagnon). Now, you can post your parcels with stamps featuring Tragically Hip, The Guess Who, Beau Dommage and R&RHOF inductees RUSH (Hugh Syme’s famous “Starman” image, now in a new collectible format). The UK’s done it (in 2010), why not the U.S.? Yes, there was the Johnny Cash stamp (http://m.billboard.com/entry/view/id/62195/pn/all/p/0/?KSID=e7259822380ea8921510b90429d5e3d1) and some jazz-based images, but where’s the “should be in the R&RHOF series” featuring Journey, REO Speedwagon, Nirvana, etc.?
August 14 – Here’s one in the “still proud of his work after all these years” column…back in 1969, artist Victor Henderson painted a mural on a building wall in Venice, CA which, a few months later, was spotted by photographer Henry Diltz, who was working on the photo shoot for the Morrison Hotel LP for The Doors. Fans of the band will instantly recognize the mural as it was featured in a number of pix that accompanied the album. This year, the building’s current owner hired another artist to re-create the original work, which had been partially covered up and was in bad shape overall. Henderson found out about the new work, and the ensuing fireworks make for some interesting rights-related reading. Here’s how it was reported by Martha Groves in the LA Times –http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-venice-doors-mural-20130812,0,4074827.story
Spoiler – this does have a “happy” ending…MG
August 13 – To follow up last week’s post about the 44th anniversary of the Beatles’ Abbey Road photo shoot – as you might have thought, there was quite the turnout of fans from around the world, standing in line to take their turn in re-creating the famed street crossing image. In the linked video, produced by the UK’s Telegraph, a local tour guide explains how this continues to be a top London-area tourist spot, and you’ll get to meet a couple of newlywed Beatles fans who hoofed it over from the church right after their ceremony to capture this image on their wedding day. The impact of album cover art, shown in its full glory, I’d say – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/the-beatles/10235912/Beatles-fans-flock-to-Abbey-Road-for-44th-anniversary.html
August 12 – NY area album cover fans – I’m always jealous of the fact that you seem to get a regular supply of album cover art exhibitions. Here’s the newest one, as reported by NY1’s Jose Martinez – the NY Transit Museum in Brooklyn just launched a new exhibit titled “Album Tracks – Subway Record Covers” that features over 40 examples of transit-themed cover images. You’ll see a list that includes records by Billy Joel, Simon & Garfunkel, Brecker Brothers, Ramones and many others. The exhibition runs through January 12, 2014. Maybe someday, I’ll put on an exhibition here in Portland that features bacon and beer-inspired album covers – any suggestions
August 9 – Here are two stories that span the globe to bring you the best in album cover-related entertainment.
Story #1 is from author Nathan Bevan (on the WalesOnline site) with his take on the “10 Best Welsh album covers”. Of course, there’s a Tom Jones cover, along with Scritti Politti, Julian Cope and Manic Street Preachers.
Story #2 is an interview with ACHOF featured photographer Mark Weiss by Goldmine Magazine’s Susan Sliwicki. Mark’s well-known for his shots for the covers of Bon Jovi (Slippery When Wet), Van Halen, Twisted Sister and many others. Quite the hard-rock Renaissance man!
August 8 – 44 years ago today, ACHOF-nominated photographer Iain Macmillan escorted The Beatles out of EMI’s Abbey Road studio and photographed them crossing the street via the painted walkway. That photo session produced what turned out to be the most-copied album cover image of the modern era and cemented Macmillan’s place in the book of iconic album cover history. In the linked Yahoo article, writer Chris Willman (Stop The Presses!) provides fans with the details and recounts a time when he asked the not-Dead-yet Paul to autograph his copy of the LP –http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/abbey-road-cover-art-strolling-back-rock-most-190720943.html
Here’s a follow-up article showing some of the folks that made the pilgrimage to the Zebra crossing that weekend – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/the-beatles/10235912/Beatles-fans-flock-to-Abbey-Road-for-44th-anniversary.html
August 8 – The earliest-known copy of the cover of the Beatles’ White Album – #A000 0001 (they were all numbered, remember) – is going up for auction in a couple of days via the nice folks at Heritage Auctions in TX. Originally given to a top executive at Capitol Records in 1968, the cover package also includes the original poster, four promo photos and a couple of records. The package (lot #46154) has an estimated value of $20,000 and, as of this posting, a pre-auction bid of $10K ($12.5K including the buyer’s premium). This would make a fine gift for any collector of Beatles memorabilia, so those of you who missed the opportunity to send me something nice for my birthday recently now have a chance to make your Curator very happy.
Update – the item sold for $35,000 (including Buyer’s Premium) during the August 10th auction. Wow!
August 7 – When you’re creative, you’re creative, but some folks take it to “a whole nuther level”…Photographer Mark Seliger, responsible for a number of well-known album cover photos, including Oops!…I Did It Again for Britney Spears, Bon Jovi’s These Days and Paul McCartney’s Back In The U.S., has released his second album with his band Rusty Truck. Titled Kicker Town, Seliger created a full multimedia package to accompany the record’s 12 songs, including “dramatic readings” of some of his song lyrics by Seth Rogen and Will Ferrell. Read more about it in James C. McKinley Jr.’s article in the NY Times –http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/arts/music/mark-seligers-career-as-frontman-of-rusty-truck.html?pagewanted=1&tntemail0=y&_r=2&emc=edit_tnt_20130805
August 6 – London’s Snap Gallery is hosting a month-long exhibition of artist Morgan Howell’s “Super Size Art” renditions of well-known 45RPM singles. Not merely paintings, these are large (about 27″ square) re-creations of a single inside its paper sleeve and have to be seen to be appreciated. No self-respecting music industry professional’s office or studio should be seen without one – here’s a link to the release on the event, now thru Aug. 31 in their Piccadilly space –https://www.snapgalleries.com/exhibitions/morgan-howell-45-rpm/
August 5 – Very impressive time-lapse video of Dan Tobin Smith’s creation of the image used on Jay-Z’s 2009 record Blueprint 3. Who needs Photoshop when you have a great eye (and a budget to do a 3-day shoot!)? Dan has done work for Nike, Chivas Regal, etc., and I have to thank the folks at the Peta Pixel site for sharing this with us.
August 2 – For the album cover for the upcoming Michael Jackson release (which features previously unreleased tracks), MJ’s art director chose to create a collage of images, most having to do with previous albums and music videos. However, super sleuths have also identified a number of other MJ and non-MJ-related items and are hoping that eagle-eyed fans can spot and identify more, so take a look and post what you find. This initial exploration was authored by writers at our own Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) site, providing you outside PDX another fine example of what stimulates music fans in the Pacific NW – happy hunting!
August 1 – Here’s a group of album cover re-creations that I just had to show you. First, there was the Lego-based remakes of album covers; now, there are Furby-based ones. From the obviously somewhat-demented mind of Swedish artist William Kallback, here are updated versions of classic covers for Bjork, Britney Spears and, my favorite, Adele. Follow the link to an interview with the artist as featured on the “Stop The Presses” blog on the Yahoo! Music site – http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/furby-ize-favorite-album-cover-200547575.html
July 31 – In today’s New York Times, music critic Ben Ratliff writes about the importance of a book on album cover art – the Album Cover Album, authored by artists Roger Dean and the late Storm Thorgerson – and its effect on his approach to exploring music. While fans of album cover imagery have understood this for years, it is great to see a writer of his stature making a statement on the impact it has had on the promotion and marketing of music in all genres, don’t you agree? Here’s a link to the posting – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/arts/music/a-jazz-critic-inspired-by-a-book-of-album-cover-designs.html?hp&_r=2&