Album Cover News Recap – Year End 2013

Album Cover News Recap – Holidays, 2013 –

Here’s a recap of the best articles I’ve seen lately regarding album cover art and artists. Based on what I’ve seen of the commitments made by recording artists, their labels (when applicable) and the folks that promote live performances, 2014 looks to be a good year for “the visual side” of the music business. With investments in “brand building” and other ways to have their musical products rise above the noise in all aspects of the media, fans of music-related art should continue to find new album cover/music packaging offerings that impress, tantalize, bewilder and shock our senses – that’s good, I think!

Here’s hoping that you have the best in “Album Cover Wishes and Rock and Roll Dreams” in the upcoming year – please be sure to check in with us whenever you get the chance, OK?

Cheers – Mike Goldstein, Curator,

12/30 – Folks in So. CA should make plans to visit Gallery 446 in Palm Springs (as if you need an excuse to visit PS in the winter) beginning on January 4th to see Brian Griffin‘s works featured in the “Icons” photo exhibition on display there thru Feb. 3rd. A recent inductee into the Album Cover Hall of Fame, Brian’s photographs have graced the covers of records for Depeche Mode, Psychedelic Furs, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello and many others, and his portraits of celebrity, royalty and working stiffs in industrial settings have won him fans world-wide, so if you do get to stop by the exhibition, it will surely be a treat. For more info, visit the gallery’s site at

12/27 – Just published, in time for your year-end recap reading – our summary article of “Best” and “Worst” album cover art lists for the year 2013, as published by many of your favorite magazines, blogs and list sites. As you might figure, some covers appear on both lists – one man’s treasure is another man’s rubbish – but no one will be able to say that this year’s selections were boring. I’d love to get your comments on both these lists and our analysis of the results, so take a read and be sure to pipe in with your feedback.

12/24 – Happy to note that the late, great Jim Marshall will be honored by the Recording Academy next month with a special Trustees Award (along with composer Ennio Morricone and Rick Hall, the owner of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama) at the 56th Grammy Awards. Marshall, famous for his album covers and editorial work for Rolling Stone and LIFE magazines, has shot an impressive number of memorable photos and is perhaps best-known for his images of Johnny Cash “flipping the bird” at the camera while at San Quentin prison and the Allman Brothers Band live at the Fillmore East auditorium in 1969, and I’m pleased to see the Academy honor such a talented “non-performer” with this award this year. More on this in Aidin Vaziri’s article on the SF Gate web site –

12/24 – Nice interview by writer Stewart Oksenhorn in the Aspen Times with rock photographer Lynn Goldsmith about her career and working relationships with Springsteen, Patti Smith, Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa, Gene Simmons of KISS and many others. Lynn’s just published her 10th book, this one titled Rock and Roll Stories, a 399-page tome that contains, according to the article, “text and photos from A (Paula Abdul, Gregg Allman) to Z (Frank Zappa, another favorite subject) and most everyone between (Dylan, Madonna, the Stones, Beastie Boys, Michael Franti, Leif Garrett, Bob Marley, the Go-Gos).” Read more of the interview online at

12/23 – Just stumbled upon a fascinating online exhibitions of some of the works of famed artist Keith Haring titled “Keith Haring Ephemera, 1979 – 1990” which features, among other items, a nice selection of record cover art he created for clients including David Bowie, Malcolm McClaren and various other artists. One particularly interesting work is the package he created for a 1985 record titled A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth of a Corpse. On display now on the 98 Bowery Gallery site –

12/20 – Running now thru January 4, 2014 at Gypsy Sally‘s, the K Street music club and curated by rock photo gallerist Chris Murray from D.C.’s Govinda Gallery and photographer Vivienne Foster, the ‘“4 x 6” East Coast Rock & Roll Photography 2013′ exhibit features the works of six young local photographers,each hoping to capture musical acts before they hit “the big time”. While there are those out there that claim that live concert photography hit its prime in the 60’s and 70’s, the quality of the work on display in this show should serve to quash that idea – more on this on the WTOP web site, in an article by Neal Augenstein –

12/19 – While I was away, I missed a story about a “pop up” gallery show at West Hollywood’s Gallerie Sparta by rock photographer Jimmy Steinfeldt, so while the show’s over, you can still check out a nice compilation of his works in his new book titled Rock N Roll Lens: 30 Years Of Music Photography & Stories, available now via his web site, along with a new series of limited-edition prints selected from this new collection. Steinfeldt, who has photo credits on album covers for artists including John Denver, Dishwalla, Santana, Matt Sorum, Willie Nelson, Paul Westerberg and many others, is featured in a nice interview with Fredwill Hernandez on the Hollywood Today site –

12/19 – The licensing world just got a bit more consolidated today with the announcement of the purchase of the world’s largest entertainment licensing agency – IMG – by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (backed by venture firm Silver Lake), creating “the largest talent agency in the world”. With a portfolio that generated over $8 billion in sales in 2012, IMG licenses the intellectual properties of music industry clients including Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and Rolling Stone (among others), as well as Marilyn Monroe, Playboy, Muhammad Ali, ESPN and many others. Fans of album cover art-based products should pay close attention to this new combined venture, as it could produce some interesting new items for the marketplace…more on this on the License Global web site –

12/18 – Holiday gift-givers looking for something nice for the album cover lover on their gift list might want to take a look at a new book just published by photographer George DuBose titled The Big Book of Hip Hop. As the original photo editor for SPIN Magazine, George was on hand to shoot portraits (and album covers) for many of the original stars in the rap/hip-hop world – RunDMC, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Afrika Bambaataa, Notorious BIG, etc. – and he’s put together a huge collection of them – along with the stories behind them – in this new book. It certainly seems to be a “must-own” for fans of the genre –

12/17 – Back with some new stories – Very happy to see (and support) Elliott Landy‘s new Kickstarter program. He’s looking to raise $65K to be able to publish a new book featuring his vast archive of pix of The Band. As of today, he’s about 40% of the way to his goal. At the $175 level, supporters get a 16×22 litho print of one of the pix used on the Music From Big Pink LP. The $10K level supporters will enjoy an afternoon with Elliott in Woodstock, along with a visit to the Big Pink house! More info on the Kickstarter site –

12/17- Long-time Village resident Bob Gruen – the photographer best-known for his images of John Lennon, Max’s Kansas City, Led Zeppelin and others – offers up a whole host of details about his life, his career and what it has meant to him to be a resident of one of NYC’s most-interesting areas in a resent interview with writer Lincoln Anderson on The Villager website. Learn more about his sessions with many of NY’s best-known denizens and why he never thought much of The Sex Pistols by reading this interview –

12/11 – 2012 ACHOF inductee Gered Mankowitz is putting up a huge (800+ item) collection of early photographs of the Rolling Stones – to view and to purchase – in an exhibition at London’s Atlas Gallery. Mankowitz, who shot the covers for the Stones’ Decembers Children and Between The Buttons LPs (among many others), shot over 4000 photos of the band during his career, so there will be many never-before-seen images on display now thru the end of January, 2014. Details via their press release –

12/11 – Staying in the Rolling Stones area for today – Joe Garnett, whose impressive work has been featured on covers for The Doors, Percy Faith, Seals & Crofts and many others, was kind enough to share a link to a new painting he’s done of guitarist/miracle of science Keith Richards – very well expressed, I must say. Thanks, Joe!

12/10 – The nominees for Grammy Awards in the packaging categories (“Best Recording Package” and “Best Boxed or Special Limited-Edition Package”) have been announced and there are some really talented people/teams represented in the lists. Both big name acts (Jay-Z, Metallica, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Paul McCarthey, Mumford & Sons) and lesser-known acts are represented, so it’ll be interesting to see who reigns supreme at the end of January. Of course, the winners will be posted on the ACHOF site and, with any luck, I’ll be interviewing the winners about their work. In the meantime, check out the Nominees list on the Grammy site –

12/9 – This past weekend, in addition to commemorating anniversaries of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and of John Lennon’s assassination, album cover fans will note the 37th anniversary of the release of The Eagles‘ huge record – Hotel California – and its Grammy-winning cover art, created by art director John Kosh (AKA “Kosh”). Kosh is still creating memorable work, and the ACHOF hopes to feature a portfolio of his imagery sometime soon. In the meantime, you can visit his Facebook page at to follow his every move!

12/6 – Spookily following-up my recent visit to a very impressive orgami exhibit here at the Oregon Historical Society is this article on the FACT magazine site about UK’s A Future Without about their quite crafty album cover package for Will Plowman‘s Ahamay Grove EP. I still prize both my fold-out pyramid cover by Ambrosia and my Alice Cooper School’s Out school desk/panties package, but will consider adding this soon –

12/6 – To follow up on a recent posting regarding a HuffPo listing of 15 great albums with bad covers, bluegrass singer Rhonda Vincent proudly stands by her make-up, hair and clothing choices on the quite-horrible photo cover for her 1990 album A Dream Come True – My dreams will be haunted for a while, I’m thinking, now that I’ve seen this cover…

12/5 – In a recent posting on NPR‘s “Monkee See” pop culture blog, writer Chris Klimek laments about how most of Bruce Springsteen‘s recent album cover images seem rather amateurish in their execution (his is particularly unhappy with the new High Hopes cover, which he calls both “a photocopier accident” and a “cancer on sight”).
When looking back on earlier covers – including the classic images done by Eric Meola for Born To Run and Annie Liebovitz on Born In The U.S.A. – that seem to show more concern about how Springsteen is portrayed, I’m not sure whether this indicates that he’s less-concerned about his image (after all, fans are supposed to be buying the records for the music) or whether he thinks that, as more and more music is downloaded or streamed, it simply doesn’t make sense to invest in album cover art any longer.
Of course, I’m of the camp that believes that record cover art is still meaningful as a way to stay connected to your fan base and, therefore, should receive careful consideration. What say you?

12/4 – I want to congratulate photographer Peter Simon on the release (finally!) of his new DVD titled Through The Lens – Celebrating 50 Years of Photography. He launched the release last night with a party/exhibition at the John Varvatos store in Boston’s Copley Square, where a selection of his prints are available (I just LOVE the Robert Plant print!)…
Also – music/art fans should consider visiting the Grammy organization’s special sale pages on eBay. Where else can you bid on some great, autographed/unique items (including a selection of signed LPs, photographs, etc.) and, at the same time, support the two fine service organizations they operate – MusiCares and The Grammy Foundation? Be sure to stop by today –

12/3 – First, the sad news…Famed Australian artist/agent provocateur Martin Sharp – best known to album cover art fans for his amazing psychedelic artwork for the cover of Cream‘s Disraeli Gears LP (and a 2012 inductee into the Album Cover Hall of Fame), died this past Sunday after a long battle with emphysema. He was 71. Aussie art fans will also remember his controversial, trend-setting art magazine OZ, first published in the early 1960s with Richard Neville and Richard Walsh. More info on his passing is available at–who-designed-posters-for-Jimi-Hendrix-and-Bob-Dylan–dies#.Up5AScRwouc

12/3 – Then, the better news – the work of art director Stefan Sagmeister (creator of the cover for the Talking Heads’ 2003 album Once In A Lifetime) is the subject of an exhibition titled “The Happy Show” currently on display at La Gaite Lyrique museum in Paris (thru March 9, 2014). Known as “an activist in the cause of graphic design”, Sagmeister’s show is a complete multi-sensory exhibit, getting visitors to enjoy and learn more about “the dynamic rhythm of happiness”. C’mon, get happy at

12/2 – Two album cover items from the U.K. for your review –
1) Singer/style icon Paloma Faith curated an album cover art show and sale (staged by the folks at Album Artists) this past weekend that featured the images created by photographers David Standish and Finlay Mackay, as well as a live session with photographer Saul. Ms. Faith states that “In an age where we are all downloading music, it’s wonderful to be able to appreciate fully the work that goes into creating the beautiful imagery surrounding an album..” Here, here! More info on the limited-edition prints that have been published is available online at

12/2 – Proud Gallery, working with the charity Kids Company and the band Coldplay, is auctioning off a series of original paintings by Coldplay and the huge graffiti wall (done by the artist known as Paris) that served as the cover art for their Mylo Xyloto album. Through a series of dedicated efforts, the band has provided a lot of support and publicity for the charity over their 4-year+ association. To see what’s available (the auction ends today, 12-2), please view the link to the article in the U.K.’s Independent –

12/1 – As promised, we’ve just posted a handy gift guide sure to make it simple and fun to select “just the right thing” for the album cover art lover on your list. While the list is pretty comprehensive – and one that will be updated on a regular basis – if you come across anything we’ve missed or something that you think is a must for any cover art fan, please be sure to let us know and we’ll update the article right away.
In the meantime – happy shopping – glad to be of help!

11/27 – I’m very pleased to announce that the voting is in (thanks, esteemed panel!) and the 2013 Class of Inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame has been selected and can now be viewed on the ACHOF site at
It’s quite an impressive list of talented individuals and teams that have displayed their unique talents in a memorable way on many of your favorite album covers. I think that we can all give a hearty round of applause to this year’s inductees – it’s an honor well-deserved!

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