Album Cover News Recap – May 2014

Album Cover News Recap – May, 2014

Spring brought us the blooming of flowers, correspondingly, a lot of album cover-related talent emerged from their winter slumber to bring fans a lot of visual stimuli as well with regards new exhibitions, interviews and designs for classic and emerging musical acts. Highlights of this past month’s coverage include information on these shows (both in the U.S. and overseas), interviews with both a Grammy Award-winning designer (Kosh) and young designers now making names for themselves in the field, several new books and fine art print editions of rock and album cover photography, a new Featured Fan Collection and notes on the passing of some great artists, as well. As we always like to say (and show you), there’s always something new to see in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site

May 30 – 1) If you’re feeling creative and in need of a project – artist Richard Evans (who created a number of great covers himself for clients including the Beach Boys, Van Morrison, The Kinks and The Who), on the web site for his excellent book The Art of the Album Cover, has been kind enough to provide us with a number of templates we can download and use to create our own album cover masterpieces (for both CDs and LPs). Grab your pens, pencils, crayons, paints, cameras and computers and get cracking – there’s a future for you as an album cover designer!
http://www.theartofthealbumcover.com/Templates.html

2) After reviewing over 400 entries in this year’s design competition, the St. Louis chapter of the AIGA organization selected 30 winners and, for their work on the colorful packaging for the band Popular Mechanics’ record titled Anti-Glacial, honored the design firm Husbandmen for their work. I’m very impressed with all aspects of this package – particularly the multi-colored CD. More on this on the Riverfront Times site in an article by Allison Babka –http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/rftmusic/2014/05/regional_design_organization_lauds_popular_mechanics_album_art.php

3) To note the passing of artist H.R. Giger earlier in the month, the folks on the DeviantArt site have put together a career retrospective with loads of excellent examples of the late artist’s work and, quite interestingly, many submissions of Giger-influenced art created by others in the DeviantArt community. If you’re a fan at all of Giger’s fantastic work, you’ll really enjoy a visit to this tribute – http://techgnotic.deviantart.com/journal/A-Tribute-to-Hans-Ruedi-Giger-455363395

May 28 – When you have so much talent in one area, it only makes sense to exhibit it in all its glory! Fans of music-related graphics will surely enjoy the new “Paper Covers Rock” show on display at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens, GA from now until July 26th. In it, you’ll find an impressive collection of 1975-1985-era album covers, posters and other promotional images for local talent including R.E.M.,The B-52’s, Pylon, Love Tractor and many others. The show was curated by Atlanta-area artist Sean Bourne, and you can read more about it in Barbette Houser’s article on the Flagpole site –http://flagpole.com/blogs/culture-briefs/posts/paper-covers-rock-covers-graphic-arts-of-athens-bands-from-75-85

May 27 – Album cover talent is available from sources all over the world – here’s an interview with Czech artist Mila Fustova in which she discusses her work on the cover for Coldplay‘s most-recent album titled Ghost Stories. It’s a story of international love, happenstance and intrigue (OK, just trying to give it some spice), but it is fascinating how a musical act finds the talent for its album cover imagery – click on over to this story by Ian Willoughby on the Radio Prague web site – http://radio.cz/en/section/one-on-one/inspiration-worked-both-ways-says-artist-mila-fuerstova-of-close-collaboration-with-coldplay

May 26 – Now, here’s a tour I want to take!
Imagine being on a Beatles-oriented walking tour in Liverpool and coming upon one of the band’s “inner sanctum” friends – bassist and album cover designer (Revolver, for example) Klaus Voorman – while he’s out for a stroll! From the photos, the very-talented Mr. Voorman looks to be in excellent health and spirits – here’s an article on the chance encounter by Steve Marinucci of the Beatles Examiner site – http://www.examiner.com/article/liverpool-tour-guide-bumps-into-longtime-beatles-friend

May 23 – 1) The weekend beginning May 23 was a holiday in both the US and the UK, so if you found yourself in South Wales anywhere near the Oystermouth Castle, you’d have had a chance to meet one of the giants in album cover design, Sir Peter Blake, who was on hand during the “Mumbles Marvellous Weekend” celebration there. Sir Peter’s “greatest hit” is the inimitable cover for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album, and he was there on Saturday for a live interview with author Jeff Towns. More info on this via the link to Nino Williams’ article on the South Wales Evening Post site – http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Art-legend-festival/story-20971260-detail/story.html

2) CBS News reporter Jim Axelrod recently posted a video feature on the prolific NYC-based photographer Jim Cummins, whose works are finally being cataloged and will be available as fine art prints soon. Cummins’ photos have been featured on nearly 1000 album packages, including records for Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Wilson Pickett and Sam & Dave. It’s a nice way to spend 2 minutes – http://www.cbsnews.com/news/photographer-remasters-iconic-album-cover-art/

3) Mr. Cummins is one of the many new bios you’ll find on the ACHOF site which, as you’ll see, is being updated every day with new material. Interesting tidbit – One of the most-recent additions to the bio are is designer Neville Brody, and I was fascinated with some of the details about his long list of accomplishments. For example, Brody and his team were chosen to be the designers of the standard type font for The Times (of London) newspaper, replacing the 75-year-old standard – Times Roman – in 2006 with Times New Roman. As you can see, the talent that has worked on album covers is truly impressive! More bios are available at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-featured-artists-main-page/

May 22 – 1) In another example of why it is important to have strong visuals to go along with the music, the folks that curate the “Woodstock” brand recently appointed two new companies – Perryscope and Epic Rights – as their agents and launched a new web store to sell apparel and accessory items bearing well-known Woodstock graphics. They have a very nice selection of items – I particularly like the tie-dye poster I saw there –http://store.woodstock.com/

2) I’m happy to report that the people behind the Secret 7″ record art-based fund raiser have announced that, with over 700 artists participating this year, they were able to raise £41,500 (almost $70K) for War Child, taking the total raised for the charity by the program over the last three years to £105,000 ($180K). Read more about this fine effort in writer Chris Cooke’s article on the CMU web site – http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/secret-7-confirms-41500-raised-for-war-child-via-this-years-programme/

May 21 – 1) To follow-up my headline from the previous day concerning artist Ken Kelly‘s appearance at the Pop Culture Expo Memorial Day weekend, here’s a link to an article on the Blabbermouth.net site on his newest KISS-related work – Ace Frehley has commissioned Mr. Kelly to create the album cover artwork for his newest release (coming out June 24) titled Space Invader. Fans of classic sci-fi art will surely appreciate this new work –http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ace-frehley-enlists-kiss-destroyer-cover-artist-ken-kelly-for-space-invader/

2) A new exhibition at the Original Art Shop in Lancashire, U.K. features the work of graffiti artist “Temper” and his re-makes of classic album covers, now featuring some of his own characters integrated into cover scenes we all know and love. I was particularly impressed with his version of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust LP, but also enjoyed his takes on covers from Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Oasis and many others. I’d like to find out a bit more about this series and will report back to you all with any updates. In the meantime, take a look –http://www.originalartshop.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=179

May 20 – 1) If you were in the Boston area this past Memorial Day weekend, I hope that you had a chance to spend some time at Gary Sohmers’ Pop Culture Expo at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. Two rock imagery makers of note were on hand – a) Ken Kelly, the artist responsible for the Destroyer album cover for KISS (as well as great illustrations for Conan, Vampirella and many other graphic novels), and b) photographer Roger Farrington, the man who documented “the making of” John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s record Double Fantasy. He was there signing copies of his new book titled Starting Over: The Making Of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy…Lots more to see, details are available via the link –http://www.popcultureexpo.com/collections/artists-and-authors

2) Was doing some album cover research (as I always seem to be doing!) and saw something that caught my eye that I hadn’t seen before, so I wanted to share it with y’all – a few years back, a Vancouver, BC-based company called GGRP Sound came out with a really innovative way to promote their services – a record packed inside a cardboard cover that turned into a working record player (yes, really!). It was a phenomenally successful promotional mailing with, I’m told, a 90% response rate (yes, really!). Take a look at the coverage (which, incidentally, won a number of prestigious advertising and marketing awards). They say that album covers are an important part of promoting records – this is about as integrated a promotion as I’ve ever seen! http://www.coolthings.com/ggrp-sound-folding-cardboard-phonograph/

May 19 – In advance of the voting later this year for the ACHOF Class of 2014, I’ve been regularly adding new bios to the site. Coincidentally, last week I added designer/photographer Brian Cannon‘s bio and just saw (and wanted to pass along) this nice article on the U.K.’s Longridge News site about his work on the now-20-year-old LP, Definitely Maybe, by Oasis. Cannon teamed up with photographer Michael Spencer-Jones on the imagery for the remastered, reissued version of the classic 90’s album and shares some of his experience in this interview – http://www.longridgenews.co.uk/what-s-on/music/the-best-lp-of-the-90s-maybe-an-iconic-cover-definitely-1-6619127

May 16 – 1) The folks at Julien’s Auction House in LA put together quite the assemblage of music memorabilia for their “Music Icons 2014” auction the weekend of May 16th. Included in the mix were two album cover artwork mock-ups for records by The Beatles, including one for Beatles ’65 and one for the Beatles Story (both with $1-2K auction estimates). In addition, there are a number of signed record sleeves – Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Beatles and others and, if you were looking to both do something charitable AND put something shiny in your garage, you could have bid on Lady Gaga’s shiny red Rolls Royce, which she donated to raise funds for the MusiCares Foundation (it sold for $125,000!). More info at http://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2014/music-icons/index.html

2) Now, this is an art program I can really appreciate! On the “Album Covers For Kids” Tumblr site, you can view re-creations of classic album art done by kids with crayons. My favorites so far include Peter Gabriel’s So, Yellow Submarine by The Beatles (always appreciated the child-like art of the original) and a very well-done Brian Wilson Smile cover. You can also submit your own kids’ efforts, so I’m sure that we’ll see more great work going forward –http://albumcoversbykids.tumblr.com/

May 15 – 1) Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will be re-issuing his 2010 photo-filled autobiography Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page in a new, more-affordable format via Genesis Publishing. Originally published as a limited-edition collectible, the new 512-page version (priced at $60) still features hundreds of photos of Page – taken by himself and other photographers including Jim Marshall, Pennie Smith, Ross Halfin, Gered Mankowitz and others – chronicles the musician’s entire career. More info on this is available in Ross Trakin’s article on the Billboard web site at –http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6084587/jimmy-page-to-re-release-photographic-autobiography

2) Blondie guitarist Chris Stein has also had a successful career as a photographer, so fans in the NYC area will be happy to note that, from now until June 24, there’s an exhibition of his photos – titled “Blondie 4(0) Ever” on display at the Morrison Hotel gallery. Stein began to follow his passion for photography while he was a student at NY’s School of Visual Arts in the late 1960s, so his photos of the burgeoning downtown music scene are a must-see for fans of the era. Read more in writer Peter Aaron’s article about the show on the Chronogram.com site –http://www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/blogs/Post?basename=photo-show-by-woodstocks-chris-stein-now-open&day=15&id=DailyDose&month=05&year=2014

May 14 – Two “making of” interviews – one for the latest tribute to Dio, the other on a Weezer classic:

1) Artist Marc Sasso has painted a wonderful “who’s who” in metal music cover for the tribute package titled This Is Your Life. The proceeds from the tribute CD go to benefit the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, which was founded by Dio’s wife Wendy after the singer’s passing to stomach cancer in 2010. Read more about how this image was crafted in this article on the BlabberMouth site at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/dio-cover-artist-discusses-this-is-your-life-cover-artwork/

2) Writer Ryan J. posted a nice interview on the “Smoking Section” blog with Geffen Record A&R rep Todd Sullivan, Art Director Michael Golob and Weezer band historian Karl Koch on the collaborative effort that led to the creation of the album cover for the band’s 1994 debut record Undone. This year marks the record’s 20th anniversary (!!), so it’s a good opportunity to get the real story behind this memorable cover.  http://smokingsection.uproxx.com/TSS/2014/05/weezer-the-blue-album-cover-story-interview#page/1

May 13 – Important passings in the last few days –

1) Best-known for his impactful and intricately-detailed images for the Alien films and album covers including ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery and Debbie Harry’s Koo Koo, I’m sad to note the death of artist H.R. Giger, succumbing to injuries that he suffered in a fall. He was 74 years old. Giger was one of the artists most-mentioned by other successful artists as an inspiration – more details to follow, but you can get the initial story via this article on the Washington Post web site –http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/alien-artist-hr-giger-dies-at-74/2014/05/13/868b4178-da7e-11e3-a837-8835df6c12c4_story.html

2) Last week, famed photographer and film-maker Darius Anthony died after a battle with cancer. The 60 year-old Anthony worked with many famous clients in the entertainment world, beginning his career as the assistant to another album cover photo great, Norman Seeff. Here’s a tribute to Darius as assembled by the team at Lee Bailey’s EURweb site –http://www.eurweb.com/2014/05/we-remember-filmmakerphotographer-darius-anthony-dies-at-60/

3) I would be remiss not to also note that another credited album cover artist – illustrator Patrick Woodroffe, who created great fantasy covers for bands including The Strawbs, Greenslade and Judas Priest – also died this past Saturday at the age of 74 after a short illness. Way too much talent has left the planet – condolences and best wishes to their families – more on Woodroffe on the Prog Rock Magazine site – http://www.progrockmag.com/news/2014-05-12/prog-artist-woodroffe-dead-at-74

May 12 – Two great new exhibitions for you to see –

1) If you liked our recent interview with designer Kosh about his work for So. CA music scene fixture Linda Ronstadt, you’ll want to head on over to the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles sometime between now and Nov. 30th to tour through their new “California Dreamin’: The Sounds of Laurel Canyon 1965 – 1977” exhibition. You’ll find a boatload of exciting things to see and do, including an exhibit of photos by Henry Diltz and Graham Nash, interviews, posters and handbills from the era and artifacts including a chair hand-painted by Cass Elliot and one of Richie Furay of Poco’s famous “Nudie” suits. More info is available via the link –http://www.grammymuseum.org/on-display/special-exhibits/laurel-canyon

2) Starting on May 17 and running for two months is a new exhibition at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI curated by the R&R Hall of Fame Museum titled “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power”. Promo from the museum states that the exhibition gives visitors “an unprecedented chance to revisit the musicians who helped shape the soundtrack of your life — innovators like Madonna and Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner and dozens of others.” Memorabilia on display includes clothing from Joan Jett, The Supremes, Lady Gaga and Madonna, along with guitars, musical manuscripts and much more. On May 15th, the exhibition staged a special party hosted by original MTV VJ Nina Blackwood – more at  http://www.thehenryford.org/events/womenWhoRock.aspx

May 9 – 1)Just posted – my new interview with album designer Kosh about his work on Linda Ronstadt’s Lush Life. With Linda’s recent induction into the R&R Hall of Fame, it only made sense to get hold of the man who has collaborated with Ms. Ronstadt on 24 (!!) of her records, winning 3 Grammys along the way. Kosh was kind enough to provide me with some images of his work-in-progress on that record package, so you’ll see some great examples of how great album cover art develops into the finished product. Take a read and please share with your friends – enjoy –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/interview-with-kosh-linda-ronstadts-lush-life-album-cover/

2) As part of the “Classic Album Sundays” listening events held in London, NYC and Portland, ME, the producers of the series have teamed up with The Flood Gallery in the UK to create a limited-edition series of promo posters and, for this week’s event, they’ve commissioned artist Zeb Love to publish a work based on Neil Young’s Harvest album. These prints will be available at the events and via their post-event web site – nice work, and a great idea for music fans – http://classicalbumsundays.com/classic-album-sundays-presents-neil-youngs-harvest/

3) Singer/songwriter Julian Lennon‘s love for art and photography is now available to enhance your own collections via a series of prints being sold by the folks at RockPaperPhoto, including the cover image he produced for his latest record titled Everything Changes. In addition to his album cover image, you’ll find photo portraits of great musical acts including ZZ Top, U2 and Alejandro Escovedo –
http://www.rockpaperphoto.com/julian-lennon-103243

May 8 – 1) Dave Mason is releasing a new album of Traffic tunes he’s re-worked and, in keeping with showing off the best examples of that era’s talent, has enlisted Graham Nash to create the album cover image. The album’s title is Futures Past, although there are no re-works of Moody Blues tunes to be found on the record. Hope to hear/see this record soon – here’ a link to an article on the Pollstar.com web site – http://www.pollstar.com/news_article.aspx?ID=811134

2) Although my focus has always been on “classic” album cover art, I always look forward to seeing the examples of what perhaps will become “classic” record artwork that are summarized each month on the Creative Review site. In this month’s posting by writer Rachael Steven, you’ll see examples of fine photography, graphic design, sculpture and, to prove the point that album art always reflects what’s new and exciting in Pop Culture, a cover where the subject is wearing an Oculus virtual reality head set (EMA – The Future’s Void) –http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/may/record-sleeves-of-the-month

May 7 – 1) Photographer Jay Blakesberg was sifting through his archives (his concert and album cover photos are well-known to fans of the Grateful Dead and many other bands) and discovered a theme throughout his 30+ years of shooting – hippie chicks make for great photographs! So much so that he’s going to release a book of these photos – here’s more about this upcoming effort as reported by Sara Iravani on the SFGate.com site –http://www.sfgate.com/style/article/Jay-Blakesberg-captures-Bay-Area-s-hippie-chicks-5447355.php#photo-6217292

2) Painter Mark Ryden – you’ll remember him for his great album covers for Michael Jackson, Aerosmith and others – has just released a limited-edition album package that features a number of well-known musical acts doing their own rendition of the classic 1892 hit “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two)”. The cover painting for the record – titled Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell, features a portrait of singer Katy Perry in Rydens inimitable style. It’s a fund raiser and is expected to sell out immediately as part of a show of Ryden’s work on display now through June 28 at the new Kohn Gallery on Highland Ave. in Los Angeles. More on this via this article on the Hollywood Reporter site –http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/katy-perry-featured-pop-artist-700730

May 6 – 1) Musician/writer Danko Jones posted an article on the HuffPo Canada site recently that was rather thought-provoking…in an article titled “Don’t Be Precious About Your Vinyl Collection“, Jones wonders why so many vinyl collectors take their entire enterprise so seriously when, in his words, “goal for me has never been to listen to music on the best ‘googlephonic stereo’ with ‘moon rock needle’ but simply to hear as much music as humanly possible before I go deaf.” While I agree with much of his premise, I like to think that many music fans simply want to feel as “close to the source” as possible and that vinyl does that better than most digital formats. I would also think that the entire package – album/CD cover, liner notes, booklet, coordinated web sites – gives fans more for their money, which makes them feel special as well. Here’s a link to his tome online – would love to hear what y’all think – http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/danko-jones/vinyl-collection_b_5239650.html

2) The same article also served as an introduction to the talents of designer Robert Penney at Penney Design in the U.K.. I think that you’ll enjoy seeing what he’s done to take modern musical acts (Gaga, Interpol, Libertines, etc.) and developed treatments of their visuals that are in classic 50’s – 60’s style – very creative, and I’m hoping that he gives us a few more sometime soon –http://www.penneydesign.com/folio_im_retrosingle.html

May 5 – Was trolling the Dust & Grooves site over the weekend and found a nicely-produced video featuring film-maker Roddy Bogawa, who was the producer/director of the acclaimed movie about the late album cover artist, Storm Thorgerson titled Taken By Storm. In this video, D&G site maven Eilon Paz (and author of the recent book about album collectors under the same title) works with Bogawa to create a collage made solely of Thorgerson’s album covers – it’s very cool. There’s also a link on the page that will take you to Eilon’s interview with Roddy, which is also a good read (you’ll find the ACHOF interviews with him in our archives). Very much worth a watch, I must say –http://vimeo.com/60627506

May 2 – Fans of classic album cover design should enjoy the new Featured Album Cover Fan Collection article I posted today. The subject – Gary Freiberg of RockArtPictureShow.com and Vinyl Record Day – shares his love for the works of the person many call “the Father of Album Cover Art” – the late great Alex Steinweiss. Gary was fortunate enough to have met and spent some quality time with Steinweiss, and so he shares some of his memories with us – as well as images from his extensivecollection of early album covers – in today’s posting. Gary’s also working on getting the USPS to create a new series of postage stamps based on great American album cover designs and gives us an update on those efforts – hope that you’ll take a look and pass it on to anyone you know who is a fan of “classic” album cover design – enjoy –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-gary-freiberg-rock-art-picture-show/

That’s all for now – see you at next month’s recap!

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