Album Cover News Recap – August, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – August, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s September and the world has finally cooled off a bit – well, the stock market is on a wild ride and there are still fires burning in Eastern Oregon and Washington, which has done a number on our air quality here in Portland – but the album art world continues to burn up the news wires, with August delivering a continuous stream of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feeds. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, and you won’t find one speck of anything Trump or Hillary-related (we need to focus on something new and exciting, right?)…

There were interviews galore with the noted men and women who’ve added their talents to the world of creating/preserving album cover art, including Brazilian artist Marcello Vaseo (new cover for Slayer), John Simpson (Sgt. Pepper’s mural in MA), John Berg and Eric Meola (on the 40th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run), Paul Cornell and Tony Parker (rock comics), Paul Natkin (on a career retrospective) and, for fans of the Charlie Rose interview, one with musician/artists Skrillex and Diplo.

In the fine art book category, artists and their publishers were promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring the works of Barbara Pyle (70s-era Springsteen), Janet Macoska (DEVO and many others), Robert Del Naja (AKA “3D” – famed graffiti artist and member of Massive Attack) and a newly-revised book on the 50+ record covers produced by Andy Warhol, written by Paul Marechal.

In August, several noted exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery were launched, with museum curators and gallery owners around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll find info on exhibits such as one in Woodstock, NY,  featuring the works of several rock photographers (including Elliott Landy and Graham Nash); a multi-media show called Sound & Vision in St. Louis, MO; the latest mounting of the David Bowie Is travelling show (now in Australia) and Bay area gallery owned Scott Nichols’ show featuring 75+ notable rock photos from top shooters in the field.

Other stories included Rachael Stevens’ monthly record sleeve review, a look at illustrator Dave McMacken’s studio/gallery in Astoria, OR, several illustrators alt-takes on the well-known cover photo found on NWA’s Straight Outta Compton record,  info on the latest record-themed postage stamp issued by the USPS (featuring Elvis Presley), and you won’t want to miss Canadian singer Kalle Mattson’s  new video for his single “Avalanche” that has him re-creating 35 classic album cover images. Of course, I don’t have room to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the list – I’m sure you’ll find something that piques your interest!

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that with all of the distractions caused by the back-to-school season that might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I continue to say (every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

August 31st –

1) Following in the footsteps of Sir Peter Blake is Springfield, MA artist John Simpson who, in addition to recreating the famous Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s cover in a mural on a wall in the town’s Court House Square, has also painted a number of portraits as part of the “City Mosaics” project that, according to Noah R. Bombard’s article on the topic on the Masslive.com site, “features portraits of mostly music and film stars ranging from Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash to local celebrities like Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno.” Simpson’s been working on this project for over a year (at the same time, working hard to keep graffiti off of his existing works!), and you can learn more about the project and the artist in a video interview also featured on the story page – http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2015/08/springfield_symphony_orchestras_kevin_rhodes_added_to_court_square_artwork.html 

2) Over on the “And Justice For Art” site, fans of album cover art found on metal music recordings can find a recent interview article with Brazilian designer Marcello Vasco about his most-recent commission, that for the cover image for Slayer’s new album Relentless. Vasco has done a number of covers for bands in the genre, but getting to do a cover for such a well-known band – and one with a long history of impressive cover art – forced the designer to dig deep to create something new and yet “classic” at the same time (don’t want to disappoint metal fans – it can get dangerous if you do!). After producing a lot of comps, I think you’ll agree with the band that this is a worthy addition to their cover collection – http://www.andjusticeforart.com/2015/06/slayers-brazilian-connection-interview.html

3) Not to be confused with the British punk band from the late 1970s, the fictional rock group featured in the first 4 issues of the new comic series This Damned Band (out on DarkHorse comics, with art by Tony Parker and words by Paul Cornell) – named MotherFather – seems to have a lot more to think about than most bands trying to crack the music business in the early 1970s – i.e., how to separate their stage act (which involved devil-worshiping) from the fact that the Horned One took their antics quite seriously! Writing for the Comics Alliance site, writer Patrick A. Reed inteviews Parker and Cornell – both well-known for their previous work on well-established graphic novels including Mass Effect and Wolverine – about creating a new approach to a series based on a topic – life in the music industry – that’s had a very mixed history of success with fans throughout comic history. http://comicsalliance.com/paul-cornell-tony-parker-this-damned-band-interview/

August 29th – Just heard from photo great Elliott Landy about a new exhibition that opened up today at the Fletcher Gallery in Woodstock, NY and, if you can make it to the opening party, you’ll get a chance to meet Elliott along with two of the three other artists whose works will be on display – Graham Nash, Joel Bernstein and Amy Granatham. According to Elliott – “Graham, Amy and I will be at the opening night, Saturday, August 29th from 5-8 pm at the Fletcher Gallery, 40 Mill Hill Rd. Woodstock, NY.” The show’s titled “Legends At Large” and, in addition to some of the best-known works he’s produced – covers for Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison and others – Mr. Landy tells me that “I’ve selected some one of a kind prints that I don’t normally exhibit, including a Sepia toned Band print used on the 1968 cover of Rolling Stone, a one of a kind Cibachrome print of Jim Morrison, several personally made silver gelatin prints along with a selection of my favorites.”
The exhibiton runs through Oct. 14th, and I am hoping to add some photos from the event soon. More info via the link – http://www.fletchergallery.com/572463/about-us/

August 28th – 1) On the Noisey Music By Vice site, staffers there are happy to share the results of the images they commissioned from six of their favorite illustrators who were asked to re-do the cover of NWA’s Straight Outta Compton record (a record that’s been getting a lot of attention lately due to the success of the top-grossing movie out by the same name). I think that you’ll find their respective efforts interesting and amusing, particularly the remake by UK-based illustrator Tom Slater, who wanted to show us the group’s family-friendly side – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/we-asked-six-illustrators-to-re-imagine-the-straight-outta-compton-album-cover

2) Recently, TV interviewer Charlie Rose presented an interview with two top-selling EDM artists – Wesley “Diplo” Pentz and Sonny “Skrillex” Moore – in which they discussed their unique approach to the successful blending of art and music. In some of the clips showing the duo in performance, you’ll see how integral the visual aspects are to the overall enjoyment of their music, and Charlie works to get them to explain just how important that is in any modern act’s quest for fame and fortune in a media-saturated world – http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60609054  (about 26 minutes in to the episode)

3) In another example of the growing availability of “one-stop shopping” in the music production business, Daily Breeze reporter  Nereida Moreno takes us to All Welcome Records in Inglewood, CA, a studio where musical acts looking to take the next step in their careers (i.e., making a record) will find a staff of mentors, engineers and Art Director Anthony Woods, whose team (including photographer Allie Paz) is available to produce designs and photographs for the custom packaging they’ll produce for their clients. Bring your talent and your checkbook – best of luck! http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/20150825/all-welcome-records-in-inglewood-serves-as-one-stop-shop-for-musicians

August 27th –  1) Famed album cover illustrator Dave McMacken (Frank Zappa, AC/DC, The Beatles, Kansas, etc.) has opened a new art studio/gallery (called “Ratz & Co.) in the hip-and-happening port town of Astoria, OR that showcases both his work and that of several other artists, including Cal Schenkel, another noted Zappa record cover alumnus. A native of Newport, OR, McMacken lived and worked all over the U.S. before returning to his Pacific NW roots a few years ago, so if you’re ever looking for something unique to add to your collection, do as Daily Astorian reporter Edward Stratton did and stop in to visit Dave – you’ll be glad you did – http://www.dailyastorian.com/20140515/ratz-and-co-keeps-it-weird

2) Creative Review‘s Rachael Stevens has just posted her monthly overview of what’s new and exciting in record sleeve design, with new works on records by Chemical Brothers, FKA twigs (who gave us last year’s most-lauded cover), The Orb and several others. I was particularly impressed with the techniques employed by artist/photographer Chen Man in creating the captivating cover for Venetian Snares’ record titled Your Face (not like any face I’ve ever seen, and yet, I can’t stop looking at it!). See the rest via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/august/record-sleeves-of-the-month

3) Last but not least – fans of “old fashioned” record stores will be pleased to finally see the official trailer for Colin Hanks‘ ode to all things Tower Records, with the Harrison-like title All Things Must Pass. What began long ago as a Kickstarter program will be in theaters October 16th, but you can get a sneak peak via the link at http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/allthingsmustpass/

August 26th – 1) August 25th was the 40th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s seminal record, Born To Run, which featured a great album cover photo by Eric Meola. Being that Meola’s originally from Syracuse, NY, Syracuse.com writer Sean Kirst tracked down the talented photographer to get him to reminisce a bit about that original photo session and to find out what he’s been up to lately (storm-chasing on the Great Plains!).
http://www.syracuse.com/kirst/index.ssf/2015/08/fifty_years_after_release_of_his_legendary_cover_photo_syracuse-born_eric_meola.html
In a related story, NJ.com‘s Bobby Oliver posted an illustrated interview with “unofficial” Springsteen photographer Barbara Pyle, a friend of the band who was also on hand during the sessions leading up to the release of the BTR record and shot a number of interesting candid photos of the band while they worked through the many takes required to make The Boss and his band-mates happy with the finished release. She’s put these photos in a new book just out titled Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band 1975, and you can see samples of her work via the link at http://www.nj.com/entertainment/music/index.ssf/2015/08/exclusive_born_to_run_era_springsteen_photos_detai.html
Finally, “E Street Radio” (on Sirius/XM radio) contributor Kevin Farrell premiered a specially-produced radio show yesterday (to be re-run several times over the next few days) during which he interviews both photographer Eric Meola (see above) and famed Columbia Records art director John Berg – along with others – about their memories of their respective roles in the creation of this Springsteen classic. Writing for the Asbury Park PressChris Jordan gives us the rest of the important details of this superfan’s celebration of an important day in the band’s history – http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/2015/08/25/boss-way-celebrate-bruce-springsteen-born-run-day/32334703/

2) For an article featured in Rolling Stone Magazine back in 1968 (issue 8!), noted writer Thomas Albright (the man credited with creating the term “underground music”) gave readers his views on the then state-of-the-art in album cover design. Now available for reading on the Rolling Stone archive site, I found his take on the subject quite compelling, particularly as he notes that “album covers are now becoming as creative as the music within“, taking some of their inspiration from the emerging art scene of the day. While he finds some of the works produced fairly mundane, he does find a lot of talent on display in the works found on Beatles records (particularly, the cover collage on the just-released Sgt. Pepper’s LP), as well as the humor displayed on Zappa & The Mothers’ parody of said record cover collage, found on that band’s We’re Only In It For the Money. It’s also keen to see which of Albright’s favorites would go on to be considered “classic” examples of album art design – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/the-new-album-art-19680406

August 25th – 1) In another example of a “Top 100 album covers of all time” list – sure to spark some discussion and many questions as to what the criteria were in selecting “the best” – the editorial team on the Insomniac site have, at least, presented a list that focuses on a niche that boasts huge audiences and not an awful lot of respect from the music press in general. It shows Electronic Music as a genre that has a long history (nope, it didn’t start at the Pitchfork Festival – sorry!), with some of the most-popular of the acts – Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Tomita, etc. – also packaging their music in covers featuring leading-edge artistry by some of the best-known talent from the fine art world. I remember attending a computer music conference in the early 90s when I was selling an MPC “PC upgrade kit” (remember those?) featuring a Roland SCC-1 card and recall hearing from fans of this genre about musical acts from other parts of the world for the first time – it was truly a movement by artists from all different backgrounds and disciplines, and the album art that accompanied it represented that quite appropriately –
https://www.insomniac.com/media/100-best-electronic-music-album-covers/1

2) Inspiration for album art comes from many sources, but I have to admit that I haven’t seen many better examples of an artist in the field sharing the details of where he finds art that inspires him that Lief Podhajsky’s recent posting on the Junkee site titled “Nine Of Europe’s Best Art Galleries That You Won’t Find On The Tourist Trail”. Being located in London gives Lief the opportunity to traipse across Europe with relative ease, allowing him to visit museums and galleries that display many different styles of art in a variety of motivational settings, such as the new Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, contemporary arts in the collection at The Me Collectors Room in Berlin and closer to (his) home, exhibits at the Pace, Saatchi and Whitechapel galleries. Follow Podhajsky – whose created many a record cover for modern acts including Kelis, Tame Impala and Bonobo, just to name a few – as he takes you on a tour of his favorite places to find new influences for his latest projects –
http://junkee.com/nine-of-europes-best-art-galleries-thatll-take-you-off-the-tourist-trail-4/63495

August 24th – 1) Not quite sure what to make of this recent article on the NME site in which they present a comprehensive overview of the artwork featured on 27 album and singles covers by The Smiths. While I was happy to learn who some of the characters were that were featured on Morrissey & Co’s covers, I’d have preferred to learn a bit more about why these images were chosen besides “Morrissey always liked to include pictures of his favorite pop stars on his records” (unless, of course, it was that simple). In any case, the band always gave fans something provocative and interesting to look at, particularly if you were a fan of James Dean – http://www.nme.com/photos/the-smiths-the-stories-behind-the-sleeves/384620#/photo/1

2) I did want to promote an article written by Bruce Jenkins on his Vinyl Connection site regarding album covers featuring images taken inside automobiles. Looking to follow up a couple of earlier postings he did built around covers that used photos or drawings of cars on the cover – a very popular motif used throughout the modern rock era – Bruce sharpened his focus and brought us inside, letting us look out the windshields and side windows of records by Pennywise, Bela Fleck, Mars Volta and several others. Not sure if he’s done an article on covers featuring motorcycles and scooters (Meatloaf, Hendrix, The Who and others come to mind) but, if not, here’s your next assignment – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/08/18/7-car-covers-from-the-inside/

3) Here’s another article on do-it-yourself record-making, with this one highlighting a new service called Vinylify that, for around $55, will press and package a custom 33-1/3 vinyl LP for you. Based in Amsterdam, the company gives customers the opportunity to create both the record and the album cover easily online, so those of us who felt restricted by the artistic opportunities afforded us creating customized cassette mix-tapes can now – for a price – expand our musical and visual canvases back to a full 12″ square. Read more about this service in Paul Ridden‘s article on the Gizmag.com site – http://www.gizmag.com/vinylify-custom-cut-records/38954/ or, if you’re ready to go, take a look at some of the examples of records already created by amateur label owners via the link – http://vinylify.com/#examples

August 21st – 1) Perfectly timed for that week’s premiere of the new movie about famed gangsta rappers N.W.A. was Wayne Drash‘s article about the photograph found on the cover of the group’s debut record Straight Outta Compton. Eric Poppleton’s well-known photo was taken during a day in which the photographer followed Dr. Dre and Co. around Los Angeles, at one point deciding to lay down on the ground in an alley and take a shot up (perhaps a bad term, considering the number of guns featured as the group peers down at him) and the rest, they say, is history. Read all the details, and click through a grouping of 26 other famous record cover that accompany this article, via the link – http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/14/entertainment/straight-outta-compton-photograph/index.html

2) Straight Outta Akron – back in 1978, photographer Janet Macoska assembled the members of local new wavers DEVO in front of a well-known area eatery – the Chili Dog Mac diner – and produced a photo that became a popular poster of the band, found in the collections of art museums (and, in my case, personal collections of rock art collectors such as yours truly). The location now is part of the Akron Civic Theater and, as part of a special commission for the local business/tourism bureau, a huge reproduction of the photo now graces the building in the same spot the original was taken 37 years ago. Devo member Gerald Casale was on hand for the unveiling this past week, with the event covered by Kathleen Folkerth on the Akron.com site. Janet has a new book of her rock photography due out soon – look for “All Access Cleveland: The Rock and Roll Photography of Janet Macoska,” by Cleveland Landmarks Publishing at your local book-sellers. http://www.akron.com/akron-ohio-entertainment-news.asp?aID=27438

3) The Proud Galleries in London and Chelsea have two shows now running that will be of interest to rock photography fans in that area. “Led Zeppelin From the Beginning 1963-1975“, which runs thru October 4th, features Yardbird/New Yardbird/Led Zep photos of Beck, Clapton, Page and others taken by former Yardbird Chris Dreja, jargen Angel, Lynn Goldsmith, Dan Fong, Michael Putland and others, while in “Masters & Luminaries“, which runs through the 13th of September, Proud features works by a number of the photographers they’ve featured during their 20 year existence, including Brian Duffy (Bowie), Brian Aris (Debbie Harry), David McCabe (Dylan and Warhol at The Factory) and many others. Based on what I’ve seen of their exhibits over the years, they have every right to be Proud (I’m certainly the first to use that pun). More details at https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

August 20th –  1) Gotta love how news is distributed on the Web – today, I’m reporting on someone else’s reporting about someone else’s video blog concerning the trend-setting album covers featured throughout the career of The Beatles, with a particular focus on everyone’s #1-rated record cover – the one for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In this article by Joe Blevins on the A.V. Club site, you’ll learn about a recent video posting by Nerdwriter1 titled “How The Beatles Changed Album Covers” in which he discusses – quite knowledgeably, I might add – how each Beatles cover served nicely as a snapshot of how the Fab Four felt about their place at that moment in Pop Culture along with their development as a musical unit. He provides a brief-but-informative backgrounder on album covers in general before digging in to the band’s efforts – based on some of the other videos he’s produced in the three years he’s been creating these shorts about art and pop culture, this might be a good YouTube channel to subscribe to going forward – http://www.avclub.com/article/video-argues-beatles-lp-covers-tell-bands-story-223792
To take an even more-detailed dig into the history of Beatles record covers, here’s a link to a 15-page article by Ian Inglis in the Jan. 2001 edition of Popular Music (you can read it free online, after registration) – http://www.jstor.org/stable/853696?&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

2) James Stafford‘s latest “Cover Stories” posting takes us back to the early days of the punk music scene in Los Angeles by giving us the story behind the flaming cover image found on the debut record for John Doe/Billy Zoom’s band X. Like so many examples of the do-it-yourself punk ethic, this cover was the result of the owner of the band’s label – Slash Records’ Bob Biggs – taking matters into his own hands – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-x-los-angeles/

3) C’mon, admit it – rock and roll has always had a strong basis in “if you like it, buy it”, so it’s no surprise to find an article like the one Elly Ayers posted recently on AOL’s Cambio site – one targeted at young girls who, at least in this case, actually WANT to look like their parents did back in the 1960s. “How To Rock The Best 1960s Album Cover Looks” gives us six instances where the magazine’s fashionistas have reviewed the clothes worn on classic rock/pop album covers – including records by Bob Dylan, Sonny & Cher and several Motown hit-makers – and then suggest similar ensembles readers can buy at some of their favorite clothing outlets. Lookout Topshop, Vans, Zara and A&F – prepare to be trampled by youngsters looking to put on their best Highway 61 Revisited look! What, no Nehru? http://www.cambio.com/2015/08/13/rock-best-1960s-album-cover-looks/

August 19th – 1) Patti Smith’s best-selling memoir titled Just Kids – which focuses on her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the man that provided us with an album cover photo (the one found on her record Horses) that is included in nearly every “best album cover” list ever published, will serve as the basis of a new Showtime TV series produced in cooperation with Penny Dreadful creator John Logan. Smith’s 2010 book won several major awards after its release, including the National Book Award for non-fiction and gave readers an intimate look at the influence these two artists had on the emerging music and art scenes in NYC during the late 1960s – early 1970s. Read more in Caitlin White‘s recent article on the Bustle web site –
http://www.bustle.com/articles/103713-patti-smith-memoir-just-kids-will-be-adapted-into-showtime-limited-tv-series-by-penny-dreadful

2) San Francisco-based photo gallery owner Scott Nichols has taken a photo of The Who in concert – in which Nichols is seen as part of the crowd in attendance – and used it as the basis of a new show running in his space that features 75 iconic rock-and-roll photo images produced by a “who’s who” of rock photographers (Baron Wolman, Elliott Landy, Linda McCartney, Ebet Roberts and several others including Michael Zagaris, the man who shot the photo Nichols is seen in). Running now through September 16th, “It’s Only Rock & Roll” features several well-known album cover images in its collection, including shots featured on records for Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Blind Faith and others. Back in the mid-1970s, when the photo of The Who at Winterland was taken, Nichols was the stage manager for a U.C. Berkeley student-run organization called “Superb”, who worked with local concert venues to produce shows, and that served as his entree into show business. You can get all of the details on the gallery’s site at http://www.scottnicholsgallery.com/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/

3) Here’s another nice example of the frequent cross-over between the worlds of fashion and album cover photography…former model-turned-shooter Ellen Von Unwerth has taken memorable fashion photos and celebrity portraits that have graced the covers and pages of many of the top magazines, so when top pop music act Rihanna needed an impactful image for the cover of her 2011 record Talk Talk, she turned to someone that she felt would be able to capture both her beauty and the attitude she brings to her music – that someone being Von Unwerth. In this recent article by Caroline Leaper on the Marie Claire site, you’ll find this photo and several more including shots of Natalie Portman, Gisele Bundchen and the impressive product of rock icon Mick Jagger and fashion model Jerry Hall’s relationship, Georgia May Jagger (who is herself a popular fashion model). http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/fashion/550069/ellen-von-unwerth-pictures-the-fashion-and-celebrity-photographer-s-greatest-shoots.html#index=1

August 18th – 1) There’s a new book out about the wonderfully-talented artist and musician Robert Del Naja, a man that’s lead a double life in the arts, splitting his time between his graphic artist personna (the graffiti artist known as “3D“) and his work as the singer/songwriter and album art designer for the UK hip-hop group known as Massive Attack. The 400-page career retrospective is titled 3D and the Art of Massive Attack and provides readers with a well-illustrated look back at Robert’s rise from early 80s Bristol (UK)-area street art denizen to an artist whose style and outspoken anti-war/government work has influenced many others in the field, including another well-known purveyor of art in this genre, Banksy. You can read Robert Whitfield’s overview of the book and the talent featured in it in this recent article on The 405 site – http://www.thefourohfive.com/culture/review/3d-and-the-art-of-massive-attack-143

2) Recently discovered a new purveyor of pop culture-related and rock and roll fine art/photography called House of Roulx, a spin-off of JG Autographs, a company located in Peabody, MA run by two brothers, Jared and Trevor Gendron. They just released a new series of art prints taken by the late photographer Peter Warrack, who happened to be on-hand to shoot what turned out to be the last live show done by Janis Joplin, performing in front of a crowd of 40,000 fans at the Harvard Stadium. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the show (Aug.12th), the company now offers a selection of photos from this event, sold individually or in specially-packaged sets of 24 of these images, including a $2500 one-of-a-kind set that also includes an original Jace McTier painting of Ms. Joplin. I’d also like to note that the publisher is also offering a number of photos – including several famous album cover images (Ramones, Run-DMC, The B-52s and others) – by photographer George DuBose. Read and see more about the exclusive Joplin photo collection via the link at http://www.houseofroulx.com/collections/janis-joplin-the-last-concert

3) What’s the line – “everything that’s old is new again”? Here’s an interesting example of a revival of a seemingly-on-its-way-out technology – the fax – being used creatively by pop duo Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans (AKA YACHT, which stands for “Young Americans Challenging High Technology”) to help deliver a unique experience to folks who are considering buying their latest music offering titled I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler. While I won’t spoil you with all of the details here (better to read the story by Lizzie Plaugic on The Verge‘s web site), I was impressed with the creativity of their approach to giving fans something new and yet retro in its approach to delivering their album art and liner notes/manifesto.
http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/11/9130155/yacht-band-album-i-thought-the-future-would-be-cooler-fax-machine

August 17th – 1) Writing for Music TimesRyan Book notes the recent 50th anniversary of the day that the Beatles’ song Help! (from the film of the same name) hit #1 on the charts. While he was a fan of the song and the movie, he offers less enthusiasm when talking about the outfits that the band members were forced to wear for the cover photo (remember those weird blue raincoats?) and this motivated him to look back a bit to find a selection of other covers in which the folks included in the cover shots also chose to dress rather strangely. As you might figure, each decade showed us musicians clothed in period garb which, in the cases show, should not have us yearning for a return to the fashion of the day…http://www.musictimes.com/articles/44994/20150807/7-bad-dress-codes-album-art-beatles-rolling-stones-kiss.htm

2) While the ACHOF’s main focus is on the artists that have created memorable album cover images, we can’t forget that another reason that fans always liked record cover packages was that the information provided on most of the packages – AKA “the liner notes” – often served to give us some insight into the minds of the people making the music we purchased. And, just as the bands often chose to hire the top artists of the day, they also often decided to take advantage of the talents of their favorite authors and poets to take care of the verbiage for their releases (the Grammy organization still awards a Grammy each year for “best liner notes”, so it’s still an integral part of the album-making process), so I think that you’ll enjoy the run-down of some of the literary greats that provided their services to many of your favorite acts over the years, served to us in Chris Mugan‘s recent article on The Independent (UK) site – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/album-sleeve-notes-dont-have-to-be-boring-just-look-at-those-written-by-thomas-pynchon-hunter-s-thompson-and-other-literary-greats-10445086.html
Personally, I’m just impressed with the article’s URL – well written!

3) While I was in Chicago in early August, I had the chance to stop by the River North Arts District area and stopped in to see the Zack Whitford photo show that I’d written about recently at the Hilton|Asmus Contemorary Art Gallery (mounted for music fans hitting the Windy City this summer to attend the Grateful Dead’s final shows and the yearly Lollapalooza event). I have to say that I was impressed with both the gallery and young Mr. Whitford’s photos of friends and bandmates of his Dad (Brad Whitford of Aerosmith). His portraiture is really nicely-done and he should enjoy a long career in the business. The gallery just sent notice that they’re having the show’s closing reception on Wednesday, Aug. 19th, with a new show scheduled to open in mid-September that will feature the photos of Paiit Boyd, Henry Diltz and Carinthia West – more details available on the gallery’s site at http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/schedule.html?utm_source=ZACK+WHITFORD+CLOSING+II&utm_campaign=RESCHEDULED+Zack+Whitford+Closing+reception
Thanks again to Africa Hilton for her hospitality during our visit – keep up the nice work!

August 14th – 1) For those of you who have owned the soundtrack to the Woodstock film for all these years and have wondered “just who are those people on the cover”, here are two items that will serve to both identify these individuals and, if you’re in the upstate NY area over the weekend, a chance to meet them as well!
In an article posted recently on The Guardian‘s web site titled “That’s Me In The Picture”, Bobbi Ercoline (the girl wrapped in the blanket, wearing sunglasses) gives us the story about how she, her then-boyfriend-now-longtime-husband Nick and their friend Corky ended up in Burk Uzzle’s cover photo. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/aug/07/thats-me-in-the-picture-woodstock-bobbi-ercoline
Bobbi and Nick were also on hand to chat, sign autographs and sip the local wine at an event at The Winery at St. George in Mohegan Lake, NY called “Woodstock At The Winery”. In addition to these album cover celebs, you’ll find music, food and, of course, hand-made goods for sale. Read more about it in Frank Mojica‘s article on the topic on the Yorktown (NY) Daily Voice site – http://yorktown.dailyvoice.com/events/famed-woodstock-album-cover-couple-be-yorktown

2) St. Louis-area music/art fans are also in for a treat during the month of August while a new group of multi-media exhibitions – collectively called Sound + Vision – are on display at several local venues. At venues including the Kranzberg Arts Center, the Craft Alliance Center Of Art And Design and The Dark Room Wine Bar, you’ll find displays of photography by Abby Gillardi, Kenny Williamson and John Paul Torno; artist Mark Dethrow‘s grouping of 51 portraits he’s painted of his re-interpretations of classic David Bowie album covers and several live music performances. You’ll find the details in Willis Ryder Arnold‘s recent article on the KWMU/St. Louis Public Radio site – http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/multi-gallery-show-explores-connections-between-fine-art-and-rock-and-roll-fandom

3) They say that Elvis will live forever in the minds and hearts of fans, and so its only appropriate that the USPS has just released a new “Forever” 49-cent postage stamp and a specially-produced CD of classic Elvis tunes. Both the stamp and the CD feature an Alfred Wertheimer image of “The King” taken in 1955 (when he was 20 years old – he’d have turned 80 this year) and, in addition to the stamp and CD, fans can also buy a folio featuring a mint 1993 Elvis stamp, 16 of the new stamps and a specially-produced booklet of info/images ($24.95) or a framed, ready-to-hang 14″ x 17″ framed art collectible that includes another Wertheimer photo, four of the new stamps and a reproduction signature plaque ($39.95). The designer for the project was Leslie Badani, with art director credits given to Antonio Alcala. Learn more about these items on the USPS web site – https://www.usps.com/stamps/elvis-presley.htm

August 13th – 1) Well-known punk album artist Raymond Pettibon has created the cover for this year’s edition of Best American Comics, the publication that brings readers the most up-to-date examples of the “best of” in the fields of cartooning, illustration and graphic novels. You’ll remember Pettibon’s work for Black Flag, The Minutemen and Sonic Youth, among others, but his status as an innovator in editorial cartooning and a chronicler of all aspects of American Pop Culture made him an obvious choice for this year’s efforts. J.E. Reich gives us the details in this article on the Tech Times web site (warning – the site has an annoying habit of playing video ads while you’re there – the price you have to pay sometimes, I suppose). http://www.techtimes.com/articles/74508/20150805/best-american-comics-series-gets-new-look.htm

2) Staying the punk rock genre, here’s a story that involves not one but two well-known NYC-based shooters who’ve made their mark by giving us years of great images of the early punk scene there. You’ll recall Roberta Bayley‘s iconic photos of The Ramones – particularly her shot of them in a nearby alley that graced the cover of their 1976 debut record – and David Godlis‘ memorable shots of Patti Smith, Richard Hell and other denizens of the CBGB’s era. Well, they’re still neighbors, and Godlis tried to do the neighborly thing recently when Bayley and her dog were attacked while walking to nearby Washington Park, with the details provided here in Lincoln Anderson‘s article on The Villager web site. Very sorry for your loss, Roberta… http://thevillager.com/2015/08/06/famed-punk-photogs-dog-dies-after-attack-by-big-crusty-pit-bull/

3) Just want to give a shout-out to long-time ACHOF friend and talented artist Jeff Davis at Vinylux for being selected as an “Eco Choice Awards” finalist at the NY Now event this week. His beautifully-designed 78RPM album clock was included in the “Sustainability – Designs for a Better World” exhibition at the Jacob Javitz Center – I think you’ll agree that the honors were well-deserved. Keep up the great work, Jeff! http://www.nynow.com/press-release/thirty-finalists-to-compete-for-three-eco-choice-awards/

August 12th – 1) I really enjoyed reading Yo Mannion‘s post on the DJ Booth site about his efforts to learn more about some of the great cover photographers whose work has somewhat been overlooked in the age of “selfies” and phone-camera-based photography. While many musical acts have fed the photo frenzy via their own multiple posts of amateur photos on their own Twitter/Instagram/etc sites, the author was really interested in who created the most-memorable images of his favorite acts and found the answers in the works of shooters including Jonathan Mannion, Danny Clinch, Janette Beckman and many others. Glad to see that there’s still a longing for quality from “the younger generation” – http://www.djbooth.net/index/news/entry/2015-08-03-classic-hip-hop-photography

2) Love these stories of how a fan ends up shooting a photo that ends up on the cover of his favorite act’s latest record! In Joanna Bartlett‘s story on The Register-Guard‘s (Eugene, OR) site, you’ll read about how Bradley Cook – who hadn’t known anything about Buddy Guy and his influence on modern rock guitar-playing until a chance meeting at a festival – took his new-found passion for Guy’s music and, after years of attending shows and snapping fan photos (which he shared with the guitar legend), getting a request to use one of the photos on Guy’s most-recent record, Born To Play Guitar. Read all of the heart-warming details via the link – http://registerguard.com/rg/entertainment/33307937-67/buddy-guy-fan-gets-own-shot-at-glory.html.csp

3) Well, for an old guy, I at least was able to recognize half the cover images in this latest quiz, designed to test your knowledge of popular covers that would be most-familiar to Millennials…Let me know how you do on this VH-1-sponsored quiz (please forgive me for not knowing Katy Perry vs. Britney vs. Pink, OK?) – http://www.vh1.com/news/43977/youre-not-a-millennial-unless-you-can-name-these-album-covers/

August 11th – Back from my road trip and happy to share these three items with you:

1) Canadian singer Kalle Mattson created a very cool new video for his single “Avalanche” that has him re-creating 35 classic album cover images (7 just in the intro!). It’s a great example of how classic album art continues to inspire today’s young musical artists.
http://www.npr.org/2015/07/29/427427711/first-watch-kalle-mattson-avalanche
I’m very impressed – I mean, he included Trout Mask Replica, for goodness sake!

2) In this recent article for the Gigwise site, writer Will Butler works to track down 15 people who were featured on album covers from acts including Arctic Monkey, Smashing Pumpkins and many others, While some (the Nirvana baby and the Blink-182 nurse) have been covered frequently, there were a number of “new bits” of information shared, particularly on some of the children featured on record covers who have since grown into adulthood…http://www.gigwise.com/photos/101879/15-people-behind-the-album-covers-arctic-monkeys-bob-dylan

3) Late last month, a group of music industry heavyweights including U2’s Bono and The Edge, along with Jimmy Iovine, combined their resources to commission NYC-based artist Peter Sis to create a special commemorative work of art to honor Yoko Ono for her ongoing contributions to Amnesty International, with the resulting work – a tapestry featuring the island of Manhattan re-done “Yellow Submarine-style” – unveiled where it is currently installed at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Yoko has raised millions of dollars for the group via the donation of a share of all of the royalties from John Lennon’s post-Beatles music, so it is fit that, on the tapestry, Lennon is the captain steering the ship. AP’s Luqman Adeniyi provides us with the details and photos in an article recently posted on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6649120/john-lennon-yellow-submarine-tapestry-ellis-island

August 2nd –  1) As a follow-up to two books he released last year on the artist, author Paul Marechal has updated and re-released a book on the record cover artwork done by Andy Warhol titled Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Record Covers (published by Prestel). As a working artist in the album cover arena since 1949, Warhol received over 50 commissions for record cover work, beginning in the jazz genre before taking on projects for popular acts including the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and his own favorite band, the Velvet Underground. Reporter Michael Machosky has put together a nice backgrounder that provides additional details on the late artist’s career in the music business, and you’ll find it on the Trib Live site via the link – http://triblive.com/aande/books/8737524-74/warhol-marechal-says#axzz3hhYanwsE

2) Having been seen by over 1 million people thus far in its various showings in museums around the world (setting a record for a V&A Museum-curated show), the David Bowie Is exhibit has moved again, this time to the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) in Melbourne, where it will be viewable until November 1st. You’ll find costumes, stage sets, hand-written lyrics, photographs and, of course, lots of album cover-related materials, so if you’re in the area, take an afternoon and immerse yourself in all things Bowie, with details via the link – http://www.acmi.net.au/exhibitions/bowie/

3) Are you Jewish and looking for a unique arts and crafts project to work on this weekend? Writing for the Jewish JournalJonathan Fong provides readers with step by step instructions on how to make a new tzedakah (i.e., charitable donation) box out of a record album cover. Rightly so, he suggests staying away from using your rare copy of the White Album by The Beatles and, instead, he uses a Mel Torme cover (I’m thinking Dylan or Barbra Steisand, but hey, that’s just me). Even if you’re not Jewish, the box is a great method to collect money for your favorite charity, so if you’re a fan of music and charitable to boot, here’s your chance to make something special – http://www.jewishjournal.com/lifestyle/article/a_new_tzedakah_box_from_an_old_album_cover

August 1st – This one almost slipped by – fellow Chicagoan (I haven’t lived there in 30+ years, but still love my Cubbies) and famed rock shooter Paul Natkin was the subject of a brief-but-inspiring exhibition that ended August 2nd at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park. Simply titled “Superstars”, the show’s name makes perfect sense when you see the list of music celebs he’s photographed during his 40+ year career (with his first concert gig capturing local club icon Bonnie Raitt performing in Evanston in 1976). In this interview for the Gapers Block site, writer Nancy Bishop talks to Paul about his encounters with Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, a host of Chicago Blues greats and what he’s working on these days (including his blog on which he talks about life these days as a professional photographer) – http://gapersblock.com/ac/2015/07/27/paul-natkin-relives-his-life-in-rock-photography-from-abba-to-zz-top/

Ending – That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

Copyright 2015, Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com & RockPoP Productions – All rights reserved.

One response to “Album Cover News Recap – August, 2015

  1. David McMacken

    Thanx Mike