Album Cover News Recap For February, 2016

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap for the month of February, 2016

It’s early March 2016, and what a month we’ve just had, what with the Superbowl, the Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards, the Portland International Film Festival (gotta plug the local events, right?) and the ongoing media circus surrounding (and feeding) the upcoming  2016 election season. While there has been plenty to distract us from fully-engaging in the things we’re most passionate about, the album art world has continued to deliver a lot for us to see and learn about, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, lectures, award shows and other such activities we reported on during the last 29 days. Even with a short month, our news feed has been chock-full of stories on the many interviews, features, artist profiles, new gallery/museum shows and other similar items of interest, I’ll now spend just a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be your responsibility to visit our site to complete your ingestion of these items of interest by reading and (re)viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews and profile articles this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including designers Michael Bierut, Jonathan Barnbrook (on his work for David Bowie), Alex Israel, Aussie artist Pat Fox, Kanye’s latest cover artist Peter De Potter, sculptor Nicola Yeoman, photographers Patrick Harbron and Danny Clinch and a collaboration between the band St. Lucia and design house Soulland.

There continued to be regular launches of rock art-related exhibitions and shows in museums and galleries that premiered throughout the month of February (some wrapping up quickly, while others are up for a while), with collections on display that show a broad range of talent in design, illustration and photography. Throughout this month’s summary, you’ll find articles about current and just-completed exhibits including photo shows by Brian Griffin, George DuBose, Bill Eppridge (on the 1964 Beatles), Carinthia West, Martin Parr, Johnny Anguish and several in support of Bruce Springsteen’s The River Collection. There were art shows focused on the “Art of Jazz”, the many talented artists that contributed to Zap Comix (many who also worked on album covers), Andy Warhol album art, the works of Sir Peter Blake and the massive sculptures by KAWS, along with a comprehensive album art show at the Columbus Museum of Art (OH) called “Spin Art”.

Awards (and nominations) aplenty – The Grammy Awards were handed out in mid-February, as were the IMA “Vox Populi” awards, while photographer Norman Seeff was given a special honor at the Hollywood Beauty Awards. Nominees for Canada’s Juno Awards were announced, while the folks that host the massive A’Design Awards competition made a final shout-out for submissions. On a related note, a band that has accused the band Coldplay of “stealing” their album cover designs chose the recent NME Awards in the UK to express their displeasure in public by trouncing on Mr. Martin & Co’s table at said event.

Other interesting articles appeared on a wide range of subjects including the resurgence of products made for vinyl collectors (album art frames, etc.), info on a new film project that will feature the life and times of the late designer Richard Amsel and two cool interactive maps detailing geographic locations where the Rolling Stones and the Ramones did things fans might be interested, such as where they shot famous album covers. There were articles on AC/DC’s latest brand extension – a bourbon & cola drink (!!), new art for some newly-recorded (with a symphony and Alice Cooper on vocals) Pink Floyd music, photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s new career-spanning book, results of Heritage Auctions recent entertainment event (big money spent on albums/album art) and even a piece on the David Bowie tattoo Lady Gaga got right before her Grammy Awards performance. There were several video pieces you could watch, including Anderson Cooper’s interview with photographer Danny Clinch (for 60 Minutes), Lionel Ritchie talking with Jimmy Kimmel about his album covers, a video showing “the making of” a replica of the food arrangement seen on the cover of a ZZ Top record (and then watching the arrangement being eaten) and, for those who like to stare at something going round and round, a video of a uniquely-printed turntable mat that’s included in a recent vinyl release by Animal Collective that shows the art printed on that mat come to life (cool, dude).

Special Note to Fans of Hip-Hop Music, Art and Culture – I do hope that you’ll read my Feb 9th article on maestro Rocky Bucano’s work to establish (with the help of a host of industry luminaries) a museum (first, online, then in a permanent home in the NYC area) dedicated to the topic. To find out more, visit his project page on the Kickstarter site at  and pledge your support for this much-needed effort.

As it typically the case, I don’t have the time/space to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s included – I’m sure you’ll find something that gets you to think and makes you smile. You all know how hard I’m trying to do my part to help you to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in our favorite category of art and design with this summary of recent news you may have missed but, as I drone on continuously every month, regardless of how hectic your lives may be seem to be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics when you’ll find it all right here. You can be sure that I’ll continue to work every day (except weekends and the occasional personal days) 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).

February 29th – 1) Experimental-but-never-dull pop stalwarts Animal Collective have gone to great lengths to offer packages of their most-recent release, titled Painting With, with a host of interesting add-ons. In addition to the interesting (and hard to categorize) artwork by artist/musician Brian Degraw that graces the cover of Panda Bear & Co’s record, fans can choose to buy the record with their favorite band member on the cover and, in a special Limited-Edition vinyl set, you get a custom-designed turntable mat that, when illuminated by a strobe light, shows you an animation that includes a character used on the cover artwork. Writing for The 405 site, Sam Quinton provides you with more of the details –  and, if you’d like to see a video of the animated mat in action, click on over to the Vimeo site –

2) As if this was a major discovery…Here’s a link to an article on the Deutsche Well site by Antje Binder that shows us five albums with covers done by famous artists (Damien Hirst, Helmut Newton, etc.). Who’d have thought? The goal of the ACHOF is to illustrate this very fact – that, along with the fact that many of the people who’ve done album covers deserve to be recognized as fine artists…In any case, it’s nice to see this –

3) While I have to say that I quickly lost interest in the plot (and the overdone stereotypes on display) in the new HBO series Vinyl, I did enjoy seeing the recreations of some of the fashions and designs of the day. As you may know, sales of vinyl records have been steadily rising the past several years, as have the sales of furniture and accessories in order to store and display records and their cover art. In this recent article on The Telegraph (UK) site, writer Henry Wallop talks more about vinyl’s resurgence and the various ways that product designers and retailers are working to bring album collectors something new and exciting in the area –

Personally, I’m waiting for the delivery of my new Gramovox Floating Record player.
Now, just where am I going to put my records once I get them out of storage 😉

February 26th – 1) While attending a local film fest, I noticed that a promo graphic put together for this series (featuring three sprinkled donuts) was actually a collage of one donut repeated three times. At the time, I commented to myself “That seems a bit lazy”, and then I remembered watching Roddy Bogawa’s recent film about Storm Thorgerson and the design agency Hipgnosis and was reminded about their “truth in reality” approach to creating memorable graphics – specifically, the back-breaking and painstaking effort it took to assemble 700 iron beds on a beach for the cover photo of Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse of Reason LP. You can catch part of this effort in the film’s trailer on YouTube –

Roddy also worked with his chums in the UK to put together a collage of Hipgnosis/Storm Studios-created album covers which he included as a bonus item on the DVD. If you haven’t yet seen this film, you can stream it from the Taken By Storm film site at  where you can opt for several streaming/download packages (from $5.99 – $10.00), where the $10 option gets you the film, the bonus items and a set of special downloadable images. If you’re a fan of cover art, this is a must-see (and a reminder of what creativity looked like before PCs).

2) Just learned about another album art-related film project that is taking shape. When illustrator Richard Amsel died 30 years ago (at the age of 38), he left us after having produced an absolute ton of great images including, for us album art geeks, the cover art and promo posters for Bette Midler’s The Divine Miss M and Songs For A New Depression, Kenny Rogers’ Love Will Turn You Around and movie soundtrack LPs including The Sting, The Who’s Tommy and Barbra Steisand vehicles What’s Up Doc and Hello Dolly (you can find these and other examples at!album–concert-art/c1gqo ). Now, a group announced that they’re beginning work on a film about the artist’s life and artistry, and they’re busy collecting stories from friends, family and fans to make this happen (via, ultimately, a crowd-funded effort), so if you’d like to learn more and stay on top of the latest news regarding this effort, visit their site and sign up for updates –

3) In this recent interview with Marc Meyers for the Wall Street Journal‘s “Life” section, you’ll hear from design guru Michael Bierut (a principal at NYC’s Pentagram design shop) and how he learned to appreciate the entire record album experience – the music, the art, the writing, etc. – as a kid growing up in the 70s in Parma, OH. He was particularly impressed by John Berg’s always-impressive approach to packaging the records put out by soon-to-be-R&RHOF-inductees Chicago and by Mati Klarwein’s psychedelic design for Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, learning to appreciate and love the two totally different paths taken to album-making.

February 25th – 1) To all of you working in the album art/packaging business…here’s a (now too late) reminder that you had until Feb. 28th to enter your best work into this year’s A’Design Award & Competition. If you’re not familiar with this event, it is an absolutely huge world-wide design competition, with designers and artists showing their latest work in dozens of design categories. To review the qualifications and submit your entries, click on over to the organization’s site at  Album packaging is found in the “Packaging Design Award” category, and if you’d like to see the details of last year’s winners in the category (including German designer Andreas Welter’s award-winning work on electronic musician Hans Dampf’s release, which included a t-shirt and two tickets to a performance IN THE BOX), here’s the link –
Best of luck to all who did manage to submit their work – I’ll be watching to see who wins!

2) The results of another well-respected music industry competition’s special awards area have just been announced, with these awards different than what’s typical in that the winners are chosen by music fans from all over the world. The Independent Music Awards are in their 14th year and, as you might figure, fans had VERY different opinions as to “who’s best” than the judges had, with over 80% of the “Vox Populi” awards going to different people than those who won the IMA’s earlier. In the Album Packaging category, the winner was Pei-Shih Wu and the TotalBrand+TotalDesign Co. team for the work delivered for Dream Lotus Symphony Orchestra & Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir – Prajna: The Great Wisdom, while LA-based artist Eleanor Crane won in the Album Art/Photography category for her work on Patrick Joseph’s Moon King record. Congratulations to the winners – the fans have spoken!

3) To follow-up on my posting about this show opening (starts tonight!), here’s a link to a small photo gallery of photos that Brian Griffin forwarded to me to give you a taste of what’s on display at the show, which opens tonight at the Steven Kasher Gallery in NYC. Hope you can stop by and tour the display – in addition to a number of his album cover photos, you’ll find many more great examples of a master photographer plying his craft. Enjoy!

To give you some additional pre-show info and inspiration, you might want to take a look at writer David Rosenberg’s recent article on the Behold/Slate web site –

February 24th – 1) Just a reminder that there’s a new show of the works of famed photographer Brian Griffin that opened on Feb. 25th at the Steven Kasher gallery on West 26th St. You all know Brian’s contributions to the world of album cover art – covers for Joe Jackson (Look Sharp!), Depeche Mode (A Broken Frame), Elvis Costello (Spike) and many others – but if you haven’t seen examples of his work as both a photojournalist and fine art photographer, now’s your chance. The show is titled “Capitalist Realism” and is Griffin’s first major U.S. solo retrospective, delivering over 60 images based on the artist’s efforts to illustrate “the worldwide disruption of globalization”. Running through April 9th, photo fans can find more information about the show and related events on the gallery’s website at

2) Two events hosted by the Society of Illustrators in NYC should be of interest to anyone looking to see and learn more about great design and illustration. The first event took place Feb. 24th and was a panel discussion about the multi-talented people who serve both as designers and illustrators (and sometimes even art directors) while working for their clients in the media world. The event is co-hosted by the Society of Publication Designers and includes artists working for the New York Times, the New Yorker, Time, Spy and other publishers. The panel was moderated by Len Small, the art director for Nautilus Magazine, and began  at 6:30PM EST at the group’s HQ on East 63rd St.  More info at–The-Double-Threat.aspx

Beginning on March 2nd, the Society will be opening a show built around the works of the artists that created the iconic comic book series Zap Comix. The exhibition, titled “The Zap Show: A Cultural Revolution” will put on display examples of the works of the principal members of the S.F. art collective, many of whom would also work to create great album art for musical acts such as Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Guns ‘N’ Roses and many others) – Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffiin, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Williams, and Spain Rodriguez. Their influence on the Pop Art world is undeniable, so if you’re in the area and are a fan of trend-setting art and story-telling, you have until May 7th to see this impressive display.–A-Cultural-Revolution.aspx

3) While the new Rolling Stones art/memorabilia extravaganza called “Exhibitionism” won’t be opening until April at the Saatchi Gallery in London, show organizers have released a handy interactive map that shows places of interest – and venues where show-related items can be seen – that illustrate just how integral the city of London was to Rolling Stones lore. The folks at DIY Magazine have kindly posted this map and links to where you can learn more about the upcoming show (and get those VIP tickets) –

February 23rd – 1) While the ACHOF’s focus is on rock-related artwork, you can’t ignore the fact that, before album art came to the pop music world, it grew up on jazz, with many of the better-known innovators in the field producing great work there. A new show called “Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes” just opened at Harvard’s Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art (with other works also on display at another Harvard Art Museum gallery on Quincy Street) and features 90 examples of great art (including album cover imagery) informed by great music, featuring works by Romare Bearden, Josef Albers, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and many others The show runs through May 8th, and you can learn more about the show in reporter Mark Feeney’s article on the Boston Globe site at

2) I know that album art has had some difficulty over the years being accepted – at least by certain curators, gallerists, critics and collectors – as “fine art“, but one of the things that’s been a positive outcome of that fact is that it has avoided being analyzed and described in the nearly-impossible-to-decipher “art speak” that you find used at exhibitions and in catalogs on the topic. Well, leave it to a writer for the Harvard Crimson (the college’s student newspaper) to drag us music/art fans into that place where you’re either supposed to pretend that you get what he/she is talking about or, in my case, you simply say to yourself – “WTF?” The fact is, I do (basically) understand the author’s point (i.e., that some art may look simple, or complicated, but there may be things there that you don’t see on first viewing) but why spend so many cliche’s on a topic when a simple explanation might do (e.g., “..the offhand sheen of vaporwave belies a deep nihilism. The genre, which almost indiscriminately mixes influences from all strata of popular culture, at its core probes the meaninglessness that comes with such a cacophonous clash of information”…etc., etc.). Test your patience via the link –  and let’s hope that this author finds a good job writing introductions for fine art books upon graduation.

3) There are so many talented people in the album art world that it is nearly impossible to locate and feature even half of them, so whenever I find an article like the one written by someone on the Tonedeaf site profiling an Australian artist whose clients are particularly well-known in his country (but, perhaps, not so well-known here in the US), I’m always happy to share it with my readership. In today’s story, you’ll meet Pat Fox, a designer who has created compelling album images for a host of local talent, who shares his story on becoming an album cover artist, who his inspirations were (Hipgnosis, Invisible Creature, Roger Dean and other top-notch designers) and words of advice he has for anyone looking at getting into this area as a career. Pretty wise for a young fellow –

February 22nd – 1) Very excited to announce the opening of a new album art show at the Columbus Museum of Art. Starting Thursday, Feb. 25th, the museum began hosting a show called “Spin Art” that features a carefully-curated display of over 90 record covers on loan from local collectors. After reading the initial press on the show in Kevin Joy‘s article on The Columbus Dispatch site,

I contacted the show’s Creative Producer, Jeff Sims, and asked him about the show’s inspirations, what’s included and for more details on related activities, and here’s what he told me…”We were looking to test an idea in our new ‘Open Gallery’ area, but knew that there wouldn’t be any way we could assemble a truly-comprehensive display there, so we developed three key criteria by which we’d select covers for this initial display:

a) We wanted to show great examples of where the graphic designers worked closely with the band members to develop unique cover images, as was the case in the relationships between Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground and Hipgnosis and Pink Floyd (in fact, the design firm’s principals were flat-mates with some of the band’s founding members);

b) We wanted to show the best cases of where album art helped define a musical act’s public image, with Pedro Bell’s work for Funkadelic being one great example;

c) We looked to showcase examples of the cross-pollination of musical and visual cultures, like the ones you’ll find in the various Marvel comic covers based on classic hip-hop covers.”

Jeff went on to say that they were also going to offer visitors to the exhibit with some interesting program extensions (he called them “connectors”) such as an online digital gallery where fans can upload album covers they feel should be on display and an area where fans will find bins of LPs and some open shelves where they can select their favorites and (temporarily) curate a mini-show of their own. Also, sticker fans will be able to craft (and take home) customized name tags made with stickers derived from the fonts found on many “metal music” records – perfect for the little head-banger in your family.

I’ll be posting some photos of the show and its supporters (including the folks at local record shop/institution Spoonful Records, who helped organize the show) later this week. Based on the pre-show press and feedback, this one looks to be a fan-pleaser, so if you’re in the Columbus OH area anytime soon, be sure to stop by to see this new show.

2) Just had to post something on this item – the branding geniuses behind Australian rock gods AC/DC have recently released a new product that is meant to help raise awareness and funds for a music education program they’re supporting called the “AC/DC Let There Be Rock Fund”. The new item? Why, AC/DC Bourbon & Cola, of course! Available (for now?) only “down under” (Australia and New Zealand), the folks behind this new beverage will also be sponsoring contests featuring up-and-coming young rockers, with great prizes available to the winners (including a VIP trip to see the band in concert). You can read more about the new product and the campaign surrounding it in this article on the site –
Perhaps this will provide George Thorogood with the incentive to come out with canned bourbon/scotch/beer (or did I miss this?).

February 19th – 1) February 20th marked the first day of a new auction hosted by the Heritage Auction folks that includes several items that album art and rock photo fans and collectors might want to take a look at –
In this section, you’ll find info on a Phil Garris Grateful Dead Blues for Allah limited-edition print, a Dave McMacken Frank Zappa painting, a number of Astrid Kirchherr and Gunter Zint photos of Beatles, a portfolio featuring an almost complete set (12 out of 13) of the Beatless UK album art prints, Rick Griffin’s Wild Flower cover art for The Cult, a Peter Blake and Clapton signed 24 Nights art print and 200+ autographed items, including many album cover cuts, photos, etc.

UpdateBlues for Allah sold for $687.50, the Blake/Claption print sold for $625 (cheap!), the Beatles album art portfolio sold for $750, but Dave McMacken’s Zappa painting and Rick Griffin’s Wild Flower art went unsold (HA is accepting offers now).

Led Zeppelin fans, take note – If you click on over to this link –  you’ll have the opportunity to bid on one of the promo statues of “The Object” created for Led Zep’s Presence LP. Very cool.

Update #2 – the Presence Object sold for $1875. Big money was spent on signed and rare albums – Beatles-related sales included Please, Please Me sold for $22,500, a Lennon-signed Double Fantasy sold for $20,000,  while a mint “Butcher Cover” (still sealed) went for $125,000!  Led Zep IV sold for $10,625 Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours sold for $4750 and  an Allman Brothers debut record sold for $4000 (it WAS framed). On the opposite end of the spectrum, some signed items from seemingly less-in-demand musical acts didn’t fare as well for their owners – for example, a band-signed promo flat of a record by the Arc Angels sold for $50, while a Luciano Pavarotti-signed Mattinata record (showing the great tenor riding a horse) went for a mere $48.

2) Famed album cover photographer Norman Seeff was be honored this weekend with a special citation for his portfolio of work in the field at the 2016 Hollywood Beauty Awards. The former Blue Note and United Artists Records creative director, who later went on to produce films and videos on over 400 subjects, is best-known in album art circles for his covers for musical acts ranging from Carly Simon, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell to Blondie, Earth WInd & Fire and Frank Zappa, so it’s particularly fitting that he receives this honor after an entire career of bringing out the best in his subjects via his amazing portraits. You can read a more-detailed intro on this event in this article on the LATF web site –

3) While I have previously reported on the Andy Warhol-related album cover show now on display at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida, I did want to let folks who might find themselves in the area this weekend know that the curator of the previously-staged Warhol cover show – Laura Mott, who put together Warhol on Vinyl:The Record Covers, 1949- 1987 – lectured on the topic Sunday, Feb. 21st at 3PM EST. This was a great chance to learn more about the artist’s early years spent creating jazz covers to his works for the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and others. Info on the talk and a link to tickets –

February 18th – 1) Imagine being given the opportunity to produce new album cover graphics for a re-staging of a classic rock masterwork. UK-based illustrator Tiernen Trevallion has been bestowed with the commission to create the cover for an impressive new version of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here just released by Universal Music/Decca Classics that features music made by an impressive crew that includes the London Orion Orchestra, Alice Cooper, Rick Wakeman and Dave Fowler and Stephen McElroy of the Australian Pink Floyd (wowee!). The record is called Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here Symphonic and, for fans that only want the best, there’s a special, limited-edition package (only 175 are available) for $125 that includes the new CD along with an artist- signed/numbered print of the record’s album art (you’ll find it here –*/*/Pink-Floyd-s-Wish-You-Were-Here-Symphonic-CD-Album-Fine-Art-Print/529T0000000 . Read more about the making of the new record in this article on the Henley On Thames News site at

2) You might recall an item I posted about a while back about the row that took place between UK rockers Bring Me The Horizon and Superbowl sweethearts Coldplay after members of BMTH went very public with accusations that Coldplay and their label had stolen (or, at least, greatly borrowed from) the former’s album cover design for use on the band’s latest record titled A Head Full Of Dreams (I have to admit, there is a striking similarity). In any case, at the recent NME Awards, while Coldplay was on stage performing, members of BMTH decided to express their ongoing displeasure with the album art situation by jumping up on Coldplay’s table and trashing the area around it and causing general chaos for a few minutes (all during the “Happy Song” – guess they weren’t too happy). You can read more about this and watch a video of the disturbance on Katy Forrester’s posting on The Irish Mirror site –   The saga continues, most-assuredly.

3) Of course, as he made very clear recently with statements about just how important his new record was to the sum total of all recorded music output and how he also excels in album cover design, it seems clear that, in a fashion similar to earlier musical acts that tried to claim credit for all aspects of their packaged products (e.g., Frank Sinatra getting an art director Grammy), Kanye West is in no hurry to promote the talents of the person who actually designed the cover for The Life Of Pablo. As it is our mission here at the ACHOF to enlighten our audiences with info on the hard-working men and women that contribute their talents to the music industry, I wanted to point you to this recent article by Elias Light (on the Fader site) about Belgian artist Peter De Potter, the guy that created the intriguing package graphics. He’s an interesting guy who seems perfectly-suited to providing music industry extroverts with conversation-inspiring images for their records –

February 17th – 1) The folks at The Flood Gallery in the UK have teamed with PledgeMusic and artist/photographer Carl Glover to release a new set of album cover art prints featuring six images Glover created for Marillion. Glover, who has created memorable covers for many other UK acts such as Porcupine Tree, The Pretty Things, Steven WIlson and Ian Anderson, combined his skills in photography and design in creating fascinating artwork for this popular Prog/Symphonic Rock act, with the covers for Marbles, Radiation and Somewhere Else all great examples of an artist understanding the needs and wants of both his clients and their fans. The limited-edition/signed prints each retail for just under $200, so if you’d like to add something eye-catching and unique to your art collection, take a look at these new prints via the link –

(PLEASE NOTE – we are not paid to promote the works of any artist or publisher, nor do we accept advertising, so when you find items like this in our news feed, please understand that they are there simply to serve our core readership – collectors and fans of album cover art/artists. MG)

2) Artist Brian Donnelly – AKA “KAWS” – has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most-respected “street” artists to have emerged from world of graffiti art to acceptance in the fine art world. Album art fans will remember his covers for Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak and Til The Casket Drops for The Clipse, but if you’d like to see his artwork in a truly-impressive setting, head on out to the rolling hills of West Yorkshire (UK) to see a collection of his larger-than-life (way larger!) figures now on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park museum. From now until June 12th, fans will find six massive sculptures, including stunning renditions of his classic mouse with x’s for eyes figures, set up in prime locations in the 500 acre garden park. W Magazine‘s Diane Solway gives us more details (and pix) of the show in her article –

3) New Yorkers are particularly proud of their Ramones. The epic punk rock act grew up there, learned their sense of style there and captured many memorable images of the local landscape in their album cover images, so it was cool to find this interesting collection of Ramones-related tidbits – including a map showing particular places of interest (i.e., where the memories were made) – gathered and presented recently by Nicole Bitette on the Daily News site. In addition to the expected pins for CBGBs and Forest Hills High School, you’ll find info on the band’s favorite clothing store, Arturo Vega’s loft on E. 2nd Street (Vega being the designer of the band’s iconic logo) and many other places of interest. Weird to see the alley behind CBGBs – where they shot the cover for Rocket To Russia – now housing a lobster roll shack –

February 16th – 1) While I wasn’t particularly impressed with Ms. Gaga’s “tribute” to David Bowie during the prime time Grammy show, I was impressed with the fact that, prior to the performance, she had a nice version of the cover of Bowie’s Aladdin Sane tattooed on to her side. I’m all about actors getting in to their characters – I only wish that her extra effort had produced a more-moving performance. Alsistair McGeorge, writing for The Mirror (UK), gives us a look at Ms. Gaga’s inking session –

2) Was surprised and delighted to watch 60 Minutes on CBS this past Sunday night to find a segment dedicated to the talents of photographer Danny Clinch, well-known for his cover images of Tupac, Springsteen, Tom Petty and many others. Anderson Cooper seems to be quite the fan, marveling at Danny’s archives, which contain thousands of images we’ve seen on magazine covers, album covers and in many other publications. CBS was kind enough to produce a companion video that gives us a deeper look at some of the photos he’s produced, as well as their back stories. You can watch both pieces on the CBS web site, via the link –

3) While not dedicated to album cover imagery, I wanted to point you to an article by writer Hrag Vartanian (on the Hyperallergic site) about the recent LA Art Book Fair, a show that featured booths manned by many of the world’s most-talented illustrators. Sponsored by Printed Matter, the show included displays where fans could meet and purchase prints, book, posters and more from a strong group of artists, with the opening night ceremonies including a presentation of a project by musician Kim Gordon, who’d hired several art world luminaries to produce a series of covers for a live album she released in 2014 (titled Live Hassle). Take a tour through the show via the link at

February 15th – Album art award news  headline – the winners for the three packaging-related Grammy Awards were just announced, and the winners are:

1) For “Best Recording Package” – Sarah Dodds, Shauna Dodds and Dick Reeves, for Art-Directing the package for Still The King: Celebrating The Music Of Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys (Bismeaux Records)

2) For “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” – Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood and Jack White for Art-Directing the package for The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-1932), with music by various artists (Third Man Records/Revenant Records)

3) For “Best Album Notes” – Joni Mitchell, for writing the notes for Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced on Rhino Records

Dick Reeves was on hand to say thanks for the team that won for Best Recording Package and accepted with great thanks; Susan Archie was there to accept the award in her category, giving thanks to her team (over 40 participants), her co-art directors and the set’s producers. Joni Mitchell’s award was accepted by the Academy on her behalf.

I’ll work to get comments and some additional in-depth info from the winners ASAP. The Dodds Sisters have won previously, as has Susan Archie (for the Paramount Records Volume One set).

Congratulations to the winners and also to those who were nominated but were not selected. Great work was done by all.

You’ll be able to see the entire winner’s list on the Grammy Awards site when the show’s over…

February 12th – 1) Brian Duffy’s photos of David Bowie have always been popular with collectors, but since the singer’s death last month, several galleries (and the photographer’s estate/publisher) have done rather nicely as collectors tripped over themselves trying to get hold of one of the several limited-edition prints available (welcome to the art/collectibles world!). As writer Adam Guest details on the Press And Journal site (UK), the folks at The Artists Gallery in Aberdeen (Scotland) have been selling their stock of prints at impressive price points (averaging over £5,000 each, or over £100,000 total) in the week since they went on sale. A collector as a lad insane, perhaps? Never ask a collector “was it worth it?” – they have one, and you don’t! More details and an interview with the gallery’s owner via the link –

2) One of the rising stars in the pop art world – Alex Israel – landed a nice gig last year when one of his images was selected by pop music icons Duran Duran to serve as the cover for their Paper Gods album. For those of you who’d like to learn more about the series of events that took place in the artist’s career that ultimately led up to his business deal with the band, read Christopher Bagley’s article on the W Magazine web site –
Israel is currently working on a feature film about four kids growing up – and developing their own senses of style and creativity – inside the So. CA surf culture scene, with a number of 80s – 90s style/culture icons making cameo appearances. Not bad for a guy that, not too long ago, worked as an intern for conceptualist John Baldessari, snagging the gig after his parents bid and won an auction for a meal with the hugely-popular artist.

3) Each year, the AIGA design organization’s Blue Ridge chapter holds a national competition, looking to the best examples of graphic design/packaging coming out of our nation’s colleges, and in this year’s mix of nominees for “best of’s” in the “packaging” category was an item by Penn State student Emily Burns that I thought album art fans might get a kick out of. Emily produced a cover photo for lawyer/musician Philip Masorti’s 2015 release titled Into The Woods in which she assembled different wood and brass type elements into a stunning collage. Her school was notably pleased with the honor she received from the nation’s top design group, but she wasn’t alone, as two other Penn State graphic students also were honored in other categories for their work on graphics for a local production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Such a concentration of talent! Read more in Claire Going’s article on the topic on the Onward State (St. College, PA) site –

February 11th – 1) Beatles fans should make plans to stop by the Visual & Performing Arts Center at Western Connecticut State University (Danbury, CT) between now and March 13th to see a special collection of photos excerpted from photographer Bill Eppridge’s archives. The exhibition – “Bill Eppridge — The Beatles: Six Days That Changed the World, February 1964” – features 55 black-and-white photographs taken by Eppridge during the group’s visit to New York and Washington in early February, 1964 – the trip that included their famed appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. What makes this show even more special is that the photographer had mis-placed the rolls of film (3000 shots!) and didn’t find them until years later (prior to his death in 2013). His wife Aurichio (who also served as his editor) has worked tirelessly to make certain that Eppridge’s photo collection has been preserved for posterity, so if you’re interested in seeing these timeless images, get more of the details in Emily Olson‘s article on the Litchfield County Times web site –

2) Photographer Lynn Goldsmith – the woman responsible for the photos on hundreds of your favorite album covers – including examples for Frank Zappa, Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Hall & Oates and many others – has released a new book chronicling her 40+ year career titled Rock & Roll Stories. The Detroit, MI native tells the story of her earliest exposure to photography (her Dad got her started), growing up in the midst of the 1960s counter-culture, meeting fellow Univ. of Michigan students Iggy Pop and members of the MC5, etc. before working in the music business (both as a manager and photographer) and building relationships with many of the stars she’d photograph, so her book should be of interest to both fans of rock photography and the rock music business as well. Read more about Lynn and her new book in Drew Fortune‘s recent posting on the LA Weekly web site –     I was very happy to see Lynn’s 1973 photo of David Bowie that was used in Billboard Magazine‘s recent tribute issue to the late star…

3) In another example of a rich, nasty man and music industry execs teaming up to stomp on “the little guy” (we’re NOT talking politics here – sorry), pharma exec Martin Shkreli – the guy who raised Daraprim drug prices thousands of percent and who is now on trial for securities fraud – is now being sued by an artist whose works were included in a one-of-a-kind record package produced (and sold to Shkreli for $2 million) by famed rap group Wu Tang Clan. Turns out that the artist wasn’t paid for the works included in the package, which were licensed only for use on a web site…Writer Jess McHugh attempts to explain this mess to us readers in his article on the I.B.T. web site –  , while fans who want to trace back the details of this ongoing saga – including some recent sniping between Shkreli and Wu Tang member Ghostface Killah after Mr. Killah made public his feelings about the man that bought their record without any plans to listen to it, only to “keep it from the people” (that’s us) –

February 10th – 1) With all of the Grammy Award pre-show excitement, you can get lost in all of the related news, but when civic pride works to raise your profile – as it does in this article in the Brownwood Bulletin (by Andrew Valderas) about Shauna and Sarah Dodds and their nomination this year in the Best Recording Package category – the gratification of the local community becomes evident. No strangers to the awards process and the publicity it generates for nominees (after all, they won in the category in 2014 for their work on the Long Night Moon package for Reckless Kelly), the duo stepped up their game when it came to the design for Asleep At The Wheel’s 2015 tribute album titled Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys and hope to “bring home the gold” to share with their fellow Brookesmith, TX area friends, family and neighbors. Read more at  and, if you’d like to read my interview with the sisters Dodds about their past Grammy win, click on over to the ACHOF site at

2) In preparation for the recent Valentine’s Day holiday (and, now, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), album art fans might want to take a look at a couple of properly-themed items produced by two of their favorite album cover producers:
– Vermont teddy bear not quite what you’re looking to send? How’s this for a option? The nice people at St. Paul’s Gallery in the U.K. are offering a teddy bear-centric limited-edition (only 50 copies) signed print created by famed designer Storm Thorgerson (published in 2011) featuring the artwork he and his team produced for Muse’s Uprising (priced at £600, or about $930) –

3) As part of a show that was recently on display (through the 27th of February) at Haylett’s Gallery (also in the U.K.), you’ll find several examples of prints by acclaimed print-maker Sir Peter Blake that deliver the love in a variety of ways...there’s a print titled “I LOVE YOU” that simply says it all; a 2013 print called “The Kiss” that provides several thought-provoking images on the topic and, of course, a print of the collage that Sir Peter created for the album cover for Brian Wilson’s 2004 record titled Gettin’ In Over My Head (no explanation req’d). You can view these and several others on display at the gallery via the link –

February 9th – 1) Rocky Bucano, a respected record producer/promoter who’s career and passions helped spark the growth of the rap/hip-hop music genres (and who I had the pleasure of working with on several projects during the early days of the Web/on-demand TV) has just launched a Kickstarter program in support of his latest project – the expansion of the Universal Hip Hop Museum he launched a while back, adding a number of way-cool virtual elements (including 2-D and 3-D virtual experiences featuring many of the best-known artists in the area). With the support of luminaries including Kurtis Blow, Afrika Bambaataa, Krayzie Bone, Ice T, Melle Mel, Grandwizzard Theodore, Paradise Gray, Q Tip, Doug E. Fresh, MC Sha Rock and other iconic legends, the UHHM is “seeking funding to complete the design and engineering of the world’s first mobile device powered virtual museum, for preserving, documenting, and advancing Hip-Hop culture Worldwide!”

I’m in, and you should be, too.

To read more about Rocky’s efforts to help promote the musical, cultural and artistic efforts of those involved – past and present – in these important musical areas (and add your support to this noble cause), please visit his project page on the Kickstarter site at

2) While folks in the NYC area had until Feb. 11th to head on over to the Morrison Hotel Gallery to see the show currently on display – “The River Collection”, featuring photos collected from several of Bruce Springsteen’s most-trusted photographers, including Joel Bernstein, David Gahr, Lynn Goldsmith, Jim Marchese, Neal Preston and Frankie Stefanko that are included in the special box set of the same name – true fans can hop across the country to see the show as it moves cross-country to its new home at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in Los Angeles beginning in March. Included are album cover images, concert shots, intimate portraits and a number of behind-the-scenes shots that chronicle The Boss and his band-mates over the past 40+ years. If you’d like to read a bit about the show and learn a bit from several of the featured photographers, click on over to Dante A. Campaglia‘s nicely-illustrated article posted recently on The Daily Beast site –

Of special note – Another one of the photographers featured in the collection – Patrick Harbron, who has produced album imagery for bands including Black Sabbath, Triumph, Anvil, The Nylon and Bruce Cockburn, among many others – is the subject of this recent feature by Joe Donahue on the WAMC (Albany, NY radio) web site. In a similar fashion, Harbron has released a limited-edition box set of photos he took during a show in 1978 while The Boss & Co. were out on their Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour. If you click on over to the site –  – you’ll also be able to listen to a 15-minute interview the Donahue did with Harbron recently on the topic.

February 8th – 1) Showing some deference to the importance of a record’s cover image, the folks at the Grammy organization have put together a nifty promo for the upcoming awards show featuring animated versions of the nominees for “Album Of The Year” that I thought you might want to take a look at. In a new video hosted on YouTube called “Album Of The Year Remix”, you’ll see snippets of the categories’ nominees – Sound & Color by the Alabama Shakes; To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar; Traveller by Chris Stapleton; Taylor Swift’s –1989 and Beauty Behind The Madness from The Weeknd – each come to life in a variety of settings. Not sure who did the work, but nicely done!

2) Today’s second video (posted by Christian Holub on the Entertainment Weekly site) finds 2016 MusiCares Person Of The Year Lionel Richie on Jimmy Kimmel’s show discussing the album cover imagery – disturbing as some of it was to the artist now, but indicative of the fashion of the times – of several of the singer’s best-known records, including Lionel Richie and Can’t Slow Down (both with David Alexander photography and Johnny Lee’s art direction). He admits to still owning the green sweater found on the LR LP, but can’t quite recall why it was he was asked to leap onto a pole on CSD‘s inner sleeve image. Sense of humor required, for sure –

3) Top UK portrait photographer Martin Parr (well-known in the album and book cover art worlds for his contributions to those categories) has a new show of photographs running from now until mid-June at the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery (UK) that features a fascinating series of images he produced over the past 40 years of his career, including recent shots he’s done of rhubarb farmers in the West Yorkshire area of England.”The Rhubarb Triangle & Other Stories” opened to the public on February 4th and is the largest Martin Parr exhibition in the UK since his Barbican retrospective in 2002. You can learn more about the show on the gallery’s site at  and folks in the area will be able to attend a presentation – featuring the artist in conversation with author/curator Anne McNeill later this month (the 26th of February) – tickets available via the link –

February 5th – 1) Nice article on Paste Magazine‘s site about the latest release by the band St. Lucia and their collaboration with designers from the Denmark-based fashion house Soulland to develop and entire graphics package – album cover art, concert stage design and band merch that were, according to Roman Gokhman‘s interview, heavily influenced by Fleetwood Mac album graphics from the past. The Brooklyn-based musical act’s second record is titled Matter, with the record’s cover imagery including objects of a very personal matter, including masks from their living room wall and bottles received as a gift from their parents. Read the interview via the link –

2) Photographer George DuBose just sent me some information on several exhibitions he’s featured in, including an exhibition of pre-signed Madonna images (his along those from Deborah Feingold and Peter Cunningham) and. since 2016 is the 40th anniversary of the release of the Ramones’ first LP, he’s curated a show of 60+ prints taken by himself and several other well-known shooters who were involved with the band (Bob Gruen, Jenny Lens, Monte A. Melnick and others) and will present them at several galleries in Germany, Italy and the U.K. unframed on poster paper with torn edges and taped to the walls of the venues. George has also just published a book based on four rolls of film he took of Madonna’s earliest-known public performances. I’ll update this site with more details on these items as they become available but, in the meantime, if you’d like to learn and see more of George’s work, please visit his site at

3) With all of the excitement of the upcoming Grammy Awards taking up most of the award show publicity these days, I would be remiss not to announce the nominees for this year’s Juno Awards in the “Recording Package of the Year” category:
– Dan Mangan + Blacksmith’s Club Meds, with design, art direction and illustrations by Cam Dales and Ben Clarkson;
– Esmerine’s Lost Voices, with cover art by Clyde Henry Productions (Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski – Art Directors/Designers/Illustrators/Photographers and Constellation (Ian Ilavsky – Designer);
– Long Distance Runners’ Elements, with artwork by Duncan Major – Art Director/Designer and Joel Upshall – Photographer;
– West Trainz by West Trainz, cover art direction by Erik West Milette;
– Louis-Jean Cormier’s Les Grandes Arteres, with cover art direction by Sarah Marcotte-Boislard

Awards for Canada’s top talent will be presented during ceremonies held on Sunday, April 3rd at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. Best of luck to all of the nominees in this category, and to see info on all of the nominees in all categories, please visit the link at

February 4th – 1) Fans of ZZ Top’s 1973 album Tres Hombres (the one that featured “La Grange” and which served to shoot them into the top tiers of rock stardom) might recall that there was an image in the gatefold cover that made fans of Mexican food drool. Well, there’s a chef in Austin, TX named Tom Micklethwait that wanted to re-create both the image and that Pavlovian response using his food prep and styling skills and, if you take a look at the image featured in Andy Langer’s article on the topic in Texas Monthly magazine, I think you’ll agree that he’s pulled it off! The writer also tracked down ZZ Top-ian Billy Gibbons, who recounts the story behind art director Bill Narum’s efforts working alongside the staff at the now-closed Houston restaurant called Leo’s Mexican to create the original feast featured on the cover.
Micklethwait – owner of Micklethwait’s Craft Meats – produced a short film of “the making of” this creation (calling himself “ZZ Tom”) and then shows us an even more-impressive feat – eating the whole thing!  Well done!

2) On this day back in 1984, artist Patrick Nagel – probably best-known for the images of beautiful women he created for Playboy Magazine and for the cover of Duran Duran’s huge hit 1982 album Rio – died at the age of 39. The illustrator’s unique mix of old and new styles and techniques were one of the defining elements of “the 80’s look” – come on girls, admit it – you had one of his posters on your bedroom wall…

February 3rd – 1) Nice profile feature on the Creative Boom site on Nicola Yeoman, the talented artist responsible for the incredible assemblage that served as the basis of one of rapper Jay-Z’s best-known album covers, that being the one for 2009’s The Blueprint, Vol. 3 (with art direction by Greg Gigendad Burke and photography by Dan Tobin Smith). Working as both a set designer and a fine artist, Yeoman’s works look as though they’re computer-generated (how else would they look as they do?) but, in reality, they’re the result of a great eye and a LOT of patience. You can read more about the young artist and her more-recent work in Katy Cowan‘s article –  and I’d also invite you to watch a fascinating “making of” video on Tobin Smith’s Vimeo site –

2) As a follow-up to all of the fascinating-but-sad articles surrounding the death of David Bowie, I wanted to share two other bits of information about Jonathan Barnbrook’s work on what turned out to be Mr. Bowie’s final album, Blackstar. In this recent interview article on the Dezeen site, Barnbrook talks about how the album’s graphics package was made to reflect DB’s sense of his own mortality and that, according to the designer, “he always wanted to do something interesting, often to the annoyance of the record company..He understood the value of the image on a record cover, when other people had forgotten about it.” While some had criticized the simple design (as being a bit too simple, in their minds), most fans appreciated the simple elegance and, since the designer chose to offer a downloadable file containing the complete graphics package free to fans (available with a non-commercial Creative Commons license at ), scores of downloads have borne out the popularity of these images. You can read Dan Howarth‘s interview article via the link at

February 2nd – 1) Wednesday, Feb. 10th at the KM Fine Arts Gallery in Los Angeles marked the debut of – and VIP Opening Party for – photographer/musical muse Carinthia West’s “Looking Back Is The New Forward” show featuring a nice collection of candid photos taken of the photographer’s impressive circle of friends, including Mick Jagger, George Harrison, David Bowie and many other participants in the swinging 60’s London music scene. Discovered in London (where her parents were diplomats) by Beatles photographer Robert Whitaker (Eric Clapton’s flatmate), she brought her camera to the many parties/events she attended and began building the portfolio from which these images have been selected. More details about Ms West, her career as a photojournalist and the new gallery show are available on the Broadway World site at
I remember her fondly for her role as the Bigamy Sisters in the late 70’s film The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash – a classic!

2) Boston music scene journalist and blogger Johnny Anguish is a common sight at many a Boston-area musical event, so fans of the area’s musical scene are in for a treat if the visit a just-opened exhibition of photos Mr. Anguish has taken over the past 15 years that are on display at The Verb – a hotel that has incorporated a nice collection of rock & roll ephemera into its design and decoration. On display until mid-April, the collection includes shots of both top local acts and many of the national touring acts taken during their stops in Beantown. You can learn more about Johnny and his work in this article by Michael Marotta –  and get the latest show updates on the event’s Facebook page –

That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed – – we’ll be back early next month with another summary for you.

Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and – All Rights Reserved

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