Album Cover News Recap for May, 2016 News Logo






It’s the first day of June, 2016 and perhaps you’re just noticing and saying to yourself  “you know, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a monthly summary on the Album Cover Hall of Fame site”. Well, in truth, it has been a while – yours truly was away from the office for a period of a couple of weeks in late April/early May and, unbelievably for an American, I chose NOT to work through my trip and, instead, chose to relax (“how dare you!”). At the same time, I decided to modify both the form and frequency of my album cover news summaries, the result of which you’ve seen the past few weeks and hope that you’ve enjoyed. Rather than daily missives, you’re getting a summary once a week (on Fridays, with the occasional timely updates inserted as needed), with each week’s news broken into several categories (the human mind loves to categorize, so I’m just giving you a head start in that effort). With this month’s summary, I am going to introduce a format chance that more closely follows the weekly updates, with news stories divided up into those same categories, making it easier for you to focus on the topics that might be more interesting to you than others. I am hoping that these changes increase your enjoyment of the monthly summaries – of course, if you have any concerns or suggestions, I do hope that you’ll contact me ( and let me know how I might better deliver the ongoing supply of album art/artist-related content I’m dedicated to providing you on an ongoing basis.

So much has happened since we last chatted – even with the media circus that dominates our daily news feeds (#1 – “It hurts when I watch this.” #2 – “So don’t watch this!”), the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to draw interest from fans and the press, so there’s been an ongoing stream of articles, interviews and the like on a wide range of related topics:

1) Upcoming, recently-launched and just-closed show/exhibitions –

a) Are we not fans of the talented Mark Mothersbaugh,one of the founders of DEVO and an accomplished visual artist, to boot? Beginning in May and continuing on through August 28th, the fine art tag team of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland and the Akron Art Museum will co-host a joint presentation of the first career-spanning retrospective called Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia. The exhibition, originally put together the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, has each venue focus on a different aspect of Mothersbaugh’s career, with the museum in Cleveland putting on display (according to their PR) “early sketchbooks and ephemera, documentation of DEVO’s first performances, the band’s commercial and conceptual development, and Mothersbaugh’s ongoing experimentation with manipulated musical instruments”, while Myopia at the Akron Art Museum “turns its attention on Mothersbaugh’s visual art practice, including installations of recent sculpture, prints, rugs, and a collection of 30,000 postcard-sized drawings the artist has created and utilized for inspiration and exploration throughout his career.” Whether you’re a fan of the synthetic or a bit more organically-inclined, you’ll surely find something of interest at either/both museum. BTW, the show kicked off on the 27th with a concert featuring Mark M. and the Myopia band in concert. Go forward, move ahead, try to detect it, it’s not too late….

b) Writing for The web site, Sydney A. Braat gives us the details regarding a new pair of rock photo-based exhibitions that opened Memorial Day weekend. Launched on Saturday, May 28th with an event beginning at 5PM local time, The Studio of Art in East Hampton, NY hosts a show titled The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll Part I which, according to the article, “will feature an iconic photography exhibit with imaginative storytelling and rare images of music industry legends. Part I will include works by Karen Bystedt, Pamela Eldridge, Chris Foster, David Gamble, Keith Green, Steve Joester, Jack Mitchell, Lori Pavsner, Marcia Resnick, Susan Wood, Dan Springer, Valerie Suter, Michael Jurick, Jason Poremba, and Sean Yseult. Then, on Sunday the 29th at the White Room Gallery, you had the chance to attend a reception for Part II of the show, where you’ll now find that “paintings and photographs will be on display of music icons, both past and present, throughout the night. The exhibition will feature artists including EJ Camp, Bonnie Lautenberg, Evad, Adoni Astrinakis, and Laura Benjamin.” Read more and get any updated info via the story link –

c) As if the Exhibitionismshow in London’s Saatchi Gallery was not providing enough of a buzz about the 50+-year history of the Rolling Stones, this recent article on the Art Daily site gives you the details about a new exhibition (and matching illustrated book) now on display at the Eduard Planting Gallery in Amsterdam (through July 9th) built around the formidable photo skills of two shooters well-known for their portraits of Mick, Keith & Co. – Gered Mankowitz and Terry O’ NeillBreaking Stones 1963-1965: A Band on the Brink of Superstardom shows us some of the earliest shots of the band, beginning in 1963 with the then-25-year-old O’Neill – who’d piqued the interest of the band’s management with the publication of his photos of another hot British rock band at the time (The Beatles) – being invited to photograph the Stones both on and off-stage. When the band began to tour Europe and, ultimately, the United States, it was Gered Mankowitz who was invited to accompany them on their journeys, bringing us some of the most-memorable shots of the band at the time.–the-times-and-the-spirit-of-The-Rolling-Stones–formative-early-years#.V0d6YPkrKM8

You can also find out more about the show and the book (with a link to where you can purchase the tome) at the gallery’s site –

d) There’s an exciting new exhibition that launched May 20th at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland, OH that, considering the volume and intensity of the discussions taking place across this country during this election year and the several instances where well-known musical acts have spoken out for/against the candidates and their platforms, certainly benefits from both being media-driven and being staged in two places where politics is taking center stage (i.e., Cleveland, where the Republicans will stage their convention and then, early next year, at the Newseum in Washington, DC, where the inauguration of our next President will take place in January. Built around a massive collection of artifacts, video, photographs, periodicals and other media bits (including the outfit worn by Bruce Springsteen on the cover of Born In The USA, the guitar John Lennon used at the Montreal bed-in for peace where he and Yoko Ono introduced the anti-war anthem “Give Peace a Chance” and letters from the U.S. Department of Justice to various musical acts calling them out (one might say, threatening them) for the provocative lyrics featured in their records, “Louder Than Words” will, according to the show’s press, “showcase the intersection between rock and politics. It will explore how artists exercise their First Amendment rights, challenge assumptions and beliefs, stimulate thought and effect change. Beyond music’s influence on the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and gender equality, the exhibit will also feature other significant moments and figures, such as Bob Dylan who rallied people against social inequality, the hip-hop music of the 80s that discussed police brutality in poverty stricken neighborhoods, and Pussy Riot who utilized their music as an outlet for social activism in Russia.”

The show continues for several months before closing and moving to the Newseum venue in Washington, DC early in 2017. I’ve requested some additional information regarding the role album cover imagery plays in this show and hope to be able to present this to you soon. In the meantime, you can see more at

e) Photographer and film director Ethan Russell has given us an impressive number of images and motion pictures of many of rock music’s best-known acts, creating album covers for The Who, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt (and many others) and directing videos for Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Rickie Lee Jones and, most-memorably, John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York’s Central Park. This witness to so many seminal moments in Pop Music history brought a presentation of these grand occasions – and the stories that go with them – to ticket-holders present at his May 20th show at the Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College in Folsom, CA,titled “The Best Seat in the House”. The show jump-started a six-week exhibition of examples from Mr. Russell’s 40+ year portfolio on images that will be up at the Bank of America Gallery within the Harris Center. To read more about Mr. Russell, this presentation and milestones in his career, click on over to

f) This year’s edition of the Photo London exhibition – Photo London 2016, which took place at London’s Somerset House from May 19th thru the 22nd – turned out to be quite the crowd-pleaser, with record attendance and sales levels achieved. According to Lorena Munoz-Alonzo’s recent article on the Artnet News site, much of the excitement was due to the fact that several galleries had chosen to display rock music-related collections, featuring the works of many of the music/entertainment industry’s best-known photographers such as Anton Corbijn, Brian Duffy, Nat Finkelstein, Lynn Goldsmith, Brian Griffin, Gerard Malanga, Gered Mankowitz, Marcia Resnick, Ellen Von Unwerth and many others. While there are still many reasonably-priced works of art to be had in this show, the works of several of these established celebrity shooters are now beginning to command some serious money, with one example being a large print of the late Brian Duffy’s contact sheet from the photo session for David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, which sports a sales price of €78,000 (a little over $83,000). Let Lorena take you through the show’s VIP areas via the link at

g) In a show that ran through May 29th at the Space 1026 Gallery in Philadelphia, PA was a display that surely was of interest to fans of artist Steve Keene’s album cover paintings for popular 90’s indie acts such as Apples In Stereo, the Dave Matthews Band, Soul Coughing and Pavement. In this show intro/mini-interview with the artist posted by Philly Voicewriter Patrick Rapa, you’ll read more about the artist’s fast-paced approach to delivering colorful paintings to what you can only hope will be throngs of interested collectors – the show’s curator (Justin Staller) claims that Keene delivered upwards of 500 works per week for display and sale –

h) Fans of the work of photographer Markus Klinko were in luck – the team at LA’s Mr. Musichead Gallery hosted a party on  Thursday, May 18th to mark the launch of a new show of Klinko’s photos of the late David Bowie. Titled “Bowie Unseen By Markus Klinko”, you’ll find a collection of 20 prints built around the 2002 photo sessions in NYC for Bowie’s Heathen record and his cover later that year for GQ Magazine’s “Man of the Year” issue. According to the gallery’s site, partial proceeds from print sales will be donated to Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, so click on over to the event’s web page for more

The show will be up until June 15th…

i) Launched May 13th (for a run that goes through October 2nd) is a new show at London’s British Library meant to mark the 40th anniversary of the “birth of punk”– music, style, politics and, of course, design. According to gallery’s publicity, Punk: 1976 – 78 puts on display “a range of fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves from the British Library’s collections alongside rare material from the archives held at Liverpool John Moores University, including items from England’s Dreaming: The Jon Savage Archive”. Writing for Digital Arts, reporter Neil Bennett provides an in-depth intro to the show and some of the key players – artists, producers, fashionistas, publishers, club owners and many other well-known participants (including designers Jamie Reid, Barry Jones, Jon Savage and others) who are credited with creating and perpetuating this movement and its DIY aesthetic –   More info on the show (its location, hours and related events) can be found on the British Library’s site at

j) Running now through July 31st at the New Orleans Museum of Art is an exhibition of 23 paintings of various scenes in the Crescent City by songwriter/multi-media artist Bob Dylan. The show’s titled “Bob Dylan: New Orleans” and, as someone who has been saddened by the sorry state of his singing voice, I have been impressed with the progress he’s made in his visual works. You’ll recall the bold, primitive paintings he did for the covers of his Self Portraitand Planet Waves records (along with the cover for The Band’s earlier Music From Big Pink) but, as you’ll see in the collection on display, his use of color and adoption of a more Impressionist approach to his compositions certainly show a degree of maturity I find rather appealing. Times-Picayune writer Doug MacCash provides us with a nice intro to the show at      More details are available on the Museum’s web site –

k) On display now at the Art & Speed Gallery in Collierville, TN (until a larger show in the area is installed later this Spring at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum) is a collection of the well-known album art works created by the talented group of artists that made up the Pacific Eye & Ear design firm. The Fine Art of Rock & Rollputs on display the original paintings, graphics and photos used to create such memorable covers for records including Alice Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare, Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody SabbathToys In The Attic for Aerosmith, Main Course for the Bee Gees and many others. Stay tuned here for more specifics on the upcoming Museum show but, in the meantime, you can both read more about the installation and the artists participating in it via this link to the organizer’s press release –  and, through the magic of YouTube, you can take a guided stroll through the beautiful display of classic art alongside some amazing classic automobiles –

l) Launched in May at The Beatles Story Gallery in Liverpool, Englandis a photo exhibition featuring the works of someone who knew well (and some, rather intimately) many of the players featured – former model/muse and now well-regarded photographer Pattie Boyd. In “Pattie Boyd: George, Eric and Me”, the woman who provided the inspiration for such songs as “Layla”, “Something” and “Wonderful Tonight” shares a collection of 57 candid shots of musical icons (and former husbands) George Harrison and Eric Clapton and their friends, including Rolling Stones Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, Steve Winwood and many others, along with examples of her success as a fashion model (i.e., cover portraits on issues of Vogue, Mademoiselle and more). The show runs through the Fall of 2016, with more details available at

m) Also kicking off in May is a show that’s a must-see for fans of the collage creations of the very-talented Winston Smith, the man who brought us memorable cover images for musical acts including Green Day, Ben Harper, The Dead Kennedys and others. Running through June 24th at San Francisco’s Mule Gallery, “Retrograde: Art By Winston Smith” includes a wide range of works including, as the artist puts it “classic favorites and new surprises”. More at

n) Photographer Annie Leibovitz‘s portfolio has included many of rock music’s best-known acts, including Bruce Springsteen (Born In The U.S.A.), Patti Smith (Gone Again), Cyndi Lauper (True Colors) and Judy Collins (Portrait of an American Girl), but it is her ongoing relationship with Vogue Magazinethat has produced many years worth of cover shots, Holiday-time group portraits and, most-recently,a photo of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II celebrating her 90th birthday surrounded by a number of her closest royal offspring. Who gets to sit on the Queen’s lap – why, Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Duchess of Cambridge (AKA Kate Middleton), of course (admittedly one of her favorites). Ms. Leibovitz’s latest photo exhibition – the travelling Women: New Portraits – is currently on display in San Francisco through May 22nd and will then move on to Singapore as the next stop in this show’s 12 month, 10 city tour.

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) This past April/early May,the Geary Gallery in Darien, CT put together a comprehensive collection of the works of “America’s Most-Popular Living Artist” who is, according to the gallery, Peter Max. An artist who has contributed greatly to the music and entertainment world via his paintings used on album covers, award show programs, gig posters, stage graphics, etc. (as well as the collections of many a musical and entertainment industry celebrity), Mr. Max’s imagery has been a constantly-visible presence in modern Pop Culture, so it was interesting to learn more (in this interview article by Frank Rizzo on the Connecticut Post site) about his background, his training as a painter (in both a Buddhist monastery and a Sikh temple in China, where his family fled just prior to World War II) and the many curves in the road taken before landing in the U.S. in the early 1950s and establishing himself a the “go-to guy” for psychedelic imagery in the 1960s.
You can review selections from the artist’s recent gallery show on their web site at

b) Musician/photographer/”rock historian” Henry Diltz has, for a long while now, been recognized as one of the principal catalysts behind the rise of the practice of collecting fine art prints of rock and roll-related photography, having co-founded one of the most-successful galleries dedicated to the subject – that being the Morrison Hotel Galleries, now found on both the East Coast (in NYC) and West Coast (West Hollywood). Lately, he’s been participating in a travelling show of photos taken by himself, Pattie Boyd and Carinthia West and, as part of the promotion of those displays and a recently-launched exhibition titled “Dont Look Back: Celebrating 50 years since Bob Dylan’s 1965 legendary acoustic concert tour in England and the Groundbreaking Documentary Film by DA Pennebaker,” Diltz sat down with Huffington Post writer Lauren Daley for an interview about his career in the music business both as an in-demand folk musician (part of the Modern Folk Quartet) and a photographer who chronicled the (sometimes meteoric) careers of many of his friends and cohorts, including Buffalo Springfield, The Monkees, The Doors, Crosby, Stills & Nash and many others –

c) When an artist combines his passion for hip-hop music, quantum theory and the latest tools available to be able to explore graphic design in new and exciting ways, I’m wanting to know more about this person! In this article by Jordan Darville on The Fader web site, you’ll meet Chicago-based artist Brandon Breaux and learn about how he brings his devotion to cutting-edge design to bear in his collaborations with Chance The Rapper to produce record and mixtape covers of stunning beauty, beginning with his 2012 release 10 Day and continuing to today, with the release of the new album titled Chance 3 –

d) Noted British magazine and children’s book illustrator Sir Quentin Blake was recently tapped to produce the pen and ink and watercolor cover image for Grammy and Brit Award-nominated musician/songwriter (and Beyonce’s new British BFF) James Blake’s latest record release titled The Colour In Anything. Writing for the Creative Review site, Mark Sinclair gives us a first-look at some of the artwork made for the new record and the promotions surrounding it –

e) In this recent articlefor Design Weekby reporter Tom Banks, noted designer/David Bowie collaborator Jonathan Barnbrook talks about how he feels now about the artwork he created for Bowie’s last few record releases now that the Starman is “floating in his tin can, far above the moon”, building a trusted working relationship with his clients (with each party taking full advantage of their passions and disciplines) and how graphic designers might better use their talents to bring about change through their work. He also shares a secret desire for a future project, the details of which you’ll find revealed at the end of this insightful interview article –

f) Last month, artist Jann Haworth – Sir Peter Blake’s former wife and key collaborator in the design for the cover for The Beatles’  Pepper’s LP– was honored by the Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT with a commemorative key to the city for her efforts to, as Mayor Jackie Biskupski, “opening our eyes to a different perspective” via her work, particularly a mural located near the city’s arena that is a re-working of the Sgt. Pepper’s artwork featuring her portrayals of over 60 artists, civil rights leaders and other tastemakers. While originally raised in Southern California, this Grammy-winning artist now makes SLC her home, where she still works as a fine artist in addition to being the Creative Director for the very-hands-on museum dedicated to the spirit of creativity, art and invention called The reporter Celeste Tholen caught up with the ever-busy Ms. Haworth to talk about her life, her art and even a little bit about “the making of” the amazing collages for the iconic 1968 Beatles record cover.

g) Artist/illustrator Dave McMacken has created a really-impressive portfolio of work for clients in the music industry over the past 40 years, creating memorable album cover images for clients including Frank Zappa (Over-Nite Sensation), Cat Stevens (Greatest Hits), Weather Report (Black Market) and Kansas (Leftoverture), among many others, so it’s nice to be able – via the magic of online video – to catch up with him to see what he’s working on these days in his street-front studio and gallery (Ratz & Co.) located in beautiful downtown Astoria, OR. The 6-1/2 minute mini-documentary was created by Brian Bauer and his cohorts at Portland (OR)-based creative agency Shady Pines Media who, if you visit their own web site, have also recently published a video on clothing designer Michael Braun, the guy responsible for costuming musical acts including Jimi Hendrix, Sonny & Cher and Sly & The Family Stone. In any case, the behind-the-scenes look into Dave’s working environment is a rare treat and one I hope you’ll all take soon –

h) Photographer Mick Rock is the subject of a just-released documentary by director Barnaby Clay that helps fans of his work better-understand the influences, work ethic and lifestyle choices of this always-fascinating (and previously-self-destructive) shooter. One of the few industry photo pros who is perhaps as well-known as his celebrity subjects, Rock had a major heart attack 20 years ago as the result of his penchant for partying just as hard as his friends, relying on stimulants of all types to help him both prepare for his work and build strong bonds with his often similarly-addled clients. Now, all these years later and still one of the industry’s most sought-after photographers, you’ll get a chance to meet the man, learn of his past and watch how he still coaxes the best out of his subjects. In this recent article by Sachyn Mital for the Pop Matters site, you’ll be taken to the after-party of the premiere of the film (titled SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock) during NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival, where you’ll find Mr. Rock surrounded by friends and fans from every corner of the entertainment world, including Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Marky Ramone, Gogol Bordello and a specially-reunited Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, along with photographer Bob Gruen and many other notables.

i) Some folks’ talents know no bounds and, therefore, aren’t subject to the normal rules regarding “paying your dues” prior to achieving success in your chosen profession…On the Tech Insider site, writer Rafi Letzter gives us the details on a new book of photographs soon to be published by photographer Jesse Dittmar that gives fans a collection of 62 of the shooter’s most-compelling celebrity portraits. His first book (titled Two), it contains portraits of such stars as Jimmy Page, Courtney Love, Patti Smith, Dave Grohl, Al Green and many others in the music/film/TV world.

The article includes an interview with Jesse in which he relays his story of “rags to riches” – having worked for years as an assistant to several well-regarded photographers, Dittmar struck out on his own just four years ago (2012) and, after coming to terms with his family (letting his wife know that they “could be broke for a long time”) and working side gigs (bartender, etc.) to pay the rent, it wasn’t until his portfolio reached the desk of the former photo editor of the Washington Post that he got his first real break – an assignment to shoot singer Idina Menzel for an article about her appearance in a new play – after which his work schedule increased by a factor of 30 (folks must have liked what they saw, wouldn’t you agree?). Now, he manages over 100 photo shoots per year, allowing him to build a portfolio that, now, he’s proud to share some of. 

Collectors might want to consider the purchase of a limited-edition, signed copy of the book is available directly from his studio via this link – 

j) Drew Hodges is another fine example of artist/illustrator/designers named “Drew” who started his career doing good work in the field of album covers and then went on to greater fame designing posters and other materials for other entertainment properties (the other one is Drew Struzan, who did covers for Alice Cooper, Iron Butterfly, Black Sabbath and others before hitting the big time with his poster work for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runnerand the Harry Potter films). Hodges, who recently released a new book of his work titled “On Broadway: From Rent to Revolution“, is a Portland (Maine)-based artist who has become Broadway’s “go-to guy” for promo imagery, having created the memorable designs for such hits as Rent, Avenue Q, Chicago and, most-recently, Hamilton. Writing for the Portland Press-Herald, writer Bob Keyes gives us a backgrounder and recent interview with the designer-turned-academic, who begins a new facet of his career this Fall after selling his NYC firm and moving to Maine. He’ll be teaching a course on design for the entertainment industry at the Maine College of Art in Portland called “Emotional Branding”. I hope to find out more about that class and will share it with you when I do but, in the meantime, enjoy the article –

k) I continue to be fascinated by the works of artists/designers who draw on the classics as inspiration for their re-working of album covers and, as you’ll see in this article by Leonardo Da Yohci (AKA “Yoh”) on the DJ Booth site, he’s found a particularly-interesting collection of works on the Behance account of Dutch designer Rick Egidius. No doubt inspired by the collections of masterworks in his country’s awe-inspiring art museums, Rick has crafted new interpretations of hip-hop/rap record covers by acts including Kanye West, J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Drake and others, riffing on paintings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Gustave Courbet, among others and presents them in a collection he calls “Album Covers Vs. Paintings” ( ). According to the artist, his work is “about crossing timelines, in search of the true meaning of the messages that album artwork is supposed to give us.” We can only hope that musical acts will continue to work hard to deliver their works in packaging that brings as much joy to the eye as their music does to the ear.

l) Over on the Dezeen Magazine site, you’ll find an article featuring an interview with designer Mitch Monson, the guy responsible for creating one of rock music’s most compelling-yet-exasperating examples of graphic design – the symbol for Prince better-known as the “love symbol” that, as they state in the article, was as iconic as the Nike “swoosh”. I remember trying to write about it and use it in documentation, but it was both unpronounceable and impossible to reproduce on most printers at the time, so it was better left to conversation on Prince-related topics. To read more about how this symbol came to life, click on over –

m) Just saw this posting on the KCET (So. CA public media) site about an artist named Kio Griffith who, according to the article, spent over 20 years as a graphic designer in the music industry (over 300 covers to his credit) before embarking on a journey to create works of art in many media combining the elements and materials he knew best – art, design & music – along with other media, resulting in “drawings, paintings, sound and video, performance, electronics, language, sculpture and installations (which have) been shown widely in Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Turkey, Belgium and the U.S.” When not working on his own art, he curates exhibitions, edits the magazines Fabrik and Artillery and serves as Art Director for the Angel City Jazz Festival. His 2013 installation titled “Revolutions Per Minute” featured a large selection of 7″ single records featuring artist-designed labels that featured artist names and song titles that touched on a number of topics – politics, the art world, etc. – and presented his take on these subjects in ways both poignant and amusing. Quite the renaissance man – get to know him and his work better via the link –

n) While I was away last month, Prince died (I should never go away) and a number of tributes to his musical artistry were posted, as well as several that discussed the impart of his album artwork and overall approach to graphic design – don’t forget, he was identified solely by a symbol for a while… In an article on The Fader site by Liz Raisstwo of the artists responsible for some of the better-known early Prince album covers (photographers Joe Gianetti and Allen Beaulieu) share the stories behind “the making of” these images and what it was like collaborating with an artist who tried to exhibit total control of all aspects of his image –

o) To follow-up on my previous post about Prince album art, I want to share another article that features one of the people who’ll be in my book – designer/photographer Laura LiPuma Nash, who has to her credits the memorable cover shots for several of the Purple One’s best-known records, including Purple Rain, Paradeand Lovesexy. Her home town web site – com– asked Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Chuck Yarborough to check in with Ms. Nash shortly after the musician’s untimely death last month to get some of the stories behind “the making of” these covers and other related imagery for her uber-creative client. A link to this interview follows –
One item that she shared – for those of us who’ve earned a living using the Pantone color charts – is that the “official” purple (at least for Purple Rain) is “PMS 265” (

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) The latest GRAMMY® Charity Online Auction is now live, presented in honor of the 12th annual MusiCares MAP Fund® benefit concert honoring legendary GRAMMY®-winning singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson. The concert was held Los Angeles May 19th, with Angela Bassett presenting Robinson with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award ” in recognition of his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund as well as his commitment to helping others with the addiction recovery process” and musical performances being provided by (in addition to Mr. Robinson and his band) multiple Grammy winners Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Cee Lo Green, along with Grammy- nominated acts including the Backstreet Boys, Tamar Braxton, Andra Day, El DeBarge and Kem. Actor and comedian Cedric The Entertainer hosted the event.

Presented in partnership with the team at the Kompolt auction house, the items that are available for bid (now through June 3 at ) include signed music memorabilia – such as items signed by several of the performers – Garth Brooks, Zac Brown, Dave Grohl, Lenny Kravitz, Kendrick Lamar, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Meghan Trainor, Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd, and more! In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to bid on concert tix, “meet and greet” experiences, travel awards and tickets for the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival in NYC and a VIP package to attend the 59th GRAMMY Awards® telecast in early 2017.

b) In addition to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s original 1951 Fender Broadcaster guitar (nicknamed “Jimbo”), pianos owned early on by Elvis Presley and Lady Gaga and a staged-used Keith Moon (The Who) bass drum head (among hundreds of other collectibles), Julien’s Auctions is offering a set of eight 8″ x 10″ Bob Gruen-shot photographs of John Lennon produced for the 50th anniversary of Capitol Records. The photographs were originally taken during the 1974 Walls & Bridges cover photo session. The set was printed with the permission of Gruen, and each photograph is stamped “Apple/Capitol” on the back. The set also includes a ninth image, which is a contact sheet of all eight images, with the entire package offered with a starting bid of $1500. These items are all part of the auction house’s highly-anticipated “Music Icons” auction event scheduled to take place at Hard Rock Cafe New York on Saturday, May 21, 2016. More info on this very-desirable photo set is available via the link at

Update – The set of Lennon photos sold to some lucky buyer for $3750, about halfway up it’s pre-auction estimate of $3000 – $5000. While the SRV Jimbo Fender guitar (estimated value $400-600K)  and Lady Gaga’s childhood piano (estimated value $100-200K)  both went unsold, Elvis Presley’s first piano sold for slightly below the $200K auction estimate, gaveling in at $179,200, while Queen singer Freddy Mercury’s red-and-white jacket worn during the 1986 “Magic Tour” beat its auction estimate, selling for $81,250, while the Keith Moon/The Who bass drum head brought in $187,500, just below its high auction estimate. Nice new additions to some well-off collectors’ personal stashes, for sure!

4) New Print/Book Publishing

a) One of the photographers that contributed to the photographs used on what is one of the world’s most-talked-about album covers – that being, Sgt. Pepper’s… by The Beatles – has long-chronicled the pop culture scene through the lens of his camera. A contemporary/compatriot of other famous photographers of the time – Richard Avedon and Bruce Davidson, in particular, who he studied alongside of while beginning his career in Boston – the late Al Vandenberg (who died in 2012) never had a book of his work published, something that author/V&A Museum curator Martin Barnes has worked to correct with the publication of a book titled On A Good Day that collects Al’s photos of London street culture during the 1970s and 1980s. Hattie Crisell has put together a nice slideshow of some of the photos that will be included in the book, which you can page through on the web site of New York Magazine’s The Cut

b) Two artists – one designer and one photographer – who’ve made names for themselves doing great work both for clients in the music business and other commercial projects have partnered up to create a new series of art prints that collectors might be interested in. The two artists involved – designer Shepard Fairey (well-known for his prolific work in the areas of music, entertainment and politics – you’ll remember his “Hope” poster for President Obama) and the late photographer Jim Marshall, one of Rolling Stone Magazine‘s best-known contributors and a man with many album cover credits, including one of my all-time favorites, that being the cover spread for The Allman Brothers Band’s Live At Fillmore East The new prints make up a series that’s being called “American Civics” and include five designs – done in the inimitable Fairey style – that each represent a topic that has – whether for good or for bad – touched all of us and are based on photos Marshall took of notable Americans. Included in the series are Johnny Cash (“Mass Incarceration”), Cesar Chavez (“Worker’s Rights”), a pistol-packing young man in NYC’s Greenwich Village (“Gun Culture”), the mother of murdered civil rights advocate James Chaney (“Voting Rights”) and a Kentucky coal mining family (“Two Americas”).

Washington Post writer Geoff Edgers just published an interview article with Fairey where he helps us better-understand both the motivations behind the series and how the artist worked with Marshall’s estate to find and utilize the images that would best-represent his take on these important aspects of life here in the U.S. –

The limited-edition prints (in editions of 100 40″ x 30″ prints each, signed by Fairey and stamped by the Marshall estate and priced at $1800 each or all five for $7500 – unframed) may be seen and purchased on the San Francisco Art Exchange‘s web site –

The people that work in the album art world continue to impress fans in all areas of the fine art world with their talents and their strong associations with Popular Culture.

c) When photographer Steve Schapiro was hired to photograph David Bowie in 1974, he knew that this would be an interesting addition to the list of celebrities he’d worked with in his job as a photographer for LIFE Magazine. Expecting a “rock star” – particularly, after Bowie was hours late to their scheduled photo session – he instead found the glam rocker to be a compelling, sensitive and fascinating subject. The relationship would blossom to include Schapiro’s album cover shots for Bowie’s Low and Station To Station LPs and, during the period of 1974-1976, his portfolio would expand to include hundreds of – until now – unpublished photos of the musically and visually driven artist. In a new book just released titled Bowie (from powerHouse Books), Schapiro presents us with 104 pages of Bowie posed in a number of different costumes and in front of backgrounds – each representing a different “personality” that the visual chameleon hoped to portray. Reporter Miss Rosen gives us an intro to the photographer and his new book in this article on the Crave web site –  while you can learn a bit more about how the book came about on the publisher’s site –

d) Photographer Jay Blakesberg has just released a new set of fine art photo prints via the Woodstock Artist Collective that should be of great interest to fans of the Grateful Dead. As someone who has been part of the Dead’s inner circle for many years and has taken thousands of memorable photos of the band – in concert, behind the scenes and many intimate portraits – it’s an event when he selects some of his most-impressive images and makes them available to collectors. These editions – limited to 100 signed/numbered 16″ x 20″ images each, printed on Hahnemuhle paper and priced at $550- include shots of the late Jerry Garcia, Neil Young, David Bowie, Warren Hayes and others. You’ll have the opportunity to own an example of the works of a shooter whose images (including photos of other well-known artists including Neil Young, David Bowie, Phish, U2 and many others) has appeared in many publications, including Guitar Player, Relix and Rolling Stone magazines. According to Blakesberg, “I feel like what I’ve done in the past thirty years is document a pretty important part of pop culture history, I consider myself to be a visual anthropologist, ya know?” Support your favorite rock anthropologist by visiting the Woodstock Artist Collective Facebook page at
5) Other articles of interest –

a) Rap music label No Limit has never been shy in their desire to display the glitzier side of life in the hood on the covers of the records made by the label’s many well-known stars – witness the liberal use of bling, expensive cars, high-class costuming and depictions of crime and punishment – and so, in honor of the recent birthday of Master P, HipHopDX reporter Ural Garrett was kind enough to put together a well-illustrated compendium of album cover images that have graced No Limit records over the past 20 years –
Bring your shades – you’ll need them to save your eyes from the reflections caused by a thousand diamonds…

b) A recent article written by Scott Parsons for his blog (Landr is a site where folks that create music get some of the latest news and help with mastering their music) finds the author reminding music makers that, as well-recorded as their music might be, without proper packaging and artwork, you’re fighting an uphill battle to separate your product from the thousands of others released each year. Titled “Why Album Art Is Critical”, Parsons argues that, although an album cover can often serve only as a thumbnail-sized navigation aid, it is one of the only ways that a musical act can take charge of how they’re seen (and remembered) by fans, potential fans and the folks that might help them expand their audiences (i.e., the press and other taste-makers), and although music today is more often streamed than purchased, the one thing that is always on display during a listener’s review of the music is the album cover.

Read the entire essay at-  and then, musicians, do the right thing (for yourselves, your careers and your fans).

c) The folks at the Red Bull Music Academy ask you bluntly -” You can tap the beats, sing the lyrics, hum the solos, but do you remember what’s on the cover? Red Bull Music Academy (the name of a series of musical events, lectures and workshops held at locations all over the world) and Folder Studio (an LA-based graphics/web development studio) want to test your Album Art IQ with hundreds of iconic electronic, hip-hop, metal and New York album covers. Guess correctly, and reveal the history of the album and its artwork.” If you agree to the challenge, you go ahead and choose from one of 4 categories – Iconic NY, Electronic, Metal, Hip-Hop. Once you’ve selected, they show you two pixilated album cover images side by side and then provide the name of the record they’re looking for you to select. Every second or so, the image comes more into focus, so the faster you can select the correct image, the more points you score. Based on my initial attempt and the score I received, the folks at the top of the leader board are either savants, robots or people who’ve tried each test thousands of times but, for us beginners, it is quite the challenge and a lot of fun. Best of luck – if you wish to share your scores with us, please do – we promise not to be judgmental (myself, in particular!).

d) Learned of a new crowd-funding project that should be of interest to fans of rock photography. Richard Bellia, a Lyon, France-based shooter who has produced an impressive portfolio of portraits and concert shots over the past 30+ years in the business, has launched a fund-raiser on the site in which he’s looking to raise a little over $56,000 by mid-June in order to be able to publish a book – tentatively titled ‘An eye on music, from 1980 to 2016’ – that will contain more than a thousand photos of musical artists (creating a huge, 750-page book that will weigh over 11 pounds!). You’ll find up-close-and-personal photos of an enormous range of acts, including names such as AC/DC, A Tribe Called Quest, David Bowie, Erykah Badu, Lana Del Rey, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Happy Mondays, Ben Harper, LL Cool J, Marilyn Manson, Paul McCartney, Nirvana, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Robert Smith, Joe Strummer and many, many others. Scheduled for publication late this year, the backers for the project at various support levels – in addition to receiving a copy of the book – can expect to receive one of a large selection of backer bonuses, including signed prints, posters, etc. – even a day’s classroom experience at Bellia’s studio in Lyon! Support the project via the link –  and, to read more about Bellia, his career and his efforts to put together this new book, check out both reporter Wyndham Wallace’s intro article on The Quietus site –  and this nicely-illustrated interview article – in both English and French – on the Fotofilmic site –

e) The Who have always delivered great artwork – along with musical masterpieces – to their fans over their 50+ year career, so it’s not at all surprising to see some of that artwork re-purposed to promote some of their band-members personal enterprises. To help celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary tour and raise some money in support of teen-aged cancer patients, singer Roger Daltry has partnered with Champagne producer Charles Orban (located in Troissy, in the Marne Valley) to release a special-edition bottling (available beginning June 18th) of Orban’s award-winning cuvee packaged in a bottle featuring graphics from the band’s 1969 rock opera Tommy.The bottle also sports the band’s memorable “bull’s eye” logo and Daltry’s signature. The collectible quaff can be pre-ordered now at a price of £95 (about $139) – but wait – there’s more! True fans – at least the well-heeled ones – can also order a matching, limited-edition (one of 499 numbered examples being offered in 10 different colors) pewter ice bucket, made by jewelers L’Orfèvrerie d’Anjou, each priced at £650 (approx. $950). According to the folks at the project’s producers (Eminent Life), a percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the products will go to support the ongoing programs of Teen Cancer America (the U.S. offshoot of the U.K.’s Teenage Cancer Trust charity) that Daltrey co-founded with fellow band member Pete Townshend in 2012.You can view the items, place your pre-orders and learn more about the charity via the link –

f) Some lucky guy from New York named Alex Emmanuel entered a contest hosted by the Visit London site and, lucky guy, won a trip to London to see the hot-ticket show at the Saatchi Gallery called Exhibitionism which, if you’ve been reading your ACHOF news summaries, you’ll recognize as the show that presents over 50 years of memories curated by the Rolling Stones. While Alex was truly pleased to have won, little did he know the special surprise that awaited him when he arrived to tour the show…

Of course, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the exhibit in this curator-lead tour given to Rolling Stone Magazine reporter David Browne last month –
but thrill-seekers will want to skip ahead to this video on YouTube to watch Alex being lead through London to see many of the Stones-related hot spots, tour the Exhibitionism show (where he saw a number of examples of the original production artwork for his favorite album covers) and then receive the just rewards that should only be expected to be given to one of the band’s self-proclaimed “superfans” –

Based on what you’ll see, you’ll probably be motivated to enter Visit London‘s newest contest built around “music experiences you can only find in the capital” (i.e., London) –

g) I hope that you’ll recall my recent article about the annual Secret 7″ project that serves to raise funds for a number of well-regarded charities in the UK by offering collectors an opportunity to buy record art created anonymously by some of the world’s best-known designers/artists. In a recent article by Jenny Brewer on the It’s Nice That site – now that the sale’s over – the names of some of the people that contributed their talents to this year’s portfolio has been released and, as in previous years, the list includes many illustrious names, meaning that some of those who purchased the prints (with some having stood in line outside the Sonos Studios in London for 36 hours for the opportunity to buy one of the 700 prints made for the sale) ended up with some very valuable works of art. On this list are notables including: George Hardie, Jenny Holtzer, Jean Jullien, Anish Kapoor, Bob & Roberta Smith, Paul Smith and Gavin Turk, among many others. You can read more about the good fortunes of both the collectors and Amnesty International (this year’s selected charity) via the link at

h) As many of you know, I’m currently working on a book about album cover artists that’s based (primarily) on the many interviews I’ve done with the creative individuals and teams that have contributed to the thousands of album cover packages released over the years. In order to stay focused on the subject material that I’m most-passionate about (i.e., the design, art and photography that go into making record packages), I have intentionally left out any in-depth exploration of the “other” critical aspect of producing great album packages – that being, the writing that makes up the liner notes, back album covers, librettos, books/booklets, etc. I know – I should be ashamed. As a writer, I should be doubly ashamed, particularly when you consider that there are three Grammy Awards handed out each year – two for design and one for writing. In the book, I will be including an essay on this important aspect of record packaging with the hopes that you’ll all better-appreciate the talented people who’ve added greatly to your enjoyment of retail music products over the years.

On that note, I wanted to make sure that I shared my feelings of loss at the recent (mid-May) passing at the age of 80 of Tony Barrow, the man perhaps most-responsible for nearly everything (official) you ever read about The Beatles during the years 1962 – 1968. According to the obituary posted on Canada’s National Post site (originally published on The Telegraph site), Barrow’s duties ” ranged from writing the liner notes that appeared on the back of their album sleeves to managing various public relations disasters”, of which there were several during the band’s brief-but-always-press worthy time together.  Barrow began his career in 1962 writing album cover notes for the Decca Records label in London while, at the same time, working as a contributing record reviewer (under the pseudonym “Disker”) for a local Liverpool music publication. He then met Beatles manager Brian Epstein (a fan of his work) when Brian needed help with putting together a press kit for the band and, soon after, accepted the PR job for the band. Later on in the 60s, after Epstein’s death and seeing the band starting to disintegrate, Barrow left to start up his own PR firm, helping kick-start and promote the careers of a number of other musical acts, including The Kinks and Cilla Black, before shifting over to a career in freelance journalism in the 1980s.   You can read more about this “ultimate spin doctor” via the link –

i) In mid-May, aspiring album cover photographers in the UK were given a chance to attend a workshop lead by one of the world’s most-respected practitioners of the photographic arts – Brian Griffin,an artist who’s created highly-praised portraits for clients including Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode and the British Royal Family. Beginning Monday, May 16th, this two-day workshop allowed Brian to take a small group of participants through the process of creating and producing studio-based still-lifes and portraits. The event is organized as part of the monthly Offspring Photo Meet, a group of photographers in the London area that have been meeting on a regular basis to share their time and talents with other like-minded individuals. More information on the workshop is available via the link at

j) Some of you may recall a series of 3D album cover recreations (Led Zeppelin 1, Never Mind The Bollocks…by the Sex Pistols, Are You Experienced?by Jimi Hendrix and others) produced and sold several years ago by McFarlane Toys. Well, as 3D printing technologies have improved and allowed vendors to manufacturer larger-scale, more-highly-detailed products, album art fans can now benefit via a recent collaboration between licensing company Epic Rights and 3D software vendor Source3 with the release of two well-known album art sculptures based on the covers for Styx’s Paradise Theater (Grammy-nominated artwork by Chris Hopkins) and Journey’s Escape (artwork by Stanley Mouse). The covers are first turned into 3D files using Zverse’s Layr software, sending them to a 3D Systems Color Jet 3D printer for output and, as you’ll see by the photos featured in Michael Molich-Hou’s recent article on the 3D Printing Industry web site, the results are pretty stunning. The products are available exclusively through, as is a 3D video game box cover recreation for the hugely-popular Street Fighter V…more to come, you can count on it –

k) Over on The Guardian site, writer Michael Cragg has published an essay titled “Memes, MP3s and the explosion of album art” in which he discusses the ongoing role that album art plays in the development of any musical act’s public persona (and relationship with his/her/their fans). Beginning with the details of the amazing virality of the album artwork of Drake’s latest release titled Views (which has been served as an Internet meme of great flexibility, with the original artwork – in part and as a whole – being used as the source of many related images and concepts), he then explores several of the somewhat-standardized approaches towards album art currently found (such as extreme close-up photos, bare-bones/text-only images, etc.) along with showing us several examples where an act’s album art has been re-jiggered by less-than-adoring “fans” to express the exact opposite of the artist’s original intent. As its been shown many times over the years, album art can giveth and it can taketh away….

l) Back from my overseas excursions and found myself buried with notes, emails and other information, so this  may be a day late in coming… I want to first thank designer/blogger extraordinaire Simon Robinson and his partner in life Ann for the hospitality they showed my wife and I during our recent visit to Central England. Simon – perhaps best-known for his portfolio of album cover credits for Deep Purple, Rainbow, Ian Gillan, Jon Lord and others – is also busy designing books for several music industry-related clients, so I’m hoping to be able to share more information on his work once the details are released. Our little group spent some time at Snowshill Manor, the estate owned by the late Charles Wade, a gentleman who used his family fortune to build a manor house to serve as the home of his amazing – many would say, eccentric – collections. Having watched several shows on hoarders, I could only think that this particular mix of items came about fueled by the same motivations – see something, buy something! We also visited the Gordon Russell Design Museum to see the awe-inspiring collection of the furniture, radio/TV cabinets and other hand-crafted items created by Mr. Russell and his cohorts – unmatched in their quality and trend-setting in their design.In any case – thanks again, Mr. Robinson!

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 that it’s my goal 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 repeat regularly every month, regardless of how hectic your lives may be seem to be, there’s no reason that you should have to go without your weekly fix (posted each Friday) of up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics when you’ll find it all right here. 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).

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.

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and – All Rights Reserved.

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