Album Cover Artist and Art News Summary and Preview for the Months of May and June, 2017







Greetings to you all on this first day of June, 2017.

I’d like to first let you know about an important change I’m making in the delivery schedule for my album cover artist/art news bulletins. For the next several months, I’ll be reducing the frequency from weekly to monthly (plus timely news alerts) in order to be able to focus my almost-complete attention on my book project. As it was my plan to have the book completely written prior to the launch of my fund-raising efforts – with final design and editing to come based on the success of that fund-raising (i.e., the more $$ raised, the more pages I can include in the book) – it finally occurred to me that I was getting further and further behind and, at this point, I’m nearly a year past when I’d hoped to put this out.

This is simply unacceptable to me. I’d promised all of the fine people who’d contributed to the book’s content that I’d have it in my readers’ hands ASAP, so now, even if it means trimming my news coverage, I’m going to do everything I can to live up to those previous commitments.

Such is the life of a one-man operation.

I do appreciate all the support I’ve been given and continue to get from both contributors and my readers, and I will work hard to finish this project and get back to the important work of updating the ACHOF’s bio section, adding more interviews and producing a regular series of news updates.

And so, In this month’s summary, you’ll find both a robust recap of last month’s stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business as well as several previews of what’s going to be on display/hitting the shelves next month. As always. you’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works continue on with their good work, and it’s my pleasure to be able to share the details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. There continues to be an impressive number of items about album cover art/artists in the daily news cycle, adding stories of great interest and fascination to the month’s recap of the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find on a wide range of related topics.

Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

a) The impact of the visuals that accompanied 1967’s Summer of Love and the Monterey Music Festival that served as one of the most-memorable highlights of that era continues to this day, with fans of art and design still impressed with the works of the graphic and type designers, illustrators and photographers who both propelled and documented this iconic year in Pop Culture. From the looks of the upcoming show that Guido Harari and his team have organized to launch soon – an exhibition titled “Stone Free”, opening June 18th – fans will be in for quite a treat as the work of many of the best-known artists, including Alan Aldridge, Milton Glaser, Rick Griffin, Hapshash , Alton Kelley, Gunther Kieser, Mati Klarwein, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, Martin Sharp, John Van Hamersveld , Wes Wilson and many others, will be on view, with prints for sale as well.

According to the gallery, the show is a “visual journey that includes celebrated album covers by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Cream, Miles Davis, Santana, Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa and more. The show will also feature iconic photos by Ed Caraeff, Jim Marshall, Bob Seidemann, Herb Greene and Art Kane. ..Wall Of Sound Editions will publish a special catalogue that will include all the images on show and more.” The show will be available for viewing at the gallery in Alba, Italy through September 10, so if you a planning on a trip to the area this Summer (I mean, who’d want to tour through Italy’s Piedmont area during the Summer…I would!), be sure to make a beeline to the gallery and, perhaps, take home a print to go with your white truffles and wine.

b) Beginning with an opening party on June 1st and with a collection of 50+ examples of the work of Pop artist Andy Warhol on display until the 3rd of September, a new show at the Ellen Noël Art Museum of the Permian Basin in West Texas called ANDY WARHOL: 15 MINUTES OF FAME brings together items from several museums – and three family collections – that include a selection of his early work as an album cover artist. According to the museums’ PR, “thirty years after his death, Andy Warhol remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Warhol’s life and work inspires creative thinkers worldwide thanks to his enduring imagery, his artfully cultivated celebrity, and the ongoing research of dedicated scholars. His impact as an artist is far deeper and greater than his one prescient observation that ‘everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.’ His drive resulted in an enormous body of work that spanned every available medium and most importantly contributed to the collapse of boundaries between high and low culture.”

While album art fans know his most-famous productions well, such as the iconic banana-based cover for the Velvet Underground and his zippable (or was it unzippable) art for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, fewer are aware that, after Warhol earned his BFA in Pictorial Design in 1949, he moved New York City with hopes of finding work as a commercial illustrator and, soon after his arrival, found success when the first of his works appeared in Glamour magazine in late 1949. His unique illustration stylings caught the attention of many clients and his career in the field grew quickly throughout the 1950s and included dozens of album covers for jazz artists including Kenny Burrell, Artie Shaw and Count Basie & His Orchestra. More info on this show and related events can be found on the museum’s web site at

c) As Control Agent Maxwell Smart used to say – “missed it by THAT much”..well, at least the show will be up for a month…what I’m referring to is a presentation made in late May by famed rock photographer Ethan Russell at the Bakersfield (CA) Museum of Art, the latest show in his “The Best Seat in the House” tour which couples a nice multi-media presentation featuring scores of Russell’s well-known photos (and the photographer’s anecdotes about them) with a gallery show of many of those same images.

Part of the Museum’s Art After Dark series, the show will include photos selected from his portfolio of music industry subjects, including Eric Clapton, Cream, Traffic, The Everly Bros., Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, The Moody Blues, Linda Ronstadt and many others. His “greatest hits” include album covers such as Who’s Next for The Who, Through The Past Darkly for the Rolling Stones, Hasten Down The Wind for Linda Ronstadt and, what might be his most-famous cover shot, Let It Be for The Beatles.

On display through June 24th, you can read more about the man and this collection via Jennifer Self’s article posted just recently on the site –

d) When concert promoter Alan Pariser teamed up with record producer Lou Adler, publicist Derek Taylor and the Mamas & the Papas musical group to put on an outdoor concert at the Monterey Fairgrounds in the summer of 1967 with the hopes that their efforts would work to improve the acceptance of rock & roll as “real music”, little did they know that they’d put together a roster of musical acts that would not only impress attendees willing to pay the ticket price but also set the quality standards for future festivals so high that they were almost never equaled.

Besides the fact that this was a festival that was meant to also serve as a charity fund-raiser (with nearly all performers playing without compensation for their services) – showing that rockers had their hearts in the right places – it was also the launching pad for the career of acts such as Big Brother & The Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin) and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and so the photographers who were allowed to shoot the festivals (seven of which are still living –  Fred Arellano, Ed Caraeff, Jerry de Wilde, Henry Diltz, Lisa Law, Elaine Mayes, and Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal) – were, unbeknownst to them, all on hand to capture images of, as the promoters of the upcoming “Who Shot Monterey Pop! Photographs from the 1967 Music Festival” exhibition set to open up June 2nd at the Monterey Museum of Art put it, “a pivotal moment in the history of Rock & Roll. It ushered in the counter culture revolution, elevated Rock & Roll from a fad to a genre, and took everyone involved along for the ride.”

The show, which runs through September 18th, is built around photos culled from the archives of the previously-mentioned photographers and will include a number of shots never before seen by the public. “Through images and stories from these now-famous photographers, Museum members and visitors will be exposed to Rock & Roll’s pivotal music festival and learn how one moment in time can be life changing and world changing.” There will also be a series of talks/artist panels and educational seminars put on during the show in which these talented image-makers and the show’s organizers will take you through examples of their works and answer questions about what it was like to be on hand while history was being made.

More info is available on the museum’s web site at

On June 2nd, from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm PST at the MMA Pacific Street location, members and visitors are invited to attend the show’s kick-off party, with many of the principals in attendance (free for members, $10 for non-members). Reserve your tickets at

e) No one can ever say that Pink Floyd was afraid of putting on a spectacle, and so the tradition continues on this month when a new show opened at London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum with the cheeky title of “Their Mortal Remains” and features an enormous collection of art, stage props, album cover memorabilia (including a meticulously-detailed re-creation of the Battersea Power Station – complete with flying pig – as pictured on the cover of their 1977 release Animals), etc., all in what the museum describes as ” a spectacular and unparalleled audio-visual journey through Pink Floyd’s unique and extraordinary worlds, chronicling the music, design and staging of the band, from their debut in the 1960s through to the present day.”

Sign me up!

Certainly a show that will be as well-attended as the museum’s last big music/design-themed extravaganza – 2013’s David Bowie Is, which has since toured the world (and might we expect this one to do the same? Fans can only hope…), an intro by AP reporter Jill Lawless (as seen on the Miami Herald site) includes a quote from famed Pink Floyd designer (and co-founder of the Hipgnosis design group) Aubrey Powell (who organized the show and was on hand for a pre-opening show walk-through) that certainly helps put things in perspective – “The adage that Pink Floyd had was, the art comes first, the money comes later,”  continuing with “it was, ‘whatever it costs, do it, because that’s what we believe in.'”

The show will be on display through the 1st of October, with more information available on the V&A Museum site –

f) Having been introduced to rocker David Bowie after shooting the cover photo for his wife Iman’s 2001 book (I Am Iman), photographer Marcus Klinko made such a good impression on the man that he was then hired to photograph Mr. Bowie for the cover of his 2002 record Heathen – a record where Bowie works with Klinko to craft a photo where the subject (Bowie) is quite obviously blind.

Since then, Klinko’s portfolio has grown to include portraits of many other musicians and celebrities, but as you’ll see in this TV interview (for ABC News “Down Under”) with the photographer regarding his current Bowie Unseen exhibition (curated by the Blender Gallery and now on display as part of the HeadOn Photo Festival in Sydney, Australia), it was this particular subject that continues to intrigue the photographer (and his fans) all these years since (“David was extraordinary – he’s so photogenic!”).,-unseen-side-of-pop-icon/8496836?pfmredir=sm

Read more about this show as part of the overall festivities at the Festival, on now through June 3rd at the Blender Gallery –

g) Rock art fans who were in the NYC area this month had the opportunity to head on over to Pier 94 and attend the Art New York/Context NY fair. “Why would I have done that?” you might ask, and the answer is quite simple – there was a display of fine art prints by two big names in the music business – photographer Bob Gruen and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jason Newsted, who were both on hand to talk about their latest works. This event was presented by Gary Lichtenstein Editions as a fund-raiser to benefit the Perry J. Cohen Foundation (, and attendees had the pleasure of knowing that 50% of the proceeds of sales at this show went to benefit this organization, one that supports the arts, teenage entrepreneurship and boating safety.

This is Newsted’s first major exhibition of his work and, if the collection is anything like his excellent musicianship as the bassist for Metallica (in a career cut short by a shoulder injury), it should make fans quite happy. You can read more about this exhibition on the gallery’s web site at

The folks at Guitar World Magazine recently posted an interview by James Wood with Newsted about his transition from an artist holding a fretted instrument to one holding a paintbrush –

h) Combining his talents for both music-making and image-taking into one big extravaganza, Graham Nash recently staged a concert at the National Assn of Music Merchant’s Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA and, at the same time, launched an exhibition of 29 photographs that will be on display until the end of August. Featured in the photos are old friends of Nash’s including Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown and, as you’d hope, his cohorts in CSN&Y, including one shot taken in 1969 of David Crosby that’s so striking that it became part of the collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution (Wow).

In an interview on the topic with music writer Steve Baltin for Forbes Magazine, the two talk about the new museum show, how his love for photography goes back even further than his love for music and, as he’s always on top of current events and politics, how he’s feeling these days about the future of the arts (and the country) under the new administration –

More info on the venue for Nash’s show can be found via this link –

Educational bonus – musicians making art is an interesting subject for those intrigued by what seems to be a genetic pre-disposition for “creative types”, so if you’d like to read an article that gives you additional details on this fascinating topic, click on over to read “Musicians That Also Design Album Covers – A List for Fans of Music and Art” on the ACHOF site –

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Very nice profile by CBS News reporter Anthony Mason was broadcast recently about musician/entrepreneur/lover of all things authentic and hand-made Jack White and his Third Man Records business based in Nashville, TN. If you haven’t been exposed to the work that this record company has been doing for quite a while now, you’re in for a treat. Taking a dramatically different approach to the entire process of making and selling recorded music – with a focus on analog recording techniques and crafting records and packaging out of materials that make you want to touch, handle, open and, hopefully, pay to OWN them (yes, their yours to keep!), it’s enough to make any Boomer (and his/her offspring) shed tears of delight and gratitude.

To quote from the story, “At Third Man, packaging design is as important as the music itself. They’ve made playable, platinum-coated records with wood sleeves and records with flowers pressed into them… ‘Some things that were gimmicky, some things that were beautiful. Anything to capture attention of people to — to bring back to the physical product and get away from invisible music and disposable music,’ White said of making vinyls.” Quality, not quantity.

b) Ed Caraeff is a photographer, designer, illustrator and art director whose music industry credits in the 1960s and 1970s included hundreds of album covers for acts including Strawberry Alarm Clock, Mark Lindsay, Three Dog Night, Ten Years After, Linda Ronstadt, Van Morrison, Ambrosia, The Bee Gees, The Doors and many others (notable album cover work examples include Credence Clearwater Revival – Pendulum; Rod Stewart – Never A Dull Moment; Elton John – Honky Chateau; Carly Simon – No Secrets; Steely Dan – Royal Scam; Bee Gees – Children of The World and The Stooges – Fun House, among many others).

His photography has also appeared on the cover of  Rolling Stone Magazine and has been on display in exhibitions at  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the “Who Shot Rock and Roll” touring rock photo exhibition.

In 1980, Ed switched gears and has since spent his life as a chef, although requests to license his work continued, including one from Rolling Stone in 1987 to use a shot of Jimi Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival for a cover of a special edition of the magazine. The photo would go on to become one of rock music’s most-iconic – the one of Hendrix kneeling “in prayer” in front of his burning guitar on the festival’s stage. Now, all these years later, Ed has put together a new book built on over 100 photos taken from his archive of Hendrix images shot while Jimi and his band was on tour from 1967 through 1969 that’s titled Burning Desire: The Jimi Hendrix Experience through the lens of Ed Caraeff (published by ACC Editions – here’s a link to the book’s brochure on the publisher’s site – and, if you read through either or both of the two articles just published – one, an in-depth interview with Steve Fairclough for Britain’s Amateur Photographer magazine and the other, a special feature in the New York Times by Eric Nagourney – you’ll learn more about this talented shooter’s inspirations, his professional career (begun at age 17) and what it felt like being so close to these historic performances –

Update – After reporting on his new Jimi Hendrix photo book (Burning Desire: The Jimi Hendrix Experience through the lens of Ed Caraeff

in a recent news summary, I heard back from Ed in late May from his current perch in the Pacific NW and he gave me a head’s up regarding a new episode of the “Classic Albums” series about Carly Simon’s No Secrets LP on BBC2 in which he appears. He talks about the fact that, when he took the cover photo, he really didn’t notice her perky nipples because he was from California and had lived through the Summer of Love, where perky nipples were on regular display, so it wasn’t something he took particular notice of. Those of us young teens in the Midwest, however, were particularly impressed with this aspect of the photo…another reason you might want to watch and listen to this episode is that, after withholding important information about who’s so vain, she does play a missing verse from the song “You’re So Vain”, naming names…

Entire show – UK only –

“You’re So Vain” verse clip –

c) When the news about this artist’s show first crossed my desk, I thought “that’s cute – another artist making things out of vinyl records” and, without investigating it any further, put it aside. Dumb idea.

While the artwork is not exactly what we tend to cover here at the ACHOF, it is such a fine example of how the entirety of a vinyl record product – both the sleeve and the disc packaged inside – can inspire other artists that I just had to turn you on to Mr. Lobyn Hamilton and his fascinating creations. And while there have been a good number of record covers featuring collages on the cover (think Winston Smith, Art Chantry, etc.), Hamilton’s collages are certainly a most-impressive expression of how physical records can be re-purposed as the building blocks of works of incredible detail and beauty.

So while the recent exhibition of this art at the Art Council of Indianapolis’ Gallery 924 may be over, you can meet the artist and take a tour through some of his works (viewers of the hit TV show Empire might recognize the “turntable sculpture” made by Hamilton that’s in Lucious Lyon’s office) in David Lindquist’s feature article and video interview on the web site –

Hamilton gives you a bit more insight into his work via an Intro video on his own web site at –

d) So, every Sunday I record 60 Minutes with the hope that something about the arts/entertainment will be included in their mix and, lo and behold, in mid-May I saw reporter Lara Logan’s segment featuring the efforts now being undertaken to digitize and preserve the IMMENSE archive of photographer/film-maker Norman Seeff. One of the best-known and most-prolific music industry photographers over the past half-century, Norman’s work has graced the covers of many of your favorite records, including those for Carly Simon (Playin’ Possum); KISS (Hotter Than Hell); Blondie (Eat to the Beat); Joni Mitchell (Hejira); Rickie Lee Jones (Rickie Lee Jones); Earth Wind & Fire (That’s The Way Of The World) and, in what is perhaps his best-known cover shot, Rare Genius for Ray Charles.

What was also unique about Mr. Seeff’s approach to celebrity portrait-making was that he also tried to film as many of his photo-shoots as he could, allowing us to see in real life how some of our favorite covers were made, including the one example you’ll see in the segment, that being the 1985 session with the late great Mr. Charles. Amazingly, while Seeff has kept his archives in a climate-controlled environment for many years now, he admits in the segment that there’s a lot of un-developed film sitting in canisters, waiting to come to life. I can only hope that he teams up with someone to launch a crowd-funding project (ala the one that film-maker Alex Winter put together last year in order to raise funds to both make a film about Frank Zappa and to digitize his archives) so that we all can participate in what will be an herculean effort to preserve this amazing trove of important imagery –

e) Graphic designer Mihailo Andic, after producing both rapper Lil Yachty’s logo and the covers for both of the young musician’s first two commercially-released mixtapes Lil Boat and Summer Songs 2, knew that he’d need to come up with something really special for his first full-length album – Teenage Emotions. To start down the path, Andic and Yachty met in Los Angeles earlier this year and, as he states in his interview, “Yachty and I were talking and kind of just bouncing around ideas, and I just asked him, “What would you want to see out of this visual for your first album? What do you think is important here and what do you think we can do that’s a little more progressive and maybe a little more different than what we did previously?” He was telling me these ideas, and one of them happened to be having a group of teens surrounding him in some way. And that’s where the initial idea came from. He mentioned that to me and he was telling me it’d be really important to show the diversity, the inclusion of all these different teens who could come together and form this cover.” They then selected photographer Kenneth Cappello, well-established in the music/album art world for his photos of established and rising stars such as Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and Pharrell Williams, assembled the cast and, as they say in the business, “the rest is history”.

Approaching the cover’s portrayal of kids from all walks of life, style and sexual orientation to determine whether the design’s goal was to shock or, perhaps, offer a take on the rap music audience that’s a bit outside of the perceived norm, GQ’s Ira Madison III takes a look at this image and others from the genre’s history to present his take on the pervasiveness of black, gay and consumer culture in the methods that brands and products are promoted these days –

You can read the full interview with Andic on the XXL Magazine web site –

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) On June 1st, album art fans will have the chance to bid on several album art prints that will be put up for auction in the latest Entertainment & Memorabilia auction hosted by the Eubank Auction house in Guildford, UK (” just off the A3 about 4 miles from Guildford going towards London”). A search of the over 500 items that will be up for sale reveals a nice selection of both signed and unsigned prints featuring the work of the late designer/photographer Storm Thorgerson. Included in the grouping are images that were used on the covers of records for recording acts including Phish, Peter Gabriel, The Mars Volta, YES, The Cranberries, Deepest Blue and, as you might figure, Pink Floyd. Happy hunting!

Please pardon the very long link –

b) I received an email newsletter recently from Austin, TX’s Modern Rocks Gallery announcing the fact that they’ve added the work of the renowned rock photographer Robert M. Knight to their roster. Those of you who frequent Guitar Center stores have seen his work in grand scale (those are his shots of Clapton, SRV and many others that fill entire windows near the stores’ entrances), while many others have appreciated his work as its found on the covers of records including Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Real Deal Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, Winterland for Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith’s Essential Aerosmith and the live record  Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles Live, among others. Guitar fans most-probably know Knight best for his portfolio of images of the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan (yes, including THAT one) along with a well-known “gunslingers” photo featuring the Vaughan Brothers, Eric Clapton and Robert Cray posing backstage on August 26th, 1990 at the Alpine Valley amphitheater, this being the last photo taken of SRV before the tragic helicopter crash that took his life at 1am the following morning.

Now based on the West Coast and working alongside his wife, photographer Maryanne Bilham (who has a nice list of album cover credits herself!), in a busy commercial photography business, Knight’s been honored with a permanent exhibit at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas and, in 2009, a documentary film about his life (produced by Tim Kaiser and directed by John Chester) titled Rock Prophecies was released. In addition to his photographic work, Robert has managed rock bands including the current iteration of The Yardbirds and the Australian band Sick Puppies.

You can see what the gallery has to offer of Knight’s fine art photo print collection via the link at

c) In another example of “you should always thoroughly explore the home you just sold in order to make certain that you haven’t left any treasures behind”, one of the items that headlined a recent entertainment memorabilia auction was a stunner – John Lennon’s sketches for the cover of what would turn out to be one of the most-memorable record/record covers of all time, that being the one for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Found by the owner of the mansion in Surrey, UK in which John and his wife Cynthia lived until 1964, the sketch for the Sgt Pepper’s cover was offered at the 5/20 auction by Julien’s, with the pre-auction estimates being in the $40,000 – $60,000 range and a starting bid of $10,000, and sold for $87,500.

Other items of interest that were offered include: A Paul McCartney signed Sgt Pepper’s album (starting bid $200, sold for $4,375); a group of three (two color, one B&W) photographer Allen Beaulieu-attributed 1980-vintage photos of Prince (believed to have been taken for a Warner Bros. Records publicity and album cover session for  Prince’s album Dirty Mind ($250 starting bid, sold for $2,187.50); a red London style telephone box used by One Direction on its 2012 Take Me Home album cover, which sold for $13,750, with the winning bidder responsible for shipping or pickup from the UK. Not sure what it’d cost to ship a phone booth to the US, but for me, at least, that was a deal-breaker)…and while not exactly album art-centered, I did want to highlight an unusual trio of items that will be up for auction as well – three works of art from the estate of Kurt Cobain’s father, Don Cobain, that were done by Kurt as a teenager. These are a perfect example of “you never know what you might find at these auctions, but there’s always something unique and interesting”, and some well-heeled fans came to the table with winning bids of $64,000 for a mixed media work, $17,500 for a painting and $6,875 for a drawing…

After the auction, held at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC’s Times Square, Lennon’s sketch was put on display at a special exhibition at the Newbridge Silverware’s Museum of Style Icons in Kildare, Ireland (where you’ll also find the original suits that The Beatles wore on their promo tour for A Hard Day’s Night) from May 22nd through June 4th, after which I’m sure the new owner would like to take possession of this one-of-a-kind item…

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Along with the Summer of Love, another influential music institution – Rolling Stone Magazine – celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and, to commemorate the fact that a number of well-known album image makers also enjoyed long careers as contributors to the magazine, the magazine recently teamed up with Abrams & Chronicle Books (UK) to publish a compilation of photos that have graced the pages of Rolling Stone, shot by illustrious image-makers including Baron Wolman, Jim Marshall, Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger and many others.

According to the magazine, the 288 pages of 50 Years of Rolling Stone: The Music, Politics and People that Changed Our Culture  includes well over 200 photos along with “interviews with rock legends – Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Kurt Cobain, Bruce Springsteen and more… with feature articles, excerpts and exposés by such quintessential writers as Hunter S. Thompson, Matt Taibbi and David Harris.” More on this new title can be found on the publisher’s web site at

b) When people (inevitably) ask me “what are your favorite album covers?”, I tell them that I have to maintain a degree of impartiality so that I’m not always reporting on works of art and artists/designers that I like. When really pressed, I will admit to having a short list of visual artists whose portfolios I’m really impressed with and, in the area of album art photography, one of my favorites is Brian Griffin, the man responsible not only for hundreds of great record covers for musical acts including Depeche Mode, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, Ultravox, Kate Bush (and so many more) but also for instantly-recognizable editorial portraits of “celebrities” from all walks of life, from workers during the construction of the Channel Tunnel and the renovation of London’s St. Pancras Station up through and including Her Majesty The Queen.

So impressed were the editors of Life Magazine of Brian’s photo shot for the cover of Depeche Mode’s 1982 album  A Broken Frame that they chose to feature it on the cover of Life’s special issue, The Greatest Photographs of the ‘80s (this was immediately after The Guardian named him “Photographer of the Decade”). All throughout his career, Brian has been the recipient of many other honors, winning numerous D&AD awards and his book Work was awarded the “Best Photographic Book In The World” at the Primavera Fotográfica in Barcelona, Spain, and so I feel quite certain that music photography fans who support Brian’s Kickstarter project – one that will fund the production and printing of a new 350+ page book (including a lengthy, up-close-and-personal  interview by author Terry Rawlings) simply called Pop will be rewarded with a keepsake they’ll be proud to own and display.

In addition to signing up for a signed copy of the book, supporters at higher levels can select from an offering of very-special items to add to their personal collections, including books signed by members of Depeche Mode, records from Brian’s personal archives (ones featuring his cover photos – go figure!) and, of course, fine art prints of several of his best-known cover shots – Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp, Depeche Mode’s A Broken Frame, etc… The project will be up through the 2nd of June, so I’d invite you to click on over to see more about this new book from one of the greats in the business.

HAPPY NEWS UPDATE – As of the date of this publication, Brian just surpassed the “all or nothing” goal for his project, so the book will be published (congratulations, Mr. Griffin!). You can still reserve one of the first edition copies before the project closes tomorrow (June 2), so I hope you’ll take a quick detour from reading this summary and head on over to the project page to reserve one for yourself or someone you know who loves great photography…   or


c) As I’m seemingly unable to publish a news summary this year without at least one story about The Beatles’ Pepper’s album cover, let me continue adding to the pile with this nice story by Steve Marinucci found recently on the site regarding a new book from author Bruce Spizer titled The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper: A Fan’s Perspective in which he shares the results of research he’s done on the topic of just who exactly is the man identified as Sgt. Pepper on the record’s famous cover.

British history buffs will of course immediately recognize the man’s uniform as one who had served in the 16th Queen’s Lancers in the Second Boar War and the First Calvary Brigade in South Africa, but if you want to learn his name and more about his background, I suggest clicking on over to

d) Also continuing to receive a lot of nice coverage is the new book of Jimi Hendrix photos I’d previously told you about by photographer Ed Caraeff, with the latest mention in this article (and photo sampler) by Lily Rothman and Liz Ronk found on TIME Magazine’s site –

Ed’s headed down to the Bay Area soon to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Monterey Pop Festival being hosted at several venues there, so keep an eye peeled for his VW Camper Van and maybe you’ll meet the man himself…

e) After months of waiting, the package containing my copy of the book by designer Mike McInnerney and music journalists Bill DeMain and Gillian G. Gaar commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s LP finally arrived and, I must tell you, I believe it was worth the wait. While I’ve only thumbed through Pepper At Fifty so far, I particularly appreciate how this team approached the presentation of the materials, with the first chapter (written by Mr. McInnerney) focused on “The Mood”, providing an historical perspective for what inspired and motivated the band to create a feast for both the eyes and the ears, handing it over to Mr. DeMain for his descriptions in the next two chapters of the record’s visuals (“The Look”) – the costumes, colors and artwork all featured on the influential (and often-copied) record package – and then, of course, “The Sound”, i.e., the music and how it was made. Ms. Gaar completes the tome with her chapter, titled “The Legacy”, which includes a discussion of all that’s happened in the music world since that can be traced back to Sgt. Pepper’s and how thoroughly, as she puts it, “permeated the pop-culture landscape”.

The year-long celebration of all things Sgt. Pepper’s continues in the music media, with TIME Magazine’s Olivia B. Waxman presenting and article built around excerpts from the magazine’s original September 22, 1967 coverage of the album’s release –

while Rock’s Backpages library gives you access to two articles – writer Mick Gold’s 1974 essay – The Act You’ve Known For All These Years” – on “the making of” the record –   and also the somewhat infamous New York Times review by columnist Richard Goldstein (no relation) in which he thoroughly pans it (“like the cover, the over-all effect is busy, hip and cluttered”) –   (free registration req’d to read these two articles).

f) It’s been raining KnuckleBonz news lately, and here’s something new that album art lovers will get a kick out of! Megadeth’s major label (Capitol) debut record – 1986’s Peace Sells But Who’s Buying – featured artist Ed Repka’s fantasy-inspired take on the classic “See/Hear/Speak No Evil” mantra, reproduced in the form of a character named Vic Rattlehead whose lore was created during a song (Skull Beneath The Skin”) from the band’s first record, 1985’s Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!. This character, with “solid steel visor riveted across his eyes…metal caps in his ears and iron staples closing his jaws” (what a headache this guy must have), has gone on to grace the band’s covers and, along with those bearing the image of Iron Maiden’s “Eddie The Trooper”, become a must-have item in any self-respecting thrash metal fan’s wardrobe.

Now, available for pre-order (with orders expected to ship Fall 2017), the artisan’s at KnuckleBonz have worked with the band to create a limited-edition sculpture (only 3000 will be made) that portray’s Mr. Rattlehead as he is found on the cover of Peace Sells But Who’s Buying” record. The officially-licensed, hand-painted statue will stand approx. 9″ tall and will retail for $125. In addition to this statue, Megadeth fans can also invest in one featuring the band’s front-man, Dave Mustaine.

g) You may recall my article from a couple of weeks back about the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Hearts” photo show currently on display at photographer/gallerist Guido Harari’s Wall of Sound Gallery in Alba, Italy (on now through June 11th). Well, it’s just been announced that one of the featured photographers in that show – Frank Stefanko, well known to fans of Bruce Springsteen for his many photos of The Boss, including the venerable photos used on the covers of his Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River albums – is also working with Harari to prepare a book that will be published this November that will include many previously-unreleased images from Stefanko’s 40+ year-deep archive of Springsteen shots.

To be titled “Further Up The Road”, this new tome is being offered as a limited-edition, collectible book made for both fans of Springsteen and fine art photography at the same time. And, according to the description included in this blurb found on the subject now appearing on the Rolling Stone Magazine site, “Wall of Sound plans to print 1,978 copies of Further up the Road. The first 350 of these will be available as a deluxe edition for $630, while the remainder will make up a collector’s edition for $380….Stefanko will sign every copy, and Springsteen penned the book’s introduction.”

The details as given on the Wall of Sound site add that the book will be 368 pages long and include 20 inserts. All in all, there will be over 400 photos included in the finished product, with the “Deluxe Edition” adding an important bonus – a signed and numbered 10″ x 11″ fine art pigment print (“this print is unique to this edition and will never be made available elsewhere”). Also, to add some enticement for people to pre-order the book, the publisher will add another free print for everyone and will also include their names in a special acknowledgements section in the book. Pre-order yours at

h) Fans of the late David Bowie now have a new opportunity to own a recently-produced new version – a colorized “contact sheet” print – of photographers Brian and Chris Duffy’s famed Scary Monsters cover art (you remember, the one showing Bowie in the Pierrot mime costume that he wore in the “Ashes to Ashes” music video) via an offering from the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX. According to the press release, “by the time this session was shot, Brian Duffy had given up his own studio, so Chris assisted his father and the session was shot in Chris’s studio in London, which is now the home to the cartoon museum. After the shoot, Chris photographed David and those images were used to promote the album.” Doing the colorization for this new print himself, “Chris was ideally suited to interpret the session and give this endearing image a fresh new perspective.” The prints are priced – for Super Creeps only – at $2500 for a 24″ square print (from an edition of 35) and $3850 for a maxi-sized 40″ square print, from an edition of just 25 total prints stamped by the Duffy archive – 

i) The editors of the UK’s Creative Review site recently posted a very nice intro to the latest book published based on the impressive output of the Hipgnosis design studio. Authored by designer Aubrey Powell – one of the original studio members, along with the late Storm Thorgerson and Peter Christopherson – the book profiles the team’s prodigious and influential output as they worked under the Hipgnosis moniker for the music industry’s top talent (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and hundreds others) from 1968 through 1983. Part of the new book’s content comes from Storm’s archival notes, an example of which is included in the CR article titled “How to design a record cover in 1977” in which Thorgerson describes the various stages of development of the Deceptive Bends LP cover for 10cc –

Another article on the same book was proffered by James Walton for the Arts section in another UK publication – The Spectator – in which he interviews Po and asks him to look back on a career that’s found him front and center in the making of SO MANY great covers (and what it was like to be able to occasionally produce album covers on a substantial budget (ah, the good old days!) –

5) Other articles of interest –

a) While it’s been 20 years since the passing of African world music legend Fela Kuti, the original cover artwork done by the accomplished designer and illustrator Lemi Gharioku continues to fascinate and impress album art lovers around the world with their beauty and inspired originality. Now, original examples of some of the many Kuti covers Lemi created have found a new home in the permanent collection of the Hard Rock International organization. In a recent ceremony held at the cafe in Lagos, Nigeria, the family of the Nigerian composer, musician and human rights activist donated a collection of costumes and artwork that will help highlight Kuti’s impact on the global music scene. Folks in the West might best-remember Kuti for his participation and impassioned performance at the 1986 Amnesty International: A Conspiracy of Hope fund-raising concert held in New York’s Giants Stadium.

More details on this ceremony can be found in this article by reporter Jayne Augoye for the Premium Times Nigeria news service –

b) Some of you may have heard about a modern art auction that took place recently during which a Japanese e-commerce billionaire with dreams of amassing the most-expensive collection of art ever put together (it seems) paid around $110 million for a work by Pop Art phenom Jean-Michel Basquiat (who, by the way, has several album cover credits on his resume, but I can assure you that he didn’t earn anything near that amount for those commissions). While this was grabbing all of the headlines and attention (my head still hurts from shaking it from side to side), another well-known work of art set a record for the most ever paid for an original work of American comic art and, I have to say with great pride, the artist whose work motivated this great outpouring of cash was none other than Robert Crumb, known to album art fans for his memorable work found on the cover of Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills LP (and others).

Crumb fans will remember that one of the artist’s most-famous character creations was that of Fritz The Cat, a feline with a huge sex drive often featured on the pages of underground comic novels in the late 1960s, and this original work – the one used on the cover of a Fritz The Cat anthology published almost 50 years ago in which Fritz is sitting on a sofa “copping a feel” from his well-endowed girlfriend Charlene – is remembered quite fondly by those of us who were lucky enough to have found the work of this talented and reclusive artist. Selling for $717,000 (approx. $800K after fees) to an anonymous phone bidder, this panel was one of several from the estate of the late magazine publisher Felix Denis, with other items also pushing well into 6-figure territory. More on this can be read in reporter Rob Salkowitz’s recent article found on the Forbes Magazine site at –

c) You might recall an article I posted several months ago about an “art folly” proposed by the architects at Chicago’s New World Design for a certain spot near where the Chicago River meets Michigan Avenue that was heavily influenced by the cover image for Pink Floyd’s Animals album. Now, after getting an official “thumbs up” (i.e., license) from Roger Waters, the effort to actualize the project’s goal of floating four large (30′ x 15′) inflatable golden pigs in such a way as they’ll obstruct pedestrians’ views of the HUGE lettering attached to the Trump Tower is now in full swing.

According to the introductory manifesto found on the project’s (now titled Flying Pigs On Parade) new web site – – was “created to provide visual relief to the citizens of Chicago by interrupting the view of the ostentatious Trump Tower Chicago sign. The design follows rigorous rationale in providing layers of meaning but ultimately allows for interpretation by individual viewers.”  Lovers of album cover art understand and appreciate the fact that many of the artists who’ve done memorable covers have attempted to use their art as a way to highlight the good and the bad in Popular Culture (think Jamie Reid’s God Save The Queen for the Sex Pistols, Winston Smith’s Let Them Eat Jellybeans for The Dead Kennedys and, more recently, French photographer Denis Rouvre’s shot for Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly), so its exciting to see creative folks of all stripes continue to use album art as a motivating factor for the free expression of their views, regardless of which side of the argument you fall on.

Read more about the project and its planned late-Summer 2017 release in Matthew Messner’s recent article for The Architects Newspaper site at

Donations to help cover the costs of “balloon fabrication, technical specialists, barge rental, rigging, prep costs, security, permitting fees, insurance, taxes, etc.” are being accepted at, where you can also purchase a Flying Pigs On Parade t-shirt!

d) Reporting for the Pigeons & Planes (“Music, News, Discovery”) site, Eric Skelton recently posted a feature (inc. a video with interviews of newer cover artists such as Mihailo Andic, who you should remember from last week’s feature on the artwork he created for Lil’ Yachty) titled “Why Cover Art Is More Important Than Ever” and, in his presentation, he poses the question to several people working in all aspects of the music business (designers, A&R people, musicians, etc.) and finds that – no surprise to us album art lovers – “cover art might actually be more important than ever.” This is due to the facts that a) the attention spans of today’s young music consumers are very short; b) it’s been proven that, in order to make a deeper connection between artist and fan, both great music and great visuals are needed and c) social media allows people to share their favorite things in one or two clicks, so with the eyes of today’s youth glued to their tiny Smartphone screens (don’t their necks hurt?), so they’re just learning what their parents have known and appreciated for years (your old man’s not so dumb, after all) –

e) To help illustrate the close connection between the visual arts and music, two University of Kentucky professors – one from the UK’s School of Art and Visual Studies and another from the School of Music – brought students from both disciplines together in a course built around the study of the career of David Bowie – an artist who certainly understood and appreciated the importance of thoroughly integrating the design, fashion, music and other multi-media aspects of his successful and influential career.

In what was a first for the College of Fine Arts, professors Kevin Holm-Hudson (a music theorist) and Anna Brzyski (an art historian) believed that students “would be inspired by his terrific, creative vitality and eclectic career. He was forever curious and investigating and learning, and he applied that in his music and in his art throughout his life” and, as you’ll read in this article by Whitney Hale and Jenny Wells for the school’s newspaper, with the term “collaboration” a key buzzword in the arts and business in general these days, the educators “hoped the class of music and art students would gain new perspectives and find ways to expand their own creative thinking in an ever-evolving, more collaborative artistic world,” with all of the program participants having “learned new ways to look at the works by Bowie, and also their own.”

What would a class like this have focused on when I went to college in the early-mid 1970s? Would a bong have been a required purchase (I mean, to fully appreciate Pink Floyd, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Electric Prunes)?

f) Just wanted to give a quick shout-out to influential music industry designer Art Chantry as he was recently bestowed with the 2017 AIGA Medal, an honor “awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements, services or other contributions to the field of design and visual communication.” Since 1920, this professional design organization has chosen to honor several people each year with this award that recognizes both significant individual examples of innovative design and/or an entire career’s overall impact on the field and, in this particular case, Chantry’s original designs for music industry clients – their posters, album covers and other related projects – have established him as a talent that continues to influence new designers and intrigue new clients looking for something unique and memorable for their own projects. When your work has been featured on covers for everyone from The Beatles to Soundgarden and The Mooney Suzuki, you’ve certainly proven that you have the chops to be one of the best in the business.

Read more about Art in this profile on the AIGA site –

g) Creating memes (for the less-than-hip folks in the crowd – i.e., making new images based on existing ones and then sharing them via the Internet) out of a popular album cover is the latest iteration of sleeve art-inspired fun and games folks participate in via social media, and with rapper Kendrick Lamar’s latest release – titled DAMN – proving to be quite popular, it only makes sense that it also serves as the basis of a whole slew of memes riffing on the cover art.

Since the record was released in early April, derivative images based on the album’s simple photo-based cover have sprung up all over the Web; so many so that’s Jillian Frankel was tasked with putting together a summary of some of the better-made ones. In one example, a meme also “sleeve-faced” – twice the fun for half the money!

h) The work of photographer Mark Weiss has long been front-and-center in the world of rock imagery, having long-graced the pages of many magazines (Circus, Creem, Hit Parader, Rock SceneandRolling Stone, among others) and, as MTV’s in-house photographer early on, he demonstrated that he was going to always be there to try something new with his talents, so when I read this recent article on the Vintage Vinyl News site about a recent collaboration with Bolivian painter David Banegas in which Mark’s photos were “morphed” into painted murals (called “mirror paintings”) now found decorating the walls of the new music-themed restaurant Rock & Brews in Orlando, FL, it made perfect sense to me.

Probably best-known to album art fans for his memorable cover shots for records including Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry, Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and others for Van Halen, Dokken and .38 Special, Weiss met the restaurant’s owner earlier this year while he was on tour with KISS and, at that initial meeting, it became clear that the two needed to find a way to work together, the results of which are now on display in quite an impressive fashion –

i) Beatles/ Pepper’s 50th anniversary news continues unabated, but this example of brand-extension featured in this recent posting on the site has taken things a step further. On display during a special listening event held in NYC at the House of Macintosh venue (during which the son of Sir George Martin – Giles Martin – set the stage for the lucky few invited to be on hand while the newly-mixed version of the record was played on only the best equipment) was a collection of limited-edition turntables from Pro-ject decorated with various Beatles-related graphics. An entry-level package – the Sgt. Pepper’s Drum Turntable (approx. $545 US) – includes The Beatles logo graphics on a colorful base along with a platter sporting the graphics seen on the Sgt. Pepper’s bass drum, while at the top end, you can take home a limited edition (1000 pcs at approx. $1,500 each) Pro-Ject 2Xperience SB turntable package that sports the Sgt. Pepper’s and Beatles logos laser-cut into the base. Other models offer graphics built around ticket stubs/promo posters and even one dedicated to George Harrison, so if you’d like to take a look at these items as they were on display during this event, click on over via the link –

j) Quick follow-up to my earlier Record Store Day coverage – I just received a report from Nielsen Music that re-capped the sales performance of the RSD promotion and, to say the least, it proved to be a big success, with album sales at independent record retailers up 194% over the previous week (the biggest gains in the promotion’s 10-year history). Vinyl record sales led the way, with over 400,000 albums sold that week (up 484% week-to-week), driven by the limited-availability of made-for-the-day releases (vinyl albums and vinyl singles). Statistics geeks will note that, according to the agency, it was ” the biggest non-Christmas season week for vinyl albums since Nielsen began electronically tracking point-of-sale music purchases in 1991.

Billboard Magazine’s recent article on the same topic includes a chart listing best-selling RSD-exclusive records bought by fans during the promotion, with Top 3 honors as follows – #1 – Grateful Dead – P.N.E. Garden Auditorium… ; #2 – The Doors – Live at the Matrix and #3 – The Black Angels – Deathsong,  while the Top 3 RSD-exclusive singles sold during the same time period were #1 – U2’s “Red Hill Mining Town (2017 Mix)”, #2 – The Beatles’ “Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever” and # 3 – Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive” (how cool is that?) –

Arts funding update –

The past several months have given us hope, then grief, then hope again and, at the end of the month, more grief after the new administration in Washington, DC released the details of its proposed budget for FY2018. In those details came a call (again) to shut down the National Endowment for the Arts and, along with it, the many programs that provide arts training and support for students and professionals working in the field.

And while supporters from both sides of the aisle in Congress had recently given (with the passage of a temporary spending bill) the agency a small boost in its funding for this year (bringing the total to approx. $150 million), the NEA is now seeking about $30 million to bring about the orderly shutdown of operations. Of course, I can only hope that the huge groundswell of support seen from institutions, politicians and us regular folks will motivate those in power to re-think this most-nearsighted of all cuts and keep these necessary programs in place. If not, I do hope that my survivors (I also get my health coverage through the soon-to-be-gutted ACA exchange and breathe the air and drink the water that will no longer be protected by the EPA) will work hard to keep the ACHOF site updated after I’m gone…

That’s all for now – be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed – – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.

All text Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

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