ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF JULY, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR AUGUST, 2017.
BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM
Greetings once again to you all on this first day of August, 2017. I’m hoping that you’ve been able to enjoy some of the sunny Summer weather, wherever you are, and that part of your free time was spent visiting your favorite gallery or museum to see what’s on display there (and to take advantage of the air conditioning typically found there). As for me, I recently had the chance to tour two shows right here in Chicagoland that contained strong album art components (Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, which debuted on July 16th at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism extravaganza, which concluded its run at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall B on July 30th) and I’ll be posting summaries – complete with photos – of those visits in the next week or so, so keep your eyes peeled…
Of course, I hoped that I’d be able to give you more details on my book project by now, but it seems clear that this is going to take longer than I’d hoped and rather than bore you with spotty details, I’m going to just keep working on the darn thing and hope that all of the pieces fall into place sooner rather than later. I did get some additional content for the book and have some more due in soon so, as I’ve stated previously, if I ever do get this book done, I feeling quite certain that album art/artist fans will most-surely enjoy what’s included.
For now, I’m just happy to provide you with the details of what’s going on in the lives and careers of the designers, artists, photographers and others who continue to produce great visuals for clients in the music business, supplemented with previews of what’s going to be on display and available for sale at your favorite gallery or museum next month. In the summary and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts, honors and other triumphs of your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in the daily news cycle, featuring stories of great interest and fascination delivered on a wide range of related topics.
As always, I urge you to 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) Discovering the music of Prince at the age of nine while on a trip to visit his mother in Los Angeles (“Prince encompassed everything I loved about music, visual art, performance and perversion…he was everything I loved about everything I loved, black or white”), Paris-born Mathieu Britton decided as a young teen that his future had to be in the music industry and so he moved at the age of 14 to LA to begin his studies, moving to NYC to attend New York University and then setting out on what’s been an impressive career as an art director, designer and photographer, with hundreds of album cover credits for musical acts including Lenny Kravitz, Run-DMC, Parliament, Jane’s Addiction and, as you could only hope, Prince (handling art direction and design on 2006’s Ultimate package).
Now, in a show currently on display in the gallery at the Leica Store Miami (through August 25th) titled Darker Than Blue, fans of Britton’s work will find a collection of photos that showcase his fine art photography, putting on display images of everyday “people going about their daily routines in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Paris, The Bahamas, and New Orleans. ”
When this show’s over, Mathieu’s next big project will certainly be one he’ll put all of his talents and passions on display in – co-directing a documentary on the life of Prince!
b) Back in April, I’d reported on photographer Bob Gruen’s show at Drexel University in Pennsylvania that gave fans a chance to tour a show – titled “Rockers” – that includes many of the highlights of Gruen’s 40+ year career, during which he has captured many of the top acts in the music world, gaining world-wide recognition for his works featuring artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Muddy Waters, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Madonna, Kiss & Alice Cooper. This body of work also illustrates Gruen’s long-standing personal friendship with the artists, with perhaps his best-known buddy, the late John Lennon, serving as the model in one of Bob’s most-famous shots, that being the one Lennon wearing a “New York City” t-shirt, captured in 1974.
I’m happy to report now that Gruen’s Rockers show has now moved to Vancouver, Canada, where it’s being presented by Brian Liss now through August 25th at the Pendulum Gallery in the HSBC Building in Vancouver, with more information and free tickets available at the lissgallery.bc.ca web site.
The Vancouver Sun‘s Dana Gee gives us an overview of the man and this edition of his touring exhibition – http://vancouversun.com/entertainment/local-arts/top-rock-photog-brings-show-to-town
c) While much of the art-loving public’s attention this year is focused on the San Francisco Bay area and the many “Summer of Love” 50th anniversary shows that have been on display there (see below for some additional updates), the Summer of 1968 occurred in many other areas as well (!!) and, since the East Coast is never one to let all of the spotlights be focused on the West Coast, it only makes sense that Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has organized it’s own show on the topic…The Summer of Love:Photography and Graphic Design launched on July 6th and, according to the museum’s PR, literally “explodes with a profusion of more than 120 posters, album covers and photographs from the transformative years around 1967.”
A grid of 25 album covers traces the influence of the famously amorphous lettering in the Beatles’ 1965 album Rubber Soul on countless covers and posters from later in the decade. At the heart of the exhibition is a group of 32 photographs by Herb Greene, a pioneering member of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture and now a resident of Massachusetts.
Through October 22nd at the Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery- http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/the-summer-of-love
Another overview of the show was posted not long ago on the Boston Globe site – https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/art/2017/07/06/the-mfa-celebrates-san-francisco-summer-love/5aM8OSpvTwpGAMX0Vcc4OL/story.html with a special bonus interview offered up several days later that brings you the insights of one of the era’s best-known shooters, photographer Herb Greene, whose works are included in the show – https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2017/07/18/grateful-dead-photographer-herb-greene-has-nothing-but-love-for-mfa-summer-love/hyJC5C4YFsSFdUCtSiTy3O/story.html
d) Summer of Love 50th Anniversary celebration exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay area continuing throughout the summer season, with the following shows currently still running :
Who Shot Monterey Pop – the works of seven world-renowned photographers who were on hand to document the scene – http://www.montereyart.org/current-exhibitions/who-shot-monterey-pop-photographs-from-the-1967-music-festival/
Feeling Groovy – With the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 thrusting the sounds, colors and attitudes that lead to the Summer of Love, the art gallery at the county’s regional airport is hosting (through the end of the year) an exhibit that “showcases collections that reflect music, entertainment, and home life in 1960s Monterey County”, including “everyday objects from a 1960s kitchen, iconic fashions ranging from pill box hats to Beatle boots, and beloved games, toy’s and comic books, plus an impressive private collection of rare photos and other memorabilia from the Big Sur Folk Festival. https://www.montereyairport.com/post/art-airport
The California Historical Society’s museum space in San Francicso is host to a show called On The Road To The Summer Of Love that, via a curated display of photographs organized by guest curators Dennis McNally and Alisa Leslie, works to “explore the cultural context—from the Beat poets to the experimental art scene—that put San Francisco at the center of a social revolution.”
And let’s not forget the show I’d reported on back in April that provides a sweeping presentation of over 300 items that represent the best examples of the sights, sounds and Pop Culture iconography from that era. On display now through August 20th, The Summer Of Love Experience: Art, Fashion & Rock & Roll …
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) Timed just perfectly to celebrate both the just-released documentary on Mr. Rock’s career as an in-demand rock photographer (titled SHOT! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra Of Rock, directed by Barney Clay and produced by VICE Films and Straight Up Films) and the launch of the new season of Mick Rock’s Ovation TV series (On The Record with Mick Rock) is writer- Adrian Deevoy’s in-depth article/interview for Event Magazine (Daily Mail, UK) –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-4651092/Legendary-lensman-Mick-Rock-shares-secrets-Event.html
With such close relationships with folks like Lou Reed, David Bowie, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett, Iggy Pop, Queen and others, you can bet that Mr. Rock has many behind-the-scenes memories that’ll be of interest and a great prelude to viewing the film (available on iTunes, Amazon Video and On Demand via many cable providers).
b) RISD-trained artist Eric White has created an impressive portfolio of album cover images since he started accepting commissions in the mid-1990s, including work for Frank Zappa, Incubus, Korn and others, but it was his love of rap music and, in particular, the work of the very-popular Tyler, The Creator that brought him to being able to apply his considerable talents on Tyler’s just-released new record titled Scum Fuck Flower Boy.
Drawing influences from several of the great album artists of the past half-century (including British Pop art masters Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton) along with the works of artists on the fringe (or, as quoted in the article, White likes to say he’s drawn to “disturbing” work), White’s even gone as far as to create a series of “reimagined” album cover paintings (which can be seen on his own site at http://ewhite.com/lps/), bringing his unique (also somewhat dark and disturbing) take to classic covers for Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and many others (I particularly liked his remake of The Knack’s debut, now fuzzed out and titled Too Much Content!).
Max Weinstein interviews White for XXL Magazine about his latest work, how he was introduced to the young rapper, and how they each played their own creative strengths to create a really exceptional new cover.
c) Give an imaginative artist/photographer with a background in engineering a 200 gallon fish tank and some paints and what do you get? A very unique album cover image, of course! Kim Keever’s abstract images have graced the covers of records by Joanna Newsom (Divers, 2015) and Wall of Death (Loveland, 2016) and, as he really enjoys working with the “creative souls” that populate the music business, he hopes to find more opportunities in that arena. Verve Magazine‘s Sadaf Shaikh provides us with a profile (“MEET THE ARTIST WHO CREATES KALEIDOSCOPIC EXPLOSIONS UNDERWATER”) in the July, 2017 issue that includes slide shows of a number of his fantastic images, some of which are now included in the collections of such prestigious museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, DC’s Hirshhorn Museum, among many others.
He also has a page on his site showing the staging of various works that provides a fascinating insight into just how much effort it takes to make one of these pictures… https://kimkeever.com/studio-views/
Does swirling food coloring in my milk as a child qualify me for similar attention?
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) To commemorate the Pink Floyd show currently on display at the V&A Museum in London, two notable print vendors are offering fans great opportunities to pick up one or more of their favorite Pink Floyd images –
St Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham, UK – 15% off using the code – XVPZV130 at checkout. Alternatively you can call + 44 (0) 121 236 5800 or email email@example.com
The Gallery has also just announced the availability of a new series of prints based on Oasis album cover photos, so please check those out while you’re visiting their site.
b) Back in the USA, SFAE in California has collaborated with famed illustrator Gerald Scarfe – the man behind the memorable artwork associated with the band’s masterpiece The Wall – to produce two new, large-format prints (in limited-editions of 100) of two iconic images – The Scream and The Giant Judge & Hammers – which are now on sale at the gallery and on display as part of a special exhibition there titled The Art of Gerald Scarfe From Pink Floyd The Wall. As is typical with editions surely to sell through quickly, the earlier you purchase, the lower the prices are, so smart collectors will click on over to the SFAE site (or visit their location in downtown San Francisco) to take a look and reserve one soon.
To see all eleven masterworks currently on display during this show’s run, click on over to http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400147
c) The team at the Gotta Have Rock & Roll auction house in NYC held a sale in mid-July (ending July 28th) that included several unique items that were of interest to us fans of music-related art and memorabilia, so I’d like to share some of the results with you…
First off, folks with a fetish for Madonna-related items sure had a lot to consider during this auction, with several lots containing art, clothing and other objects that were featured on some of Ms. Ciccone’s album covers. For example, Lot #1 featured one of the memorable white lace corsets worn during the photo shoot for 1984’s Like A Virgin album (bidding began at $9,000, with pre-auction estimates at $12K – $16K, ultimately selling for $19,294), while Lot #85 showcased some of the original artwork used to package the record “Like A Prayer” (opening bid only $10, with auction estimates between $300 – $500), selling to some lucky bidder for the bargain price of $125.
Bruce Springsteen fans had the chance to take home an 11″ x 14″ c-print of an out-take image created during photographer Annie Leibovitz’s cover photo session for The Boss’ Born In The USA record ($400 opening bid, with an estimated value pegged between $500 – $700, with the winning bid coming in at just above pre-auction estimates at $711) and, in what looks to be one of the most-unique items found in this auction, Lot #479 offered Lynyrd Skynyrd fans the chance to re-decorate their music rooms with sections of wallboard from the band’s old studio in Jacksonville, FL that had been cartooned upon by the band’s former road manager, Dean Kilpatrick (one of the people killed in the tragic 1977 plane crash that jolted the band). A photo of the wall – featuring drawings of band members including Alan Collins, Billy Powell, Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington, among others, and had been punctured several times – was used to illustrate the inner cover for the band’s 1979 greatest hits compilation on MCA Records titled Gold & Platinum and was in storage for over 30 years after the studio was demolished until the current owner pieced it back together and framed it for this sale. With a pre-auction estimated value set between $12K – $15K, bidding opened at $8,000, with the winner taking it home for the value price of $9680 plus, what I’d guess, at least a million dollars in packing and shipping costs.
You can take a look at the results of the auction via the link below – https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/catalog.aspx
Last-minute auction update – a reporter for the NY Post’s Page 6 section just published an article in which the authenticity of the aforementioned Madonna corset is brought into question, leading me to remind all fellow collectors to check and re-check the provenance of any big-ticket item you might bid for because, as my Grandfather used to say, “You never know what you never know”…
4) New Print/Book RELEASES –
a) Following up on the recent publishing of his wonderful book on recently-minted R&RHOF inductees YES, the always-talented Simon Robinson just shared some of the latest info on his soon-to-be-published (October, 2017), limited-edition book that’s focused on a particular period of another band with a strong visual sense – Genesis. The latest entry in Robinson and Co.’s folio of beautifully-crafted, large format books from his ST33 Books imprint, this new tome is, according to Simon, ” fittingly devoted to Genesis, rightly regarded as one of the founders of what today is known as progressive rock, focusing on The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album and tour 1974.”
For those of us who never had the chance to see the Gabriel-lead version of the band live in concert (although I have seen Gabriel and Genesis separately and saw The Musical Box perform the record in its entirety – does that count?), this new book goes a long way to bring the experience to life as it brings “hundreds of rare photographs and much unseen memorabilia together in print for the first time. Recollections from the audience, band members, designers, photographers and crew bring this largely undocumented tour to light in impressive style.”
Offered first to ST33 subscribers, the 12″ square, 260+ page hardcover book (penned by music writer Jon Kirkman) is initially being printed (in an edition of only 325 copies) in what’s being called the Hardback Signature Edition and features the signature of original Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett on an inside page. The special edition also includes a range of reproduced items (laminate, concert tix, etc.) a signed photo print and an exclusive promo t-shirt. More details on pricing, availability and other editions can be found on the publisher’s site at https://stereo33books.com/
b) Also due out shortly – with pre-orders now being accepted – is Genesis Publication’s new Mick Fleetwood-penned book titled Love That Burns – A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac that’s based on an original 20,000 word manuscript and input from FM members Peter Green, Christine & John McVie and Jeremy Spencer, along with blues legend John Mayall and a host of other well-known contributors. According to the publisher, Fleetwood shares with the reader a “recounting his childhood, early bands, Fleetwood Mac’s debut performance, first international tours, live gig antics, playing with blues legends at Chess Studios, the genius of Peter Green and the many talented members that formed Fleetwood Mac in the years before 1975.”
The 300-page book is illustrated with over 400 photos, illustrations and images of other memorabilia and will be produced in two limited-editions – a “Deluxe Copy” (numbered from 1-350) that’s fully-bound in leather, shipped with two specially-produced, signed art prints (one illustration by graphic artist Günther Kieser and one photo print of Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in performance in 1967) and an exclusive 7″ vinyl picture disc and is signed by Mick Fleetwood. This edition is priced at £495.
A more popularly-priced version, called Collector Copies (numbers 351-2000) is also being offered that’s quarter-bound in leather, includes the 7″ picture disc and is also signed by Fleetwood. Price for those is £325, with both items shipping in September.
Read more about this new publication on its web site – http://www.fleetwoodmacbook.com/
c) And now, for something priced somewhat less than $500, here’s some news on a new comic book that will certainly be snapped up by metal music fans as quickly as it hits the shelves. Nerdist writer Benjamin Bailey brings us the details of a new release from Heavy Metal Publishing titled Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast which will, as you might expect, feature long-running band icon Eddie battling, as he does in the popular video game series by the same name, a huge cast of adversaries just like those found in the strange worlds pictured on the band’s record covers – http://nerdist.com/throw-up-some-horns-for-heavy-metals-new-iron-maiden-comic-book/
While, over the years, the album artwork featuring Eddie (AKA “Eddie The Head”) has been contributed by a host of talented artists, beginning in 1980 with Derek Riggs’ work on Iron Maiden (Riggs would produce the character in all its incarnations through 1992), Hugh Syme (of RUSH fame), Melvyn Grant and several others, this book’s stunning artwork was penned by Kevin J. West, with words contributed by writers Llexi Leon and Ian Edginton. Look for issue #287 at your local comic store or on the publisher’s site at http://www.heavymetal.com/news/coming-soon-iron-maidens-eddie-in-comic-book-form/
d) Just saw something that, at first glance, kinda pissed me off but, after a couple hours of cooling off (via the application of a good G&T with The Botanist gin), I regained my composure and thought that I’d share the info on this product in case folks might like to pick up a nice print.
I’m hoping that you’ve noticed the ACHOF logos that have graced this site since its inception several years ago – you know, the ones cobbled together using snippets of the lettering found on a selection of well-know album covers? Well, a design agency in the UK named Dorothy has just released a poster titled “Alphabet of Rock” that looks remarkably like our logo designs. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Your call but, for me at least, as I know that our logos relied on the creativity of others for their inspiration, I can only feel good that others were similarly inspired…
5) Other articles of interest –
a) With singer Chris Cornell’s tragic passing still smarting a bit, I was happy to have been alerted to this recent article by Brian Josephs for Spin Magazine in which he covers rock photographer Kevin Westenberg’s release of, and comment about, the original, full-frame photo he shot that was cropped and then used for the cover of Soundgarden’s 1994 smash Superunknown album –
As you’ll read in Westenberg’s commentary, the original shot included other band members and, as happens often in the “work-for-hire” world of album cover art production, the final artwork wasn’t exactly as he envisioned it….
b) Say the phrase “hip-hop/rap album cover” and, most probably, the image that comes to mind (at least to this older white man) is one of one or more “gangstas” sitting around a table loaded with guns, money and jewelry, with several well-endowed women in various stages of undress cozying up to the principals. And why is that style of cover design so ingrained in my mind (and those of many fans of the genre)? Would you believe that it’s because two white guys – two brothers, Aaron and Shawn Brauch, working for Rap-A-Lot Records in the early 1990s – came up with an approach to cover design that was so appealing to musical acts from all over the world that they ended up creating their own agency (Pen & Pixel) that, during its 10-year existence, produced literally thousands of covers?
With a client list that included hip-hop heavyweights including Snoop Dogg, Juvenile and Master P, just to name a few, the P&P legacy lives on all these years later. Although the studio closed in 2003, its influence was so large that it continues to inspire designers to this day, with examples detailed in this recent article on the Complex.com site by reporter Mike Destefano – http://www.complex.com/style/2017/07/pen-and-pixel-iconic-rap-album-covers-still-inspire-designers-today
Bonus – In this article on the Engadget site by Timothy J. Seppala, you’ll read about how the team over at Republic/Cash Money Records is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the label by providing an app that, in addition to streaming exclusive content and gaining access to a special online storehouse of 20th Anniversary products, lets fans make their own rap album covers, done “Cash Money (i.e., Pen & Pixel) style”. https://www.engadget.com/amp/2017/06/30/cash-money-app-hot-boys-of-engadget/
Available now on iOS (with other formats coming soon), it seems that the app has been a hit, with some of the results shown on another related article by Rob Kenner on the Mass Appeal site – https://massappeal.com/cash-money-records-20th-anniversary-app/
Of note – since someone (i.e., you and me) will need to pay for this anniversary party, the label will be generating additional revenues via the sale of additional packages of content creative types can use to make super-deluxe versions of their covers…
c) Never one to shy away from a project to produce politically-charged imagery for his clients and fans, master of all things collage Winston Smith was recently tapped to produce an alt-version (“Variant”, in comic-speak) for the premiere issue of a new political thriller comic book series about California seceding from the country and, as you’ll see in this article by Graeme McMillan for The Hollywood Reporter’s “Heat Vision” section, the results are (as always) truly impressive – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/winston-smith-unveils-calexit-comic-con-cover-1018296
Black Mask Studios’ Calexit provides readers with an interesting take on a subject tackled from time to time in American literature – i.e., a state choosing to secede after refusing to follow the path of a tyrannical federal government- by focusing on the civil war the state of California suffers afterthe state makes that fateful decision. According to Smith, “My hand-cut collage piece cover entitled ‘Art Attack’ features a host of obedient conformists saluting the new regime while the stalwart rebels do their utmost to counter their advance.” Just introduced at the recent Comic-Con show in San Diego, the series has been drawing a lot of attention from both sides of the aisle (which, I’m sure, is quite pleasing to Mr. Smith)…a super-sized version of the image can be found on the artist’s web site – http://www.winstonsmith.com/2017/07/famed-punk-artist-winston-smith-unveils-calexit-comic-con-cover/
d) Who will win the voting for this year’s Progressive Music Awards’ “Album Cover of the Year” category? Well, the nice thing is that WE decide! There are 10 covers nominated for Prog bands old and new, from Ayreon to King Krimson, Mastadon, Opeth and others, featuring works by a host of talented designers – http://2017.prog.awards.teamrock.com/vote/album-cover
Winners will be announced on September 14th (registration required to vote) and the top cover results reported here soon after.
e) While Madonna’s album cover corset may have sold for nearly $20,000 recently, that sale pales in comparison to what someone paid for another item featured prominently on a well-known album cover. As you’ll read in this coverage provided by NY Post Real Estate writer Jennifer Gould Keil, Bob Dylan manager Albert Grossman’s former Grammercy Park townhouse – the one where Mr. Dylan is photographed in 1965 by Daniel Kramer sitting on the front stair case on the album package for his Highway 61 Revisited LP – sold recently for $23 million.
Just to be clear, this property is NOT located on Desolation Row, or anywhere near Highway 61. This was the second time in 1965 that Grossman and Dylan teamed on a photo – Albert’s wife Sally is seen posing with Dylan in an artifact-strewn living room on the previous record’s cover (Bringing It All Back Home, also shot by Mr. Kramer).
f) Here’s a link to another nice item on the Ultimate Classic Rock site that provides a good backgrounder on the album covers created for Guns n Roses’ Appetite For Destruction – the original one done by the influential underground artist Robert Williams and then, after the palpitations suffered by the record company after seeing the robot rape-themed scene, the less-compelling but still-memorable skull faces on a cross work that was substituted for the final product.
Axl Rose had originally proposed using pix from the Challenger disaster for the cover, so controversy was always abrew with this cover project…
g) The company that lead the charge into technologies that brought about the near-demise of vinyl records – Sony – has now re-committed themselves to the manufacturing of vinyl records nearly 30 years after withdrawing from that business. NPR reporter Bill Chappell just reported that Sony Music in Japan is installing the equipment and hiring the talent needed to record and print vinyl records with the hopes of releasing new music early in 2018.
While nothing was said about how these new products will be packaged, I can only assume that full-sized sleeves will be required and will be adorned accordingly. I’ll let you know.
h) Image Comics artist Jeff Lamire’s recent comic book series called Royal City is going to be sporting some album cover art-inspired cover imagery for the next several issues, illustrating once again the strong connection between the fan-fueled music and comic book industries (you’ll recall Marvel Comics’ ongoing series of “variant covers” where comic book characters have been inserted into classic album art).
As you’ll see in this article posted on the HHHappy site – http://hhhhappy.com/these-comic-artists-are-paying-tribute-to-classic-90s-album-covers-from-sonic-youth-weezer-and-nirvana/ – beginning with the series’ sixth issue (due out in early October), the covers will be re-creations of well-known covers of albums by Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer and several others.
According to the publisher, the series is “a sprawling serialized graphic novel that will chart the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town, across three decades”, so turning to the artwork of some of the more angst-ridden records released over the past 30 years feels like a perfect tie-in.
i) Maxim Magazine, with its focus on all things manly, would of course be the place you’d expect to find an article built around the most-recent Ranker ratings of the Top 10 album covers found on recordings in the manliest of all musical genres – i.e., Classic Rock, so while regular readers of this site know that I avoid promoting “Top 10 of All Time” lists, sometimes these terribly unscientific polls simply serve to reiterate how ingrained some images are in the minds of music fans of all ages. You know what’s on this list even without reading it and will of course bitch about what’s missing and which one deserves to be number one, but you can’t deny that each one shown is a true classic in album design.
We’ll check back with them in 10 years to see what’s changed.
j) As the previous item in this month’s summary shows, writers and fans are always ready to pipe in with their opinions on the “best” and “worst” examples of album cover design and so, over on the other side of the Atlantic, art/design/architecture host Josh Fehnert recently posted an On Design piece (4 minutes) on the Monocle Magazine site in which he introduces the musings of Andrew Mueller on the topic of “What makes a memorable album cover?”. The answer Mueller gives us states simply that a record’s cover should introduce us to the music found inside the package and so, if the music’s bad, the cover should be also. Just think of all of the horrible music us oldsters we were saved from purchasing by being able to pick up an album from a bin/shelf in a retail store. Those buying digital products just don’t stand a chance…
k) Once Snapchat had introduced their Hot Dog filter, creative types all over the world began sharing their takes on hot-dogging themselves, their friends, their relatives, their pets, etc.. It didn’t take long for others to use the software to “update” some of their favorite images, including their favorite album covers, and so here’s a link to an article on the Konbini (Nigeria) site that puts on display examples of hot-dogged record covers for David Bowie, Drake, Gorillaz, Michael Jackson and others.
More to follow, I’m sure.
l) A survey commissioned in Britain by electronics giant Samsung about the public’s favorite art created by their fellow countrypeople produced a result that will resonate nicely with us fans of album cover artwork. As you’ll read in this recent article posted on The Mirror‘s web site – http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/close-art-britains-top-ten-10871508 – the “Top 10” results include works done over the past several centuries, including great paintings by John William Waterhouse and JMW Turner, a monumental sculpture by Anton Gormley and, heart-warmingly, not one by TWO album covers – Sir Peter Blake & Co’s Pepper’s… cover for The Beatles (#8) and the Hipgnosis-designed cover for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which came in at #9.
Cooler still, the #1 most-loved image, although not an album cover image itself, was created by an artist with several album cover credits, including records for Blur – that being the mysterious (and prodigiously-talented) graffiti artist Banksy, whose 2002 picture of a young girl with a red, heart-shaped balloon (titled Girl With Balloon) topped the charts.
The public is very perceptive, sometimes…
m) Lastly but not leastly, here’s an article that I’m sure will make you toss your 4th of July cookies – we all know that there are celebrities that are famous merely due to their ability to market themselves, and not for any specific talents or displays of creativity, and nowhere is this more evident than in this sad display of Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s usurping other peoples’ album cover imagery and, after adding their own why do we see them so many times faces, putting the results on some t-shirts they’re trying to hawk. The Twitterverse has responded unkindly but, I’m certain we’ll see, that won’t stop adoring fans from snapping these products up (perhaps a copyright infringement suit will accomplish just that – go get ’em Tupac and Biggie!).
And this is “making America great again”, circa 2017. Sad.
That’s all for now – be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.
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