ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, WITH PREVIEWS FOR December, 2017.
BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM
Greetings to you all – did you survive your Thanksgiving holiday break and the extra tablets of antacid required to manage turkey-and-stuffing-induced stomach pains? Like many of you, I’m working on knocking off some of the extra poundage I took on due to overindulgence, but with the month of news we just had, it couldn’t distract me from my duty to keep you all informed as to what took place, making it, if you’ll pardon the pun, a bit more digestible…
And so, today, on this sunny-but-chilly early December day, 2017, I present to you this month’s summary, one I think you’ll all find something of interest in. The month of November showered us with articles I know you’ll want to read that reveal new information about those actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts – as found in exhibitions, via new books and products and featured in interviews in profiles and other related reporting – of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in my reviews of stories from around the world.
Of course, the first thing that I’d like to highlight is the list of inductees into this year’s class of the Album Cover Hall of Fame. If you missed the announcement sent out just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., you can take a look at the 2017 Inductee page on the ACHOF site via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/announcing-the-2017-inductees-into-the-album-cover-hall-of-fame/
We are so pleased to see such talented people added to the list of inductees. Two of them – Art Director/Designer Craig Butler and Art Director/Illustrator Geoff Halpin – were inducted in two categories (how multi-talented of them!). Art Director inductee Gail Marowitz is having quite the year in that she’s also been securing awards (Alex Award for Best Illustrated LP Cover) and nominations (in the Best Recording Package category) for the 60th Grammy Awards, due to be handed out next January. Our congratulations to all nominees and inductees – keep up the great work!
As I noted, there are/were several notable awards shows taking place, with the newly-revived Alex Awards, the Best Art Vinyl Awards and the Grammy Awards all highlighting the creative talents still working for clients in the music business. You’ll be among the first to know who the winners are as the news happens, of course.
As always, I ask that you 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) CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – ATTN: Those creative-types looking to show off their album cover art skills – The Oak Park Art League (Oak Park, IL) is looking for submissions to their upcoming Artifact 33.3 show, organized to highlight the 70th anniversary of the release of the first modern LP cover in 1948, and yours truly (“Hey, that’s me”, as Bozo used to say) is honored to be included on the judging panel for this exciting new art show. As the show’s organizers put it, “The evolution of album cover art is as revolutionary as the music vinyl popularized, with iconic artists such as Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and others, merging the world of music with the visual arts, while catapulting musician identity and elevating jacket cover design to museum-worthy status. This 70th anniversary milestone and the renaissance of vinyl lends to this call for record cover art that express societal interests and global concerns – past, present and future. “
Artists who’d like to participate are being asked to submit original artwork for a fictional album by a fictional musical act and, after initial judging by the esteemed panel, a selection of these works will be professionally printed and displayed in 12”x12” frames for the exhibition at OPAL’s historic Carriage House Gallery. An additional selection of works will be included in an online exhibit on OPAL’s website.
There will also be panel discussions about album art (I’ll be showing examples of some classic album cover fine art prints at one), so if you’d like to learn more about either participating as an artist or simply attending the show or panel talks, click on over to – https://www.oakparkartleague.org/artifact-33-3
To read more about the rules and to see who else is on the judging panel (some very impressive names from all areas of the music and art worlds, if you ask me), please visit –https://oakparkartleague.submittable.com/submit/96839/artifact-33-1-3
b) I’m happy to be able to announce that tomorrow evening, December 2nd, from 6PM to 10PM PST at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery in downtown SF is the opening party for photographer Neal Preston new show at SFAE titled EXHILARATED & EXHAUSTED – An Exhibition of Iconic Rock Photographs by Neal Preston. Album cover fans know Neal’s work found on albums including Bruce Springsteen – Live 1975-85 and Streets of Philadelphia; Alice Cooper – Beast of Alice Cooper; Peter Frampton – Peter Frampton and A Day In The Sun; Heart – Passionworks; The Traveling Wilburys – The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1; Captain & Tennille – Song of Joy and Songs Of Joy; Tom Petty – The Live Anthology; Various Artists – Almost Famous and Elizabethtown soundtracks and others for Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Stevie Nicks, Patty Scialfa and others, so this “no-holds-barred retrospective of Neal Preston’s incredible career, curated in conjunction with his latest book of the same name (just released this month), provides a glimpse into Neal’s unique experience at the front lines of some of the greatest Rock & Roll moments in history.”
The show will include over 40 photographs – “exuberant images of icons like Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Stevie Nicks and many, many others considered to be “Rock Royalty”. You’ll find shots captured onstage, behind the scenes and taken on the road, some of which are previously-unseen. To sweeten purchases made for Holiday gift-giving, collectors who choose to buy a print during the show will also receive a signed copy of the book without charge (while supplies last). A digital catalog of the exhibition is available upon request, with more information found on the gallery’s site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400156
c) There’s still time to see the show and vote for your favorites… The Best Art Vinyl show of this year’s 50 nominated album covers continues at the Barnsley Civic, and I’m pleased to be able to share some additional info and images from that show with you now. This year’s fifty nominations include albums by Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, Katy Perry, Lorde, Father John Misty and Squeeze, and the folks at the Barnsley Civic were particularly pleased and proud of the fact that two local artists were included in the list of 50 finalists: Kate Rusby, with her first-ever release on vinyl (design by Mat Lazenby, with a painting by David Baumforth) and Hannah Peel, whose album Mary Casio was recorded with a brass orchestra and whose record cover was designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, famous for his work on Blackstar, David Bowie’s final album.
The Gallery’s open from Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm, with the BEST ART VINYL: 12 YEARS ON 12 INCHES on display at The Civic until January 20th, 2018. Admission is free. For more information, please visit http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk
Writing for the Yorkshire Post, Lindsay Pantry gives us a further look at this show in this article found at http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/what-s-on/exhibitions/exhibition-shows-a-different-perspective-on-vinyl-cover-art-1-8858821
d) Opening on Friday, November 3rd with a reception (AKA “party”) at the 212 Gallery at 240 East 4th Street in NYC was the “Legends of Hip-Hop” show featuring a new collection of silkscreen prints that were produced via a collaboration between famed photographer Janette Beckman and printer extraordinaire Gary Lichtenstein. Well-known for her album cover imagery for musical acts including The Police (Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Every Breath You Take: The Singles); Squeeze – Six Of One; Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – On The Strength; Salt-n-Pepa – A Salt With A Deadly Pepa and Push It , Gang Starr, Arthur Russell and many others, Beckman was on hand to capture the emergence of a number of ground-breaking hip-hop and rap acts and share these images via publications including The Face, Melody Maker, Esquire, Glamour, Interview, The London Sunday Times, Mojo, Newsweek, The Observer, People and Rolling Stone.
According to the show’s press info, “Janette Beckman: New Silkscreens offers a historic view of groundbreaking moments in time for a number of musicians and bands including, RUN DMC, LL Cool J and Salt-N-Pepa. Beckman’s suite of prints is reminiscent of her classic photographs but entirely unique by virtue of the choices she has made in terms of color, saturation and texture. Each piece tells a story and Beckman’s interpretations are, in fact, found on each, in her own, unmistakable handwriting.” Working with master printmaker Lichtenstein, she’s “utilizing silkscreen to transform visual language and present it in a brand new way. The end result is an exhibition that is as storied as its creator.”
A good time was had by all – get the latest info via the link at https://www.gleatmana.com/single-post/2017/10/01/212-Gallery-and-Gary-Lichtenstein-Editions-present-Legends-Of-Hip-Hop
e) On Thursday, November 9th, fans of music and art in the NYC area were also treated to an opportunity to watch a presentation by acclaimed rock photographer Mick Rock at the New York Public Library, in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Lou Reed’s Transformer LP (featuring a memorable MR photo on its cover) along with the release of his Genesis Publications-produced fine art book on the topic featuring Rock’s photos and essays/notes by the late Mr. Reed himself. Mr. Rock spent some quality time in conversation with Rolling Stone Magazine writer David Fricke in the Library’s Celeste Auditorium, with more details available at https://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2017/11/09/transformer-45-mick-rock-lou-reed-1970s-and-rock-history
In addition to the freebie tix, well-heeled attendees were able to purchase a special VIP package that, in addition to preferred event seating and access to a pre-show “meet & greet” with Mr. Rock, got them a signed copy of the Transformer book (or a print from a new series of Transformer prints), a commemorative book plate and a photo of themselves with the enigmatic Mr. Rock (taken by a pro shooter) at the event. Read more about this book and its creators at – http://www.genesis-publications.com/book/9781905662234/transformer?
f) Appearing on stage Tuesday, November 21st, award-winning photographer Brian Griffin lead a presentation in Lecture Theatre A of the London College of Communication (Elephant & Castle, London, SE1 6SB, UK) where, along with writer Terry Rawlings and moderator Paul Lowe, they talked about his new book Pop which documents his 30+ year career in the music photography business – one that’s produced scores of memorable album cover images for musical acts including Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Psychedelic Furs, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Joe Jackson and many others. The new book’s 350 pages include hundreds of shots Brian took for album covers (over 160 of them), single sleeves, posters and press materials for more than 100 musical acts, many of which are previously unpublished. In addition to the previously-mentioned acts, you’ll also find photos of Echo & The Bunnymen, Kate Bush, The Specials, Ian Dury, The Clash and many more.
According to the event’s PR, “Griffin is recognized as one of the most eminent British photographers of the seventies and eighties… his work has been the subject of over 50 international solo exhibitions and is held in collections institutions including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Arts Council of Great Britain, London; the British Council, London; the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Museum Folkwang, Essen; the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; the Art Museum Reykjavik, Iceland; the Mast Foundation, Bologna; and the Museu da Imagem, Braga, Portugal.” This was a truly unique opportunity to see and listen to stories related by one of the greats in the business – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pop-a-life-in-music-and-pictures-tickets-39330109416?
g) Artist Shepard Fairey, who recently won an Alex Award for his cover work for Blondie’s Pollinator record, recently launched a huge solo show in Los Angeles, done in conjunction with the Library Street Collective. Called Damaged, this new body of work has garnered a lot of press nationally since its roll out, including articles in Juxtapoz Magazine, the New York Times and The Guardian in the U.K.:
This new show features over 200 works and is his first major collection in the last decade since he hit the world stage with his iconic HOPE poster for then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama. In addition to his work for NY punk stalwarts Blondie, Fairey has produced memorable record packages for musical acts including Anthrax, Black Eyed Peas, Led Zeppelin and Smashing Pumpkins, to name just a few. With new works priced as much as $100,000, Shepard’s come a long way from selling $30 posters on his Obey company web site…
h) Running now through January 6th at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in downtown San Francisco is a new solo show by photographer Jay Blakesberg called “Dark + Light: Jay Blakesberg’s Rock & Roll Photography, 1978 -2017” which puts on display highlights (over 120 images) from Jay’s impressive career, beginning with his shots taken as a teenager in New Jersey (and a huge Grateful Dead fan) through his more-recent pix of the band taken at their “Fare Thee Well” show in Chicago which marked their 50th anniversary as a band.
The show is co-curated with Photo Center’s director, Dave Christensen, with a nice intro and overview provided to us by The San Francisco Chronicle’s pop music critic, Aidin Vaziri, which you can read via the link – http://www.sfchronicle.com/entertainment/article/Rock-photographer-Jay-Blakesberg-gets-first-12333628.php
There are also additional photos on display at the McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan St., S.F., with more viewing info available at http://harveymilkphotocenter.org/exhibits/dark-light-rock-roll-photography-jay-blakesberg/
i) If you find yourself in need of a day trip from Copenhagen some time between now and March 25th, 2018, the My Music show at the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Ishøj, Denmark (SW of Copenhagen) looks as though it will provide you with a lot to see and experience. This is where (according to the Museum’s press info) “Pop music and art meet in a sensory explosion of music videos, video art, sculptures, paintings and installations. Rhythm and image merge in 22 works, inviting you to take part in a veritable bombardment of the mind and body… Experience compelling artworks and music videos in a major exhibition that speaks to the eyes and ears, vocal cords and sense of rhythm. Contemporary art meets pop music in a sensual explosion of music video, video art, sculpture, painting and installation.”
Artists from around the world have contributed to this display which features music by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Elton John, Madonna, Beck, Sia and a long list of artists who, I’m certain, are well-known in Scandinavia.
Just the videos I saw on the museum’s site lead me to think that there’s a lot going on in this part of the world that we’ve never had the chance to learn about – that’s what’s so wonderful about the Web.
j) Proving once again that there are many musicians whose creative capabilities extend beyond the making of music, there’s a show of U2 guitarist The Edge’s photos that were taken 30 years ago (OMG) during the making of The Joshua Tree album that fans in So. California can go and enjoy now until December 17th at the Arcane Space Gallery in Venice, CA. Titled The Joshua Tree, Photographs by The Edge, collectors with a conscience can also purchase one or more from a limited number of prints that will be on sale, with proceeds benefitting the GO Campaign, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds to help orphans and other at-risk children.
Two articles give us two takes on what’s on display – http://www.presstelegram.com/2017/11/16/where-to-view-never-before-seen-pictures-of-u2s-the-joshua-tree-desert-journey/ and
While more information on the show and it’s gallery location can be found at https://www.arcanespacela.com/
k) When a vinyl collector, a record store owner and a photo festival director get together to promote what they’re passionate about, only good things can happen, so as you’ll see when you read Gemma Padley’s article in the British Journal of Photography, a show that launched several years ago in Arles, France and is now running (through March, 2018) in a new home (the Fundación Foto Colectania) in Barcelona, Spain continues to impress fans with its sheer scope – over 600 album images dating back from the earliest days of record sleeves and continuing through today. As I reported after the show’s initial launch in 2015 at Les Recontres d’Arles international photo exhibition, the team behind this show (Total Records) worked to put on display the broad range of photographic imagery that’s been used to create some truly-memorable record packages over the years. Works by Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdain, Linda McCartney, Ryan McGinley and many others are included, as is a display of fan-created “Sleevefaces” that combine album images with real people and places.
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) I’m happy to announce the publication of my latest interview on the ACHOF site featuring designers/authors Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz, with the duo sharing the details about their Grammy-nominated work in 1979 on the packaging for Fear of Music for Talking Heads –
Drate and Salavetz bring a bundle of creativity and passion to their work, something that has also led them to author and publish a number of books on rock music-related art and design, including the classic Designing For Music book that profiled a number of leading album cover artists working in the 1980s. Their collaboration with Talking Heads members including David Byrne and Jerry Harrison – both with strong design backgrounds – pushed the technology of the day to the edge and resulted in one of the most-referenced cover works of the rock era.
Also would like to plug the publication of my updated interview with photographer Vic Singh regarding the trippy cover image he created 50 years ago for Pink Floyd’s debut record, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. GOLDMINE Magazine’s January 2018 issue is all about psychedelic rock and I’m pleased to be part of this issue’s content, which also includes articles and interviews about and with acts such as Donovan, Blue Cheer, Vanilla Fudge, Blues Magoos, Jerry Garcia, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and much, much more. On newsstands and at your favorite record store now – http://www.goldminemag.com
b) There’s a really-insightful video recently posted on the Juxtapoz Magazine web site regarding the collaboration between rocker Andrew WK and the amazingly talented husband and wife painting team of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell that resulted in the fantasy art-inspired cover art for WK’s latest record titled You’re Not Alone. Vallejo and Bell had had Andrew as a subject once before (for the promo art they created for MTV/Revolver Magazine’s Golden Gods Awards back in 2010), but now having the chance to have them create a painting for his new music package was a dream come true for WK.
This is not the first album cover we’ve enjoyed from Vallejo and Bell, with their previous work for musical acts including Ozzy Osbourne, Meat Loaf, Molly Hatchet and Flotsam & Jetsam garnering much praise from fans from the worlds of fantasy art, comic books, movie poster and hard rock/metal music. Learn more about their history and inspiration via this 5-minute video produced by Stephen Penta –
To see more of Vallejo and Bell’s work, including their larger-than-life images created for Nike, Old Spice, Ford Motors and many others, please visit their web site at http://www.borisjulie.com/corporate-and-advertising-art/
c) Writer Loring Kemp continues to feed the need of album art fans to know more about the people that make your favorite album jackets, and this month’s posting – a “Cover Our Tracks” interview with photographer Daniel Corrigan, a guy responsible for memorable cover images for clients including Babes In Toyland, Husker Du, The Replacements and Soul Asylum, just to name a few – takes us from his earlier days as a shooter in Minneapolis working for the Minnesota Daily and the City Pages thru his move into music videos and on to his role as famed rock venue First Avenue’s house photographer.
As always, Loring digs deep and explores the specifics of “the making of” a number of well-known covers, so a click on over to https://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2017/11/12/Daniel-Corrigan-on-his-work-with-The-Replacements-Soul-Asylum-H%C3%BCsker-D%C3%BC-and-Babes-in-Toyland will certainly be time well-spent.
d) Goldmine Magazine editor Pat Prince recently published a podcast of an interview he did with celebrated photographer Gered Mankowitz that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. The November issue of the magazine honored the contributions of the late guitar slinger Jimi Hendrix in a series of articles, and as Mankowitz was on hand to document Hendrix as he brought the London club scene to its knees in the mid-late 1960s (after producing a series of stunning album covers and promo imagery for the Rolling Stones), it’s a treat to be able to hear the details from the early days this influential player’s emergence on to the international music scene – http://www.goldminemag.com/podcast/episode-11-photographer-gered-mankowitz-table-turned-vinyl-subscription-service-british-invasion-photographer-gered-mankowitz-already-taken-iconic-photographs-rolling-stones
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) Rock photo and fine art fans in the LA area already know about the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Hollywood, a place where you’ll find a regular series of shows featuring works by many of the best-known album/rock art producers there are. With the Holidays now upon us, the good folks at the gallery have just shared a link to a shopping guide they’ve created – something for everyone on your list (if you like them a REAL lot) – https://www.mrmusichead.com/gift-guide/
If you’re looking for something to send me this Holiday season (I mean, how much have I given YOU over the past 10 years?), you might want to consider one of these nifty prints of the late Brian Duffy’s portrait shot used on the cover of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane record – there’s even one printed from the negative as a negative – how other-worldly of them. Thanks for the thought, anyway…
b) There’s a special, limited-time-only Queen sale on now at St. Paul’s Gallery – to commemorate their recent show in Birmingham, UK, Symon and Co. at St. Paul’s Gallery in the city is offering fans world-wide a very special deal – 20% off – on band member-signed (Brian and Roger), limited-edition fine art prints of album cover images including Night At The Opera, Jazz, A Day At The Races and News Of The World (with Frank Kelley Freas’ memorable science fiction-inspired cover art). Regular retail on these works of art is £750 (approx. $998), so be sure to use the code ECWGB130 at check out to get yours for less…
c) Just in time for holiday gift-giving, Fatima Barrie, writing for The Source, gives us an intro to this limited-time (only thru December 3rd) opportunity to pick up some just-released, estate-approved Prince-based items – t-shirts, hats and hoodie sweatshirts priced from $25 – $99 (for a limited edition 1999 hoodie in black, white or why-would-you-buy-anything-else Prince purple) from the Hit’N’Run store – http://thesource.com/2017/11/30/official-prince-merch-available-in-limited-edition-pop-up/
The Prince merch online “pop-up” store can be found at – https://www.princehitnrun.com/store/
d) John Lennon’s personal copy of a prototype – complete with Lennon-drawn artwork on the back – of the infamous The Beatles Yesterday And Today “Butcher Cover” is just one of the several album art-related items up for bid as part of the Heritage Auction house’s November 11th Entertainment Auction – https://entertainment.ha.com/c/auction-home.zx?saleNo=7164&ic=breadcrumb-entertainment-071515-interior
In addition to that rarity (which, incidentally, had an opening asking bid of $100,000 and sold for $125,000), there’s an alternative shot – a 12” x 15” B&W, fully-autographed print – taken by photographer Robert Whitaker in late 1964 from the album cover photo session for The Beatles ’65 Lot #89330 (opening bid of $10,000). There were several other album cover-related items being offered, including one item that brought back memories – the Beatles’ White Album Photo Proof Sheet – Lot #89361
Add’l coverage is by The Daily Mail, including an intro video featuring Gary Shrum -director of music memorabilia at Heritage Auctions – talking about what makes this item so unique – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5031691/World-s-rarest-Beatles-album-goes-auction.html?
4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –
a) While I might have missed the original stories overseas, I did just see more about a book published in late May in the UK (and late August in North America) from Queen guitartist and mad scientist Brian May which features 3-D photos (taken with a stereo camera) along with info on News of the World album art (rework of Frank Kelly Freas science fiction book cover). The book’s 256 pages give you the chance to gawk at over 300 3-D photos using the special viewer device May includes in the package (now available in German and Italian, too) http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/8031018/queen-brian-may-3-d-photo-history-interview
The book’s photos and photo viewer are produced by London Stereoscopic Company, Ltd, owned by Brian May – http://shop.londonstereo.com/
And if you’d like to see several videos of an interview featuring May with Yahoo Music’s Lyndsey Parker that were shot this past September about the book, just go to – https://www.queenin3-d.com/videos/
5) Other articles of interest –
a) Nominations for the 60th annual Grammy Awards were announced this past Tuesday morning (Nov. 28th) and the nominees in the Packaging Categories include several ACHOF nominees/inductees, including Gail Marowitz, who was just inducted this year in the Art Director category (congratulations, Gail!). There are a number of people nominated this year that I don’t have any information on, so I’ll get to work to bring you an update about just who these talented people are and where you might have seen their work in the past.
The Nominees for “Best Recording Package” are:
El Orisha De La Rosa by Magin Diaz – Claudio Roncoli & Cactus Taller, art directors (Noname Records);
Mura Masa by Mura Masa – Alex Crossan & Matt De Jong, art directors (Downtown/Interscope Records);
Pure Comedy (Deluxe Edition) by Father John Misty – Sasha Barr, Ed Steed & Josh Tillman, art directors (Sub Pop Records);
Sleep Well Beast by The National – Elyanna Blaser-Gould, Luke Hayman & Andrea Trabucco-Campos, art directors (4AD Records);
Solid State by Jonathan Coulton – Gail Marowitz, art director (Super Ego Records)
The Nominees for “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” are:
Bobo Yeye: Belle Epoque In Upper Volta (Various Artists) – Tim Breen, art director (Numero Group);
Lovely Creatures: The Best Of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (1984 – 2014) by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Tom Hingston, art director (Mute/BMG Records);
May 1977: Get Shown The Light by the Grateful Dead – Masaki Koike, art director (Rhino Records);
The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition (Various Artists) – Lawrence Azerrad, Timothy Daly & David Pescovitz, art directors (Ozma Records);
Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares (Various Artists) – Tim Breen, Benjamin Marra & Ken Shipley, art directors (Numero Group)
And while we don’t really cover this aspect of album packaging on the ACHOF site, we do want to extend our congratulations to the following nominees in the “Best Album Notes” category:
Arthur Q. Smith: The Trouble With The Truth (Various Artists) – Wayne Bledsoe & Bradley Reeves, album notes writers;
Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition (Various Artists) – Ted Olson, album notes writer ;
The Complete Piano Works Of Scott Joplin by Richard Dowling – Bryan S. Wright, album notes writer;
Edouard-Léon Scott De Martinville, Inventor Of Sound Recording: A Bicentennial Tribute (Various Artists) – David Giovannoni, album notes writer;
Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings by Otis Redding – Lynell George, album notes writer;
Washington Phillips And His Manzarene Dreams by Washington Phillips – Michael Corcoran, album notes writer
Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees. The winners in these categories will be announced at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony that will take place at 3PM EST in The Theater At Madison Square Garden on January 28th, 2018, before that evening’s Grammy Awards Live Telecast. I’ll have a lot more information for you about the people nominated this year soon, so watch your “In” box for further notices.
b) I also wanted to share the list of winners from the newly-revived Alex Awards presentations that took place on November 6th during the Making Vinyl trade show in Detroit. According to the show’s promoters, there were 124 designs submitted to the judging panel this year covering a broad range of both newer and experienced album packaging design talent and, by the looks of the winners in each category, there was a lot of great talent on display, win or lose.
Without further delay, here are the winners and runner-ups in each category:
For BEST ILLUSTRATED LP COVER:
Winner – Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness (Gail Marowitz, Art Director; Ed Sherman, Designer; Andrea Deszo, Illustrator; A to Z Packaging Co.);
Runner-up – Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy (Ed Steed, Artwork; Key Production Group, Packaging/Printing)
Cartoonist Steed’s Where’s Waldo-like artwork for the Pure Comedy record was the subject of a couple of articles you might want to read – http://www.surfacemag.com/articles/edward-steed-talks-pure-comedy-album-illustrations/
For BEST PHOTO LP COVER:
Winner – Waxahatachee – Out in the Storm (Daniel Shea, Photographer; Katie Crutchfield and Daniel Murphy, Art Directors; Ross-Ellis, Printing);
Runner-up – Common, The Light (QRATES, Art Direction and Design; Wax Poetics Japan, Art Direction)
Qrates, which is a bespoke vinyl record pressing company, worked with Wax Poetics Japan to release a special 2-record compilation of tunes from three previously-released Common albums, produced by J Dilla. The set comes with two posters featuring Common and J Dilla and a sticker set.
For BEST 45 SINGLE PACKAGE:
Winner – Alice Cooper, Live From the Astroturf (Chris Penn, Art Director; Jonathan Kimbrell, Designer; Allison V. Smith, Photographer; Ross-Ellis, Printing; Gotta Groove Records, Pressing);
Runner-up – Margo Price, Weakness (Tristan McNatt, Art Direction and Design; Kelly Dugan, Photographer; Kangaroo Press, Printing; Third Man Records, Pressing)
For BEST GATEFOLD:
Winner – UNKLE, The Road, Part 1 (Key Production Group, Packaging/Printing; James Lavelle, Art Direction and Design; George Stewart-Lockhart, Design);
Runner-up – The National, Sleep Well Beast (Luke Hayman, Andrea Trabuco-Campos, Elyanna Blaser Gould@Pentagram, Art Direction and Design; Graham Macindoe, Photographer)
For BEST RECORD ART:
Winner – The Monks, Hamburg Recordings 1967 (Ryon Nishimori, Art Direction; Kangaroo Press, Printing; United Record Pressing, Packaging; Third Man Records, Pressing);
Runner-up – My Chemical Romance, Welcome to the Black Parade (Ian Cross, Art Direction and Design; James Jean, Illustrations.; A To Z Media, Packaging/Printing)
For BEST REISSUE PACKAGE:
Winners (Tie) Andromeda Strain Soundtrack (Isaac Slusarenko, Art Direction and Design; Rob Jones, Design; Stoughton Printers, Printing ) and John Cale’s The Academy in Peril (Dorado Music Packaging, Packaging) ;
Runner-up – The White Stripes, The White Stripes (Nat Strimpopulous, Art Direction and Design; ESP Detroit, Printing; Third Man Records, Pressing)
For BEST BOXED SET:
Winner – Voyager, 40th Anniversary Edition (Lawrence Azzerad, Timothy Daly, David Pescovitz, Art Directors; Furnace Record Pressing, Pressing; Pallas USA, Pressing; Stoughton Printing, Printing);
Runners-up (Tie) – Blondie for Pollinator (Key Production Group, Packaging ) and The White Stripes for Vault 33, X, Icky Thump (Rob Jones, Art Direction and Design; Stoughton Printing, Printing; Autumn De Wilde, P; Printcraft, Book; Third Man Records, Pressing; DLS Screenprinting, Prints)
FYI – The original design for Blondie’s Pollinator cover was done by Shepard Fairey…
For BEST OVERALL PACKAGE:
Winners (Tie) AKATRE, BLCK RCK (Squeezer, Packaging/Printing; Optimal Media GmbH, Packaging/Printing )and Pet Symmetry, Vision (Andy Hendricks, Art Direction and Design; GZ Vinyl & Pressing, Pressing);
Runner-up – Margo Price, Live at the Hamilton (Ben Swank, Art Director; Ryon Nishimori and Jesssi Yohn, Illustrators; Jessi Yohn, Design
Of course, I’ll be doing the follow-up research to be able to share the information on the talent associated with each of these lauded packages and will present that in this month’s news summary. In the meantime, if you’d like to see the complete list of Nominees up on the Making Vinyl site, please follow the link to https://makingvinyl.com/alex-awards/
Congratulations to all of the nominees, winners and runner-ups for a job well done. I’m sure that Alex (i.e., the late Alex Steinweiss, the Father of the Album Cover) would be pleased!
c) Not sure why this just popped up in my news alert feeds (as it was first published in February 2017!) or what exactly Drumroll Perspectives is (an agency, perhaps?), but it seems that the site they’ve put up is built around an assignment for their employees (friends, anyone?) in which you’re supposed to create an album cover that “tells your story”.
The way I’m feeling about life in America these days, I’d simply post two covers side-by-side – AC/DC’s Back In Black and “The White Album” by The Beatles…
Part 2 of ACHOF Monthly News Summary for November/December, 2017 (added Monday, December 4th, 2017) –
a) One of the things I’ve always hoped to do here at the ACHOF is to develop some materials for school teachers that they could use to teach kids about album cover packaging design, and so I read with great interest the recent press about the Teachrock.org group’s class materials made for art teachers that might want to introduce students to the world of logo design – http://teachrock.org/lesson/art-lesson-designing-band-logo/#
Teachrock.org is part of the Rock & Roll Forever Foundation’s efforts to bring high-quality teaching materials and courses to teachers and students at no charge, with their goal being to “allow a one-of-a-kind, multimedia experience that helps young people connect the history of popular music to classroom work across the disciplines. From social studies and language arts to geography, media studies, science, general music, and more: TeachRock has engaging and meaningful material for every classroom.”
The founders of these organizations include the multi-talented Steven Van Zandt (AKA “Little Steven”), along with Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Brown and U2’s Bono and their efforts are supported by organizations including the Grammy Museum, PBS, ABC News, Scholastic Inc. and several other well-regarded education/media companies. The quality of these materials is assured by the participation and endorsement of groups including the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Association for Music Education and the National Council for Geographic Education, so I wasn’t surprised at all by the scope of the materials I found for this “Designing A Band Logo” course, which included a course overview and list of related activities, media catalog and some very nice handouts.
It is my hope to be able to include materials like this on the ACHOF site at some point but, until then, it’s great to be able to point you in their direction.
b) Along those same lines, I was also happy to uncover information on a recent educational session offered at the London Illustration Fair where participants learned to design their own record covers. The session was led by Spanish illustrator Claudia Toran, who took her training in the arts from Leeds University to a practice in London where she now produces work for clients including the BBC, Smith Journal, Stereo Creative, Optymistic, The Orielles and The 1975 – http://www.thelondonillustrationfair.co.uk/workshops-2017-1/2017/10/31/records-and-illustration-with-claudia-toran
The Fair also included workshops on Monoprinting from a Screen, Drawing a Graphic Novel, How To Illustrate for a Magazine and other hands-on efforts, so its wonderful to see professionals hard at work sharing their talents and experience with others interested in exploring careers in these specialized areas of design and graphics.
c) Elle Magazine fashion writer Summer Lin provides us with coverage on a new line of clothing being promoted by designer Stacey Bendet and her Alice and Olivia brand’s web shop. Added to her previous line of tops and other items featuring well-known images of rock icons including David Bowie and the Rolling Stones are 15 new items featuring a wide range of Beatles-related imagery – Abbey Road, the band’s logo and several pieces of clothing emblazoned with snippets of lyrics (“Come Together”, “All You Need Is Love”, “Here Comes The Sun”) on top of the designer’s own imagery. http://www.elle.com/fashion/a13142833/alice-olivia-teams-up-with-the-beatles-on-a-capsule-collection/
Items range in price from $195 (embroidered t-shirts) to $1295 for an embellished gown skirt. See the entire collection online at https://www.aliceandolivia.com/the-beatles or in Saks Fifth Avenue stores.
d) Slightly more-affordable but no-less album art-inspired are the new items found now at Urban Outfitters stores based on graphics from Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt record, released in 1996 on Roc-A-Fella Records. The label’s co-founder, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, collaborated with the clothing store, reaching back into his catalog for imagery for this new 9-piece line of clothing that includes short/long-sleeved t-shirts, hoodie sweatshirts and a couple of nice hats. As you’ll read in this recent posting on the Complex.com site by Joshua Espinoza, these basic items will also be added to soon by some limited-edition pieces, including a Reasonable Doubt jacket of which only 196 will be produced (grab them while you can) – http://www.complex.com/style/2017/11/urban-outfitters-drop-jay-z-reasonable-doubt-merch Those in a hurry to buy can click on over to the UO store now via this link – https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/jay-z-reasonable-doubt-collection?
Album art licensing – the gift that keeps on giving!
e) I’m always intrigued when I find music promoters – in this case, Apple’s new Apple Music service – using album cover imagery in exciting new ways to attract attention to their products and services and, in this particular case, described here by Apple Magazine writer Helen Duncan, done very nicely in the form of a video with scenes derived from famous record covers, music videos and other visual cues – https://applemagazine.com/apple-music-promoted-short-video-featuring-album-covers/35824
Musical acts old and new are included, so whether you’re a fan of FKA Twigs or Fleetwood Mac, you’ll find something to like in this 38-second video. Not sure who to congratulate for this (as they don’t share who the director was), but “nicely done” to whomever was responsible.
f) NME’s Jamie Milton takes a huge leap by proffering examples of the “best album artwork of the 21st Century so far” – http://www.nme.com/photos/best-album-artwork-21st-century-2155715
Included in his “best of” list are works by musical acts such as Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, Run The Jewels, The Strokes, David Bowie, Blur and many others, and while (as you know) I’m not one to add a lot of credence to any of these lists, I do appreciate the fact that the author has provided some information on who it was that was responsible for the works, so that’s nice to see.
Later this month, you’ll find my yearly recap of the highly-controversial (yet always fascinating) lists of “Best “ and “Worst” album covers of 2017….stay tuned as I’m sure that there will be a lot of agreement and disagreement as to the covers most-mentioned by the press and people who tend to create these lists….
g) While music fans throughout the years have expressed their creativity via homages and spoofs of classic album art (we’ve all seen the Abbey Road and Pepper’s knock-offs, to name just two), it’s interesting to see what fans of hits in other media – in this case, of the huge hit TV show Game Of Thrones – apply their talents to incorporate their favorite characters from the shows in some fascinating re-makes of well-loved album cover imagery. Uproxx contributor Caleb Reading shares a grouping of album covers redone to feature stars from everyone’s favorite blood-drenched TV show. Record covers for Phil Collins, Pink Floyd, Ramones, Led Zeppelin and others serve as the basis for new records with titles such as Dragon Slayer, Snow (Jon Snow), THRONES and Targaryen – Born To Rule – http://uproxx.com/tv/game-of-thrones-album-covers-mashup/
h) I’ve done scores of interviews with album cover designers during which they’ve shared the details of many of the unique materials used in the design/production of record packages (such as the vinyl floor tile originally planned for use by Spencer Drate in the making of Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music) but, on occasion, I’m flabbergasted by the extent some folks will go in order to make an album cover stand out from the crowds. In this article by Scott Sterling on the Radio.com site, you’ll read about how artist Vincent Castiglia used Gregg Allman’s blood (along with some additional fluid from his kids) to paint the portrait (based on a Neal Preston photo) used on the cover of his posthumous album titled, quite appropriately, Southern Blood – http://radio.com/2017/09/07/gregg-allman-blood-portrait/
Imagine the challenge had Allman’s estate decided to name the record Southern Nose Hairs.
And last but not least…
i) On the Euronews site, writer Emma Beswick shares how another year’s losses – i.e., counted in the deaths of musicians, actors and others who’ve captivated us all with their contributions to the entertainment landscape – have been illustrated by this artist’s Pepper’s-style collage, a follow-up to the one he created last year after we’d lost Bowie, Prince, Lemmy, George Michael and others in 2016 – http://www.euronews.com/2017/11/14/british-artist-updates-beetles-sgt-pepper-cover-featuring-2017s-dead-celebrities
Wanting to “draw attention to issues including climate change, gun violence and ‘world leaders threatening nuclear annihilation during their morning bowel movement’ ,” British artist Chris Baker’s 2017 version includes personalities such as Hugh Hefner, Adam West, Chuck Berry, Roger Moore, Chris Cornell and Tom Petty, to name just a few. Why wait for the various award shows’ “In Memoriam” segments when we can all share in our sorrows today?
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.
All text and images included in this article are Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.