Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – Early November, 2019
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Dear Readers – This month’s summary will follow in my newest tradition – short intros and lots of links to the most-interesting stories I could find on the topic of album cover imagery and the people that make it. Later this month, you’ll meet the newest inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame (voting is taking place this month) but, for now here’s what you’ve been waiting patiently for:
1) The 2019 Making Vinyl Awards were presented on October 15 at a ceremony that took place during the “Making Vinyl” conference in Hollywood, CA, with the judges handing out awards to the talented people who created some intriguing examples of the craft. As a judge again this year, I have to admit that there were a number of examples that challenged my own pre-conceived notions of what “good” album cover art is, and several of the winners of this year’s polling went out of their way to reinforce the fact that “art is never easy” and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (which is why I never publicly answer the question “what’s your favorite album cover”). At the end of the day, it’s just great to see so many talented people working so hard to conceive and produce record packaging that keeps fans coming back for more – http://makingvinyl.org/2019-winners-runner-ups/
This year’s “Alex Steinweiss Award” (for best overall package) was handed out to the team of creatives that came up with the package for the record titled Aesop Rock & Tobacco are Malibu Ken, a collaboration between hip-hop MC Aesop Rock and electronic music guru Tobacco released in early 2019 on the Rhymesayers Entertainment label. The principal design/illustration was done by artist James Quigley (AKA “Gunsho”), with the unique vinyl packaging including a custom die-cut gatefold jacket housing custom blue-colored vinyl, a 4-page insert with album lyrics, a perforated pop-out wearable mask with elastic string and a free digital download card (the CD packaging includes a custom die-cut 6-panel digipak housing a 12-page booklet with full album lyrics and a 8-panel cut-out wearable paper mask). Kudos also to the nice people at A To Z Media, who coordinated the manufacturing of this winning package. See more at https://pro.evalato.com/813/submissions/21863?round_id=617
New Exhibitions/gallery shows –
1) OPENED October 20 – The works of Pop artist Andy Warhol comes to Chicago – A show that’s drawn crowds and received rave reviews since its premiere at the Whitney Museum in NYC – Andy Warhol From A to B and Back Again – opened at Chicago’s Art Institute with a newly-curated collection of hundreds of the pop art master’s most-impressive works, including many from the museum’s vast collection. And yes, there will be a small collection of his album covers included in the display. I’ll be touring through the show soon and will share that coverage with you post-haste. Until then, you can learn more about what will be on display – running there through January 26, 2020 by visiting the museum’s site at https://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/2937/andy-warhol-from-a-to-b-and-back-again
I was fortunate enough to obtain some related info about this show from super-collector/album art historian and curator Frank Edwards that I’d like to share with you now. According to Frank, “Specifically, included are The Nation’s Nightmare record (derived from an anti-drug radio program) from 1951; the Velvet Underground and Nico ‘Banana’ record from 1967, and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers record from 1971. Additionally, the wonderful book produced for this exhibition includes images of Moondog’s The Story of Moondog (from 1957), the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat record from 1968, as well as images from the magazine Aspen’s Fab issue from December 1966 (which included a “flexi-disc” record) and Andy Warhol’s Index Book (which he called “a children’s book for hipsters”), which also included a flexi-disc. Additionally, two of the portraits included in the exhibition or catalog were used for record covers – Aretha Franklin’s portrait was used for the record, Aretha, and the Debbie Harry portrait was used for Blondie’s Greatest Hits: Deluxe Redux.”
Frank also maintains an excellent blog (now part of the ACHOF “Resources” section) that I’d invite you all to read as well – Art Record Covers (Vinyl Record Covers by Renowned Visual Artists) – https://artrecordcovers.wordpress.com/
2) NEW BANKSY ART SHOW in GENOA, ITALY – Friend of the ACHOF and fellow album art lover Richard Forrest recently shared the details of a new art show featuring the works of the mysterious and ultra-popular artist Banksy that will be opening later this month (November 22nd) in Genoa, Italy. What makes the show even more intriguing is that a number of items from Dr. Forrest’s personal collection will be included in the exhibition.
While I don’t have all of the details yet (he just signed the loan agreement, so some of the details are still TBD), the show’s title is “The Second Principle of Banksy” and is scheduled to run at the Palazzo Ducale (on the Piazza Matteotti) until March 20, 2020. According to the venue, “War, capitalism and freedom are current issues addressed by this exhibition, by using the artworks of the internationally famous street artist named Bansky. The exhibition is curated by Stefano Antonelli and Gianluca Marziani and includes paintings, limited edition prints, sculptures and rare items, many of which will be exposed for the first time.” As regards to the Forrest-supplied Banksy-produced album art that will be on loan to the show, let me recap some of the related info as I first reported it this past August during my exclusive review of this part of Richard’s collection – “I started collecting Banksy’s art on record and CD covers around 2005-6, at a time when most could be bought at standard record prices. I found a second issue version of Banksy’s/Danger Mouse’s Paris Hilton CD and a DJ offered me his copy of the promo version of Röyksopp’s Melody A.M. album with the Banksy-sprayed cover. I have since completed the series of Paris Hilton CDs by obtaining the first Bansky/Danger Mouse issue and by buying a copy of the original CD by Paris Hilton for comparison. Back in 2012, I curated an exhibition of Banksy’s record cover art and made a digital copy of the ultra-rare Capoiera Twins promo 12″ 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out, the cover of which was also spray-painted by Banksy (it wasn’t until 2017 that I actually got hold of a genuine copy)…Another rarity I have is the printer’s proof of Dirty Funker’s 2008 remix of The Knack’s hit single My Sharona which he’d renamed Let’s Get Dirty. As you know, in 2005 Banksy made a series of portraits of Kate Moss – six in all – done in the style of Andy Warhol. Dirty Funker used two of the Bansky Kate Moss portraits – one each on the front (red background) and rear (green background) covers – for his remix, and the one I own being the rarer version without the title strip across Kate Moss’ eyes on the front.” To find out more about Richard’s entire album art collection, you can read the complete interview on the ACHOF site via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/achof-featured-fan-portfolio-a-tour-through-collector-richard-forrests-favorite-album-covers/
Here’s a link to the show – http://www.visitgenoa.it/en/evento/war-capitalism-liberty-artworks-artist-known-banksy
3) NEW – COMING LATER IN NOVEMBER – It’s been 25 years since the release of the debut record by Oasis called Definitely Maybe (OMG!), and fans/collectors will soon be able to tour a 25th anniversary display of photography and memorabilia gathered by the band’s preferred photographer at the time – Michael Spencer Jones –that will be on display at London’s Archivist’s Gallery and h Club beginning November 23rd through January 12th, 2020. Spencer was on hand to both document the behind-the-scenes inner-workings of a band on a rapid rise to fame and produce the memorable album cover images and tour photos we’ve all seen and loved. The UK’s Standard provides us with a preview of the show – https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/arts/unseen-photographs-oasis-exhibition-definitely-maybe-a4222796.html, and if you’d like to learn more about the details of this exciting review, please visit the venue’s site at https://hclub.com/london/
ONGOING Exhibitions/Gallery Shows –
1) A show at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, MI looks to be a must-see for students of the art of the album cover. According to the press release for the show, “For the Record: Artists on Vinyl mines a unique vein of creative expression, the design of the record album cover and the use of phonographic recordings by artists as a vehicle for creative expression…This exhibition features more than 50 designs, many of which are paired with artworks, drawn from our permanent collection, by the same artist.” Most readers of this site know how often it is that now-famous artists either got their start in the album cover art business (Andy Warhol and Drew Struzan are prime examples of this) or, as musical and graphical artists are often on the same wavelength, how many successful collaborations there have been between music and art makers.
For the Record: Artists on Vinyl is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum curator Ian Gabriel Wilson, the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow, with the assistance of the previously-quoted Frank M. Edwards, with many of the artworks on display drawn from the collection of Mr. Edwards. Previously, Mr. Edwards and his wife, Ann M. Williams, who serve on the museum’s board, were the principal sources for another Crankbrook exhibition – Warhol On Vinyl The Record Covers, 1949-1987+ that was on display there June 21, 2014 – March 21, 2015. Artists in the show include: Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Harry Bertoia, Salvador Dalí, Richard Diebenkorn, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Claes Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, Robert Rauschenberg, Bridget Riley, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, among many others.
For the Record: Artists on Vinyl can be found in the museum’s deSalle & Lower Level Galleries – now through April 19, 2020 – https://cranbrookartmuseum.org/exhibition/for-the-record-artists-on-vinyl/
2) While not specifically an album cover art show, there is a new show at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that opened September 12th featuring the portrait work of Richard Ehrlich, a photographer whose five-year project meant to capture the emotional expressions of music-makers enjoying their favorite music – a project called “Face The Music” – was originally shared via several videos and a book of the same title that was published in 2016. According to the museum’s advance PR, Face The Music showcases Ehrlich’s artful shots of 41 musicians in a variety of musical genres. “To showcase these portraits, the GRAMMY Museum® proudly announces Face The Music, a new photography exhibit showcasing 41 legendary musicians including Quincy Jones, Ringo Starr, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Wayne Shorter, Iggy Pop, Esperanza Spalding, Herb Alpert, Sir Graham Nash, Sheryl Crow, RZA, Philip Glass, Emmylou Harris and many more, each who were photographed while listening to three pieces of music of their choice.” The samples I’ve seen are truly stunning examples of just how deeply music can touch anyone/everyone, so I hope that you’ll take the time to visit the exhibit during its run (through January 6, 2020). More details of the show are available on the museum’s web site – https://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhibits/face-the-music – with more examples from the photographer’s portfolio available on his own site (including some of the aforementioned video clips) – https://www.ehrlichphotography.com/facethemusic; https://www.ehrlichphotography.com/face-the-music-video
BTW – Mr. Ehrlich does indeed have an album cover credit – he shot the cover for Steve Tibbet’s 2010 jazz/rock album titled Natural Causes – so I feel much better now about including this item in my summary.
3) The Sir Paul McCartney-approved show of his talented late wife Linda’s photography – spanning a career that began in the mid-1960s with a gig as a house photographer at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East venue and, over time, moving on to shoot portraits of music superstars including Eric Clapton, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young (one of her photos of Young performing in 1968 at Canterbury House would later become the cover of a record called Sugar Mountain) and others (her photo for Rolling Stone Magazine’s May 11, 1968 issue was the first cover taken by a female photographer to appear in that magazine). After meeting Beatle Paul while covering the release of the band’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP and marrying him a couple of years later, it marked the beginning of a long and productive creative relationship as well – one that ended, sadly, with her death in 1998.
So, while she might not be with us, her portfolio lives on and is the subject of a show which has toured the world for the past 5+ years, with stops in Vienna, Montpellier and Seoul and is launching today at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland – it’s first display in the U.K. and is on display now through the 12th of January, 2020. Simply titled “The Linda McCartney Retrospective,” the show was curated by the photographer’s husband, fellow musician Paul McCartney and their two daughters, Mary and Stella, and, according to the pre-show press, “It brings together dozens of Linda McCartney’s photos—from famous portraits of 1960s rock icons to more personal snapshots of her quiet home life with Paul—as well a trove of archival materials being shown in public for the first time, including cameras, her personal magazine collection, and even a diary from the ’60s.” More info is available at https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/event/1/linda-mccartney-retrospective
4) Still on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles is the show launched this past August built around memorabilia – album and advertising art, clothing, tour documents and lots of photos – taken from the archives of one of the music industry’s best-known concert promoters/artist managers, Jerry Weintraub and Concerts West – the man/team responsible for a number of memorable shows by musical acts including John Denver, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Carpenters, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Rick James, Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, The Commodores, the Bee Gees, The Moody Blues, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and many others. While he’d begin his rise to the top of the entertainment business in the early 1970s, he’d expand his empire to include a long list of successful film/TV productions, including hits such as Oh, God!, Nashville, Diner, the Karate Kid movie franchise and the Emmy Award-winning TV documentary on global warming – Years Of Living Dangerously – among many others. This expansive look into the career of one of the best showmen in the business runs through early December, and you can learn more on the Grammy Museum site – https://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/current-exhibits/jerry-weintraub-presents; https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/jerry-weintraub-presents-exhibit-coming-grammy-museum
Artist News and Interviews –
1) Back when I lived in Portland, OR, I was a member of the Pacific NW chapter of the Grammy organization, which held their member meetings in Seattle, WA (a beautiful 3.5 hour train ride up along the coast brought me there – oh, the memories), and during those visits I’d inevitably make the pilgrimage up to the city’s Easy Street Records – partly, to peruse the stores offerings and partly to admire the mega-sized album cover recreations painted on the store’s exterior. To show you more about this establishment’s extra-special efforts to promote what’s new and exciting inside, the folks at the local paper (The Seattle Times) recently published an interview with the window design guru whose job it is to super-size the covers selected for this honor – https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/our-window-to-the-world-love-of-music-art-inspires-window-dresser-at-seattles-easy-street-records/
2) Among photographer Jay Blakesberg’s hundreds of shots used to illustrate articles, books and hundreds of album packages, perhaps his best-known are the photos he took of The Grateful Dead and its various noted players, most-notably the late guitarist Jerry Garcia (e.g., there are photos of his in the package for the 2019 Jerry Garcia Band release Electric On The Eel). Last month, Jambands.com published an interview with Mr. Blakesberg about his new book of J. Garcia images, a tome titled “ – with the focus of the 208-page book being “a collection of Jay’s iconic images of Garcia from 1978 until Garcia’s death in 1995. The book will include photographs of Garcia with members of the Grateful Dead as well as guest musicians and solo projects Jerry worked on.” https://jambands.com/features/2019/10/25/jay-blakesberg-shares-jerry-garcias-secret-space-of-dreams/?
3) More – Two more interviews I thought you might want to take a look at are a) the one found on the Hypergallery site with photographer David Goldman about his best known Blink 182 cover photos (including everyone’s favorite – the “are you ready for your examination?” shot found on Turn Your Head and Cough – https://www.hypergallery.com/interview-david-goldman/?mc_cid=7ab59d0bc8&mc_eid=7549bdd503 and b) one with Christine Hult-Lewis, who works as a curatorial assistant with The Bancroft Library’s archives and who is pleased to talk about their latest acquisition, that being the archives of music industry photographer Howard Brainen, someone who spent years producing images for clients in the rock, jazz and blues genres and who was given his break and inspiration by another famed shooter, the late, great Jim Marshall – https://news.lib.berkeley.edu/brainen
New Products (Books, Prints, Other) –
1) Designer Brian Cannon lends a hand on creating color schemes for new sneakers based on color palettes from classic album covers he created for bands including Oasis, Suede and The Verve (among others) – https://hypebeast.com/2019/10/size-exclusive-adidas-originals-training-pt-album-covers-release-information
2) Not to be outdone by Brian Cannon and the folks at Adidas, the team behind the design-it-yourself “Customs” line of shoes at Vans found themselves inspired by classic album art from musical acts including blink-182, Twenty One Pilots, Fall Out Boy and Andy Black and created 14 examples for your consideration, all of which can be found in Alyssa Quiles’ recent article on the AltPress site – https://www.altpress.com/features/custom-vans-ideas-music/ Not a bad idea, with the Holidays coming up….
3) One of the most-inspired album cover projects put in front of fans back in 1968 – the images photographer Michael Joseph staged and created for the Rolling Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet – are the subject of a new series of photo prints available for purchase at the San Francisco Art Exchange. According to the Stones (as stated on their web site), this is the record “that changed everything” for the band, so anyone looking to add examples of one of the most-noted covers to their album cover fine art collection should certainly peruse this collection at SFAE – https://sfae.com/Artists/Michael-Joseph
4) The nice people at the UK’s Hypergallery recently announced that they’re releasing a special edition “Schizoid Man” King Crimson print – https://www.hypergallery.com/barry-godber/? This image was one of the first inducted into the ACHOF’s “Individual Achievement Award” category and, sadly, this work – with the “Schizoid Man” on the cover and the “Crimson King” (AKA – Beelzebub) on the inside – would then be his only album cover painting. The original is owned by guitarist Robert Fripp, who remarked in a 1995 interview with French magazine Rock & Folk that the image reflected the music and, if you cover the smiling face, the eyes show an incredible sadness… Born in 1946, Barry Godber was an artist (trained at the Chelsea Art School in the U.K.), computer programmer and a co-worker of Peter Sinfield (King Crimson’s lyricist, lighting designer and art director) at English Electric/ICL Computers and was asked, after listening to several tracks on the record that Sinfield had shared with him, to contribute the cover image for the band’s debut album (released in October 1969 on Island Records). He painted the album cover, formally titled Portrait of 21st Century Schizoid Man, in 1969 but would never appreciate the impact the cover art would have because soon after the record’s release (in February, 1970), Godber died of a heart attack.
Movie trivia buffs will notice that this same image was re-created on a wall featured in the widely-panned 1987 film Surf Nazis Must Die, and King Crimson biographer Sid Smith has contributed a nice essay on the impact that Godber’s best-known work has had on album cover history since it began staring out a record buyers nearly 50 years ago.
Also, the gallery has announced the availability of two more Talk Talk album art prints by the supremely-talented artist James Marsh – https://www.hypergallery.com/talktalk?. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Marsh several years back about his work for the popular 80’s “post-rock” trio and how he brought his own unique surrealist approach to album art making to bear in covers for records such as The Colour of Spring and Spirit of Eden (among others) – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/
Miscellaneous Items –
1) There’s an interesting new report on the Vox.com site that dives into a rather obscure-but-fascinating album art-related topic – i.e., what it is that a certain style of furniture – the wicker chair/throne – has been featured on many an album cover. “There’s one genre of cover so ubiquitous it almost flew under the radar. The covers typically featured a wide shot of the artist sitting on a throne-like wicker chair, like a king or queen. Usually the artist looked casual and relaxed; sometimes props would sit around them to decorate the scene. No matter what, the over-sized woven chair was the main feature. This was the peacock chair album cover, and it was everywhere.” A seven-plus minute video produced by Vox tracks the origin of the peacock wicker chair portrait and tells the unlikely story of where this unique giant chair came from – https://www.vox.com/2019/10/4/20897269/peacock-chair-album-cover
2) Throughout the history of recorded music and its packaging, there have been many examples of cover art that have caused the hearts of the most-sensitive of consumers to flutter out of control. While some managed to slip by the censors and a record label’s marketing management, others weren’t so fortunate, so here’s a nicely-produced recap of twenty of these “banned” album covers and the stories behind them on the Kerrang! site – https://www.kerrang.com/features/20-album-covers-that-were-banned-or-censored/
3) While many of us scratch our heads almost daily about what some folks in the public eye manage to say and do without reproach, there are cultures elsewhere in the world where, even today, work hard to establish and maintain long-held beliefs and traditions that, particularly to us “heathens”, seem so overbearing that we can only look on in wonder (and feel fortunate that we’re not – yet – subject to the same censorship). In this recent article on the PetaPixel site, you’ll see examples that put on display Iran’s politics as it relates to album cover imagery in which women are erased from album covers, including the women who made the music on the album – https://petapixel.com/2019/10/23/iranian-music-streaming-site-erases-women-from-their-own-album-covers/
4) Some impressive album cover-related sleuthing by Guy Minnebach/Andy Earhole uncovers another previously unaccredited Andy Warhol-designed cover – https://warholcoverart.com/2019/10/13/the-bossa-nova-cover-no-one-knew-was-a-warhol-paul-desmonds-take-ten/
5) It seems as though the editors at Juxtapoz Magazine have been focused on other things lately and have not added any new entries to the magazine’s “Sound & Vision” album art series. I’ll dig into this to see if there are plans to add to this fine collection of stories but, until then, I’d invite you to look at their archives – https://www.juxtapoz.com/search/sound%20and%20vision/
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back when we can with another monthly summary for you.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2019 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.