Album Cover Hall of Fame’s 2019 Holiday Gift-Buying Guide
Holiday Gift Suggestions for the Album Cover/Vinyl Record Lovers in your Life
As compiled by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
For the past several years since I closed my own gallery in 2012, I’ve published a series of annual overviews of record cover-related “artistical” things that, in my opinion, might make nice gifts for anyone who is a fan of album cover art and packaging. While my regular contributions to the ACHOF site have slowed to a trickle for several what-I-believe-to-be-reasonable causes, including my on-eternal-hold book project, my eldercare responsibilities here in Chicago or the never-ending melancholy I’ve experienced since November, 2016, I’m always a bit more inspired to share what I can with my readers this time of the year, so, if you’ll accept my apologies and think of me warmly, I’ll continue on with what I hope is some valuable information in this update.
As I’m sure you all know, getting just the right gift for your loved ones at Holiday time can be such a puzzle – what with all of the advertising that bombards you from every direction and “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” sales now beginning sometime in mid-late July – that you’re left with little time and inclination to search for just the right thing when all you want to do is “get this over with”…
And, while I’ve been told never to buy “art” for other as it’s such a personal choice, because of the link between music and art, buying a gift for lovers of album cover art has never been so simple. As you’ll see by the list of companies that specialize in album cover-related items of all types (and fitting all budgets), with a little research (“Hey Honey, what’s the name of your all-time favorite band?”) and perhaps a phone call or two, I’m feeling pretty confident that you’ll be able to locate and secure a gift that will be long-appreciated by its recipient. Who knows, maybe it will start a tradition in your family!
Enjoy the hunt, as well as the squooshy feeling you’ll experience upon seeing the smiles of gratitude from your gift(s) recipient(s), too.
Items made from Albums and Album Covers –
Vinylux – Pennsylvania-based artist Jeff Davis has created an impressive line of household items and gifts from the thousands of records he sources each year (he estimates that he recycles over 250,000 records, or over 55,000 pounds of materials each year) and turns into objects such as clocks, holiday ornaments, journals, bottle openers, book ends, coasters, bowls, magnets and jewelry. He’s been doing this since 2002, with his products currently found in a number of galleries, retailers and online. To see the current collection and to find out where to buy a Vinylux product, visit the company site at
Cb Vinyl Record Art – originally a successful Kickstarter project, these nice people from France now offer a nice selection of nicely-produced laser-cut art objects made from recycled vinyl records – https://www.cbvinylrecordart.com/en/70-design-vinyl-record-music
According to the info on their web site, Cb Vinyl Record Art “is a collective of enthusiasts, influenced by the cultures and subcultures of the 80s to date. Unconditional lovers of vinyl record, art, design and decoration, we are tired of seeing old vinyl records end up in the bin,” and I think that you’ll find many examples of unusual and unusually-intriguing vinyl-based fine art objects.
Fans of the Etsy crafts site will find hundreds of items for sale made by a trove of crafty people who’ve elected to create objects of all kinds – wallets, coasters, frames, notebooks, bowls, book covers, calendars, etc. – out of album covers. Recycling-minded gift givers can browse the selection via this handy link – http://www.etsy.com/search?q=recycled+album+cover&page=1 While the listing here is a bit mind-boggling, one item that stuck out to me was one made by Arizona-based artist Eric Kruse, who’ll hand-craft (from reclaimed/recycled wood) a recreation of your favorite album cover and then customize it with a personalized message, with prices beginning at $129.95 for an 18”x18” work of art – https://www.etsy.com/listing/730735089/album-covers-recreate-and-personalize?ref=shop_home_feat_4&frs=1
Rediscover Handbags – this Chicago-based firm crafts custom-made totes and purses out of record album covers and theater programs. Buyers can choose the album cover from the company’s large collection of standards (Beatles, Bowie, Elvis, Sinatra, Streisand and others – over 4000 covers in stock), and then select the interior/side fabrics that will be used to line the bags, select a strap and complete the order. 4-5 weeks later, your 12” x 12” x 5.5” (approx.) bag arrives and you become the envy of all your friends. These hand-made designer totes are priced at $475.00, while the smaller purses made from theater programs cost $175.00 (full-front with black strap) or $195.00 for a full-front purse with a stylish beaded handle. https://www.rediscoverhandbags.com/products
Modern/Pop Art collectors will find a lot to absorb and enjoy when taking in the large selection of unique, vinyl record-based works of art made by one of Snap Gallery’s (U.K.) most-popular artists, Keith Haynes – https://www.snapgalleries.com/portfolio-items/snap-crackle-and-pop/
This collection caught my eye after reading about the show the gallery hosted late last year which showcased Mr. Haynes’ collection of over 75 different works. Per the gallery’s PR, “Keith’s work explores pop art in its purest form, using album sleeves, record labels, badges and, of course, beautiful vinyl records – the hard currency of pop culture – to create striking and witty pop art pieces with a strong graphic design aesthetic. Whether it’s a graphically iconic portrait or a meaningful song lyric, each piece is created from original vinyl records chosen to enhance the subject matter; in these works the subject and the object are of equal importance.” All I can tell you is that you really need to see these to fully appreciate their artistry. Prices for these unique works begin at £275.
The Tunes Company – based in North Carolina, this firm showcases two fascinating decorator items – lamps made from full-sized 12” vinyl LPs and a new wall hanging/room divider made the prime center-cut labels from LPs. There are space-agey table lamps starting at $129.00, hanging lamps priced at $159.00 and a really spiffy floor lamp (called “The Jetson”) that will cost you $249.00. The 36” square wall hanging is made from 48 original labels and decorative chain and is priced at $98.50 (only $2.05 per label). The company also offers a wide range of wall and desk clocks made from album covers and album labels. The clocks are made by attaching an image cut from a LP cover to a short stack of vintage vinyl records and are mostly priced at $59.95 (some higher, depending on the rarity of the record). https://tunesco.com/index.html
Album Art Display Frames –
Music/art fans that have nice collections of vinyl may simply need a good way of showcasing their favorite album covers and so an industry has grown to serve this need via the sale of album cover display systems that make it easy to mat/frame your records. Some of the better-known vendors of these framing solutions include:
Rock Art Picture Show – Offers mat and clear acrylic frame kits for LPs, singles, picture discs, comic books and more, all priced under $20 (with volume discounts available) – http://www.rockartpictureshow.com/
Art Vinyl – based in the UK, this company sells the well-received “Play & Display” framing system that lets you quickly swap out albums (great for stores with a “what’s playing now” display area). Priced from $59.00 for the single frame to $159.00 for the “triple pack” (in black or white) –
Frame My Record.com – Run by the TX-based Picture Perfect framing and collectibles company, Frame My Record offers album, 45 RPM, 78 RPM, CD and DVD frames/frame kits of professional quality. Featuring custom-cut mats in a variety of styles and a unique mounting process (using conservation-safe
materials), these kits provide album owners with a near-custom look for a more-affordable price. Prices for an LP cover kit with wood frame, one of 18 mat selections and UV-glass front begin at $49.99 (frames without matting begin at $21.95).
Basic frames are also available from major retailers including Urban Outfitters, Michael’s, Target and IKEA.
Framed Album Covers (AKA Album Art Displayed IN Frames) –
If you’re looking for a simple way to get the whole package (i.e., your favorite album covers, framed and ready-to-hang) in one fell swoop, this has also become a cottage industry on Etsy, eBay and other sites. In addition to the products made by these enterprising individuals, there are a number of collectors/companies offering vintage album covers for sale – some framed in basic album cover frames and some “a bit more fancy”, but all seem to offer a broad selection of covers in a number of musical styles. To see their latest selections, please visit these sites:
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – Cleveland, Ohio’s top rock and roll-related tourist attraction is also the home of one of the better-fitted-out museum stores, and fans of ready-to-hang album cover art will be happy to find a wide selection of framed album presentations on sale there, including records from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Prince, U2, The Cure and many others. The shop also offers related book, t-shirts, socks and other collectibles, most of which you’ll find via this link – https://www.rockhallstore.com/search/?storeId=4938&includeArtistSearch=false&searchTerm=%22album+Cover%22
Level Frames – one of the “more fancy” vendors ($150 and up), this company creates full-on, custom-framed presentations of many of your favorite record albums – https://www.levelframes.com/vinyl
Rock Art Picture Show’s Gallery – The previously-mentioned album frame maker also offers a rather large selection of pre-framed album covers at http://www.rockartpictureshow.com/cgi-bin/gallery/List.cgi?
F=l&A=Album%20Covers presenting albums alone or in themed groupings.
Album Cover Books –
Over the years, there have been a number of books written covering the History of the Album Cover, highlighting the development of the art form from its humble beginnings as a simple sleeve with a title, to Alex Steinweiss and Jim Flora and their breakthrough works for Columbia and Decca Records in
the 1930s/40s up to today’s most-recent efforts. Many are written and compiled by well-known cover designers (Roger Dean, Richard Evans, Storm Thorgerson, Nick DeVille, Spencer Drate, others), so they bring an interesting spin to their respective compilations. With their authors’ various perspectives and experiences guiding their respective efforts, all are interesting in their own right and contain hundreds of images for you to enjoy. We keep an updated list on our site –
In addition, over the past few years, there have been several new books released by album cover creators of note – Brian Griffin’s POP, Glen Wexler’s The ’80s Portrait Sessions, Jerry Schatzberg’s tome on Bob Dylan (Dylan By Schatzberg), Mark Seliger’s book of portraits (Mark Seliger Photographs) and Drew Carolan’s photo book (Matinee – All Ages on the Bowery) taken from his portfolio of shots of the denizens of NYC’s club scenes), plus some great tomes taking an overall look at 60+ years of great album art, including Taschen’s Art Record Covers and author John Foster’s most-recent book featuring in-depth looks at the work of many more purveyors of great album cover design – Album Art: New Music Graphics. Lots to choose from, for sure.
Licensed Album Cover Image-based Products –
Dennilu – while you might not be able to find (and afford) the original artwork created for the cover of The Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine, you can turn to talented artist Jon Blosdale and purchase one of his hand-crafted (and Beatles-authorized), limited-edition re-creations. These multi-layered, hand-painted sericels are uniquely mounted and framed to give you the feel of a 3-D image ($1195 plus S&H) – http://www.beatlescartoon.com/YellowSubmarine/ysac_framing/ys_ac_index.htm Jon also offers an impressive selection of Beatles art – animation cels, 3-D art, photo presentations and more – something that will certainly please the Beatle fan on your list – http://www.beatlescartoon.com/
Take a brief ride in a time machine to my archive site where you can read my interview with Jon about his art and, in particular, the work it took for him to bring this YS-based artwork to life, via the link at https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/11/
Eclipse Gift Ideas (via Amazon.com) – album art-based mouse pads, mobile phone covers and more; hundreds of choices beginning at only $8.99 – https://www.amazon.com/l/10173439011
KnuckleBonz 3-D Album Cover Recreations – Some of you who might remember my old gallery days will recall that I sold items from a line of intricately-crafted sculptures of iconic rockers/rock imagery made by a company called KnuckleBonz and, I’m glad to report, they’ve recently announced some new additions to the line of limited-edition album cover art recreations they’re producing called “3D Vinyl”. The first two items they announced were their stunning renditions of two great albums – Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, both of which are perfectly suited for a 3-dimensional sculpture.
Since then, they’ve released additional titles from top acts including KISS, Motley Crue, Megadeth, Mercyful Fate and others ($249 each, ready-to-hang) – https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/3d-vinyl/
LPGI album cover fabric posters – large poly fabric prints (many choices, including Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Bob Marley, The Doors and scores of others) made to hang on a wall, or attach one to your motorcycle’s whip antenna if you really want to grab the attention of your fellow riders – http://www.lpgi.com/fabric-posters.html
PopArtUK album cover art prints on wood, canvas, tin and more, with prices beginning at £9.99 – https://www.popartuk.com/music/rock.asp?product-type=6
Rocker Rags album cover t-shirts – many, many acts are included for men, women and the kiddies. Who has enough album cover t-shirts? Not me (hee hee) – http://www.rockerrags.com/rock-album-t-shirts/
Rockabilia lists dozens of different t-shirt designs, along with a wide range of cover-based merchandise including sweat shirts, beer and coffee mugs, timepieces, seatbelt belts, fleece blankets and pub/shot glasses – https://rockabilia.com/pages/search-results?q=album%20cover
Album Cover Fine Art, Photography and Related Limited-Edition Merchandise –
If you’re looking to truly impress your best-loved album art fan, the ultimate gift would be one of the many fine art prints available, either produced by the designers and/or photographers that created the original images or via their publishers and licensees. Products in this category will vary greatly in price, quality, rarity, etc., so please take your time and get to know some or all of the various purveyors listed.
The Album Cover Hall of Fame is always searching for galleries and other retailers that offer selections of prints in many genres and styles, with an updated list available on our site via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-buying-and-selling-resources-page/ (please note – we do NOT have any promo/advertising affiliations with any of the galleries listed, so feel free to contact any of them directly for help with your specific needs). Just to whet your whistles, my survey of what was new for this year made a hard-stop on the Hypergallery site (https://www.hypergallery.com/) to find their special 50th anniversary edition prints of both the outer and inner covers of Barry Godber’s never-to-be-forgotten art for King Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King (done with the late Mr. Godber’s estate) and two archival inkjet prints of Talk Talk’s It’s My Life and Laughing Stock, done by 2015 ACHOF inductee James Marsh. So much great art, so little wall space…
George DuBose 2020 Calendars – former Spin/Interview Magazine photo editor and album cover photographer extraordinaire George DuBose recently announced that he has published – via his Cologne, Germany-based Wonderland Publishing company – four calendars featuring photographs of many of the musicians that he’s worked with over the years. Choose from calendars built around George’s portraits of early-1980’s Madonna (fronting The Breakfast Club playing clubs in the NYC area); Tom Waits (with photos taken during shoots for Spin and Interview magazines); “Rockers” featuring shots of the many New Wave bands DuBose worked with, such as The Go-Gos, B-52s, R.E.M. and others and a calendar featuring many of the old school hip-hop artists he photographed, such as Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Run-DMC and others.
These signed and numbered calendars (in editions of 500) are available for $33 each plus postage ($10 to the U.S., 5 Euros to addresses in Europe – up to 4 calendars can be shipped in the same envelope) by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org or sending the appropriate amount to the same email address via Paypal.
Peter Saville 3-D Sculptures – http://www.paulstolper.com/artists/portfolio/91-peter-saville-other-works
In addition to these oh-so-impressive original 3-D reimagined sculptures of Mr. Saville’s time-honored design for Joy Division’s 1981 release Unknown Pleasures, the Paul Stolper Gallery in London also offers works from several other artists who have album cover credits, including Sir Peter Blake, Jamie Reid, David Bailey, Shepard Fairey and Damien Hirst, among others…
Other Items of Interest –
Our chums at Snap Galleries are also offering music/art fans a chance to get truly creative in their gift-giving efforts for “that someone special” via their large-scale “The Temple of Wax” custom-made vinyl record re-creations (from 40cm up to 100cm, or approx. 39”, in diameter). Select one of the four sizes available, any frame style and then let them know which single, EP or LP you’d like and, 4-5 weeks later, the finished work arrives at your door (free shipping of unframed-yet-ready-to-hang works of art anywhere in the world). See examples of these bespoke works of art at https://www.snapgalleries.com/product/the-temple-of-wax-bespoke-large-format-artwork/
Staying on the oversized LP record theme, here’s a 23” diameter polyester/rubber record album-shaped doormat (designed by graphic artist Jim Holodak) for $35.00 that can be personalized, too – https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/personalized-record-doormat
The folks on the Musician’s Friend site suggest that you take a gander at these Gama-Go Record Placemats – well, they look like real records, but they’re actually made from heat-resistant silicon ($19.99 for a set of 2) – https://www.musiciansfriend.com/lifestyle/gamago-record-placemats–set-of-2
Limited-edition/Record Store Day Vinyl Records/Sets – of course, what most record fans really want is a record (!!), and while you can certainly fill their soon-to-be-distended stockings with traditional LPs and singles, the resurgence of vinyl over the past several years has prompted many musical acts and record labels to pull out all of the stops when it comes to collectible record packages, particularly around the annual Record Store Day celebrations and the end-of-the-year Holidays. If you’ve been reading my columns and news summaries, there are so many great examples of these now that it’d be impossible to list them all for you, but there have been a number of award-winning designs this year that were so well-done and innovative that I can certainly point you to the Winners & Nominees page on the recently-awarded “2019 Making Vinyl Packaging Awards” site – http://makingvinyl.org/2019-winners-runner-ups/ – for inspiration.
To see all of the specially-produced, limited-edition vinyl records being released on RSD’s “Black Friday” list, click on over to https://recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases where you’ll find the latest details.
I hope that I’ve given you all the info you need this year to find just the right gifts for the people you like/love/have to suck up to, so please go out and enjoy your Holiday shopping experience, and don’t forget to get yourself something nice as well…
Copyright 2019 Mike Goldstein/AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All other products shown/mentioned are for informational purposes only, with copyrights held by their respective owners.