Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – March, 2020
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Hello once again from Chicagoland. As we’re working our way towards pushing Winter away and replacing it with the warmer breezes and greener trees of Spring, I’m hoping that you’re all doing well and looking to be inspired by the latest news about your favorite album cover artists (and related stories of their work). I hope that you all have had a chance to read my Featured Artist’s Portfolio/interview article featuring art director/illustrator Larry Vigon (if not, you really should – https://wp.me/p15kTT-IZ ) and, as I mentioned in last month’s summary, I’m about 75% done with another interview article featuring none other than this year’s Grammy Award winner in the Box Set/Limited Edition category, Masaki Koike that I know you’ll like (he won for his work on the very-impressive Rhino package commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock festival), but now as it is once-again approaching mid-month, I thought it wise to provide you with a bit more to read as there’s been a nice supply of articles and news stories popping up all over the Web. So, check that you have fresh batteries in your mouse, and let’s get going….
New/Recently-Opened Exhibitions and Gallery Shows
ONGOING) Now this is a show I’d like to see – those of you in the Los Angeles area ought to set your sights on visiting the Mr. Musichead Gallery – which began with a special fund-raising event on Thursday, February 13th built around a new showing of noted designer Rod Dyer’s collection of Jazz portraits. A percentage of the event’s proceeds benefited the TEAK Fellowship, an organization that provides “educational and transformative experiences” for exceptional students who use these opportunities “to change their lives and the world around them”.
One of the best-known and most-respected album cover designers (and a 2019 inductee into the ACHOF in the “Album Cover Designer” category), Dyer music industry portfolio is a truly impressive one, having produced memorable and award-winning designs for a long list of label clients – Capitol Records, MCA Records, Maverick Records. Island Records and many others. Musical acts that have been beneficiaries of Dyer’s talents include Carole King, The Raspberries, The Jackson 5, Bob Marley, Roberta Flack, Linda Ronstadt, Parliament, Peter Frampton, James Taylor, Alice Cooper, Stephen Bishop, Kansas, Elton John, Jefferson Starship and quite a few others. Expanding the range of his/his agency’s design and advertising work into other aspects of the entertainment industry, over time his client list grew to include film and television brands including Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Gramercy Pictures, Buenva Vista Film & Television, Eastman Kodak and The Disney Channel, to name just a few. He’s created well-known logos for Entertainment Tonight, The Disney Channel and Maverick Records, as well as for consumer brands including Guess Jeans and the Koo Koo Roo chicken restaurant chain.
Through the years, Dyer has received a host of honors for his work, including awards of distinction from the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Art Director’s Clubs, the Society of Publication Designers, Graphis Annual, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Key Art Awards the International Annual of Letterhead Design and The One Show’s advertising show. In addition to his “day job”, Mr. Dyer has found time to publish a series of successful collector’s books about popular design (including Coast to Coast: The Best of Travel Decal Art and Fit to Be Tied: Vintage Ties of the Forties and Early Fifties) and to create a line of necktie and pen designs marketed through Acme Studios. Until 2011, he was also owner of the West Hollywood Italian restaurant/celebrity haunt Pane e Vino. Still hard at work, Rod currently resides in Los Angeles.
More information on Dyer’s work and this event are available at – https://www.mrmusichead.com/events/2020/2/13/rod-dyer-jazz-original-artwork-exhibition?
To see a comprehensive overview of Dyer’s album cover work, why not click on over to his web site at https://www.roddyer.com/?page_id=2340
REMINDER FOR MAY) Regular readers of this site have seen my annual reporting on the “Secret 7” bespoke record sleeve project and the impressive amount of talent on display each year. 2020 celebrates the organization’s seventh edition of the show, with this year being the final one and so, as you might imagine, there will be a number of big-name participants who’ll be donating both music and art in an effort to raise funds for their chosen charity – pioneering humanitarian aid agency Help Refugees. “Combining Music and Art for Good, Secret 7” takes 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl. We then openly invite visual artists to create artwork for the 7 tracks, resulting in 700 unique records which are exhibited in London from May 9th thru the 30th, before being sold on a first come, first served basis (limit 4 to a customer – no online sales) in a quick sale staged May 31st “. Priced at £70 each, buyers don’t know who created the artwork or even which song it’s for, until they have parted with their cash. In past years, lucky buyers have gone home with art by contributors such as David Shrigley, Gilbert & George, Ai Weiwei, Es Devlin, Sir Paul Smith, Sir Antony Gormley, Jeremy Deller, Polly Morgan, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Yoko Ono, Sir Peter Blake, Julian Opie, Martin Parr, Jenny Holzer, Harland Miller, Gavin Turk and many other photographers, illustrators, painters, graffiti artists and sculptors. With the support of these collectors, they’re hoping to take their grand total given to charity to over £250,000.
While those of us not in the London area can only watch with intense jealousy, it is always fun to see who each year’s sale brings to the table in reports after the event. On the music side, this year’s participants include Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, The Internet Come Over, Koffee Toast, Miles Davis, Vampire Weekend and the Foo Fighters (more about this group’s participation can be found in articles on the Alternative Nation site at https://www.alternativenation.net/foo-fighters-announce-massive-final-show-2020/ and the Creative Boom site at https://www.creativeboom.com/resources/secret-7-is-back-revealing-its-tracks-for-2020/
More info on the event can be found on their web site at https://secret-7.com/page/about Best of luck to the Secret 7” team – I’m sure we’ll see more from them in the future.
QUICK UPDATE) Back in October, I ran an item about designer John Van Hamersveld’s show at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art (in Greensburg, ) that ran through that month and looked to be a really-comprehensive tour through this design master’s career. The “Era of Cool: The Art of John Van Hamersveld” exhibit included a number of examples of JVH’s album cover work, but I’d missed a link to a video interview done by local reporter Paul Guggenheimer on the TribLive site that I think you’ll really enjoy, so why not click on over and spend 12 minutes and 44 seconds learning more about the artist, his work and his time spent hanging out with Mick Jagger – https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/the-era-of-cool-exhibit-comes-to-westmoreland-museum-of-american-art/
Artist News and Interviews
SUBTLE HINT) I’d like to invite you all to read my latest article – a combination “Featured Artist Portfolio” and interview with one of the industry’s best-known and most-prolific art directors, the talented Larry Vigon. With hundreds of cover credits over the past 40+ years, Larry has had a hand in the creation of many memorable and highly-praised packages such as Rumours for Fleetwood Mac (one of several he did for the band), Dead Man’s Party for Oingo Boingo, Behind The Sun for Eric Clapton and many, many more – ten of which are covered in the Portfolio overview.
In addition to work for clients in the music business, Larry (alone and/or with several cohorts) has done graphics packages for clients in the U.S. and in Europe (where he lived for 13 years before returning to Southern California last year) and has had his work published in many books and magazines, including a book for Lucas Film (The Art of The Empire Strikes Back), a much-praised limited-edition book on Jungian philosophy (Jung’s Red Book) and a very personal tome published in 2006 titled Dream: A Journal by Larry Vigon which was based on his efforts to record – and then paint pictures of – every dream he could remember over the course of 15 years (!!)
Please take some time out of your busy days to take a look at this new article and, if you like what you see, please share the link with someone you know who might also enjoy the read.
a) Noted album cover designers – and authors of over twenty fine books on this topic and other related ones (such as the SWAG: Rock Posters series) – Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz contacted me recently to let me know (and to share the news with you) about their efforts to curate and stage a comprehensive album cover art show, tentatively-titled The Art of Vinyl Cover Show – 12” and 7”. To that end, they’ve created a video montage as a “pitch” and, with enough support from those of us in the album art fan community, they hope to garner the backing they’ll need to put together such a show. No strangers to putting together well-curated rock & roll art shows, the pair notably staged two of them in NYC – their “Rock Poster Gallery Show” at the CBGB Gallery and “The Special CD Packaging Show” at The One Club in the 90s. Their own works – for musical acts such as The Beach Boys, Ramones, Talking Heads and many others – have been featured in many other gallery/museum shows during the past several decades, so I’m certain that any new show they’d produce would bring us examples of truly memorable work.
The first step for us is to take a look at the video they’ve produced and then share it with other people we know who might also be fans of the people who’ve made great album art/packaging. Perhaps, in that viewership, there are individuals and/or organizations who might be able to provide some of the resources that’ll be needed to make this show a truly great one…
Also, if you’d like to take a deeper peek into the minds and methods of this talented design duo, here’s a link to a recent 20-minute interview by Zack Martin (of “Zack Martin’s Big American Rock Show”) that I think you’ll enjoy as well – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pyu3m-2InA&feature=youtu.be
Let’s do what we can together to make this new show a reality…
ONE MORE BONUS INTERVIEW – Interview with Judith S by Myki Angeline on the Women’s International Music Network site – https://www.thewimn.com/front-center-judith-salavetz-award-winning-designer-author-curator/
b) In a recent Interview with famed album cover designer Ernie Cefalu on the Alabama.com site (??? – you’ll see) about album art for Aerosmith’s Toys In The Attic – https://www.al.com/life/2020/02/is-bamas-big-al-on-this-classic-aerosmith-album-cover.html
You’ll be treated with some insider-only info about what motivated the record’s illustrator – Ingrid Haenke – to include a figure that looks like the mascot/symbol for a football team, along with another “easter egg”-style visual reference. See, you learned something new today!
I’d had the pleasure of interviewing Ernie C. myself a number of years ago about the same (and other) subject, so if you’d like to completely fill your head with “Tales from the Pacific Eye & Ear Crypt”, click on this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/featured-album-cover-artist-portfolio-ernie-cefalu-and-pacific-eye-and-ear/ – and in that Featured Artist Portfolio, you’ll find links to the 3-part interview (we had a LOT to talk about!).
Items for Sale and/or at Auction
a) Back in 2014-2015, photographer Elliott Landy staged a very successful Kickstarter program to fund the production of a book (The Band Photographs, 1968-1969) of his renowned shots of The Band (and friends) taken in the late 1960s. Mr. Landy’s archive on the topic is a deep one (thousands of photos), so this year he’s launching a new Kickstarter program so that fans/collectors can now see and own more carefully-curated images from his archive in a new book he’s calling Contacting The Band – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thebandbook2/elliott-landy-contacting-the-band?
As he did last time, backers will be given the opportunity to purchase one or more copies of several editions of this new book, with supporters at higher levels offered the chance to own one of several prints, including specially-produced ones of the contact sheets from which photos were selected for use in the packages for The Band and Music From Big Pink. Pledge levels begin at $10, with an $85 pledge getting you a signed copy of the book (and a nice “Thank You” card). Pledges of $185 or more include prints and, if you’re wanting to buy yourself something really special, a pledge of $7500 (Level 17) gets you a prize package that includes lunch for up to four people with Elliott at his home in Woodstock, NY, as well as a tour of his studio, a look into his archives, and a brief drive down the road to Big Pink. You’d also get 2 x Deluxe Edition Contacting the Band books, one Signature Edition of his previous book THE BAND PHOTOGRAPHS. 1968-1969 and two signed 18 x 24 inch fine art pigment prints from Landy’s online store (or those included in the new offer). The project will be funded if he hits his goal by April 8th, 2020 (with delivery slated for November, 2020), so please visit his page, make your selection and help get this fine new book into production.
b) Album art and band logos have always served several purposes for the musical acts that invest in these projects, with one important use being in the design and manufacture of band merchandise, such as clothing, jewelry, etc. Popular clothing manufacturer Billabong teamed up a while back with metal monsters Metallica to produce items of clothing that fans love to be seen in and, as you’ll read in this recent article on the Yahoo! Finance site – https://finance.yahoo.com/news/billabong-lab-releases-master-puppets-180300834.html – fans now have an opportunity to buy one of the products in the company’s 4th release in this series, based on Don Brautigam’s memorable album art for the band’s Master of Puppets record, which recently celebrated its 34th birthday.
To see the entire collection (including some great items – t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, board shorts and even a full-bore wet suit all sporting designs from legendary artist Pushead), follow the links at – https://www.billabong.com/men-collection-metallica/ and https://www.billabong.com/men-collection-metallica-lab/
BONUS INTERVIEW/PHOTO GALLERY – Photographer Ross Halfin was on hand while Metallica was recording the Master of Puppets record, capturing them in the studio in this photo gallery now found on the Republic World web site – https://www.republicworld.com/entertainment-news/whats-viral/rock-n-roll-photographer-celebrates-master-of-puppets-anniversary.html This was the last album featuring the nimble bass fingers of Cliff Burton who, as you might remember, was killed in a bus crash in 1986 while the band was touring Europe.
AWARD SHOW UPCOMING EVENT REMINDER – Once again, our friends in Canada who stage the annual JUNO Awards (now in its 49th year) have announced this year’s nominees in the “Album Artwork” category, and they are –
Selections From Cuphead, by Kristofer Maddigan – Chad Moldenhauer (Art Director), Ian Clarke (Designer) and Warren Clark and Lance Inkwell (Illustrators);
The Superhero Suite by Kevin Hearn and Friends – Kevin Hearn (Art Director), Antoine Moonen (Designer) and Lauchie Reid and Harland Williams (Illustrators);
Bloodcrush/Bloodmyth by Ensign Broderick – Jason Sniderman (Art Director), Kris Knight and James Mejia (Designers), Chris Peters (Illustrator) and Stefanie Schneider (Photographer);
Case Study 01 by Daniel Caesar – Sean Brown and Keavan Yazdani (Art Directors) and
Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath by Belle Plaine – Terri Fidelak (Art Director, Designer and Illustrator), Regan Fraser (Art Director) and Carey Shaw (Photographer)
The award winners will be announced on Sunday, March 15th in ceremonies being held at the SASKTEL CENTRE, SASKATOON, SK and will be broadcast live on the CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/music/junos
Last year’s winner was Mike Milosh (Art Director, Designer, Illustrator, & Photographer) who won for his work on Rhye’s Blood album.
“Et maintenant, voici les artistes nominés” (for those of you who actually speak French, forgive me if I messed that up)
A local reporter caught up with interview with a couple of the nominees who worked Belle Plaine’s nominated package – the multi-talented Terri Fidelak and photographer Carey Shaw and who both happen to have grown up and/or live in Saskatchewan (as did musician Melanie Berglund, AKA Belle Plaine) – and asked them about their work for their friend on this project – https://globalnews.ca/news/6486363/album-artwork-juno-award-saskatchewan-belle-plaine/
Of course, you’ll read more about the winner of this year’s JUNO award in this category immediately after the announcement has been made, so stay tuned…
a) Chicago, IL fans were able to show off their city during this year’s NBA All Star Game Weekend (February 14th – 16th), so it was great to see all of the celebrities on hand (and all of the sponsored parties during which they’d share their excitement for being able to hang out with the top tier of the NBA’s talent pool). A recent article in Forbes Magazine focused on the visit of one such celebrity – and a big one in album cover photography circles, Jonathan Mannion – who teamed with luxury wine line Moet & Chandon to help introduce new extensions to their “Nectar of the Culture” tastemaker program – https://www.forbes.com/sites/adriennegibbs/2020/02/18/hip-hops-most-sought-after-photographer-aligns-with-popular-champagne-company/#7e77ab322a3e
Mannion’s cover shots for hip-hop royalty such as Jay-Z, DMX, Eminem, Lil’ Wayne and others have made him one of the go-to shooters in the Pop Culture world, so it seems to make sense that one type of shooter finds it so easy to mix with another (I wonder how he is from the 3-point line?).
b) “It was 50 years ago today, little Ozzy taught his band to pray…to SATAN?!?!” – Well, that’s what they told us young teens back then…February marked the 50th anniversary of the release of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album. You know the one – the one you worked hard to hide from your parents so they wouldn’t ask “why is there a dead woman on the cover of your new album”? To commemorate the anniversary, Rolling Stone published an article that includes, on Item 4, info about designer/photographer “Keef’s” album artwork) – https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/black-sabbath-debut-album-things-we-learned-950937/. Loudwire also adds to the story, finding out more about the mysterious “woman in black” (yes, she still lives!) – https://loudwire.com/black-sabbath-cover-woman-black-figure/
Of course, I would be remiss for not showing my OWN special copy of the album, which I had signed by both guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler (“Best Witches, from Geezer” – isn’t he cute?) during a 2005 visit to the TV studio I worked at then…Such great memories.
(Brothers from another mother? Circa 2005)
c) It’s been several months since I’ve seen an article like this one…I’m never quite sure what motivates an editorial staff to put together a collection like this, since the Web has basically limitless space, so they don’t need “filler” but, since it’s full of good examples of album cover art from the 1990s (without any explanation as to why they were chosen) and an anecdote or two that I didn’t know previously (for example, did YOU know that the photo on The Flaming Lips album The Soft Bulletin was actually from a mid-60s cover shot of poet Neal Cassady – shot for LIFE Magazine – that finds Neal dancing with his own shadow while tripping on LSD), I’d invite you to visit Radio X UK’s site where you’ll find “the Best Album Covers from the 1990s” – https://www.radiox.co.uk/features/x-lists/best-album-covers-1990s/
d) ANOTHER F#(&ING OBIT – One last thing – the rock art world lost another great in early February with the passing of poster artist Bonnie MacLean, famous for her work for the Bill Graham Organization (the Fillmores, etc.) and for also being the only woman to be part of the burgeoning psychedelic poster scene at the time. Bonnie was 80 years old at the time of her passing, and you can read a bit more about her and her life and work via this article on the Paste Magazine site – https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2020/02/poster-artist-bonnie-maclean-dead.html
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 2020 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.