Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – August, 2020
Posted August 1, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
As Summer 2020 marches on, the political season’s kicking into high gear and many things work to occupy our minds (perhaps to distraction) while the year progresses, my wife and I have continued to stay vigilant, quarantined and busy reading, watching 1990s BBC crime mystery series and, as you may have seen, doing more research and writing, as is evidenced by the publication of my most-recent ACHOF interview, this one with accomplished designer, illustrator and musician John Kehe, with a focus on his work in the early-mid 1970s for the Electric Light Orchestra.
I’ve continued to work to add new bios to the ACHOF site (tracking down some info from several great talents who I’ve finally been able to add to our database) and soon hope to add some new themed searches to the site that will let you dig more deeply and easily into the ACHOF archives for more stories, interviews and news about your favorite album cover makers. I’ve also found more examples of artists who’ve decided to lend their “brands” – logos, album art, etc. – to efforts to provide personal protective equipment to their fans (now, if they could only convince some of them to actually wear these masks!) and also raise money for COVID-related support efforts, so I hope you’ll take a look at those articles and respond accordingly.
In the meantime, I’ve put together a sampling of album art/artist-related articles and remain grateful to those of you who’ve decided to spend some of your free time on the ACHOF site, sifting through the archives of content available for your there so, in keeping with my ongoing commitment to the monthly delivery of short-but-sweet summaries of album cover artist and art-related news, interviews, sales and more, here’s my latest summary:
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info
While many galleries and museums continue to be closed to the public, some (such as Chicago’s famed Art Institute and the Milwaukee Art Museum) have recently re-opened or announced plans to either/both re-open soon, making sure that they’re doing all they can to keep customers and their employees safe and/or continuing on in their efforts to create content including, for example, NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has put hundreds of thousands of images of works in their archives up for public viewing on its web site – https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection. Many galleries are also available to help by appointment, so if you’re looking to learn more about what’s taking place in art spaces in your area, I’d invite you to look through the list of sellers I’m maintaining on the ACHOF site – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-buying-and-selling-resources-page/ – and then visit their sites to see who is doing what.
Artist News and Interviews
a) Back in the early 1970s, United Artists Records undertook an effort to rebuild its art department to better-accommodate its new roster of talent, including a musical act that was beginning to build a solid following in the U.K. but had yet to make it big in North America. After engaging wunderkind art director Mike Salisbury to lead the effort, as part of that process Salisbury brought on recent art school graduate John Kehe and immediately put him on the ELO project. John’s re-imagining of a popular corporate emblem would provide the perfect logo for a band well on its way to electrifying the pop charts and would be the first of scores of images Kehe would create – alone and later with several notable cohorts – at this early stage in what would be an illustrious (sorry for the art pun) career in nearly every aspect of the design/illustration business.
I caught up with John via email in July, 2020 and asked him to take us back to the time when he was helping a number of musical acts improve the chances that their records would grab the attention of the record buying public and, while on that journey, learning about both the good and the bad of working for clients in the entertainment business.
Here’s a link to my interview article (nicely illustrated) that recaps our conversation – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2020/07/28/achof-interview-with-designer-and-illustrator-john-kehe/
b) A panel at this year’s recent San Diego Comic-Con was one that was assembled to tantalize and impress fans of entertainment industry-related artwork, particularly in the areas of movie posters and album cover art. On Sunday, July 26, a panel was assembled that included a truckload of participants whose names are well-known and whose portfolios of work have brought joy and wonder to art/film/TV and music fans all over the world. The panel was titled “Masters of the Illustrated Film Poster – The Sequel” and, according to the event’s promoters – “The history of the illustrated movie poster can be tied into the history of art itself, the panelists have expressed that they have ‘learned from the masters’ and that ‘we all stand on the shoulders of giants.’ This year we welcome artist Paul Shipper (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) as host to the ASIFA Hollywood panel featuring artists Steve Chorney (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), James Goodridge (Deadpool, Alita Battle Angel), Greg Hildebrandt (Star Wars), Rory Kurtz (The Graduate, Baby Driver), Robert Rodriguez (The Jewel of the Nile, City Slickers II), Akiko Stehrenberger (Girl on Fire, The Last Black Man in San Francisco), William Stout (Wizards, Life of Brian) and Drew Struzan (Hook, Back to the Future).”
I’d like to update the info to include that, in addition to the aforementioned film credits, Paul Shipper has produced artwork for classical music recordings; Steve Chorney created the artwork for the soundtrack for the award-winning film Round Midnight and also about a dozen rock music compilations for Time-Life Music; Greg Hildebrandt’s done covers for both Black Sabbath and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra; William Stout’s art is featured on over two dozen soundtrack (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) and rock/pop albums (Ramones, Smithereens, Iggy Pop, ELP, Cat Stevens/Yusuf and others) and, of course, Drew Stuzan, who was responsible for the memorable artwork seen on the covers of rock classics such as Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Carole King’s Fantasy, Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits and Welcome To My Nightmare, Iron Butterfly’s Scorching Beauty and others for Kenny Rankin, Dawn, Poco and many others.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find no better way to spend some time watching and learning from the masters, so to watch this recorded panel, click on over to either the Comic-Con site – https://www.comic-con.org/cciathome/2020/video/MWgFxejd2J8 or directly to the video on YouTube – https://youtu.be/MWgFxejd2J8
c) This past July 17th, the Brian Liss Gallery in Toronto hosted famed rock lensman Mick Rock in an 11+ minute Instagram Live interview during which he introduced some new prints available at the gallery while also taking us on a short tour through a portion of his impressive image archive. The first minute or so showing of the event featured Mr. Rock in a mask bearing some of the well-known images he’s shot of David Bowie. This was followed by a presentation of Mick digging thru a box of shots he took during the cover shoot session for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and providing some candid (some might say “not very PC”, or “rude”) play-by-play commentary (e.g., a behind-the-scenes photo portrait with Freddie M. “looking like a child hooker from New Orleans”) – https://www.instagram.com/tv/CCwtxfplZhx/? You’ll also see a couple of surprise photos that’ll be of interest to Pink Floyd fans and samples of his new line of “Ripart”…
d) As you’ll read a bit later in this news summary, in early July pop sensation Katy Perry gave fans several ways to see more of the soon-to-be-released new record’s (titled Smile) album cover art, and one fan – a young artist named Peter who also runs a Lady Gaga fan site called FAMEKILLED – used his design talents to create an alternative design that “went viral”, capturing the attention of a number of entertainment industry stars including, as it seems, Ms. Perry herself. In a tweet posted soon after she saw Peter’s work, she publicly stated that she wanted to employ Peter to do her next album cover. Whether she does or not (let’s hope), it has encouraged him to keep his abilities sharply honed, as you’ll read in this recent interview in the Australian edition of the Business Insider.com site – https://www.businessinsider.com.au/9-year-old-went-viral-for-redesigning-katy-perrys-smile-2020-7
e) For the past several months, you’ve read about how artist Roger Dean has been making the most out of his self-quarantine time by producing a very regular series of video sessions, shot live in his studio, during which he’s let us watch over his shoulder as he was working on a variety of projects, with Dean providing “play-by-play” commentary as he worked. While it seems that he’s decided to slow down his continuous output of these clips, he did post several in early July, including one about the fonts and lettering he’s designed, another about some of the stages he’s added his unique touches to over time (anyone who’s been to a YES concert has enjoyed those unique and colorful constructions) and one more in-depth Q&A session with his daughter serving as producer and interviewer – https://www.rogerdean.com/interviews/ As always, a fascinating look behind the scenes of this world-class talent.
f) The team at the Morrison Hotel Galleries continued to come up with interesting, informative and entertaining ways to introduce to some of the photographers whose prints are available through the gallery and, as part of their ongoing efforts, this past month they launched a new series of videos under the moniker Greatest Hits. The first episode featured one of the people most-responsible for the way many of us remember Jimi Hendrix – that being the famed shooter Gered Mankowitz – in a five-and-a-half-minute video on Instagram from the studio in his home in Cornwall, England, about his perhaps-most-famous photo – the aptly-named shot titled “Classic”. As the gallery’s promo puts it, The video builds “a time-honored portrait crystallizing the sensational legacy of the late-great Jimi Hendrix at the precipice of rock stardom. Coming of age at the peak of Swinging Sixties, it would appear as though Mankowitz had found himself in the right place at the right time but, rather than following in the footsteps of those legends whose storied careers begin only a few years before his, the London-born artist would forge his own path as one of the preeminent music photographers of an era… A half-century onward, he is revered of the greatest visual historians of all time.”
New episodes are slated to be released each Thursday, so check for new releases on the gallery’s main blog page at https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/
g) The PR team at the Morrison Hotel Gallery must be working overtime (and successfully so) – Gallery partner and esteemed rock photographer Henry Diltz is featured in a new interview regarding the late 1969 photo session at a place called “The Farm” that produced James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James 1970 LP cover – “The Making of the ‘Sweet Baby James’ Album Cover”, written by Greg Brodsky, can be read on the Best Classic Bands web site – https://bestclassicbands.com/sweet-baby-james-album-cover-james-taylor-henry-diltz-7-9-20/
Items for Sale and/or at Auction
a) The previously-mentioned rock photographer Mr. Mick Rock has also recently teamed up with the UK Gallery West Contemporary to sell a new edition of photo prints from his portfolio featuring David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Iggy Pop and others, with 20% of the proceeds being used to buy new PPE for National Health Service employees.
Mick spoke with FAD Magazine’s Irene Machetti about this project – https://fadmagazine.com/2020/06/26/10-questions-from-isolation-with-mick-rock/
b) Mr. Rock’s not the only one looking to raise some needed money for COVID-19 –related relief organizations – in this article on the Ultimate Classic Rock site, you’ll read about the wide variety of officially-licensed images now available on face masks that should be proudly worn by any rock fan serious about beating this deadly pandemic – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/rock-band-face-masks/
For example, a company called “We’ve Got You Covered” is offering masks featuring artwork from musical acts including Willie Nelson, Aerosmith, Slipknot and the Sex Pistols (among others), with 100% of the proceeds from the sales of these masks going to the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund – www.grammy.com/musicares.
The article even includes a Buying Guide, so you can scroll down to see what masks might be available featuring images from your favorite bands/performers.
c) Also looking to use their resources to raise needed funds for COVID-19 relief, the Jerry Garcia Foundation is releasing a special music collection titled My Sisters and Brothers on their OnlyLoveRecords label on August 1, 2020. Proceeds from the sales/streaming of this record will benefit the following 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations for their relief programs through individual grants: MusiCares®, WhyHunger and the IBMA Relief Fund, an affiliate of the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Making the collection all the more special is that the cover is based on a watercolor painting called California Mission done in 1992 by the Dead’s late great guitarist and, as another way to send some money to COVID-19 relief organizations, the Foundation is presently auctioning off a limited-edition print of the artwork on the CharityBuzz website. They’re accepting bids on the $3000 retail print from now until August 13, so if you’d like to learn more about the music, please read over this intro article on thepress.net (Brentwood, CA) web site – https://www.thepress.net/news/state/new-jerry-garcia-music-release-to-benefit-covid-19-relief/article_8dfe2ae3-c69c-5715-9928-8749e5a9d497.html and to place a bid on the art print, click on over to https://www.charitybuzz.com/catalog_items/california-mission-watercolor-by-grateful-deads-jerry-2082400?preview=1
d) The poster and album cover artwork of 2017 ACHOF Inductee in the Design category Carl Glover is included in a special 20% off artwork on sale at Flood Gallery thru late August – https://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/carl-glover? Included in the offer are prints of his covers for UK punk/prog stalwarts Marillion, including those for Marbles, Radiation and Somewhere Else. Also available are several of my favorite works of his found in his Bass Communion series. Take a look and make your walls a bit more interesting with one (or more) of these prints.
e) In this month’s “Such A Deal” report – As I reported in last month’s summary, Bonham’s auction house offered an 18.5” square test proof of a “replacement cover” for the famed Beatles “Butcher Cover” for the record Yesterday & Today in their July 15th online auction – https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26170/lot/7/ With a US$ 1,000 – 1,500/£ 800 – 1,200 auction estimate, the item sold to a lucky collector for just $535.00. As you’ll read below in the article on Heritage’s August auction which includes a slick of the Butcher Cover (with online bids already well over $1,000), this simply proves the well-support theory that a cover without blood and guts is simply less-appealing to today’s consumers.
f) Heritage Auction’s “Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature auction”S scheduled in early August includes several album art-related items, including: art slicks for the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet gatefold cover, Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 record Stampede and The Beatles’ Yesterday & Today “Butcher Cover”; a lot featuring two boxed sets released by Apple Records in 2013 of both the 12 Beatles LPs and their 27 #1 hit singles; a set of 1997 prints by Icon Art of Joel Brodsky’s memorable photos used on the covers/packaging from two “Greatest Hits” records by The Doors and, of particular interest to Boomer-aged collectors, the original color photo art for the Linda Ronstadt album (Hasten Down The Wind) that provided many a young boys’ fantasy back when it was released in 1976 – https://entertainment.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=53+794+793+792+4294946755&Ntk=SI_Titles-Desc&Nty=1&Ntt=album+cover&limitTo=4294946755&ic4=KeywordSearch-A-K-Y-071316 The auction takes place August 8th and 9th, and I’ll be sure to report the results in next month’s summary. Happy bidding.
g) Rudolf Schenker’s Hannover, Germany-based rock band Scorpions have been producing classic rock records for nearly 50 years, with one particular album – Blackout, released in 1982, embedding itself in our collective nightmares via the Gottfried Heinwein-produced cover image of a screaming man whose head is wrapped in bandages and whose eyes are fitted with torture devices (in actuality, a Heinwein self-portrait which gives Munch’s Scream a run for its money). Well, our friends at KnuckleBonz have just announced the availability of a 3-D cover recreation of that cover image, along with three new statues of the band’s principal members. Products are slated to ship in late 2020, and you can find out more about these new products on the company’s site at – https://knucklebonz.com/product/scorpions-blackout-3d-vinyl/
h) Perfect for when you’ve thought that there would be nothing more possible to do to occupy your time during quarantine – a company called Zee Productions, run by a “self-proclaimed metal-head” by the name of Steve Beatty, has released the first of a series of picture puzzles featuring classic heavy metal/rock album artwork (Iron Maiden, Metallica, Motorhead and Queen to start). “Rock Saws” will release more jigsaw puzzles as time goes on, and if you’d like to learn more about the man/company behind these exciting new products sure to keep you away from Facebook and Twitter for several hours, you can both read these introductory and interview articles on the Toy News Online website – https://www.toynews-online.biz/2020/07/07/zee-productions-launches-new-puzzles-under-its-rock-saws-and-bellica-imprints/ and https://www.toynews-online.biz/2019/04/17/brave-new-world-this-is-the-man-shaking-up-puzzles-with-heavy-metal/ and then learn more on the company’s own site – http://www.zeeproductions.co.uk/index.php/rock-saws/
i) REMINDER – COMING SOON IN SEPTEMBER – The final Secret 7” fund-raising auction, originally scheduled for this past May, has been re-scheduled – Readers of this site might remember having seen my annual reporting on the “Secret 7” hand-made 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. As I quoted in an article about the project earlier this year, “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 September 4th through the 13th before being sold on a first come, first served basis (limit 4 to a customer – no online sales) in a quick sale staged on the final day“. 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, with more info on the event available on both their web site at https://secret-7.com/page/about and in this recent article on The Guardian (UK) web site – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/jun/15/the-best-new-design-from-african-arcade-games-to-art-you-can-smell Best of luck to the Secret 7” team – I’m sure we’ll see more from them in the future.
OBIT) The photographer many ascribe as having helped establish “the look” of The Beatles in 1963 – Fiona Adams – died this past July 10th at the age of 84. Adams’ famous shot of The Beatles jumping in the air on a bomb site in London appeared in Boyfriend Magazine in April, 1963 and was also used on the cover of the band’s Twist and Shout EP. Her portfolio also included popular images of other psychedelic 1960s London denizens including Jimi Hendrix, The Fool artists collective, actors Oliver Reed and Michael Caine and top model Twiggy, with a group of six of her shots included in a late 2009 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London titled “Beatles To Bowie” http://www.fionaadamsphotography.com/Beatles-to-Bowie.html. More details on the life of this talented photographer can be found in articles on the BBC web site – https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-53365590 and in an obituary on the Sydney Morning Herald site – https://www.smh.com.au/national/when-fiona-adams-told-the-beatles-to-jump-they-jumped-20200729-p55ght.html
a) Its articles like the following that remind me that the Web is not only the place where peoples’ minds are attacked by conspiracy theories and stories about Man’s inhumanity to Man but also the place, from time to time, where you find things that truly make you smile…Here’s an article or two about a group of residents living in seclusion in a UK retirement home who came together to recreate classic album cover images with themselves in starring roles – https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/nursing-home-classic-album-covers-sydmar-lodge-adele-david-bowie-a9615431.html and https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/now-thats-rock-n-roll-care-home-residents-recreate-iconic-album-covers/ I don’t want to divulge much more – you just have to take a look for yourselves.
b) While regular readers of my news summaries know that I usually find articles online titled “My 10 Favorite Album Covers” rather boring and, typically, just click-bait, when I discovered one written recently for the Muse By Clio site by a prominent Chicago-based artist named Faheem Majeed who had spent a number of years earlier in his career as the Director and Curator of the esteemed South Side Community Art Center, I was not at all surprised to find it both informative and a well-written and interesting read. The fact that Mr. Majeed was also a big fan of one of my favorite album cover artists – surrealist Abdul Mati Klarwein, best-known for his covers for Santana (Abraxas) and Miles Davis (Bitches Brew) and others – only wanted me to learn more about Faheem and his artwork, so while I work now to contact him and ask him more about any influences album cover art/artists may have played on his life/career, I’d invite you to read his article – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-artist-faheem-majeed and then visit his own site – https://www.faheemmajeed.com/about
c) Two new articles on the Ultimate Classic Rock site that’ll be of great interest to fans of costumed rockers KISS: the first article details the mis-understanding between noted album cover photographer Joel Brodsky, who thought that the band members were dressing up in their respective alt-personas just as a joke (it turned out that they were SERIOUS about their costumes and makeup!) – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/kiss-clown-album-cover/ while another article takes us on a cover-by-cover tour showing us what some now-iconic images might have been instead. You’ll see several unselected cover comps, variants and some “what ifs” that, had they been used, would certainly have changed the course of world history – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/kiss-album-cover-changes/
d) Pop singer Katy Perry gave her fans something fun to do in advance of the release of her upcoming new album Smile – a “tweet to reveal” activity that ultimately shows her new record’s album art – https://www.radio.com/articles/abc-music-news/katy-perry-revealing-album-cover-art-via-virtual-popped-balloons Not quite the “pop the balloons to see what’s underneath” grand prize many might have been hoping for, but a novel interactive concept well-executed nonetheless. BTW – Ms. Perry’s new baby daughter is due around the same date (August 14th) she births her new record, so let’s all wish her loads of success on both counts.
e) Back in pre-Internet days, music marketers and packagers had much-more-limited ways to include “hidden content” (what are now called “Easter Eggs” in the video game world) but, when they’d team up with the talented graphic artists, designers and other packaging pros at their disposal, they’d often times find themselves hiding things in plain sight – i.e., right on the album cover. In this recent article on the Music Times site, you’ll read about the details of four well-known covers by musical acts including Def Leppard, Fleetwood Mac, Paul & Linda McCartney and Santana that contain more than what’s obvious – https://www.musictimes.com/articles/81905/20200704/look-again-classic-album-covers-secret.htm Imagine had they had today’s digital production tools and delivery systems at their disposal – would the originals have been “better”? Not sure I want to have that argument…
f) I’m pleased to announce that photographer Janette Beckman’s book Hip Hop Years, New York, 1982-1992 was included in the recently-released “Best Books of Summer” listing on the Financial Times.com web site – https://www.ft.com/content/605f6074-b15a-11ea-a4b6-31f1eedf762e
Originally, desiring to be a portrait artist, but not confident in her skills as an illustrator or painter, she used her camera to shoot portraits of local musicians and the emerging punk music scene at the local clubs. Her photos would appear in publications including The Face and Melody Maker and, learning more about the exciting new hip-hop scene in New York City, she moved there in 1982 to document the musical acts leading the charge there. Once there, she immersed herself in the local music scene and was there to document the rise of the careers of original hip-hop royalty such as Grandmasters DST & Flash, Slick Rick, Salt’n’Pepa, LL Cool J and Run-DMC, among many others. Impressed by Janette’s artistic take on the New York music scene, a number of publications both in the U.S. and overseas (including, but not limited to Esquire, Glamour, Interview, The London Sunday Times, Mojo, Newsweek, The Observer, People and Rolling Stone) turned to her to supply them with photos for their editorials on the subject.
Since then, Janette’s work has been in demand, allowing her to develop a client list outside the music industry, creating images for brands such as Casio, Converse, Doc Marten, Jocks and Nerds, Kangol, Nickelodeon, SAGE, Schott, Vodafone and others. Published on Café Royal Books earlier this year, this is Ms. Beckman’s fifth book, with earlier ones focused on topics including eternal battle between the Mods vs. Rockers and the Punk street scenes. You can see more of her work at https://janettebeckman.com/
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.