Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – September, 2020
Posted September 1st, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
We’re entering the final stages of Summer 2020 – a summer unlike any I can remember – and now that we’ve heard the arguments from both sides regarding either the re-election of the current administration or its replacement with a new one, I know that the next couple of months will be full of messaging, news and theater but, while you might think that there’d be little news coming from the world of album cover artists and their art, in fact, there’s been a lot to look at, read and learn about. Visual artists have always played an important part in politics and have made some quite-memorable statements about society with their works (think of album covers released over the past 5-6 decades from musical acts such as Pink Floyd, Rage Against The Machine, The Roots and many, many others), so you won’t be surprised to find examples of such work included amongst the articles included this month’s news summary.
With the voting for this year’s class of the ACHOF soon to take place, I’ve also worked to continue to add new bios to the ACHOF site, having tracked down a number of great talents who have or continue to work in this area. I also conducted an interview with a fine artist from Chicago by the name of Faheem Majeed who, if you’ll recall from last month’s summary, recently produced his first (and, perhaps, his only!) album cover image and had a lot to share with me about that experience, the details of which will be included soon in a new interview article you’ll find on the ACHOF site. In the meantime, I’ve put together a decent-sized sampling of album art/artist-related articles and remain grateful to those of you who’ve continued to visit and share what you’ve found on the ACHOF site. I hope that you’ll continue to dig through the archives of content available for you (suggestions for new topics are always appreciated) but for now, 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
a) While many public/retail galleries and museums continue to be closed to the public, some 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 digital/online 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. The Grammy Museum in LA, Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have all produced prodigious amounts of product for their respective web sites, and many retail galleries – in addition to the online portfolios they’ve created – 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.
b) Beginning with a virtual show opening on the night of August 7th on the MIZE GALLERY Facebook Live page (accessible via https://www.facebook.com/mizegallery/) which was then followed by a second guided tour on the gallery’s Instagram Live page (https://www.instagram.com/mizegallery/), album art fans had the opportunity (through August 29th) to see a collection of one-of-a-kind album cover art reinterpretations that were produced by a large group of artists from all aspects of the multi-media/fine art world. Titled “Sounds Good”, the gallery assembled works inspired by a wide range of well-known album covers from musical acts such as the Grateful Dead, Coldplay, Madonna, Hole, Talking Heads, Black Sabbath and many others. You’ll find hand-crafted works painted in oils, pastels and acrylics, mixed media works, collages, papercuts, serigraphs, pen-and-ink drawings, photographs and combinations thereof. While many of the works which were on display were from artists in the St. Petersburg, FL area (where the gallery is located), you’ll also find submissions from artists from elsewhere in Florida as well as New York and California, and all of the items are for sale.
The gallery provided us with more information available on their web site at http://chadmize.com/exhibits/soundsgood/index.html or you can read Patch writer Skyla Luckey’s local coverage – https://patch.com/florida/stpete/album-cover-art-show-opens-mize-gallery-st-petersburg . I hope to learn a bit more about this show and how it was organized and will let you know what I find out ASAP. In the meantime, I’d invite you all to take advantage of the recordings of these live tours you’ll find on the gallery’s site, and you can pretend that you were there by popping some corn, slathering some caviar on a blini or two, mixing your favorite cocktail/mocktail and joining in on the fun and excitement from the convenience and safety of your favorite quarantine space! Enjoy your visit!
c) By offering timed tickets and limited access (and observing a strict spacing protocol), London’s Design Museum has proclaimed “on with the show” – the show being their hosting of a must-see exhibition for fans of electronic music (and related design, fashion, equipment and memorabilia) called Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers’, which is running now through February, 2021. Electronic is an exhibition produced by the Musée de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris (and curated by Jean-Yves Leloup) and, according to the museum’s detailed description, evokes the experience of being in a club…transporting you through the people, art, design, technology and photography that have been shaping the electronic music landscape.”
Their description continues – “Travel to dance floors from Detroit to Chicago, Paris, Berlin and the UK’s thriving scene; featuring over 400 objects and the likes of Detroit techno legends Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin, “Godfather of House Music” Frankie Knuckles, Haçienda designer Ben Kelly and the extreme visual world created by Weirdcore for Aphex Twin’s ‘Collapse’.
Discover early pioneers Daphne Oram and the seminal BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Indulge your senses with large scale images of rave culture by Andreas Gursky, iconic DJ masks and fashion, a genre-spanning soundtrack by French DJ and producer Laurent Garnier, a sound reactive visual installation created specifically for the exhibition by 1024 architecture, graphics from Peter Saville CBE, history-making labels and club nights.” Of course, seeing the name Peter Saville associated with the show led me to assume that there’d be some album cover design included and, according to the article I found on the Shortlist site – https://www.shortlist.com/news/8-amazing-objects-that-define-electronic-music-402367 – the catalog does include several important album covers. To learn more about the show and visiting the museum during its run, click on over to https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/electronic-from-kraftwerk-to-the-chemical-brothers
Artist News and Interviews
a) There’s a new film about the importance that vinyl records and record retailers play in the lives of many of us that premiered recently (this past 8/28 online and in a few select public places). Titled Vinyl Nation, the film is the first feature-length documentary from a team led by Albuquerque, NM-based producer/director Christopher Boone and San Francisco-based author and essayist (and, for the first time,producer/director) Kevin Smokler – https://preview.houstonchronicle.com/music/more-than-the-music-matters-in-vinyl-nation-15505960 and, according to the production’s advance PR, the film is their combined effort to “dig into the crates of the record resurgence in search of truths set in deep wax” to answer important questions such as “has the return of vinyl made music fandom more inclusive or divided? What does vinyl say about our past here in the present? and How has the second life of vinyl changed how we hear music and how we listen to each other?”.
Knowing that any self-respecting film on the topic would most-certainly include a look into the role that album cover art plays in the production, marketing and collecting of recorded music, I reached out to Chris Boone to find out more and here’s what he shared with me:
(Via email, August 26th and 27th) – Mike G – Hello there Chris and congratulations on the upcoming release of your film. As it’s about to go into distribution, I’m hoping to find out about the role that album cover art plays in it. Are there interviews or discussions about record album packaging and related visuals and, if so, can you share a bit about who is featured and what is discussed? Anything you’d be willing to share with me would be appreciated.
Chris B – Hey Mike, Thanks for reaching out. As far as album art is concerned, Vinyl Nation includes our visit to Stoughton Printing to show how old-style tip-on jackets are made, and we interview Rob Maushund at Stoughton about packaging. We then have a short segment on all of the special vinyl packaging that can be done to make a record special.
As a sidebar, we also talk with Instagram album cover art re-creator Logan Melissa, her passion for vinyl records and their cover art, and how she shares detailed information about each album that she recreates with her tongue-in-cheek photo parodies. The film doesn’t specifically go into album cover art beyond that, which we’re sure could fill an entire documentary on its own!
We hope you check out the film and support a local Chicago business. Both Rattleback Records and Tone Deaf Records are partners for this virtual cinema release. You can find our complete list of partners at vinylnationfilm.com and click the “Where to Watch” button. (Editor’s note – The page has been updated with links to each partner’s ticket page https://vinylnationfilm.com/virtual-cinema-tickets) .
MG – Chris, I want to say thanks for getting back to me so quickly during what must be a very busy pre-release period for you and your crew. I did get to interview Jack Stoughton several years ago to get his take on album cover art (quite the unique perspective), so I’m glad you were able to include a trip the company in your film.
I wasn’t familiar with Logan’s work – there have been several people over the years who’ve built long lists of followers with their re-creations of well-known album imagery – but I’ll be sure to take a look to see what she’s done and will share that with my readers as well.
As an FYI – there have been a number of films where album cover art/artists have been the center of attention – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-films-about-album-cover-art-artists/ but I think that it’d be great to see more on the subject.
I’ll do my best to see your film when it is released. I was an early backer of Colin Hanks’ film about Tower Records (All Things Must Pass, released in 2015), which showed the demise of the record chain, so it’d be good to see a film highlighting the industry’s comeback.
Let’s stay in touch. Maybe we can talk about the role album cover art plays in your own lives at some point?
b) A New Jersey-based photographer who studied under famed album cover shooter Danny Clinch who has built quite the portfolio of his own work for clients in the music world – Daniel Prakopcyk – was tapped recently by art director Reed Bennett to shoot the cover for the debut album by Dominic Fike, ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong’. In a 9-minute video interview posted on the B-Sides site, you’ll hear about Daniel’s efforts to produce a memorable cover image all while dealing with the challenges of working professionally during the COVID-19 pandemic…turns out that Dominic is a big fan of rocker John Mayer, who Daniel toured with for two years. After coming up with the notion of projecting an image on a mountain in Edinburgh, Scotland, a slight (i.e., major) change in plans – adding the musician to the photo in post-production – forced the creative team and the musician to figure out how to make a final image that would capture a fan’s attention and that all parties would be proud of – http://b-sides.tv/interviews/20200825-interview-the-making-of-the-album-art-daniel-prakopcyk-discusses-what-could-possibly-go-wrong-by-dominic-fike
c) Artist/designer Jann Haworth – perhaps best-known for her work with artist Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper in creating what’s perhaps the best-known album cover in modern history, that being the cover for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, has recently unveiled another masterfully-created collage, this time, in honor of 250+ women from the past and present who’ve helped shape the state of Utah’s history (and its future) as part of the state’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote.
As covered by local reporter Becky Jacobs for the Salt Lake City Tribune site – https://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/2020/08/28/salt-lake-city-mural/ –
The 5,000 square foot mural, created with support from a local bank, was, according to Ms. Haworth, “the most extraordinary of my career because of the arc of time during which it is being made.” According to the article, “over the past year, Haworth and her son, Alex Johnstone, worked with 178 people to create the piece. While about 30 of those involved are professional artists, the rest were community members, according to Haworth.”
Sadly, partisan politics reared its ugly head in local commentary about the number of Republican women included in the overall number represented on the mural. Haworth stated that the selection process was done quite democratically and that she’d be up to producing a larger version that might include many more of the state’s most-notable women. Until then, you can learn more about the project and the people featured on it on their website at http://womensmural.com/
Items for Sale and/or at Auction
a) In 1978, artist Eric Orr began to pursue his career in the visual arts both as a graffiti artist whose canvas included walls and subway cars all over NYC and as a student at the School of Visual Arts. His work gained him both notoriety with the local authorities and, later on, a 1982 meeting with another artist whose career moved from graffiti to the rapidly-growing local “Pop Art” scene – Keith Haring. In 1984, Haring and Orr collaborated on a series of drawings in the New York City subways featuring both artist’s signature imagery – Haring’s “radiant baby” and Orr’s “robot head” – with these works soon becoming a memorable part of New York City subway history.
Not surprisingly, as the hip-hop music/culture/art scene grew quickly in the city, Eric would be an integral part of the scene, with his design talents bringing him work on album cover projects for many of the pioneering musical acts on the scene, including DJ Afrika Bambaataa (and his Soul Sonic Force), Don Baron, Def Duo and the original Jazzy Jay (on the influential Strong City Records label, for which Orr also created the logo), so when I saw the recent press release from Melissa Marr and the talented team at print publisher Gary Lichtenstein Editions about a limited-edition commemorative print featuring artwork from Orr and Haring, I knew that you’d be intrigued by the info – “In 1984, Eric Orr and Keith Haring joined forces to create a series of chalk drawings in the NYC subways. As their work evolved, the artists shifted their focus from the subway to the studio and embarked on the production of a suite of drawings. Included in the group was Repeat which had made its first appearance in the 23rd Street IRT uptown station. Little did Orr and Haring know that the reimagined drawing would be auctioned at Christie’s six years later. 2020 heralds a new beginning for Repeat, a truly unique silkscreen print that both illustrates and celebrates a fierce friendship that began in the early 1980s at The Roxy roller rink in NYC, when two young artists decided to trade t-shirts on the dance floor. Eric and Keith shared the philosophy that wonderful art should be available to the masses… not just the few. In that spirit, Repeat is being released in an edition of 250 signed/numbered and stamped prints, at an affordable price of $500.00 (limit one per household).”
You can see more about this exciting new print featuring the work of two artists whose works so influenced Pop Culture (and music and art and fashion) by clicking on over to the GLE site at https://www.gleditions.com/new-releases
b) Long time LA-based promoter of rock music imagery – the Mr. Musichead Gallery – sent out notice of a print sale and Danny Clinch portfolio overview that I thought might help both lift the spirits of those of us who’ve been self-quarantining these past 5+ months and better-decorate music rooms all over the world. There are dozens of noted album cover image creators on the gallery’s roster, including Richard E. Aaron, Adrian Boot, Ed Caraeff, Brian Duffy, Deborah Feingold, Bob Gruen, Don Huntstein, Elliott Landy, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Guy Webster, Glenn Wexler, Baron Wolman, Neil Zlozower and many more, so to take advantage of this sale, which offers 10% OFF and Free Domestic (i.e., U.S.-only) shipping and is available now through the end of September, visit the gallery’s site and enter the following special code – MUSICHEAD10 – at checkout. https://www.mrmusichead.com/
The gallery is also hosting an in-depth review of one of the music industry’s best-known and busiest photographers, Danny Clinch – https://www.mrmusichead.com/danny-clinch? – whose notable album cover credits include – Afghan Whigs – Black Love; Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones and Definitive Ol’ Dirty Bastard Story; Simon & Garfunkel – Old Friends: Live On Stage; Pete Yorn – Life On A Chain and Musicforthemorningafter; Sparklehouse – Distorted Ghost; Luscious Jackson – Electric Honey; The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Now I Got Worry; Daniel Lanois – Shine and many others.
A native of Toms River, NJ, USA, after graduating from his local high school in 1982 and attending Ocean County College, Danny decided that he was interested in the arts and, in particular, photography. Looking to further his education in this area, an ad in a photo magazine introduced him to the New England School of Photography in Boston, MA and, after a visit to the campus, he enrolled there, graduating in 1985. Soon after, he participated in two workshops, including one in Yosemite staged by the Ansel Adams Workshops and lead by photographer Annie Leibovitz. Recognizing his potential, Annie invited Danny to intern for her in 1986 and, after that period, hired him on full-time as her assistant.
While he was assisting, Danny also took the occasional side assignment, focusing on the local Boston music scene. In 1992, Spin Magazine hired him to shoot a NYC-based hip-hop act and, intrigued by what he saw was an emerging market, he brought his portfolio to Steve Karr of Def Jam Records. Karr was impressed with what he saw and offered Clinch the opportunity to shoot rising stars including L.L. Cool J and Public Enemy and it was having these acts in his portfolio that opened doors for him over time, soon allowing him entree into the burgeoning alt-rock world and other music industry areas.
By 1995, Danny was able to take on a myriad of portrait and concert photo assignments, including those with the Afghan Whigs, Beck, The Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine, Sonic Youth and the Tibetan Freedom Concert (attending and photographing every TFC event ever since, with a collection of these photos included in his 2000 book titled When The Iron Bird Flies). With his subject really appreciating his sensitivity to their needs – both as clients and as subjects – he has since been able to expand his client roster greatly, adding such names as Bjork, Blind Melon, Johnny Cash, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bruce Springsteen and Tupac Shakur.
In addition to Spin Magazine, his photographs have appeared in a variety of well-known publications including GQ, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Besides his 2000 book, his portraits and other photographs were also brought together in a 1998 compilation titled Discovery Inn.
Expanding his talents beyond photography, in 2003 Danny founded his own film company in NYC called Three on the Tree Productions and his projects there have included films on subjects such as the 2004 Bonnaroo Festival, Bruce Springsteen (Devils and Dust – 2005, for which he received the first of his 2 Grammy nominations), Pearl Jam, Michael Stipe, Van Morrison, John Mayer (2009’s Where The Light Is – Grammy nom #2) and, more recently, Sara Bareilles (Live At The Fillmore) and 2011’s Live At Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale. Quite active also in the music video arena, Danny has also directed videos for Mellissa Etheridge, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Willie Nelson and Tom Waits, among many others.
His photography has been included in a number of solo and group shows including the Who Shot Rock & Roll travelling exhibition (launching in Brooklyn, NY in 2009), the 2012 Silver & Brass Gallery show in New Orleans and a number of shows curated by the Morrison Hotel Gallery. He’s also served as the official portrait photographer for the annual Grammy Awards shows since 2002.
For more information on this artist, please visit his web site at http://www.dannyclinch.com/
c) Working under license of the archive of the late David Bowie, artist Josh Agile – AKA “SHAG” – is releasing a new fine art serigraph print in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Thin White Duke’s third studio album – 1970’s The Man That Sold The World. The album (in the U.S.) originally featured a cover by famed cartoon artist and writer Michael J. Weller which portrayed a rather frightening-looking cowboy standing in front of an insane asylum. The cover was later replaced by a photo of David reclining on a chaise lounge, which was shot by Keith MacMillan. As a long-time fan of SHAG’s work (I have several of his prints in my personal collection and a tattoo inspired by one of his Tiki designs!), I have to say that this effort is quite a special one to me as it also includes his renditions of several of Bowie’s best-known album covers. Due out September 5th and available in framed and unframed limited-editions, this is the second band-licensed print SHAG has released, the first being a depiction of the band KISS’s appearance in a 1976 Halloween TV special starring comedian Paul Lynde – https://shagstore.bigcartel.com/product/the-night-before-halloween-br-limited-edition-serigraph-print-br
To reserve a print for your very own (see below), you can call the artist’s gallery in Palm Springs, CA at 760 322-3400 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can see more of SHAG’s collection on his web site at https://shagstore.bigcartel.com/
d) Coming in early September (Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 11th – 13th) at the Julien’s auction house in Beverly Hills, CA is an event built around the auction of original Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman’s personal collection of band memorabilia. A quick dig into the items that will be up for auction – highlights include the sale of a 1962 Vox AC30 amplifier, a late 60’s Fender Mustang and some custom-made Travis Bean bass guitars and a pair of silver boots he was wearing while he accidentally fell off a stage and nearly killed himself – has revealed a number of album cover-related lots that might be of interest to art, music and memorabilia collectors, such as: Lot 614 – an Andy Warhol-designed poster featuring photos shot for the band’s Love You Live album; Lot 723 is a framed litho featuring Peter Corriston’s marvelous artwork for the cover of the band’s 1981 album Tattoo You; Lot 843 includes a framed copy of the sleeve for the 1984 single “She Was Hot” (with a great cover by artist Roger Shipp that’s been signed by Wyman and all of the Stones except Mick J.; plus t-shirts, neckties and some other nice album art-based items.
The folks at Rolling Stone Magazine caught up with the now-84-year-old ex-Stones bassist (who left the group after 30+ years, in 1993) and produced a nine-minute video interview during which Wyman admits that he started saving memorabilia from his career so that he could, one day, prove to his son that “he’d once been in a band that made a record”.
e) In honor of what would have been the Rush drummer (and author and songwriter) Neal Peart’s 68th birthday on September 12th, the folks behind the annual Scottish Rush Festiveal – AKA “Rushfest” – have put together a special charity fund-raiser tribute album and, in keeping with band tradition, hired long-time Rush cover designer Hugh Syme to create the artwork for this special release.
Rushfest was started in 2014 as a way to both pay tribute to Canada’s great gift to music and to raise money for a number of cancer charities (each charity is supported for two years), with the proceeds of this new recording – titled Tribute – Songs For Neil Vol. 1 – earmarked for both Cancer Support Scotland (UK) and Glioblastoma Foundation Neil Peart Research Award in the USA. This year’s festival is, of course, an online affair, with a number of live and participatory events taking place beginning at 7PM (UK time) on the 12th. You can see the album’s cover art on the RushFest site – http://www.rushfestscotland.co.uk/ and there’s a nice intro article about the project on the the Louder Sound site – https://www.loudersound.com/news/rushfest-launches-charity-rush-tribute-album. You can place pre-orders for the album (in a variety of formats) and donate to the supported charities via this link to the JustGiving.com site – https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/everydayglories
f) There’s a new graphic novel (long-form comic book, to us old people) hitting store shelves next June that is based on a story derived from the album cover art from Dio’s debut record Holy Diver. The original album cover featured art by Gene Hunter and Randy Berett, while the graphic novel (titled Dio: Holy Diver) will feature original cover art by another album cover art veteran – Bill Sienkiewicz – and, according to this article by Avery Kaplan found on the Comics Beat site – https://www.comicsbeat.com/z2-to-publish-dio-holy-diver-graphic-novel-in-2021/
The book will be offered in both a softcover “Standard Edition” and an ultra-luxe “Deluxe Edition” ($99.95) which includes a hardcover copy of the graphic novel in a limited-edition slipcase, three brand new Holy Diver-inspired art prints and an exclusive vinyl picture disc reissue of the classic album Holy Diver (they’re also teasing that there will be an alternate cover image by famed Batman comic artist Becky Cloonan that will be unveiled soon.
According to the publisher, the book will feature “an original storyline inspired by one of heavy metal’s most iconic album covers. Penned by acclaimed horror comics writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), the book will tell the tale behind the events leading to the powerful moment captured on the cover of Dio’s debut album—definitively addressing 30 years of fan speculation. Why is the priest being thrown into the ocean? Who is truly the villain in this scenario? All of these questions are exclusively answered for the first time within the 120 pages of this graphic novel.
Pre-orders gladly accepted on the publisher’s web site – https://z2comics.com/collections/shop/products/dio-holy-diver-graphic-novel
g) Classic album art still inspires new uses of those images – such is the case in this new Black Sabbath T-shirt that features a “mash-up” of the band’s first 2 album covers (come on, you know which ones…OK, Black Sabbath and Paranoid!). Shipping in mid-September, the new design is printed on a soft black t-shirt and each shirt will run you $25. Available only on the official Black Sabbath store site – https://blacksabbathapparelshop.com/products/mash-up-t-shirt?variant=32558645149786. Some of you might recall the article I did a couple of months back about a striking “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt that the band sold as a fund-raiser (https://blacksabbathapparelshop.com/products/black-lives-matter-t-shirt?variant=32403498696794), done in the style of the text-only cover produced for their 1972 album Vol. 4, and I’m proud to count myself as an owner of this quite-striking article, to boot (see photo, below). Great design can help the world in so many ways…
h) IT’S ALMOST HERE, IT’S ALMOST HERE – COMING SOON IN MID-OCTOBER – The final Secret 7” fund-raising auction, originally scheduled for this past May, has been re-scheduled to begin October 14th (running through November 1st). My readers should recall 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 the dearly-departed 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 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.
OBITS) None that I’m aware of (thank goodness!)
a) While there have been a number of examples of “mystery models” seen on album covers who’ve stayed planted permanently in our memory banks (the witchy-looking woman on the cover of Black Sabbath’s first record, the smiling waitress on the cover of Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, the naked baby on Nivana’s Nevermind and the naughty nurse gracing the cover of Blink-182’s Enema of the State, among others), there are others that you perhaps remember more in passing, such as the photo of the multi-pierced young woman featured in a close-up shot found on Godsmack’s self-titled debut record. Most times, little is said about these people and even less is known about what’s happened to them since they became part of album cover history but, in this story found on
b – Previously posted 8/13/20) Those of you who are aware of my previous life as a TV/Web content producer know I worked to bring “TV-quality” programming to online outlets, so you know that I’m going to be very pleased to announce that there was an online event this past August 15th that was organized by two West Coast-based producers – the team at the Morrison Hotel Galleries (who’ve been providing us with a lot of interesting “meet the artist”-style content over the past several months) and the virtual event production crew and streaming network known as Rolling Live Studios – that treated fans of both music and music-related fine art and photography to a star-studded concert – dubbed the (DE)TOUR and co-hosted by former MTV/VH-1 VJ Matt Pinfield and Spotify’s Global Head of Rock Allison Hagendorf – that featured appearances & performances by a huge cast of music and image-makers from all aspects of the modern music world.
Beginning at 10AM PST on Saturday morning, August 15th , the event included a truly-impressive list of participants including Ringo Starr, Slash, Bush’s Gavin Rossdale, Macy Gray, Taylor Momsen from The Pretty Reckless, Cheap Trick, Linda Perry, rockers Awolnation, Jesse Malin, Badflower, John Oates, The Dandy Warhols (let’s hear it for PDX!), David Johanson, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, pioneering rapper Darryl McDaniels (AKA “DMC”), L7’s Donita Sparks, drummer Matt Sorum and guitarist Gilby Clarke (along with their band Kings of Chaos), Sean Lennon, Lizzy Hale, Charlie Sexton, KT Tunstall, hardcore giants Scream, jazz-rock innovators Ides of March with original vocalist Jim Peterik, X’s John Doe and many, many more (see the entire line up on the event’s site at https://rollinglivestudios.com/).
The day-long festivities featured a schedule of remote performances in which artists streamed live performances from their homes and currently-vacant venues throughout the U.S. such as The Bowery Electric in New York City, Antone’s and The Parish in Austin, TX as well as the Los Angeles-area hot spots Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy Theatre and the Viper Room in West Hollywood. Famed music photographers Mick Rock, Bob Gruen, Henry Diltz, Danny Clinch and Lynn Goldsmith also took part in the virtual festival, sharing their portfolios and the stories behind many of the best-known images.
While the main (DE)TOUR programming was streamed for free, viewers were encouraged to make donations through YouTube Live and Facebook Live to support the Recording Academy’s MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund along with the efforts of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). Both organizations are working to provide assistance to scores of out-of-work musicians and crew members, as well as independent music venues and their promoters who are all suffering from loss of income and creative outlets that have come as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Additional funds were raised through the sales of exclusive merchandise (such as the $25 (DE)Tour Festival t-shirt – https://rollinglivestudios.com/products/exclusive-detour-t-shirt?) and VIP experiences [such as a “Gold VIP Upgrade” ($91) which added a ‘VIP’ Virtual Backstage Pass, a handsome ‘Limited Edition’ (De)Tour Festival T-shirt plus access to exclusive festival content], with participating sponsor Spotify also matching donations to MusiCares dollar-for-dollar – up to a collective total of $10 million – through its Covid-19 Music Relief project.
I can only imagine what it took to organize an event like this under less-than-ideal circumstances, so hat’s off to the production team and all the participating performers, sponsors, venues and everyone else who worked to make this into the successful fund-raiser it was. If you’d like to read more about this event and some of the participating organizations, click on any/all of the following links and you’ll be able to do just that:
Here are a couple of links to other articles that help shed some additional light on the extravaganza –
c) In their latest “The Cover Uncovered” article, the writing staff at Far Out Magazine (UK) shared the details they discovered about the surrealistic cover art (produced by the late Storm Thorgerson and his team at Hipgnosis) for Pink Floyd’s 1975 masterwork Wish You Were Here (yes, the man really was on fire) – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-cover-uncovered-behind-the-artwork/ Earlier in August, the same folks treated us to a similar expose on the iconic (and often parodied) crossing-the-road cover found on The Beatles’ Abbey Road – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-beatles-abbey-road-story-behind-the-cover-artwork-meaning/, so I’m keen on seeing what they’re going to share with us next….
c) Australian youth culture publisher Happy Media works hard to share some historical information about Pop Artist Andy Warhol in a Happy Mag feature on Warhol’s album art and the relationships he developed with a broad range of music celebs – https://happymag.tv/andy-warhols-most-impressive-marks-on-the-music-world/ Writer Kayla McNicoll digs a bit into Warhol’s start as a commercial artist in the field of album art and how many of the entertainers he met during his career served as his Muses (and subjects) as he continued on into the worlds of fine art and film.
If you’d like to take an even-deeper dig into Warhol’s career as an album art-maker, I’d also invite you to visit my chum Guy Minnebach’s Andy Earhole blog – https://warholcoverart.com/ (thanks again, Dr. Forrest!). Truly a scholarly effort there.
d) Writing for the Ultimate Classic Rock site, author Corey Irwin gives us a behind-the-covers look at the imagery that graced the covers of musician Jimi Hendrix’s LPs, sharing the fact that Hendrix – a talented and opinionated visual artist in his own right – truly disliked the original covers produced by his various record labels – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/jimi-hendrix-album-covers/ Luckily, in several cases, he was able to find just the right talent to produce alternative images that pleased Jimi and better-represented his feelings of how things should look…if you’d like to learn more about one such album, I’d invite you to read my original interview with photographer Karl Ferris about the making of the “fish-eye” cover for the classic Hendrix album Are You Experienced? – a re-do that made Jimi very happy to have had a second chance to get things done right! https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/02/index.html
e) The San Francisco Bay area has long-impressed the world with its constant output of creative inventions but, as you’ll read in an article posted on the Marin Independent Journal’s site by Colleen Bidwell, the creativity of the local populace doesn’t stop at apps and artificial intelligence…In the article, you’ll meet photo book-publisher Mercedes Murray who, taking the effects of a life indoors caused by COVID-19, took it upon herself to produce a series of album cover recreations, each with a COVID-19-leaning twist – https://www.marinij.com/2020/08/15/kentfield-woman-re-creates-album-covers-with-pandemic-inspired-twist/ While we’re all suffering through what seems to be a never-ending bout against this disease, it’s always nice to see people’s creative energies still working to keep our spirits up while our lives remain in much disarray…
UPDATE) Last month, I shared a link to a “Top 10 Favorite Album Covers” article I’d read written by a prominent Chicago-based artist named Faheem Majeed, a sculptor who had spent a number of years earlier in his career as the Director and Curator of the esteemed South Side Community Art Center. Intrigued by his choices and the reasons behind them, I contacted Mr. Majeed and asked him several questions about any influences album cover art/artists may have played on his life/career. This led to a phone interview in which we covered several more topics, the results of which will be found in a soon-to-be-released interview article you’ll find on the ACHOF site. In advance of the release of this article, I’ll invite you to re-read his original article on the Muse By Clio site – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-artist-faheem-majeed and then visit his own site – https://www.faheemmajeed.com/about
I’ll do a special posting once the article’s up and running.
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.
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