Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary – November, 2020
Posted October 30th, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
I realize that, for most of you, this summary is coming at a time of great emotional disturbance, having to deal with both an ongoing pandemic (and what it’s done to our “regular” lives) and an election here in the U.S. that will provide us all with a window into what America might look like going forward and so, keeping that in mind, I’m going to keep things really simple this month (quite honestly, I don’t currently have the mental bandwidth to do much more).
The nominating and voting process for this year’s class of inductees into the ACHOF has begun in earnest and, with any luck, I’ll be able to announce the list of top vote-getters just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday here, or around the 20th of November (the 23rd the absolute latest). Two other album cover-related award competitions – the Best Art Vinyl awards in the U.K. and the Making Vinyl Awards here in the U.S. – are also in-process and so it’ll be interesting to see who’s determined to be providing the most visual excitement in the recorded music business when all the votes are tallied…
In the meantime, immediately following this intro, you’ll find the brief-and-to-the-point list of album art/artist-related articles I’ve gathered and continue to remain grateful to those of you who’ve continued to visit and share what you’ve found on the ACHOF site. Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, I hope that you’ll continue to dig through the archives of content available for you (suggestions for new topics are always appreciated). And now, here’s my latest summary:
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info:
a) There’s a new online exhibition of prints (up now through November 8th) by designer (and ACHOF inductee) Paula Scher that focuses on another aspect of her design talents – that being her collection of maps that’s being hosted by the Sims Reed Gallery in London – https://gallery.simsreed.com/viewing-room/paula-scher-all-over-the-map/
b) When the submissions are completed, the team behind the Best Art Vinyl awards have set a time and place in the U.K. where you’ll see the nominated album covers on display – https://www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/Hampshire/Portsmouth/PO6/News/Local-News/329687-The-Best-Art-Vinyl-exhibition-at-The-Spring-celebrates-the-art-of-album-covers
As a reminder, 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. For example, my wife and I recently bought timed tickets to view the fantastic Monet art show at Chicago’s Art Institute, while in New York City, the 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.
Artist News and Interviews:
a) Soon after we learned of the untimely passing of guitar god Eddie Van Halen on October 6th, the CBS affiliate in Sacramento, CA, posted a video interview with designer Margo Nahas about her work on Van Halen’s 1984 album cover – https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2020/10/07/sacramento-artist-van-halen-1984-cover/
b) While probably best-known for the mind-boggling portfolio of work he’s done for Canada’s biggest rock music export – i.e., RUSH – artist Hugh Syme has also been the talent behind album covers for Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Supertramp and many others, so it’s great to be able to share the news about this recent interview by music marketing guru Steve Waxman about Hugh’s career, which you’ll find via this podcast – https://thecreationists.buzzsprout.com/791642/5663920-creating-album-artwork-with-hugh-syme
c) The folks at the U.K.’s Radio X channel shared an interview with art director Brian Cannon during which he shares the story about meeting The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft – https://www.radiox.co.uk/artists/richard-ashcroft/spotty-teen-brian-cannon-create-verve-artwork/ Then, if that wasn’t enough for you, the same duo (i.e., Radio X and Brian Cannon) provide fans with the details of exactly what sort of resources it took to create the memorable hodge-podge of items – including a half-submerged Rolls Royce automobile – featured in photographer Michael Spencer-Jones’ image used on the cover of the extremely-popular record by Oasis titled Be Here Now – https://www.radiox.co.uk/artists/oasis/this-is-how-much-oasis-be-here-now-cover-cost/
d) Metal music photographer Jeremey Saffer discusses working in this genre of the rock music world and his new book of photos of models wearing nothing more than corpse paint (fantasy or nightmare or a bit of both) – https://www.decibelmagazine.com/2020/10/27/interview-photographer-jeremy-saffer-discusses-daughters-of-darkness/
e) The work of the late artist Mati Klarwein – responsible for some of my own personal favorite cover art (for acts including Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, Duane Allman and jazz great Miles Davis – is reviewed in “Visionary or cultural appropriator? Revisiting Bitches Brew artist Mati Klarwein”, an article written by Aindrea Emelife for The Independent UK site – https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/mati-klarwein-art-album-covers-bitches-brew-santana-abraxus-b619896.html
f) While not officially an album cover art creator, SF Bay-area resident Mercedes Murray has built quite a reputation for herself recently as an album cover “re-creator”, finishing off a “what to do with myself during Quarantine” project during which she reproduced 101 well-known album cover images done Cindy Sherman style – i.e., with herself as the main character in each scene – and with each cover shown on her Instagram site titled with a clever pandemic-or-politics-inspired name. Examples include “Quarantine-O” on her remake of the Cars’ Candy-O; “Nothing’s Hunky Dory”, based on the early Bowie album Hunky Dory and, for Beatles fans, Ms. Murray crossing “Antibody Road”. Here’s an article by Jordanna Wright on the FStoppers.com photo site that gives you a nice intro into Ms. Murray’s portfolio – https://fstoppers.com/originals/after-101-album-covers-one-womans-quarantine-photo-project-complete-521457?
Slide show with musical accompaniment – https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17903769178483006/
As you might figure, her most-viewed images are of the attractive young lady’s remakes of album covers that found the subjects in various states of undress (we’re such juveniles, aren’t we?) but, overall, you have to be impressed with the range of musical acts and eras featured in her portfolio.
g) Following in the footsteps of a similar effort highlighted in last month’s summary, another panel of pro photographers (Andy Cowles, Gered Mankowitz and Rachel Wright) take a critical look at Eric Meola’s cover shot used on Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run album – “Greatest Album Photography” – https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/latest/photo-news/greatest-album-photography-born-to-run-by-bruce-springsteen-141420
h) Back in August, 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 just-posted interview article you’ll find on the ACHOF site.
If you’d like to refresh your memories about the original article that led to this interview, I’d 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 the artist’s own site – https://www.faheemmajeed.com/about
Thanks again to Bianca Marks for facilitating the making of this article – much appreciated!
Items for Sale and/or at Auction:
a) It brings me great pleasure to announce that the Kickstarter project I reported on last month – i.e., photographer Brian Griffin’s effort to raise £30,000 to fund the production of a new book – Black Country DADA: The Book – was a total success, crossing the finish line with over 300 backers pledging at total of £38,397 to help bring Brian’s project to life. It’s scheduled for production/release in early 2021, and I eagerly await my copy. Congratulations, Mr. Griffin!
More details and updates can be found on the project’s page on the Kickstarter site – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/briangriffindada/black-country-dada?
b) Just got an email from the folks at St. Paul’s Gallery in the U.K. that details a special sale price they’re offering on one of the better-known pair of lips coming from the entertainment world…no, not the Rolling Stones’ lips (and tongue). These lips belong to actress Patricia Quinn, who starred as Magenta in the 1975 hit cult classic film Rocky Horror Picture Show, and she brought them to a photo session that created the simple-but-stunning graphics that’d be used to promote the show. A limited-edition print of the image – signed by Ms. Quinn – has been selling for £450.00 but, from now until the 13th of November, fans can buy a copy (one of only 195 made) for only £350.00. More info can be found on the gallery’s site at https://stpaulsgallery.com/product/the-rocky-horror-picture-show-lips-limited-edition-print-hand-signed-by-patricia-quinn/? To get the discount, send an email to email@example.com
c) Having just received my own personal copy of John Lennon’s latest music compilation – the recently-released Gimme Some Truth – its no coincidence that I’m also happy to report about a new book from Bob Gruen – one of the photographers most-closely responsible for how we remember the late Beatle – titled Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer – that includes stories behind many famous shots, including Lennon’s Walls & Bridges album cover sessions. Here’s a link to a recent interview/intro article in the NY Post (by Chuck Arnold) – https://nypost.com/2020/10/20/rock-photographer-bob-gruen-tells-the-stories-behind-his-classic-shots/ and more info on the new book on the publisher’s website – https://www.abramsbooks.com/product/right-place-right-time_9781419742132/
d) According to the press release by the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange, famed (and ageless and hard-working) artist/illustrator Gerald Scarfe has used his home quarantine time to create some new works that serious rock art collectors will want to take a look at – “(Scarfe) has taken some of his extra free-time during the Coronavirus lock-downs to create several new artworks featuring both his iconic characters from Pink Floyd: The Wall as well as other famous figures like The Rolling Stones… These new illustrations are completed in Scarfe’s inimitable style and feature vibrant full-color compositions that are sure to delight any fan of his work.” Please give owner Jim Hartley a call at 650-281-5063 to discuss these, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. https://sfae.com/Artists/Gerald-Scarfe
e) Following up on the successful product collaboration between shoe manufacturer Doc Martens and a seminal band – the Sex Pistols – that took place earlier this year, metal pioneers Black Sabbath have now teamed up with Doc Martens for a series of boots and shoes featuring artwork from Black Sabbath and Paranoid. Tim Chan reports for Rolling Stone magazine – https://www.rollingstone.com/product-recommendations/lifestyle/black-sabbath-dr-martens-1069465/
f) It’s just sooo cute – take a look at this new piece of Black Sabbath merch – Funko witch doll and mini-album package – https://blacksabbathapparelshop.com/products/black-sabbath-funko?variant=32895646924890
g) The Grammy Museum in LA has upgraded its online store (just in time for Record Store Day) and there seems to be a lot more to look at (and take home) than ever before. Categories include the “Vinyl Collection” (signed/limited edition albums), Clothing & Accessories, Kids, Home & Gifts, a category called “Exhibitions” that sells exhibit-related items and several items in the “Collection:Live” category. Don’t let shopping at home keep you away from something cool and desirable – https://grammymuseumstore.com/collections/vinyl-collection?
h) Last month’s recap included info on several items that were included in two auctions organized by Bonham’s auction house in London, and I’d like to give you an update on what sold (and for how much). In the October 8th “Pop X Culture” collection, some of the original artwork for De La Souls 3 Feet High and Rising (one of The Source magazine’s ‘100 Best Rap Albums’ of all time and, included in the National Recording Registry of the US Library Of Congress) was offered for sale. With a pre-auction estimate of $2600 – $5100, the lot ultimately sold for $6240. Two more album cover lots – limited-edition prints of the artwork by Sir Peter Blake for Paul Weller’s Stanley Road album and for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record – both sold for $4943 and $7375 respectively, both beating their pre-auction estimates.
The following week (with final bidding taking place on October 13th), the company held an entertainment memorabilia auction that includes several items that album art fans found quite attractive. Lot 175 – the original concept artwork by artist Pilar Zeta for Coldplay’s 2015 album A Head Full of Dreams – sporting a pre-auction estimate of $26K-$39K, sold for $29,356, with all proceeds going to the Oxfam charity. Lots 185, 188 and 190 – those that allowed the winning bidders a chance to own important parts of Beatles album art history, sold for impressive amounts of money. The first lot was the actual Hasselblad 500C camera used by late photographer Iain Macmillan to shoot the famous cover image for the Abbey Road record. Although the pre-auction estimates ranged from $2600 – $3200, the lot sold for $45,620!!. The second was a print of the photo MacMillan shot for Paul McCartney’s Paul Is Live album, inscribed from Paul and Linda McCartney to Iain M. ($2600 – $3900 est., sold for $6261) while the third was an 8×10” transparency of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road, walking in the opposite direction they were as seen on the 1969 album’s cover ($1300 – $2600 pre-auction estimate, sold for $6586). Another featured lot – Lot 139 – French comic book artist Enki Bilal’s original 1984 artwork used on the cover of the package for Duran Duran’s film Arena (An Absurd Notion), had a pre-auction estimate of $65K – $91K but, unfortunately went unsold.
i) At long last…The final Secret 7” fund-raising auction, originally scheduled for this past May, was re-scheduled to begin October 14th and run 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 were exhibited in London from September 4th through the 13th before being sold in an online auction” – https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/secret7s
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. This year’s participating musical acts include Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, The Internet Come Over, Koffee Toast, Miles Davis, Vampire Weekend and the Foo Fighters.
As of today, several items have been bidded up to over £1,000.00, so if you’d like to take a look and take one home (all for a good cause), hurry on over to the auction site ASAP.
OBIT) Kai Mort Shuman – a photographer who shot album covers for Nina Simone, Leslie Gore, Phil Ochs, the Everley Brothers and many others – died October 1 in Berkeley, CA https://www.berkeleyside.com/2020/10/08/kai-mort-shuman-berkeley-ca-photographer-death
a) THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION for any Labels, Artists and Designers, who wish their creative output to be considered in the final 50 nominations for the Best Art Vinyl 2020 Awards to get in touch with the UK agency that sponsors this fan-driven annual vote ASAP so they can make sure the records get seen by the panel. The only criteria – it must be an LP/12” Single that’s been out/coming out in 2020 and on the vinyl format. Any music genre will be considered, more Classical and Death Metal please. Remember it’s all about the artwork and design! Email submissions to: email@example.com”
To view the previous winners of this prestigious award, click on over to the Art Vinyl site at https://artvinyl.com/lp-records-displayed-as-artwork-prize/
b) This year’s Making Vinyl Awards show has become, like most other formerly public events, a virtual enterprise, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a great honor to be included. With this in mind, the nice people behind the trade show/award show have issued a call for submissions to the competition, with details available at https://makingvinyl.com/packaging-awards/?
The sixteen categories include “the regulars” (“Best Record Art”, “Best Vinyl Gatefold”, etc.) along with ones that I continue to find both inspiring and intriguing (“They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” and “Save The Earth & Humanity”, the former honoring the extent that some go to engineer truly unique packages and the latter exemplifying those record-makers that are doing all they can to not contribute to the ongoing damage we do to our favorite planet).
The drop-dead deadline for submissions is Friday, November 20, 2020, 11:59 pm (EST), no exceptions. I can’t wait to see what you’ve submitted (yes, I’m on the voting panel!).
c) Mystery solved! For years, fans of Tom Waits have battled amongst themselves as to whether or not the comely stripper seen on the cover of his 1976 album Small Change was actress Cassandra Peterson, better known to fans of horror films (and kitchy introductions) as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Peterson said she couldn’t recall, but the intrepid reporters at Ultimate Classic Rock have done their homework and have now gone on record to set the story straight – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/tom-waits-album-cover-elvira/
d) The U.K.’s Sun Daily has assembled a group of 20 album covers that they’re deeming to be “Halloween-appropriate” – https://www.thesundaily.my/spotlight/20-mysterious-album-covers-giving-off-total-halloween-vibes-BI4831434
Nothing too gory is included, and several are just strange (enough to cause nightmares? You decide).
e) More Halloween album art, this selection aimed at those with the ability to stand the sight of MUCH MORE GORE – Loudwire’s review of the 31 scariest album covers – https://loudwire.com/scariest-metal-album-covers/
Clowns, mutilation, suicide, lots of surgeons stripping skin from patients, angels of death, truly ugly aliens, witches, cemeteries, devils, skeletons, flames, several instances of creatures popping out of their hosts, blood and gore everywhere! Oh, and Eddie (not Van Halen…Iron Maiden fans, you know who I’m referring to). An extra treat at the end of the article gives us guitarist Slash telling us a spooky story from his childhood.
f) The ACHOF was “liked” by the author of a site I’d never seen before (Pierce Brown) and found a nice collection of album cover art articles there – https://thepressmusicreviews.wordpress.com/category/album-covers/
I contacted the site’s author and will share more info about him/his work soon.
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 – assuming that peace and love both return to the world sometime soon, 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.