Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for January 2021
Posted January 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
We’ve reached the end of what has to have been one of the saddest and most-frustrating years most of us have ever lived through and yet, for those of us who have survived, I have to think that we’re all feeling somewhat grateful for having done so and are looking forward to seeing the end of this pandemic and, with any luck, a move towards a sense of “normalcy” in many aspects of our lives.
It’s the beginning of Winter here in the Chicago area and, just last night, we saw our first significant snowstorm. The weather, plus the threat of COVID, will keep me and my wife inside most of the time (except for our weekly trips to the grocery stores) and trying to support our local restaurants, who now can’t offer anything but take-out. I hope that we’re all doing what we can to keep these local vendors alive, and I’d like to add that we should all do more to support the local service organizations that are working miracles to keep those less fortunate than us sheltered, fed and in good health and spirits.
In the spirit of keeping things in perspective and understanding that you all have a lot on your plates these days, this month’s summary will be as brief and to the point as I can make it. Much work is still being done in the world of music industry-related visual design and production and so it’s my honor and pleasure to continue to report on – and promote – this work and the people who do it. So, let’s go…
Special Award Show updates
Voting for the three album cover-related award competitions – the Best Art Vinyl awards in the U.K. (see article in the “Exhibitions” section) and both the Grammy Awards (see below) and the Making Vinyl Awards here in the U.S. – are still 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…I’ve been looking through all of the submissions (over 200) to this year’s Making Vinyl Awards (I’m a judge) and have to tell you that there are a lot of really good and inspired entries, so it’ll be fun to see who the top vote-getters are when the tallying finishes up in a month.
Of course, in addition to the previously-mentioned contests, there is the Mother of all music award shows – The Grammy Awards – which on presented their nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards in the Packaging Categories in late November and, for those with short memories, once again, here they are:
In the “Best Recording Package” category:
- Pilar Zeta, art director, for Coldplay’s EVERYDAY LIFE; Kyle Goen, art director, for Lil Wayne’s FUNERAL; Julian Gross & Hannah Hooper, art directors, for HEALER by Grouplove; Jordan Butcher, art director, for ON CIRCLES by Caspian and Doug Cunningham & Jason Noto, art directors for Desert Sessions’ VOLS. 11 & 12
In the “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” category:
- Linn Wie Andersen, Simon Earith, Paul McCartney and James Musgrave, art directors, for Paul McCartney’s FLAMING PIE (COLLECTOR’S EDITION); Lisa Glines & Doran Tyson, art directors, for the Grateful Dead’s GIANTS STADIUM 1987, 1989, 1991; Jeff Schulz, art director, for MODE by Depeche Mode; Lawrence Azerrad & Jeff Tweedy, art directors, for Wilco’s ODE TO JOY and Michael Cina & Molly Smith, art directors, for VMP ANTHOLOGY: THE STORY OF GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL, with music by various artists
And although we don’t really provide coverage for work in this category, the nominees in the “Best Album Notes” category are:
- Tim Brooks, album notes writer, for AT THE MINSTREL SHOW: MINSTREL ROUTINES FROM THE STUDIO, 1894-1926 (Various Artists); Scott B. Bomar, album notes writer, for THE BAKERSFIELD SOUND: COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL OF THE WEST, 1940-1974 (Various Artists); Bob Mehr, album notes writer for DEAD MAN’S POP by The Replacements; Colin Hancock, album notes writer, for THE MISSING LINK: HOW GUS HAENSCHEN GOT US FROM JOPLIN TO JAZZ AND SHAPED THE MUSIC BUSINESS (Various Artists) and David Sager, album notes writer, for Nat Brusiloff’s OUT OF A CLEAR BLUE SKY.
The winners will be announced in ceremonies taking place next January 31st and, as you can figure, news of the winners will be announced here on the ACHOF site. I have reached out to several of the nominees to learn more about them/their entries and hope to be able to offer you more along those lines soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to see the complete list of Grammy Award nominees in all categories, click on over to the Grammy.com site at https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2021-grammys-complete-nominees-list
One related item – the Grammy’s MusiCares Foundation is also holding a fund-raising auction on January 31st, with dozens of one-of-a-kind items available for bidding. Read more in our Auctions/Items for Sale Section, below.
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info
a) The Best Art Vinyl Award nominated designs are now available for viewing as part of a virtual gallery – https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=PJdYGoWdriq. Set inside a redeveloped customs house building at a place called Folkstone Harbour (in Kent, U.K.), the 3-D exhibition is simple to tour via the site navigation, with works each mounted on their own easels and information provided about the people who created them.
One thing I must say about the effects of the pandemic on art displays – there have been some very impressive online alternatives (to being there in person) and, with the number of regularly-scheduled live and recorded “meet the artist” events increasing and, usually, offering more intimacy than some of the in-person events I’ve attended, I think that this type of presentation is here to stay.
b) Next January 10th is the fifth anniversary of the sad passing of rocker David Bowie (!!) and so the team at the U.K.’s Hypergallery have worked to commemorate the date by putting together a month-long show of works by several artists, including former Polydor Records art director Vincent McEvoy, artist and illustrator Terry Pastor (of Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust album cover fame), noted photographer Christopher Makos and several others, that can be seen either/both online or in-person in their print room in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, west of London.
Prints from the show can also be purchased, with prices that range from as little as £90.00 up to several thousand GBPs, so there’s something to fit everyone’s budget. To see what’s up and available, click on over to their site at https://hypergallery.com/collections/powerofbowie?
Like the examples I just shared with you, 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. The Grammy Museum in LA, Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the new Universal Hip-Hop Museum in New York (www.uhhm.org) have all produced prodigious amounts of multi-media 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) The above-noted (and ever-busy) U.K.-based print publisher and art gallery known as Hypergallery has released their first episode of a new audio podcast designed to bring fans a bit closer to the people who’ve made their favorite album covers. As their PR states it, “Our vision for Hypergallery has always been to be the home of album cover art, a source of valuable cultural histories as well as offering the very best in high end art prints. To this end, we are proud to announce THE ART OF THE ALBUM PODCAST: one episode, one album cover, one artist in conversation with Hypergallery.”
Episode One (with a run-time of approx. 14 minutes) features Hypergallery partner Emily’s interview with photographer Scarlet Page talking with us about her memorable photograph for the cover of The Stereophonics album Performance and Cocktails.
In addition to her Performance and Cocktails cover, Scarlet’s portfolio of album package credits since the late 1990s includes work for Feeder, Gomez, Babes in Toyland, Richard Ashcroft, Led Zeppelin, The Darkness, James Blunt, Spandau Ballet, Ash, King Crimson and a number of others.
You can subscribe for upcoming episodes of this podcast (simply search for “art of the album” wherever you get your podcasts), with upcoming episodes to include chats with Michael Spencer Jones (Oasis), Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis fame about Pink Floyd, James Marsh on Talk Talk, Richard Evans on The Who, Central Station Design regarding Happy Mondays and Toby Mott on De La Soul. Sounds like a plan.
b) Originally posted 12/4/2020 and updated today – What do you get when you put four huge fans of record cover art (and rock photography and poster design and seemingly every aspect of the visual side of the recorded music business) – all with impressive credentials in the business – into the corners of a video conference screen and turn them loose to let them select and then comment on their favorite examples of this artform? Well, you get something just like the episodic series on YouTube’s NEWHD channel called “Designing for Music”, conceived and curated by the immensely-talented design duo of Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz (a design studio with credits for packages for clients including Bon Jovi, Ramones, Talking Heads, Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground and many others) featuring commentary by veteran radio personality Zach Martin and musician/producer/actor/writer Patrick Bamburak.
In a recently-posted episode (the 10th in their original series), Spencer, Zach and the panelists talk about album covers including Warhol’s famous banana-based image for The Velvet Underground and Nico, the I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-really-wrapped-in-twine cover on the Chicago 17 album (design by the late John Berg), Rocket to Russia for the Ramones (Danny Fields photo on the cover and a John Holmstrom cartoon on the back) and many, many more. In total, the series delivers informed and loving commentary on hundreds of designs and preps you for their follow-up series, which recently announced the release of the first episode in a new edition of his ongoing “Designing For Music” video series (named after his popular 1992 book featuring insights and info on all aspects of design for clients in the music industry).
The first episode finds Spencer talking with radio personality Zach Martin about examples of album covers from his own expansive portfolio of work (Ramones, Talking Heads, Billy Squire and others), giving viewers the details about both his inspirations for each work and “who did what” in the final productions. Watch the episode on the NewHDTV YouTube site – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8Na3U6y5lM
The second episode in the video series featuring designers Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz, along with radio personality Zach Martin, in which they interview other noted album cover designers and discuss highlights from their portfolios was released near the end of December. Kicking off with an album art icon – Roger Dean (who, it should be said, worked on a book about album art a number of years ago with Drate & Salavetz called Designing For Music, which lends its name to this series) – fans of music and art are treated to an interesting discussion between two designers who’ve both had strong influences on the world of music industry visual design, accentuated with a number of “behind the scenes” anecdotes, so I think that anyone interested in the topic should soon click on over to watch the discussion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku7INnPW4As Dean shares info about how the process has changed since his entry into the field, doing design work for Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London in the late 1960s, which led to work for Osibisa and “Big O” posters and then, in the early 1970s, beginning his now-iconic work for YES.
Ongoing episodes will find Spencer presenting examples of covers he did in collaboration with his design partner (and wife) Judith Salavetz and then dozens of examples of work he’d like us to know more about as examples of fine album package design.
c) My prep work for each year’s Album Cover Hall of Fame nominating and voting process includes adding and revising biographies of the people under consideration by our esteemed panel. This year’s research and writing found me working to update the impressive CV of photographer (and record exec and producer) Stephen Paley and, in response to my request for any updates (the results of which will be soon seen in his site bio), Stephen shared a never-before-published photo he’d taken early in his career that he’s allowing me to share with you:
This picture was taken in 1966, when Stephen was in his mid-twenties after his girlfriend at the time, Caroline Reynolds, introduced him to a publicist she was working for named Ren Gravat who needed some photos taken of one of his clients, pop superstars the Bee Gees. I’ve been working on an interview with Stephen about his work in the music business (and, in particular, his album covers for Sly & The Family Stone) and hope to have that available to you in the next month or so. In the meantime, I want to give my thanks to Stephen for sharing this with me/us.
d) As I’ve shared in recent updates, I’ve been working on an interview with one of the people responsible for what is considered one of the best (if not THE best, depending on the survey) album covers of the rock music era, that being Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. Artist/designer/sculptor Jann Haworth, working with her then-husband Peter Blake, photographer Michael Cooper and a small team of other artists and assistants, created the huge, life-sized collage which served as the basis for the cover – one that would go on to inspire an ever-expanding series of homages/parodies and, more recently, some works of public art done by Ms. Haworth and a slew of contributing artists (that can be seen in Salt Lake City, UT) to honor ”heroes and heroines of the 21st Century”.
For those of you who didn’t see my notice from late last month, I’m happy to report that the interview article was posted late in December and is available for your immediate (or conveniently-scheduled) reading pleasure. Jann was a pleasure to interview and I’m honored to be able to share her thoughts, insights and memories of her career as an influential figure in the Pop Art world, so please share this with your friends, loved ones, neighbors and anyone else you think might enjoy the read.
Thanks for your patience and again to Jann H for her help putting this all together.
Artist interview headlines
a) There’s a new interview in SPIN Magazine with rock photographer Mark Weiss in which he tours us through his nearly-400-page career retrospective book (with a focus on the 1980s titled The Decade That Rocked) – https://www.spin.com/featured/mark-weissguy-weiss-photographer-80s-rock-interview/
For a deep dive into Mark and his work, I’d re-invite you to find and read the multi-page article found in GOLDMINE Magazine’s December 2020 issue, plus the video interview article on the Braveworlds.com site commemorating the 35th anniversary of the release of Twisted Sister’s fourth album, Come Out and Play, for which he shot the cover.
Mark also was just inducted this year into the ACHOF in the Photographer category and has promised to share some exciting news with me/us sometime in the near future, so please be sure to stay tuned to these pages for an update.
b) Award-winning artist/designer Hugh Syme teams up with two of his chums to debut a new podcast called Music Buzzz – https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/9491332/music-buzzz-podcast-dane-clark-hugh-syme-andy-wilson/
c) Slipping past me in November, I belatedly share a link to an interview with art director David Costa about the fancy box set he built for the 50th anniversary of “acid folkies” Trees first two releases – https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2020/11/trees-interview-david-costa.html
d) Writing for the Complex magazine site, LA-based author Trace William Cowen shares an interview done with popular artist Sam Spratt about the colorful work he did on Kid Cudi’s 2020 release Man on the Moon III: The Chosen – https://www.complex.com/style/kid-cudi-man-on-the-moon-iii-cover-art-interview
e) In two more installments in the very-informative Art of the Album series that’s been running on the Muse by Clio site, you’ll find PR man Rick Liebling’s list of 10 Greatest Album Covers – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-rick-liebling , followed in quick succession with a “Top 8” list selected by Oberland’s Arnau Bosc (I’d have lent them two if they’d only have asked) that includes covers for acts including Aphex Twin, Battles and The Mars Volta, among others – https://musebycl.io/art-album/judging-album-its-cover-8-favorites-oberlands-arnau-bosc
f) In another new installment in the “Greatest Album Photography” series published by the UK’s Amateur Photographer in December, readers will learn more about what noted photographers Jill Furmanovsky, Peter Neill and Matt Snow think about one of rock’s best-known cover photos, that being the one Iain Macmillan shot for The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road – https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/latest/photo-news/how-the-abbey-road-album-cover-was-shot-144014
I’d like to mention again about how the Hasselblad 500c camera the late Mr. Macmillan used on this shoot sold for oodles of money at Bonham’s in October, 2020. Although the pre-auction estimates ranged from $2600 – $3200, the lot sold for $45,620, further illustrating just how much everything related to the making of this classic image means to (well-heeled) Beatles fans everywhere.
Items for Sale and/or at Auction
a) The Recording Academy’s MusiCares Foundation sponsors several wonderful programs designed to both help educate young people about careers in the music business and to also deliver needed support programs (counseling, medical care, etc.) to working musicians, and in an effort to raise funds in support of those efforts, the Grammy folks stage auctions of memorabilia throughout the year. One of the big ones takes place during Grammy Week (i.e., the week leading up to the Jan. 31st awards show), with the upcoming one being staged by the esteemed Julien’s auction house. If you click on over to the auction listings on the Julien’s site – https://www.julienslive.com/m/view-auctions/catalog/id/372 – you’ll find dozens of unique items including musical instruments, stage-worn costumes, handwritten lyric sheets and tons of autographed goodies, including a Prada handbag autographed by Keith Urban’s wife Nicole (Kidman), an Elvis Costello signed fedora hat and the sheet music for “Does Your Mother Know” signed by Abba. Art collectors might want to take a look at a the limited-edition Billie Eilish lithograph, a painting of Chris Martin by Billy Morrison or a painting of a Snoop Dogg character done by Snoop Dogg to commemorate the 25th anniversary (in 2019) of his classic Doggystyle album. Happy bidding, with all proceeds going to a great cause.
b) Carlos Santana and his Milagro Foundation have joined forces to offer a range of coffee products – several featuring well-known Santana album cover images – that should serve to both make fans/coffee lovers happy and raise money for his foundation’s efforts –
Their dark roast, which features Lee Conklin’s immortal “Santana Lion” image on the package, is called “Evil Ways Blend”, while their medium roast – the “Smooth Blend” – is in a package with M Rios’ fantasy-inspired cover image for the smash album that featured the hit “Smooth”, Supernatural
There is also a nice range of apparel featuring the aforementioned images, along with others, as well as the “The Carlos Santana Coffee Company” logo.
The Milagro Foundation was founded in 1998 by Carlos and his family in 1998. As their site states, “The Milagro Foundation was built on the principle that children everywhere deserve access to high-quality healthcare and education as well as opportunities to develop their creativity. Services are extended to 36 states and 18 countries.” A little more research took me to the “Shop Santana” art print site, where you’ll find reproductions of many famous Santana-related images available as both posters and prints on canvas, with a percentage of every purchase from Shop Santana being donated to The Milagro Foundation. I was particularly-impressed with the Supernatural-inspired prints, with art by Michael Rios and, of course, the Lion prints, featuring Lee Conklin’s fantastic pen work – https://shopsantana.com/
Let’s do what we can to support this noble effort.
c) KnuckleBonz year-end special sale includes some choice examples from the 3D album cover line – https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/black-friday/? Ozzy’s Diary of A Madman, GNR’s Appetite For Destruction, Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power and several more, along with a number of their beautiful and ultra-realistic statues of some of rock’s most-revered icons (everyone from Johnny Ramone to Marilyn Manson to the Notorious B.I.G.). Discounts range from 10-30% depending on the model and the sale lasts until current supplies run out (these are limited-editions, so you best hurry if you want one).
d) December 16, 2020 marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of classical composer Ludwig von Beethoven in Bonn, Germany and, as I read in a brief story posted by Juxtapoz Magazine on the topic, another genius in his own right – designer John Van Hamersveld – has teamed up with the Detroit, Michigan-based specialty art publisher 1XRUN to release a set of very limited-edition art prints featuring JVH’s well-known depiction of LVB. Originally one of two works John created of important classical composers (the other being Mozart), the image was used as the basis of several prints and posters he’s released over the years, including one he did for the New West Symphony’s 2006 “Masterpieces” concerts.
Until supplies run out, collectors can now select one of four variations he’s created – available as individual prints (titled Fur Elise Edition, Fidelio Edition, Ode To Joy Edition and Moonlight Sonata Edition and priced at only $75 each), with all four included in a specially-priced set (a steal at only $250/set). The prints are 18” square and each is signed and numbered by both the artist and the publisher.
As the proud owner of several JVH prints, including one of a modern genius – the late guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, first seen on one of John’s late 1960s “Pinnacle” posters – I can tell you that they’re really quite beautiful, so why not celebrate Beethoven’s birthday by getting yourself a present – https://www.1xrun.com/artists/john-van-hamersveld/&c=JUX-JVH&src=&/
e) UPDATED RESULTS – An archive of Black Flag promo posters created in the 1981-1985 timeframe by recent ACHOF inductee Raymond Pettibon was sold for just over $15,000 (inc. premium) at last month’s entertainment memorabilia auction staged by the Bonham’s auction house in LA – https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26172/lot/1138/?category=list&length=48&page=4
Sporting a pre-auction estimate of anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000, the lot included flyers, hand bills, posters, a collection of Ray Pettibon books and other bits of Black Flag/Pettibon memorabilia. Congratulations to the lucky bidder.
Going to have to keep these short-and-sweet:
OBIT) Richard Corben, the popular fantasy/comic book artist and illustrator who painted the cover for Meat Loaf’s hugely-successful 1977 debut album Bat Out of Hell, died on December 2 at the age of 80 following heart surgery. In addition to the work he did for BOOH, Corben’s fantastic artwork also graced the covers of BOOH songwriter Jim Steinman’s 1981 solo effort Bad For Good and two 1990s albums for the heavy metal band Heaven’s Gate.
a) Attention album cover designers (both budding and professional) – the marketing team at Disney’s Pixar animation studio and their chums at Adobe (makers of Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) have put together a package of tools and content – plus prize packages worth thousands of dollars – in support of a call to creatives everywhere. Your challenge – design an album cover for the soundtrack of their latest release – Soul, which began streaming on December 25th . The Grand Prize winner gets $10,000 plus a private mentoring session from one of Pixar’s designer, along with loads of nice swag, so if you’re looking for a good place to channel your creative energies (and to play with some exclusive Disney content elements which, I must tell you from personal experience, is a minor miracle unto itself), click on over to https://creativecloud.adobe.com/discover/article/art-and-soul-challenge to read the rules and grab what you’ll need to get started. Entries must be received by January 10th, 2020.
In addition to what I’ve already described, I did want to also point you to two tutorials that are provided: one’s to show you how to use Illustrator to make an album cover https://creativecloud.adobe.com/discover/article/how-to-make-an-album-cover-in-adobe-illustrator while the other shows you the same thing on Photoshop – https://creativecloud.adobe.com/discover/article/combine-text-and-images-to-make-an-album-cover
Just in case you needed a refresher, of course…
b) Among the items that were donated to the UK tax collectors through what’s called the “Acceptance in Lieu and Culture Gift Schemes” program (established to allow estates to settle tax bills with donations of items of value, most of which are then donated to various museums around the country) was the archive of artist and record sleeve designer Barney Bubbles, which has gone to Liverpool John Moores University (originally, the Liverpool Mechanics’ School of Arts). The archive contains (per this summary in the UK’s Guardian) “sketchbooks, drawing equipment, collages, photographs, badges, stickers, album covers and his library of reference books.” While the collection settled a tax bill valued at only £16,500, his contribution to the world of album cover design during his short life (ended by his own hand in 1983 at the age of 41) was “priceless”, with Bubbles credited for designs for albums such as Hawkwind’s Space Ritual; My Aim Is True, This Year’s Model and Armed Forces for Elvis Costello; Ian Dury’s New Boots & Panties; The Damned’s Music For Pleasure and Graham Parker’s Parkerilla, among many others.
You can read more about the treasures donated during the 2020/21 tax season on the UK Arts Council’s site at https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/blog/national-treasures-public
Bit of trivia – Another well-respected album cover artist – Steve Hardstaff, AKA Jacuzzi, works(ed?) as a lecturer on graphic arts at the university.
c) Noted album cover artist Brian Cannon teams up with a brewery in the UK to raise funds to save a music venue there – https://www.burytimes.co.uk/news/18931320.bury-brewery-team-oasis-record-sleeve-designer-aid-struggling-music-venue/ Cannon, perhaps best-known for his work on the first Oasis album (Definitely Maybe), shows his love for the indie scene by teaming up with the Bury (U.K.)-based brewery Beerhunter to help raise needed funds for a popular (since 1990) music club in town called 42s that’s suffered during the shut-downs caused by the pandemic.
Cannon, who, in addition to his portfolio of work for Oasis, has also created album covers for Groove Armada, Ash, Suede, Super Furry Animals, and The Verve, among others, has designed two limited edition gift boxes decorated with artwork inspired by the popular film with a name similar to the beer brand – i.e., The Deer Hunter. Each case includes four cans from local brewers and a glass that also sports one of Cannon’s illustrations. For every box sold, Beerhunter will donate £4.20 directly to 42s.
d) Our second beer-related story this month also comes from the UK – https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/beerwax/
There seems to be an ever-growing crossover between beers and bands, with Metallica, Iron Maiden and Madness all having their own beer brands. A designer in Belfast, Northern Ireland named Paul McNally combined his love for album art and for beer and started a side project (he runs a design studio called Stylografik for a living) that he calls “BeerWax”.
The scores of products you’ll see on his Instagram site aren’t actually in production (I’m particularly hoping that someone adopts his “PiLsner” or “Wish You Were Beer” designs – genius!), but he does sell prints of his designs, which include six-packs that pay tribute to well-known covers for David Bowie, EMF, Supergrass and others.
e) The stories about the current lives of those creative types who see-saw between the worlds of art and music – sometimes on purpose and other times only because one avenue of expression has temporarily been denied them – are the subjects of a fascinating article I found on the Electronicbeats.net site (written by Caroline Whiteley) – https://www.electronicbeats.net/year-in-review-musicians-visual-art/
The pandemic has forced many in the arts to look for new places for them to showcase their talents, with varying degrees of success. Some have chosen to put their careers as musicians on hold in order to take on jobs that’ll keep them afloat until they can return to performing and/or recording (sometimes fighting off efforts by some in power to push musicians/visual artists into “retraining programs”), while others have taken the opportunity to re-kindle their passions in other aspects of the arts with the hopes that they’ll be able to continue to do one (or both) in the long run.
We should all do what we can to continue to support our favorite music/image-makers as best we can until Life returns as close to “normal” as it can. Over the years, I’ve supported the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares programs, which provide for the basic needs of those who’ve entertained us throughout the years. You, too can learn more and then give at https://www.grammy.com/musicares
f) Over the past 20+ years, there have been several interesting attempts to offer music fans a chance to interact with – and/or sit-back-to-watch-them-come-to-life – some of their favorite album covers. Coming in degrees of complexity from animated .gif files to Flash animation to full-bore interactive movie files, these animated album covers have yet to catch on as anything more than interesting one-offs but, in today’s notes, I’d like to share that I think that they might be making a bit of a comeback. In this recent story I found on the Cult of Mac site – https://www.cultofmac.com/730133/apple-introducing-animated-album-covers-to-apple-music/ – you’ll learn more about one example developed for Grammy-winning songwriter/musician Fraser T Smith’s new Future Utopia project (titled 12 Questions), which debuted on the Apple Music platform with an Ori Toor-illustrated cover brought impressively to life by the team of Pentagram’s Abbott Miller (design/creative direction) and animation firm 1983’s Robin Burke. Each of the twelve songs is given part of the overall design, with each segment presenting itself to the viewer in a unique way.
There’s another related article on the Commarts.com site – https://www.commarts.com/exhibit/future-utopia – that goes into more detail.
On a related note, after reading more about this and contacting the team responsible for this exciting new work, I’ve decided to spend some time and produce a new article about this topic. Those of you who know me or have followed me over the years are aware of both my background in the computer/web/TV animation business and of some previous interviews I’ve done with people working to add new life – via movement and sound – to the static form of the album cover. Many years ago, I interviewed film-maker Rohitash Rao about his viral-before-there-was-viral video called “Album Cover Wars” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQaaVTBSGoU) that featured bits from scores of famous album covers and then, later on in 2014, I shared my conversation with Juan Bettencourt, a young designer who’d garnered a lot of publicity via the animated .gif artworks he produced based on another group of album covers. Those interviews, along with some of the work I’d done at upstart cable TV network MuchMusicUSA with Bob Holmes at NYC’s Sudden Industries in the early 2000s to bring computer animation into the music video world (https://books.google.com/books?id=IBAEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=%22V-mations%22+and+%22music+video%22&source=bl&ots=lOLln-6WGa&sig=ACfU3U11RWY-PlP4PdumxqDVKl4rZxguRg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi48O2oz_HtAhWOQc0KHUilDOgQ6AEwAHoECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=%22V-mations%22%20and%20%22music%20video%22&f=false) have often lead me to wonder why more of this type of work hasn’t been done over the years, so stay tuned to this space while I gather the materials I need to show how this area of the music visuals business has progressed – in fits and starts – over the years and whether there’s a future for this style of music and artist promotion.
Bits and Pieces
a) The story behind Pink Floyd’s famous “Flying Pig” from Animals fame is retold again in an article on the Far Out Magazine site – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/pink-floyd-giant-pig-breaks-free-animals-water-gilmour-mason-wright/
b) In the “Ya Gotta Be Careful Sometimes When Posting A Parody Cover” category – https://www.complex.com/sports/2020/12/baltimore-ravens-photoshopping-lamar-jackson-onto-taylor-swift-evermore-back-cover-art
c) Slim pickings in the “Best of 2020” articles. Here’s one – 50 Best Album Covers of 2020 – https://ourculturemag.com/2020/12/23/the-50-best-album-covers-of-2020/
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 – and, with any luck, we’ll return right after the first of February with another monthly summary for you. Peace and Love to you all.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2020-2021 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.