Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for April 2021
Posted right around April 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Spring Greetings to you all from Chicagoland. The weather has become rather consistently pleasant, allowing us to venture outside the house a bit, even sitting on outside patios at some of the local eating establishments (what a treat!). We’re still waiting for our turn at the local COVID vaccine center but, with any luck, we’ll get our shots in the next month or so and, if the rest of our fellow countrymen continue to do the right thing and help build our herd immunity, we might all be able to get out a bit more later this Spring/Summer. I’m not counting on everyone doing the right thing on behalf of the rest of the local citizenry – the loonies continue to proudly flout their warped notions of what “freedom” really means – so it’ll be quite some time before I think we’re “back to normal”, but let’s hope for the best.
As I shared with you all last month, I have been working the past couple of months gathering materials for a paper I’m writing about some of the music industry’s favorite collectibles – those being the box sets and special/limited-edition packages that have been hitting the shelves in increasing numbers over the past several years. With that fact-gathering done (thanks to all who participated!), I’ll be working now on picking out the most-insightful and informative bits from my newly-acquired content cache with the hope that I’ll be able to deliver this article (or, perhaps, series of articles) to you sometime in April. I think you’ll be impressed with who has contributed and the depth of knowledge they bring to the topic, so watch for my announcement as soon as it has been posted.
This past month, I was pleasantly surprised with the number and quality of articles/posts/announcements I found regarding all things album cover artist and art, illustrating that, without a doubt and in spite of the effects of a world-wide pandemic, great work is still being done in the world of music industry-related visual design, production and the collecting of these works, so it continues to be my pleasure to report on – and promote – this work and the people who do it. And so, on with the show…
OOPS – one more important thing – Be sure to read all the way to the end of this month’s summary, as you’ll be rewarded with some special bonus content – that being a brief conversation with Surf City (i.e., Huntington Beach, CA)-based musician/album cover artist/2X ACHOF Inductee Dean Torrence about his recent work for an old friend’s new album:
Special Award Show updates:
a) The nominations for “Album Artwork of the Year” for this year’s Juno Awards (Canada’s top music awards) have been announced, and they are:
JUST WORDS, by Lynne Hanson – JARED BARTER (ART DIRECTOR & DESIGNER), MICHAEL ZAVACKY (ART DIRECTOR & ILLUSTRATOR), MARYN DEVINE AND RÉMI THÉRIAULT (PHOTOGRAPHERS);
NOTRE-DAME-DES-SEPT-DOULEURS, by Klô Pelgag – JULIEN HÉBERT (ART DIRECTOR), DAVID BEAUCHEMIN (DESIGNER), FLORENCE OBRECHT (ILLUSTRATOR), MARC-ÉTIENNE MONGRAIN (PHOTOGRAPHER)
MISS COLOMBIA, by Lido Pimienta – LIDO PIMIENTA AND ORLY ANAN (ART DIRECTORS), MAT DUNLAP (DESIGNER), DANIELA MURILLO (PHOTOGRAPHER)
PALIMPSEST from Protest The Hero – LUKE HOSKIN (ART DIRECTOR), JOHN MELOCHE (DESIGNER), MARTIN WITTFOOTH (ILLUSTRATOR) and
PRAY FOR IT, by July Talk – PETER DREIMANIS (ART DIRECTOR, DESIGNER, & PHOTOGRAPHER), SCOTT WARING (ART DIRECTOR & DESIGNER), LEAH FAY GOLDSTEIN (DESIGNER), CALM ELLIOTT-ARMSTRONG, LYLE BELL, AND TY SNADEN (PHOTOGRAPHERS)
This year marks this award show’s 50th anniversary, with the awards ceremony to be broadcast in Canada on the CBC on Sunday, May 16, 2021. According to CARAS (the Canadian Recording Academy), The 2021 Juno Awards will be broadcast nationwide that Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC Music, CBC-TV, CBC Gem and CBC Radio One, and globally on CBCMusic.ca/junos. “While Toronto is the official Juno host for the awards’ 50th anniversary, the broadcast will be presented to an at-home only audience, with filming taking place at several locations across the country.”
Due to COVID, this past year was a particularly difficult one for musicians in Canada, but that hasn’t stopped Canadian artists from making their mark both at home and world-wide. Football fans will recall that this year’s Super Bowl game featured a dazzling (and, on occasion, vertigo-inspiring) performance by R&B star The Weeknd, the first such honor for a Canadian musician and who also received the most nominations (6) for awards in the upcoming show.
Best of luck to all of the nominees, and be sure to check back here for the results of this year’s voting.
b) In case you missed it – (originally posted 3/14/21) – 2020 Grammy Awards special update – Having been delayed until today due to precautions taken because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grammy Awards, the awards in the Packaging category were presented during the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony® preceding the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards® telecast and was streamed live internationally via GRAMMY.com. The Premiere Ceremony was hosted by six-time GRAMMY nominee Jhené Aiko and featured a number of performances by current GRAMMY nominees.
And now, here are the details of the winners in each of the three Packaging categories:
In the “Best Recording Package” category, the nominees were:
- 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,
and the winners were the team behind Desert Sessions’ VOLS. 11 & 12 – art directors Doug Cunningham and Jason Noto.
In the “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” category, the nominees were:
- 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 the winners were Lawrence Azerrad & Jeff Tweedy, art directors, for Wilco’s ODE TO JOY.
And although this category is not regularly covered by the ACHOF, the nominees in the “Best Album Notes” category were:
- 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,
with the Grammy going to Bob Mehr, album notes writer for DEAD MAN’S POP by The Replacements.
If you’d like to see the complete list of Grammy Award winners in all categories, click on over to the Grammy.com site at https://www.grammy.com/grammys/awards/63rd-annual-grammy-awards-2020
Of course, you can always rely on the ACHOF to deliver the news and, with any luck, an interview with one or more of the winning artists as soon as they’ve come back to Earth, so please watch this space for the exciting news. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees – keep up the great work, as your fans truly appreciate your efforts!
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info
a) One thing I must repeat again about the effects of this 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.
One of the ways that venues/event producers have chosen to present their shows in new and exciting ways – while maintaining some of the look and feel of in-person attendance – is by creating enhanced 2D and 3D virtual galleries, and I wanted to share a link to what I found to be a very cool presentation of a selection from photographer Brian Griffin’s impressive portfolio of work (normally seen as part of tha annual FORMAT festival) – https://format.newart.city/catalog/room-13 Once there, you’ll be able to select how best you’d like to look through the dozens of images he’s made available to view.
Is this an indication of how many exhibitions will be shared going forward, even after the pandemic’s been defeated and many of us return to in-person attendance? We’ll see, won’t we!
Brian also announced that he’s going to be launching a pop-up exhibition beginning April 16th in London that will put a selection of images from his last two books on display – “I am excited to announce a pop-up exhibition of my work will be held at byResidency from the 16 April to 2 May 2021, featuring a series of images from POP and Black Country Dada. The exhibition will feature my new self-published autobiography Black Country Dada 1969–1990, designed and edited by @thecafeteria/@cafeteria_studio – a collaborative, creative design studio based in Sheffield, England.
I will be in attendance every day from 11–7pm. What better way to celebrate the easing of lockdown? Please join me and spread the word! https://twitter.com/canadawharf/status/1376539970358411268/photo/1
b) Another great example of the depth and breadth of content being made available can be seen in Kevin Mazur’s special digital exhibit on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum’s web site – quite the tour!
The “Induction All Access” site is an enhanced virtual tour through this photographer’s portfolio of images taken at the many Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies (and related shows and events). Included are a large selection of text and audio interviews with Kevin about his work, his subjects and “the making of” a number of the photos included in the show. Album cover fans have been treated to Kevin’s photos on the cover of a number of records over the years, including Bob Dylan’s Love & Theft, The Complete Album Collection Vol.1 and The Dylan Trilogy; U2’s 360 at the Rose Bowl; David Bowie’s VH1 Storytellers; Tina Turner’s All The Best (The Live Collection); Billy Joel’s Live At Shea Stadium (The Concert) and Elton John’s Elton 60: Live at MSG, among others, so if you’d like to learn more about the man and his work and can’t make it to Cleveland any time soon, this is a fine way to enjoy the exhibit from the comfort of your own home.
c) I’d also like to invite you to take a look at Mr. Musichead’s (the rock art gallery in Los Angeles) Women’s History Month online exhibition – Nina Simone. Janis Joplin. Grace Slick. Joni Mitchell. Patti Smith. Chaka Khan. These are just a few of the names of the celebrated musical acts you’ll see included in this Hollywood, CA-based gallery’s online tribute, with photos taken by some of the best-known shooters of both/all sexes (inc. Mick Rock, Deborah Feingold, Baron Wolman, Lisa Law, Glen Wexler and many others).
I continue to urge you to realize that 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 (e.g., Chicago’s Art Institute’s limited re-opening in early February), 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. Many venues – in addition to the online galleries, interviews, live and recorded tours and discussions and other content 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) When I published my interview with U.K.-based artist James Marsh several years ago about his notable album cover work for the popular British band Talk Talk, I stated that “it must also be noted that the band’s album covers were just as influential on [all of] music packaging.” It was also quite unique that, while many acts/labels would commission this kind of work from different designers over the courses of their careers, Talk Talk was ultimately steadfast in their collaboration with one talented individual – i.e., Mr. Marsh – that’d go on to create a memorable collection of album cover images that still impress and inspire 30+ years later. Having created the imagery for three of their later records – Spirit Of Eden, Laughing Stock and the After The Flood box set – he’s deservedly proud of this work and, as you’ll hear in this very recent video interview with our chum Emily from Hypergallery, he remains quite a fan of the band and their influence on pop music to this day – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XX5n3KsYxc
If you’d also like to revisit my original interview with this talented surrealist artist and his career, I’d suggest a click on over to the ACHOF site – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/
b) Spencer Drate & Co are again featured in a special interview – “Denny Daniel’s Museum of Interesting Things welcomes the NEWHD Designing for Music team to this special edition of the Museum of Interesting Things’ Secret Speakeasy series. Host Denny Daniel speaks with award-winning album designers Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz, as they take a tour through their iconic album cover art designs for artists such as Talking Heads, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Billy Squier, Marshall Crenshaw, and more. Recording Artist and Producer Patrick Bamburak joins the discussion to talk about the creation of the Art of Vinyl Cover Show, a short-form video that features a specially curated collection of album cover art designs selected by Drate and Salavetz.”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAWbzP4xV20
c) Mick Rock’s most-recent photo show in London at the West Contemporary Editions gallery there features over a dozen images from his fantastic rock photo portfolio and, in writing about this show for the New York Post site, author Michael Kaplan asked Rock to share some of the stories behind several of the shots included in the show – https://nypost.com/article/mick-rocks-photos-stories-behind-them/
d) Here’s a very fine interview with photographer/photojournalist Elliott Landy – https://www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/music/proselytizing-new-way-free-elliott-landy-music-photography/?
Besides being well-known for his shots of such 60s icons as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Band, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and the entirety of the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival (which took place near Landy’s home in Ulster County, New York), Elliott was an early proponent of the use of infrared film, a medium he used to a startling effect on several of his best-loved photos, many of which are included as illustrations in this interview. It was also a way for him to best show how that era in Pop Culture was so new and different than what had come the previous 20+ years since the end of the 2nd World War, “trying to get people to come out of the old way of being and be part of this new culture, a new way of thinking, a new way of being free” as he’s quoted in this article by Sabina Stent on the Magnum Photos web site.
e) One item I discovered a bit late to report about it last month was an article I found on the Atwood Magazine site about the artist, composer, and producer Adrian Younge – co-founder of Jazz Is Dead and member of The Midnight Hour – about a special project (titled The American Negro and consisting of both a new album of music and a multi-media presentation) he’d released in conjunction with Black History Month. As it was described in the article, “The American Negro is an ambitious and stirring triumph for the Los Angeles-based Younge, who blends evocative music with breathtaking spoken word to create an unapologetic critique detailing the systemic and malevolent psychology that afflicts people of color.” What I found particularly striking (and moving and disturbing) was the album’s cover image, which is a re-creation of one of the “lynching postcards” that were produced as souvenirs by the cities/towns/organizations who prided themselves in their superiority over African Americans and who therefore were eager to illustrate examples of the “justice” they meted out to those accused of affronts of any type to their “superiors”.
I’d invite you to read the Interview with the artist – https://atwoodmagazine.com/bhm2156-adrian-younge-interview-music-2021-the-american-negro/ – and hope that it makes you uncomfortable to the point that you’ll recognize that the ingrained attitudes and the disdain for others that he highlights both still exist in many (most?) places here in the U.S. and must be addressed systematically. Sometimes, it takes a great image to implant something so important in your head and I’m glad to see such an image included on an album cover today.
f) The team behind the ongoing Art of the Album series of artist/designer/fan-driven articles about album cover art marched on in March, with the month leading off with an “11 Great Album Covers” article featuring selections made by comic book great Bob Fingerman (including work by Jim Flora, Frank Frazetta and XTC’s Andy Partridge, with his homage to pulp fiction artist Richard M. Powers) – https://musebycl.io/art-album/11-great-album-covers-chosen-bob-fingerman . They continued on with fellow Chicagoan Craig Shparago’s “11 Best”, a list that included covers old (The Harmonicats, from 1959), new (Caroline Rose’s Loner) and somewhat obscure (a 1970 album by guitarist Cuco Sanchez) – https://musebycl.io/art-album/11-great-album-covers-chosen-craig-shparago followed the next week by another “Top 11 Most Powerful” album covers article by Wolfgang’s Colin Jeffrey – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-most-powerful-album-covers-chosen-colin-jeffery and finishing the month with Detroit-based writer/creative director (and former Junk Monkey) David Bierman’s statement regarding the ten best album covers he could think of at the moment (consisting mostly of eye-catching photos including Joel Brodsky’s cringe-inducing photo found on Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain and the still from Malina Matsouka’s video found on the cover of Beyonce’s Lemonade) – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-best-album-covers-i-can-think-right-now
g) While photographer Roberta Bayley’s career as a rock photographer came to an end in the early 1980s, much of her work – particularly, her shots of punk icons the Ramones and others from the heyday of the downtown NYC punk scene – continues to influence newer talent and so it’s not surprising to see some of her photos serve as the basis of a discussion on the Amateur Photographer (U.K.) site regarding her (perhaps) best-known shot of our Boys from Forest Hills, Queens –
https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/latest/photo-news/greatest-album-photography-ramones-by-the-ramones-146774 with comments by Janette Beckman, Andy Cowles and Rachel Wright.
Other album cover credits Ms. Bayley can be proud of include notable album cover credits include her shots for Elvis Costello’s Rock And Roll Music; Mary Weiss – Dangerous Game; Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers’ Live At Mothers, L.A.M.F. and L.A.M.F.: The Lost ’77 Mixes; The Real Kids for The Real Kids and Richard Hell’s – Blank Generation and Destiny Street
Items for Sale and/or at Auction
a) I’m happy to report that there’s a new Karl Ferris career retrospective coffee table book (The Karl Ferris Psychedelic Experience) now available straight from the man himself. As he describes it in a recent Facebook posting (note – Karl enjoys the use of capital letters!), “My Deluxe Coffee Table, Limited Edition, Signed, 60’s Autobiographical Memoirs, Collectors Photo Book, containing most of my best Photographs, is finally finished…It Features, my career Autobiography/Memoirs, and Album Cover Photo Session portraits & anecdotes with Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Eric Clapton (Cream), The Hollies and interactions with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Walker brothers and 60’s Super Star Fashion models.”
You can page through the book on the site, but certainly the best way to appreciate it is in its full-sized (12” x 12”) hard-cover high-gloss splendor. Over 50 photos and loads of exclusive text on 100 Premium Lustre “lay-flat” pages, with each personally signed and numbered limited-edition book (one of only 600 printed), priced at £600 GBP each, including shipping (he’ll also custom-sign the book if you contact him via the order page).
I was particularly happy to see, along with a selection of his most-famous photos of rock royalty, some of Karl’s photos of his friends Simon and Marijke of The Fool Design collective, along with psychedelic sisters Pattie Boyd-Harrison and Jennie Boyd (who are modeling Camelot-inspired costumes of Karl’s design), a stunning selection of “dream girls” from the island of Ibiza (where he’s lived for many years) and several rare images of songstress Joni Mitchell during a 1966 visit to Karl’s island retreat.
All of the photos were taken with a 35mm film camera using his “self-invented infrared technique”, allowing him to produce these totally-trippy photos many years before the advent of digital photography/Photoshop.
Click on the link below to see all the pages (best-viewed on a large-screen PC to see and read things properly) –
b) In this recent “Currently Coveting” article on the SurfaceMag.com arts/design site by Gabrielle Golenda – https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/wrensilva-teams-up-with-beatles-album-cover-artist-to-create-limited-edition-poster/, you’ll read about a San Diego, CA-based record player console manufacturer who has commissioned one of rock’s best-known designers to create special artwork promoting their new products – “Wrensilva Teams Up With Beatles Album Cover Artist to Create Limited Edition Poster: The Hi-Fi record player purveyor commissioned the legendary John Van Hamersveld whose artwork embodies the analog-digital interplay of the record console brand’s consoles”.
As a recovered pseudo-audiophile, I’m always interested in learning more about companies that make wonderful-sounding and beautiful-looking equipment, and so reading about this firm’s hand-made products (featuring American hardwood cabinets) brought my mind back to the “olden days” – those days where I happily argued for the superiority and advanced sound quality of my Thorens/Ortofon/GAS/Magnepan system versus my friend’s B&O/MacIntosh/Klipsch set-up (mine, better; his, louder). Seeing these new systems in their hand-crafted cabinets reminded me that the visuals can be just as important as who’s system has lower total harmonic distortion, and so it makes sense that a company like this has teamed up with someone like JVH – a designer who completely understands what it takes to make a clean and impactful product, as seen in his work for not only The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour), the Rolling Stones (Exile on Main Street), the Grateful Dead (Skeletons In The Closet) along with posters for Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The LA Olympics – even the Fatburger logo!
The poster he’s created for the brand is available at a number of record retailers across the country and directly from Wrensilva as a bonus when you buy one of their products. Learn more about this fateful teaming via this link – https://wrensilva.com/pages/wrensilva-presents
c) There’s a new, somewhat-lightened-up edition of the Rock Covers book by Taschen that is also being sold at a lighter price. According to Julius Wiedemann, Taschen’s lead and one of the authors of this book, “the 40th anniversary version is really about a new format, and accessibility. With the complete content from the first original book, this book is big enough to enjoy the images, has all the stories, and is much more affordable.” There’s a nice article on the ArtDaily site with more of the details – https://artdaily.cc/news/133666/Taschen-publishes–Rock-Covers–40th-Anniversary-Edition-
I had the pleasure of interviewing Julius right in 2017 after he’d released another super-deluxe album cover compendium called Art Record Covers – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/interview-with-taschens-julius-wiedemann-about-his-newest-book-art-record-covers/ It’s always great to see a publisher so dedicated to gathering the best-available album art-related content for our consumption, and so if you haven’t yet added one of these books to your collections, I’d invite you to start today. I found the new version of the 500+ page book for $25 on the Powell’s Bookstore site – https://www.powells.com/book/rock-covers-40th-anniversary-edition-9783836576437#product_details
d) Our friends at the U.K.’s Hypergallery have announced the launch of a new Collector’s Club – The Collectors Club is for customers who have spent over £600 in the past 12 months. Members of this club will be offered, on a monthly basis, great deals on a small selection of prints. Emily Smeaton will be running the club and, as she told me recently, “We have been thinking of a way to give our most valued previous clients or contacts a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for keeping Hypergallery alive and well during this difficult period and we hope that those of you who receive an email will be excited by what we have planned…Sometimes that will be one title, sometimes a few but, in every case, the selected prints will be available to club members at a significantly lower price that we can publicly advertise. We will announce the selection here at the beginning of each month, followed by a personal email to club members with the details…these deals will be for one month only, and then never again!
This month, we have selected three Led Zeppelin prints by Hipgnosis, the design studio behind some of the most innovative and surreal record cover art of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, for the biggest bands and musicians of the era.”
Those of us who pay close attention to the somewhat-sorry state of fine art sales during the past year (with sales projected to be down 22% world-wide, according to the latest annual Art Basel and UBS Art Market report – read more here – https://artdaily.cc/news/134011/Global-art-market-shrank-22–in-pandemic-year–study-says) need to appreciate the situation that many museums and galleries have found themselves in as the result of this global pandemic and, as a former gallery owner myself, I’m always proud to see those businesspeople come up with inventive ways to stay in touch with their customers and provide incentives for them to continue to build their collections with quality artwork.
To see what Hypergallery’s offering collectors today, please visit their web site at https://hypergallery.com/ and don’t forget to subscribe to their “The Art of the Album Cover” podcast, which features interviews with some of the best-known album art-makers working in the business today. Full video interviews can all be found on their YouTube channel –https://www.youtube.com/c/hypergallery
e) Back for an encore – fans of my old art gallery will remember the selection of fine art prints I offered done by one of the best-known “bad boys” of design – that being punk artist Jamie Reid, perhaps most-famous for the graphics (album covers, posters, etc.) he produced for the Sex Pistols. I’d sourced those prints directly from his original US publisher (Artificial) and then from his UK publisher (Aquarium/L-13), with my customers quite happy with the quality and value of the prints done by this trailblazing artist. The Aquarium/L-13 closed its doors and sold out its stock in 2008 and so, for the last 13 years, there hasn’t been a publisher for this series of images…until now! A recent missive from the L-13 team shared the news that a publisher in Japan called Gallery DNA (G.D.N.A.) is now releasing a new collection of giclee’ prints of all the old favorites, with most of them priced at ¥ 44,000 (about $400) and deliveries beginning “mid to late May” – quite a nice price for works such as “Who Killed Bambi”, “No Feelings” and several versions of the classic “God Save The Queen” image – https://www.gallery-dna.art/
Glad to see these great images being offered once again – now sod off (this is quite cheeky, I’m told).
UPDATED WITH RESULTS) An original enameled street sign from Abbey Road – home of EMI Studios and featured prominently on The Beatles album by the same name – was up for auction in early March along with 274 others from the City of Westminster, U.K. at the Catherine Southon Auctioneers & Valuers location in Kent, U.K. A previous auction back in 2013 for another Abbey Road sign realized over $14,000 for the Bonham’s auction house, and so while I knew that it’d be interesting to see where this one ended up and I’m glad to say that my instincts were good. With an original estimated value of 1-2,000 GBP, the sign sold for 30,000 GBP (that’s a bit over $41,100)!!! It’s been suggested to me that, perhaps, the city might consider doing this on a more-regular basis in order to lower local property taxes but, for some reason, I don’t see that happening, do you?
Here’s an intro article on the ArtDaily site that gives us the basics (except for a link to the auction!) – https://artdaily.cc/news/133106/Abbey-Road-among-London-street-signs-on-sale-at-auction
Here’s that auction link – https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/timed/catherine-southon/catalogue-id-srcat10032
UPDATED WITH RESULTS) In a special fund-raising auction that ended on March 8th, Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer and visual artist extraordinaire Michael Cartellone auctioned off a portrait he did of the late Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. I’m happy to announce that Michael’s print sold for $725.00, providing some much-needed funds for (and raising awareness of) for the Concert Support Community charity (“the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide”) – https://www.goldminemag.com/collector-resources/ronnie-van-zant-portrait-by-lynyrd-skynyrd-drummer-michael-cartellone-set-for-auction
I had the pleasure of working with Michael very early on in my art career and he was kind enough to work with me on two of my early album art-related interviews (one back in 2006 and the second the next year) during which we talked about the artwork he created while on the road with the band, released as a series of prints known as The Road Series, which were featured on a special LS compilation in the UK (Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Greatest Hits) – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2006/10/index.html, followed by https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/05/cover_story_lyn.html
Another great example of some of the most-talented people in the music business doing their part in support of those in need. Good job, Michael!
h) Just a head’s up – Heritage Auction house will be auctioning off some really rare art this coming June in Dallas, inc. based around a collection– The David Swartz collection – of some “banned” covers– with an intro to the collection now available for viewing in their Intelligent Collector magazine – https://intelligentcollector.com/the-swartz-archive/? Catalog online at https://entertainment.ha.com/c/auction-home.zx?saleNo=7233&type=surl-7233a
UPDATED WITH RESULTS) 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 – usually scheduled to take place during “Grammy Week” (i.e., the week leading up to the awards show, originally scheduled for January 31st but rescheduled since to March 14th), was staged on the original date 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 that were offered, 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 had a chance to bid on a 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.
With a lot of money seemingly having sat on the sidelines during our COVID-induced isolation, I am happy to report that many of these items sold for more than their pre-auction estimates. Nicole Kidman’s handbag sold for $5120; Elvis Costello’s hat brought in $3840 and the ABBA-signed sheet music was snapped up for $2560. The Billie Eilish litho sold for nearly 2X more than its estimate ($3840); Billy Morrison’s painting of Coldplay’s Martin sold for $25,600 and, in what must have been a bidding frenzy, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle painting, which had a pre-auction estimate of $3K, sold for an astounding $96,000! Thanks to all whose purchases have helped the ongoing efforts of a great charity.
As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet:
OBITS) While I haven’t received notice of the passing of any album art creator, I did want to share a note about the death of someone featured on the cover of a VERY well-know album cover – that being Sally Grossman, who was found casually posing while dressed in red in Daniel Kramer’s somewhat-trippy photo found on the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1965 record Bringing It All Back Home. Aged 81 at the time of her death at her home in Woodstock, NY – not far from the home she lived in at the time in which the famous photo was taken – Ms. Grossman was in fact the wife of Dylan’s manager at that point, Albert Grossman. In an era in which many record buyers were often challenged to figure out just what was going on in an album cover image, this cover was one that asked a lot of questions. etc
also, with the sudden passing in early March of Australian music industry impresario and Mushroom Records label owner Michael Gudinski, special care was taken in preparation for his funeral to help illustrate just how deeply the business was ingrained in his life. As you’ll see in this article about the ceremony on the WhatsMyScene.com site,
https://whatsmyscene.com/scene-news-the-order-of-service-for-the-state-memorial-of-michael-solomon-gudinski/ , the “order of service” documents created for his state memorial (which included testimonials and performances from some of his noted friends, including Kylie Minogue and Ed Sheeran) were delivered to participants in the form of an LP sleeve. Adds quite a touch of elegance, if you ask me.
a) NFTs – the TLA (three letter acronym) for non-fungible tokens – see now to be, to the world of digital assets and their management, an exciting new way to let creators monetize their creations. Some of you might have heard about how one artist named Beeple was able to auction off a 21,069 x 21,069 pixel collage (a 300MB+ file actually comprised of 5000 smaller images – pictures taken at different times during the artist’s life) for an astounding $69 million (after an opening bid of $100), making it more valuable (at least to its owner) than most traditional art world masterworks. As you’ll find reading through this recent article in Forbes Magazine by media writer Dawn Chmielewski, this has intrigued many working in the fine art world to consider managing the use of their works in a similar fashion, and one of the first big-name artists active in the album cover art world – the inimitable Roger Dean – has signed up with the UTA talent agency in order to explore opportunities in this burgeoning area.
Last month, another Forbes writer named Abram Brown was kind enough to provide readers with an introduction to this new “crypto craze”, giving us a backgrounder on the technology with the hope that we’ll all be better-equipped to decide if this is a reasonable way to expand our own personal art/music collections – https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2021/02/26/what-is-an-nft-and-should-you-buy-one/?
To read more about Beeple (real name, Mike Winkelmann) and this work, which assembles 13 years of digital images the artist posted daily beginning in may of 2007, please visit the Christie’s auction site at https://www.christies.com/features/Monumental-collage-by-Beeple-is-first-purely-digital-artwork-NFT-to-come-to-auction-11510-7.aspx where they’ve put together a nice overview of his career to this point.
b) In other intellectual property-related news, I’m happy to report that, in a recent court ruling that over-turned an earlier court’s take on the issue, photographer Lynn Goldsmith has won a case that has gone back and forth for several years concerning the use of one of her photos of the late rock god Prince in a series of art prints made by the late artist Andy Warhol. I’ve previously reported on the original suits and counter-suits by both parties, so I won’t bore you with the details now but, suffice it to say, this recent ruling is an important one when you begin to try to understand the “who-owns-what” aspects of fine art-making. As we’ve seen in the recent flurry of NFT activities, who owns what (and who can use another’s intellectual property in the making of their own works) can have serious financial implications, so anything that helps an image-maker establish the ownership of their works and then track the use(s) of those works is a plus in my book (as a former image-maker myself!).
In a recent article on the subject on the ArtNet.com site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/andy-warhol-foundation-loses-lynn-goldsmith-copyright-lawsuit-1955399? – Ms. Goldsmith (who works most anyone who has been a fan of rock music imager/album covers knows well) reflected on this recent turn of events (now in her favor) – “I’m grateful for the court of appeals’ decision,” Goldsmith said in an email to Artnet News. “Four years ago, the Andy Warhol Foundation sued me to obtain a ruling that it could use my photograph without asking my permission or paying me anything for my work. I fought this suit to protect not only my own rights, but the rights of all photographers and visual artists to make a living by licensing their creative work-and also to decide when, how, and even whether to exploit their creative works or license others to do so.”
Keep fighting the good fight, Lynn.
c) A new documentary film about the short-but-greatly-influential life of rapper Christopher Wallace (AKA Biggie Smalls AKA Notorious BIG) titled I Got A Story To Tell is coming to screens big and small (sorry) soon, but what caught my eye when I saw this article about the film on the Vulture.com site was their selection of photos to help illustrate the article, with the most-striking ones having been taken by famed photographer George DuBose – https://www.vulture.com/2021/03/netflix-biggie-i-got-a-story-to-tell-review.html. George was one of the first photographers to document many of rap’s rising stars in the early 1980s and I had the pleasure of talking to him about his initial encounter with NBIG and his crew at the very beginning of the rapper’s rise to stardom – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/03/index.html As I previously noted, I couldn’t help but notice that one of the principal photos being used to promote the film was the same one he let me reproduce for our interview (also adding in some never-before-seen out-takes), so I wanted to ask George if he was actively involved in this new film and here’s what he told me –
“Hey Grandma, what sharp eyes you have…LOL…The film production company that produced Biggie’s new biodoc licensed 11 photos from his first professional photo shoot – one that I did as a “freebie” or payback to Big Daddy Kane’s DJ, Mr. Cee. When Mr. Cee asked me to take a photo of a young rapper in Bed-Stuy for free, I said I would but that I wasn’t going there alone. I was willing to go to any “bad neighborhood” anywhere (Trenchtown in Jamaica, for example) as long as I was “with” the bad guys…Anyway, 30 years later, Netflix bought the documentary and then wanted to get additional licensing of one photo to use for advertising, publicity and promotion. They offered a very fair fee so, for a photo shoot I did for free, I did very well in the end.
If I had known how big Biggie was going to get, I would have at least shot a second roll of color…
I hope you are well, George”
d) A former British vinyl record factory called, in typical sly British wit, “The Old Vinyl Factory”, is being repurposed into a cultural hub in London, with part of the building’s design inspiration being an album cover. As detailed in this article on the project – https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2021/03/24/one-of-a-kind-london-cultural-hub-to-be-created-at-former-vinyl-record-factory – “The site, which will be known as The Gramophone, will be transformed into a multi-screen cinema and mixed-use community venue, designed by Architecture Initiative. As well as providing a four-screen cinema, The Gramophone will include a café/bar, ‘listening room’, recording studios, workspace and an interactive exhibition that celebrates the site’s history.” According to the architectural design director on the project, “conceptually, the new building is the vinyl sliding behind the record sleeve. The design of the exposed steel structure recalls the arm and stylus of a record player and the distinctive pattern of the façade features grooves from vinyl records that were once pressed on the site, magnified many times and reproduced in precast concrete panels.”
How cool is that?
e) I was reading an article about some of the characters found on the famous “Brown Bomber” cover created by artist David Juniper for Led Zeppelin’s second album (Led Zeppelin 2) thinking that I would learn something new about the work when it occurred to me that most of what was being referenced in the article was actually excerpted from the interview I’d done with Mr. Juniper in 2007! Eric Schaal writing for CheatSheet – https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/led-zeppelin-ii-figures-album-cover.html/
It was shortly after that read that I’d received my copy of Ramon Martos’ latest book about hard/metal rock covers (…And Justice For Art, Volume 3) and, in Ramon’s book, I found a wealth of additional information that came as part of an updated interview with the talented Mr. Juniper, including the identities of all of the characters (the originals, plus those swapped in) and an image of an alternative cover featured on the LP’s release in Turkey. I continue to sing the praises of Ramon’s book and urge you all to check it out yourself – http://www.andjusticeforart.com/
f) The editorial team at Far Out Magazine continues to pump out a regular stream of album cover art-related articles, including one that takes us through an overview of 20 of the best (in their humble opinions) album covers created by Andy Warhol – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/andy-warhol-best-album-covers-lennon-rolling-stones/ . They’re also working hard to supply readers with interesting back stories of some of rock’s best-known album covers with this story about the cover of Queen’s 1991 record Innuendo – A little unknown fact about the cover art is that it was adapted from the French caricaturist J. J. Grandville’s surrealist artwork ‘Juggler of Universes’ from his book Un Autre Monde (literally meaning, “Another World”). Richard Gray, the artist behind designing the album cover, incorporated colours into the picture to make it stand out more. Apart from that, and we’re sure you would notice if you see the original drawing, there is the somewhat strange presence of the banana in the picture. Grandville’s original featured a meteorite in the form of the Cross of Legion of Honour, that the band and Gray decided to bring their own surrealist twist to. Richard Gray was the photographer and designer for Queen for almost 26 years and he came up with multiple album covers for the band as well as photographed them on stage. https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/freddie-mercurys-queen-album-innuendo-cover-art/
Far Out Magazine writer Atreyi Banerji presents a lot of interesting info about one of the most-popular albums/album covers in the Jimi Hendrix discography – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/jimi-hendrix-electric-ladyland-cover-uncovered/
It’s been well-known that the guitarist – an accomplished visual artist himself – was sometimes not-too-thrilled with the designs he was presented for his LPs, with different design teams working to come up with just the right imagery… those of you with long memories might remember an interview I did with photographer Karl Ferris many years ago on the same topic (i.e., his work for – and relationship with – the late great Hendrix – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/02/index.html
The magazine finishes up the month with a newly-minted article about everyone’s favorite album cover – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-beatles-sgt-pepper-album-cover-story/. Of course, I’d suggest a read (or re-read) of my recent interview with one of the people responsible for the collage that helped solidify The Beatles’ place in history as trend-setters in both music AND art – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/achof-interview-with-artist-jann-haworth/
g) Writing for the UDiscoverMusic.com site, Tony Clayton-Lea provides an historical perspective of the album cover art featured on records by the iconic Dublin-based rock band Thin Lizzy – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/thin-lizzy-album-covers-explained/
h) Three of the editors for Manchester, U.K.’s Mancunian web site have teamed up to share a list of their favorite album covers – https://mancunion.com/2021/03/18/behind-the-cover-the-art-of-album-cover-art/ It’s an interesting list of covers from the 1960s through the 2000s, as it’s always interesting to see what sticks in the minds of music and art fans over the years…
i) 8 outrageous banned album covers and their stories – https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/articles/features/8_albums_with_outrageous_banned_covers-116603
j) Buzzfeed news asks “whether any photo can be transformed into an album cover” as a number of Tik-Tok users have worked to prove that it can be done using the simple tools available to users of the service. Now they’re trying to one-up each other, with the results on display here…. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/paulinewoodley/tiktok-album-cover-challenge
BONUS CONTENT – A brief conversation with musician/designer Dean Torrence about his recent work for an old friend’s new album –
I recently received a notice from 2X ACHOF inductee Dean Torrence (AKA “Surf City, USA’s #1 Ambassador”) in which he was kind enough to share some images from his recent work on the cover for a new release from two other 60s icons – Mickey Dolenz and Mike Nesmith from The Monkees – that was inspired by a cover for another album he’d done for a covers album his late great friend Harry Nilsson released in early 1970 called Nilsson Sings Newman.
After seeing the comps and photos he’d sent, of course I’d have to know more and so I asked Dean to share some info about the project and his involvement in it, and what follows is an edited version of what was shared. You’ll note that the story ends with an all-too-often-typical music industry twist:
Dean T – Mike, I just finished an interesting album cover (yes, vinyl). It’s a parody of a cover I did in the mid-70s called Nilsson Sings Newman, while this one is the soon-to-be-released Dolenz Sings Nesmith.
Mike G – Dean, hello and nice to hear from you again. So, I’m working on a write up of your work on your Dolenz Sings Nesmith LP and I wanted to see if you could give me bit more of the back story about your relationship with my favorite Monkee – I was a drummer, so of course he was my favorite – and how you two came to work together again 50+ years later on this project?
Dean T – Micky and Michael came up with the parody concept because we were all friends and fans of Harry Nilsson. I was Harry’s art director and one of his closest friends, so we all hung out together a bunch. Michael liked the work I did for Harry, so I ended up designing two of the Nesmith albums that most of the songs Micky recorded for this new project actually came from.
Proposed back liner image – Mike Nesmith, Indio, CA circa mid-1970s by Dean Torrence
I also designed the logo and branding materials for Michael’s west coast “modern country” record label – Countryside Records and I would end up designing four album covers for that label – absolutely brilliant recordings and concepts, done way before there was a Garth Brooks. It’s some of my very favorite stuff.
This time, the guy I am working for owns the record label in England that will be releasing Micky’s recording. He asked for me to send him the three main elements of the cover – the cool Mercury with the flames, the Nilsson car and the desert background – all on separate layers. He didn’t need the title font because he didn’t really like it. I told him, “whatever makes Micky happy is OK with me, it’s his project.”
Mike G – My initial research indicates that the record will be released by 7a Records, a label run by die-hard Monkees fan Glenn Gretlund who, in the six years since the label’s launch as a platform for Monkees-related re-releases and limited-edition vinyl/CD packages, has expanded the catalog to include other artists and, in this case, a new recording of Mickey’s tributes to his chum Mike’s songwriting skills.
I did find a bit more info on the Rolling Stone site – https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/micky-dolenz-plots-solo-record-michael-nesmith-covers-1042375/ and on the Monkees web site – https://www.monkeeslivealmanac.com/blog/rolling-stone-micky-dolenz-plots-solo-record-of-michael-nesmith-covers On a related note – boy, does Christian Nesmith look like his dad! Almost as much of a dead ringer as Dhani Harrison is.
So, can you give me a few more details, such as the kind of car your Monkees buddies are riding in now versus the car that was featured on your Nilsson cover art? And what’s with the UFO – do you know what model it was…sorry, but I had to ask!
Dean T – The original car on the Nilsson cover was a Graham, built in the mid-1940s, which was parked in front of Linda Ronstadt’s house – we lived near each other in Beachwood Canyon. The new one – I’m pretty sure that’s a ’50 Mercury with a great flames paint job that made it edgy-looking. The background photo was from one of those deserts that are near Roswell (NM), where there have been many UFO sightings.
Editor’s note – so, I still had some things I was unclear about, so on March 9th, I sent him a couple more questions…
Mike G – I’d like to know more about what your inspirations were for the two covers you did – i.e., why have them out riding in old cars in the desert? Was the desert a favorite place of theirs? I’m always interested in sharing an artist’s “creative spark”…
Dean T – Most of the Nesmith songs were from a 70s LP “Nevada Fighter”; those were mostly country songs. Since I designed that album cover, Mike asked me to do a photoshoot of him in a nearby desert in Indio California and the photos were on the back liner of the LP. I’m told that one of those photos from that shoot may make it onto this new LP.
Mike G – Are all the photos yours – I mean, ones you took or from your archives? Except for the UFO, of course, unless, of course, you actually photographed a UFO?
Dean T – All of the photos are mine except the head shots of the guys – those came from them. I drew the UFO…
Mike G – By the way, I went to the 7aRecords site and they don’t have any info up yet on the new record other than it is mentioned in the “About Us” info as it is Glenn C’s first record of new music…So, we’re not sure yet what the final cover will look like, as you said he’s re-doing the title text. It’ll be curious to see what the final product looks like.
Editor’s note #2 – this was followed later in the day with another note from Dean…
Final Dolenz Plays Nesmith LP cover on 7a Records
Dean T – Actually, they just sent me the finished cover, and they didn’t use any of my design. They used my ideas, but replaced everything! It’s pretty good – I was surprised at how good it was. But they specifically told me they wanted a parody of the Nilsson Sings Newman cover and that’s what they got. Basically, I laid it out just like the Nilsson cover – an older car in profile, as big as the width of the album cover, with a simple country landscape in the background, plus maybe include the Nilsson car in some subtle way in the background. I thought the old font from the Nilsson cover was “dated”, so I spiced up the new font.
And what do they do? They use an old rusty car – I think it’s English, since it seems to be righthand drive – and is not in profile but rather in ¾ view, with better headshots than the ones they sent me. It has the same desert background but actually with a better view, but the Nilsson cover background was supposed to be more subtle. I had more old rusty cars in my collections. but they weren’t in a profile style so I didn’t use them because it obviously would no longer be staying true to the parody concept. So, while I like the cover they did on their own, but it’s not the cover they asked me to do.
Now I remember why I was OK with getting back into performing music live in stadiums again and walking away from my Kityhawk Graphics studio. Truth was, by performing live again, I was making more money in one night than I was making in a month at Kittyhawk and I got laid a lot more – a lot more! 🤣
And I met my future wife on the road 39 years ago and we are still together – imagine that! The whole thing does make for a pretty interesting story though, but one that’s all too common in the careers of most graphic designers, bless them all!
PS – Glenn wanted to send me a check and I told him that, since he didn’t use any of my actual design work, he could send my check to one of my favorite charities and so he said he would.
Mike G – Can you let me know a bit more about the charity you’re having the check for your design fees donated to?
Dean T – the charity you’re asking about is the St Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana. I have an old buddy that taught school and started a choir there. We once brought the choir by school bus from Montana to the A&M recording studio in Hollywood to record an album that turned out to be really good. We also teamed up with the Beverly Hills High School Choir and did a few concerts together. The kids had a great time! Another old friend, Herb Alpert, owned the A&M studio and besides giving us free studio time and a lot of meals, the record came out on the A&M label. Herb also built a free music school for young people – he has always been one of the “good guys”.
Editor’s final note – Dean is working on a book of his graphic design work, with more details to be shared as they become available.
You can learn more about the new Dolenz record and the rest of that label’s offerings on its web site at http://www.7arecords.com/
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – and, with any luck, we’ll return right after the first of the year (good bye 2020, and good riddance!) 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 2021 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of the trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.