Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for August 2021

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Posted August 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Entering the second full month of Summer, I find myself a bit perplexed as to how I’m supposed to approach living Life each day. While my wife and I have enjoyed getting out a bit more, we’re still very wary about spending time around our fellow human beings – particularly, the ones who are insisting that “everything’s back to normal” and, as such, looking at those of us still wearing masks as people who are holding back progress in some way. Having recently graduated into “senior citizenry”, I’m now free to become the COF (crotchety old fart) that I prefer to be so, you do your thing and I’ll do mine and, as part of what I’m choosing to do, I’m going to continue to search out items of interest to album cover art fans and share them with you all in my monthly news summaries, regardless of your vaccination status.

This month’s edition of the ACHOF News Update and Summary includes a nice crop of album cover artist/art updates and not one but two examples of ACHOF original content, those being the two interviews I’ve posted with two pairs of creative execs working for Sony Music Entertainment – Frank and Dave and Meghan and Annie – who were kind enough to share their takes on how they have gone about producing several award-winning box sets and special-edition packages. You’ll find links to both of those articles in the “Artist News and Interviews” section of this month’s summary.

I would also like to let you know that some of the unsold items from my June auction are now available for sale (at wallet-friendly fixed prices) in the Backstage Auctions online store – https://www.backstageauctions.com/store/ with most items found in the “Fine Art Prints & Lithographs” and “Photos – Limited-Edition Prints” sections. I’m also told that there will be a number of items included in Backstage’s upcoming “Clearance Auction” scheduled for a TBD date in August. Based on my past experience as a bidder in this particular auction – done once every 2-3 years – this will be perhaps the best opportunity for you collectors out there to pick up some well-priced items, as opening bids will be well-below the norm. In either case, I do hope you’ll go take a look and, if so motivated, provide a new home for one of the prints I was proud to call my own. https://www.backstageauctions.com/

What follows below is a summary of the articles/posts/announcements I’ve gathered recently regarding all things regarding album cover artists and the art they produce. It continues to be my pleasure to report on – and promote – this work and the people who do it and so, without further delay, let’s dive into this month’s summary:

Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info –

a) Here’s a follow-up on an exhibition that opened in June that was reported on in the last ACHOF monthly summary…It turns out that the son of Factory Records’ co-founder Tony Wilson is quite unhappy with the sale of a line of pricey clothing bearing imagery from the label’s products that are now available at Selfridge’s stores in the UK –  https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/tony-wilsons-son-slams-factory-20957791 Included in the line are some very not-priced-for-the-working-class items such as denim jackets and hooded sweatshirts bearing the iconic Unknown Pleasures artwork priced at £580 and£520 (approx. $800/$725 US), respectively.

The exhibition at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum is called Use Hearing Protection: the Early Years of Factory Records and is a must-see for fans of the indie music label founded by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus that got its start in that city. They have dozens of early (1978-82) items on display, including a number of well-known images (such as Peter Saville’s iconic FAC1 gig poster for the May/June 1978 shows at The Factory featuring Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire and others). The show runs now through January 3rd of 2022, with more details available on the museum’s web site – https://www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/use-hearing-protection

b) Launching on August 20th at the Dunoon Burgh Hall (on Argyle St. in Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland) is an updated presentation (“Volume 2”) of a collection of album art originally presented in Spring of 2019 called Art On My Sleeveshttps://www.dunoonburghhall.org.uk/whats-on/event/68339-art-on-my-sleeves-2021/ Wednesdays thru Sundays through September 12th. The original show, culled from the scores acquired over the years by a local collector, “takes visitors on a personal tour of discovery of record sleeve design since 1940 – with over a hundred examples from his collection.”

I’m hoping to learn a bit more about the show and the mysterious collector behind it but, until then, I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has the opportunity to visit the show during its run.

c) UPDATE – EXHIBITION DELAYED – The Pink Floyd touring exhibition “Their Mortal Remains” (originally staged in 2017 at  V&A Museum in the U.K. before moving to Italy, Germany and Spain in 2018-19) is moving to the Vogue Multicultural Museum on Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles and was set to open August 3rd (thru November 28th). However, in late July, promoters announced a one-month postponement of the lauch date, blaming the snafu on “global freight delays”.

According to a news report on local LA radio station KFI’s web site, a statement from the organizers elaborated that “The many containers filled with Pink Floyd’s artifacts, stage sets and private collections were shipped from the UK with an extensive lead time, but coming out of the pandemic, there are many delays in global freight…These containers have now safely arrived in LA.” So, patience people. You can take a little time today and read a preview or two on the show at https://ultimateclassicrock.com/pink-floyd-museum-exhibit/  and https://kfiam640.iheart.com/content/2021-05-05-pink-floyd-retrospective-headed-to-la-museum-for-four-month-run/

More info and reservations are available on the show’s site at https://www.pinkfloydexhibition.com/

d) REMINDER – To both commemorate the mind-numbing 40th anniversary of MTV’s launch on the first of August, 1981 – a day that certainly rocked music industry priorities and brought new opportunities for those people responsible for the visual aspects of record making and selling – and to illustrate the effects on the music business caused by what was going on in New York City in the several years just prior to that date (AIDS, drugs, poverty and the city’s near-bankruptcy), the talented team at the Museum of the City of New York have put together an exhibition (that opened mid-June) that puts on display artifacts from that time that are sure to be both thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining. Read more about the show, titled New York, New Music: 1980-1986, on the museum’s site at https://www.mcny.org/exhibition/new-york-new-music and read an intro to the show, with comments from exhibit curator Sean Corcoran, on the ArtDaily site at  https://artdaily.cc/news/136670/In-the–80s–post-punk-filled-New-York-clubs–Their-videos-captured-it-

e) REMINDER – I’d like to remind you that the Flights of Fancy show curated by the Hypergallery team that puts the talents of surrealist James Marsh front and center for fans to appreciate will be closing at the end of August. The show is being staged at the Haddenham Art Centre near Ely, Cambridgeshire (about 15 miles north of the city of Cambridge) and will be on display from Tuesdays through Saturdays (10AM – 4PM, with free admission) now through the end of the month. Collectors of fine art should take note that the gallery is offering for sale of a collection of signed, limited edition silkscreens and archival inkjets“ showcasing the jewels in Marsh’s impressive and distinctive portfolio” so, if you’re keen on touring through this show of mind-blowing examples from Mr. Marsh’s storied career, click on over to https://www.haddenhamartscentre.org.uk/events/james-marsh-flights-of-fancy-exhibition? for more info. To see the gallery’s selection of prints for sale, please click here – https://hypergallery.com/collections/james-marsh

f) NEW FOR JULY, COMING IN OCTOBER – I’m pleased to share the announcement of an upcoming photo show (beginning in October) featuring Brian Griffin’s Black Country Dada photo collection. Brian’s work will be included in The Northern Eye 2021 International Photography Festival that will be staged in various locations in and near Colwyn Bay, North Wales, UK.  According to the pre-show press, “The Northern Eye Photography Festival is a collaboration between the Oriel Colwyn photography gallery and Aberystwyth’s The Eye Festival.  The biennial festival is hosted on the ‘odd’ years and is described by their producers as being “a friendly festival that kind of likes being a little ‘odd’, different and non-exclusive with an overarching desire to champion photography and widen its reach. In our celebration of photography we bring an all new set of outstanding photographers, speakers and exhibitions to the North Wales coastal town of Colwyn Bay.”

Brian’s work will be on display the entire month of October at the Oriel Colwyn gallery, with more info available on the festival’s web site at https://www.northerneyefestival.co.uk/dada I’d like to remind all of you that the current staging of the Black Country Dada photo show is available for viewing now thru September 5th at the Quad in Derby, U.K. – https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/BlackCountryDada.

Brief bits:

REMINDER) The people behind the ArtVinyl album art framing products and the annual Best Art Vinyl Awards have just curated a nicely done virtual online exhibition – https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=LTDMU9Y33Zd

Hosted at the London headquarters of the UK-based house music label Defected Records, site visitors are encouraged to take a tour through 25 years of design as featured on album covers from Tony Colman and Chriss Goss’ Hospital Records, one of the UK’s leading proponents of dance music (drum & bass, breakbeat and similar electronic music).

Artist News and Interviews

a) Well, that took long enough! Thank you for your patience while I worked on these two newly-published interviews with two award-winning pairs from Sony Music Entertainment’s talented art direction/design/production department –

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2021/07/23/an-achof-conversation-with-frank-harkins-and-dave-bett-from-sony-music-entertainment/ brings you to my Spring/Summer 2021 interview with art directors Frank Harkins and Dave Betts, while https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2021/07/28/interview-with-annie-stoll-and-meghan-foley-on-the-making-of-squeeze-box-for-weird-al-yankovic/ is the link to the long-lost (but worth waiting for) interview I did back in 2019 with Meghan Foley and Annie Stoll right after they’d won a Grammy Award that Spring for their “can you put any more fun in a box” Squeeze Box set for Weird Al Yankovic.  

b) Chi Modu, the famed hip-hop photographer who died this past May from cancer, is featured in a special Sony Music-produced video interview released this past July 7th on what would have been his 55th birthday. The topic? Modu’s photo session that gave us the memorable shot that served as the cover for Mobb Deep’s 1994 album The Infamous. Here’s an intro by BET’s Craig T. Lee – https://www.bet.com/music/2021/07/07/chi-modu-mobb-deep-album-cover-the-infamous.html

c) Outsider Rock’s Kevin Julie continues to deliver the stories behind some of today’s most-interesting album covers with two new interviews – the first with  photographer Paul Till and art director Murray Brenman about their work on the cover (one of several their credited with) of FM’s 1994 re-issue of their 1978 record Black Noisehttps://outsiderrock.wordpress.com/2021/06/08/story-behind-the-album-cover-fms-black-noise/?

and the second with Richard Zoll who is, according to Kevin, both a “Blue Oyster Cult fan & artist” who is  “fairly new to creating album covers” but has created a rather intriguing one that can be seen on the package for Albert Bouchard’s Re Imaginoshttps://outsiderrock.wordpress.com/2021/06/14/story-behind-the-album-cover-albert-bouchards-re-imaginos/

You might recall my interview with Mr. Till a number of years ago about his experimental photo work (done as a 20-year-old) done for the cover of Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks album…in case you’d like to revisit that interview, here’s the link – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/06/cover-story-interview—bob-dylans-blood-on-the-tracks-with-photography-by-paul-till.html

d) As reported previously, the I the six-episode TV series ICON: Music Through The Lens about the lives and careers of some of the world’s best-known rock photographers had its premiere in the U.K. late last year and was produced by a top-notch team which included Executive Producer Andy Saunders, acclaimed music director Dick Carruthers and legendary music photographer Gered Mankowitz (who served as the series curator and Exec. Producer.  ICON follows the lives and often wild experiences of the artists who documented popular music in images, from the earliest darkrooms to the fast-evolving digital landscapes of the present day. The series’ first episode premiered Friday, July 16, with new episodes being shown on consecutive Fridays through August 6, 2021 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET & August 13, 2021, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET; check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app.

Just some of the over 50 photographers interviewed alongside Gered Mankowitz about their work in music include: Jill Furmanovsky, Kevin Westenberg, Terry O’Neill, Kevin Cummins, Bob Gruen, Rachael Wright, Deborah Feingold, Baron Wolman, Neal Preston, Roger Sargent, Dean Chalkley, Tom Sheehan, Pooneh Ghana, Michael Zagaris, Mick Rock, Danny Clinch, Christie Goodwin, Albert Watson, Lynn Goldsmith and Rankin to name but a few. Sharing eye-opening insights from a musician’s viewpoint are Alice Cooper, Craig David, Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), Ziggy Marley, Lars Ulrich, (Metallica), Zara Larsson, Stefflon Don, Julian Lennon, Dizzee Rascal and many others. You’ll also see an interview with Jim Hartley and Theron Kabrich, co-founders of the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery and who’ve been long proponents of the promotion and sale of collectible rock music photos and prints.

The folks at SFAE were also kind enough to share a link to a video clip originally shot for the series that includes Jerry Schatzberg commenting on pricing for his limited-edition prints of Bob Dylan and the gallery owners giving us some background info on one of the most-desirable set of prints – those for Abbey Road by The Beatles, for which the original photographer was paid very little to produce – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HHrkS1vsCI

To learn more and watch a video intro to the series, click on over to – https://iconmusicthroughthelens.com/

Here’s a newer article on the ICON series that digs a bit deeper into the subject material – https://californianewstimes.com/how-the-beatles-rolling-stones-bob-dylan-prince-and-more-became-photographic-icons-press-enterprise/439235/

Brief bits:

e) Noah Becker’s WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art recently posted an interesting article which featured one talented album cover artist – Ryan McGinness – interviewing another talented artist – painter Steve Keene – https://whitehotmagazine.com/articles/essay-interview-by-ryan-mcginness/5084

f) The team behind Muse By Clio’s ongoing “Art of the Album” series of artist/designer/fan-driven articles about album cover art continued on in their quest to deliver articles written by people in/around the music business. During the month of July, the site featured two new articles, the first being a “10 Great Album Covers” compilation as determined by Paris-based producer Ambroise Cabry from Men At Work studios which primarily includes a lot of interesting images done in the late 1960s – early 1970s –  https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-ambroise-cabry. This was followed later in the month by a rather-intriguing list of 10 album images selected by Brazilian photographer/videographer Camila Cornelsen, who proudly shares examples of what she considers great album covers from her own country’s music business – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-brazilian-album-covers-chosen-camila-cornelsen While I wasn’t familiar with most of the featured musical acts, I think that the list provides examples that will entice many of us to learn (and listen) more.

As always, I’m eager to see what turns up on next month’s collection of articles – keep up the good work, Team Clio.

g) In another new installment in the “Greatest Album Photography” series published by the UK’s Amateur Photographer, the always-interesting Steve Fairclough delivers a fine essay on how the team at the Stylorouge design agency came up with a cover that’s always been an album cover art-fan favorite – that being for Blur’s 1994 mega-hit record Parklife – an image that the UK’s Royal Mail chose for their 2010 “Classic Album Covers” series of stamps alongside covers from Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and other well-known sleeves. The article includes a discussion of this cover with a panel of three experts well-known to album art fans for their work in the area – Peter Neill, Rankin and Rachael Wright.

Items for Sale and/or at Auction

a) Throughout his career, photographer Ross Halfin’s talents have been called upon by a number of big name musical acts – AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, former Beatles George Harrison and Paul McCartney, Motley Crue, Rush, UFO, The Who and others – to document their tours, producing photos for their tour guides and publicity efforts and, later on, a number of photo books, working on numerous occasions with writer Barton and Peter Makowski, who he’d collaborate with on a photo journal called Powerage. Now, metal album cover art fans will find a lot to look at in Ross Halfin’s new Metallica photo book titled Metallica: The Black Album In Black & Whitehttps://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/metallica-the-black-album-in-black-white-hardback?

On the same site, I also found myself intrigued about a new book – Tom Waits by Matt Mahurin – featuring California-based photographer/illustrator Matt Mahurin’s surrealistic portraits of his long-time collaborator, musician Tom Waits.  https://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/tom-waits-by-matt-mahurin? As it is described on the Flood Gallery site, “Having shot magazine portraits, album covers, and music videos of Waits, Mahurin was inspired to resurrect 100 dormant film negatives as a jumping off point to explore his own surreal, poetic, and occasionally dark vision. The images vary from traditional portraits to ones that capture Waits in concert – but the majority are richly imagined scenes in which Waits is more muse than musician.” An artist with scores of album cover credits for acts including U2, Bo Deans, Queensryche, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Muse, Motley Crue and others, he has combined his abilities in both photography and illustration to produce hybrid images that are truly mind-boggling and beautiful. You can see more of his work on his web site at   https://www.mattmahurin.com/  

b) Continuing on the Metallica-related thread, there will be three new Metallica album art-themed puzzles coming out later this year (available for pre-order now). A NME article introduces the products –  https://www.nme.com/news/music/three-new-metallica-puzzles-set-for-release-in-september-2995850 and pre-orders for these, plus a slew of other new cover-based products, can be placed at https://plastichead.com/catalogue.aspx (type “Puzzle” into the Search line to see all five pages of puzzles available). Prices for the 500 or 1000 piece “Rock Saws” puzzles, made by Zee Productions in the UK, range from £10.00 – £19.99 (approx.. $14.00 to $28.00 US). From AC/DC thru The Who.

c) – Noted album cover artist Cey Adams and the dedicated folks at Smithsonian Folkways Records began the promotion and pre-sale of an all-encompassing compendium on the history of rap/hip-hop – https://folkways.si.edu/smithsonian-anthology-of-hip-hop-and-rap Adams had already introduced us to the wide world of rap and hip-hop-related design with his excellent 2008 book The Art And Design Of Hip-Hop (co-written with famed hip-hop publicist/manager Bill Adler), but when you read the preliminary description of the product, you know that this will be a must-have by any serious fan and collector of pop culture and music – “The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap is a first-of-its-kind multimedia collection chronicling the growth of the music and culture from the parks of the Bronx to solidifying a reach that spans the globe. The set includes 129 tracks on 9 CDs and a 300–page book with original design by Cey Adams, artist and founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings, as well as essays by some of hip-hop’s leading writers and critics and hundreds of photographs spanning decades of history. Through the music, writing, and extensive liner notes, the Anthology reveals the many trends within this multifaceted genre, its social and political implications, and its influence on popular culture. Curation of the Anthology was headed by a committee including rappers Chuck D and MC Lyte; writers and scholars Jeff Chang and Mark Anthony Neal; early Def Jam senior executives-turned-cultural-advisors Bill Adler and Bill Stephney; artist and writer Questlove; and producer and educator 9th Wonder.”

Considering all of what’s going to be included, the package – which is set to ship to pre-order customers in late August – seems like a bargain at $159.98.

d) – Boston-based journalist Matteo Urella recently shared a link to the site for a new book he’s written about the many examples of great cover art associated with one of rap music’s most-inventive groups – the Wu-Tang Clan – from the perspectives of many of the people who’ve collaborated with the group to create these works. Titled Deep In The Dark, the book’s 36 chapters present “conversations with the creators behind the best cover art from the Wu-Tang Clan and their Killa Beez affiliates…over 230 pages exploring the artistic and creative process of some of the best, most celebrated, most artistic Wu-related cover art.” Matteo, whose previous reporting and writing has covered a wide range of topics – from other rap legends (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) to mixed martial arts – is as passionate about his subject material as he is about giving back to those in his community, with 100% of the profits from the sale of his book being donated to the More Than Words bookstore for at-risk youth. You can pre-order your copy on the Makai Forever site – https://makaiforever.com/

e) A collection of production artwork and related imagery from the personal archives of Edward Bell, the artist who was commissioned to design the artwork for two albums that the late musician David Bowie was intimately involved in –  the Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps) record released in 1980 (his last for RCA) and for the second and final record – Tin Machine II – that band released in 1991 – was the subject of an auction and exhibition that took place in the UK in July, ending on August 1st.

According to Abigail Molenaar, the Modern & Contemporary Art Specialist for Halls Fine Art in Shrewsbury, UK (a bit NW of Birmingham in Shropshire) who curated the collection, the grouping “includes his original designs and concepts, photographs of Bowie and the band from the photoshoots as well as original paintings and sculptures that have never before been sold on the open market.” The 139 lots that were up for bid beginning this past July 16th included photos and contact sheets, design concept/sketch boards, posters, album/single cover mock-ups, sculptures and works of fine art Bell’s created that were inspired by the many looks and personalities put on display by the late actor/musician/visual artist. This auction was appealing to collectors of all types, as pre-auction estimates for some items begin as low as £100, with most items in the  £200 – £2000 range (before fees).

There’s was a handy virtual catalog on the auction house’s site that provided an easy way to page through the items up for bid, so click on over to the site to begin your search thru the catalog and see the final results – https://fineart.hallsgb.com/auction/details/6011-timed-auction—the-david-bowie-collection-of-artist-edward-bell/?au=294 The auction runs through August 1st.

Brief Bits:

f) Fender releases several commemorative guitars, including one for Nirvana that features album cover art graphics – https://americansongwriter.com/fender-to-release-signature-models-for-kurt-cobain-j-mascis-primal-scream-and-cory-wong/

g) Just a head’s up – Heritage Auction house will be auctioning off some really rare art this coming October (16th and 17th, with bidding beginning online September 27th) 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

Miscellaneous Items and other Brief Bits –

As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet (well, most of them, anyway):

a) While the ACHOF’s focus has always been on the work of album cover artists working in the rock and pop genres in the “modern rock” era (1960 – present), some of the designers we’ve included as “early influencers” had portfolios of work that began before that “cut-off” but have reached well into more-recent times, with two of them – Andy Warhol and Reid Miles (among others) – having achieved levels of fame and influence that continue to motivate creative-types working in today’s music packaging business. Luckily for all of us album cover art fans, there are other writers who’ve dedicated themselves to providing fans of album cover history with deep dives into the details of those early efforts, with Guy Minnebach’s posts on the Andy Earhole site proving to be some of the most-informative and entertaining. Guy recently a posted several articles on this topic (i.e., the creative partnership between Warhol and Miles) – the first titled “Reid Miles and Warhol: the shoe, the nudes, the letterhead” – https://warholcoverart.com/2021/07/11/reid-miles-and-warhol-the-shoe-the-nudes-the-letterhead/ which delivers an overview of the two artists – with a focus on the prodigious achievements of Miles (over 500 covers!) and some details of projects they worked on together, and the second titled “Reid Miles and Andy Warhol: Kenny Burrell – Blue Note 1543 (1956-1957)” – which introduces us to one marvelous example of how the two worked together to create such memorable cover images – https://warholcoverart.com/2021/07/13/reid-miles-and-andy-warhol-kenny-burrell-blue-note-1543-1956-1957/  Eager to read the rest when I get a moment, for sure…

b) There’s a new documentary by filmmaker Todd Haynes about an album cover artist who also managed an underground band in the mid-1960s. Of course, we’re talking about art icon Andy Warhol and his proteges in the Velvet Underground – https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/jul/07/the-velvet-underground-review-todd-haynes-doc-gets-under-the-art-rockers-skin

c) A local UK website was pleased to share the details of how an area photographer was reunited with some of his earlier work – “A photographer from Berkhamsted was excited to see the original transparencies of his iconic David Bowie shoot for the Space Oddity record sleeve. Vernon Dewhurst, from Berkhamsted, once lived with the music legend in London between 1968 and 1969. The photographer captured images of the late Heroes hitmaker for his album cover – Space Oddity – released in 1969.”

Limited-edition prints forthcoming – https://www.hemeltoday.co.uk/news/people/originals-of-iconic-david-bowie-photos-tracked-down-by-berkhamsted-photographer-3315462

d) Who’s the goat on that Slipknot cover, plus twelve people featured on album covers (where are they) – https://loudwire.com/slipknot-clown-story-behind-goat-iowa-cover/  (R.I.P. Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, who died in late July at the age of 46).

e) A back cover gets some respect – Ingrid Haenke’s famous illustration found on the cover of Aerosmith’s Toys In The Attic (done for art director Ernie Cefalu at the Pacific Eye & Ear design studio) has been the topic of many a discussion regarding memorable album cover art, but I’ve never seen nor heard anything about the back cover photo until just now – https://patch.com/new-jersey/westorange/iconic-aerosmith-album-photo-was-taken-west-orange-historian

According to Joseph Fagan, the town historian in West Orange, NJ, a local home served as the backdrop for the now-iconic album’s back cover (shot by photographer Robert Belott)…A 2009 video interview with Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton delivers part of the story (although he remembers asking for the team that did the covers for Led Zeppelin – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfB1D86QHoc – and only shares some basic info ala “it was shot in an attic”). Read the story thru to the end to see a 2021 shot of that same attic 46 years later!

f) The editorial team at Far Out Magazine continues on with their album cover art series, with this month’s deep dive into the making of The Beatles’ trippy Rubber Soul album cover – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/cover-uncovered-the-beatles-pot-album-rubber-soul/   

g) Roger Dean creates a new YES logo and album cover art for the band’s latest release – https://1430wcmy.com/2021/07/07/yes-to-release-new-studio-album-called-the-quest-in-october/

h) Updated with SOLD info – Mixing a 25th anniversary celebration of a seminal hip-hop record release – Jay-Z’s 1986 ground-breaker Reasonable Doubt – with one of the most-exciting developments in the arts world lately – i.e., the making and sale of NFTs – this story on the Art Daily site about the collaboration between his Jeezy-ness and artist Derrick Adams that is producing animated clips based on the record’s artwork – https://artdaily.cc/news/136985/JAY-Z—Derrick-Adams-celebrate-25th-anniversary-of–Reasonable-Doubt–album-with-NFT-auction-at-Sotheby-s

Bidding began on June 25th at $1,000 for the one of a kind digital file – titled Heir To The Throne (the record’s original title) – and ended July 2nd. You can learn more about the item – and watch a video of Adams on the topic – by clicking on over to the Sotheby’s site at https://www.sothebys.com/en/digital-catalogues/heir-to-the-throne . When I first reported on this item in late June, the bidding had hit $40,000, so serious collectors only need to have applied. Checking back right after the final bids were in, the file sold for an impressive $138,600! While not the $69 million a collector paid for pop artist Beeple’s work this past March (nor the dozen or so other NFTs that have sold for over $1 million since), it is an interesting measure of the value placed on unique combinations of art and celebrity.

i) Another well-regarded artist with a nice portfolio of album cover work – Ron English – is also diving into the NFT pool with the sale of several special digital iterations of some of his better-known works – https://www.altpress.com/features/ron-english-nfts/

j) Last month, I’d reported on the fact that rap mogul Jay-Z had sued photographer Jonathan Mannion for using his image and name to sell art prints based on his photo portfolio of the rap star, saying that he was hoping to emphasize the fact that he’s working to protect the use of his likeness from any commercial use he’s not approved (or getting a piece of). Since then, there’s been a lot more reporting on the lawsuit, such as this article on the Ambrosia For Heads site – https://ambrosiaforheads.com/2021/07/jay-z-lawsuit-jonathan-mannion-reasonable-doubt/

The site’s The What’s The Headline podcast (lead by AFH chief Reginald Williams) features a discussion of this complicated issue – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lNkDjXiGXI the discussion begins at 25:28 into the video…once more the details of the lawsuit are made public, it’ll be interesting to see whether there was an actual agreement between the two parties regarding who would retain the copyright for the photo(s) in question. IP rights – rights to publicity vs. ownership. Now that NFTs are proving themselves to being the money-making objects their owners had hoped them to be, people will begin to affirm “who owns what” more and more… The discussion questions whether the Jay-Z suit raises issues similar to what digital sampling brought to us in the early 1990s. Is this also like NCAA athletes winning the right to ask for money for the use of their likenesses in video games, etc.?

I’m hoping to learn more from those “in the know” soon and will share those findings with you at some point.

That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed (why not subscribe to get a notice via email each time something’s posted?) and returning right around the first of next month another news 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.

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