Posted January 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Happy New Year to you all. Hope that you (safely) enjoyed the gift-giving season (did you get anything you’re particularly happy about? Hope so!) and have already made positive progress on your New Year’s Resolutions lists. I know that one of the gifts I’m looking to deliver ASAP is that long-promised series of articles built around Jules Seamer’s album art exhibition and collection. Good progress has been made, and Jules was kind enough to share a video of an interview he was featured in about his show (see link below), so watch that and maybe, with any luck, by the time you’re done digesting that content, my first article will be up.
This month’s summary about the work and the people responsible for packaging your favorite music products continues include examples of some very-impressive work. In addition to updates about some of the soon-to-be-announced winners in the album art categories at the Grammy Awards, the Making Vinyl Packaging Awards and the Best Art Vinyl Awards, you’ll read about new and ongoing exhibitions, news about the exploits of some of your favorite image-makers, new items available for sale or at auction and a number of other tidbits of album cover art miscellany. Of course, since this summary was our year-end review, you’ll also find links to the articles written by the brave souls who’ve dared to decide what made for good/bad album art this past year. Whether you agree with their assessments or not, you will find a number of interesting examples of what’s being done in the area by creative types all over the world.
So, now that we can all get focused back on what’s important in the world (assuming, of course, that Life’s distractions don’t become too much to handle), I’m going to ask you to once again take a moment to consider the value of the projects – and the people behind them – that are included in this month’s summary of these articles, posts and announcements I’ve gathered recently about album cover artists and the art they produce. Regardless of whatever side of the political divide you find yourself on, I think that we all can agree that the artists working for clients in the music business are continuing to deliver packaging that both catches our eyes and makes us happy. No “fake news” there!
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info –
a) The writers on the Juxtapoz Magazine site recently published a nice overview article about a newly-launched exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California that explores the sights, sounds, words and overall mindset of “Afrofuturism” – a movement that has illuminated the power of Black cultural and spiritual traditions in some amazing and mind-blowing ways – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/the-mothership-voyage-into-afrofuturism-oakland-museum-of-california/ One of the most-prominent items featured in the show is are objects (one re-created for this show) that, for many of us, were the things that introduced many of us to Afrofuturistic visuals – those being the “Mothership” and costuming that were part of George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic/P-Funk All-Stars touring shows and first seen on the cover of the music ensemble’s 1975 hit record Mothership Connection. Jazz fans will also enjoy seeing the images and hearing the music of one of the genre’s most-compelling practitioners of space-and-otherworldly-inspired music and visuals, Sun Ra (check out the covers of 1973’s Space Is The Place by Sun Ra and Headhunters by Herbie Hancock for a couple of early examples of Afrofuturistic album art). The show is slated to run through the end of February, 2022, with more information available on the museum’s web site at https://museumca.org/exhibit/mothership-voyage-afrofuturism
b) Two arts organizations in Europe – Granada Spain’s Contemporanea and Italy’s Ono Arte Exhibitions – have joined forces with an impressive list of rock photo image-makers from around the world to offer the “Rock The Photo” collection – “Conceived as a chronicle of the History of Rock through the lenses of those best photographers of the 20th century, ‘Rock the Photo’ is a chronological journey from the beginnings of rock and roll history to the present day”- https://rockthephoto.es/rock-the-photo. I was made aware of this show by famed rock photographer George DuBose, whose works are included in the display (thanks, George!) and will work to get my hands on some additional info ASAP.
c) A show currently on display at the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin (Germany) treats fans of the late Swiss artist H.R. Giger to an impressive collection of drawings, models and full-scale sculptures done by Giger, including a number of items related to his awe-inspiring work on the Xenomorph creatures featured in the Ridley Scott classic science fiction film Alien. Artnet’s Kate Brown gives us a nice intro to the show, on display until January 16th – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/h-r-giger-2039120? Of course, album art fans have always appreciated Giger’s contributions to the genre, based on his memorable covers for Emerson Lake & Palmer (Brain Salad Surgery), Debbie Harry (Koo-Koo) and several others. Giger won an Academy Award for “Best Achievement for Visual Effects” in 1980 for his work on Alien, with his work in the film business continuing to include designs for other hit films including Poltergeist II, Alien 3 and Species.
d) Florida International University’s Frost Art Museum hosts a big show of Bob Dylan artwork – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/bob-dylan-retrospectrum-survey-miami-see-pictures-2046986 that’s up on display now thru April 17, 2022 called Retrospectrum: Bob Dylan. Album cover fans have long been aware of the songwriter’s visual arts skills first seen on his 1970 album Self Portrait, but his paintings and sculptures have come a long way in their substance and style since then, as evidenced in the 84-page downloadable gallery guide PDF (in English and Spanish) – https://frost.fiu.edu/_assets/docs/2021/frost_gallery-guide.pdf
Per the guide – “In 1973, Dylan published Writings and Drawings, a book of his lyrics from 1961 to 1972, some of which were accompanied by original drawings. Those original drawings are exhibited here for the first time in the USA. Writings and Drawings marked the first time Dylan illustrated his songs, which he would do again in 2018 with his Mondo Scripto series, a collection of his most iconic lyrics, each handwritten and accompanied by an original drawing. Artworks from Mondo Scripto can be seen throughout the Retrospectrum exhibition, highlighting the relationship between Dylan’s songwriting and his visual art…Also included in the show is Dylan’s 2018 revisit to the cue cards featured in the famous video for ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues.’ The clip was originally used as the opening of Dont Look Back, D. A. Pennebaker’s documentary of Dylan’s 1965 concert tour of England. Shot in an alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London, the music video features poet Allen Ginsberg and musician Bob Neuwirth chatting in the background while Dylan flips through the cards in time to the music.”
More on the show can be found on the museum’s site at https://frost.fiu.edu/exhibitions-events/events/2021/11/retrospectrum-bob-dylan.html
Album art fans will be pleased to see that the front cover image used on the show catalog was done by the late photographer Ken Regan, whose photos of Dylan were used on the covers of several of his albums, including 1976’s Desire, 1985’s Biograph and a number of his “greatest hits” and other compilations, such as The Essential Bob Dylan (2000) and The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975.
e) ONGOING – As reported here previously, the exhibit that opened on October 14th at NYC’s Poster House Museum titled Peter Max: Cosmic Advertising continues its run through March 27, 2022. Perhaps best-known for his psychedelic paintings that helped illustrate the Summer of Love in 1967, the Apollo moon landings in 1969, the Manhattan NY phone book in 1970, Max also has done a number of fine album cover/package illustrations, including those for jazz and blues artists such as Alice Coltrane, Yellowjackets, Gary Burton Quartet and pianist Meade Lux Lewis (his first, back in 1961); rock acts such as The Band, Donovan and YES; country star Clint Black and a memorable one in 1995 for that year’s Grammy Awards compilation CD (among others). Te influence this artist has had on graphic design and illustration since launching his career in 1962 cannot be understated, so it’s wonderful to see him and his work on display in this setting. More information on this show (curated by Angelina Lippert) can be found at https://posterhouse.org/exhibition/peter-max-cosmic-advertising/?
f) UPDATE ON THE PROMISED ARTICLE ON THE ARGYLL SCOTLAND ALBUM ART SHOW – while I put the finishing touches on the first of several articles you’ll be seeing on the Art On My Sleeves album cover exhibition that took place in Scotland late in the Summer, I would like to share a link to a short video shot at the show by Jan Harper, a local broadcaster and musician and friend of the show’s curator Jules Seamer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx1Nh8TH_RM
You’ll get a chance to meet Jules and learn a bit more about him and the scores of album covers put on display in Dunoon, Argyll. My first article, which focuses on a section of the show titled “All Nerve”, features a number of examples of great graphic design, so I do hope you’ll sign up for alerts so you’ll automatically get a notice once the article has been posted.
g) There’s a fine article on famed graphic artist Milton Glaser and his work in the music field, as presented by the School of Visual Arts as part of their celebration of the late designer’s life and influence – https://sva.edu/features/remembering-milton-glaser-the-man-and-the-music While one of his most-famous music-related designs – that for the psychedelic profile image of Bob Dylan that was included as a poster in the 1966 album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits – Glaser’s work was found on over 200 record packages for artists in the rock, pop, jazz, folk, blues, country, world music and classical genres (that is, pretty much everywhere!). It’s also found on the wall in my den, where I proudly display a print of one of his covers on the Tomato Records label (Muddy Waters and Otis Spann’s Collaboration).
I’d also like to remind design fans that you can still tour the Pushpin Graphics show now on at NYC’s Poster House (titled The Push Pin Legacy and running through the 6th of February, 2022) built around the collective output of such great designers/artists as the aforementioned Mr. Glaser, along with Seymour Chwast, Edward Sorel, Reynold Ruffins, Loring Eutemay, Herb Leavitt and dozens of others. More on the show is available on the museum’s web site at https://posterhouse.org/exhibition/the-push-pin-legacy/
h) CONTINUING EXHIBITION – The Pink Floyd touring exhibition “Their Mortal Remains” (originally staged in 2017 at the V&A Museum in the U.K. before moving to Italy, Germany and Spain in 2018-19) continues its run now through the 9th of January, 2022 (better hurry!) at the Vogue Multicultural Museum on Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Tickets and more information on this immersive exhibit, which includes container loads of Pink Floyd’s artifacts, stage sets and items from a number of private collections can be found on the museum’s web site at https://www.vmmla.com/the-pink-floyd-exhibition/
Artist News and Interviews –
a) Jon Sarkin’s story about how be became an album artist is a fascinating one – one that I had the pleasure of sharing with you several (actually, 10!) years ago in my interview with him about the making of the critically-lauded album cover image for Guster’s 2010 album Easy Everything – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2011/04/uncovered-interview-jon-sarkin-guster-easy-wonderful-album-cover.html – and so I’m happy to be able to share an update with you that I think will be of interest to collectors. Jon’s recently signed an agreement with noted Richmond, UK-based gallerist Henry Boxer, who’ll handle the sales of Jon’s original fine art works (see the press release online for all of the details – https://jonsarkin.com/blogs/news/new-exclusive-representation-by-henry-boxer) and has also started to promote a series of prints (both open edition and limited-edition offerings) of the original image he created for the Guster cover – https://jonsarkin.com/products/guster-easy-wonderful-album-cover-print It’s a pleasure to see someone with such talent and determination continues to inspire gallerists and art collectors with his unique vision and approach to art-making, so let’s wish him and his team with the best going forward.
b) There’s a new interview with acclaimed photojournalist Elliott Landy in which he talks about his new book of photos of Janis Joplin (just funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx8s69BvNcg Landy sits down with friend and host of the Coastal A&E site Michael Sprouse to talk about Photographs of Janis Joplin: On The Road and On Stage which, according to the promo info I received, is “a 196-page book of photographs he took of Janis Joplin from 1968-69, beginning at the Anderson Theater in New York City and ending at the Woodstock Festival. When he took these photos there was no way to publish more than a few. There was no internet and the only venue for showing his incredible work was an album cover or magazine story. Over the years, he has published more than 10 photo books, and less than 30 images of Janis have been included…”, so this new tome will be a welcome addition to my collection. You can learn more about this project on Elliott’s Kickstarter page – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thebandbook2/elliott-landy-photographs-of-janis-joplin
c) Artist Hugh Syme, a two-time inductee into the ACHOF (in 2013 in the “Illustrator/Typographer” category and again in 2020 in the “Designer” category), has been particularly busy as of late with some very interesting music-related projects, including the beautifully-illustrated book he and Graham Nash collaborated on built around the words and music of Nash’s ode to Joni Mitchell “Our House” (previously reported on here, and seen below)
and as you’ll read on the Ultimate Guitar site, his long-standing collaboration with Dream Theater and guitarist John Petrucci, who waxes lovingly about his/the band’s work with the talented Mr. Syme – https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/john_petrucci_talks_dream_theaters_longstanding_collaboration_with_rush_icon_recalls_what_he_had_to_say_about_classic_album.html
d) Photographer Alex Bartsch spent three years meticulously researching the scenes depicted on classic reggae record covers and re-photographing them perfectly aligned in their original locations. https://petapixel.com/2021/11/30/photographer-reshoots-reggae-album-covers-in-their-original-locations/
e) The Muse By Clio writing team brought us a new article in early December titled “10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Adrian Skenderovic of BETC” – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-adrian-skenderovic-betc Adrian is a copywriter, photographer, ‘zine publisher and record collector who works for the top-tier BETC design/ad agency in Paris.
f) Artist Paul Whitehead and his art partner/alter-ego Trisha van Cleef will be taking up residence at the Ojai Art Center (Ojai, CA) beginning January 8th for a series of receptions, exhibitions and talks about creativity scheduled to take place there through early March. One of the highlights of the series will be a screening of the documentary film on the pair titled Paul Whitehead/Trisha van Cleef: A One Man – One Woman Artist by film-maker Fia Perera. Well-known to album cover art fans for the fantastic images he created for Genesis, Van De Kamp Generator and others over the past 50+ years, Paul introduces this show thusly – “Anyone that knows my history knows that I am something of a chameleon when it comes to my artistic expression. I began in the sixties as a ‘psychedelic surrealistic’, my work framed and influenced by the prominent art form of those times, record covers. My work in the music business brought me fame in my mid twenties, and it proved to be an ideal launching pad for me to make art that was both personal and responsive to my times. This has been the recurring tone of my art for the past 50 years.” Learn more about this unique and compelling art show on the OAC site at https://www.ojaiartcenter.org/art.html
Items for Sale and/or at Auction –
a) The late photographer Jim Marshall’s estate released a passel of new images of Jerry Garcia – https://jambands.com/news/2021/12/02/jim-marshalls-estate-announce-auction-for-never-before-seen-jerry-garcia-images/
Working with SFAE and the Total Digital Group, these 14 images are being sold as NFTs and are now up for auction, with the first one beginning 12/13 – https://www.jimmarshallphotonft.com/nft-galleries
I’d love to be able to report on what the first one sold for, but the prices are in the crypto-currency Etherium and I’m not sure what those are worth at any point in time. As of today (December 30th), the second image had a bid on it that was equal to about $11K, or 2.92 whatevers.
b) Rockhurst Auctions staged an event on December 11 that included several lots of original album cover art, including works by Charles E. White III, Dave Willardson and Robert Grossman, along with several production art prints for covers done for Elvis Presley – https://rockhurstauctions.com/catalog.aspx?searchby=3&searchvalue=album%20cover
While the art market overall had a very good year in 2021, this particular group of original paintings failed to find new homes, a sad thing to see. On the opposite side of the coin (or record), the series of NFTs that came out of the collaboration between designer John Van Hamersveld and hot pop artist COldie were auctioned off at Bonhams, with the final bidding that took place this past December 10th hitting a high note, with the price realized (inc. commissions) on the digital tokens being $150,312.50 – https://www.bonhams.com/online_auctions/27505/? With the rise in popularity of NFTs, it’s going to be interesting to see how the art market treats original tangible production art going forward, I think.
c) You know you’ve hit the big time when your band and its music are the prime subjects of a new pinball machine, so let’s welcome Canadian rockers RUSH to this elite group as the fine folks from Stern Pinball have announced that their first new release in 2022 will be a RUSH-themed game machine that will include a huge soundtrack taken from the band’s 40+ year catalog. Paste Magazine’s Garrett Martin gives us some additional details at https://www.pastemagazine.com/games/stern-rush-pinball/ , where you’ll also find a link to the video promo for the machine. Step aside Led Zep, Rolling Stones and Metallica (among others) – there’s a new set of flippers in town.
d) ONGOING, PERHAPS – While the London pop-up for The Stones might have beat them to the punch, the people behind a new pop-up store in NYC have responded with a lot of panache with the emporium that opened on October 25th to celebrate David Bowie’s 75th birthday (which will be up and running thru late January 2022). Variety’s Jem Aswad toured the store – which includes a mini-museum of Bowie memorabilia, music, performance videos and even a photo booth shaped like the famous phone booth found on the cover art for Bowie’s 1972 Ziggy Stardust LP – and shares text and pix in this article – https://variety.com/2021/music/news/david-bowie-75-pop-up-store-1235097165/
Also continuing on in London town is the pop-up store on Carnaby street, just a few doors down from a similar retail space featuring Rolling Stones merch, that’s called Queen The Greatest that gives fans access to a wide arrange of Queen-branded merchandise. December’s shoppers saw the shop explore the theme of “Magic”, adding Christmas items as well (cards, wrapping paper, etc.), while visitors were treated to video reels of Queen performances and other special opportunities to interact with the content they saw and heard there. More like these to come? Additional info can also be found on this article published by Forbes Magazine – https://www.forbes.com/sites/markfaithfull/2021/09/28/queen-rock-up-on-carnaby-street-to-celebrate-50-year-anniversary/? and on the Louder Sound site at https://www.loudersound.com/news/queen-pop-up-shop-opens-on-londons-carnaby-street
Special Award Show updates –
a) Just a reminder that one winner will be selected in each of the three packaging categories – “Best Recording Package”, “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” and “Best Album Notes” will be awarded as part of the 2022 Grammy Awards show taking place on January 31st, 2022, with the major awards ceremony being broadcast on CBS television, hosted again by comedian and talk show host Trevor Noah. To recap, the nominations for the upcoming Grammy Awards were announced during a live streaming event that took place on November 23rd (which you can re-watch on the Grammy Awards site – https://live.grammy.com/) and once again, here are the nominations in the three packaging-related categories:
In the “Best Recording Package” category, the nominees are:
American Jackpot / American Girls for Reckless Kelly – Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors:
Carnage by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – Nick Cave & Tom Hingston, art directors;
2nd Generation Falangao Singing Group & The Chairman Crossover Big Band’s Pakelang – Li Jheng Han & Yu, Wei, art directors;
Serpentine Prison by Matt Berninger – Dayle Doyle, art director, and
Zeta by Soul Of Ears – Xiao Qing Yang, art director
In the “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” category, the nominees are:
All Things Must Pass: 50th Anniversary Edition by George Harrison – Darren Evans, Dhani Harrison & Olivia Harrison, art directors;
Soccer Mommy’s Color Theory – Lordess Foudre & Christopher Leckie, art directors;
The Future Bites (Limited Edition Box Set) for Steven Wilson – Simon Moore, art director;
77-81 by Gang of Four -Dan Calderwood & Jon King, art directors, and
Swimming In Circles by Mac Miller – Ramón Coronado & Marshall Rake, art directors
And while we don’t “officially” cover this category, here are the nominees in the “Best Album Notes” category:
Beethoven: The Last Three Sonatas by Sunwook Kim – Ann-Katrin Zimmermann, album notes writer;
The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia And RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-1966 featuring Louis Armstrong – Ricky Riccardi, album notes writer;
Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology featuring Willie Dunn – Kevin Howes, album notes writer;
Etching The Voice: Emile Berliner And The First Commercial Gramophone Discs, 1889-1895 – David Giovannoni, Richard Martin & Stephan Puille, album notes writers, and
The King Of Gospel Music: The Life And Music Of Reverend James Cleveland – Robert Marovich, album notes writer
As it is my duty to be on top of these things, tune in to the ACHOF site immediately after the awards are announced and you’ll find the news about who won in each category as an ACHOF Breaking News item.
b) Just another reminder that voting has also commenced for this year’s Best Art Vinyl Awards (2021), with this year’s judging panel including designer Matthew Cooper, Rob O’Connor of Stylorouge Creative Consultants, artist/painter Russell Oliver, author Bill Smith, Beggars Group creative chief Alison Fielding and, of course, Andrew Heeps, founder of Art Vinyl and artvinyl.com and the producer of the Best Art Vinyl Awards. You can still cast your vote at https://artvinyl.com/best-record-cover-design-competition/ with the winners announced on the 6th of January, 2022, during a ceremony at the Hari Hotel in London. If I’m able to leave my bunker on that day, I’ll be happy to bring the news to you.
Miscellaneous Items and other Brief Bits (lots of them) –
As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet (well, most of them, anyway):
a) OBITS – While her talents as photographer may have landed her some prime assignments, including album cover credits for Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel, Buffalo Springfield’s Buffalo Springfield Again and Untitled for The Byrds (among others), Eve Babitz’s good looks and carefree lifestyle perhaps brought her more attention in unwanted ways, as someone with more interest in feeding her sexual needs than her intellectual ones. Her success as a writer, artist, photographer and style maven (it was she who put Steve Martin into what would be his trademark all-white suits and who once introduced Frank Zappa to surrealist Salvador Dali) should have been proof enough that nothing could have been further from the truth, but while she may be best-remembered visually by Julian Wasser’s memorable shot of the then-unclothed Ms. Babitz playing a game of chess with famed conceptual artist and chess aficionado Marcel Duchamp, she would again and again prove herself to be a force to be reckoned with. Eve Babitz died on December 17th at the age of 78 from complications of Huntington’s Disease. To read more about her life’s ups-and-downs-and-ups again, please visit the ArtDaily site at https://artdaily.cc/news/142482/Eve-Babitz–a-hedonist-with-a-notebook–is-dead-at-78
b) While I can’t speak for all of you, I’m fairly certain that there are a great number of you who are tired of hearing other peoples’ opinions. In nearly every conversation you’re exposed to these days – on your social media feeds, spilling out of the mouths of your favorite TV news channel personality or penetrating your personal space from that group of loudmouths sitting behind you at your favorite coffee place – it’s nearly impossible to not overdose on other peoples’ takes on what’s “good” or “appropriate” or “the best/worst” these days.
And so, rather than talk about “what’s best” this year, after both participating (as a judge) in several album cover art competitions and having had the chance to review the articles by others in which the “best covers of 2021” are discussed and/or rated, I thought that I’d simply make note of several of the articles I’ve found on the topic (many fewer this year than in years past) and then leave the pontificating to those who are perhaps better qualified (or, at least, prepared to convince you that they are) while I remain simply a teller (or re-teller) of tales and one that will continue to monitor the field for my readers so that you’re aware of who is behind the projects that produce the most-notable packages for your favorite LPs, CDs, DVDs and box sets/compilations. So, here we go…
“Best” or “Most Notable” of 2021 –
https://www.pickledpriest.com/single-post/2021-year-in-review-our-25-favorite-album-covers-of-the-year-and-10-of-the-worst (best and worst)
The folks at the Hypebot site did a more-introspective-than-usual article on “Unforgettable Album Covers of 2021” that gave me a ray of hope for future articles of this type – https://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2021/12/unforgettable-album-covers-of-2021.html
“Worst” of 2021 (and beyond) –
Exclaim!’s list by Alex Hudson and Kaelen Bell – “30 Worst of 2021” – https://exclaim.ca/music/article/worst_album_covers_of_2021 Some not so bad, but some quite horrible.
There was an entire exhibition of “bad covers” that was staged in the U.K. in 2021, so while not all of the covers on display were made in 2021, it was staged during this year and is kind of a fun look at horrible covers throughout the years – https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/nov/08/worlds-worst-album-art-record-covers-steve-goldman-huddersfield
c) All commercial art projects are done in phases, with ideas tossed about and lots of comps created before the final design/image is selected. The ones we don’t get to see usually end up in the trash or someone’s storage locker, so it’s cool to see RUSH release some of the “out takes” of photos taken for their Moving Pictures album, now celebrating its 40th anniversary – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/rush-moving-photo-outtakes/ and on the Blabbermouth site at https://www.blabbermouth.net/news/rush-celebrates-40th-anniversary-of-moving-pictures-by-making-rare-photo-outtakes-available/
d) Just prior to their addition to Fleetwood Mac’s roster in 1974, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham released an album under the moniker “Buckingham Nicks”, with the cover shot showing both musicians naked from the waist up. A recent article on the CheatSheet.com site lets us know that, in fact, Ms. Nicks was not all that happy with how the photo was staged, with unwanted pressure from her cohort – part of a series of nasty incidents between the couple that have been chronicled in books on the topic over the years – being the main reason she did it at all. The photo was shot by multi-media artist Jimmy Wachtel, who has done covers for a number of well-known albums for musical acts such as Joe Walsh, Dave Mason, Tommy Bolin, Warren Zevon, Bruce Springsteen, CS&N and many others.
e) while the ongoing legal proceedings continue over a cover model’s challenge to the use of his/her/their image on a record cover – i.e., the lawsuit brought by Spencer Eldin (AKA “the Nirvana baby”) vs. Nirvana and their ongoing use of his image on the band’s Nevermind album, this is certainly not the first time that there has been legal wrangling over album imagery. A recent article on the Loudwire.com site provides seven examples, including records for the Rolling Stones, Matchbox 20 and others, along with one record – Frankenchrist by Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys – that ticked off both The Shriners and the notorious PMRC. https://loudwire.com/rock-bands-sued-album-cover-models/
Update – Nirvana’s legal team has filed a motion to dismiss Spencer Eldin’s lawsuit because a) his claim that the cover photo is “child pornography” is “not serious” and b) that his claim is way past the Federal statute of limitations (10 years, and it’s been 30). Round and round they go and where this stops, nobody knows… https://www.blabbermouth.net/news/nirvana-files-motion-to-dismiss-nevermind-baby-lawsuit/ and/or https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/nirvana-attorneys-seek-dismissal-nevermind-album-cover-lawsuit-rcna9838 for more up-to-the-minute info.
f) Another significant legal case continues to provide both art producers and owners a lot to ponder as it continues its way through the appeals process. Of course I’m referring to the case involving photographer Lynn Goldsmith and the estate/foundation that represents the interests of the late pop artist Andy Warhol, which now looks as though it is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court for final (?) disposition, with details provided in this update on the ArtNews site by reporter Alex Greenberger – https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/warhol-foundation-lynn-goldsmith-prince-portraits-supreme-court-petition-1234613026/
g) One of our favorite album art writers – Steve Fairclough, who contributes regularly to the Amateur Photographer (UK) site – has delivered another interesting story, with the subject of this article being one of the world’s best-known/most-discussed covers, that being the one Craig Braun’s team produced for Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones and featuring artwork by the inimitable Andy Warhol. In addition to providing us with a lot of detail regarding the concept (inc. comps of some other proposed designs) and production (quite a pain to manufacture and ship, as it turned out), the design is put in front of a panel of design experts including Jason Bell, Andy Cowles and Aubrey Powell for their takes on what made this particular design so compelling – https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/iconic-images/greatest-album-photography-sticky-fingers-by-the-rolling-stones-158381
h) Mick McStarkey and Jordan Potter of Far Out Magazine have been keeping us busy with their regular offering of album art-related articles, but now another Far Out contributor – Tyler Golsen – brings his research and writing skills to the table with a new article, this one being the story behind how a group of competing musicians – in this case, the Rolling Stones – found their way onto the cover of what is perhaps the most-recognized album cover in the world – that of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-rolling-stones-on-the-cover-of-the-beatles-album-sgt-peppers/. For those of you who missed it (like me), Tyler also wrote an interesting article about how and why musical iconoclast Frank Zappa produced what I believe is the best of the many, many parodies of the aforementioned Sgt. Pepper’s cover – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/frank-zappa-album-cover-the-beatles/
i) In nearly every town across the country (i.e., in many countries), there’s a house – yes, you know the one – that each year goes a bit (or a lot) overboard with their holiday lights display. While I’m always impressed with the animated reindeer, dancing elves and colored lights synch’d to music, I rarely look at these homes and say to myself “well, THAT was cool”. Well, THIS posting on Instagram was cool – https://www.instagram.com/p/CXLMoA2MAm5/? Have you seen others along these lines? Please share.
j) Here’s a nice compilation of the stories behind all of your favorite U2 album covers, as told by Jacob Nierenberg on the UDiscoverMusic site – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/u2-album-covers-explained/
k) Here’s another one of those darn “10 things you never knew” articles – https://whatculture.com/music/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-famous-music-album-covers
l) Two more of those God-forsaken “X number of greatest album covers of all time” articles have also been published recently. The first one – on a site called BoredPanda.com, which finds me thinking that only carnivorous mammals in hibernation would find this stuff useful – is straight-ahead click bait (I DARE you to click thru all 149 of them!) while the one on The Independent site’s a bit different in that, instead of these selections being called “the greatest”, they’re simply “the most iconic”, meaning that they might not be “great” but they still have been, according to Dictionary.com, “executed according to a convention or tradition”, although the author has provided no such evidence or descriptions of what conventions or traditions were followed.
m) It had to happen at some point…”fake news” involving album cover art! As what constitutes “the truth” seems to be harder and harder to pinpoint – with misinformation, disinformation and outright deception regularly populating online/social media outlets – I found an article recently that brought me back to the days of when obviously-doctored photos were regularly on display at grocery store check-out lines. It seems as though anyone with the tools, a little talent and a desire to mess with our minds can produce images (and, more worryingly, videos) that offer “proof” of some bone-headed contention. In this example (as detailed on the USA Today site) – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/12/20/fact-check-skull-image-mixes-album-cover-art-storm-photo/8892764002/ – someone looked to attribute the severity of the storms and tornadoes that recently ripped through sections of the US to the application of demonic powers…and they had the “proof” – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10213646635304997&set=a.2012432075260&type=3 As it turns out, the image combined a rather-well-known image taken from an Iron Maiden album cover with photos of storm clouds and, voila, there you have it.
LAST-MINUTE ADD – This recent article about the ongoing resurgence of vinyl record sales is an interesting read as it also bodes well for the ongoing development of interesting and eye-pleasing packaging of these products – https://thehustle.co/the-insane-resurgence-of-vinyl-records/ I just realized that I don’t have a physical copy of The Who’s Tommy – totally unacceptable and something that will be corrected shortly, I hope.
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feeds (sign up below to get an automatic email every time there’s something new on the ACHOF site). I’ll be returning right around the first of next month with another news summary for you. Until then, Happy New Year, with Peace and Love and wishes of Good Health to you all.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2021 & 2022 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.