Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for February, 2022, posted February 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Hello again from the frozen tundra we call home and you call Chicagoland. While Winter continues to make for somewhat scenic snowy images outside our windows and, at the same time, some very slippery walking/driving conditions, I am happy to be able to sit safely and comfortably in my office and, via the miracle of a medium-speed internet connection, research, organize and deliver my monthly ACHOF news summary. Having nothing to do with my New Year’s resolutions, I was also able to finally deliver (partially) on my promised article that summarized and presented more in-depth info on one section of the album cover art exhibition that was staged in Western Scotland last fall (https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2022/01/14/achof-presents-the-art-on-my-sleeves-series-episode-1-all-nerve-album-cover-graphic-design/), with another section summary from that show to be published ASAP.
I’m also working on completing a multi-part article on the history of what the record industry sells as “special products”, with a focus on the people and companies that produce and market the stunning box sets that have come to market over the past several years. From “enhanced” and “special-edition” album packages to the multi-disc (and, in some cases, multi-multi-multi disc) packages that include some wonderful things unearthed from the music and memorabilia archives of your favorite musical acts, this will also be a multi-act writing performance by yours truly, so stay tuned.
This month’s summary about the work and the people responsible for packaging your favorite music products features many examples of some of the most-interesting work being offered at your favorite record retailers these days, In addition to updates about some of the recently (or soon-to-be) announced winners in the album art categories at the Best Art Vinyl Awards, the Making Vinyl Packaging Awards and the postponed-until-April Grammy Awards, you’ll read about new and ongoing exhibitions, news about the exploits (projects, lawsuits, NFT launches, etc.) 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. You’ll also find links to the work of some of the writers who continue to produce articles that share the back-stories of some of your favorite album covers and many other interesting examples of what’s being done by creative types all over the world.
So, while we continue to ride the rocking horses of our lives these days, I’m going to ask you to once again take a moment to consider the projects – and the people behind them – that are included in this month’s album cover art/artists summary of the articles, posts and announcements I’ve gathered recently. World politics, the pandemic, the zigs and zags of the financial markets and underdogs winning critical games on their way to the NFL championships have done little to distract our most-creative artistic talents from their tasks, so let’s all applaud them for their work and appreciate all that they’ve given us this past month, as summarized below:
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info –
a) A new LACMA show with Interscope Records (who are celebrating their 30th anniversary) has top artists produce 50+ original works of art inspired by some of the label’s best album imagery is scheduled to run for two weeks only, from January 30th thru February 13th in the Resnick Pavilion at the famed LA County Museum of Art. https://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/artists-inspired-by-music
According to this recent article in YRB Magazine by John Nubian (the magazine’s executive editor), “This exhibition will feature new works by a diverse group of visual artists who have responded to the groundbreaking music of some of Interscope’s most influential and iconic recording artists. Cecily Brown, Julie Curtiss, Shepard Fairey, Lauren Halsey, Damien Hirst, Rashid Johnson, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Kehinde Wiley, and many other notable visual artists have created an original work of art inspired by albums and songs from 2Pac, Billie Eilish, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Juice WRLD, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, MGK, Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, Olivia Rodrigo, Selena Gomez, Snoop Dogg, and U2 and to name a few.” Examples of the special works created for the show include twelve covers for Eminem – including remakes of The Marshall Mathers LP, the soundtrack to the film 8 Mile and his most-recent album (Music To Be Murdered By) – all crafted by pop art superstar Damien Hirst and portrait artist Kehinde Wilde’s beautiful take on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. The YRB article – https://yrbmag.com/interscope-records-kicks-off-30th-anniversary-celebration-with-groundbreaking-art-exhibit-at-lacma/ – also includes a complete listing of the artists paired with the musicians whose music inspired their work.
Top label execs worked with LACMA Associate Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, Staci Steinberger, to collectively organize the exhibition, titled Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined.
Complex Magazine provides some additional coverage here – https://www.complex.com/style/interscope-30-anniversary-lacma-exhibit-artwork-dr-dre-kendrick-lamar
I wish I could see this show – it’s just so inspired and exactly what I am hoping to see more of as time goes on. I’ve contacted the show’s curator Staci S. and hope to be able to share a bit more about what went in to the making of this show sometime soon. In the meantime, GO!!
Ongoing thru February 6th) Back in my January newsletter, I’d written a little bit about a show I’d learned about taking place in Spain that served as the introduction of a collection of rock photos – including a number of album cover-related images – that are being made available for sale to collectors worldwide. Called Rock The Photo, the collection of over 100 images from 40+ top photographers is an impressive one and it would have been wonderful to have been able to see it in person. Sadly, the current show – on display at the Museum of La Pasión in Valladolid, Spain – is closing on February 6th, having launched there this past December 3rd (better late than never?).
Some of the photographers whose works are on display (and available on the website for sale) include Peter Cunningham, George DuBose, Duffy, Richard Kern, Michael Putland, Danny Fields, Deborah Feingold, Robert Freeman, Michael Lavine, Charles Peterson, Masayoshi Sukita, Allan Tannenbaum, Robert Whitaker, Baron Wolman and many other talented shooters. I’m hoping to find out more about future Rock The Photo shows but, in the meantime, I’d invite you to visit their site at https://rockthephoto.es/rock-the-photo (in Spanish, but Google Translate does a nice job if you need it).
Ongoing thru February) 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
Ongoing thru April) 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.
ONGOING thru March) Reported on here previously, the new 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/?
AT LONG LAST!!) The long-promised first “episode” of the tour through the Art On My Sleeves exhibition is now up and available for viewing at your leisure. The focus of this article is on the covers featured in the section titled “All Nerve”, which shows a good number of examples of great graphic design produced over the past 50+ years and includes works by both very well-known designers/studios (George Hardie, Hipgnosis, Barney Bubbles, Vaughan Oliver and Chris Bigg of v23, etc) and some perhaps lesser-known talents whose work nonetheless is memorable and eye-catching. There’s a lot to see and learn, so why not just click on over to https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2022/01/14/achof-presents-the-art-on-my-sleeves-series-episode-1-all-nerve-album-cover-graphic-design/ to begin your journey?
a) The accomplished and acclaimed album cover designer Ioannis participated in a series of two appearances in the Cape Cod area during which he put on display the original art he created for two projects – one for Boston and one for the Allman Brothers Band – and shared the stories behind these images with all those in attendance. Kicking the series off on Friday, January 28th at The Music Room gallery and wine bar, Ioannis showed off the production artwork that was originally intended to be featured on the band’s third album (Third Stage) and which, after the powers that be decided to go with another artist’s imagery (with the album’s progress delayed a number of years due to personnel disputes and a lawsuit by the group’s label), this artwork was lost only to be found later by a fan, so this will be the first time that it’ll be on public display. Also on stage for a performance the first night was the original Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau and his latest band – how’s that for a great tie-in?
The next night’s (Saturday, Jan. 29th) festivities included the artist presenting the original artwork he’d created back in 1994 for what would be the last studio album of the original Allman Brothers Band, the gold-record-selling, Where It All Begins. That night, the Paul Nelson Band performed, with Paul joining Ioannis on stage to talk about their mutual friend, blues rocker Johnny Winter, who Ioannis worked with and Paul managed and performed with.
More details can be found in this recent article on the Braveworlds.com site – https://bravewords.com/news/artist-ioannis-to-display-some-of-his-best-known-works-in-cape-cod-with-musical-performances-by-barry-goudreau-and-paul-nelson
See more Ioannis news in the Items For Sale section, below.
Artist News and Interviews –
Andrew Dineley, the noted designer and music writer (his columns are regularly found in the pages of Classic Pop Magazine), has spent the last year working on a series of podcasts that are a must-listen for fans of album cover imagery. Called Art of the Sleeve, Andrew has produced over two dozen episodes featuring interviews and discussions with a number of leading album art-and-image makers including Uncut Magazine’s Marc Jones, Chris Bigg, Marc Bessant, Brian Cannon, Brian Griffin, Laurence Stevens and many others. You can start your tour through Andrew’s catalog of great interviews via these links –
https://open.spotify.com/show/3HXfux9Vx7cYuCJkcgifj2?si=1iDLfQEeTi-B7bNgqmW6Ww&nd=1 or https://softoctopus.co.uk/podcast/
You can subscribe to the series, and I’ll be sure to let you know whenever there’s anything new added.
I contacted Andrew (via email) and told him how much I enjoyed his work and asked him if he could tell us more about the series, and here’s a bit of his reply – “Hi Mike, glad you enjoyed the podcast, it’s a labour of love! COVID has really impacted on podcasting for me, as part of the joy was getting out into the world and visiting the studios responsible for sleeves we grew up with. It’s such a thrill handling real artwork, looking at discarded ideas and hearing the stories of their conception, much of the salacious stuff ends up getting cut! I have tried Zoom but I feel the end results are hampered by the medium.
I have about 10 shows in the pipeline once we can all travel again. I am still also writing for Classic Pop magazine and just this month had a nice piece published all about the best designed sleeves from 40 years ago – a perfect year in pop!
Thanks for sharing the love with your listeners. The Facebook group is also quite active and very useful as a way for me to tap into an army of sleeve design fans!”
b) One of my most-read articles – this 2013 interview with artist Nick Egan about his cover for musial/cultural provocateur Malcolm McCalren’s 1983 record Duck Walk (https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/interview-with-nick-egan-the-making-of-the-album-cover-for-duck-rock/ ) – talked about Punk (music, style, attitude) and its long-term effects on youth culture around the world, so it was with great interest that I followed a recent link posted by the talented Mr. Egan (https://vimeo.com/658308461) to see that his album cover image is being used to greet visitors to a huge new show in Beijing, China. Style in Revolt – Celebrating 40 Years of Street Culture – is running from December 2021 – March 2022 at the T-10 Gallery located in the SKP-S shopping mall in Beijing. According to the translation I got from the Hypebeast.com (Japan) “Style in Revolt covers the history of street culture over the past 40 years”…from punk to Hip-Hop, the history of how fashion, music, art and design all mated”. More info can be found at https://t-10.com/en/whats-on/style-in-revolt-exhibitions
c) Something that has managed to slip by the ACHOF radar for the past several months was recently discovered and, although I’m sharing this with you a few months after they were initially published, now’s as good a time as any to take a look! The folks at the UDiscoverMusic site have produced a series – ongoing, I hope – of presentations that bring “the making of” a selection of well-known album covers to life via animation. The one I ran across featured rapper/mogul Chuck D. talking with graphic artist/designer Cey Adams about their collaboration on one of the first truly iconic (in that it actually created an icon that would go on to be used to graphically represent Public Enemy from that point forward) album covers (and accompanying logos) – that for the 1990 Def Jam record titled Fear of a Black Planet – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/chuck-d-cey-adams-fear-of-a-black-planet-behind-the-cover/ The rest of the record covers featured in the list of currently-available episodes of “Behind The Cover” include those for Permanent Waves by RUSH (design by Hugh Syme); two from Bob Marley’s catalong – Rastaman Vibrations and Survival (both designed by Neville Garrick) and Sublime’s much-heralded, self-titled debut record, with designs by Opie Ortiz.
You’ll find the intro page to this series at https://www.udiscovermusic.com/genre/behind-the-cover/
d) I’ve written in the past about the long-standing relationship designer/artist (and former Def Jam Records art director) Cey Adams has had with noted master print-maker Gary Lichtenstein, but it’s a rare priviledge to be able to see/hear the two talk about their craft and collaborative process, so I’d invite you all to watch this video of an interview that was taken at the West Chelsea Contemporary gallery in NYC in mid-December, 2021 – https://www.instagram.com/tv/CXXDrL8FwSY/?hl=en (please note that, for some reason, this video does play sideways!).
e) I enjoyed this recent interview on the Rock Cellar Magazine site with photographer Sherry Rayn Barnett about her career and her new book chronicling the time spent as a go-to music industry photographer (from 1969 – 1989) titled Eye of the Music: The Photography of Serry Rayn Barnett, From New York To LA 1969 – 1989 – https://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/sherry-rayn-barnett-interview-music-photography/
Her photo of singer Nina Simone was used in the production of this year’s televised Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which reminded me that I’d had the pleasure of interviewing Sherry many years back about her great photo of Ms. Simone, used on the cover of her 1987 release on Verve Records Let It Be Me – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/10/cover-story-nin.html
f) Our sincere congratulations go out to the multi-talented lyricist, songwriter and visual artist Bernie Taupin or, as we should now call him “recent recipient of the title Commander of the Order of the British Empire” as he was included, along with several others, in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors list released in early January. Best known as Elton John’s writing partner for over 50 years of combined hit-making, Mr. Taupin has also provided verbal poetry for several other well-known performers and has also released three of his own solo albums. He’s also an accomplished painter/art director and, in addition to fine art works that can be found in a number of prominent galleries throughout the world, he’s worked on album covers ranging from 1975’s Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy for Sir Elton to David Pack’s 2005 release The Secret of Movin’ On to Don Felder’s 2019 record American Rock ‘n’ Roll, among others. Read more about this unique and well-deserved honor, also on the UDiscoverMusic site, at https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/bernie-taupin-mel-b-pauline-black-new-years-honors/
g) There’s a new LA Weekly interview with photographer Neal Preston about his recently-launched photo consortium and its corresponding web site – https://www.laweekly.com/meet-rock-photography-champion-neal-preston/
h) The Muse By Clio writing team kicked off the new year with a new “10 Great Album Covers” article in from music video director Drew Kirsch – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-music-video-director-drew-kirsch . As you might figure, Drew is really impressed with a great cover’s composition and, in the case of David LaChapelle’s cover for Gina G’s 1997 album Fresh!, when a photographer convinces his client to dip herself in chocolate.
i) Artist Paul Whitehead and his art partner/alter-ego Trisha van Cleef began his/her/their 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 popular rock band Styx is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a tour – launching this week with a five-show residency (January 28th thru February 5th, with Heart’s Nancy Wilson also on the bill) at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas – and the release of two commemorative prints done by the prolific album cover artist Ioannis, produced in cooperation with the nice people at the UK’s Hypergallery. Those in attendance while the band’s in Las Vegas will have the opportunity to buy these limited-edition, signed prints and then have them counter-signed by the current members of the band.
Printed in editions of 100, these 22 x 21-inch prints will retail for £440.00 (approx.. $590.00) and feature the artwork Ioannis did for the band’s Return To Paradise and Brave New World albums and can be pre-ordered now (while supplies last) at https://hypergallery.com/collections/ioannis
b) A member of the 2019 Class of the ACHOF (in the Art Director category), Larry Vigon’s career in the album cover design/production world has been an impressive one, with examples of his work that we all know and love including Eric Clapton’s Behind The Sun; Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party; Bonnie Raitt’s Nick Of Time; Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ self-titled 1976 debut album and Rumours, Mirage and Tusk for Fleetwood Mac (among scores of others), so it was with great joy that I am able to share the news of the upcoming publication of a new, limited-edition 2-volume set called Serious Play that chronicles Larry’s 50+ years as an influential and talented art-maker.
Contributions to the books include those from an amazing list of collaborators, such as musicians Lindsey Buckingham, Thomas Dolby, Mick Fleetwood, Boney James, Robert Lamm, Christine McVie and Sparks, plus author and playwright David Mamet, photographer Joyce Tenneson and fellow ACHOF Art Director inductee Roland Young, among others. One book’s focus is on Larry’s work as a designer/art director while the other book presents an in-depth look at his fine artwork. Over a period spanning four decades, he has painted both on commission and for exhibitions and has sold his art to collectors all over the world.
This isn’t Larry’s first book about his work as an artist. His 2006 book Dream: A Journal by Larry Vigon, which was based on his efforts to record – and then paint pictures of – every dream he could remember over the course of 17 years, became the subject of several articles, including two features in Graphis Magazine and one in the publication Psychological Perspectives. He continues to share his gifts with clients and art collectors and, with this new book, he hopes that we all “find this journey into my creative process not only fun but inspiring.”
You can order this book – in an edition of 500, priced at $200 (plus shipping) – now on the publisher’s site at https://www.seriousplay-book.com/
c) Bruce Weber’s new book shows another side of his passion for photographing portraits of fine-looking people, this time expanding the pool of subject to include fine-looking canines as well. With past subjects of his album cover images including Tom Waits, Chris Isaak, Janet Jackson, Marianne Faithfull, Diane Krall and David Bowie (among many others) and his fashion/celebrity photos appearing in all of the top fashion/entertainment/music pubs (Elle, GQ, Interview, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Vogue, etc.), the dogs featured in The Golden Retriever Photographic Society (published by the Taschen Art Book house) “chronicles the master’s delightful depictions of dogs that reveal a personal narrative”, as you’ll read in this article on the topic on the Forbes magazine website – https://www.forbes.com/sites/natashagural/2021/12/31/renowned-fine-art-photographer-bruce-weber-invites-us-on-an-intimate-personal-journey-with-his-beloved-golden-retrievers-in-tender-taschen-tome/?sh=75ec4f5c6b5f
As a former retriever owner (well, half-golden/half-sheltie and exceptionally good-looking), I can fully appreciate how these animals might distract an album artist from spending all of his time with clients who are people (and all of the baggage that entails).
d) Designer makes a collection of items – furniture, clothing, etc. – inspired by hip-hop music and visuals – https://artdaily.cc/news/142827/A-rising-designer-brings-hip-hop-to-homeware “Curves by Sean Brown” includes examples such as a “CD compilation rug” – https://curvesbyseanbrown.com/collections/all/products/handmade-cd-compilation-rug and a blanket featuring CDs of the “Greatest Hits of All Time” – https://curvesbyseanbrown.com/collections/all/products/in-no-particular-order-woven-throw?variant=31672695128137
e) To honor the band’s 60th anniversary, the UK’s Royal Mail service has released a new Rolling Stones stamp and deluxe memorabilia collection – https://planetradio.co.uk/planet-rock/news/rock-news/the-rolling-stones-stamps-royal-mail/ You can check out the offering online at the Royal Mail site – https://shop.royalmail.com/special-stamp-issues/rolling-stones?p=1&product_list_order=price_desc where you’ll find items such as the “Prestige Stamp Book” (presented in travel case) – https://shop.royalmail.com/special-stamp-issues/rolling-stones/the-rolling-stones-limited-edition-prestige-stamp-book plus silver ingots, press pages and more.
f) While the music industry works to both understand the opportunities made available from the promotion and sales of NFTs and just what collectors of these objects are willing to invest in, I spotted an upcoming offer that has me scratching my head a bit, but I’m not exactly sure why. As you’ll read in this article about an upcoming NFT offering from Beatle son Julian Lennon (coincidentally being marketed by the similarly-named Julien’s auction house) – https://artdaily.cc/news/143212/Julian-Lennon-offers-first-NFTs-of-Beatles-iconography-and-historic-personal-items-from-his-father-#.YfA5TerMI7M – you’ll be able to bid on unique tokens that are copies of valuables from Julian’s memorabilia collection, including handwritten notes, photos, musical instruments and articles of clothing his dad wore on album covers and in films. What the winners won’t own, however, are the actual objects featured in the token, but they will be the only ones in the world who will own these copies, which also come with audio files of Julian’s narration for each item.
Here’s a link to the sale page, with offers being accepted beginning 10AM PST on February 7th at https://www.julienslive.com/lot-details/index/catalog/417/lot/175686?
Brief bits (and lots of ‘em):
g) Famed rock photographer and gallery owner Henry Diltz premieres a series of NFTs for sale (via auction) based on his amazing portfolio – https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/561535180/legendary-photographer-henry-diltz-debuts-first-ever-nft-collection-exclusively-on-superrare
View the collection at auction via this special site – https://henrydiltznft.com/
h) The one-off WuTang Clan album – Once Upon A Time in Shaolin – created by the group in protest to the unrewarding digital income streams offered by streaming services and once owned by convicted swindler Martin Shkreli until it was seized in order to pay his fines – has been sold by the US Justice – https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/the-government-released-new-photos-of-wu-tang-clans-once
AUCTION UPDATE) – While COVID has postponed the annual Grammy Awards event – originally scheduled for later this month – until April (see additional details about the Album Packaging Awards in the next news section), the fund-raising efforts for the organization’s charitable arm – MusiCares – continued unabated, with their annual auction (hosted by the Julien’s auction house https://www.julienslive.com/auctions/catalog/id/383) and closed January 30th. Music-related art fans were able to bid on several interesting items, including signed, limited edition prints of art by KISS bassist Gene Simmons and songstress (and recent Kennedy Center inductee) Joni Mitchell. One item that caught my eye was Lot 21, which featured a collection of over 40 singles by Depeche Mode paired with a book by noted photographer Anton Corbijn. This lot has an estimated auction value of $500 – $700, with an opening bid of just $100.
https://www.julienslive.com/lot-details/index/catalog/383/lot/175660? When the bidding was done, there was a winning bid of $3520.00. Great news.
Also of note is a lot donated by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards (available at https://www.julienslive.com/lot-details/index/catalog/383/lot/175661? ) that includes an autographed Gibson ES-335 acoustic electric guitar along with a one-of-a-kind video NFT showing Mr. Richards signing the guitar (how’s THAT for provenance!). The NFT will be “minted” through OneOf’s (“The Green NFT Platform Built For Music”) sustainable technology. OneOf has recently launched debut NFT collections from the Whitney Houston estate, Doja Cat and others as well.
The package had a pre-auction estimate of $6,000 – $8000, but eager bidders (with deep pockets, it seems) bid the lot up to the stratosphere, with the winner paying $57,600 for the lot! More great news for the MusiCares team, I’m sure. In any case, I do hope that you’ll support this organization’s ongoing educational and social programs (https://www.musicares.org/about). Stay tuned for more auction items that will appear magically after the April ceremonies.
Special Award Show updates –
a) One award show only slightly postponed (for three weeks) by COVID has just announced the winners of their most-recent polling/judging and, I have to say, this year’s winners of the Best Art Vinyl Awards are three expertly conceived and produced images and well worth the wait. The winners were announced during a ceremony at the Hari Hotel in London, where they’ll be on display in the venue’s front window – along with the other 47 nominated designs – through the 10th of February.
The public vote awarded first place to Brighton artist Paul Phillips at True Spilt Milk Designs for his unique, interchangeable artwork used on the cover of the Villagers’ fifth studio album Fever Dreams, with Phillips receiving the coveted designers’ prize at a presentation event this evening. The artwork edged out Pop legends Duran Duran’s cover for their 15th studio album, Future Past, which in second place blends and brightens a pair of originally black and white images by Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota. In third place was photographer Jason Joyce’s image for the English hard rock band Thunder’s thirteenth studio album, All The Right Noises, featuring a stunning and entirely un-touched final capture of the Singing Ringing Tree sculpture in Burnley, Lancashire, U.K..
According to the event’s press release, the winning Fever Dreams cover sports “a figure floating in a swimming pool, a Doe sleeping peacefully beside the pool, star light and dreams bouncing off the water, whilst seemingly growing from the surrounding trees, a giant sleeping bear hovers over the scene. Playing with the idea of scale, the image conveys Villagers’ singer/songwriter Conor O’Brien’s creative ideas of serenity juxtaposed with a feeling of threat and the Ursa Major constellation connection from the record. The artwork continues with a unique design concept of three more die-cut interchangeable sleeves by the artist, using images of a ‘fever dream’ of an Elk, Eagle and Snake that are also represented by constellations.”
This year’s judging panel included 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. To see and learn more about this year’s competition – the 17th annual event – I’d invite you to visit the Art Vinyl site at https://artvinyl.com/lp-records-displayed-as-artwork-prize/ where you will also find info on the past winners of this fan-favorite competition.
Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees – keep up the great work!
b) The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards® have been rescheduled and will now broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sun, April 3 (8-11:30 p.m., live ET/5-8:30 p.m., live PT) on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Trevor Noah, Comedy Central’s Emmy® Award-winning “The Daily Show” host and comedian, will return as master of ceremonies for Music’s Biggest Night®. Additional details about the dates and locations of other official GRAMMY® Week events, including the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony®, MusiCares® Person of the Year and the Pre-GRAMMY® Gala will be announced soon.
I’d like to remind you 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. 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.
Miscellaneous Items and other Brief Bits –
As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet (well, most of them, anyway):
OBITS) Michael Lang, the co-founder of Woodstock Music & Arts Festivals, died in January at the age of 77. Folks of a certain age will certainly recognize the curly-haired promoter who worked tirelessly (and, when all was said and done, moneylessly) to bring an amazing line-up of musicians and, although not as well-known but surely influential, visual artists together in an upstate NY field for what turned out to be several hundred thousand appreciative fans (read this obituary found on the Relix.com web site for more details – https://relix.com/news/detail/michael-lang-co-creator-of-woodstock-music-arts-festival-passes-away-at-77/?). Lang also hired artist Arnold Skolnick to produce the promo posters/graphics for the original fest – http://www.woodstockstory.com/arnold-skolnick.html – and its his strikingly-simple artwork on the “3 Days of Peace & Music” poster that became one of the best-remembered icons of the Boomer generation.
Photojournalist and 2012 ACHOF Inductee (in the Photographer category) Elliott Landy was one of the two “official” photographers at the original festival and has a book Woodstock Vision that includes stories and many photos. His web site gallery of festival photos – https://www.elliottlandy.com/portfolio-items/1969-woodstock-festival-gallery/ – includes his well-known shot of Lang at work and was used in his NY Times obit.
OBIT) The Chicago-based photographer/photojournalist Steve Schapiro who, in addition to his portfolio of images taken during the formative years of the civil rights movement in the U.S., also had dozens of credits as an album cover photographer, died recently at the age of 87.
In addition to his album cover shots for clients including David Bowie (Low The Best of David Bowie 1974 – 1979), Barbra Steisand (The Way We Were) , Bernie Taupin (Who Rides The Tiger) and many others, Schapiro was an in-demand shooter for film and TV promo visuals, having created the images used on posters for projects including Midnight Cowboy, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Bowie’s star turn in The Man Who Fell to Earth, Risky Business and Billy Madison, among others. WHIO radio posted this story with the details – https://www.whio.com/news/trending/acclaimed-photojournalist-steve-schapiro-dead-87/LX2F7L6Y7VDKREZZQUJUOSY2KE/
a) As if the work they put into the previously-discussed animated album cover art series wasn’t enough, uDiscoverMusic.com’s Paul McGuinness has also just published a lengthy-yet-informative article that takes the reader through the impressive works of art featured on the last 50+ years of Paul McCartney’s solo records. Images from the late Linda McCartney and the much-lauded team at the UK’s Hipgnosis design agency are found on many well-known covers, but you’ll also see work by Pop artists Eduardo Paolozzi and Ed Ruscha, stained glass artist Brian Clarke and several noted photographers. Together and as solo artists, The Beatles helped set a very high bar for album cover design, so it was a pleasure to follow both Paul Ms (McGuinness and Sir Paul) on this tour through this memorable collection. https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/paul-mccartney-album-covers-explained/
b) Which album cover was “the most searched” for in the past year (2021)? According to this article on the Demotix.com site – https://demotix.com/most-popular-album-cover-of-2021/ – which based this conclusion on data gathered by a popular sticker-making site, it was Kanye West’s Donda, followed by Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour and then Taylor Swift’s Evermore.
c) Stuck with a few minutes with nothing much to do? Spend a few minutes taking a look at the list of optical illusions put up on the CreativeBloq site, but be sure to scroll down to take a look at the Soulwax album cover optical illusion (#8 of ten on list) – https://www.creativebloq.com/news/best-optical-illusions
It takes a while but it works.
d) The Independent seems to spend a lot of time rehashing old ideas about album cover art – this one is about “The 13 Most-Controversial Album Covers of All Time” – https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/controversial-album-covers-worst-b1990490.html
e) What a great use of a well-known album cover image! Fast food joint College Dropout Burgers has produced several sandwiches that feature the bear from Kanye’s College Dropout album cover on bun – https://www.collegedropoutburgers.com/?location=11ebd69cbe9abeec879dac1f6bbba828&item=30 If they’d do one on a hot dog bun, it’d make more sense to me (I love his music and appreciation of the visual side of the business, but still find him a bit strange)…
f) With all of the bizarre news we’re bombarded by nearly every day, I’m certain that we’ve all sometimes felt that our heads were going to explode. Back in the late 1980s, on band – Jane’s Addiction – produced a record featuring a controversial cover that perhaps showed us the aftermath of having too many things to think about. In this recent article on the Loudwire web site, writer Chad Childers reports on one aspect of that memorable album image’s making that nearly scuttled the package, and it is NOT the nude-women-with-their-heads-on-fire front cover (rather, something more benign) – https://loudwire.com/dave-navarro-what-was-censored-janes-addiction-nothings-shocking-artwork/
g) Sometimes, Album Cover Art Is “the Thing” – While the focus of our ongoing coverage of the work of album cover creators working for clients in what’s generally considered the “rock and pop” music business, we have spent some time over the years looking at examples of record packaging from both the times before 1960 (we usually focus on post-1960 covers) and from genres outside the norm, so in presenting some introductory info on author Eric Kohler’s 1999 book titled In the Groove: Vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960 that I found in an article titled “Sometimes, Album Cover Art Is the Thing” by writer Robrt (not a mis-spelling) Pela found on the Phoenix New Times site, etc.,
h) Mick McStarkey, Jordan Potter and Tyler Golsen of Far Out Magazine have been keeping us busy with their regular offering of album art-related articles, but now another Far Out contributor – Joe Taysom – brings his research and writing skills to the table with another new article, this one about photographer and sometimes-world-famous drummer Ringo Starr’s photo of early 70s glam star Marc Bolan on T-Rex’s The Slider – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/t-rex-album-cover-ringo-starr-john-lennon-house/
Jordan Potter brings us a couple of nicely-written stories this month, with the first about this Spiritualized cover – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/how-spiritualized-created-album-cover-art/ and the second about the surrealist masterpiece by artist Michael Trevithick used for the gatefold outer cover for the late rocker Nick Drake’s 1972 album Pink Moon – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/nick-drake-cover-art-pink-moon-story/
The album’s artwork was supposed to be a photograph of Drake taken by British rock photographer Keith Morris, but the photo was deemed unmarketable due to his gaunt and unhealthy appearance at the time. The photo ended up on the inner sleeve of the album, and the cover featured a piece of surreal artwork by Michael Trevithick. Although he was seldom expressive in communication, he supposedly liked the artwork and had hung it on his wall at his parents’ house, where he lived for the two years between Pink Moon’s release and his death.
Then, Jordan P returns to add some detail to the making of the Arctic Monkey’s oft-talked-about debut record cover from their 2006 album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not album – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/monkeys-debut-album-cover-story/ On a related note – if you’ve been asking yourself recently “I wonder whatever happened to the guy taking a drag off of his cigarette as seen on the aforementioned Arctic Monkeys cover, fear not, for I have an answer and an update. Chris McClure is looking as if Time has stopped – https://www.radiox.co.uk/artists/arctic-monkeys/who-is-on-cover-of-debut-album-whatever-people-say-i-am-thats-what-im-not/
i) Here’s an update to an article I first reported on this past July, during which 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). While it seems that there was some attempt to settle this situation amicably, it was recently reported (on the iHeartRadio Music News site by Kiyonna Anthony) that Jay-Z’s lawsuit against the photographer behind his Reasonable Doubt album cover is headed to trial. “According to recent court documents, HOV and legendary photographer Jonathan Mannion couldn’t come to a settlement agreement regarding photos that Mannion took for the rapper’s debut album — so Jay has filed a suit against Mannion, who has several photos of Hov on his website – with sales prices attached – for using the images without his permission.”
Ongoing coverage can be found at https://kiisfm.iheart.com/content/2022-01-24-jay-z-taking-reasonable-doubt-photographer-to-trial-over-iconic-cover/ and at https://www.hotnewhiphop.com/jay-zs-reasonable-doubt-lawsuit-against-cover-photographer-fails-to-reach-settlement-will-go-to-tria-news.146613.html
j) By now, we’ve all seen and/or heard something about the remaking of the M&Ms characters for today’s consumers. Not satisfied with a standard product re-launching campaign, the Mars Wrigley marketing and advertising gurus have also announced the first releases in a campaign to feature the various characters in re-interpretations of some of the music industry’s best-known album cover images, including artwork used by musical acts from across the musical spectrum. As described in this article on the Yahoo! Finance site – https://finance.yahoo.com/news/m-ms-four-list-musicians-140000453.html – “the limited-edition M&M’S Album Art packs will feature Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, H.E.R.’s self-titled album H.E.R., Rosalía’s El Mal Querer and David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane. The offering will be available in four varieties: Milk Chocolate, Peanut, Peanut Butter and Minis in a Single (1.69 oz.), Share Size (2.83 oz.), Sharing Size (10.8 oz.) and Party Size (38 oz.), and retail from $0.99 – $10.99.
You can learn more about this offering and grab a handful yourself at https://www.mms.com/albumart
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 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.