Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for September, 2022
Posted September 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
A late-Summer greeting to you all.
For the past 10 years, the ACHOF has worked to recognize and promote the talents of the people who’ve brought music fans and art collectors (and hybrids of both activities) the best in retail and online music packaging, graphics and photography. Helped each year by asking a panel of curators, gallerists, music marketing execs and writers/researchers who cover the topic, I’ve been able to deliver these details to my readers and, once a year in November, present the top vote-getters in our annual poll as inductees into the hallowed (virtual) halls of the ACHOF. What I haven’t been able to do is ask this site’s visitors and fans about their favorite album art-makers, and so to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launch of the ACHOF, I’m going to do just that.
Later next month, I will be posting a poll that will allow you to review the past winners in each of the active categories and then ask you to select your most-admired art directors, illustrators, designers and photographers, who’ll then be placed in special categories that will be called…well, what will we call them? We don’t want to call them “the best”, nor do we want to repurpose some of the popular names that the awards industry has used over time – “People’s Choice”, “Fan Favorites”, “Vox Populi”, “Diamond/Platinum/Gold Medal Winning”, etc. A quick trip to the thesaurus presents words and phrases like “title holder”, “prize winner” and “top dog”, among others, along with some that I think are a bit over the top, such as “conquering hero”, “vanquisher” and “numero uno”, so while I know that it must be something memorable and appropriate, I don’t think I’m quite ready to commit to anything. Now that I think about it, perhaps we should also rely on our readers to present their ideas for this project, keeping this year’s efforts all about YOUR notions for what’s good and right, so I’ll be adding a poll question for this task as well. Eager to see what you come up with – we have a LOT of creative types reading this newsletter, so I’m sure something great will show up.
Thanks in advance for your help. Now, back to the matters at hand.
The coverage of album cover-related activities during the month of August revealed much to see, watch and read about, with many new news items of good quality added to the continuing coverage of shows, sales and artist-focused activities. There continue to be deep dives into artists’ portfolios and several new articles (plus one from 2017 that I’d never seen before that still is quite interesting) that uncover new and never-before-divulged details about some of our favorite covers. I also recently published (https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2022/08/26/achof-interview-with-grammy-winning-art-director-darren-evans-about-the-all-things-must-pass-50th-anniversary-album-package/) my long alluded-to interview with Darren Evans about the work he and his team (which included notable members of the late George Harrison’s immediate family) did to produce the Grammy-winning packaging for the 50th anniversary release of All Things Must Pass, which I do hope you’ll read and share.
This news, sourced from sites, newsletters and other publications from all over the world, certainly makes it clear that that the interest in great album cover art (and in the people that make it) continues to inspire artists and fans everywhere.
As always, my summary includes the links to both things I’ve personally researched (with the help of Google Alerts, I must admit) and detailed, highlighting the work of some of the dedicated writers we follow who produce articles that share the stories on the topic we’re all so passionate about so, as it is my goal to quickly take you to the content you’re waiting to see, let’s get started on our tour through the most-recent goings-on on in the world of album cover art-makers and the work that they do to make our favorite records happy in their cardboard homes. Enjoy the read.
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info (new and upcoming soon)
a) Ending soon (September 3rd, hurry!) at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles is a showing of some of photographer Elliott Landy’s best-known images – those he took at the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969, along with others of some of the musical acts that called that area home – Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison and others. Running now through September 3rd, ELLIOTT LANDY’S WOODSTOCK: AN AQUARIAN PHOTO EXPOSITION features a number of the shots you’ll find in Landy’s book on the topic, Woodstock: A Spiritual Moment In Time, that also includes Elliott’s essays on the subject of being one of the two photographers that festival producer Michael Lang hired to capture the moments for posterity.
Find out more about this show and the selection of photo prints available for sale at https://mrmusichead.com/collections/elliot-landy
b) Also set to close soon (September 10th) is an exhibition in Manchester, UK, that shines a light on a niche in the album cover art world that, when you think about it, we’ve seen dozens of times but, perhaps, haven’t focused our attention on specifically – that being all of the architecture we’ve seen on some of our favorite covers (think about Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, for example). The term “house music” – invented in the 1970s in Chicago, an established center of great and memorable architecture (the photo of Marina City seen on the aforementioned Wilco album adding emphasis to the term) may have been a reference to the nightclub in Chicago (The Warehouse) that many count as the birthplace of this form of dance music, but used as the title of this show – House Music – Architecture on Record Sleeves: compiled by Andy Votel now on at the Modernist Gallery – I think it is easy to understand its applicability.
Show curator Andy Votel is a DJ, owner of the Finders Keepers record label and a collector who has amassed some 7,000 records. According to the gallery’s promo for the show, “he’s also a fan of modern architecture and the designer of some 300 record sleeves including The Architect by singer/songwriter Jane Weaver (who also happens to be his wife)”, so I’m sure that the 100 covers he’s selected for the show will give visitors a wide-ranging look at the various ways that buildings and architectural elements
Britain’s Royal Institute of British Architecture – or RIBA for short – publishes a journal that just recently highlighted this exhibition – https://www.ribaj.com/culture/house-music-architecture-on-record-sleeves-the-modernist-gallery-andy-votel and The Guardian also extends the coverage via this link – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2022/aug/06/they-built-this-city-on-rocknroll-architecture-on-album-sleeves-in-pictures
c) A quickie exhibition at NYC’s Rockefeller Center scheduled for mid-September includes an in-person demonstration from the accomplished artist/album cover designer Steve Keene – https://celebrityaccess.com/2022/08/16/rough-trade-and-nycs-rockefeller-center-present-new-indieplaza-festival-for-september-feller-center-in-september/ “Indieplaza”, a 2-day event (the 16th and 17th of September) hosted by the Rough Trade record label and situated on the plaza at the city’s Rockefeller Center, will include musical performances, workshops and retail displays from local vendors in addition to Mr. Keene’s presentation.
A recent article in The Daily Progress talks about Mr. Keene, his new book and what he does to benefit art collectors who simply want something unique to hang up without having to spend every last cent they have to get it – https://dailyprogress.com/entertainment/arts/the-steve-keene-art-book-captures-prolific-artists-output-impact/article_7dfea7e2-1f1d-11ed-8221-c777b6628dbe.html
d) A new show featuring the talents of two noted artists who just happen to be father and daughter just opened in the Bay Area and is one I’m sure lovers of album art won’t want to miss. Roger and Freyja Dean’s exhibition called The Secret Path runs thru October 30th at the Haight Street Art Center and will include, according to the center’s PR, “famous paintings that became the artwork for some of Roger’s legendary album covers, as well as studies of his extraordinary design work including his iconic Yes logo. Curated by Roger in consultation with Freyja, the exhibition includes more than 50 works that will furnish patrons with an imaginative and immersive environment that speaks to the challenges of the present while embracing the promise of the future.”
Recent coverage about the show I found on the Grateful Web site – https://www.gratefulweb.com/articles/haight-street-art-center-open-secret-path-art-roger-and-freyja-dean continued with a quote from the center’s executive director Kelly Harris, who said that “both artists have universal appeal, and we are proud to be able to offer our patrons a chance to be a part of this stunning and psychedelic fantasy.”
A graduate of the Royal College of Art in 1968, Roger Dean dove headfirst into the album cover art world that same year and has since become an internationally recognized artist and designer, whose evocative and visionary images with associated graphics, logos, and lettering were soon made popular through the media of album covers, posters and fine art prints, where his work has sold in excess of sixty million copies world-wide. His designs for the Prog-rock band Yes – one of the most successful bands in the world at the time – gained him massive exposure; his covers for hit albums such as Tales from Topographic Oceans, Close to the Edge, Yessongs and Fragile (along with those for Uriah Heep, Asia, Osibisa and, more recently, Ann Wilson, John Lodge and Focus) have won Dean endless admiration from millions of fans globally. His daughter Freyja’s multi-media work (paintings, sculptures and fabric art) prove that the imagination and talent genes run strong in this family.
The nice people at the nearby San Francisco Art Exchange, long a supporter and seller of the Dean’s artwork, is offering a nice selection of prints of many of the works featured in this show, which you’ll find on their site via this link – https://sfae.com/Special-Pages/Search?searchtext=roger+dean+print&searchmode=allwords
e) A gallery show featuring highlights from the portfolio of noted rock shooter Bob Gruen opens September 17th at the Brian Liss Gallery in Toronto and features an opening night event at which the famed photographer will be in attendance. While I don’t have much more to share with you at this moment (besides a link to the gallery’s selection of Bob’s work – https://www.lissgallery.com/bob-gruen ), his impact on the world of rock photography is significant. Bob has captured the top acts in the music world for over 40 years, gaining world-wide recognition for his works featuring major acts such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Muddy Waters, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Madonna, Kiss & Alice Cooper. After John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to New York City in 1971, Gruen became both their friend and personal photographer and was allowed to record moments in their personal and professional lives. Two of his best-known images are ones he took of Lennon flashing a “peace sign” while standing in front of the Statue of Liberty, the other featuring Lennon on a rooftop wearing a now-iconic “New York City” t-shirt. As chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine in the 1970s, Bob specialized in candid, behind the scenes photo features. He toured extensively with the emerging punk and new wave bands including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Patti Smith Group and Blondie and his seminal body of work reflects a profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists. His wealth of personal experiences and uncanny memory provide some of the most illuminating and comprehensive histories of rock youth culture, and so if you’re in the area on the 17th, you owe it to yourself to stop in an listen and learn from this talented individual.
f) Fans of the work of the famed Hipgnosis design group are being treated to an extra-special exhibition in Germany, co-curated by Emily Smeaton at the UK’s Hypergallery, who worked with John Colton, Sabine Drwenzki, the Browse Gallery and with “artistic advice” by designer Aubrey Powell, that opened in early August and is set to run through November 27, 2022. The first iteration of this exhibition – titled Daring To Dream: The Album Cover and Photo Designs of Hipgnosis – was staged in Berlin at the Browse Gallery in late 2018 on the occasion of Hipgnosis’ 50th Anniversary and is now on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Diether Kunerth in Ottobeuren (near Memmingen), Bavaria.
Translated from the German site text, the museum provides us with the following overview to this show – “1968 is considered the key year of the cultural revolution of the 1960s. It’s also the birth year of Hipgnosis, the legendary British photo design studio founded by Pink Floyd friends Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson. Between 1968 and 1983, Hipgnosis designed some of the most famous LP covers in music history: Atom Heart Mother, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals (Pink Floyd), Houses of the Holy and Presence (Led Zeppelin), The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Genesis), Car, Scratch and Melt, (Peter Gabriel) – to name just a few of the more than 350 covers. These progressive rock icons elevated ALBUM COVER ART to popular art.” – https://mzk-diku.de/de/index.php
Emily posted the following description of the show on her site – https://hypergallery.com/en-us/blogs/blog/event-emop-berlin-and-daring-to-dream and there’s a nice 3-minute video intro (featuring Mr. Powell) you can watch at https://vimeo.com/296325479 “it’s a snapshot of Hipgnosis”
g) I learned about a new Shepard Fairey exhibition in Seoul, Korea, promoted as the largest ever, a bit too late to include it in last month’s newsletter, but here it is now, so better late than never. EYES OPEN, MINDS OPEN @ Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul opened July 29, 2022 and is set to run through November 06, 2022 and, according to the museum’s site, “The show will feature over 300 signature pieces spanning from his early to his recent works, including two new mural pieces, looking back at how the artist led street art, previously a subculture, into a more expansive art market. It will survey the entire artistic world of the artist, who, based on his distinct unbridled yet tenacious philosophy, reflects on our surroundings and society and stirs the public to take more action.”
One of the Rhode Island School of Design’s best-known graduates, Fairey has created some of the world’s most-recognizable images, including one based on pro wrestler “Andre The Giant” (one that would soon evolve into the “Obey Giant” campaign) and his 2008 “HOPE” portrait of presidential candidate Barack Obama – used on posters, flyers and a whole range of related merchandise – which became THE most-iconic image of that year’s presidential campaign, helping inspire a never-before-seen level of participation and excitement in young voters nationwide. His impact on the world of album cover art is also undeniable, having created memorable packaging for musical acts including Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Anthrax, Stone Temple Pilots, Bad Brains and many others.
Some intro details are provided on the Juxtapoz website – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/street-art/shepard-fairey-opens-largest-retrospective-ever-eyes-open-minds-open-lotte-museum-of-art-seoul/
With more available on the museum’s site (in English) – https://www.lottemuseum.com/en
h) The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH is hosting a new version of the Bruce Talamon photo exhibit titled Hotter Than July that, according to the museum, is “an ethnographic study of a visual representation of blackness and personal analysis of a culture during the golden age of Soul, R&B and Funk (1972 – 1982).” I’d written about the previous iteration of this show that was presented at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles (which closed August 1st), so I won’t rehash that info, but the show – which will be up until July of 2023 – has generated a lot of local press attention, which I’m happy to share with you below:
Local news coverage video – https://www.cleveland19.com/2022/07/28/new-exhibit-rock-roll-hall-fame-features-photos-iconic-r-b-soul-artists/
Mr. Talamon has also shared some additional info on the show on his own site – https://www.brucetalamon.com/hotter-than-july-the-bwt-rb-photographs-exhibit/
i) Last-minute addition – just learned about a new album art exhibition that’s being hosted at Shasta College in Redding, CA. It’s called the Record Cover Art Exhibition (catchy, isn’t it?) and the collection on display represents 80+ years of album cover art and design. According to this article I found on the topic posted by the local ABC TV affiliate, “College officials said the owner of Meteor Music in Anderson, Calif., Rockin’ Ron Sullivan, and Art Instructor David Gentry will talk about album jackets and rare albums in the record collecting in room 400 on Redding’s campus on Thurs., Sept. 1, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This will be followed by a reception in the Shasta College Art Gallery from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.” I hope to learn more about this and share it with you as the info becomes available.
Ongoing and Upcoming Exhibitions:
j) CLOSING SEPTEMBER 5th – Pace Gallery’s online exhibition – Studio to Stage: Music Photography from the Fifties to the Present – runs through September 5th. “Examining the past 70 years of music making, Studio to Stage (which was on view at Pace’s West 25th Street gallery through August 19), presents the work of 17 photographers and filmmakers, featuring intimate studio portraits and striking images of onstage performances and audiences. This online presentation brings together a focused selection of works from the in-person exhibition. It showcases photos by all the artists represented in the physical presentation, including Robert Frank, Gordon Parks, Ming Smith, Peter Hujar, Irving Penn, Paul Graham, Janette Beckman, Rahim Fortune, and other international figures. Rarely exhibited together, the works in this exhibition reflect the evolution of music photography over the last century. These images speak to exchanges across different genres, eras, and geographic locations that make music a continuous, boundless, and borderless art form.”
Some of the shots you’ll find on the site include Richard Avedon’s Bob Dylan 1965, Janette Beckman’s photos of Sade and Andre 3000, Kevin Cummins’s portraits of Joy Division and Sex Pistols, Hiro’s Rolling Stones Sanibel Island 1976 (used on cover of Black & Blue), Rankin’s candid shots of David Bowie and the Spice Girls, and several others.
https://www.pacegallery.com/online-exhibitions/studio-stage-music-photography/ (requires email registration to view)
k) CONTINUING THROUGH MID-SEPTEMBER, 2022 – Here are the details about Scottish illustrator, set designer and album cover artist John Patrick Byrne – https://freshgooglenews.com/why-john-byrne-is-one-of-scotlands-greatest-artists-fgn-news/ (note LOTS of annoying ads) and his exhibition at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, UK which runs there through the 18th of September.
A Big Adventure features works from Glasgow Life Museums’ collection as well as those from institutions across Scotland and private lenders. https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/event/1/john-patrick-byrne-a-big-adventure The show, comprised of seven sections that chart Byrne’s broad career was curated by Martin Craig, curator of art post-1945 at Glasgow Life Museums, with some additional info available courtesy of the BBC – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-61593753
His record cover credits include works for Donovan, Billy Connolly, The Beatles, Wet Wet Wet, Stealer’s Wheel and Gerry Rafferty with whom he also co-wrote several songs.
l) CONTINUING THRU SEPTEMBER 30th – I’ve previously reported about the LA-area exhibition of photographer Norman Seeff’s “Fifty Years In Exile” collection of shots he produced as part of the team that came up with the cover for the hit 1972 album Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones, which closed in mid-July, but today I’m happy to share the news that the show will be moving to the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX, where it premiered to local fans on the 19th of August.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this seminal recording, Mr. Seeff scoured his archives of the album’s photo sessions for rare and unseen materials, some of which have now been turned into special prints that will be sold during the show. Per the show’s press release, Seeff notes that “I’ve always wanted to use my photography as source material for creating art pieces. The photos serve as a jumping off point. I decided to use the exhibition as an opportunity to experiment. People have been very pleased with the results I think.” “We’re absolutely thrilled to be hosting ‘Fifty Years In Exile,’” said Steven Walker, owner of Modern Rocks Gallery. “These original darkroom prints are testament to Norman Seeff’s greatness as both a photographer and an artist.”
The show will be on display from through September 30th, with more info available at https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/events
m) CONTINUING THRU MID-OCTOBER, 2022 – Thanks again to EasyontheEye publisher/designer Simon Robinson for the head’s-up on this cool new show that opened in early July in Germany. Noted design guru Steven Heller provides some additional coverage of the opening of the Stihl Weiblingen Gallery’s Cover Art show (running through the 16th of October) in this recent article on the PrintMag.com site – https://www.printmag.com/daily-heller/the-daily-heller-die-plattencover/?
While the show’s site is in German ( https://www.galerie-stihl-waiblingen.de/), Mr. Google Translate was kind enough to help us get a read on what’s on display and the curatorial efforts of the team that put it together – “We will show you the highlights of record cover design from 1940 to the present day. Fascinating works by outstanding record cover artists are represented, including pioneers such as Alex Steinweiss and legends such as Emil Schult (designs for Kraftwerk) and Peter Saville (Joy Division, OMD and others), photographer Anton Corbijn and others, as well as labels with style-defining creative lines such as Blue Note Records.”
Hometown talent is given the honors treatment in that the exhibition also includes the work of noted German musician/artist Klaus Voorman (“in 1967 he was the only German to receive a Grammy in the category ‘Best album cover of the year as a graphic artist’ for the Revolver cover for The Beatles), while according to the show’s advance press, “The centerpiece of the exhibition is the 50 square meter installation by the American artist Rutherford Chang, who deals with the “White Album” by The Beatles. Visitors can expect an overwhelming number of around 3,000 copies of the famous LP, which can be listened to on a record player in the walk-in installation.”
n) CONTINUING THROUGH MID-OCTOBER, 2022 –Now’s the time to go and tour the timed-ticket “immersive” show built around the life and times of the late great musician Prince. “Prince: The Immersive Experience” – done in cooperation with the Prince Estate and Paisley Park Enterprises, staged in a customized space on Chicago’s north Michigan Ave and produced by “an experience company” based in NYC called Superfly is ending its local run in mid-October (check the site for exact dates/times still available) – https://princetheexperience.com/pages/about
As I reported last month after my own tour, one of the ways that a visitor can become more personally immersed into the world of Prince is via a display (one of several) they’ve set up that allows you to sit on a deep purple customized Honda motorcycle just like the one seen on the cover of Purple Rain and be photographed in front of a re-created backdrop of the album’s memorable cover graphics. Some of the other visual elements included in the show a “discography hall” that includes the covers of The Purple One’s recorded output, plus other elements from Prince’s production career, including the props and some original photos from the “Diamonds and Pearls” music video shoot and a re-creation of the “When Doves Cry” music video” along with sketches, renderings and examples from his trend-setting wardrobe.
o) CONTINUING THRU JANUARY, 2023 – The late designer Virgil Abloh’s career is given the star treatment this summer with a show at the Brooklyn Museum. Organized by guest writer and curator Antwaun Sargent, the show is on view through January 29, 2023. Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech is a sweeping exhibition tracing two decades (through his untimely death in 2021) of the artist and designer’s visionary work.
“Figures of Speech” is the first museum exhibition devoted to Abloh and was originally developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2019 before travelling to ICA Boston, the High Museum in Atlanta, and Qatar Museums. The Brooklyn Museum presentation features important objects from his multifaceted career, including collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami, musician Kanye West, and architect Rem Koolhaas; material from his fashion label Off-White; and designs from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first Black menswear artistic director until his death from cancer in November 2021. The exhibition highlights how Abloh’s emphasis on collaboration reshaped popular notions of, and contemporary taste in, fashion, art, commerce, design, and youth culture. Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is organized by Michael Darling, former James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
A new article gives on the ArtDaily site gives us an update of what’s on display – https://artdaily.cc/news/148019/Exhibition-surveys-the-prolific-career-of-late-artist-and-designer-Virgil-Abloh#.YsxQQHbMI7M
Abloh met and befriended rapper Kanye West in the early 2000s after having worked at the Fendi fashion house and then launched his own space – the RSVP Gallery in his hometown of Chicago – while also taking on the role of Creative Director for Kanye’s DONDA design agency. His thorough understanding of his audience and his unique fashion sense found him applying his talents to a number of memorable album covers, too, a retrospective of that work being found on the XXL Magazine site at https://www.xxlmag.com/virgil-abloh-album-covers/?
See more on this show at https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/virgil_abloh
p) CONTINUING THROUGH DECEMBER, 2022 – It’s so nice to see that some collectors are more than eager to share works from their collections with the viewing public, but I have to admit that I was surprised to see a work that was just purchased at a recent auction included in a new museum show! Regular readers will recall that, in last month’s newsletter, I’d shared the info about the intense bidding and final purchase of the painting by the late Ernie Barnes titled The Sugar Shack, an image well-known to both album art fans (it was the cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album I Want You) and viewers of the popular comedy show “Good Times” (where it was an integral part of the show’s opening credits sequence). Houston, TX-based hedge fund guru and entrepreneur Bill Perkins shelled out over $15 million at a mid-May auction at Christies for the second, larger version of the painting (the one seen on Good Times, with the first, smaller version going to crooner Gaye for his use), and on June 15th at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the colorful 1976 painting of partygoers enjoying a night out at a segregated music hall in North Carolina was put on display at the museum, where it will be on loan through the end of 2022.
This article on the ArtDaily news site provides us with some additional info about this work, its owner and why he was so eager to share it with fellow Houstonians/art fans – https://artdaily.cc/news/147252/Ernie-Barnes–The-Sugar-Shack-goes-on-view-at-the-Museum-of-Fine-Arts–Houston-June-15
q) CONTINUING THROUGH DECEMBER, 2022 – Friend of ACHOF Dr. Richard Forrest’s Banksy album art collection is a featured part of a new show on the mysterious artist that opened in late May in NYC – “Banksy – Building Castles in the Sky” – (An unauthorized exhibition) – which opened in late May at the former International Center of Photography Museum. 250 Bowery, New York, and is slated to run through December 31, 2022.
This is a continuation of the travelling show sponsored by the Italian Fondazione Metamorfosi and been shown in prestigious exhibition halls in several Italian cities including Rome, Genoa, Ferrara and Parma, and also in Basel and Lugarno in Switzerland. This is a truly-impressive, multi-media exhibition of one of the world’s most-talked-about artists, with more info on the show available at – https://www.newyorkbanksy.com/
Curated by Stefano Antonelli and Gianluca Marziani, the exhibition that includes paintings, sculptures, prints and over 30 record and CD covers from Richard’s amazing collection (which we’ve toured through a bit previously – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/achof-featured-fan-portfolio-a-tour-through-collector-richard-forrests-favorite-album-covers/ ).
r) CONTINUING THROUGH JANUARY, 2023 – A new U.K.-based gallery that promotes art that leans to the Dark Side opened in late June (on the 21st, the day of the Midsummer Solstice) with an exhibition built around the paintings of Berlin-based (but Israeli-born) artist Eliran Kantor, and artist well-known in the heavy metal music world for the covers he’s produced for bands such as Helloween, Kreator, Sodom, Testament and others. This is the first time Kantor’s work has been shown in a solo show in the U.K., and in this article I found on the Braveworlds.com site – https://bravewords.com/news/acclaimed-helloween-and-kreator-artist-eliran-kantor-debut-uk-solo-exhibition-at-dark-earth-to-run-until-january-2023 – you’ll learn more about his background (which included stints as a commercial designer, with clients including Renault and Visa), who his most-admired artists are and his long-term focus on creating some of the most fascinating-yet-disturbing album art ever to grace a record cover over the past 20 years.
The show runs through January, 2023, with more up-to-date information available at https://mobile.twitter.com/darkearthmetal
s) CONTINUING THROUGH FEBRUARY, 2023 – I’m excited to report to you about the recent launch of a new exhibition at New York City’s Universal Hip Hop Museum. The show’s titled “[R]Evolution of Hip Hop: Golden Era 1986-1990” and, according to the venue’s advance PR, makes note of the fact that “the artistic and technological advancements made during the years of 1986 and 1990 were remarkable. The lyrical skills of Rakim, Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane and others would transform the definition of an MC. The production mastery of chopping up beats and sampling sounds by the likes of Marley Marl, Prince Paul and the Bomb Squad would redefine the sound of Hip Hop forever.”
Fans of the genre will be able to revisit many of the highlights of the era, one which “established rap as a commodity and its acts as marketable stars that could sell products like the Adidas they wore on their feet…From the city streets and the clubs of New York to the suburban neighborhoods of Compton, California, Hip Hop expanded by leaps and bounds as regional sounds and styles established themselves. The phenomenon of Yo! MTV Raps would further intensify this expansion on a worldwide basis between 1988 and 1990…experience the street fashions of Dapper Dan, the beats of DJ Scott LaRock, the rhymes of Biz Markie and the culture of Hip Hop that was chronicled by Video Music Box, Word Up Magazine, The Source, The Arsenio Hall Show and scores of other outlets. The show opened to the public this past June 28th and is running thru 2/28/23, with info/tix available at https://uhhm.vbotickets.com/events?mc_cid=2e35322f80&mc_eid=1aeceeec6c
t) CONTINUING THROUGH MARCH, 2023 – The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ Music & Recorded Sound Division acquired the late musician Lou Reed’s archive in 2017 and, in early June, to correspond with what would have been Reed’s 80th birthday, they launched a new show – Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars – that’s set to run through March 4th, 2023 in the library’s Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery.
According to the show’s advance PR, “the exhibition will showcase rare and never-before-displayed material from the Lou Reed Archive at the Library for the Performing Arts, spanning Reed’s creative life from his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades, to the Velvet Underground, to his solo albums and tours, to his final performances in 2013. Highlighting his life and work, the exhibition will feature audio and video of performances and interviews, photographers’ original prints and contact sheets, handwritten lyrics, personal correspondence, studio notes, album proofs, press, tour posters, and Reed’s personal record collections”.
The show is curated by Lou Reed Archive archivist Don Fleming and Jason Stern, who worked as Reed’s technical director. More info about this exhibition can be found on the venue’s website at https://www.nypl.org/events/exhibitions/lou-reed
Ben Sisario covers the music industry for the NY Times and published an article recently about his visit to the show – https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/06/arts/music/lou-reed-caught-between-the-twisted-stars.html – that includes a photo of a sweater Reed received as a gift that is decorated with the cover art from his Transformer album, featuring a photo by the late Mick Rock. The show also includes examples of the covers produced by the Drate/Salavetz design firm, who sent along several photos of their own recent visit to the show. Two of the works they produced that were used to package a couple of Mr. Reed’s memorable albums on Sire Records were included in this show’s display, including the covers for the 1989 release New York (Art Direction & Design by Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz and Sylvia Reed, with photo by Waring Abbott) and 1992’s Magic & Loss, again by the team of Drate/Salavetz/Reed, with this image including a shot by French photographer Louis Jammes.
u) Received news about an upcoming solo show at the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX (set for an October 6th opening) featuring the works of album cover designer/photographer-turned-man-in-the-caravan Ed Caraeff, a 2016 ACHOF inductee in the Photographer category – https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/ed-caraeff
v) The location of a new National R&B Museum was recently announced – https://rbhalloffamemarksms.com/2022/08/18/press-release/ with some additional coverage provided on the AP News site – https://apnews.com/article/entertainment-travel-music-mississippi-56d779b224a32051b8ba7a6f2b13c932
Of course, I’m hoping that they have a great selection of album cover artwork on display and will be in contact with the organization’s CEO LaMont Robinson to learn more about their plans –
Recently closed but worth a mention:
a) While not strictly an item about album cover art, I’ve decided to step a bit outside of my regular focus and share an article about a recently-closed (end of August) show at Oslo Norway’s Edvard Munch Museum that illustrates the close relationship between the visual arts and music – in this case, with the art supplied by the famed Norwegian painter and the musical soundtrack by black metal band Satyricon.
An illustrated article on the Financial Times’ website by Arwa Haider provides us with some of the details – https://www.ft.com/content/9cf2b1bf-221c-49bd-917b-2eac97ef603b
Artist News and Interviews
a) As I mentioned in this month’s intro, I’m pleased to share my latest interview featuring the Grammy-winning art director Darren Evans where he shares the details of the work he and his chums Dhani and Olivia Harrison did to create the amazing (and Grammy-winning!) package for the 50th Anniversary edition of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. I’d like to thank Darren for all the work he put in to this article and for sharing some wonderful “making of” photos, too.
Enjoy the read and please share it with your friends – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2022/08/26/achof-interview-with-grammy-winning-art-director-darren-evans-about-the-all-things-must-pass-50th-anniversary-album-package/
b) The immensely talented designer/film-maker/director Aubrey Powell shares a brief video about how he re-shot the cover for the soon-to-be-released Pink Floyd Animals 2018 Remix album. You might recall that the original cover was taken in the skies above the Battersea Power Station, but with all of the renovation that has taken place in the area (discussed in a previous newsletter), he had to re-think just what would be included – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYCjxBA8X8E
c) Artist Dave McKean’s been lured back to provide design/art direction for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series on Netflix – https://www.slashfilm.com/951544/why-you-should-watch-the-sandmans-end-credits/ A 2016 inductee into the ACHOF in the “Illustrator/Typographer” category, Artist/illustrator/designer Dave McKean pursued studies at the Berkshire College of Art and Design beginning in 1982, but his talent brought him illustration assignments even before leaving the school in 1986. That same year, Dave met writer Neil Gaiman during a visit to New York City and, since that time, they’ve collaborated on a number of well-regarded projects, including books, graphic novels (including the designs/illustrations for the sensational, award-winning Sandman series) and stage productions.
The artist illustrated every single cover of Gaiman’s series The Sandman, not to mention those of the spin-off comic, “The Dreaming.” At at event during this Summer’s San Diego Comic-Con, author Gaiman shared that McKean will be contributing custom-crafted closing credit sequences for each of the ten episodes in the series.
Of course, album cover fans have long appreciated McKean’s album art output, including credits for The Residents (Freak Show); Alice Cooper – The Last Temptation; Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – Stomping Ground and Heavenly Bodies; Low and Demonic for Testament; Tori Amos – God; Machine Head – Burn My Eyes; Fear Factory – Demanufacture and Obsolete; Buckethead – Day of the Robot; Stabbing Westward – Darkest Days; Counting Crows – This Desert Life; Steve Morse’s Major Impacts and many others.
Commercial clients made happy with Dave’s contributions include BMW, British Telecom, Eurostar, Nike, The New Yorker and Playboy magazines and the studios behind the films Alien Resurrection, Blade, Dust, Sleepy Hollow and two of the mega-popular Harry Potter films – Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban.
More information on this artist is available at his website at http://www.davemckean.com/
d) Here’s an Interview with noted British designer/nightclub owner Ben Kelly that I found on the Wallpaper.com site (written by Liam Hess) – https://www.wallpaper.com/design/ben-kelly-interview
Kelly worked with punk scene tastemakers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood during punk’s mid-1970s heydays and then with Peter Saville, with whom he co-created that memorable album cover for OMD that was based on the multi-layer design of the doors he created for a London boutique. In 2016, he met American designer Virgil Abloh, with whom he worked on several design projects, and last year, he helped launch a Kickstarter campaign (which proved to be hugely popular, well-surpassing it’s fund-raising target) to produce a book about his famous club The Haçienda (which opened its doors in 1982), titled Haçienda Landscapes.
e) A new profile article on photographer Lynn Goldsmith, who we’ve been following more closely the past few months due to the timely and important legal case that’s wound its way up to the US Supreme Court, gives us about Lynn’s fascinating story – as a songwriter/musician/producer who has worked with Nile Rogers, Sting and Steve Winwood, to her time as a video director (and the youngest person to become a member of the Director’s Guild of American) and as one of the most-successful photographers (and photographer’s representative via her LGI Photo Agency) covering the rock music scene – https://photofocus.com/featured/on-photography-lynn-goldsmith-1948-present/
f) NYC’s Universal Hip-Hop Museum announced the donation of a portfolio of photo portraits of Hip Hop and popular music artists taken by Michael Benabib, a NYC-based shooter with an impressive catalog of work for clients in the music/entertainment publishing world. He’s perhaps best known to fans for his portraits of prominent celebrities like David Bowie, Bill Clinton, Sean Combs, Loretta Lynch, Keith Richards, Tupac Shakur and many others. His work has appeared in publications including ESPN, GQ, Newsweek, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vibe and examples of his work are included in the photography collections of The Smithsonian and MoMa museums.
Michael’s notable album package credits include: Steady B – Going Steady; Kid Rock – Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast; DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Home Base; Miles Davis – Doo-Bop; Fu-Schnickens – F.U. Don’t Take It Personal; Arrested Development – Unplugged; Usher – Usher and My Way; Faith Evans – Soon As I Get Home; Dr. Dre – The Aftermath; Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out; India Arie – Acoustic Soul; Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Mary J. Blige’s What’s The 411? Remix , among others.
Included in the gift were portraits of several of hip-hop’s best-known acts – Naughty By Nature, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, LL Cool J, Aaliyah, Def Jam CEO Russell Simmons and others.
According to the profile on the UHHM site, Michael started shooting photos at age 14, which resulted in his “falling in love with the camera itself.” He committed to using the “magic box” to take photographs of things and people that resonated hard with him…Like the best of artists, Michael is humble: “Being a photographer is something I always did; I never thought people would care.” The proximity of his home to his SoHo studio found him walking past the Def Jam record label’s office and, according to Michael, “Every day in front of the door, there was a scene. It was always full of B-Boys, MCs, and rappers. And I always had my camera. I photographed and got to know everyone. Kurious Jorge [Spanish Harlem-based MC with significant lyrical skills] showed my photos to Russell Simmons. I sent photos to Russell and I got a call the next day to photograph him for a promotion. That’s how it started.”
You can look at Michael’s profile on the UHHM site at https://uhhm.org/archives-and-collections/michael-benabib-synchronized-with-and-supportive-of-hip-hop-since-1985/ and learn more about him and his current work on his own site at https://michaelbenabib.com/
g) To note an upcoming 20th anniversary event, the uDiscoverMusic site posted an interview done five years ago with Shawn Brauch, one half (along with his brother Aaron) of the noted Pen & Pixel design duo, about what would be one of their last album art projects – that being for Birdman’s self-titled 2002 studio debut – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/pen-and-pixel-history-birdman-album-cover/
h) Far Out’s Jordan Potter shares info on Karl Ferris’ work on the three early Jimi Hendrix Experience album covers he shot for – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/jimi-hendrix-experience-created-debut-album-cover/ Of course, you might then also want to get deeper into the story via my own interview with Karl about his work on the first Hendrix record, Are You Experienced? – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/02/index.html
i) This month’s album art-related features on the Muse By Clio site finds the editorial team behind the “Art of the Album” series asking several artists/album art fans to share some of their thoughts about album art and design, beginning with an article titled 10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Frederic Brehm of Special Operations Studios – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-frederic-brehm-special-operations-studios
Frederic brings his education and background as a cinematographer and film-maker/video editor to bear on projects for his Brooklyn, New York-based production company, whose clients include Amazon/Audible, Beyonce, Burger King, Intel, The New York Times, Nike, Samsung, James Taylor and many others – http://www.special-operations.co/about
This was followed later in the month by 10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Vincent Au, the UX (User Experience) guru for the Brooklyn, NY-based (but fully-remote) design agency Handsome – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-vincent-au-handsome
Growing up in Hong Kong in the 1990s, where his choices for pop music were somewhat limited (spending a lot of time in used record stores, it seems), he moved to New York City and was quite happy to find that his options were almost unlimited. His choices range from some classics (such as nearly everyone’s 1967 fave The Velvet Underground & Nico, Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind and Metallica’s Master of Puppets) to others seldom seen on Top 10 lists, including covers for Weird Al Yankovic, Mach Hommy and Orange Goblin. Turns out that they’ve done a fair amount of work for my previous employer, Fuse (now known as Fuse Media), too. Good for them. https://handsome.is/case-study/fuse/
Late in the month, there was another item posted in the series, this one featuring the favorite covers of Michael Bryson of the award-winning NYC post-production company Modern Post – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-michael-bryson-modern-post
Working on projects for musical clients such as M.I.A., King Princess, Megan Thee Stallion, Neneh Cherry and James Blake and commercial brands such as David Yurman, Dior, Tom Ford, Zara and many others has given the company a chance to express themselves in a variety of ways, so it is not surprising to see examples of album cover work by Mati Klarwein (Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew), Peter Saville (New Order’s Power Corruption & Lies) and Daniel Johnston (Hi How Are You: The Unfinished Album) representing the broad range of talents who have contributed to the history of album art represented in this Top 10 list.
Items for Sale and/or at Auction
a) Later this year (November, exact date TBD), one of the world’s most-significant personal art collections will be coming to the Christie’s auction house, with the estimated value of the 150+ works put at over $1 billion, making it perhaps the most-valuable collection ever sold. Why is the ACHOF making note of this? Well, the collection belongs to the estate of the late tech and sports entrepreneur Paul Allen who, in addition to co-founding Microsoft, owning several successful pro-sports franchises and funding scores of philanthropic organizations, launched what was originally called The Experience Music Project in a Frank Gehry-designed building in 2000 at the Seattle Center in Seattle, WA (now known as the Museum of Pop Culture), which includes a fantastic collection of album cover artwork, posters, instruments and rock music memorabilia.
While the collection being put up for sale includes works produced by the world’s most-famous artists from the past 500 years of art history, I’m interested in finding out whether any of Mr. Allen’s original album art-related collection will be included in the mix, as he owns both one-of-a-kind paintings and items seen on famous covers, such as the angel-like model used on Nirvana’s In Utero and a collection of leather jackets seen on album covers by Joan Jett, Springsteen and the Ramones. Once the catalog’s been posted, I’ll let you know but, suffice it to say, I’m sure that the collection will be a jaw-dropping one. One thing I’m also happy to report is that the proceeds from these sales will be used to fund Mr. Allen’s philanthropic efforts, something he was fully committed to (including signing on to ex-partner Bill G’s Giving Pledge in 2010) and, via those efforts, has supported research and related work in the fields of human and animal health, artificial intelligence and much more. He was recognized for his philanthropic contributions by being awarded the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy in 2015.
Preliminary info on this can be found on the Christie’s website at https://www.christies.com/en/events/visionary-the-paul-g-allen-collection/overview
Coverage in the NY Times of the announcement of this auction can be seen at this link – https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/25/arts/design/christies-auction-paul-allen-art-collection.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare and, if you have a moment, I’d invite you to take a look at an article I did from several years back of my own tour of the Seattle museum, which included a look at some of the science fiction items also in the collection. I was particularly happy to discover the original mask worn in the classic monster movie The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the original Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet AND one of the life-sized models HR Giger created for the movie Alien – my favorite childhood memories, all in one place! https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/your-achof-curators-trip-to-seattle-grammy-party-emp/
b) Paul Gorman continues to feed our minds with his in-depth coverage of all things music/art-related, recently announcing the upcoming publication of a new book that, quite introspectively, looks at the history of the music press and all of the creative people who’ve produced the books, magazines, newsletters, fanzines and websites for most of the past century. Totally Wired: The Rise & Fall of the Music Press (due out in September by publisher Thames & Hudson) is the second book by Paul to hit the shelves this year, the first being one we learned about in the Spring all about the life, times and talents of noted designer Barney Bubbles (The Wild World of Barney Bubbles, from the same publisher).
Within the book’s 19 chapters and nearly 400 pages, Paul focuses on the publications that served to introduce and detail the musicians and producers that made rock and pop music a cornerstone of Pop Culture (influencing art, music, film, fashion, etc.) since the 1950s. Per his advance press, the author “chronicles the stories of individual magazines from their Tin Pan Alley beginnings and the counter cultural foundations of Rolling Stone and the underground press.” You’ll read about how early publications such as Melody Maker (first published in 1926), New Music Express/NME and Sounds went on to influence niche pubs (covering the punk, dance club, feminist, and the emerging rap/hip-hop genres) and next-gen monthlies alike, with each chapter illustrated with the artwork from notable examples of these works. In addition to reading about all of the name-brand writers and publishers that easily come to mind, the 120,000-word book provides specific coverage of those – “inevitably women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ communities – whose contributions have up until now been marginalized.”
I’m digging through an advance copy of the book and hope to ask Paul a bit more about it soon but, in the meantime, I’d invite you to pre-order your own SIGNED copy (to ship in late September in the UK and just in time for the Holidays here in the US) by visiting the Flood Gallery site at https://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/totally-wired-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-music-press?
More about Paul can be found on his own blog/website at https://paulgormanis.com/
c) New prints from photographer Michael Spencer-Jones celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the megahit Oasis album Be Here Now, available from Sonic Editions – https://www.rollingstone.com/product-recommendations/lifestyle/oasis-be-here-now-album-cover-art-sonic-editions-1397724/
Here’s how the publisher is promoting the series – “Michael Spencer Jones has been back to the negatives for the 25th anniversary and found a never before seen version of the cover shot from the night shoot, along with some great behind the scenes shots of the day, a solo shot of the Rolls in the pool (itself a homage to the infamous Keith Moon story of rock n roll decadence) and alternative shots of the cover itself. We hope you will enjoy this special gallery in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Oasis’ Be Here Now album.”
On a related note – Mr. Spencer-Jones is looking for help in locating the Rolls Royce motorcar that was drowned in the making of the cover for Be Here Now – https://metro.co.uk/2022/08/19/oasis-photographer-hunting-rolls-royce-used-in-be-here-now-album-cover-17213873/
Once we’re done with the sleuthing for that famous shot, I’d like to invite the same detective to help me find the nylon stocking that I used as a prop (worn over my head so as to hide my identity) in the making of several early “broadband video” experiments for Cablevision’s “Optimum Online” service in the mid-1990s. Reward TBD.
d) Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX announced the availability of a selection of prints by famed music photographer Gered Mankowitz – https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/gered-mankowitz In addition to some of the photos that have graced the covers for musical acts including the Rolling Stones, Eurythmics, Kate Bush, Elton John and others, you’ll also find prints of what is perhaps Gered’s best-known images – those of the late Jimi Hendrix.
e) Kehrer Verlag publishes ‘Oliver Jordan Portraits Band / Volume II’ – while not specifically album art-related, I do always try to share info on artists/exhibitions that illustrate the strong connections found between the fine arts and music and this new tome certainly does that by bringing us scores of paintings created by Mr. Jordan that feature many of the best-known music makers – https://artdaily.cc/news/149014/Kehrer-Verlag-publishes–Oliver-Jordan-Portraits-Band—Volume-II-#.YvqbUnbMI7M The famed European portrait artist has put together of 100 portraits of musicians from all periods and genres, from Ludwig von Beethoven and Richard Wagner through Billie Holiday and John Coltrane to David Bowie, Bob Dylan, BB King and the Rolling Stones, among many others.
f) UPDATE ON JUNE/JULY AUCTION ITEM – Earlier this summer, I shared some information on an auction that featured the original artwork, along with a new NFT, from one of the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s best-known albums – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, released in 1996 under his Makavelli pseudonym – which was sold to its new owner for over $200,000.
Since that time, the question of who actually has/had the rights to promote and sell these items has resulted in some legal back-and-forth between the artist that created the painting (and derivative works) – Ronald “Riskie Forever” Brent – and Amaru Entertainment, the company founded by Shakur’s mother to manage her late son’s work, who contend that they retain all of the rights to this image.
The legal complexity of this case extends down several additional layers, and it seems as though there have been legal disturbances in the estate for a long while. Before her death, his mother, Afeni Shakur, fought to retain ownership of his numerous unreleased music tracks. And now Shakur’s sister, Sekyiwa Shakur, is suing the executor of Afeni’s estate over the profits of Tupac’s works. Read the gory details at https://qz.com/tupac-s-estate-is-in-a-fight-over-an-iconic-album-cover-1849368265
g) There’s a new Michael Zagaris photo book that features photos from his portfolio as a Bay Area sports photographer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYGB_zc-iUU Zagaris is also the proud owner of a portfolio of photos he’s taken that were used on album covers for Peter Frampton, Chris Isaak, Etta James and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others, so you’ll find that the promo video I’ve linked to touches on his work as a rock photographer as well.
h) In a story featured on the Yahoo! News site, uDiscoverMusic’s Tim Peacock shares a list of his favorite illustrated music books – https://www.yahoo.com/video/picture-best-illustrated-music-books-135050947.html His list traces the entire history of books in this genre and, not surprisingly, includes several that are must-haves for album cover art fans – Paul Gorman’s recent tome on the career of Barney Bubbles (Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles), Michael Ochs’ 1,000 Record Covers and several of the compendiums released by noted album art-makers themselves (Gered Mankowitz, Bob Gruen and Aubrey Powell, just to name a few).
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) a) David Crow, who has designed album covers for YES and the Rolling Stones and was an educator – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2022/aug/10/david-crow-obituary Crow has over 40 entries on his profile on the discogs.com site – https://www.discogs.com/artist/1861369-David-Crow showing work for the aforementioned mega bands along with Roy Orbison, INXS and Evelyn Champagne King.
b) Tom Wright, photographer, tour road manager and confidant of The Who, dies at age 78 –The Alabama-born Wright studied photography at London’s Ealing College of Art in the early 1960s, where he met Pete Townshend and his roomie Richard Barnes. A statement on The Who’s website credits the American with expanding Townshend’s early knowledge of blues and, over the years, expanding the roster of musical acts who benefitted from his influence to include Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart/The Faces, Joe Walsh and the Rolling Stones. As a photographer, he was a fly on the wall at countless meetings, concerts, rehearsals and press junkets and, over the years, amassed an amazing collection of photographs (over 120,000!) and recordings that, in 1993, he donated to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.
A story I found on the Essex Magazine (UK) site – https://www.essexmagazine.co.uk/2022/08/tom-wright-the-legendary-rock-photographer-and-muse-for-the-likes-of-the-who-rolling-stones-and-the-eagles-1944-2022/ includes quotes from Joe Walsh, who described Wright as “the Jack Kerouac of rock and roll photography” and Keith Richards calling him “a f**king great photographer with a special touch.”
c) American Songwriter magazine has recently published a string of album art-related articles that, on the whole, have added a bit more exposure to the stories behind a number of better-known cover images. First off, a look at one of Queen’s best-known cover images – https://americansongwriter.com/queen-ii-queen-album-cover-story-explained/
Which was followed by one that helps us better understand Prince’s Purple Rain cover (which, you might recall, I lamely tried to reproduce during my visit to the aforementioned immersive experience display here in Chicago) – https://americansongwriter.com/purple-rain-album-cover-prince-story-meaning/
Later in August, the magazine published this story which, while not strictly album art-related, is about the creation of one of rock music’s best-known logos – the Grateful Dead’s dancing bears – https://americansongwriter.com/behind-the-meaning-of-the-logo-the-grateful-dead-bears/ The band has several related images that can be deemed “iconic” – let’s not forget the Skeleton & Roses (Mouse and Kelly) and the Bear Stanley/Bob Thomas-designed “Stealie Skull”, seen on the cover of 1972’s History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear’s Choice).
Finally, late in the month, writer Catherine Walthall updated a story I’d shared some of with you many years ago – that being about artist Margo Nahas’ work on one of Van Halen’s most-beloved albums, 1984, the one featuring a cigarette-smoking baby angel – https://americansongwriter.com/story-behind-1984-van-halen-album-cover/
d) In almost every aspect related to the discussions of “what is creativity” and “what is talent” there have been smart people thinking and talking about the degree to which technology and, in particular, computer-aided technologies, either enhance or detract from the work put out by talented creatives for their clients in the business. Early on in my career, I saw how people responded to the introduction of electronic typesetting to the printing process (yes, I’m that old), followed by the intro of computer-generated music and graphics, computer-aided design and video editing, etc. Over the years, I’ve listened (and shared) stories of “old school” pen and ink artists who felt that computers helped them test ideas in ways that they could have never done before (e.g., Lee Conklin, who designed the Lion seen on the debut album by Santana) and others who used the advent of computers to re-dedicate their commitment to doing things with pen, pencil, cut paper and the rest.
This article discusses AI-generated album art – https://www.passionweiss.com/2022/08/04/artificial-intelligence-album-artwork-collaborative-lps/ on the Passion of the Weiss site and I found an interesting related article on the PC World site – https://www.pcworld.com/article/820518/midjourneys-ai-art-goes-live-for-everyone.html about some of this new-fangled software.
e) RadioX shares some of the details of the cover art for Revolver by The Beatles (Artist/musician Klaus Voorman won the Grammy the next year for “Best Album Cover”) – https://www.radiox.co.uk/artists/beatles/things-you-didnt-know-about-beatles-revolver/ . I received a link to a new story about an upcoming (date TBD) revamping of this classic LP that could prove to be quite exciting for album art fans, too – https://www.nme.com/news/music/deluxe-boxset-of-the-beatles-revolver-to-be-released-3300732
f) More “fun with Photoshop” – ever wonder what your favorite album covers might look like if all of the main characters were replaced with images of Adam Sandler? Well, neither did I, but someone else did and they’re happy to share the results on the Boing Boing site – https://boingboing.net/2022/08/27/someone-recreated-classic-album-covers-with-adam-sandler.html
g) Continuing on in the long-running trend of rock fans/photographers/graphic artists working their way into remakes of famous record covers, here’s an article on a new series of images created by noted designer/image-maker Wayne Honath (AKA “Wayno” – yes, the same one from the popular Bizarro comic series) he calls “Record Heads” – https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/check-out-the-fun-results-when-artist-adds-himself-to-famous-album-covers/
More Legal Case Updates –
a) An expert from the NYU Law School reviews the lawsuits between Lynn Goldsmith and Warhol Foundation as the case heads to the US Supreme Court – https://www.law.nyu.edu/news/-amy-adler-warhol-goldsmith-art-law
Set to go before the Supreme Court on October 12, here’s a new NYTimes article on the topic – https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/15/us/warhol-prince-supreme-court-copyright.html
In mid-August, the US Copyright Office filed an amicus brief in support of Lynn’s claims – https://www.popphoto.com/news/andy-warhol-prince-copyright-infringement/
b) Trial postponed until October – Cardi B’s attorney came down with a serious illness, so the judge has given her until October to find new counsel and prep for the case – https://uproxx.com/music/cardi-b-album-cover-tattoo-trial-postponed/
Misc Brief Bits:
a) Fans of the fine art of tattooing should enjoy a look at one of the most-used ways to express your fandom – body ink based on famous hip-hop album covers – https://www.inkedmag.com/original-news/hip-hop-album-cover-tattoos
b) Writing for Yahoo! News, Paul Sexton takes us on a deep dive into the circumstances surrounding the making of what’s certainly the most-famous photo ever taken in a crosswalk – that being the one of The Beatles crossing the street in front of EMI Studios in London used on the cover of their Abbey Road album – https://www.yahoo.com/video/abbey-road-album-cover-behind-074508686.html
c) While I wish sometimes that the people who put together album cover quizzes would dig a bit deeper into the catalog of “popular” covers, this recent RadioX offering at least gives us a slightly-different approach to how to pose a brain-teaser – using simple text descriptions that should elicit a correct guess – with many of the included covers being those of UK-based bands, I wasn’t a very good guesser, but those of you over in that part of the world should have better luck, I think –
d) Seattle-based Christian metal band Demon Hunter’s lead singer Ryan Clark – who is also an accomplished graphic designer/art director – gives us a rundown of his 10 favorite album cover artists in this article on the Loudwire site – https://loudwire.com/rock-metal-album-cover-artists-need-to-know-chosen-demon-hunter-ryan-clark/ The band is also producing a 4-part graphic novel (written by Clark) as part of the merchandising around their newest recording, Exile. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan’s brother and design team partner a number of years ago about his work on the cover of Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, a 2007 release on RCA records by the Foo Fighters that includes a truly spooky view of just what makes a bomb tick – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/02/index.html
e) While not quite going as deep as friend of ACHOF Ken Orth’s research and writing on the topic (truly unmatched, IMHO), this recent article on The Wrap’s site by Ashley Eady illustrates the ongoing popularity of Sgt Pepper’s parody covers – https://www.thewrap.com/5-album-covers-that-ripped-off-sgt-pepper/ and while I think that the term “ripped off” goes a bit far, there have certainly been many other acts and artists who have drawn a lot of inspiration from this iconic artwork.
f) Actor Idris Elba speaks to The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon about how he finagled his way onto a Jay-Z album cover (video) – https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/idris-elba-jay-z-fallon-1394512/
g) Please let me know if you want me to continue to share the occasional click-bait articles that proudly declare “the best”, “the top 10” or, in this case, “the top 30 greatest album covers of all time” – https://news.yahoo.com/30-greatest-album-covers-time-110757976.html Maybe if we ignore them they’ll go away.
RIP Lamont Dozier – https://artdaily.cc/news/148900/Lamont-Dozier–writer-of-numerous-Motown-hits–dies-at-81#.YvQlGXbMI7M You kept us hangin’ on, and we loved it.
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 so, until then, enjoy the balance of your Summer season, the upcoming Labor Day holiday in the U.S. and whatever else brings you and yours happiness and joy. Peace and Love to you all, with wishes for Good Health, lower temperatures (in nature and in politics) and much more common sense and compassion for those less fortunate.
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.