Holiday Gift Suggestions for the Album Cover/Vinyl Record Lovers in your Life
As compiled by Mike Goldstein, Writer/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
December 13, 2022
We’re now in the final couple of weeks of the Holiday gift-giving season and, since the ACHOF site is not ad-supported, I think you’ll agree that the approach I take to sharing info about what you might consider buying as gifts for your album cover art-loving friends is a bit different in that I simply let you know what it is that’s caught my eye, vs. promoting things I’ve been strongly-motivated to show you (via ad/promo money).
As I’m sure you all know, getting just the right gift for your loved ones at Holiday time can be such a puzzle – what with all of the advertising that bombards you from every direction and “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” sales that this year seemed to have started sometime in mid-late Summer – that you’re left with little time and inclination to search for just the right thing when all you want to do is “get this over with”…
And, while I’ve been told never to buy “art” for other as it’s such a personal choice, because of the link between music and art, buying a gift for lovers of album cover art has never been so simple. To help you succeed in this effort, over the years I’ve published a series of (usually) annual overviews of record cover-related “artistical” things that, in my opinion, might make nice gifts for anyone who is a fan of album cover art and packaging and so this year I’ve decided to do that again.
I believe that – as you’ll see by the list of companies that specialize in album cover-related items of all types (and fitting all budgets), with a little research on your part (“So, remind me…what’s the name of your favorite band?”) and perhaps a phone call or two, I’m feeling confident that you’ll be able to locate and purchase gifts that will be long-appreciated by their recipients. Who knows, maybe it will start a new tradition in your family!
And so, while my regular contributions (interviews, new bios, etc.) to the ACHOF site besides my monthly news summaries have slowed to a trickle for several what-I-believe-to-be-reasonable causes (including a rather-pathetic state of laziness brought on by my advancing age), I’m always a bit more inspired to share what I can with my readers this time of the year, so, if you’ll accept my apologies and think of me warmly, I’ll continue on with what I hope is some valuable information in this update.
Enjoy the hunt, as well as the squooshy feeling you’ll experience upon seeing the smiles of gratitude from your gift(s) recipient(s), too.
Album Cover Fine Art, Photography and Related Limited-Edition Merchandise –
It only makes sense to being this exploration with details regarding the “real thing” – i.e., a fine art print of an album cover image. If you’re looking to truly impress your best-loved album art fan, the ultimate gift would be one of the many fine art prints available, either produced by the designers and/or photographers that created the original images or via their publishers and licensees. Products in this category will vary greatly in price, quality, rarity, etc., so please take your time and get to know some or all of the various purveyors listed.
The Album Cover Hall of Fame is always searching for galleries and other retailers that offer selections of prints in many genres and styles, with an updated list available on our site via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-buying-and-selling-resources-page/ (please note once again that we do NOT have any affiliation with the galleries listed, so feel free to contact any of them directly for help with your specific needs).
Framed Album Covers (AKA Album Art Displayed IN Frames) –
If you’re looking for a simple (and less-expensive) way to deliver the whole package (i.e., your favorite album cover images – generally licensed, open-edition prints – framed and ready-to-hang) in one fell swoop, vendors that offer framed record albums has always been a popular category on Etsy, eBay, FineArtAmerica, Society 6 and other sites. In addition to the products made by these enterprising individuals, there are a number of collectors/companies offering vintage album covers for sale – some framed in basic album cover frames and some “a bit more fancy”, but all seem to offer a broad selection of covers in a number of musical styles. To see their latest selections, please visit their sites:
Level Frames – one of the “more fancy” vendors ($150 and up), this company creates full-on, custom-framed presentations of many of your favorite record albums – https://www.levelframes.com/vinyl
It’s Our Earth – presenting themselves first as environmentally-conscious recyclers and secondly as a gallery, this company has hundreds of different albums available framed and ready-to-hang – https://www.itsourearth.com/collections/framed-album-covers
Another option is to look for the works of artists who do “re-creations” or re-interpretations of well known album images. I used to sell the work of Boston-area artist Howie Green in my old RockPoP Gallery days (Howie also does actual album covers, so he covers all of the bases!) and I’ve since seen several others offering up their own takes on famous covers, with a quick search on Google (https://www.google.com/search?q=framed+album+covers+for+sale&oq=framed+album+covers) leading you to a number of these people/companies.
Album Art Display Frames –
If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, music/art fans that have nice collections of vinyl may simply need a good way of showcasing their favorite album covers and so an industry has grown to serve this need via the sale of album cover display systems that make it easy to mat/frame your records. Some of the better-known vendors of these framing solutions include:
Art Vinyl – based in the UK and also sponsor of the annual Best Art Vinyl record cover art competition, this company sells the well-received “Play & Display” framing system that lets you quickly swap out albums (great for stores with a “what’s playing now” display area). Priced from $49.00 for the single frame to $134.99 for the “triple pack” (in black or white) –
Frame My Record.com – Run by the TX-based Picture Perfect framing and collectibles company, Frame My Record offers album, 45 RPM, 78 RPM, CD and DVD frames/frame kits of professional quality. Featuring custom-cut mats in a variety of styles and a unique mounting process (using conservation-safe
materials), these kits provide album owners with a near-custom look for a more-affordable price. Prices for an LP cover kit with wood frame, one of 18 mat selections and UV-glass front begin at $49.99 (frames without matting begin at $21.95 each or $225.99 for a package of 12).
Basic frames are also available from major retailers including Urban Outfitters, Michael’s, Target, Walmart, Wayfair and IKEA.
Items made from Albums and Album Covers –
Vinylux – Pennsylvania-based artist Jeff Davis has created an impressive line of household items and gifts from the thousands of records he sources each year (he estimates that he recycles over 250,000 records, or over 55,000 pounds of materials each year) and turns into objects such as clocks, holiday ornaments, journals, bottle openers, book ends, coasters, bowls, magnets and jewelry. For an even-more-personal gift, you can also choose to have a record “personalized”, where the label is custom-printed with a title, sub-title and five songs names of your own choosing. He’s been doing this since 2002, with his products currently found in a number of galleries, retailers and online. To see the current collection and to find out where to buy a Vinylux product, visit the company site at https://vinylux.net/collections/all
Cb Vinyl Record Art – originally a successful Kickstarter project, these nice people from France now offer a nice selection of nicely-produced laser-cut art objects made from recycled vinyl records – https://www.cbvinylrecordart.com/en/70-design-vinyl-record-music
According to the info on their web site, Cb Vinyl Record Art “is a collective of enthusiasts, influenced by the cultures and subcultures of the 80s to date. Unconditional lovers of vinyl record, art, design and decoration, we are tired of seeing old vinyl records end up in the bin,” and I think that you’ll find many examples of unusual and unusually-intriguing vinyl-based fine art objects.
Fans of the Etsy crafts site will find hundreds of items for sale made by a trove of crafty people who’ve elected to create objects of all kinds – wallets, coasters, frames, notebooks, bowls, book covers, calendars, etc. – out of album covers. Recycling-minded gift givers can browse the selection via this handy link – http://www.etsy.com/search?q=recycled+album+cover&page=1 While the listing here is a bit mind-boggling, one artist’s work that (to me) stood out from the pack was the collection made by ArtyFakt, who has produced a collection of handmade-and-embellished boxes covered in album cover imagery. You’ll find cases for LPs, 45s, CDs, DVDs and more, at prices ranging from $33.00 to $225.00, with most in the $85.00 – $95.00 range. https://www.etsy.com/shop/artyfakt?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=918520057
Rediscover Handbags – this Chicago-based firm crafts custom-made totes and purses out of record album covers and theater programs. Buyers can choose the album cover from the company’s large collection of standards (Beatles, Bowie, Elvis, Sinatra, Streisand and others – over 4000 covers in stock), and then select the interior/side fabrics that will be used to line the bags, select a strap and complete the order. 4-5 weeks later, your 12” x 12” x 5.5” (approx.) bag arrives and you become the envy of all your friends. These hand-made designer totes are priced at $400.00 (plus $20 shipping), while the smaller purses made from theater programs cost $175.00 (full-front with black strap, plus freight) or $200.00 (plus shipping) for a full-front purse with a stylish beaded handle. https://www.rediscoverhandbags.com/
Modern/Pop Art collectors with album cover leanings (and somewhat deep pockets) will find a lot to like on the Snap Gallery (U.K.) site, but a recent visit there introduced me to the work of an artist known as “Ben The Illustrator” who, for a fee starting at £650 (about $865.00 US), will produce (in about 2-3 weeks time) a custom illustration (a 15 x 21 inch print on paper, unframed) that will show an aerial view of a happy record collector lounging in a listening room surround by ten of his favorite records, with each record sporting it’s cover. Larger sizes and framing up the costs, but for something really unique and a sure conversation-starter, I haven’t seen much else that competes with this unique item – https://www.snapgalleries.com/portfolio-items/ben-the-illustrator/
The Tunes Company – Now based in Jupiter, FL, this firm showcases several fascinating decorator items including table and pendant lamps made from full-sized 12” vinyl LPs ($189.00 – $199.00) and a new wall hanging/room divider made the prime center-cut labels from LPs. The 36” square wall hanging is made from 48 original labels and decorative chain and is priced at $98.50 (only $2.05 per label). The company also offers a wide range of wall and desk clocks made from album covers and album labels. The wall clocks are made by attaching an image cut from a LP cover to a short stack of vintage vinyl records and are mostly priced at $59.95 (some higher, depending on the rarity of the record), while the desk clocks ($25.00) feature a record label cut-out mounted on a spiffy metal stand. https://tunesco.com/index.html
Album Cover Books (on design, photography, collecting, etc.) –
Over the years, there have been a number of books written covering the History of the Album Cover, highlighting the development of the art form from its humble beginnings as a simple sleeve with a title, to Alex Steinweiss and Jim Flora and their breakthrough works for Columbia and Decca Records in
the 1930s/40s up to today’s most-recent efforts. Many are written and compiled by well-known cover designers (Roger Dean, Richard Evans, Storm Thorgerson, Nick DeVille, Spencer Drate, others), so they bring an interesting spin to their respective compilations. With their authors’ various perspectives and experiences guiding their respective efforts, all are interesting in their own right and contain hundreds of images for you to enjoy. We keep an updated list on our site –
In addition, over the past several years, there have been several new books released by album cover creators of note – Brian Griffin’s POP and Black Country Dada, Glen Wexler’s The ’80s Portrait Sessions, 2021 ACHOF Inductee Jerry Schatzberg’s tome on Bob Dylan (Dylan By Schatzberg), Mark Seliger’s book of portraits (Mark Seliger Photographs), Drew Carolan’s photo book (Matinee – All Ages on the Bowery) taken from his portfolio of shots of the denizens of NYC’s club scenes, the latest in the series of hard rock/metal album art books (…And Justice For Art – now up to Volume 3) by Ramon Martos and talented album art designer/art director Bill Smith’s album cover art book titled Cover Stories: Five Decades of Album Art plus some great tomes taking an overall look at 60+ years of great album art, including Taschen’s Art Record Covers (enjoy this “unpacking” article about this book on the Far Out website – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/art-record-covers-collection-tyler-the-creator-sonic-youth/ ) and author John Foster’s most-recent book featuring in-depth looks at the work of many more purveyors of great album cover design – Album Art: New Music Graphics.
This past year, I noticed a lot of new offerings from three long-time publishers/book-sellers who’ve delivered a regularly-updated slate of music/art-related books, so these might be good places to begin your search:
The Flood Gallery (U.K.) – https://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/new-books
Genesis Publishing (U.K.) – https://www.genesis-publications.com/browse/books/new
Wall of Sound Gallery (Italy) – https://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/books.php
In addition to the short list of names I’ve just given you, there’s always a nice selection of books on the Amazon.com, Powells.com and other “conventional” book resellers’ sites, plus individual artists (photographers, designers, etc.) have continued to share examples from their archives via self-published books (Jay Blakesberg, Elliott Landy, George DuBose and many other examples), so there’s plenty for you to consider in this category, I think.
Curated Album Subscription Services –
While not album cover-specific in its scope, I thought that I should include this info because some of these vendors are garnering good reputations for the quality of their packaging. That and the fact that the folks at Discogs.com put together a very nice overview article on the topic that includes links to all of the major providers (I’m lazy that way) – https://www.discogs.com/digs/collecting/best-vinyl-subscription-services/?
Album Cover Image-based Products –
Dennilu – while you might not be able to find (and afford) the original artwork created for the cover of The Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine, you can turn to talented artist Jon Blosdale and purchase one of his hand-crafted (and Beatles-authorized), limited-edition re-creations. These multi-layered, hand-painted sericels are uniquely mounted and framed to give you the feel of a 3-D image ($1195 plus S&H) – http://www.beatlescartoon.com/YellowSubmarine/ysac_framing/ys_ac_index.htm Jon also offers an impressive selection of Beatles art – animation cels, 3-D art, photo presentations and more – something that will certainly please the Beatle fan on your list – http://www.beatlescartoon.com/
Take a brief ride in a time machine to my archive site where you can read my interview with Jon about his art and, in particular, the work it took for him to bring this YS-based artwork to life, via the link at https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/11/
Eclipse Gift Ideas (via Amazon.com) – album art-based mouse pads, mobile phone covers and more; hundreds of choices beginning at only $8.99 – https://www.amazon.com/l/10173439011
Morgan Howell’s Super-sized 45RPM Records – I was introduced to U.K.-based artist Morgan’s work years ago and was always impressed with his keen ability to take an everyday object such as a 7” record and turn it into something beautiful. You can see m any examples of his work on his web site at https://supersizeart.myshopify.com/ Mr. Howell also offers a book on his Super-sized 45RPM record recreations titled Morgan Howell At 45RPM, with the details shared in this recent Art Daily news story – https://artdaily.cc/news/139975/Classic-7–single-artworks-revisited-in-new-book-by-artist-Morgan-Howell This might be a slightly more-affordable option if you find yourself drawn to these ultra-cool works of art.
KnuckleBonz 3-D Album Cover Recreations – Some of you who might remember my old gallery days will recall that I sold items from a line of intricately-crafted sculptures of iconic rockers/rock imagery (which they call “RockIconz” – see the Tony Iommi statue in this article’s cover image as an example of this work) made by a company called KnuckleBonz and, I’m glad to report, they’ve recently announced some new additions to the ever-expanding line of limited-edition album cover art recreations they’re producing called “3D Vinyl”. The first two items they announced were their stunning renditions of two great albums – Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, both of which are perfectly suited for a 3-dimensional sculpture.
Since then, they’ve released additional titles from top acts including KISS, Motley Crue, Megadeth and Mercyful Fate (from $175 to $249 each, ready-to-hang), this year adding new titles (note – some not shipping until next Spring) including works based on album covers for Iron Maiden (Piece of Mind Eddie – how cool is that?), Death and Misfits, among others – https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/3d-vinyl/
Funko’s Pop! Album Series – A bit less artistic than the KnuckleBonz item you just read about but no less fun and collectible, here’s a link to the site where Funko displays their Pop! Albums collection – everyone from Mariah Carey to Queen to Notorious B.I.G. is there, with several more announced for release in the near future – https://www.funko.com/shop-music?filter:productType=Pop!_Albums&page:on=1
Z2 Comics – This company is perhaps best-known as a publisher of horror-genre graphic novels (ala the Inked In Blood series), but their collection also includes a number of very unique music-related products, including book and record packages, limited-edition vinyl LPs and picture discs and graphic novels based on popular rock albums featuring the work of artists/illustrators with a deep portfolios of work for music-industry clients. I particularly liked reading about books based on Pantera’s A Vulgar Display of Power (with that unforgettably violent cover image) and Dio’s Holy Diver, so if you’re looking for something a little different, a visit to this site might be worth your click – https://z2comics.com/collections/shop
LPGI album cover fabric posters – large poly fabric prints (many choices, including Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Bob Marley, The Doors and scores of others) made to hang on a wall, or attach one to your motorcycle’s whip antenna if you really want to grab the attention of your fellow riders – http://www.lpgi.com/fabric-posters.html
PopArtUK album cover art prints on wood, canvas, tin and more, with prices beginning at £9.99 – https://www.popartuk.com/music/rock.asp?product-type=6 Over 100 different styles available.
Rocker Rags album cover t-shirts – many, many acts are included for men, women and the kiddies. Who has enough album cover t-shirts? Not me (hee hee) – https://www.rockerrags.com/
Rockabilia lists dozens (nearly 100) of different t-shirt designs, along with a wide range of cover-based merchandise including sweat shirts, beer and coffee mugs, timepieces, seatbelt belts, fleece blankets and pub/shot glasses – https://rockabilia.com/pages/search-results?q=album%20cover
Other Items of Interest –
Goldmine Magazine store – Fans of vinyl have always relied on Goldmine to share the stories of rock’s greatest music-makers (both classic and up-and-coming) and, from time to time, the back-stories behind some of rock’s best-known album covers (with several contributions by yours truly). More recently, the magazine dove into the online retail space, offering collectors a rather-impressive selection of vinyl records, apparel, books and collectibles. Under the “collectibles” heading, you’ll find a nifty selection of affordable and desirable items including miniature guitars and drum kits (I really like the Queen/Roger Taylor and “Classic Beatles Oyster” sets!), action figures, bobbleheads and more, many sporting album art graphics. Take a look and bookmark this site as it is always updating with things new and exciting – https://shop.goldminemag.com/collections/collectibles?page=1
Grammy Museum Store – this site actually links to three Grammy-branded collections that include clothing, books, signed items, limited-edition box sets, etc., along with a nice collection of art and posters. Examples of some album cover-based items include a nice t-shirt with photographer Jim Marshall’s well-known shot done for the cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s Live At Fillmore East LP and, in keeping with the Holiday spirit (even if that spirit comes with horns and a tail), a Christmas ornament featuring the cover image for AC/DC’s Highway To Hell. Much, much more can be found at https://grammymuseumstore.com/collections/holiday-collection?
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – Cleveland, Ohio’s top rock and roll-related tourist attraction is also the home of one of the better-fitted-out museum stores, and fans can tour the shop’s collection of album art-themed books, records, t-shirts, socks and other collectibles, most of which you’ll find via this link – https://socialshop.rockhall.com/search?q=album+cover&options%5Bprefix%5D=last
Staying on the oversized LP record theme, here’s a 23” diameter polyester/rubber record album-shaped doormat (designed by graphic artist Jim Holodak) for $35.00 that can be personalized, too – https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/personalized-record-doormat
Limited-edition/Record Store Day Vinyl Records/Sets – of course, what most record fans really want is a record (!!), and while you can certainly fill their soon-to-be-distended stockings with traditional LPs and singles, the resurgence of vinyl over the past several years has prompted many musical acts and record labels to pull out all of the stops when it comes to collectible record packages, particularly around the annual Record Store Day celebrations and the end-of-the-year Holidays. If you’ve been reading my columns and news summaries, there are so many great examples of these now that it’d be impossible to list them all for you, but there have been a number of award-winning designs this year that were so well-done and innovative that I can certainly point you to the Winners & Nominees pages on the recently-nominated Best Art Vinyl award site – https://artvinyl.com/award-year/2022/ (of course, you should also click through the summaries of the previous years’ winners as well) – or the last Making Vinyl Packaging Awards – https://makingvinyl.com/winners-2021/ – for inspiration.
To see all of the specially-produced, limited-edition vinyl records being released on RSD’s “Black Friday” list for this year, click on over to https://recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases where you’ll find the latest details. Box sets, picture discs, colored vinyls – a lot to look at and consider.
I hope that I’ve given you all the basic info you’ll need this year to find just the right gifts for the people you like/love/are obligated to giving gifts to, so please be sure to remember to that your Holiday shopping experience should be a pleasurable one, so don’t forget to get yourself something nice as well…
Cheers and Happy New Years
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 and images used in this news summary are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.