Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary for May, 2023
Posted May 1, 2023 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Mid-Spring greetings to you all. As a mostly-retired person, I spend a fair amount of time each month corresponding with people I know all over the world (yes, album art fans are EVERYWHERE!), and this past month I noticed an uptick in the people from outside the U.S. who’ve asked me “what the hell is going on over there?!”, a blanket statement that covers questions people have about our current political divide, courtroom dramas unlike we’ve ever seen before and the credibility of our national media organizations, to which I reply “which London dry gin will I be using in my G&T today?”. These days, I’m limiting my media exposure to my Financial Times Weekend Edition (which, in addition to its coverage of world news, comes on the cutest color newsprint), episodes of House Hunters International and whatever I find of interest on the BritBox, Apple TV and PBS Passport services. Yes, I know that I’m hiding, but having watched friends and relatives lose themselves to the 24 hour news cycle here, it’s the only way I seem to be able to stay focused on both what’s good in my life and what’s interesting in the world of album cover art and the people that make it so, if you don’t mind, let’s get on with this month’s news summary.
As it’s been the case for the past several months, this past month was a rather busy one prepping things for the ACHOF site, with work being finished on Part 2 of “The Art of Imitation” articles I collaborated with Richard Forrest on (it being posted early in April) and work nearly finished on two more interviews I’ve teased you on, those being with musician/artist/museum curator Martin Atkins and artist Dave Van Patten on his Grammy Award winning work on the Grateful Dead at Madison Square Garden box sets released late in 2022. Both should be ready within the next week or so, so thanks for your patience as I work to complete those ASAP.
I also have two more articles – and a bunch of new artist bios – in various stages of completion for you but, in addition to those, there is (as always) a very nice selection of items about album cover art and the people that make it, with updates and info about several new museum and gallery exhibitions, a selection of new artist interviews and “making of” stories, new auctions and things for sale, etc., so let’s all take a moment to reflect on the state of our lives, agree to do better and then escape into the news about our favorite topic.
As I mentioned above, I’ve posted Part 2 of “The Art of Imitation: How Fine Artists Have Drawn Inspiration From Album Covers”, where you’ll read more about a group of talented individuals who’ve each created works we think you’ll find both inspired and beautiful and oh-so-album-coverish – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2023/04/05/the-art-of-imitation-how-fine-artists-have-drawn-inspiration-from-album-covers-part-2/
In addition to the people you’ll meet in this article, my friend Ken Orth wanted to make sure that I shared the details of a group of artists not previously covered in the Art of Imitation articles that are represented by the famed Snap Galleries, who also offers works of art that draw upon various aspects of recorded music products and present them in new and exciting ways. I’ve shared a bit of info with you all on this in the past as part of my (mostly) annual “Holiday Gift Guides”, but Ken was good enough to share the details of an email from the company’s director, Guy White, who has organized them so you can look at each artist’s work individually. Here’s what Guy had to say in his recent note on the topic – “There’s nothing nicer that having a commissioned piece made—something personal— that taps into a particular passion, like a favourite piece of music. It could be a treat for you, or a gift for someone special. We work with a number of talented artists who can create bespoke pieces for you. If you have an idea, let us help you bring it to life—we are happy to add some creative juice to your concept, show you what might be possible, and even model some visual layouts on your walls. The links below take you to the sections of our website where you can read more about our personalisation options.
Alison Stockmarr, who creates collage artworks from your chosen singles and LPs, here.
Ben The Illustrator, and his “In My Room” series, where you get to pick your ten favourite albums and Ben will create a room set around them, featuring you in the centre if you wish. Ben will also create individual artwork featuring your favourite album sleeve in his own distinctive style. View here.
Our Temple of Wax service, where we take a cherished vinyl record and transform it for you into a large-scale 3D work of art that you can hang on your walls. More here.
Keith Haynes “Spines” series, which can be made as a bespoke artwork in some eye-popping sizes, here.
Jamie Byrne, who will take your favourite LP and create a graphic novel style artwork with a panel for each individual track, here.
I’ll be happy to append the articles with any more info you’d care to share on people doing anything similar in nature but, in the meantime, I’d like to thank Ken and Guy for sharing these details with us.
Now, back to the newsletter –
Special Award Show updates:
Judging has finally begun on the entries vying for a top music industry/packaging award – the Making Vinyl Packaging Awards – and, as one of the judges on the panel tasked to review the hundreds of submissions received, I’m eager to see which of the hundreds of submissions I’ve seen and rated have risen to the top of the heap – a lot of imagination and hard work has been put into many of the things I’ve seen so far, that’s for sure. More to come as the news becomes available, but here’s an intriguing example of one of the entries I found that truly stretches the notion of what a vinyl record is – https://romanusrecords.com/collections/frontpage/products/brother-o-brother-skin-walker-guitar-pedal-lps-35-ships-spring-2023-usa-only-please-read Sorry to say, but these are sold out.
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info (new and upcoming soon):
a) The work of artist Bob Carlos Clarke is the subject of a new “quickie” exhibition at YSL Rive Droite stores in Paris and LA (running through the 4th of May at both locations) – https://www.ysl.com/en-us/calendar/name/rd-event-bob-carlos-clarke.html
As the exhibitors have described what’s on display – “Often referred to as “Britain’s answer to Helmut Newton”, Bob Carlos Clarke was born in Cork, Ireland in 1950. His photographic approach is best known for his carefully composed and highly constructed photographs, where glamour and provocation rub shoulders…from celebrity portraiture to photojournalism and advertising photography, his work covers almost every sphere of photography, often pushing the boundaries of art and acceptability.” The description continues with “Curated by Vaccarello, the exhibition showcases twenty photographs from Carlos Clarke’s sprawling archive, featuring striking portraits of icons such as Keith Richards, Jerry Hall and Rachel Weisz.”
Clarke also has a number of notable album package credits stretching back to the late 1970s, including work for Judas Priest, Billy Ocean, Pete Townshend, The Damned, Ozzy Osbourne and many others. You can learn more about the artist and this show in the preview article I found on the AnotherMag.com site – https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/14784/bob-carlos-clarke-saint-laurent-rive-droit
While Clarke died back in 2006, you can see more of his portfolio on this web site at https://www.thelittleblackgallery.com/bob-carlos-clarke/
b) OPENING JUNE 1, 2023 – The Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles has announced that there will be a show there beginning on June 1st (running through July 5th, 2023) built around the works of artist/illustrator Hugh Syme titled “Imagine This: A Visual Retrospective” – https://musichead.com/blogs/events/hugh-syme-imagine-this
Having studied art both the New School of Art in Toronto and York University in York, England, Canadian artist/illustrator/musician Hugh Syme found that he was able to express himself creatively – both musically and artistically – in the rock music business, where he collaborated with singer/songwriter Ian Thomas and, later on, played keyboards for SRO/Anthem labelmates Rush. It seems clear that the members of Rush felt early on that Hugh was on the same wavelength as they were, hiring him in 1975 to create the cover image for their third record, titled Caress of Steel and, impressively, every record of theirs since. He’s also responsible for the band’s iconic “Starman” logo, which has been featured on a broad range of band-related promotional imagery and merchandise (including the cover for the late Rush drummer Neal Peart’s 1996 travel book titled The Masked Rider). He’s since been nominated 18 times for Juno Awards (Canada’s top music award) for his designs, winning five times for designs including Rush’s Moving Pictures, Power Windows, Presto and Roll The Bones, and Levity for Ian Thomas.
Focusing his talents on music-related design, he took on commissions as an art director working at Pasha/CBS Records and, ten years later, accepting the role as Art Director at Geffen Records. His music industry clients include labels such as A&M, Atlantic, Capitol, EMI, Geffen, Mercury, RCA, Sony Music and Warner Bros., doing designs for acts including Aerosmith, Chick Corea, Celine Dion, Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Queensryche, Saga, Styx and Whitesnake.
If you’d like a broader look at this artist’s portfolio before attending the show in LA, I’d invite you to visit his website at www.hughsyme.com
Ongoing Exhibitions (listed in order of their end dates):
a) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 7th, 2023 – There’s a show in Georgia running through early May that highlights the sculptural artwork produced by the late artist Reverend Howard Finster, one of the country’s most talked-about folk/outsider artists. In 1965, he said that he heard a voice from the Lord which told him to transform two acres of land in Summerville, GA into a “Paradise Garden.” Using junk, broken dolls, tools and clocks, he embedded these materials in concrete walls which surround both a 30-foot tower built of bicycle parts and his own church called “The World’s Folk Art Church.” “Paradise Garden” was an ongoing project that expressed his religious convictions and creativity and he explained that he assembled the pieces for a purpose -”to mend a broken world.”
In 1976, he had a vision of a tall man at his gate – the Lord – who directed him to begin painting “sermon art” because, “preaching don’t do much good – no one listens – but a picture gets on a brain cell.” The voice commanded him to paint this sacred art and to create individual paintings and portraits of personal heroes, religious and patriotic images and to pass on his spiritual messages to the world, and all of his paintings contain witty, printed quotations known as “Finsterisms.”
Several of his paintings show how he was influenced by the imagery on postcards, popular magazines, cultural icons like Elvis Presley, historical figures and, of course, figures from the Bible. Some of his creations have joined the contemporary art and music world through his paintings for the album covers of the rock groups REM and The Talking Heads. Other artists to use Finster art on their record covers include Memory Dean, Pierce Pettis, and Adam Again.
Finster made art out of nail heads, gourds, bottles, mirrors, plastic, snow shovels and even an old Cadillac. However, the majority of his works were usually made out of plywood or heavy canvas, with the works ranging in size from a few square inches to 8-9 feet in heigh and now, through May 7th, visitors can tour the Paradise Garden’s collection and see some of his rarest early works there. The ArtDaily news site gives us some additional information – https://artdaily.cc/news/154947/Howard-Finster-s-rarely-seen-early-wood-creations-now-shown-at-Paradise-Garden#.ZAE2lHbMK03 and you can plan your own visit to Finster’s sacred space at https://paradisegardenfoundation.org/plan-your-visit-to-howard-finsters-paradise-garden/
b) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 9th, 2023 – The street art show at Saatchi Gallery’s outpost in London, one that’s being lauded as “the biggest ever” and that includes original art, rare memorabilia ephemera, photography, immersive and site-speciﬁc installations, fashion and several “surprises” including a full-size recreation of a record shop – https://www.saatchigallery.com/exhibition/beyond_the_streets_london The show’s on until the 9th of May and has received many glowing reviews, beginning with this description found on the ArtDaily new site – https://artdaily.cc/news/154593/Saatchi-Gallery-presents-the-most-comprehensive-graffiti—street-art-exhibition-to-open-in-the-UK#.Y_Ph_XbMK00 and continuing with articles of varying lengths and details from scores of publications – https://www.saatchigallery.com/exhibition/reviews/beyond_the_streets_london_68
c) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 14th, 2023 – There’s an exhibition continuing at the Groninger Museum in Groningen, Netherlands that puts on display the talents of the design team responsible for dozens of iconic (it’s a word I hate to use but, in this case, absolutely fitting) album covers – i.e., Storm Thorgerson, Aubrey Powell and the others who contributed to the Hipgnosis design agency, with the initial details reviewed on the ArtDaily site – https://artdaily.cc/news/153798/Groninger-Museum-unveils-a-world-first-with-exhibition-The-Art-of-Hipgnosis#.Y81vtXbMK00
The Art of Hipgnosis opened during a huge music fast in mid-January, and here’s how the museum describes the show, which will be on display until the 14th of May, 2023 – “Their illustrations have decorated the walls of millions of teenage bedrooms since the 1970s. Yet many people have never heard of the London design studio Hipgnosis. Now the Groninger Museum is honouring the group, which designed legendary album covers for some of the world’s biggest rock acts, with its first ever major exhibition: The Art of Hipgnosis: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel & 10cc…produced long before the invention of digital photography and Photoshop, The Art of Hipgnosis gives you an up-close look at the design, process and stories behind the most iconic album covers ever made.”
Groninger Museum director Andreas Blühm curated the exhibition with Hipgnosis founder Aubrey Powell. All the photographs and objects in The Art of Hipgnosis come from Powell’s private archive, and you can learn/see more on the museum’s website at https://www.groningermuseum.nl/en/art/exhibitions/hipgnosis
d) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 21st, 2023– NYC’s Fotografiska Museum continues its display of a show built around an impressive collection of historic rap/hip-hop photos that was put together to help mark the 50th anniversary of mostly-agreed-upon date of the event that launched the genre that’s now one of the world’s most impactful (in terms of music, dance, fashion and the visual arts that surround it).
Hip Hop: Conscious, Unconscious opened in late January with a star-studded event and will be on display at the venue landmark building on Park Ave. South through the 21st of May of this year. According to the Museum’s website, the show was co-curated by Sally Berman and Sacha Jenkins, Chief Creative Officer of media giant Mass Appeal and “presents images ranging from iconic staples of visual culture to rare and intimate portraits of hip-hop’s biggest stars from legendary pioneers including Nas, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, and Mary J. Blige to modern icons such as Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B.
The works on view traverse intersecting themes such as the role of women in hip-hop; hip-hop’s regional and stylistic diversification and rivalries; a humanistic lens into the1970s-Bronx street gangs whose members contributed to the birth of hip-hop; and the mainstream breakthrough that saw a grassroots movement become a global phenomenon.” Visitors will find over 200 photos taken by noted photographers including Campbell Addy, Charlie Ahearn, Janette Beckman, George DuBose, Johnathan Mannion, Theo Wenner and many others, with more details available at https://www.fotografiska.com/nyc/exhibitions/hip-hop/
ON A RELATED NOTE – The team at the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in NYC has put up a very nice section on their website that introduces viewers to what’s being done in the city to commemorate the 50-year history of the genre. Working with the city of New York (with a video intro by NY Senator Charles Schumer) and the Office of the Mayor, the museum’s 12-month partnership also a calendar years’ worth of activities taking place throughout each of the five boroughs, as well as a global concert – https://uhhm.org/hip-hop-50/?
e) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 28th, 2023 – There’s an exhibition of Herbie Greene’s photography – the first career-long retrospective of San Francisco’s pioneering rock photographer – on display now through late May at the Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco. More about “The Haight-Ashbury Experience and the Pursuit of Happiness: The Photography of Herb Greene” can be found on the venue’s web site at https://haightstreetart.org/pages/the-haight-ashbury-experience-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness-the-photography-of-herb-greene
f) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 28th, 2023 – An exhibition continues that opened in London on April 6th that’s meant to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album. Here are two articles that provide us with some preliminary information about the show, which will be on display at the Southbank Centre in the city – https://www.rollingstone.co.uk/music/news/southbank-centre-celebrates-50-years-of-aladdin-sane-with-exhibition-southbank-centre-27162/ and https://uk.style.yahoo.com/aladdin-sane-50-years-exhibition-120000157.html? The show is going to be curated by Chris Duffy, photographer Brian Duffy’s son, and will be on display until the 28th of May. According to the press, “Aladdin Sane: 50 Years’ will feature a two-month long exhibition exploring the creation of the album’s iconic artwork, including the legendary lightning flash portrait by photographer Brian Duffy, as well as a stellar line-up of live music and talks inspired by the album.” Sounds like a great way to spend a day, no? More info is available on the venue’s site at https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/aladdin-sane-50-years
g) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 31st, 2023 – Punk photographer Jim Saah, whose nearly three dozen album package credits include work for Fugazi, Jawbox, The Cramps, Minor Threat and others – is the subject of a show in NY that opened this past April 1 – https://www.brooklynvegan.com/dc-punk-photographer-jim-saahs-work-featured-in-new-nyc-exhibition-this-spring/
A celebration of his book In My Eyes, Photographs 1982-1997, the exhibition will be on display at the Little Saint Gallery in Ridgewood, Queens from April 1 through the end of May.
h) CONTINUING THROUGH JUNE 4th, 2023 – Laguna Art Museum’s Shepard Fairey show (Facing the Giant – Three Decades of Dissent: Shepard Fairey), which launched on the 11 of March and runs there through June 4th, 2023, traces the highlights of the artist’s last 30+ years as an influential art and image-maker. This exhibition was organized by the Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA, in association with Fairey’s company, OBEY GIANT ART.
The son of a doctor and a realtor, Shepard demonstrated his artistic talents early on, developing his own designs for display on his skateboards and t-shirts. To further his skills, he went on to enroll in a program at the Idyllwild Arts Academy (Palm Springs, CA) and, after graduating, furthered his education at the famed Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI), graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1992. While in school at RISD, Shepard worked at a local skateboard shop where he was able to experiment with his own custom designs while diving deep into the punk/street/graffiti art scenes that interested him so much. When asked to demonstrate the art of stenciling, Fairey borrowed an image of wrestler Andre The Giant to create a sticker featuring an adaptation of that image coupled with the phrase “Andre The Giant Has A Posse” and the resulting image (and further versions of it) starting what would today be called a “viral sensation”. The Andre image would soon evolve into the “Obey Giant” campaign and, after graduation Fairey launched his own silkscreen printing business in Providence which he called Alternate Graphics.
In subsequent years, Fairey would often team up with other musicians and/or artists to create unique multi-media and multi-platform campaigns, such as the anti-war “Be The Revolution” street art/music series completed in 2004, 2005’s “Shock and Awe” campaign, and others. He also teamed up with graffiti artist Roger Gastman to launch Swindle Magazine and expanded his work in the music/film worlds with packages for the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line and CD/LP covers for a variety of musical acts including Led Zeppelin, Anthrax, Smashing Pumpkins, Bad Brains and others. In 2008, the awareness of Fairey’s talents reached a whole new degree of recognition when his “HOPE” portrait of presidential candidate Barack Obama – used on posters, flyers and a whole range of related merchandise – 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.
More on the show can be found on the museum’s website at https://lagunaartmuseum.org/exhibitions/shepard-fairey/ The museum had a well-attended opening night event during which Shepard served as host and DJ, and as you’ll see via the link to the video of the event – https://youtu.be/aowH5LZco-I – the artist was happy to mingle amongst his fans and share some bits of wisdom and info about what’s on display in the exhibition.
ON A RELATED NOTE – There was a recent auction/sale of some of the artist’s more-recent works held on the Artnet.com site and, as part of the promotion of that event, the auction site’s editorial staff put together a nice interview article in which Fairey shares some of the details about a selection of some of his most-recognizable works – https://news.artnet.com/buyers-guide/shepard-fairey-art-as-activism-2268931
i) CONTINUING THROUGH JUNE 4th, 2023 – On display now through June 4th at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles is a show built around the late photographer Jim Marshall’s portfolio of shots he took of the Rolling Stones back in 1972 and described in a posting on the Billboard.com site – https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/grammy-museum-rolling-stones-1972-photo-exhibit-1235165692/
The Rolling Stones 1972: Photographs By Jim Marshall is on display on the museum’s Fourth Floor Mike Curb Gallery, with more info and tickets available via the link – https://grammymuseum.org/event/the-rolling-stones-1972-photographs-by-jim-marshall/
Notable examples of Marshall’s album cover work – Allman Brothers Band – Live At Fillmore East; Moby Grape – Moby Grape and Commander Cody’s Country Cassanova, among others. Born in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois and spending his early years in the pro photo business shooting memorable images for record labels such as ABC, Columbia and Atlantic Records and also The Saturday Evening Post newspaper, the 1970s found Jim continuing his streak of award-winning images, many of which graced the covers of Rolling Stone and LIFE magazines, including photos of the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, T-Rex, Joni Mitchell, jazz greats Carmen Mcrae and Dizzy Gillespie and Karl Malden and Michael Douglas on the set of the TV series Streets of San Francisco. Jim died in 2010, but you can still page through his portfolio and purchase prints on his “official” web site – https://www.jimmarshallphotographyllc.com/
j) CONTINUING THROUGH JUNE 19th, 2023 – While perhaps best-known for his enormous catalog of live concert photographs, Larry Hulst’s portfolio also includes shots used on album covers for Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen, while his photos of Jimi Hendrix, Gace Slick, Janis Joplin and others have found their way into publications including Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and many others. Now, having dug into his archives to select 70+ images to serve as a career retrospective, Larry and the curatorial team at the Biggs Museum in Dover, Delaware have recently launched a show called Front Row Center: Icons of Rock, Blues, and Soul that’s available for viewing from now through the 19th of June, 2023.
The museum’s press site gives us more of the details – “The iconic photographs of Larry Hulst capture the freewheeling energy of live music and the enduring visual spectacle of rock’s greatest performers. From Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to David Bowie and Lauryn Hill, Front Row Center: Icons of Rock, Blues and Soul brings together over 70 images of legendary musicians and singers across three genres and generations. The exhibition charts Hulst’s extraordinary path through the pulsing heart of the most exciting live music of the last century, showcasing a unique visual anthology of rock, blues, and soul music from 1970–1999. These images, which have been featured on album art and Rolling Stone spreads, convey Hulst’s lifelong passion for the magnetism, immediacy, and unpredictability of live music. With photos that also document the unforgettable voices of funk, punk, and beyond, Front Row Center grants viewers an all-access pass to some of the most memorable performances in popular music history.”
More info on the show and related activities is available on the Biggs Museum site at https://www.biggsmuseum.org/exhibitions/ 55+ years since shooting his first concert event (The Who at LA’s Shrine Auditorium in 1967), Larry is still hard at work, and you can take a tour of his portfolio on his web site at https://www.larryhulst.com/
k) CONTINUING THROUGH JUNE 24th, 2023 – Photographer Jill Furmanovsky’s ongoing exhibition featuring over 80 images from her massive archive of rock music photographs continues in Manchester, U.K.. According to the article I found on the I Love Manchester website – https://ilovemanchester.com/jill-furmanovsky-work-manchester-oasis – “The exhibition, guest-curated by Noel Gallagher and photo-historian Gail Buckland, offers visitors a unique insight into Furmanovsky’s relationship with her subjects and the emotive quality of her work. An audio tour narrated by Jill herself will be available for visitors to access through their own headphones, bringing the stories behind the imagery closer to the audience. The show is available for viewing from April 15th to June 24th, 2023.
Here’s some additional info on special events taking place at the Manchester Central Library during the show’s run. In May, two special talks will take place at the library. The first takes place on the 9th of May – “Photographing the Invisible” with Jill Furmanvosky and Jon Savage. Jill speaks to the British Pop Archive’s Jon Savage about curating her retrospective and what you have to leave out. Then, on the 11th of May, you can attend “A life in Music : Jill Furmanovsky in conversation with Mark Cooper”. For the first time, former BBC Head of Music and long-time producer of Later with Jools Holland, Mark Cooper talks about a life in music with his long term friend Jill Furmanvosky.
For Central Library’s opening times click here
While I first reported about this show in the April newsletter, I recently found a nice interview by David Adamson on the Confidentials.com site with Ms. Furmanovsky about her career and the exhibition – https://confidentials.com/manchester/the-big-interview-jill-furmanovsky?
l) CONTINUING THROUGH JUNE 30th, 2023 – Another interesting show, this one featuring 14 examples of works from the 1960s and 1970s produced by celebrated music photographer Barry Wentzell, continues at The Portsmouth Music Experience at the Portsmouth Guildhall in Portsmouth, Hampshire, U.K. – https://www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/Hampshire/Portsmouth/PO6/Culture/Music/337052-Portsmouth-Guildhall-welcomes-UK-retrospective-of-iconic-music-photographer-Barrie-Wentzell
Running through the 30th of June, 2023, ‘Icons of Rock: Portrait & Performance’ offers visitors “a rare opportunity for music and photography fans to see some of Barrie’s works in the flesh. The exhibition has been arranged by a lifetime fan and follower of Barrie’s work, Nigel Grundy, Curator of the Portsmouth Music Experience, who was also a music photographer during the 1960s.” Wentzell is perhaps best-known as the chief staff photographer for Britain’s Melody Maker music magazine for many years and he also contributed to the retail packaging of records from top performers including YES, Cat Stevens, John Mayall, Wishbone Ash, Fleetwood Mac, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and many others.
Learn more about this show, which is free and open to the public, on the venue’s website at http://www.portsmouthmusicexperience.org.uk/index.html
m) CONTINUING THROUGH JULY, 2023 – 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:
https://www.rockhall.com/exhibitions/hotter-july and https://www.rockhall.com/rock-roll-hall-fame-announces-sizzling-new-photography-exhibit-and-series-events
Artist News and Interviews:
a) Here’s a link to an Interview by noted author Steven Heller with the folks (i.e., partners Johnathan Swafford and Eric Palmerlee) behind the multi-disciplinary design/publishing studio (and record label) Aqualamb that I found in “The Daily Heller” section on the PRINT Magazine site – https://www.printmag.com/daily-heller/the-daily-heller-the-evolution-of-aqualamb/ According to Mr. Heller, the duo were motivated to create their organization “by the lack of album art in the age of invisible music”, and I think you’ll agree that they’ve taken this inspiration to great lengths, producing some very nice work…
b) By sharing the project details for an album cover package they created for Third Man Records musical act Olivia Jean’s new album Raving Ghost (where they were hired to design a set and photograph the cover art for the record), design team Jada & David are featured on the DIYPhotography site in a story originally posted on their own blog – https://www.jadaanddavid.com/story/The-Making-Of-Olivia-Jean-s-New-Album-Cover-Raving-Ghost-Third-Man-Records/ Accompanying the article is a 7+ minute “making of” video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOHyCkP1qxY&t=51s narrated by Jada.
c) GOLDMINE Magazine contributor Ken Sharp nabbed an interview with designer/illustrator/bassist Klaus Voorman to bring us the details of his work – Grammy-winning, I must add – on the memorable cover illustration found on The Beatles’ Revolver LP. The collage consisted of Voorman’s pen and ink drawings, combined with photographer Robert Freeman’s cropped photos (and a Robert Whitaker photo on the back), and was in stark contrast to the psychedelic colors found on so many other record covers of the era, making it even more of a standout when looking back on it all these years later – https://www.goldminemag.com/interviews/klaus-voormann-on-the-story-behind-the-cover-art-of-beatles-revolver For an even deeper dive, several years ago, when the album’s 50th anniversary was being celebrated and merchandised, Voorman released a fine book – Revolver 50: Birth of an Icon – detailing his involvement in the making of this classic album and also published his own limited-edition graphic novel of the Revolver story he titled Iconic – https://shopping.voormann.com/product/iconic/ .
d) Renowned album cover artists/designers Ernie Cefalu and Gerard Huerta, along with UVA music historian Jack Hamilton, were recently interviewed by the folks from the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of VA as part of their ongoing series titled “The Art in Life”. Past topics in the series have included the art of tattoos, hair styles, children’s and comic books, wine labels and others – https://www.youtube.com/@klugeruheaboriginalartcoll8828/videos
The 4/20/23 webinar, moderated by Lauren Maupin and Kalista Diamantopoulos, found both artists seemingly in good health and spirits and eager to share their histories, the stories behind some of their better-known projects and their opinions on a variety of related subjects, including examples of their favorite album covers, AI and Augmented reality and how artists and musicians must work harder to protect their works from those that wish to exploit them.
Learn more from the masters via this recording of the Webinar, which you’ll find on the museum’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaDYlG6ar_I&list=PLCRZD7Rw4rVv8BNp-v8-Jwube3tJd19Qx&index=10
ON A RELATED NOTE – Writer Ivor Levene added a couple of detailed interviews to his ongoing series done with designer Ernie Cefalu about his work, these giving us some greater appreciation for his work for the comedy duo of Cheech & Chong and rock gods Alice Cooper and Aerosmith –
e) In early April, San Francisco Art Exchange’s Jim Hartley co-hosted a video chat with famed illustrator Gerald Scarfe, best known to music imagery fans as the genius behind the memorable artwork and animations made for Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Now in his late 80s (born in 1936), Scarfe shares the story of his life’s trip from war-torn WW2 London through his life as an illustrator (working on images for a number of famed publications in the UK such as The Sunday Times and The Daily Mail) before meeting Pink Floyd in the early 1970s after they’d seen a short film he’d done. He’d continue to work with Roger Waters as he embarked on his solo career and also took on various commissions for other work, including logos and show graphics for television shows; character design and art direction for Disney’s 1997 film Hercules – even a sculpture for the “Millennium Dome” venue! Truly an iconoclast and one of the world’s best-known artists, he still is pleased to be able to share stories from his career and nearly 87 years of life on this planet, as you’ll see via the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgu7LtIb2P4
f) The latest string of album art-related features on the Muse By Clio site finds the editorial team behind the “Art of the Album” series asking several artists/production execs/musicians and album art fans to share some of their favorite covers and why it is that they stand out amongst all others.
First, “10 Album Covers to Make You Feel Some Kind of Way, Chosen by Matt Sherman of Zambezi – Yoko Ono, David Bowie, Dolly Parton and more” finds the award-winning Group Creative Director at the LA-based ad agency Zambezi making note that, although he’d have loved to give us his “real” top 10 list, most of them have been mentioned by others in this series previously, and so “these are not my favorite covers (okay, a handful are) but rather a collection of album art that makes me feel something. And like a toddler, I have LOTS of feelings. Some of these covers make me sad, some make me confused, a few make me nostalgic and one makes me afraid of the flute. What could possibly make a grown man afraid of a woodwind? Read on to find out!” ‘Nuff said – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-album-covers-make-you-feel-some-kind-way-chosen-matt-sherman-zambezi
This column was soon followed by “9 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Daniel Wårdh of Stept Studios: Supertramp, Daft Punk, Overmono and more” – https://musebycl.io/art-album/9-great-album-covers-chosen-daniel-wardh-stept-studios Daniel’s dedication to cover art was on full display as a kid who felt compelled to download the album cover art for every song he downloaded – legally or not – to his iPod.
The month’s series continued on with “10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Ned Brown of Bader Rutter: Secret of Elements, Edith Piaf, Mac Miller and more”. Ned is the Chief Creative Officer for the popular Milwaukee, WI-based ad/media company and puts together a pretty broad-based selection spanning nearly 70 years, from a 1952 record cover by acclaimed illustrator David Stone Martin for singer Billie Holiday through the 2021 painting by painter Alice Sfintesco used on the cover of the classical/electronic act Secret of Elements’ Chronos (with a stop in nearly every decade in between for some classic and not-so-classic-but cool covers) – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-ned-brown-bader-rutter
Lastly for the month, when I read the titled for another “Great Album Covers” round-up – “10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Anthony Wolch of Beyond Marketing Group: Velvet Underground, KISS, Meat Loaf and more”, my first reaction was to wonder why they’d asked a person involved in the veg-based meats business to share his thoughts. After a little bit of research, it turns out the Beyond Marketing Group is a professional marketing services company with “designers, strategists, entrepreneurs, and marketing geniuses at your complete disposal”, but as he did include Meat Loaf in the list, I still have to think that there’s something food-themed driving the discussion here – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-anthony-wolch-beyond-marketing-group
Items for Sale and/or at Auction:
a) While a lot of the album cover press’ attention this year has been focused on the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, another record featuring one of the best-known album cover images – David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane – is also celebrating it’s Golden Anniversary. To commemorate this milestone and to share the stories behind how his father crafted this iconic image, Chris Duffy – a talented photographer in his own right and the man in charge of the Brian Duffy archives – has released a new book titled Aladdin Sane: 50 Years. As it’s described on the Musichead Gallery site, “This landmark book contains hundreds of photographs, including dozens of David from the Aladdin Sane session that have never been seen until now, fifty years since they were taken. Aladdin Sane 50 also features essays by renowned experts and authors Paul Morley, Charles Shaar Murray, Nicholas Pegg, Kevin Cann, Jérôme Soligny and Geoffrey Marsh on Bowie’s remarkable album and the story behind the famous cover. In a breathtaking package designed by long-time Bowie collaborators Barnbrook creative studio, Aladdin Sane 50 pays tribute to a seminal album and an iconic image, one that will live forever more in rock ‘n’ roll history.” The 256-page illustrated book is priced at $50 and can be seen via the gallery’s website – https://musichead.com/collections/brian-duffy/products/aladdin-sane-50-years-by-chris-duffy-hardcover The gallery and the estate are also making a large selection of open and limited-edition prints of photos related to this memorable photo session, including contact sheets, alt images (negative images and one with Mr. Bowie’s eyes open) and, of course, the image used on the cover of the 1973 record release. Was he the “prettiest star”, or just a “cracked actor”? In any case, we were all fortunate to watch that man…
b) Joining the long list of celebrities and musicians who’ve attached themselves to branded food and drink products are Irish rock stars Thin Lizzy, who’ve collaborated with – and brought their graphics to – a Western Ireland distillery (West Cork Distillers) to bring fans “Thin Lizzy Irish Whiskey”. The team behind the new products – an Irish whiskey and a spiced Irish rum – enlisted the talents of long-time TL contributor Jim Fitzpatrick to design the distinctive label. You can meet the people who’ve gotten together to do this on their website, including Scott Gorham, Brian Downey and the late Phil Lynott’s family, on their site at – https://thinlizzyspirits.com/the-tale/
Mr. Fitzpatrick, a renowned Celtic artist, created the album art for the band’s 1973 debut Vagabonds of the Western World, plus others including Nightlife, Jailbreak, Chinatown and Black Rose (the image you’ll see on the distilled beverage bottles), but is perhaps even better-known for the two-toned poster of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara – https://jimfitzpatrick.com/
More on the topic can be found at https://www.hotpress.com/music/thin-lizzy-collaborate-with-west-cork-distillers-on-new-whiskey-22963828
c) An upcoming “Signature Auction” to be hosted by the Heritage Auction house will be including some works by the now quite hot artist Ernie Barnes, whose painting (titled Sugar Shack) that was used on the cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album I Want You sold last year for a mind-boggling $15+ million. In preparation for the auction, Intelligent Collector’s Christina Rees posted a nice article that traces the career of the late artist as both a painter and a professional football player (one who was fined by his coaches for sketching during team meetings, so dedicated was he to his craft and who was known to his Denver Broncos teammates as “Big Rembrandt”) – https://intelligentcollector.com/the-great-ernie-barnes-revival/?
If you’re interested in participating in this upcoming auction, be sure to look through the list of lots being offered in the “DIVERSE VISIONS: IMPORTANT WORKS BY AMERICAN MASTERS SIGNATURE® AUCTION 8113 that takes place May 12, 2023 – HA.com/8113a
d) Last month’s newsletter offered up an introduction to a recent exhibition and upcoming book about the somewhat embarrassing (but I still must look) aspects of the less-than-good covers found on records throughout the years (such as Simon Robinson and Steve Goldman’s upcoming The Art of The Bizarre Record Sleeve – https://easyontheeyebooks.wordpress.com/forthcoming/the-art-of-the-bizarre-album-sleeve/). Bad album art can always spark a conversation, so if you’re looking for a decent overview of some of the worst covers of all time with which to begin the discussion, all you need to do is click on over to the Pocket-Lint.com site for contributor Rik Henderson’s overview – https://www.pocket-lint.com/worst-album-cover-art-of-all-time-funny-bad-weird/
e) KICKSTARTER PROJECT UPDATE – A couple of month’s back, I shared info about photographer Elliott Landy’s latest Kickstarter program meant to raise the necessary funds to produce and deliver a second book of photos (and the stories behind them) derived from his huge and very behind-the-scenes archives of The Band – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thebandbook2/elliott-landys-the-band-photographs-book-volume-2 As in the first project, supporters have been able to pre-order both books and book packages that include one of the many prints Elliott has on offer.
With the opportunity to provide initial support for Mr. Landy’s project having ended this past April 8th, I am very pleased to be able to report that over 450 supporters had pledged over $92,000 towards the production, beating the initial goal of $65,000 by over 40%! Backers committed to over 400 of the new books, while scores others opted for packages that included posters and limited-edition prints of some of Elliott’s better-known photos of The Band, with the book’s delivery estimated for the coming November. Congratulations to Elliott and all of the supporters who pooled their resources in support of what I’m sure will be a great addition to their libraries (and their walls).
f) Brian Cannon and team Microdot continue to garner a lot of attention with the launch of their new branded boutique location in Manchester, UK, with a video tour being posted recently by the Manchester Evening News – https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/inside-manchesters-new-music-art-26586854
Auction Results Updates:
a) Julien’s Auctions, along with Turner Classic Movies (TCM) held their “Hollywood: Classic and Contemporary” auction events on Saturday, April 22nd and Sunday, April 23rd at their Beverly Hills, CA outpost, memorabilia offering that included over 1400 items of interest to fans of some of the world’s best-known films. One item that caught my eye was a suit worn by actor John Travolta during his Academy Award-nominated performance as Tony Manero in the film Saturday Night Fever. According to the company’s post-auction recap, “the suit, worn by Travolta in the film, sold for $260,000. In a star-making turn at the young age of 23, Travolta transforms his character’s street swagger and self-assuredness into the stuff of legend when he struts onto the dance floor and showcases his natural dancing ability. Considered one of the most iconic costumes in the history of cinema, this suit is one of only two known to exist used during production, including in the film’s memorable dance sequences. This specific Saturday Night Fever suit has never been exhibited, nor auctioned before until this weekend at Julien’s.” I’m not sure whether this suit was the one worn in the photo (cropped from a frame from the film, and also used on the promo poster) that adorned the cover of the film’s incredibly-popular, Grammy Award-winning (for “Album of the Year”) soundtrack album (with worldwide sales topping 40 million copies!), but it will certainly remain one of the most-memorable costumes ever seen on an album package. I’m not sure who purchased the lot, but I can only hope that he or she takes good care of this iconic item – https://www.julienslive.com/lot-details/index/catalog/467/lot/204191
b) Photographer Annie Leibovitz has partnered with the Taschen art/book publishing house to release a new series of limited-edition prints featuring four of her well-regarded images of celebrities including actor Whoopi Goldberg, artist Keith Haring and two musicians who have worked with Ms. Leibovitz in the past on images for their records, songwriter Patti Smith and David Byrne – https://www.printed-editions.com/artist/annie-leibovitz/art-edition-no-1-275-david-byrne-taschen/ .
c) In an interesting test of true fan loyalty, lovers of pop singer Harry Styles are now able to purchase a handmade replica of the vintage sofa found on the British pop icon’s 2022 album, Harry’s House, which arose from a collaboration between two talented Portland, OR designers and the city’s Woonwinkel home store. Only 500 units of the $4995.00 sofa will be made, with more details available on the Portland Monthly site at https://www.pdxmonthly.com/home-and-real-estate/2023/04/harry-styles-cover-art-sofa-your-house-couch Isn’t that precious?
d) The Sotheby’s auction house has released some initial details of what I’m sure will be one of the most-visited collections of memorabilia this year – a huge cache of items from the estate of the late great Freddie Mercury, left upon his death in 1991 to his girlfriend/soul-mate Mary Austin. Set for September, Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own, includes some truly desirable items, including costumes, artwork, hand-written lyrics, items of a personal nature, letters and – get ready – the crown and cloak he wore while performing the finale rendition of “God Save The Queen” during his last tour with Queen. That crown, modelled after the actual royal coronation crown, will be on display in Sotheby’s New Bond Street windows until May 5th in the leadup to King Charles’s coronation. The crown has a pre-auction estimate of £60,000-£80,000, but I’m fairly certain that it will be snapped up for many more GBPs than that, don’t you agree?
The collection will travel to several Sotheby’s showrooms prior to the actual auction, so if you’d like to get more advance info on this sale, please click on over to https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2023/freddie-mercury-a-world-of-his-own-the-evening-sale
Miscellaneous Items and other Brief Bits:
As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet (well, most of them, anyway):
a) OBITS – No bad news this month – thanks goodness!
a) In addition to the info he provided about artists at the Snap Galleries I relayed at the beginning of this newsletter, collector/music historian/author Ken Orth also was kind enough to send along some information about a chum of his – Charles Yoe, a Professor in the Business & Economics Department at Notre Dame of Maryland University and a well-known expert on all things Rolling Stones related – who recently posted his first five episodes in his podcast “Album Art – The Cover Stories” about the album art of the Rolling Stones. As per Ken’s note – “Recorded along with his son Adam, the episodes detail the creation and art for the albums The Rolling Stones (first LP), Sticky Fingers, Beggars Banquet, Exile on Main Street and Let It Bleed. The talk is informative and entertaining, and each episode makes for a half-hour well-spent. https://www.buzzsprout.com/2160569
Charlie has already told the album-by-album stories of all the Stones covers at https://iorr.org/albums/ and that, too, is worth seeking out. Additional podcast episodes are expected in the near future.”
Ken also pointed me to the works of author Patrick Roefflaer, who has written a long list of articles about the artwork used to package the works of iconoclast Bob Dylan as part of the “Untold Dylan” (“The meaning behind the music and words of Bob Dylan”) section of the Bob-Dylan.org.uk site – https://bob-dylan.org.uk/album-artwork. Album cover stories posted to date include Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Bob Dylan, Slow Train Coming, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Times they are a changin’, The Basement Tapes and many others. So much to learn, so little time to learn it!
b) Two talented artists who I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing at different points over the 12-year history (so far) of the ACHOF – film-maker Roddy Bogawa and the late designer/photographer Storm Thorgerson – pooled their resources and insider knowledge on the topic and have created a new film about Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett. While Storm sadly did not live to see the completion of the project, a team of talented producers – with Bogawa directing – collaborated to see the project through and that documentary film, titled Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd (produced by Mercury Studios, Believe Media and A Cat Called Rover) will premiere at Everyman King’s Cross in London on April 27th, 2023 and will be released in theaters in the U.K. May 15th, with a North American release to follow in late June.
Here’s a link to the film’s official website – https://www.sydbarrettfilm.com/ and, according to the site, the film will include “iconic screen footage for Shine On You Crazy Diamond, rarely seen excerpts of Syd backstage, never-before seen photographs and a soundtrack full of Floyd’s music…” Sounds wonderful.
Some of you will recall that Roddy was also responsible for an acclaimed documentary about the life of his co-director, Storm Thorgerson from the Hipgnosis design studio, and was kind enough to share his thoughts on a variety of music industry and album art-related topics with me in a two-part interview I conducted with him back in 2011 as he was working on his film Taken By Storm –
Part 1 – Topics covered include Storm’s work for Pink Floyd (Animals, Dark Side of the Moon); Black Sabbath (Never Say Die) and The Cranberries (Wake Up and Smell The Coffee) https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2011/06/index.html
Part 2 – A bit more on Pink Floyd (A Momentary Lapse of Reason); Peter Gabriel (Peter Gabriel’s first album) and Audioslave (Audioslave), plus general discussion topics https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2011/07/index.html
c) The editorial team at Far Out Magazine continues on with their The Cover Uncovered album cover art series after a brief hiatus, this month bringing us the story behind one of rock’s best-known covers from the late 1960s – that being R. Crumb’s classic image found on the Big Brother & The Holding Company record Cheap Thrills – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-cover-uncovered-big-brother-and-the-holding-companys-r-crumb-classic-cheap-thrills/ As a long-time fan of Mr. Crumb’s work (as evidenced by my proud ownership of both a limited-edition print of the Cheap Thrills cover and a tattoo of a classic Crumb character on my arm), it’s a story I know well but still enjoy revisiting due to the fact that I’ve long been a champion for fair compensation for album package artwork and this is an early example of the exact opposite of that…
d) The folks at American Songwriter have been pretty steadfast on delivering regular articles about album covers and the people that made them and, this past month, they delivered a decent-sized cache of nice ones, with the first one being Tina Benitez-Eves story about the cover art for Green Day’s Dookie that is often compared to the Where’s Waldo comics in that it contains lots of hidden jewels – https://americansongwriter.com/the-story-behind-green-days-wheres-waldo-like-album-cover-for-dookie/ The second article – this one by Alex Hopper – brings us the story behind one of the best-known butt shots in the annals (sorry about that) of album cover history, that being the one arranged by photographer Annie Leibovitz and her team for the cover of the still-touring Mr. Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A. LP – https://americansongwriter.com/the-story-behind-bruce-springsteens-born-in-the-u-s-a-album-cover/ In reading this article, it brought a conspiracy theory to my attention that I’d never heard before and, now after reading it, it makes me even sadder that some people are way too stuck in an alternate universe of their own making. Continuing on, Alli Patton shared a story about the amazing George Hardie-penned cover for the first Led Zeppelin album, with visuals based on the tragic explosion of the Hindenberg zeppelin over its docking area in New Jersey in 1937 – https://americansongwriter.com/behind-the-explosive-cover-of-led-zeppelins-1969-self-titled-debut-album/ .
Next up – who was the cutie pie baby featured on the cover of the late rap star Notorious B.I.G.’s hit 1994 release Ready To Die? AS contributor Thomas Galindo reprises the details first released in 2011 in the New York Daily News – https://americansongwriter.com/whos-the-baby-on-notorious-b-i-g-s-ready-to-die-album-cover/ – and while it was NOT a picture of a Baby Biggie, the featured kid is quite proud to have been featured – diaper and all – on the record’s cover (unlike some Nirvana-related babies we’ve come to know via the lawsuits filed years later). And the boys from Hipgnosis are in the headlines again (at least the headline for this story) and this time its not about The Dark Side of the Moon! A very brave stunt man gets all fired up in prep for his job posing for the cover of the band’s Wish You Were Here, and as you can figure, he wishes he were anywhere but there for this particular gig – https://americansongwriter.com/the-story-behind-pink-floyds-wish-you-were-here-album-cover/
Controversial rap icon Kanye West has famously collaborated with several fine artists and photographers for the covers for his own recorded materials, with one shooter – Danny Clinch – incorporating a handy high school mascot to serve as a mystery guest on Ye’s 2004 Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella debut album College Dropout (as told by AS’s Thomas Galindo – https://americansongwriter.com/the-story-behind-the-bear-on-kanye-wests-college-dropout-album-cover/
Lastly, Alli Patton returns with the story about the sources of the anatomically interesting artifacts – from Kurt Cobain’s own collection – used to decorate the cover of the band’s In Utero album back in 1993 – https://americansongwriter.com/the-story-behind-nirvanas-in-utero-album-cover/
More Legal Case Updates – Still waiting for a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in the copyright/fair use case of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. vs. photographer Lynn Goldsmith…the parties are anticipating hearing from the Court before their June, 2023 recess. It’s an important case on a number of levels, so we’ll do our best to keep you up-to-date on whatever we hear. Art organizations and individual creative types of all stripes – museums, image agencies, photographers, book publishers, etc. – are currently sitting on pins and needles waiting to see how this particular court rules on the matter…
e) Album covers that look like other album covers. As we talk about what’s “original” any more (with AI and similar technologies clouding up our senses and beliefs), I found this recent article about a rock star suing his former rock star bandmate friends about finances, as it always comes down to money, right – https://planetradio.co.uk/planet-rock/news/rock-news/mick-mars-sues-motley-crue/
a) On the Metal Hammer/Loudersound site, Matt Mills has put together an article in which he shares the stories behind every album cover in Avenged Sevenfold’s discography – https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-story-behind-every-avenged-sevenfold-album-cover-art
b) It seems that its never too early to declare “the best album covers of the year”, as is evidenced by this article (“BEST ALBUM COVERS OF 2023: 10 GREAT ARTWORKS OF THE YEAR”) on the This Is Dig! Website by Izzy Sigston – https://www.thisisdig.com/feature/best-album-covers-of-2023/ Not to say that the covers shown aren’t enticing or well-done but, heck, it’s only May!!
c) While we’re discussing art related to metal music, the folks behind Metallica’s most-recent release shared a link to a widget – https://www.metallicalogogenerator.com/ – that takes a short line of text – your name, a favorite phrase, or something snarky – “Metallicizes” the text and then places it in the middle of the album cover for 72 Seasons. On a related note and, as you might figure, fans and people with time on their hands have used the tool to create some great/good/what you’d expect parodies of the cover, as detailed in this article on the KnowYourMeme.com site – https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/metallica-72-seasons-album-cover-parodies
d) The editorial team on the Discogs.com site has put up a handy-dandy timeline article in honor of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. For each era they’ve outlined, they’ve also selected several records (for a total of 50) as standouts in the timeframe covered – https://www.discogs.com/digs/music/hip-hop-history-timeline/
e) I hadn’t seen this before, but there’s a nicely-done interactive Sgt Peppers page hosted on the uDiscoverMusic.com site – https://sgtpepper.udiscovermusic.com/ that was included as of Jason Draper’s “Who’s Who” article published last year on the site.
f) Although it is a bit click-baity, an article I was alerted to that appeared on a fashion site called NextLuxury (covering Men’s Style, Home Design, Tattoos and the like) that was titled “20 of the Most Iconic Album Covers of All Time” went a bit further than most by including some discussion as to why each album image was selected – https://nextluxury.com/entertainment/iconic-album-covers/ – and while it does include many of the same covers ALWAYS included in articles like these (Sgt. Peppers, Aladdin Sane, The Velvet Underground & Nico, etc.), it also included several more-unusual selections, such as one for the currently-incarcerated musician Young Thug’s 2016 album Jeffery and two images often seen on t-shirts at concerts – Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Black Sabbath Vol. 4.
g) Also click-baitish but still brimming with interesting tidbits is Ultimate Classic Rock’s article by Allison Rapp titled “40 Stars From Famous Album Covers” which shares bits and pieces about the people – actors/actresses, models, young people, celebrities and several individuals who may or may not be alive – who’ve graced some of our favorite album covers – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/album-cover-stars/
Lastly but not Leastly:
In what might be one of the first signs of the coming of the Apocalypse, here’s a story about a music distributor who is providing its clients with AI-based tools for album cover generation – https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2023/04/09/too-lost-dall-e-2-album-cover-art/
Per the company’s web site, Too Lost (the music distributor) is a “worldwide music distribution for independent artists and labels, made easy.” Their goal is “to provide all musical creators, at any level, the access and tools to build successful music businesses. Too Lost is dedicated to building the most efficient and comprehensive digital infrastructure for the independent music sector.”
Based on my attempts to create (or re-create) serious album art via these platforms, I haven’t seen anything yet that I’d be willing to put on my own music (if I had any, that is), but as we’re often being asked to lower the bar for many things these days, this might be all that some acts think they need. Based on what I hear though from those working in the field, many have never been busier, so perhaps more musicians than not understand that good art – great art – is perhaps still best realized when coming from the imaginations of those who are truly creative.
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for the timely news alerts you’ll find on our news feed (sign up below to get an automatic email every time there’s something new on the ACHOF site). As I’ll be hosting out-of-towners and doing some travelling during the month of May, chances are that I won’t be able to assemble anything resembling a good newsletter for June 1, so I’ll have to beg you for your indulgence for another month and will be returning at the end of June or the first day of July with another update. Of course, if I finish the interviews/articles I’ve been working on, I’ll post those individually and send out a notice ASAP they’re available. Until later this Spring/early Summer then, enjoy the beginnings of your Summer holiday season, the emergence of the first blooms of your favorite flowers and herbs (I’m hoping for maybe even a hummingbird or two) and enjoying time with friends and family.
Until next time, Peace and Love to you all,
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2023 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All the trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.