Included in this list are the names of people who have been credited in a variety of books and magazines as having introduced the public to the art of the modern album cover. While the ACHOF will focus primarily on the best rock and pop music-related cover art and artists, it is important to get a basic understanding of how the modern music industry moved from selling their products in plain paper sleeves (which looked just fine next to the sheet music and music instruction books that were on the shelves or in the bins next to them) to the eye-catching packages that were meant to introduce you somehow to the music packaged inside.
While the record labels were hesitant to increase their production and packaging costs, once they were able to gauge the public’s response to these new packages (and saw that the buying public LOVED them), they quickly cost-justified the additional investments and thus began a new era in tying the visual arts to music.
If you’d like to view more of a nominee’s work in this area, we invite you to visit the links provided, or reference one of the many books/web sites used during the research phase of the ACHOF nominating process.
Early Influencers – (Name, Work History, Sample of Credits)
Saul Bass – Art Director/Designer/Animator – freelance for labels including Decca, RCA/Victor, Capitol and Columbia Records from 1954-68. Clients included Otto Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese , The Smithereens
More information available at – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Bass
Jim Flora – Art Director/Designer for Columbia Records from 1943-50; freelance for RCA/Victor Records from 1954-56. Clients included Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, Andre Previn, Lord Buckley, Jimmy Dorsey.
More information available at – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Flora
S. Neil Fujita – Art Director/Designer for Columbia Records from 1953-57 and 1958-60. Clients included Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker, Dick Hyman, The Jazz Messengers, Charles Mingus.
More information available at – http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/waxing-chromatic-an-interview-with-s-neil-fujita
Robert M. “Bob” Jones – Art Director/designer for Columbia Records from 1944-50; freelance from 1950-53; Art Director/designer for RCA/Victor Records from 1953-1975. Clients included Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Elvis Presley.
More information available at – http://www.birkajazz.com/archive/rca.htm
David Stone Martin – Designer for Asch Records 1944-47; Art Director/designer for Clef/Norgran/Verve Records 1948-55; freelance for Verve, Atlantic, RCA/Victor, Down Home and others 1955-. Clients included John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Harry Edison, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Mary Lou Williams, Oscar Peterson.
More information available at – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Stone_Martin
Reid Miles – Agency designer for Blue Note Records from 1956-67; freelance photographer for various labels from 1967-93. Clients included Sonny Clark, Kenny Burrell, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Chicago.
More information available at – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_Miles
Alex Steinweiss – Art Director/Designer for Columbia Records 1939-43 and (freelance) 1948-50; Freelance designer/Art Director for Remington, Decca/London and Everest Records from 1950-74. Introduced first individually-designed record cover (Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart) in 1940 and pioneered cardboard sleeve-based packaging for 33-1/3 RPM LPs in 1948. Clients included Cole Porter, Bing Crosby, Woody Herman, Andre Kostelanetz.
More information available at – http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/medalist-alexsteinweiss
Mozelle Thompson – In 1953, Thompson began his career in New York City as a freelance illustrator where, over the next 15 years, he’d work on album cover commissions for industry heavyweight RCA Records (and subsidiary labels), becoming one of the first successful (and Grammy Awward-nominated) African-American artists working in the field. Notable album package credits include – Del Wood – Hot Happy & Honky Vols. 1 and 2 and Down Under; Boston Pops Orchestra – Curtain Going Up; Lightnin’ Hopkins – Country Blues; Gerry Mulligan & Paul Desmond – Blues In Time; Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Live; Dr. Martin Luther King – The Man of Love; Melanie – Born To Be; Cab Calloway – Hi De Hi De Ho; Michael Herman’s Folk Dance Orchestra – Multiple Titles; Morton Gould/Chicago Symphony – Charles Ives Symphony #1; Hank Williams – The Lonesome Sound of Hank Williams
See more of this artist’s accomplishments on the Discogs.com site – https://www.discogs.com/artist/2583863-Mozelle-Thompson
To see a list of all of the current ACHOF inductees, please click here.