List of Nominees for Album Cover Hall of Fame, Class of 2014 –
Since officially launching the site in 2012 and having inducted our first two classes of honorees based on the results from the group’s initial surveys (album cover designers whose initial efforts were released between the years 1960 – 1975 and 1976 – 1990), nearly 200 new biographies have been added for consideration by the esteemed panel of writers, music industry leaders and curators of galleries (retail and online) that focus on album cover imagery.
This year’s Class – the final one prior to initiating our yearly voting process that will allow for the consideration of any talent not yet inducted into the ACHOF – consists of people who BEGAN their careers in the field during the period we’re focusing on this time – 1991 – present.
After a research, nominating and voting process that begins now and will end in mid-late November with our final vote, it is the job of the ACHOF Voting Panel to select a list of individuals and companies that very clearly represent the best examples of a large number of talented men, women and teams who’ve created and published a huge portfolio of memorable album cover images. This initial list of nominees – selected as the result of our initial nominating voting that ended in mid-October) include creatives (in four main categories) who are credited for their involvement in creating the principal images used on record album covers. In the three other categories, to provide some initial guidance, I’ve provided an overview to what we’re touching on in each. I’ve listed the nominees alphabetically and have included a short list of examples of their work, along with link to sources of additional information about the nominees’ backgrounds. There were several “write-ins” in various categories that were suggested during the course of our initial voting and, while none qualified this year, they will be included for consideration in next year’s nominating/voting process.
Please note – in most cases, the nominee’s portfolio of music industry-related work goes well beyond the samples listed next to his/her name and will usually include: a) works that were used elsewhere in/on a musical act’s record (back cover, inside gatefold, CD booklet, etc.), b) newspaper/magazine/book illustrations, and c) related uses (merchandise, gig posters, etc.). While a nominee’s work might be exceptional in any/all of those categories, we’re asking voters to stay focused on the nominee’s album cover works. I have chosen not to list all of a nominee’s works, as some have produced hundreds or thousands of examples, so if you’d like to view more of a nominee’s work in this area, I 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.
Nominees in the “Album Cover Photographer” Category (whose first credits took place some time after January, 1990) –
Danny Clinch; Merri Cyr; David LaChapelle; Colin Lane; Michael Lavine; Jonathan Mannion; Nitin Vadukul; Kirk Weddle
Nominees in the “Album Cover Illustrator” Category – inc. those specializing in logos and typography (whose first credits took place some time after January, 1990) –
Jonathan Barnbrook; Stanley Donwood; Emek; Doug Erb; Shepard Fairey; Bill McMullen; Russell Mills; Steve Vance
Nominees in the “Album Cover Designer” Category (whose first credits took place some time after January, 1990) –
Jonathan Barnbrook; Chris Bilheimer; Doug Erb; Hugh Gilmour; Bill McMullen; Russell Mills; Joe Perez; Brian Roettinger
Nominees in the “Album Cover Art Director” Category (whose first credits took place some time after January, 1990) –
Lawrence Azerrad; Peter Buchanan-Smith; Michael Carney; Don & Ryan Clark/Invisible Creature; Stanley Donwood; Hugh Gilmour; Kevin Reagan; Al Quattrocchi & Jeff Smith/Tornado Design
Nominees in the “Individual Achievement Awards” Category (whose first credits took place some time after January, 1990) –
Sacha Jafri for Jack Bruce’s Silver Rails; Darren Hughes for Hey Ma by James
Included in this category are designers, illustrators, photographers and art directors who, while not working primarily in the music-packaging field, created a memorable album cover. In some cases, the nominee may have had his/her career cut short due to illness or death (a condition that seems to have plagued the burgeoning recorded music industry), while in other examples, an artist’s talents in one specialty were noted and they were then asked to apply those talents in some unique way to an album cover project. In more than one instance, the nominee was a friend/relative/business associate/guru of someone related to the featured musical act and, therefore, entrusted with this important responsibility. Regardless of the circumstances, each nominee has left an indelible mark on the art of the album cover.
Nominees in the “Record Labels that Support Great Album Art ” Category (whose first credits took place some time after January, 1990) –
Get On Down; Interscope; Kill Rock Stars; Maverick; Roc A Fella
In as much as “pop” music in the early days of the Pop/Rock era included musical acts that easily crossed-over from jazz, R&B, country, folk and Rock & Roll to deliver music in many styles to a public hungry for their records, record companies were not eager to be classified and chose to make sure that their cover designs would appeal to a fairly broad audience.
However, many musical artists sought to team with like-minded art directors to create packaging for music that would best-represent their own feelings about how they’d like the buying public to perceive them and their music. Once shown to be effective marketing tools, trend-setting album cover design was embraced by certain record labels, who then – as a prelude to the big-budget video productions of the 1980s and 90s – put significant resources behind these promotional packages. It is the labels that showed this type of forethought that we look to honor in this category.
Nominees in the “Musical Acts with a long-standing commitment to great Album Cover imagery” Category (whose first credits took place some time after January, 1990) –
Arcade Fire; Beastie Boys; Beck; Bjork; Muse; Nirvana; The Roots; Wilco
Of course, without the patronage of musical acts and their record labels, there would be no great album cover art, but there were some acts that “got it” better than others and used their cover imagery to both help set the mood for the music packaged inside and build a deeper bond with their fans and potential fans. At times, a great album cover image could be a powerful enticement to shoppers browsing the racks at their favorite record store, whereas some fans of a band viewed them as “rewards” given to those who’d waited patiently for an act’s next release.
With the strong connection evident between the visual and aural arts, it only seems natural that musicians would find kindred spirits in the men and women tasked to produce the images for their recorded music.
The winners were announced on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 – please click here to see who has entered the hallowed (virtual) halls of the Album Cover Hall of Fame.