Album Cover Hall of Fame – Interviews with Album Cover Art and Creative Directors

ACHOF’s interviews with Album Cover Art/Creative Directors:

Susan Archie – The art director for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27), released by Third Man Records/Revenant Records, was the winner of the 2015 Grammy Award for “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package”)

Lawrence Azerrad – In early 2021, Lawrence (along with his chief collaborator, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy) was awarded with a Grammy for art-directing and designing the impressive special-edition package he created for Wilco’s critically-acclaimed studio record, Ode To Joy. This was the second time that Lawrence has been so honored and, if you’ll take a moment to look at the interview I did with him on this project – which included a hand-made, intricately-detailed pop-up book – you’ll begin to understand why it’s such a treat to watch what happens when two immensely-talented artists team up to create and produce something quite special for fans.

Ernie Cefalu – A pioneer in album cover design and founder of the famed Pacific Eye & Ear design studio, Ernie is featured in a 3-part interview (as well as a Featured Artist Portfolio article):

1st part – Details on projects for Iron Butterfly (Scorching Beauty); Black Sabbath (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath); Cheech & Chong (Big Bambu); Jefferson Airplane (Long John Silver and Baron Von Toll Booth & The Chrome Nun); Alice Cooper (School’s Out and Welcome To My Nightmare); Captain Beyond (Captain Beyond); The Doors (Full Circle); Cowboy (Glad To See Ya); Grand Funk Railroad (Phoenix) and Bee Gees (Main Course)

2nd part – Several artists lay claim to having created the original Rolling Stones “Lips & Tongue” logo – this is Ernie’s compelling story

3rd part – Sporting one of the best-known logos in the history of rock operas (still in production today), the Original Cast Recording of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice’s epic Jesus Christ Superstar

Ian Cuttler – The late art-director for the Grammy Award-winning box set chronicling the career of folk/country/pop pioneer Johnny Cash (The Legend: Johnny Cash) spoke with me in 2006 about what went in to making this impressive box set

Bert Dijkstra with Dick Van Dijk – here’s an interview article with the Amsterdam-based duo – Concerto Records’ owner Dick Van Dijk and Bert Dijkstra, founder of the Shop Around creative agency – who collaborated to produce the Vinylize! record art exhibition and its accompanying book, produced as a fund-raiser for a local environmental organization. Although it took me over a year to finish this article (my fault entirely), I hope that you’ll find it both entertaining and interesting and, as a bonus, there’s a special-release music track for your listening pleasure

Shauna & Sarah Dodds – This talented pair of sisters were 2014 recipients of Grammy Awards for the multi-media extravaganza (album cover, web site and more) they created for  Reckless Kelly’s Long Night Moon

Spencer Drate & Judith Salavetz – Designers, art directors and authors of a long list of much-praised books on design, I had the pleasure of interviewing the NYC-based duo about their Grammy-nominated work for Talking Heads on their Fear of Music album

Darren Evans – I’m pleased to share this 2022 interview with Grammy-winning art director Darren Evans where he shares the details of the work he and his chums Dhani and Olivia Harrison did to create the amazing (and Grammy-winning!) package for the 50th Anniversary edition of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Darren was also kind enough to share some wonderful “making of” photos, too.

Meghan Foley & Annie Stoll – This talented pair of art directors/designers teamed up with fan-favorite Weird Al Yankovic in 2018 to produce the Grammy Award-winning Squeeze Box box set, which featured music and memorabilia packaged inside an accordion-shaped package (so very appropriate!). Read more about how that all came together in this interview, published in 2021 – Interview with Annie Stoll and Meghan Foley on the making of Squeeze Box for Weird Al Yankovic

Bob Heimall – In his first year as an art director for the #1 act on Elektra Records at the time – The Doors – Bob was tasked to come up with a memorable cover for the band’s first “greatest hits” album (titled 13) – here’s the story

Bob Jones – Excerpted from the catalog describing one of the first releases in a set of album cover fine art prints produced in the early 1990s by a now-defunct publisher called Record Art, Elvis Presley’s 50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong was produced in 1959 by RCA Records’ art director Bob Jones –—e.html

Fritz Klaetke – In 2013, I was honored to be able to publish an interview with Fritz Klaetke of Visual Dialogue, winner of that year’s Grammy Award for “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” for his work on Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

John Kosh – Two talented artists – Linda Ronstadt and art director Kosh – have joined forces to release two dozen (!!) great albums, with Kosh and his team winning three Grammy Awards for “Best Recording Package” for their work over the years, including one in 1985 for Kosh’s cover designs for Lush Life

Masaki Koike – Rhino Records’ $800 retail mega-package celebrating the 50th anniversary of (arguably) the world’s most-famous music festival – WOODSTOCK: BACK TO THE GARDEN: THE DEFINITIVE 50TH ANNIVERSARY ARCHIVE – featured a Grammy-winning package design by Masaki Koike

David Larkham – David’s work for Elton John throughout the years, including the original package for the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road double album and its unique 3-panel design – has always been unique and memorable. The album cover team delivered six panels of impressive design, illustration, photography and typography, featuring individual illustrations for each song included on the record as well as the lyrics

Bill Levy – The story of both the creative endeavor and the mutual respect between two artists – James Brown (AKA “The Godfather of Soul”/”Hardest-Working-Man-In-Show-Business”) and Polydor art director Bill Levy – that produced the cover for 1979’s Original Disco Man is detailed here in this 2010 interview

Gail Marowitz – Singer/songwriter Aimee Mann’s 2005 record The Forgotten Arm found the artist working again with long-time collaborator Gail Marowitz, with the resulting effort winning the duo a Grammy Award for “Best Recording Package” in 2006—a.html

Stephen Paley – The front cover imagery for Sly & The Family Stone’s 1971 album There’s A Riot Goin’ On was produced by art director/photographer Stephen Paley who, in an unusual twist on the role of image-maker for a musical act, was also hired on to be the band’s A&R liaison with their record label (Epic Records). How this rather unique relationship produced the memorable cover for this even more-memorable recording is detailed in this interview, so if you’re ready to take a peek behind the scenes of this complicated family affair…

SMOG Design (Jeri Heiden and Glen Nakasako) – Illustrator Carson Ellis joined the team of Jeri Heiden and Glen Nakasako at Smog Design, Inc. and contributed to the much-lauded packaging for her husband Colin Meloy’s band’s 2018 release – The Decemberists I’ll Be Your Girl  – winning both a Grammy nom and a Making Vinyl Award and showing how “family projects” are often times the most-personal expressions of how records can be packaged

Sony Music EntertainmentDave Bett and Frank Harkins – I had the chance to interview both of these award-winning creative directors in Spring of 2021 to talk to them about how they and their teams approach crafting box sets and special-edition packages for their labels’ impressive roster of musical acts. I think you’ll learn a lot about what goes into choosing the right mix of music and other materials that’ll make fans happy to spend their money on these packages. An ACHOF conversation with Frank Harkins and Dave Bett from Sony Music Entertainment

Storm Thorgerson – How the cover for Pink Floyd’s 1973 magnum opus Dark Side of the Moon – a  recording that went on to achieve a record 741 weeks – or 14 whole years – on the ‘Top 200 Albums’ chart came to be. Over forty million copies of this work of art found their ways into their fans’ collections

David Turner – Lulu – the controversial 2011 collaboration between Lou Reed & Metallica – featured a cover crafted by the design team (Turner/Duckworth) that shared the stage with Metallica in 2008 when they won a Grammy Award for the artwork featured on Death Magnetic