Interview with designer/photographer Stephen Paley about his work on the album cover for Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On
Posted 1/15/2021 by Mike Goldstein, Album Cover Hall of Fame.com
Sly and the Family Stone’s follow-up to their hit record Stand debuted at the top of both the Pop and Soul album charts when it was released on Epic Records in November, 1971, and its lead single (“Family Affair”) soon took the crown on the Pop singles charts as well. It’s title is intended as a detailed response to a question Marvin Gaye had posed (i.e., “What’s Going On?”), with the record’s ominous (but funky) mood and red, white and black flag cover (with suns substituting for stars, and with no identifying text) both standing to illustrate Sly’s mood at that point in his (and the nation’s) life. As Stone cleverly put it – “there are too many stars already in this world”.
Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Interview with artist Jann Haworth
Jann Haworth/SLC Pepper – photo by Chad Kirkland
Posted December 7th, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
As a key member of the troupe that created what many consider to be the most-memorable (and, certainly, the most-parodied!) record package of the past 60 years – and winning a Grammy Award for her work on the cover image for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which, if I’m not mistaken, looks to be one of just two “official” album cover credits – it’s been a goal of mine to be able to interview artist Jann Haworth and share the results of that effort with my readers. I’ve been including bits of info about her career for several years now, including an item in my September summary about her newest (and Pepper-related) project in Salt Lake City, UT, but it wasn’t until late that month that collector/curator/friend of the ACHOF Richard Forrest was able to make an introduction on my behalf and that I was then able to ask her a few questions about that project (thanks again, Richard!).
October, 2020, by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
My regular readers know that, when I find articles online titled “My 10 Favorite Album Covers” and share them with you, my typical comments are how I find these screeds rather boring and, typically, just click-bait and a general waste of time. Imagine my surprise when, on the Muse By Clio web site, I discovered one written by a prominent Chicago-based artist named Faheem Majeed – someone who had spent a number of years earlier in his career as the Director and Curator of the esteemed South Side Community Art Center. With credentials like that, I was not at all surprised to find this particular article both informative and a well-written and an interesting read overall, and in my July/August ACHOF news summary, I shared a link to that article.
ACHOF Interview with designer and illustrator John Kehe
posted July 29, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Back in the early 1970s, several members of the popular British band The Move – drummer Bev Bevan and singer/songwriters/instrumentalists Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne – were motivated to concentrate their efforts on a side-gig designed to test their concept that rock music would be made a bit more interesting with the addition of the instruments traditionally found in classical “light orchestras”, such as strings, horns and woodwinds. Calling themselves the “Electric Light Orchestra”, the group released several singles and one LP in the U.K. on the Harvest label, including a Top-10 hit “10538 Overture” in 1971 (on the Electric Light Orchestra album, released in December), “Roll Over Beethoven” in 1972 and “Showdown” and “Ma-Ma-Ma Belle” in 1973.
ACHOF’s Interview with Bert Dijkstra and Dick Van Dijk about their Vinylize! exhibition and book project
Posted May, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Back in April, 2017, I reported on a show that was being staged in Amsterdam as part of the world-wide Record Store Day festivities which each year, if you’ve gone to take a look, put a lot of talent on display including, I think you’ll agree, a lot of fine work on the packaging, with colored vinyl, limited-edition releases and a ton of related merch showcasing the output of designers, photographers, illustrators and the like in close collaboration with the musician and label clients. At the time, I’d referred you to an article in Creative Boom by Katy Cowan (http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/vinylize-paper-crafters-nearly-normal-celebrate-record-store-days-10th-anniversary-with-kraftwerk-tribute/), where you were shown an example of the extra degrees of creativity in the RSD-related work of the “masters of paper craft” – Nearly Normal – as they joined forces with Amsterdam-based record retailer Concerto to produce some quite-special items for an exhibit that was on display in the store through that May called Vinylize! What’s Vinylize!, you might ask? Well, according to the store’s site, “at the invitation of the Amsterdam Shop Around, about 50 artists used their favorite record sleeve as a canvas. The artwork of various artists such as Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and Blondie (to name a few) got a “VINYLIZE! makeover”, resulting in completely new and unique artwork.” In the case of the one-off cover created by Nearly Normal’s Jaime Kiss, the inspiration was Kraftwerk’s 1981 hit Computer World, and not only did the agency produce a cut paper-based cover homage, they also took it further by creating a series of fine art prints for collectors and producing an animated (8-bit style) music video for the song based on that artwork.”
Interview with 2020 Grammy Winner Masaki Koike on his 62nd Annual Grammy-winning (for “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package”) work for Rhino Records on the now-sold-out Woodstock – Back To The Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive.
Posted March 9, 2020 By Mike Goldstein, Album Cover Hall of Fame.com
I was only 13 years old when the Woodstock festival was staged. I’d already collected several rock and roll recordings, mostly coming from my grandfather, who worked at a newsstand in the building that housed WLS Radio in Chicago and was tight with several of the DJs there (I was the only kid on the block who had albums stamped “Demo Copy: Not For Sale”!). My tastes at the time ran to music by The Turtles, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, Iron Butterfly and the Moody Blues, but I’d read that there were some great new bands who’d wowed the crowd and so I was eager to learn more. The newspapers and magazines at the time made a big deal about the performances given by acts like Santana, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Joe Cocker, Ten Years After, Sha-Na-Na and many others (two of my favorite bands – Iron Butterfly and the Moody Blues – were originally supposed to play at the concert but, for various reasons, didn’t make it) but, since I lived hundreds of miles away and couldn’t convince my parents to take me (something about “having to work”), I had to be satisfied with whatever was shown on TV (mostly aerial shots of the crowds) and then, a couple of years later, getting to revel in what I got to see when the concert film was shown in a local theater.
Those of you who’ve been reading my interviews with album cover artists over the years have seen many examples of “crossover” talents. In some cases, its musicians who, whether through their genes or through constant exposure to the visual arts, have taken on very active roles – as art director, illustrator, designer, photographer or muse – in the projects that produce the imagery that helps promote their music to the press and fan bases. In other examples, it is a visual artist’s exposure to new music (and the people that make it) that leads them to pursue opportunities to collaborate with a musical act or their label’s art departments. I’ve also shown you several instances when a visual artist who has built a portfolio of work for clients in the music business has then gone on to more/greater fame in other aspects of the art world (fine art, music videos, film and television, advertising, etc.).
Interview with Smog Design, Inc. about the making of their award-winning package for The Decemberists’ I’ll Be Your Girl
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
As we’ve seen take place a number of times since the introduction of the modern album cover 70 years ago, certain market-savvy musical acts have teamed up with specific visual artists to collaborate on their overall “visual branding” (sorry for the buzzwords) for significant portions of their careers. Examples of these pairings include artist Phillip Travers working with the Moody Blues, Roger Dean’s visual stylings for YES, team Hipgnosis’ catalog of covers for Pink Floyd and Cal Schenkel’s mind-bending images for Frank Zappa and his chums (among others).
Designers Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz discuss the making of the album package for Talking Heads-Fear Of Music, with design by Talking Heads and Spencer Drate; John Gillespie, art director, released in 1979 on Sire Records.
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
When you’re the lead designer assigned to work with a group of very creative people on a project, and that project turns out to be one that is considered to be one of the most-praised examples of that type of work EVER, it’s a safe assumption that this work would ultimately provide some long-lasting impact on your career, no? Well, in the case of Spencer Drate’s collaboration with David Byrne and Jerry Harrison – who both brought considerable training and talent to the table when working on designs for the packaging for their 1979 release on Sire Records titled Fear of Music, based on their educations at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design – it served to both inspire Drate to bring a an enhanced sense of independent and experimental thought to future projects for the label and its roster of musical acts and to continue to open doors for Spencer as he later set out to work as freelance art director, producing many memorable covers for clients in all areas of the music business over the past 30+ years.