I’m not a critic. In my mind, to be a critic, you need to know a lot about a topic and, to make your criticisms more believable, you should also have some first-hand experience and/or expertise in the creation of some things similar to what you might be expressing your opinions about. While the word “critic” is first defined (on dictionary.com) as “a person who judges, evaluates, or criticizes” (with the definition then expanded to “a person who judges, evaluates, or analyzes literary or artistic works, dramatic or musical performances, or the like, especially for a newspaper or magazine”), it’s the third definition that’s given – “a person who tends too readily to make captious, trivial, or harsh judgments” or a “faultfinder” that seems to better-define many of today’s professional critics in the arts and, for that reason, I’ve stayed away from really ever saying anything critical about the work of the people I cover on the ACHOF site.
Of course, it can be said that I do make value judgements when deciding what to include on the site or in my monthly news postings, and I really can’t argue with that. Editors and writers are critics by default, since we’re choosing to present a story (or a character in that story) from our own unique viewpoints, but I’d like to think that I’m presenting people and their stories in such a way that you as the readers are given enough basic information so that you then can make up your minds as to whether a story has been worth your time and/or has left you with some sense of satisfaction having learned something new and exciting (even when the subjects might have been well-covered previously). I’ve made one example of this – any article I find in which has been headlined something along the lines of “the Top 10” or “the 25 best album covers of all time – a running joke in my writing over the years, as I’m sure some of you have noticed. Yes, people are entitled to their opinions but, in most cases, scant thought or evidence of any specific method of how these “best” things are determined is ever presented and so, in those cases, I’ll either present them to you with a short-but-snarky intro or, perhaps more often lately, I’ll leave them for you to stumble across in some other fashion.
Album cover hall of fame’s Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio and Interview with Art Director Larry Vigon
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Posted February, 2020
In my wife’s list of “all-time favorite albums”, Fleetwood Mac’s smash hit Rumours is certainly in the Top 5, up there with great records by Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, David Bowie and Queen (I did confirm this list with her, correcting it as needed but, after 40+ years of togetherness, I’m happy that I initially got most of the list right). Even a prog rocker like me found much to appreciate in the band’s music (how can you not like Lindsay Buckingham’s wailing guitar solo at the tail end of “The Chain”?) and, after sales of over 40 million copies world-wide (over 20 million in the U.S. alone) since its 1977 release, it must also be considered as having one of the most-seen album cover images of all time. Of course, most of us will recall the arresting Herbie Worthington photo of the very tall Mick Fleetwood, with foot raised on a small stool (and what exactly were those balls seen dangling between his legs?) standing next to the mysterious, black-veiled form of one of the group’s two new members, Stevie Nicks. Those of us, though, who appreciate fine design were just as taken by the beautifully scripted logo/title found on the cover, which I later found was done BY HAND by Larry Vigon, one of this year’s inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame in the Art Director category.
ACHOF Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Photographer Edward Colver
This Featured Artist Portfolio was a long time in coming.
I was first exposed to Edward Colver’s work on a grand scale in late 2009 while visiting the “Who Shot Rock & Roll” photo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, during which I found myself staring at Colver’s photo of Black Flag singer Henry Rollins who, seemingly, had just punched a mirror and bloodied his fist in doing so. As a die-hard rock/fusion jazz music fan since the late 60s, I’d always thought of the punk scene as just a way for young people with not much going on in their lives to release some steam (and blood) within the confines of clubs located in industrial neighborhoods and the urban wasteland of suburbia, so besides getting a kick out of the antics of The Ramones and the Sex Pistols, I’d never truly considered punk as anything serious – at least, not until I’d seen Colver’s shots of sweating, flying, bleeding, sneering, energetic and downright serious bands and their fans.
When I first made contact with Edward Colver back in early February, 2010 via the efforts of one of the contacts I had made via my old art gallery (thanks for trying, Robert B.!) to see if he’d be up for an interview, I had been pre-warned that the photographer had maintained much of his disaffected punk spirit (“we were drunken morons and geniuses co-mingling all of the time”, he said in a recent interview), the result of having attended well over a thousand punk concerts – often, five per week – and, having stated publicly that he hasn’t watched television since 1979 (and, therefore, never having watched any of my much-praised work on the trend-setting interactive TV shows I helped produce for the Fuse music TV network) or actively promoted his career in any traditional sense, I figured that he might be less-than-eager to work with me in an article for my slightly-less-than-anarchic album art site. Continue reading →
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ACHOF Featured Artist Portfolio – Photographer Paul Wakefield
When I do research for the ACHOF site, it is inevitable that I come across things that side-track me from the searches I do in order to be able to give you as much information as I can about the album cover artists featured within our ever-expanding database. A few weeks back, I was looking for some information on a prog-rock illustrator (quite honestly, I can’t recall just who at the moment) when one link led me to a video on YouTube showing the band YES in concert, which then led me to a Jon Anderson video, and hearing the singer’s alto-tenor on that video tripped a wire in my head that reminded me that I hadn’t heard the song “So Long Ago, So Clear” that the group’s long-time vocalist had recorded with keyboard virtuoso Vangelis. The track appeared on the composer’s 1975 album titled Heaven And Hell which, to those of you with working long-term memories will recall, included music that was used as the theme music to the popular Cosmos: A Personal Voyage television series.
While reading the Wiki entry on the record, it reminded me that the album’s cover image – a pair of “angelic”, winged hands floating above a keyboard on top of a fiery background – was one that had always impressed me, and so I set about tracking down the artist(s) who’d created the fantastic cover with the hopes that he/she/they’d be able to share a bit more about how it was made. Some additional research brought me to Paul Wakefield, who confirmed that this work was, in fact, his. Of course, as it always seems in Album Coverland, the cover artist had also been responsible for a number of other just-as-impressive album packages, including two of my favorite Supertramp images – those for 1974’s hit record Crime of the Century and its also-popular 1975 follow-up LP, Crisis? What Crisis?. Based on his broad-based portfolio, I knew at that point that I’d want to work with Paul to show off more of his work and let our readers know more about the artist and what he’s been up to lately.
Although Paul hasn’t worked on album covers in a while, I had reached him right after he’d received a prestigious award for a new book of his landscape images (titled The Landscape), and so he’d been hit with a number of requests for interviews, but my query – obviously not knowing that he’d gone on to become a landscape photographer of some renown – seemed to intrigue him and a subsequent series of emails back and forth between my office and Paul’s studio in the UK allowed him to dig into his personal memory bank (and file archives) to unearth some very interesting details about the productions, and the people involved, that created a portfolio of classic album cover images.
Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Mick Haggerty
by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
March 24, 2014
Every once in a while, I get to pinch myself with pleasure when I realize that I’ve been given the opportunity to meet and interview many of the talented artists that have created some of the world’s most-iconic album cover images. While, of course, I appreciate most all of the works I’ve featured in these articles, there are certain works that, for my own personal reasons, are deeply-affecting to me and, therefore, are often images that I’ve added to my own art collection, and so when I get a chance to interview the people who’ve produced these particular images, the whole enterprise takes on additional meaning and emotion for me.
In today’s Featured Artist Portfolio, I’m pleased to highlight the accomplishments of a designer who has created more than one of my favorite album covers – that being the supremely talented Mick Haggerty. As someone who has created covers for musical acts both here and in the U.K., it also gives me pleasure to learn more about a small number of covers for bands that, for whatever reason, never had much of a following in the U.S. but, as you’ll see, some of those images will impress you as much (or more) than some of his better-known covers. Great art is great art, no matter whether you’re just seeing it for the first time or appreciating it again for the hundredth time, don’t you agree?
So, without any further delay, please enjoy a selection of works by Mick Haggerty, along with some running commentary provided by the designer himself.
Posted onFebruary 28, 2014|Comments Off on Featured Album Cover Artist – Pozzie Mazerati – about her Red Arrow campaign
Struck by a great idea – an interview with Pozzie Mazerati about her Red Arrow album art campaign
By Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Red Arrow album artwork – where the original idea came from
Part of my work here at the Album Cover Hall of Fame is scouring the world to find stories about album artists, album cover art and the roles that design and image-making have in the marketing and packaging of music today. Recently, looking to find new leads for the site’s “Featured Fan Collection” area, I posted a request on the Musicpage.com web site – one of the many musician-oriented sites that provide folks in and around the music business with a place to meet online, exchange ideas and promote their works – looking for folks who might have good music art collections they’d be willing to share in a feature article. While I was looking for examples of peoples’ own collections, I was also presented with examples of how musicians have used album cover art to help promote their career and was particularly impressed with the “Red Arrow” campaign put together by Pozzie Mazerati, so I asked Pozzie for some additional information on herself and Red Arrow and am happy to present it to you today.
Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Kirk Weddle
A few years back, I had the pleasure of interviewing British fashion photographer Vic Singh about the circumstances behind a series of photographs he’d taken of the not-quite-yet-heralded – actually, at that point, unsigned – rock band Pink Floyd in 1967, one of which would end up gracing the cover of their first record album. He’d met the band at a London “happening” and was asked to come up with a photo of the young hipster musicians that would help introduce them and their psychedelic musical stylings to music fans in the U.K. After the cover for Piper At The Gates Of Dawn came out, Vic’s reputation as someone with a keen eye for period fashion and culture was cemented, allowing him to expand his portfolio of entertainment-industry portraiture and branch out into film and early music video production (including a short film for The Beatles song ‘A Day in the Life’ – from Sgt.Pepper – for Apple Records). It serves as a great example of how one assignment – the “right” assignment – can open the doors to a long career in the arts assuming, of course, that you have the talent and determination to keep it moving forward.
Photographer Kirk Weddle‘s best-known work is the “floating naked baby” cover photo he shot in 1993 for Nirvana’s Nevermind album and, as fans of album cover art now know well, the cover image has been praised, dissected, spoofed and featured in many a discussion about “iconic album cover imagery”. The voters for the Album Cover Hall of Fame understood the photo’s importance and, this past year, inducted Weddle into the ACHOF with an “Individual Achievement Award” for his Nevermind work. Rather than revisit what’s already been discussed at great lengths, I thought that it’d be a great opportunity to give readers/fans a bit more background on this Austin, TX – based photographer and show you a bit more of his portfolio which, as you’ll see, shows great craftsmanship in portrait photography for clients in the advertising, corporate design and publishing worlds and, of course, some additional examples of his underwater photography specialty.
Posted onJune 27, 2013|Comments Off on Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Brian Griffin
Brian Griffin – Featured Artist Portfolio
(Click on images to enlarge)
Notable album cover work credits include – Joe Jackson – Look Sharp!; Iggy Pop – Soldier; Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame; Psychedelic Furs – Mirror Moves; Elvis Costello – Spike; Ultravox – Vienna; Billy Idol – Rebel Yell; Echo And The Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here.
Brian Griffin Album Cover Collage #1
(b. 1948 in Birmingham, U.K.) Although born in the West Midlands city of Birmingham – heart of Britain’s Industrial Revolution and its second most-populous city (Editor’s Note – and where one of my favorite products – Jaguar Motorcars – are manufactured) – Brian lived his early life in the town of Lye, 10 miles south-west of the city and in an industrial area known as “The Black Country”. As was typical in the area for most kids his age, Griffin left school at the age of 16 to work in one of the local factories and ended up becoming a trainee pipework engineering estimator for the British Steel Corporation. At the age of 21 and looking for a way to escape from the tedium of his work, Brian enrolled to begin his studies in the School of Photography at the Manchester College of Art.
When he completed his coursework, Brian took the money he’d saved from working in a steelworks and moved to London, spending the next 3 months showing his portfolio to a number of design studios and publications, finally landing a job in late 1972 working as a photographer for the respected business magazine Management Today. While he wasn’t enamored with his initial assignments, it did thankfully provide him with a start and the chance to work with noted designer Roland Schenk, whose steadfast pursuit of graphic excellence and knowledge of fine art would become an ongoing influence on Brian’s emerging photographic style.
Ernie Cefalu – Notable album cover works include – Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic, Jesus Christ Superstar Original Soundtrack; Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare; Captain Beyond – Captain Beyond; Bee Gees – Main Course
Ernie started his career on Madison Avenue in the late 1960’s. He was hired at Norman Levitt Advertising and his award-winning work for Decca Records (including designs for the Jesus Christ Superstar album) quickly established his creative genius and created demand for his talents. As a young designer in the late 60’s, Ernie had the honor and privilege of working side by side with many great, emerging artists. Ernie’s drive and passion for excellence led him to a new chapter in 1970 when he joined forces with Craig Braun, Inc. in New York. Knowing the importance of first impressions, he wanted to make a mark on his first assignments. The results have become rock icons – the tongue logo for The Rolling Stones and the rule-breaking Sticky Fingers album. Three months later, Ernie opened a satellite office for the agency in California where he would be the head Art Director. The hits kept coming for Ernie.. Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, Cheech & Chong’s Big Bambu, and Captain Beyond, among others..
In 1972, Ernie was at the top of his game and knew it was time to leave and start his own agency. He opened the legendary “Pacific Eye and Ear” agency where, over the next 13 years, he created another 183 album covers for rock legends such as The Doors, Aerosmith, The Bee Gees, The Guess Who, Black Sabbath, Jefferson Airplane, Grand Funk Railroad, and Iron Butterfly. Pacific Eye and Ear was now on the map forever – easily recognized as one of the top three album design companies in the country. As Pacific Eye & Ear’s Owner/Creative Director, Mr. Cefalu was the conceptual link for some of today’s top illustrators, designers, writers and photographers, including Drew Struzan, Ingrid Haenke, Joe Garnett and many others. During his tenure at Pacific Eye & Ear, Ernie earned three Grammy Award nominations, 10 Music Hall Of Fame Awards and four Creative Director Awards of Excellence from The Los Angeles Art Director Club.