Tag Archives: Anton Corbijn

Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’S Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

It’s early January 2016 here in the Pacific NW and, I don’t know about you all, but I could surely use some sunshine, having been treated to the first extended stretches of Winter weather, making for great skiing in the nearby mountains while creating a ghost-like pallor on our skin. On the plus side, we (i.e., the city of Portland, OR) were recently rated #1 best food city in a major East Coast publication, so life here’s not all that bad.

Our collective recuperations from the past Holiday season and the Winter blahs have done little to stem the tide of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the endless sources of excitement and inspiration found in our news feed, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including designers Vaughan Oliver, Sir Peter Blake, Brian Cannon and others and photographers Gary Heery and Anton Corbijn who, most interestingly, is taking a leave from the music industry to focus on topics of his own interest. Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap – July, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – July, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s 104 degrees outside as I write this – what the heck?! I suppose that I should feel fortunate that my writing keeps me inside (as I watch the construction crews working on a new apartment building next door – hope that they stay hydrated!). While I’m not sure whether the world will be here for next month’s summary (or if we’ll all be participating in a true-to-life Mad Max movie), I will stay steadfast in my efforts to bring you the most up-to-date album cover art and artist-related news. To that end, I’m pleased to report that there were a number of interesting stories we shared with our daily readers during the month of July, with an impressive  tally of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feed. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, with the rest following in greater detail.

Interviewers were busy posting new articles with album cover producers in every creative category, including titans of album package design such as Ernie Cefalu (Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath), Bob Gruen (on his work with John Lennon), Hugh Syme (about 40 years of covers for Rush), Stanley Mouse (Grateful Dead, Journey, etc.), Denise Burt (many classical/jazz covers), pop art icon Peter Max (various covers) along with a double interview with Greg Burke and Jeff Kleinsmith about the role technology plays in album art design these days.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, artists and their publishers were promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos from artists including photographer Mick Rock (with a new book on the early years of David Bowie), artist/designer Hugh Syme (with a huge new book on Rush), a career retrospective of the wonderful illustrations by Al Hirschfeld, Stanley Mouse’s new tome on his memorable designs for the Grateful Dead) and the upcoming series of comics from Marvel featuring their characters inserted in classic hip-hop covers (!!).

July continued to be a busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with museum curators and gallery owners in several locations around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related works. Large-scale shows were launched in Oslo, Norway (“Vinyl Revival”), Arles, France (“Total Records”) and “The Art of Vinyl” in Louisiana. A group of 42 artists contributed to a group show in the NYC area, while solo shows featured the work of Wes Freed, Godlis, Tim Cantor and Gary Taxali.

I was also happy to announce the publication (in the “Resources” section on the ACHOF web site) of an article I wrote tracing the history of album/vinyl record art-related exhibitions, noting the details of significant show staged around the world over the past 40+ years as well as milestones in the world of record packaging. I think you’ll find this information helpful and a compelling support to the argument that album art is truly fine art, worthy of inclusion in museums, galleries and the collections of fans of art and music.

Other stories included profile features on album art-inspired sneakers (AKA “gym shoes”, “kicks”, etc.),  several “when is early too early” attempts at “Best Album Art of 2015” lists (some good research, though), the list of winners of this year’s IMA Awards for best record packaging, displays of animated and “re-imagined” album cover work in a variety of genres and a group in New Zealand that worked with the local homeless population to add degrees of humanity, humor and compassion to re-makes of classic record designs.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that Summer’s here and there are many distractions that might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends and a few days in August when I’ll be on the road) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

July 31st – Three stories about exhibitions in all shapes and sizes:

1) Running now through August 14th at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts In Lloyd, VA is an exhibition built around the works of long-time Drive-by-Truckers album cover artist Wes Freed. Freed took the knowledge he absorbed working to earn his degree in printmaking and painting from Virginia Commonwealth University and applied it liberally to his work for a number of local bands (including his own), comic books and fans of his unique art stylings. He met the DBTs when his band toured with them and, after they saw the work he did in 1998 for Cracker (Gentlemen’s Blues), they asked him to apply his talents to their next record (Southern Rock Opera) and have worked together since. More on this show via the gallery’s site at

http://jacksonvillecenter.org/gallery/drive-by-truckers-album-and-poster-artist-wes-freed-exhibition-at-the-jax/

2) When writer John Cameron (in an article for The Portsmouth News, UK) was invited to tour the private collection of artist Paul Brady at his house in Southampton, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. He knew that Brady was a close friend of the late artist John Davies and his past relationship with members of The Who (he’d done artwork for the band’s 1974 book titled A Decade of The Who) but, when he arrived, he found a motherlode of memorabilia – amazing examples of art and objects used in the making of two Who-centric movies – Tommy and Quadrophenia! A scooter rider himself, Cameron was most-impressed with the tricked-out Lambretta replicas and some of the other items Brady inherited from his friend. Read about the entire exciting trip via the link – http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/opinion/an-inspiring-exhibition-visit-1-6869167 

3) There have been a number of albums that have featured places of great natural beauty as backdrops for their cover images, but few have achieved as much fame as the Joshua Tree National Monument, the site of Anton Corbijn’s memorable cover shot for U2’s Joshua Tree record. However, as you’ll learn more of when you read Daniel Strasberger’s recent article on the High Desert Star:News site, this park has also hosted a number of famed music performances, such as Rita Coolidge, Chris Hillman and many others and, as such, landed the park in the Top 10 of a recent list of Best Musical Attractions in the World, crafted by USA Today and the 10Best team. You can read more of Daniel’s article via the link – http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/article_542bb628-326a-11e5-9422-63c8cac9f82e.html   and see the entire list of the music meccas at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-musical-attraction/

July 30th –  Two more examples of album cover-influenced creativity and a “can you guess the album cover” quiz that I failed miserably…

1) Combining two popular symbols of pop culture creativity – album cover art and sneaker design – a designer based in Copenhagen has produced a series of “mash-ups” that, if they were ever brought to market, might go far in bridging the gap between the generations. While I recall that the now-Nike-owned Converse released a series of album art-decorated Chuck Taylor last year, designer Patso Dimitrov has taken a subtler approach to his designs, capturing the essences of classic covers from Pink Floyd, Joy Division, Daft Punk and several others and integrating that imagery into the unique styles of these Nike kicks. The nice folks on the Designboom site have provided us with a nice overview of these items – not quite sure how to frame them, but…http://www.designboom.com/art/nike-basketball-album-covers-patso-dimitrov-07-21-2015/

2) A group of 42 NYC-area artists recently got together and formed a collective called The CCD Art & Supply Co. and, as part of their efforts to introduce their talents and offer affordable, collectible art, staged a one-day event where they showed off re-interpretations of classic album covers. At the July 25th kick-off event in Bushwick, the 12 x 12 canvases were the centerpieces of a party that included “DJs, vendors and drink specials”, according to the article Bill Roundy posted on The Brooklyn Paper site. While the exhibition was up only for that evening, prints of the artwork are available on the group’s site, with both links provided below – http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/38/30/24-record-collection-art-2015-07-24-bk.html and http://the-ccd-art-supply-co.myshopify.com/
I personally was impressed by several of the works, including Ant Picone’s re-do of Bowie’s Scary Monsters and Christina Maldonado’s take on Back To Black by Amy Winehouse…

3) It’s a fact – I don’t know ANYTHING about country music album covers, but maybe you do. I actually missed all ten in this recent quiz on the Taste Of Country web site, hope that you do a bit better. Included are covers by today’s top country acts, so while I might appreciate the art, I guess that I need to bone up a bit on the music (what, no Johnny Cash covers included?) – http://tasteofcountry.com/guess-the-country-album-cover/

July 29th –  1) You may recall an article I posted a while back about the work of talented animated-GIF artist Juan Betancourt...well, he’s ba-a-ck…the folks at the Diffuser.fm site seem to like his work as well, as you’ll see in this latest posting titled the “11 Greatest Animated Punk Rock Album Covers” and featuring JB’s efforts that bring to life covers from NOFX, Rancid, Green Day and several others. I’m always curious as to what goes through an artist’s mind when he/she looks to bring one or more aspects of an album’s cover image to life, and Juan seems to be able to pick “just the right thing” most all of the time – http://diffuser.fm/greatest-animated-punk-rock-album-covers/

2) Enjoying a spike in news coverage after his successful participation in the Revolutions 2 album cover show at the museum at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles, artist Ernie Cefalu is now the subject of an in-depth interview article just posted by Ivor Levene on the LA Beat site. In the first part of “Behind The Art Behind The Music”, the two discuss the role of the Creative Director in a design project, his relationship with artist Drew Struzan and just what the two were thinking when they came up with the cover designs for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath…Looking forward to the next segment – enjoy the first – http://thelosangelesbeat.com/2015/07/behind-the-art-behind-the-music-conversations-with-ernie-cefalu-part-i/

3) The work of photographer Godlis is the subject of a new exhibition titled “Picture This: Photos By Godlis” that’s part of the new Sound + Vision music film/live performance festivities staged by the Film Society at Lincoln Center in NYC, running today through August 7th. As an integral part of the downtown punk club scene in the 1970s-1980s, Godlis was there to document the bands, the clubs and the fans that fed the scene with their energy and intensity, so if you’d like to get a look at what things were like during that period, you owe yourself a visit. More details at the very bottom (long, scrolling page) of this posting about the festival by Michael Odmark –  http://www.filmlinc.org/daily/sound-vision-music-documentary-julien-temple-rocky-horror-picture-show/

July 28th –  Very happy to share a couple of items suggested by ACHOF regulars Mark Kellogg and Lee Barry (plus one I forgot to share from a couple of days back)….

1) Mark sent a link to an extremely well-done posting on the NPR site in the “Look At This” section. A true multi-media piece by Tom Huizenga profiling album cover designer Denise Burt, whose specialty is covers for classical music artists, in which she provides the details about her inspirations and sources for the cover images for the records she’s worked on. What’s interesting is that she had little knowledge of classical music, so she just immersed herself in it and let the sounds take her and her art places she’s never been…What do YOU think music looks like? Please take the time to click through this – you won’t be disappointed (and “thanks, Mr. Kellogg”) – http://apps.npr.org/lookatthis/posts/album-art/

2) When acts re-release their music, they not only bring us back sonically, but visually as well and, in doing so, often re-kindle discussions about things that probably puzzled us in the past and, as you’ll see when you follow the link to the Democratic Underground site that Lee Barry provided, continue to make some of us ponder. In this case, when the re-mastered version of Led Zeppelin’s Presence came out – still sporting the Hipgnosis-created cover of the family sitting around a table with “that black thing” in the middle – it once again asked us to ponder “just what is that thing”? As for me, I always thought that you’d find a small tribe of ancient humanoids at the bottom throwing bones in the sky but, hey, that just shows my sci-fi past. What’s your take? http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105×5445793

3) How do you spell the word “Odyssey”? Don’t ask Terry Quirk, the guy responsible for the psychedelic painting used on the cover of The Zombies’ 1967 release Odessey & Oracle and who now, all these years later, is working on a new cover for the band’s upcoming record titled Still Got That Hunger. Mr. Argent and company are out on the road prepping fans for the new release (as you’ll see in this recent posting by Joe Lynch on the Billboard.com site), so it’ll be with great anticipation that we await to see if anything is mis-spelled on the new record –  http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6640854/zombies-odessey-oracle-terry-quirk-still-got-that-hunger

July 27th –  1) Here we go again…it’s half-way through the year and someone is already going out on a “best of” limb….Writing for Paste MagazineKendra Kamp and Emily Ray have put together their list of “The 30 Best Album Covers of 2015 (So Far)“, so while I’m surprised that they were able to put together such a list this early in the game, it does give me a good feeling that, at least according to this widely-read Pop Culture site, there are so many examples of good cover design that they felt the need to detail them now. You will find several designs associated with the site’s “Best Albums So Far” list, along with those that, while their music didn’t make the list, their attention to producing memorable imagery for the fans did not go un-noticed. Excellent examples abound of fine design, illustration and photography – anyone care to share their favorites? http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/07/the-30-best-album-covers-of-2015-so-far.html

2) Thought that I’d share this recent posting by Brian Boone on the “Funny or Die” site titled “What 12 Classic Albums Should Be Called Based On Their Iconic Covers”. It’s kinda cute and includes covers for Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Springsteen and others. I do agree with their assessment regarding the name for Supertramp’s Grammy-winning entry (art by Mick Haggerty) – what do you think? http://www.funnyordie.com/slideshows/6fff0b0296/what-12-classic-albums-should-be-called-based-on-their-iconic-covers

July 24th –  1) Talk about a tight integration of music and art! While the Imagine Dragons are out on the road, their Smoke & Mirrors album cover artist – San Diego-based painter Tim Cantor – is on tour with them, setting up an exhibition of his works at each stop. If you’ve seen the album, you know that Cantor also produced a unique image for each song on the album, so fans attending the show can walk up to the display and, via the headphones they’ll find there, can listen to the track that matches the painting there. The band liked his work so much that they also used his images as the bases for both the music video for Shots and their stage designs. Not bad for a rookie (to the album art arena)…Read more about this fruitful relationship in Kara Coleman‘s article on The Daily Herald (Columbia, TN) web site – http://columbiadailyherald.com/lifestyles/celebrations/art-music-collide-traveling-gallery

2) Gary Taxali‘s retro-inspired artwork has been the favorite of fans from many different areas of interest – magazine illustrations (as seen in Rolling Stone and Time magazines), concert posters and other commercial work – and his work for the cover of singer Aimee Mann’s @#%&*! Smilers record was nominated for a Grammy Award back in 2009 – so it is exciting to see the artist’s catalog of work featured in a new exhibition running now through September 20th at the Idea Exchange’s Design at Riverside space in Cambridge, Ontarion, Canada. According to Brent Davis‘ article on the Guelph Mercury site, this is the Canadian artist’s first major retrospective show and will include “rare toy prototypes, custom posters and a salon-style, floor-to-ceiling wall of about 300 notebook-sized original drawings, and the short documentary film titled “Gary Taxali: The Art of Whimsy” will also be shown. Pop art fans should be sure to stop by – http://www.guelphmercury.com/whatson-story/5739503-the-delightfully-different-world-of-gary-taxali/

3) Yes, was just inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for the passion he put into his pitching career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but another talent found in 6’10” “Big Unit” Randy Johnson – that being his ability to capture great concert photos behind the lenses of his trusty cameras – is also being recognized with praise from many of his subjects, including members of Rush, U2, Pearl Jam and Metallica (among many others). His stature as an athlete opened doors for him at major venues, but it is the quality of his work that keeps impressing big-league musical acts, who have been requesting him to shoot their shows whenever possible. Since then, his photos have appeared in major music publications such as Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine so, even after the applause honoring his records for strike-outs, Cy Young awards and perfect games die down, Johnson should continue to receive cheers for his artistic talents as well. More on this in Daniel Brown’s article on the San Jose Mercury News site – http://www.mercurynews.com/athletics/ci_28507883/randy-johnson-shoots-second-career

July 23rd –  1) Album art holds a place in the hearts of folks with all kinds of backgrounds. You might remember that we posted something a while back about Mensa members selecting the best album covers of all time – well, now the Geeks (as represented by K. Thor Jensen on the Geek.com site) have piped in with “the 11 geekiest album covers of all time”. Of course, to qualify for the list, a cover must include some aspects of computer technology, video games, robots, Middle Earth and, in most cases, extra-large weaponry, so you’ll find examples from most every genre, from classic rock, electronic music, metal, fusion and hip-hop (what, no country geeks?). To see the list and get the reasons why each cover was included, click on over to this article at http://www.geek.com/news/the-11-geekiest-album-covers-1628091/
Of course, a real geek would use some voice-actuated method of doing this…

2) Those of you who read my article last week about album art shows might recall one mentioned that was staged in Scandinavia called Vinyl Revival. Well, the show has moved on to a new location and, in this article on the National Museum (or, in Norwegian, the Nasjonalmuseet, in Oslo, Norway) site, you can find out more about taking a guided tour – in English, every Sunday in July and August at 1pm local time – of the exhibit, which is running now through the 13th of September. You can preview the exhibit via the link – http://www.nasjonalmuseet.no/en/exhibitions_and_events/exhibitions/museum_of_decorative_arts_and_design/Album+Covers.+Vinyl+revival.b7C_wlfU29.ips
Not a bad-looking tour guide, I think you’ll agree…

July 22nd –  More examples showing the influence of album art on pop culture, and a new book about the work of a great illustrator:

1) A new exhibition running through August 21 in the gallery at Bowen House (one of the buildings that house New Zealand’s Parliament in Wellington) is built around images of students with disabilities re-creating well-known album covers. Working with an agency called “The Cube”, organizers of the show – titled “Re-Imagine” – hoped to be able to show off the creative talents found in people who you might not, initially, think would be capable of such impressive work. Included in the show are re-makes of covers by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Lorde, Queen and many others, with more details and a statement by Minister for Disability Issues, the Hon. Nicky Wagner about why she brought the show to Parliament are found in this article on the Stuff/Dominion-Post site at
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/capital-day/70255811/famous-album-covers-given-a-kiwi-twist-by-young-disabled-new-zealanders

2) It’s a popular project this year, it seems – A crew from Australia’s Channel 9 news team are in London to cover the second Ashes Test (something cricket-related, it seems, for those of us unfamiliar with the sport!) and, during a break in the action, brought a video crew out to the famous crossing in front of EMI/Abbey Road Studios to film their own re-creation of the Abbey Road album cover for The Beatles. Mark Nicholas took the position of John Lennon, followed by Ian Healy as Ringo Starr, Brett Lee as Paul McCartney (properly walking out-of-step with the others) and Mark Taylor at the back in guitarist George Harrison’s spot. Watch the complete video on the 9News site at http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/07/19/23/13/channel-nine-commentary-team-recreate-the-beatles-abbey-road-cover

3) Publisher Knopf has just released a new book on the life and work of famed illustrator Al Hirschfeld, known world-wide for his pen-and-ink illustrations of celebrities from the world of entertainment, sport and politics and to Aerosmith fans world-wide for his cover for their 1977 album titled Draw The LineThe Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age was written by Hirschfeld and edited by David Leopold, his long-time archivist, and delves deep into the artist’s love of the theater, his friendships with both the celebrities he drew and the head honchos of the media enterprises he drew for, and comes very nicely illustrated, so if you’d like to read a bit more about this new “self-portrait” (it even includes one he drew of himself at the age of 99), click on over to Jeff Simon‘s posting on the Buffalo News site –
http://www.buffalonews.com/life-arts/book-reviews/the-20th-centurys-greatest-american-illustrator-20150719

July 21st –  Two important updates and something kinda goofy:

1) Rec’d an update from film-maker Roddy Bogawa about his film about the life and work of the late Storm Thorgerson and wanted to share the details with you ASAP – “Hi Mike – I launched a new film website:  www.takenbystormfilm.com. The film’s final picture edit was locked for a MoMA screening in 2013 and, since then, it has gone through some color grading as well as a sound re-mix. It will have it’s east coast theatrical release at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC Oct. 2-8 and it also was purchased for their permanent collection. Other screenings are starting to be scheduled – London, Los Angeles, etc., but mainly gearing up for DVD and VOD release in October of this year.

On the film website, you can pre-order the DVD and the DVD digipak as well as a special-edition dvd + print package The print is a copy of an original image that Storm made for the cover of the book on my work coming out soon (BTW, Storm also designed the book and it maybe the last design he did before he passed away). A portion of the proceeds from this pre-sale (the dvds, etc. will be available in october) will go towards a scholarship for design set up in Storm’s name at the Royal College of Art, where he was a student..

The DVD will feature extras including film outtakes of David Gilmour and Storm talking about the infamous blinking LED packaging for the release of Pink Floyd’s PULSE, Robert Plant discussing the eight variations of the cover for Led Zeppelin’s IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR, two of Storm’s 16mm student films, a video taxi ride with Storm through London, a 1994 phone message from Storm to Paul Rappaport about his demands for the quality of printing for Pink Floyd’s THE DIVISION BELL cover, and various “failed” optical ideas from the film that were unused.
Hope this helps. Let me know if there’s anything else you might need. appreciate all the support and promo. Cheers, Roddy

2) Ernie Cefalu of Pacific Eye & Ear fame also forwarded a list of special-and-limited-edition items that he’s now making available to fans of such musical acts as Iron Butterfly, Alice Cooper, the Rolling Stones, etc., as well as the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. You’ll also find exhibition posters, tapestries and “static clings” featuring the work of Ernie and his PE&E cohorts (Drew Struzan, Joe Garnett and others). Based on what I saw and the prices he’s charging for these items – with most everything below $100 – they should get snapped up in a hurry, so if you’d like to get a current list of what’s available, please contact Ernie via the email/links listed on his site – http://originalalbumcoverart.com/contact.php
Please save a Lips & Tongue print for me, OK?

3) Bad Freddie Mercury impersonator Kanye West has famously focused a lot of attention and resources on the visual aspects of his career – particularly, his album cover graphics – but now he’s displayed his ongoing quest for uniqueness by investing $50,000 in a new font for his exclusive use. The font, titled “Yeezy Display”, is a bold, ALL-CAPS type-style created by designer Tyler Finck and will be used on West’s upcoming record called Swish. Read more and see samples of the font in Matt Korman’s coverage of the topic on The 405 web site – http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/kanye-west-had-a-50-000-font-designed-just-for-him-143

July 20th –  1) Wanted to let you all know about a research project that I have been working on that has now been turned into an article that I’ve posted in the “Resources” section of the ACHOF site. You all know that I’ve worked hard to promote the works of album cover artists as “fine art” and, over the years, a number of other museums and galleries have staged exhibitions that expanded on that premise. I was interested in finding out when and where these shows have taken place, as well as who it was that provided the incentive to stages these displays and, after a couple months of digging, I think that I’ve put together a fairly-comprehensive timetable of the most-significant (IMHO) examples staged over the past 60+ years. In order to provide readers with some info about some of the major steps taking place in the packaging of retail music products, I have also included several milestone events, such as the introduction of picture discs, cassettes, CDs, etc..In any case, I hope you enjoy this summary and will share it with anyone you know who geeks out about this subject as much as several of us do – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-record-art-as-fine-art-major-museum-gallery-shows/

2) The work of 5X Grammy nominated photographer Norman Seeff is the subject of a new display hanging on the walls of retailer Ron Robinson’s newest store in Santa Monica, CA. Staged by the knowledgeable folks at the Fahey/Klein Gallery, the long-time L.A. area resident (and former creative head at United Artists Records) has many album cover shots to his credit, with a host of them – including iconic images of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and others – included in the show, along with well-known portraits of several other celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, politics and pop culture. Fans of rock photography in the LA area should be sure to stop by and see the show, which closes at the end of August, with more details available via this handy article on the LATF USA site – http://www.latfusa.com/view_article.php?id=7624

3) James Stafford recently posted another in-depth look behind the scenes of the making of a well-known album cover, with this one providing the gory(ish) details of Neon Park’s great cover for Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ 1970 release Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Always one to stoke a controversy, Zappa found a like-minded partner in Park, who was more than happy to come up with something disturbing and, of course, quite memorable for fans of the recently-disbanded group. I was somewhat familiar with the story, but was intrigued to see the “alt-version” used by the label’s German distributor, who believed that a picture of a bleeding baby in a mousetrap was less-bothersome than the Zappa-approved version…Plenty of details and photos included in Stafford’s article on the Diffuser.fm site – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-weasels-ripped-my-flesh/

July 17th –  1) Running now through October 25th in the East Gallery of the Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amhurst, MA is a show focused on the work of a true Renaissance man, designer/artist Fred Marcellino, who applied his skills to great success in the fields of editorial illustration, book covers (making a big splash in the children’s book arena, including his Caldecott Award winning art for Puss In Boots) and, of interest to ACHOF fans, album covers. You’ll recall his covers for Tommy (the film), Jukin’ for The Manhattan Transfer, Live At Carnegie Hall for Renaissance and others for Mandrill, Jay & The Americans, Lou Reed and The Osmonds, so any fan of illustration – particularly, those done in watercolors – should take the time to see the show, titled (here comes that word again) “Renaissance Man: The Art of Fred Marcellino”, with exhibit information available via the link – http://www.carlemuseum.org/content/art-fred-marcellino-press-release

2) In town for The Open and wondering what else to do when not out on the links? Only 50 miles South down the coast, launching July 18th at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland is a new exhibition titled “Bailey’s Stardust”, a major retrospective of the 50+ year career of photographer David Bailey. Known internationally for his portraits of celebrities in the world of fashion, sports and entertainment, this winner of the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal has taken viewers all over the world through his work, fans of album art will best-know him for his covers for albums including Goat’s Head Soup and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out for the Rolling Stones, Sweets From A Stranger for Squeeze and The Way We Were for Ms. Barbra Streisand. Part of the annual Edinburgh Art Festival, the show will be on display until October 18th, with more info on this impressive display available via the link at https://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/baileys-stardust/

3) As I’ve written previously, album cover projects are often times true collaborations between the musical acts that need them and the team of creatives charged with the task, and this is often due to the fact that many musicians are also quite talented in the visual arts. While some have openly admitted that they went to art school to enjoy the benefits of the bohemian lifestyle (i.e., sex and drugs), others took their time in school very seriously, as is evidenced by the details in this recent article by Dan Hyman on The Village Voice web site titled “TEN MUSICIANS WHO PAINT AS HARD AS THEY ROCK”. As you’ll read and see, several well-known musicians have had gallery and museum shows dedicated to their paintings/illustrations/photographs, with lyricist Bernie Taupin currently staging a show in Bridgehampton on Long Island, NY featuring his latest creations. From headliners in jazz and many genres of rock & roll, the article will show you a different side of some of your favorite musical acts – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/ten-musicians-who-paint-as-hard-as-they-rock-7352009

July 16th –  1) The winners of this year’s Independent Music Awards (AKA “The IMAs”) in the album art/packaging categories were announced today and the two winners represent two very different genres in the indie music arena. They are:
a) In the “Album Art/Photography” category, the winner was artist Eleanor Crane for the wonderful and mysterious painting she created for the cover of Patrick Joseph’s Moon King record, and
b) In the “Album Packaging” category, the award went to artist Qing-Yang Xiao for his design work for Song Zu Ying’s The Epic of Love. The designer was nominated twice this year for his work and won this award previously two years ago.
To read about the winners in all 80 categories in this year’s awards (the 14th annual), click on over via the link – http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/2015/the-14th-annual-independent-music-awards-winners-announced/

2) Writing in “The Smoking Section” on the Uproxx web site, reporter Tom Mantzouranis shares some of the advance details about a series of new Marvel comics that will be called Hip-Hop Variants and will feature covers that pay homage to many classic Hip-Hop records. As you’ll see by the numerous images included in the article, Marvel artists have taken records such as 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and re-worked them to feature characters including the X-Men and Iron Man. We’re told that over 50 covers will be redone in this fashion, with the first books coming out in October. To see more examples, follow the link – http://uproxx.com/smokingsection/2015/07/marvel-hip-hop-variants-album-covers/7/
Throughout the years, a number of comic artists have taken on album cover assignments, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a nice cross-over. Looking forward to seeing the others as they’re released.

3) Now that it seems as if Rolling Stone magazine has completely lost its mind (Kim K. on the cover – really?), it only makes sense that they recently ran an article on “The 10 Most Famous Rock & Roll Tongues”. Two of these top vote-getting licking implements were found on the covers of well-known records, so I felt it necessary to share this important information with you ASAP.
#7 on the list was the tongue featured on mythical creature (what exactly WAS she?) shown on the cover of Poison’s 5X platinum selling record Open Up And Say…Ahh!, while #3 was the iconic Lips & Tongue image that has been a standard feature on all things Rolling Stone-related since it’s first appearance on their Sticky Fingers LP.
Of course, the best tongue award went to Gene Simmons.
See the rest of the top ten tongue list here in Gavin Edward’s article – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/10-most-famous-rock-roll-tongues-20150710/danny-brown-20150710

July 15th –  1) Some of you might recall a previous posting about the “Revolutions 2: The Art of Music” album cover art show now on display at the museum at Forest Lawn in the LA area and, as a follow up, I’d like to report on a special event that took place recently that featured another collection – this one being of a nice group of PEOPLE that created a number of your favorite covers, all of them appearing on a panel discussion titled “Record Breakers: Artists Who Revolutionized Visual Music Culture,” As you’ll see in this article by Michael Dooley on the PRINT magazine site, panel moderator Shana Nys Dambrot lead a discussion with folks including Ernie Cefalu, Hugh Brown, David Edward Byrd and others, with each of them sharing their stories and opinions of the past and future states of the album cover art genre. A nicely-illustrated article, well worth a read – http://www.printmag.com/graphic-design/art-of-music-culture-design/
PS – On a related note – Ernie Cefalu (of the famed Pacific Eye & Ear design studio) has announced the availability of some new limited editions of his work and I’ll be posting on this soon (waiting for some add’l info for y’all…).

2) As part of this year’s Les Recontres d’Arles international photo exhibition in Arles, France, there is a good-sized album art exhibition running now through September 20th at the Atelier Des Forges titled “TOTAL RECORDS:THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF ALBUM COVER PHOTOGRAPHY” which works to show the broad range of photographic imagery that’s been used to create some truly-memorable record packages over the years. Works by Guy Bourdain, Linda McCartney and many others are included, as is a display of fan-created “Sleevefaces” that combine album images with real people and places. Now in its 55th year, you can read more about this show and another exhibit featuring music art, photography and video work collected by the aptly-named LP Company via this link – http://www.rencontres-arles.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=ARLAR1_213_VForm&FRM=Frame%3AARLAR1_223

July 14th – 1) With all the excitement being generated at Comic-Con about the upcoming Star Wars film (due out late this year), I was happy to spot this article by Anthony Domanico on the CNET web site about the work being done by the (geek) team at U.K. home entertainment retailer Superfi in offering us their interpretations of a selection of well-known album covers done “Star Wars-style”. You’ll find records by musical acts old and new – from ABBA and the Rolling Stones to One Direction and Lady Gaga – redone using the characters, places and terminology made famous in the long-running sci-fi/fantasy series. Are these clever, blasphemous or somewhere in between, only you can say, but I can say that I got a kick out of the word play in almost every case (“Taylor Sith” – gotta love it!) –http://www.cnet.com/news/popular-music-album-covers-get-a-star-wars-makeover

2) The Summer 2015 issue of Resource Magazine (a must-read for the working photographer) has hit the stands (well, at least the ones in photo supply stores!) and includes several articles tailor-made for fans of all aspects of rock & roll photography. Contributors to “The Rock Issue” include regular album art contributors Danny Clinch and Charles Peterson, The Kills guitarist Jamie Hince shares a volume of behind-the-scenes shots from his life on tour and Koury Angelo provides some useful pointers about how to get the best-possible shots at a rock concert. There’s also an article on the impact of the music video featuring interviews with several directors who’ve kept the genre fed successfully for years…
http://resourcemagonline.com/2015/07/resource-rock-and-roll/55636/

3) In his regular gig as a busy music industry photographer, Nigel Skeet has certainly had to massage fragile egos in order to coax just the right look or pose from his subjects, but what if the people he’s featuring were those with virtually nothing – not even a home? In this article by Bibbi Abruzzini in the Arts & Culture section of the Huffington Post, you’ll learn and see more about this project/labor of love that has a master shooter bring out the most-rocking aspects of several dozen people he met via a local homeless shelter. Photographing them in their street duds (with hair and makeup applied by professionals), Skeet brought out the best in each participant’s personality, building a unique story for each one via interviews and his photography. The results are quite moving and fascinating, showing once again that all of us should have the opportunity to live with at least a bit of dignity – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bibbi-abruzzini/heres-how-photographer-ni_b_7739738.html

July 13th –  Since ‘rebellious” and “revolutionary” are two terms getting a lot of use in today’s national news headlines, I thought that I’d take advantage by giving you all some album art-related stories built on those themes….

1) Back in the early 1990s, a company called NuSouth decided to re-work the Confederate into something of a symbol of pride for black Southerners, changing the colors of the stars and bars to red, black and green, the same colors used in Marcus Garvey’s “pan-African” flag. The design was originally done for use as an album cover for a Charleston-based hip-hop act called “Da Phlayva“, who printed the artwork (done by a local artist named Colin Quashie) onto t-shirts sold at their concerts. Local black teens then chose to wear the shirts – as symbols of protest – to their schools which, as you might figure, bothered the local authorities (and their classmates who wore their “traditional” rebel flag clothing to school without incident). Melvin Backman gives us the rest of the details about this company and what happened to it then and since in this recent post on the Quartz web site – http://qz.com/446005/these-guys-protested-the-confederate-flag-20-years-ago-and-all-they-got-was-this-defunct-t-shirt-company/

2) This Summer marks the 45th anniversary of the Recontres d’Arles international photo festival in Arles, France and, as part of this esteemed gathering, visitors can tour through an exhibition titled “Total Records: The Great Adventure of Album Cover Photography” which, according to the show’s promotional literature, provides “a history of photography through the prism of the vinyl record. Both media, which left their mark on the 20th century, were combined in all their forms, from artwork to illustration, figuration to experimentation. The show is based on this diversity of intentions and propositions.” Many examples of images made by fine art photographers including William Eggleston, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander, Weegee and many others are included, as are covers that featured classic images borrowed from shots used in the news, film and other media. You’ll also find examples of “banned” images and a mock-up of a cover for the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street created, but never used, around shots by Man Ray. The Guardian‘s Sean O’Hagan provides us with an overview of this show, which runs through September 20 – http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jul/10/the-photographers-revolutionised-pop-album-artwork

July 10th –  1) The Norwegian band a-ha hit it a number of years ago with a single off of their Hunting High And Low record – “Take On Me” – that impressed audiences both with the vocal range of the lead singer and the extremely-cool music video (directed by Steve Barron) that exposed mass audiences to a modern application of rotoscoped pencil animation combined with live film, so you’d think that with all of that experience with bringing art and music together, they’d avoid situations like the one that’s detailed in this recent posting on Norway’s “The Local” site – http://www.thelocal.no/20150708/a-ha-comeback
As you can see by the accompanying imagery, the U.S.-based art team responsible for the cover art for the band’s comeback single – “Under The Makeup” – had neglected to see that the very same piece of stock art had been recently used on the cover for a single released by Italian R&B singer Victor Chissano (oops).
To my eyes, its another successful “borrowing” of a Roger Dean “Floating Island” motif, but hey, that’s just me…

2) Collectors of album art are always looking for something unique to add to their collections, so if you find yourselves feeling the urge to include something a bit different in your own mix, you might want to bop on over to review what was offered for Gotta Have Rock & Roll’s July 15th “Rock & Pop Culture Auction” where you will find prints listed for several alternative and out-take images from some of your favorite records. Included in the offerings are three Annie Leibovitz photo prints of Bruce Springsteen, a Henry Diltz shot taken during the Morrison Hotel photo shoot for The Doors and a set of two alternate Robert Whitaker cover shots taken during the “butcher cover” session for The Beatles’ Yesterday & Today album. You can take a look at these and other photos included in the auction via the link –
http://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Photographs-110.html

July 9th –  1) The folks at the Taschen publishing house are preparing a new rock music-related book that should be of interest to fans of the talented photographer Mick Rock and trend-setting musician David Bowie. The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973, gives us access to Rock’s archives of the shots he took of Bowie beginning in mid-1972 while in the midst of his Ziggy Stardust tour, during which Rock has unprecedented access to the musician and his band both onstage and behind-the-scenes. As is the case in the many recent books from this publisher (we’ve chronicled the ones about the Rolling Stones and John Lennon/Yoko Ono), there will be three different editions of this book. Of the 1972 books that will be printed overall, #s 1-100 will be in an “Art Edition” packed with a signed Mick Rock Bowie print, while #s 101-200 will offer a different print, with the rest being in the “Collector’s Edition”. The basic book will be signed by both Rock and Bowie and will retail for $700, while the Art Editions will set you back $1800. Pre-orders now being accepted, and if you want to read more about Mr. Rock and his Thin White Friend, click on over to Andrew Purcell‘s nice interview article on the subject posted on the SMH site (Australia) –
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/the-man-who-shot-david-bowie-mick-rock-in-focus-20150615-ghmpd8.html

2) ACHOF friend Lee Barry beat me to the punch in his posting of this recent album cover-related article featuring the words and opinions of sole-surviving Hipgnosis original partner Aubrey Powell, but I want to make sure that everyone has had a chance to review and digest what the graphic designer-turned film-maker says about the future of “iconic” album art, using the enormously-popular cover of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as the benchmark. While I might not agree with his conclusions (I have seen many creatives who’ve expanded their capabilities and client bases adopt his point of view), you can’t deny that his input and experiences have done much to propel the field and provide inspiration to the next generations of producers to create memorable imagery for their music industry clientele, regardless of the delivery platform used to share them with fans. Medium‘s Anna Horan shares her conversations with him in this recent posting –
https://medium.com/cuepoint/why-we-ll-never-have-an-iconic-record-cover-like-dark-side-of-the-moon-again-957480dcb692

July 8th –  1) And the Dead train keeps on a-rollin’….The works of the talented artist Stanley Mouse are the subject of a new art book hitting the shelves titled California Dreams: The Art of Stanley Mouse, with a career retrospective of both his solo projects and his work with the late Alton Kelley being staged at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery (running thru August 8th). Best-known for the hugely-popular Skeleton & Roses logo and posters, Mouse also created album covers for the band and other Bay Area-based groups including Steve Miller and Journey, so it is only fitting that his career is (finally) being chronicled in this way. The book’s text was written by long-time historian and writer of all things Dead-related, Blair Jackson. Read Sam Whiting‘s feature article and interview with Mouse on the sfgate.com site – http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/Book-retrospective-give-Grateful-Dead-artist-6364197.php

2) Another psychedelic art stalwart – Peter Max – is the subject of a new posting by Joan Baum on the site for the go-to paper in The Hamptons, Dan’s Papers. Mr. Max, a regular on Long Island’s East End, created a special 4th of July cover for the paper and spoke with the reporter about a new show of works he’s done recently to commemorate what would have been the 100th birthday of a New York icon…no, not the Statue of Liberty (although Max has done many of those over the years) but, rather, Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. The first in this series was unveiled in March at Max’s studio (with Nancy Sinatra in attendance) and the show, titled “Sinatra, An American Icon”, is now on display at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, where it will be up through September 4, before moving to the Grammy Museum of Los Angeles. MAx has done album covers for musical acts including Badfinger, The Band, YES and Clint Black, so these new musician-themed works continue on in that tradition – http://www.danspapers.com/2015/07/talking-with-dans-papers-cover-artist-peter-max/

July 7th – 1) You may recall that I posted about Hugh Syme‘s book about the album art he’s created over the years for Canadian super-rockers RUSH, but in this interview with Gary Graff on the Billboard.com site, you’ll get to read more about the talented art director and his 40+ year relationship with the band, as well as several stories about some of the album covers he’s created along the way. As a bonus, you’ll get to read a forward contributed to the book by drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart about how the two met (Syme was playing in another band and had done some impressive visuals for his group that Peart had seen and been impressed with) and what it means to be partners in creativity over the years. A good read will be had by all – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6613236/rush-hugh-syme-art-of-rush-book-album-covers-neil-peart-foreword-exclusive?page=0%2C0

2) After the Rolling Stones played a recent show in the Raleigh, NC area, they were treated to some very familiar-looking cakes as part of the dessert table laid out post-concert. Students at the local Art Institute’s culinary school were hired to produce nearly a thousand small cakes and pies and chose to do them in the shape of the iconic Stones “Lips & Tongue” and, as you’ll see by the photos accompanying the article by Aden Hizkias on the local Herald Sun site, I think they did quite a nice job. In addition to the cakes and pies, the student bakers delivered trays of cookies done in the shapes of record albums and musical notes…http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x399474256/AI-chefs-lay-some-sugar-on-The-Rolling-Stones

3) One more Stones-related item – not to be outdone by the Thin White Duke’s travelling art show (David Bowie Is), Mick, Keith & Co. will be co-curating a show based on a collection of over 500 items, hoping to launch the first show in the series – to be titled Exhibitionism – at London’s Saatchi Gallery in April 2016. More details to follow but, according to the press release, the multi-media events will include “will include backstage paraphernalia, unheard audio tracks, unseen video footage, iconic costumes, personal diaries, album cover artwork, original posters and one-of-a-kind cinematic representations”. Looking forward to learning more soon but, in the meantime, here’s a link to the release – http://www.ifreepress.com/entertainment/1307-rolling-stones-to-stage-major-career-exhibit-at-london-gallery

July 6th – 1) Those of your finding yourselves in the Durham, NC area on Tuesday, July 7th might want to make a beeline over to the city’s Main Library at 7pm local time to listen to a discussion about the creative/production processes behind making a memorable album cover. The panel will consist of two people with lots of experience on the subject – Merge Records’ co-founder (and guitarist for NC-based indie pioneers Superchunk) Mac McCaughan and the label’s creative director, Maggie Frost – more info on this presentation is available in writer Allison Hussey’s recent posting on the local Indy Week site –
http://www.indyweek.com/music/archives/2015/07/01/durham-main-library-merge-records-to-present-a-program-on-album-art

2) Down Louisiana way, album art fans can get their fix by touring the new exhibition now on display at the Manship Theater gallery at the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge titled “The Art of Vinyl”. Running through August 2nd, the show was put together with the help of several local collectors and the gallery’s director, Liz Goad, who also enlisted the talents of several local artists, who created new works of art – inspired by the record art on display – that are also included in the show. You’ll find examples of record covers from every genre of music, going back to the 1950s and including classics in every category. According to reporter Robin Miller‘s account of the show on the local The Advocate news site, the director has been working hard on organizing this show for quite some time…“We’ve been talking about the idea of a vinyl album show for awhile. We loved the idea of an exhibition celebrating this art in pop culture.” http://theadvocate.com/features/12418180-123/the-art-of-vinyl

3) Now that the Grateful Dead are dead (or, at least not performing as the Grateful Dead any longer), it is time for fans to look for other ways to ingest more Dead-related programming and the folks at Chicago’s near-West-side NYCH Art Gallery are more than happy to respond to that need, having launched a new show of photographer Roberto Rabanne’s trippy 3D images featuring the band. The show includes many rare photos taken since 1967 and, to take the presentation to even greater extremes, each photo is presented in a frame that has also been embellished with well-known Dead iconography (skeletons, roses, etc.). More info on this show is available via this article on the Art Daily web site –
http://artdaily.com/news/79792/Roberto-Rabanne-s–Synesthesia–A-Further-Photographic-Trip-with-the-Grateful-Dead–on-view-in-Chicago

July 3rd – 1) From the “when you want things done right, do them yourself” file – Public Image Ltd singer John “Rotten” Lydon wanted something wacky on the cover of his band’s upcoming album titled What The World Needs Now, and so he chose to provide his own illustration of a wacky-looking Hopi Indian Kachina doll – which to Lydon represents Man’s efforts to breed hate – rather than uniqueness – from our cultural and religious differences. The Hopi religion – being passive and inclusive – provides us with symbols of a culture that is based on problem-solving rather than, as Lydon puts it, “problem-giving”, and so it seems fitting that it provides the iconography for the bands new record, due out September 4th. In this recent Kory Grow posting on the Rolling Stone Magazine site, you’ll learn more about this new work, John’s often-thought-provoking takes on the people that shaped his past (Malcolm McLaren, Vivien Westwood, etc.) and news about a U.S. tour this Fall – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-lydon-unveils-antireligious-art-for-new-public-image-ltd-album-20150622

2) Jim Stafford is back with a new entry in his Cover Stories series on the Diffuser.fm site, with this week’s article providiing us with the back-story to one of hip-hop’s seminal records – License To Ill by the Beastie Boys, with artwork created by the talented team of Steve Byram (design) and World B. Omes (illustration). The cover depicts a Rick Rubin fantasy – his new band having their own jet, just like to one he saw in a book about Led Zeppelin! Of course, not all flights taken by rock icons end up well (just ask Buddy Holly, Lynyrd Skynyrd or SRV, as examples) – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-beastie-boys-licensed-to-ill/

3) Writing for the National Post, writer Rebecca Tucker interviewed photographer Bob Gruen about his relationship with late Beatle John Lennon (in anticipation of a new show of his work, running currently at the Liss Gallery in Toronto, Canada) and the stories behind two of his best-known shots of Lennon. Rather than present a more-traditional interview article, she teamed up with artist Brice Hall to give us one done in the style of a graphic novel. Very cool. If more of history were depicted in this fashion, we’d all know a lot more about the important things… http://news.nationalpost.com/arts/when-life-hands-you-lennon-how-bob-gruen-captured-one-of-the-most-iconic-rock-n-roll-photos-of-all-time

July 2nd – 1) Writing for the Fusion web site, writer Kelsey McKinney has put together a nice article – including interviews with album cover artists including Greg Burke and Jeff Kleinsmith – about technology’s long-term effects on the design and relevance of album cover images. The article discussed how changes in music delivery formats – from LP to CD to digital downloads and streaming services – has forced changes in the size, style and overall visual impact of album covers, and as we learn from the discussions with the previously-mentioned art directors, we get to know more about how these images are handled as part of both the branding of musical acts and the various ways that visuals are included in the strategies to deliver fan-friendly products.
Examples of how this has applied to packaging strategies for both classic (Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, Carly Simon and others) and more up-to-date acts (Drake, Nicki Minaj, CeLo Green and more) are included, and the question “do we remember album covers because the music was memorable, or vice versa” leaves us to think about which side of the argument we each fall on – http://fusion.net/story/155616/album-covers-technology/

2) Over on the Diffuser.fm site, Jim Stafford presents a new installment of his Cover Stories serial, this one featuring the Elvis-influenced cover of London Calling by The Clash, with cover photo by Pennie Smith and text by Ray Lowry. The image proved to be so iconic that it was included in the Royal Mail’s recent series of album cover-based postage stamps. Get the whole background behind the making of this memorable cover via the link – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-london-calling/ P.S, – so important was the Elvis influence that Mick Jones attempted the patented Elvis sneer on the cover of Big Audio Dynamite’s P-Funk record – nice try, Mick!

3) Keeping Elvis front and center, here’s the announcement of the latest entry in the US Postal Service’s Rock Icons series of “Forever” postage stamps, this one featuring – c’mon, just guess – Elvis Presley! Based on photographer William Speer’s 1995 photo of The King, this is the second time that a Presley image has been the basis for a postage stamp here in the U.S., the first time being back in 1993 (when postage stamps were 29 cents). In conjunction with the release of this new stamp, RCA/Legacy Recordings will be releasing a new CD titled Elvis Forever. Both the stamp and the CD will be at your post office on August 12. Bob Mehr‘s story on the Commercial Appeal site gives you the details – http://www.commercialappeal.com/go-memphis/elvis/elvis-stamp-image-previewed

July 1st – I just read (on photographer Mike Salisbury’s Facebook feed) that the esteemed Japanese illustrator Shusei Nagaoka died in late June of a heart attack at the age of 78. My condolences to the family and friends of the artist whose colorful, fantastic works for musical acts including E.L.O. (Out of the Blue), Pure Prairie League (Can’t Hold Back), Jefferson Starship (Spitfire) and Earth, Wind & Fire (Gratitude, The Best.. of and several others) helped define record cover imagery in the late 1970s. Fans of the artist can read more about him via this recent article on the Japan Times web site –  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/27/national/nagaoka-illustrator-for-earth-wind-fire-other-bands-dies-at-78

That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

Album Cover News Recap – June, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – June, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

With Summer coming here  to the Pacific Northwest with an unseasonable blast of heat and drought conditions to the East and South of us, many album art fans I know are looking for ways to spend quality time indoors, so what better way to beat the heat than by joining like-minded individuals from all over the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe in search of the latest news about album art and the artists that create it. To that end, there were a number of interesting headlines we at the ACHOF posted throughout the month of June, with an impressive number of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feed. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, with the rest following in greater detail.

Having survived one of the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I’m glad to report that all’s well with yours truly on that front and, once again, I have say “thanks” to you all for your patience and continued support during that ordeal. And now, on with the report…

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get to know a bit more about several of their favorite cover image producers including  the always-controversial Stephen Sagmeister, photographer M. Sukita, designer Don Clark and Portland’s own Carson Ellis, as well as my own interview with one of the punk music scene’s most-influential shooters, Edward Colver. This interview came after years of attempts to organize a “Featured Artist Portfolio” item with the elusive Mr. Colver, so I’m proud to be able to finally share this with you.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, publishers were busy promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos from artists including photographer Jay Blakesberg, illustrator James Marsh and, in a follow-up to my report a couple of months back about Ramon “Oscuro” Martos’s newest book titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Cover, there’s a report on a new documentary film short based on the book created for fans of the fantastic art often found gracing the covers of heavy metal music records.

June proved to be a busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with curators and gallery owners in several locations around the world displaying collections that included the works of  photographers Anton Corbijn, Richard E. Aaron and the late Ken Regan, Beatles animator Ron Campbell and Sgt. Pepper’s designer Jann Haworth, along with several retailers who are promoting the limited-edition re-releases of a group of LPs by the Rolling Stones and a group show in Ohio featuring several well-known shooters that covered various aspects of the local/national music scenes. Finally, in Chicago and on the West Coast, fans of the Grateful Dead will find several shows celebrating the band’s 50th anniversary (and their “final” tour).

Other stories included profile features on artist/surf music icon Dean Torrance and the enigmatic MC Escher, user-generated content built around their photos of the current state of the places where famous album cover photos were taken and a soon-to-be-released documentary on the career of famed photographer Brian Griffin. News continued with features on a Cleveland-based artisan who crafts working guitars out of wood and album covers and how one Portland, OR tourist magnet – Voodoo Doughnuts – crafted their own Sgt. Pepper‘s-like collage for an ad in a local paper promoting the shop’s 12th anniversary celebration.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. While I was slowed in my quest to update those already there with new information and to add another 50 or so new ones before taking a break to work on my book project (more to come on this later), that should in no means delay you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends and/or days when it’s beautiful outside) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

June 30th – As fans are getting ready to enjoy several “farewell” performances in Chicago this weekend, here are some Grateful Dead-related stories for you:

1) If you’re in Chicago (perhaps one of the 200,000 people who purchased tickets for the shows being played at Soldier Field), why not hop across the street to the Field Museum to see the special exhibition they’re running built out of items on loan from the Grateful Dead archive at UC Santa Cruz. The show’s called “All The Years Combine: Deadhead Treasures from the Grateful Dead Archive and GDTS Too” and was co-curated by UCSC archivist Nicholas Meriwether, who’ll also be contributing his writing skills to the group’s 50th anniversary box set that will be shipping later this year (80 discs for $700). For more information on this special showing, along with the shows Mr. Meriwether has planned for his own gallery back in California to commemorate The Dead’s golden anniversary, read Scott Rappaport’s recent article in the University’s newsletter via the link at http://news.ucsc.edu/2015/06/dead-archive-farewell.html

2) Two galleries – one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles – are also running special Dead-related shows featuring art and photography by many of the artists known for their work for (and featuring) the band. In the Bay area, the San Francisco Art Exchange has posted a collection of 19 images (with more to come ASAP) showing the band and the local scene throughout their career, with shots by photographers including Robert Altman, Jim Marshall, Graham Nash, Ken Regan, Bob Seidemann and Baron Wolman and including portraits, concert photos and others sure to warm the hearts of Dead Heads everywhere.

http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400115&start=0

Down the coast in LA, the Mr. Musichead gallery is hosting a show called Truckin’: Celebrating 50 Years of The Grateful Dead, where you’ll find photos and artwork by, Arnaud Azoulay Jay Blakesberg, Adrian Boot, Jack Morefield, Peter Simon, Leni Sinclair, and Baron Wolman. This display is available for viewing from now until July 9th. http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13701

June 29th – Stories about 2 Southern California-based album cover artists:

1) Famed cover and poster artist John Van Hamersveld has provided the citizens of, and visitors to, the town of Hermosa Beach, CA with something wonderful to look at – a new mural depicting the history of surfing/surfboards, delivered in a style that only the creator of both the Endless Summer and Magical Mystery Tour  promo images could have done. Unveiled to viewers this past weekend, the mural pays homage to JVH’s fascination with both psychedelic art and the early 19th Century paintings by Japanese master Hokusai. More info on the project is provided by Stephen Carr on The Daily Breeze site – http://photos.dailybreeze.com/2015/06/photos-mural-by-artist-john-van-hamersveld-unveiled-in-hermosa-beach/#1

2) While most music fans are aware of Dean Torrance’s musical output as part of pioneering surf music duo Jan & Dean, fewer know about his equally-impressive graphic arts talents, shown over the years in the many album covers he produced. After the musical act was forced to sideline its work after Jan’s terrible auto accident in 1966, Torrance used the visual arts training he received while at USC and started a design company, producing imagery for music industry clients including the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, Harry Nilsson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, earning four Grammy Award nominations for his work along the way and winning one in 1972 for the cover for Pollution’s self-titled LP. Today, at age 75, he’s still working at his design firm located – where else – in Orange County, CA’s “Surf City”, Huntington Beach, and you can read more about what else he’s up to these days in David Ferrell’s recent article on the Orange County Register web site at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/torrence-667695-city-surf.html

P.S. – R.I.P. Chris Squire – one heckofa bassist – you’ll be missed.

June 26th –  1) I’ve been muddling this over for a couple of weeks now and, since I can’t seem to come to any conclusions with regards to who is right and who is wrong, I thought that I’d just post this and see what my readers think. A couple of weeks back, designer Stefan Sagmeister was speaking at a conference and pronounced that – I’ll paraphrase as best I can – album cover designs are inherently better/more meaningful than those for movies, going as far as to pronounce that one rather-well-known theatrical poster (i.e., the one for the original Star Wars film) “is ultimately a piece of shit”.

As you may know, many designers/illustrators/art directors working today apply their talents to projects in both fields, as well as for clients in the book and magazine publishing worlds, theatrical design, etc., so while I think that Sagmeister’s comments might be true in some cases, I don’t see how, for example, Drew Struzan’s posters for the Indiana Jones film series are any less-impressive than his album covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.

Rather than stoke the flames of a confrontation, I would be more than happy to moderate a discussion between these and other album cover/film poster art professionals and other experts in the field (as well as knowledgeable fans) on the topic or, more simply, just ask “can’t we all just get along?” Read the coverage on this, along with a recent interview with Mr. Sagmeister conducted by Dan Howarth for Dezeen.com – http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/16/stefan-sagmeister-interview-graphic-design-star-wars-poster-album-record-covers/

2) Just who was responsible for the ideas that led to the creation of the originally-banned-but-now-iconic cover art for Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols? There have been several participants who’ve claimed that the inspiration was all theirs, so it was wonderful to read this recent posting by Diffuser.fm’s James Stafford in which he provides “the facts” presented by the two principal protagonists – designer Jamie Reid and punk impresario, the late Malcolm McLaren. As some of you may recall, both the cover’s design and content led to some quite-contentious responses from critics, industry execs and, in the case of the use of the word “bollocks” – which has several meanings in British English – the local constabulary, who arrested a record store owner for indecency when he displayed the promotional items for the new record in his shop’s windows…While we may never know “the rest of the story”, it does provide us with a lot to ponder and enjoy (particularly, the music, samples of which are linked in to the story) – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-never-mind-the-bollocks-heres-the-sex-pistols/

June 25th – 1) Good things come to those that wait – At long last, I’m happy to announce the publication of the latest Album Cover Hall of Fame “Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio” article, with this one bringing you samples from the impressive portfolio of one of the best-known photographers that covered the punk music scene in the U.S., Edward Colver. Perhaps most-remembered for his photos of bands in the emerging Southern California punk club scene, Colver shares some of the stories behind “the making of” cover shots for musical acts including Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, TSOL and other acts – including one eye-catching image that was used on rapper Ice Cube’s Greatest Hits compilation. This article would never have been completed without the ongoing help of publicist Kate Gammell and ACHOF friend Robert Bostrom, so I’d like to thank them both for their ongoing support and patience during the nearly five years (!!) that it took to complete this.
And now, without any further delay, here’s the link – enjoy, and please share with your friends.
https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/achof-featured-artist-portfolio-photographer-edward-colver/

2) Special Southern California music scene bonus item – very few bands have had as powerful a logo/band icon as the one called the “Fiend Skull” associated with another early punk band The Misfits, so it was great to read the details of one of their most-recent shows and the band’s ongoing efforts to provide their fans with new and exciting band merchandise. While Jerry Only is the sole “classic line-up” member left (with Glenn Danzig and Only still duking it out over who has the rights to what), the skull logo motif has been updated to better-represent the current players while still giving fans what they love and respect. The current concerts revolve around playing complete albums, so the t-shirts sold at the event include both custom imagery and unique set lists. I only hope that these new shirts were damaged appropriately while worn in the very-active mosh pits found at each show. More on this in Will Theisens recent article in (where else) The Orange County Register – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/misfits-667563-night-album.html

June 24th – Three for the photography lovers in the audience:

1) In preparation for the Photographs, Icons & Style auction Christie’s is holding on June 30th, they’ve published an article on one of the photographers whose works will be offered that day, that being Stéphane Sednaoui, a fellow well-known to album cover fans for his color-infused fantasy shot of Bjork found on the cover of her 1995 album Post, as well as his photo and video work for many other music industry clients, including Madonna, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Garbage. Some of his video work was on display as part of the recent Bjork exhibition at MoMA in NYC, while his photos are included in the “Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” show running currently (through August 3rd) at the Grand Palais in Paris. More info on his artist and his works are available via the link – http://www.christies.com/features/Iconic-photographs-of-Bjork-Big-time-sensuality-6248-1.aspx

Follow-up – on June 30th, the two Stephane Sednaoui photos of Bjork sold at prices in the mid-range of their estimates – the color photo from the cover of Post had a pre-auction estimate of €20 – 30,000     and sold for €25,000 ($28,047); while the black & white photo he took while shooting for her Big Time Sensuality record (not the cover)  had a pre-auction estimate of €8 – 12,000 and sold for €10,000 ($11,219). The auction, which featured images from photo greats including Richard Avedon, Nobuyoshi Araki, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, among many others, enjoyed total sales of 1,720,475 euros for the 62 lots offered. 

2) Give the fans what they want! Dutch artist/photographer/film-maker Anton Corbijn’s much-lauded “1-2-3-4” show at the Hague Museum of Photography has been extended through August 16th, giving more fans world-wide an opportunity to see this prodigious album cover-maker’s work for subjects including U2, Nick Cave, The Slits, Nirvana and many others. Although he finds himself spending most of his time these days shooting and editing critically-acclaimed films (you’ll recall his work for the Ian Curtis bio-pic Control and The American, starring George Clooney), we’re glad that he found the time to select over 350 works from his archives for this impressive show. Rebecca Bengal gives us the good news in her recent posting in the Art and Culture section on the Vogue magazine site –http://www.vogue.com/13275138/anton-corbijn-exhibition-hague-museum-of-photography/

3) Photographer Jay Blakesberg has over 250 album package credits to his name, but his recently-released book titled Guitars That Jam has him delivering portraits of a very-specific type – images of guitars being played by their well-known owners. Inspired by fan feedback he received when he included several guitar/guitarist shots in his last book, Blakesberg felt that a book of these images would resonate with both fans and musicians, as there are many stories to be shared about the relationships between axe-slingers and their instruments (think B.B. King and Lucille, Clapton with his black & white Fender Stratocaster, etc.).Glide Magazine’s Joe Raniere interviews Mr. Blakesberg about his new book (which features an intro by Warren Hayes) in this article –
http://www.glidemagazine.com/137973/photographer-jay-blakesberg-captures-beloved-axes-guitars-jam-interview/

June 23rd – 1) Money and Fame are, most times, powerful incentives for artists to work on projects that they might not have done normally but, in the case of artist and “master of illusion” MC Escher – as the stories are retold in this nice article by Steven Poole on The Guardian web site – it was all about the respect he did or did not receive from fans, clients and the fine art world in general. While he did license his work for use on album covers for Clannad, Michael Brecker and Mott The Hoople, he turned down more requests than he accepted, including opportunities to work with Mick Jagger and film-maker Stanley Kubrick. Of course, as is often the case with great artists, his work was often appropriated without his knowledge, and it was only after his death in 1972 that Escher achieved the degree of success and respect (in the form of exhibitions and books on his work), so if you’d like to read more about the life and times of a true artistic visionary, please click on over to this story –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/20/the-impossible-world-of-mc-escher

2) Over the weekend, I discovered a new book that fans of music, art and fashion should certainly seek out. Written by author and Goth fan Natasha Scharf (and published late in 2014 by Backbeat Books, part of Hal Leonard Publishing), The Art of Gothic: Music + Fashion + Alt Culture is a very nicely-illustrated 224-page tome that explores the genre since it’s “launch” in the late 1970s and all of the various sub-genres – some quite dark, while others are simply fascinating – that have combined to make modern Gothic imagery one that continues to amaze and impress fans world-wide. You’ll find a lot of info on the many artists that produce album cover art for musical acts in the genre, including Alan Forbes, Andy Vella/Parched Art, HR Giger and multi-talented musician/artists including Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. I found a video trailer on YouTube featuring the author and her book, so fans of “the dark side” of the music/entertainment business can meet her and understand her motivations behind this new publication –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTzHkPQD9Jw

3) Lastly – I found a recent article on a site called Hit The Floor, written by Josh Pratt, titled “WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE BEST ALBUM ARTWORK OF 2015 SO FAR!” and clicked on over expecting to learn more about this survey and the artwork featured within. Alas, when I got there, what I found was a slide show featuring 33 recent cover images, but the selections were not accompanied by any explanation of why they were “the best”. No information was included besides the album’s name and the name of the musical act, and so I wondered what qualified the author to be able to make such a claim. Clicking on his bio, I found that he is a career military man living in North Carolina and, apparently, with no background at all in music or art. While I certainly believe that “citizen journalism” can be a benefit to us all – many bloggers and writers have impressive backgrounds in the subject area they write about, or at least a lot of passion for the subject – it is articles like this that make me wonder how/when (if ever) it will be possible to filter content in ways that allow us to keep informed via written articles that contain useful information. Am I being too hard on this guy, or ?? Your opinions would be appreciated.
http://www.hitthefloor.com/features/we-take-a-look-at-the-best-album-artwork-of-2015-so-far/

June 22nd – 1) Fans of all things rock and roll should have a good time tomorrow (june 23rd) at theExperience Music Project’s 15th anniversary bash at the museum’s HQ in Seattle, WA. I’ve been to the museum many times and am always impressed with their exhibitions, their permanent collection and the digital library and archive they’ve created. Of course, there are always many album cover-related items on display, and in their new Hendrix-centered display titled Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad 1966-1970, you’ll find many examples of original artwork, photography and personal items from the final stages of Jimi’s career. The museum offered free admission (and birthday cupcakes!) to attendees all day June 23rd – click on over to the EMP’s site for the details –
http://www.empmuseum.org/calendar/events/15th-birthday-bash.aspx

2) When both the label’s founder and its art director share a love of the memorable album art created by classic British indie labels 4AD and Factory Records, you can assume that they’ll bring that passion for great art to their own offerings and, as you’ll see in this recent article by Silas Valentino on The Village Voice web site, the head honchos at Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones Records have done just that. 135 records later, shades of Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver are evident in the label’s artwork for their own acts such as The Hunt, Jenny Hval, Zola Jesus and many others. You’ll learn a lot more about the ongoing influence that art has on the label’s approach to offering fans something unique and interesting in this nice interview article, available via the link – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/adoptions-and-adaptations-the-distinctive-design-of-sacred-bones-records-7255864

3) Storm Thorgerson’s artistic vision, Bob Dowling’s photographic talent and an impressive album cover budget combined to deliver fans one of Pink Floyd’s most-memorable album covers, that being the one found on 1987’s A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Never before had over 700 hospital beds been arranged so nicely on a beach, so it was with great interest that I enjoyed the recent reading of this informative article on the topic by Matt Dolloff for the WZLX web site. I hope you’ll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into this project as well –http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/2015/06/15/pink-floyd-momentary-lapse-of-reason-album-cover-photo-shoot/

June 19th –  1) Jann Haworth – the talented pop artist who teamed up with designer Sir Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper to bring us the timeless artwork for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album – is the subject of a new exhibition opening tonight in her adopted home town of Salt Lake City, UT. Ms. Haworth has lived in the area for over 15 years and even re-imagined the SPLHCB artwork in a mural she painted in downtown SLC, so this new show – titled “Round Trip” – serves to showcase her work and the influences of the places she’s lived throughout her career. The show can be seen at the Modern West Fine Art Gallery through July 16th, with an opening reception tonight (June 19) beginning at 6PM local time. More on this show in Kelsey Schwab’s article on the Deseret News web site –http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630624/Local-exhibit-to-feature-work-of-pop-artist-behind-Sgt-Pepper7s-album-cover.html?pg=all

2) Also opening the weekend of June 19th was a new gallery show featuring the works of famed rock photographer Richard E. Aaron, a guy who many of you will know for his album covers for Kool & The Gang, Ray Charles, the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton (Aaron’s shot of the heart-throb in concert graces the cover of one of the most-successful double albums of all time – Frampton Comes Alive!). Called “Rock On Paper”, the show includes well over 200 of his best-known images, including many you’ve seen in magazines, books and other media outlets. Running through August 1st at the Fathom Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles (Aaron’s home town), the exhibit offers attendees a very small sampling of Richard’s archive – over 45,000 shots of the millions he’s taken have been published – no wonder why he was voted one of the Top 10 Music Photographers by Modern Photography magazine! Read more, see more (including a list of the shots that will be on display) on the Monsters And Critics web site –
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/rock-superstars-from-a-to-z-dazzle-the-eye-in-richard-e-aaron-exhibit-opening-in-l-a/

3) Adobe – no stranger to visual imagery, as most of the world’s photographers, graphic artists, illustrators, etc., use their products to create and catalog their works – is celebrating their 25th anniversary and, as part of their festivities, recently published a list of the 25 most-influential young artists in the world. A young (18) artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin was included on the list, giving him his second big win in the past year – the first being his commission from rock act Pink Floyd to create the album cover for their most-recent release, The Endless River. Fans of Eldin and his work will also soon get to see more of his creations when he “takes over” the Adobe Photoshop Instagram account for a couple of weeks and displays his portfolio on that popular platform. You can learn a bit more about this story via writer Enas El Masry’s recent posting on the Egyptian Streetsweb site – http://egyptianstreets.com/2015/06/17/egyptian-teenager-selected-among-the-best-25-visual-artists-worldwide/

June 18th – 1) Always happy to promote the album cover-related efforts of local (Portland, OR) talent, so today I’d like to point you to a recent interview/article on the talented author/illustrator/graphic designer Carson Ellis and her most-recent artistic endeavors, including a new children’s book and album packaging for her hubby Colin Meloy’s band, The Decemberists. While she’s illustrated books for other children’s book authors (Lemony Snicket and Florence Parry Heide, for example), the recently-published “Home” is her first as both author and illustrator. In Jeff Baker’s recent posting on The Oregonian‘s “Oregon Live” site, you’ll read more about Ellis, her work, her relationship with her musical husband and their recent move from Portland to a farm outside the city –http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2015/06/carson_ellis_finds_home_with_n.html

2) In order to provide a broader range of content than their budgets might allow, many publications have turned to “citizen journalists” for their help in gathering items for inclusion in their stories. In a new example posted recently on The Guardian(UK’s) site, you’ll find a number of photos of places that have served as the backgrounds for a host of well-known album covers such as a railing in NYC’s Greenwich Village used on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush to a back alley behind the original CBGB’s club used for the Ramones’ Rocket To Russia to a Liverpool pub used on Ringo Starr’s Sentimental Journey and an alley behind the band’s recording studio used on the cover of the debut album by The Clash. Leave it to the fans to find out the truth, I always say… http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/jun/09/albums-sleeve-art-locations-readers-pictures?

3) In a quick follow-up to yesterday’s bit (posted June 17th) on the Lackey Rd. Guitars (featuring graphics supplied by some of your favorite classic rock record covers), I found a Flickr page that shows many more examples of these instruments – gotta love theLayla and Woodstock poster-based examples –https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlackey/sets/72157644738690191/

June 17th –  Two new examples of album cover-inspired creativity:

1) Based in Cleveland, OH (home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and a pretty good basketball team) is a fellow by the name of David Lackey and David, a retired teacher, has started a small business making electric guitars out of cigar boxes and, most-interestingly, classic album cover-topped solid wood bases. Yes, musicians looking for something different to play can now hit the stage playing 12″ square custom guitars based on their favorite albums, or select one from a list of classics including Abbey Road, Cheap Thrills, Led Zeppelin’s Mothership or several Grateful Dead LPs.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/187553366/custom-order-album-cover-electric-guitar?ref=shop_home_active_2 
Hoping to learn a little more about these but, in the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about David and his hand-crafted LP axes, please visit his site.

2) Often times, when fine artists are looking for easily-identifiable examples of Pop Culture on which to base their newer works, they turn to well-known album covers to serve as those bases. In a new example of such a project, Jeremy Hallock of the Dallas Observer introduces us to an art exhibition featuring the work of Amarillo, TX-based artist Jon Revett, whose new show titled The Glacier Project (which ran thru June 18th) was on display at The Safe Room gallery at the Texas Theater and offered viewers his attempt to combine Pop visuals with the spiritual graphical elements often found in Islamic art. Interestingly, each 12″ square “tile” in the finished work is available for sale at $20 each, so the “glacier” will “melt” a bit each time a tile is sold! Read more about the artist and this fascinating display via the link – http://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/the-glacier-project-is-melting-at-the-texas-theatre-7297442

June 16th –  3 items for fans of album cover photography:

1) With the much-lauded “David Bowie Is” exhibition moving soon to the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, writer Annemarie Kiely just posted an interview in her column for Vogue Living with long-time Bowie photographer Masayoshi Sukita about his new Bowie photo show at the Mossgreen Gallery in Melbourne. Best-known for his cover photo for Bowie’s Heroes LP, Sukita shares more details about that photo session, his relationships with Bowie and buddy Iggy Pop and touring Kyoto with Bowie doing the driving.
The show is on display at the gallery through July 30th, with the “David Bowie Is” exhibition launching July 1 and running thru the end of November. Click the link to learn more –http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+living/arts/david+bowies+photographer+on+forty+years+of+collaboration,36960

2) After photographer Ken Regan passed away in late 2012, his daughter Suzanne uncovered a trove of unpublished photos in his archives that served to document “the turbulent 1960s”. Working with the folks at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street in NYC, a new show based on a selection from these shots – titled “Ken Regan – A Decade Of Uncovered Images” is now on display (thru July 3rd). While album cover fans will best remember Regan’s work via his images for Bob Dylan (Desire, Greatest Hits Vol. 3). The Alpha Band and others, Ken worked as a photo-journalist covering major news and cultural events, so in addition to his photos of celebrities from TV, film and publishing arenas, you’ll find shots of the Apollo 11 astronauts on parade, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. You can find out more about this show in Leslie Feffer’s recent posting on theExaminer.com site – http://www.examiner.com/article/exhibit-of-ken-regan-photos-debuts-today-at-morrison-hotel-gallery

3) Last week, photographer Bud Lee died at the age of 74, 12 years after suffering a paralyzing stroke. During his career, the photo-journalist made a regular habit of catching celebrities from all walks of life in their natural settings, with his candid photos of subjects including Al Green, Clint Eastwood and Mick Jagger finding their way into articles in major publications and books world-wide. His photos of ZZ Top were used in two recent covers for the band – 2012’s Original Album Series and 2013’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970 – 1990. A service in Lee’s memory will be held July 11 at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, FL, the place he called home after moving there in the 1970s. More on Lee and his career can be found in Dave Nicholson’s article on the Tampa Tribune site – http://tbo.com/plant-city/photographer-whose-shots-included-both-famous-and-ordinary-folk-dies-at-74-20150611/

June 15th – 1) In this month’s edition of Rachael Steven’s “Record Sleeves of the Monthfeature on the Creative Review site, you’ll find the stories behind a number of nice new cover images, including those for musical acts such as Everything Everything (illustrated by Andrew Archer), Of Monsters And Men (abstract logo design by Leif Podhajsky) and Tame Impala, with a somewhat-psychedelic cover image by Kentucky artist Robert Beatty. As always, Rachael includes some covers for international (meaning “not easily found in the U.S.”!) artists as well, so there are always some unusual and intriguing things to see and learn about. To read the entire, nicely-illustrated article, just follow the link –http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/june/record-sleeves-june

2) Writing for DIY Magazine, Sammy Maine recently posted an interview article with Seattle-based graphic powerhouse Don Clark in which he recounts his work for the cover of Brand New’s second major release, 2003’s Deja Entendu. Clark’s astronaut has become the basis of many a fan’s tattoo collection and was a fine example of a musical act’s trust in the talents and imaginations of the Invisible Creature team. Click on over to http://diymag.com/2015/06/01/inside-the-artwork-the-story-behind-brand-news-deja-entendu for “the rest of the story”.

3) Lastly but not leastly, fans of Talk Talk cover artist James Marsh can now pre-order a copy of a new edition of his previously-sold-out art book Spirit of Talk Talk. Due out this October, the paperback version will be updated to include 24 pages of additional content, including interviews with several of the band’s best-known cohorts. Founding band member Simon Brenner will be autographing a small number of copies for early orderers, so click on over to the Spirit of Talk Talk site and reserve yours today – http://www.spiritoftalktalk.com/ You may recall that I interviewed James a couple years back about the body of his work, so if you’d like to re-introduce yourself to his work, here’s the link to that interview –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/

June 12th –  1) What Time does to Anarchy….Virgin Money, a financial services company in the U.K., is now offering its customers a chance to get credit cards featuring memorable images from record covers for the Sex Pistols! Jamie Reid’s timeless design for Never Mind The Bollocks…(wait, isn’t “Bollocks” a bit of profanity?) can be had on your new Master Card, with the alternative being the artwork used on the single for the very un-capitalist tune “Anarchy in the U.K.”, complete with a safety-pinned Union Jack. I guess that those of us in the U.S. will have to wait until someone releases a Billion Dollar Babies credit card – no fair! Read and see more on this item in this article by the Daily Mail‘s Sam Dunn –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3116191/Artwork-Sex-Pistols-album-feature-new-plastic-offer-Virgin-Money.html

2) While I’m always curious as to how a writer determines exactly what criteria must be met to be included in a “Most Controversial Album Cover” article (typically, nudity, followed by religious symbolism and “kids doing the darndest things”), it certainly must be said that album covers over the years have stimulated a lot of conversation about how best to create a memorable image, so while you might find some of the covers included in Lex Campbells list found on the Triple M radio web site (Australia) more quaint than disturbing (these days), each example certainly did get folks talking when they hit the retail shelves in their day – http://www.triplem.com.au/sydney/music/news/2015/6/list-10-most-controversial-album-covers-of-all-time/

3) One final Rolling Stones re-release-related item – timed to coincide with both the re-release of the Sticky Fingers record and the band’s upcoming concert at Heinz Field, curators at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA have put together a special exhibition featuring production materials and correspondence related to the making of the famous album cover image – cover photos (front and back), inside sleeve shots (“the underwear”) and letters announcing the record’s Grammy nomination in 1972 for “Best Record Cover”. Writing for the Trib Live site, Bob Karlovitz gives us the details of this ongoing display –http://triblive.com/aande/music/8540066-74/warhol-album-cover#axzz3csNEzIi8

June 11th –  1) Very pleased to announce that film-maker Michael Prince has completed his documentary on the life and talents of photographer Brian Griffin, well-known to fans of album cover art for his memorable covers for acts including Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and many others. The Surreal Lives of Brian Griffin will be hitting the festival circuit in the UK soon, with Mr. Prince working hard to find distribution both in and outside the U.K. soon.
In the meantime, he’s put up a nice promo trailer on the Vimeo site, which I invite you all to watch via the link at https://vimeo.com/124393480
Please share this with anyone you know who is interested in learning more about this talented individual (as well as any fan of fine art photography).

2) With soccer/football/futball dominating the headlines these days, here’s a link to a story about how one Argentinian sports blog is working to highlight what appears to be fan-made apparel that appeals to two passions at once – love of soccer and love of music – by featuring graphics derived from great album art and band logos. As noted in this article on the MLS Soccer site, a blog called LaCasaca has gathered examples of jerseys featuring imagery from Queen, The Beatles, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica and several others. While I’m assuming that these examples are mostly wishful thinking, I’m also hoping that some deep-pocketed clothing manufacturer is paying attention and will work to bring us something similar soon. In the meantime, enjoy –http://www.mlssoccer.com/sideline/news/article/2015/06/10/rock-and-roll-soccer-jerseys-are-here-stay-check-out-latest-crossover-kits-s

3) To follow-up a recent posting about the new line of special-edition vinyl LPs and limited-edition art prints based on several re-releases by the Rolling Stones, there was a special event taking place on Thursday, June 18th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that was built around these new items. On hand to introduce the line was Sirius/XM Radio host Chris Carter (Chris Carter’s British Invasion), so if you’re anywhere near the Sunset Blvd gallery, be sure to stop on in to take a look at these new items, published by Time Life’s Spotlight Gallery division. Preview these items on the gallery’s site at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13708

June 10th – 1) While I know that many well-known album cover artists have applied their talents to clients in both the record and film industries (for example, Drew Struzan did film posters for Star Wars and Indiana Jones after creating covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath), I was impressed to see this recent article by Ria Misra on the IO9 site featuring the talents of one her column’s contributors – who goes by the name of “poorfishy” – who posted his/her mash-ups of classic record and film imagery. You’ll find examples of Duran Duran, The Beatles and the soundtrack for the movie Grease re-interpreted using characters from Star Wars, Dr. Who and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others.
Creative inspiration comes from many sources, but only a few dare to turn it into something worth sharing – well done, poorfishy!
http://io9.com/classic-movie-posters-redrawn-as-vintage-album-covers-1709277184

2) In another example of “you never know what might be worth saving (until you auction it off 50 years later)”, art collectors will enjoy reading the details of the recent luck of a Ms. Jinty Stephenson, a classmate of now-famed designer/artist Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame) who so loved a painting done by her fellow student that she purchased it – paying a total of £30 in ten weekly installments – and is now auctioning it off, with the item expecting to sell for about ten thousand times more than what she paid for it (i.e., approx. £350,000, or a half-million dollars).
It was one of 40 lots up for auction by Christie’s in their June 25th Modern British & Irish Art sale, so I’ll be sure to report back on just how much Ms. Stephenson’s cash account has grown post-sale. In the meantime, you can read more about this in writer Hannah Furness’ article on the Telegraph UK site – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/11655389/Best-investment-I-ever-made-Painting-bought-for-30-to-sell-for-350000.html

Follow-up – Well, our congratulations go out to Ms. Stephenson who, as the beneficiary of some spirited bidding, found her painting sold for NEARLY TWICE the pre-auction estimate – £662,500, or $1,038,800! The entire auction consisted of 32 lots and, with bidders from 18 countries participating, the total take on the evening’s sales was nearly $30 million.

June 9th – 1) To follow-up yesterday’s Rolling Stones-related article that touched on the upcoming re-releases of some quintessential Stones LPs, fans looking for something rare and collectible will have their wishes answered with the announcement of the availability of some special-edition versions of these recordings, made even more enticing by the inclusion of limited-edition album cover art prints. In the article by Nick DeRiso on the Ultimate Classic Rock site, you’ll learn more about the details of what’s available (12×5, Let It Bleed and Get Yer YaYa’s Out!), all done in clear vinyl and packaged with framed litho art prints that feature in addition to the expertly-done artwork found on the records, reproductions of the signatures of the band members.
The art prints were published by long-time album art producer Denny Somach and were done in a partnership between Somach, ABKCO Records and Time Life. The 2500 copies are priced (quite reasonably, I think) at $199.99, so if you’d like one, run don’t walk (or, quite simply, click on over) to the article to find all links as well as a nice video of DJ Chris Carter (host of the long-running “Breakfast With The Beatles” show) unveiling his own copy of the package –http://ultimateclassicrock.com/rolling-stones-clear-vinyl-litho/

2) Speaking of The Beatles – appearing at last weekend’s stop in Orlando, FL of the traveling Art Rock Show was famed designer and animator Ron Campbell, one of the people most-responsible for the memorable psychedelic imagery of both the Yellow Submarine full-length feature and the Saturday Beatles Morning Cartoon series that kept kids and their parents glued to their TV screens in the late 1960s. The 75-year-old artist’s appearance was a rare treat for fans, with the well-attended meet-and-greet a great chance to both hear from the accomplished animator (who worked on many other shows, including Rugrats and Ghostbusters), get an autograph and even take home a limited-edition print or two from the series produced by the artist.
Read the nicely-illustrated coverage of this event by Caitlin Dineen of the Orlando Sentinel on the paper’s site at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orange/os-ron-campbell-beatles-cartoon-animator-20150606-story.html

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Wasn’t I surprised when paging thru last week’s edition of the local Portland alternative paper (The Portland Mercury) when I came upon an ad from huge tourist magnet/donut shop Voodoo Doughnuts that thanked locals for their ongoing support and marked their 12th anniversary with their own re-interpretation of Sir Peter Blake’s often-replicated cover design for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP (see picture at top of this posting). The shop is famous for putting just about anything on a donut (bacon maple is a big seller, as is one in the shape of a voodoo doll), so the collage certainly is representative of the artistic approach to high-calorie snack foods that keeps people filling pink boxes with them every hour of every day… See attached picture and, if tempted, visit their site to learn more –http://voodoodoughnut.com/doughnuts.php

June 6th –  1) Much has been said and written about Sir Peter Blake’s Grammy Award-winning design for the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s by The Beatles, but have you ever wondered just who were all of the people featured in that grouping? Some are quite obvious – two sets of Beatles, Edgar Allen Poe, W.C. Fields and Bob Dylan, to mention a few – but, for example, who are the two 19th Century-looking dudes on the left-hand side of the next-to-last row of figures? Let’s thanks the folks at Ultimate Classic Rock and Diffuser.FM for a detailed slide show containing all of the missing information regarding the “who’s who” of this memorable assemblage – click here and your questions will finally be answered – http://diffuser.fm/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-cover-art/

2) I’ve written before about photographer Eilon Paz’s book titled Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, a tome that tries to explain that strange-but-wonderful connection some folks have with the physical aspects of collecting music on vinyl or CD. In his book, the author discusses how the apparent “value” of music has been diminished by the almost unlimited amount of it you can listen to digitally (i.e., via streams, downloads, etc.). Compare this with the value that a record collector attaches to his/her vinyl or CD collection – those items being things that the collector has decided to invest in for posterity’s sake and, at the same time, helping support the careers of his/her favorite musical acts. In this recent article by Kate Beaudoin on the Mic.com site, Kate works with Paz to select and highlight seven of the collectors/collections featured in the book, letting each subject explain and demonstrate why it is that they prefer – for a variety of reasons – to build and maintain their collections of their favorite music. Very insightful… http://mic.com/articles/120134/7-stunning-images-prove-just-how-much-we-lose-with-digital-music

June 5th –  1) The works of several Ohio-based rock photographers are now on display (through the end of August) in a new show at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in Youngstown, OH titled “Rock Gods: The Art of Rock ’n’ Roll Photography”. The 100+ photos on display were shot by photographers who’ve covered the local music scene for the past 40+ years and include Cleveland-based Janet Macoska and two Youngstown, OH-based creatives, Tony Nicholas (photographer) and Chris Yambar, a graphic artist who has “re-imagined” some of Macoska’s photos and created new works of art. Visitors to this show will recognize Janet’s work as part of the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, along with being seen in most major music publications. You’ll also be able to take home prints of the images on display (priced from $30 – $2500) – great souvenirs of a wonderful exhibition. Read all the details in Guy D’Astolfo’s article on the subject found on the Vindy.com web site – http://www.vindy.com/news/2015/may/28/rock-gods-show-at-tyler-center/

2) Album covers from all over the world continue to intrigue music and art fans worldwide, so it is nice to be able to show examples of pop music packaging from place that your Curator hasn’t had much exposure to, such as the collection of Welsh language rock album covers that will be on display at the Galeri Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales beginning this weekend. The exhibition features 40 specially-selected examples and is part of the 2015 Inc Festival taking place. If you’re heading out to take part in the annual celebration there this weekend, here’s a link to an article recently posted on The Daily Post UK web site –http://www.dailypost.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/galeri-caernarfon-hosts-exhibition-iconic-9381265
Perhaps someone can tell me more about the musical acts and artists/photographers whose works are featured in this show – to be honest with you, I’ve been somewhat thwarted in my efforts to determine who’s who from the descriptions provided 🙂

June 3rd – Every once in a while, an item comes up for bid at auction that gives collectors an opportunity to add something unique and beautiful to their album art-related collections, and today I’m reporting on one such opportunity.

You may recall seeing artist Mila Furstova’s wonderful collage that was produced for the cover of Coldplay’s Ghost Stories record, and it proved to be such a popular image that the artist has gone ahead and created a limited-edition series of mixed-media collages that re-create the original wing-shaped image.

Made with two etchings placed on top of a painted background, the nearly 40″ square works are made even more-collectible by the fact that they’re each signed by the artist and the four members of Coldplay. The Bonham’s auction house had one of these prints (there were 25 total in the edition) included in their new Entertainment Memorabilia auction that accepted final bids on June 24th. The pre-auction estimate on this print is approx. $4600, with a percentage of the final price being donated to the Kids Company charity. You can take a look at this nice print via the link –http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22444/lot/251/

Follow-up – while there was a good turnout for the aforementioned auction, the Furstova Coldplay collage went unsold. A happy Coldplay fan, however, did go home with the guitar that Chris Martin used during the recording of their Parachutes record, with the somewhat-battered acoustic selling for $29,462, or nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!

June 2nd – 1) Friday, June 5th was BBC Radio’s “BBC Music Day” and, in support of this event, a number of the network’s on-air personalities have worked together to re-create examples of much-loved album cover imagery, including covers originally featured on records for acts including Oasis, The Smiths and Lisa Stansfield. The participants really seemed to have enjoyed themselves in this work, and the results are pretty impressive, I must say. Seriously, who wouldn’t love to “play” Morrissey or Liam Gallagher for a few minutes? Read and see more about these nice promo images in this article by Emma Flanagan on the Manchester Evening News site –http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-manchester-album-covers—9350395

2) You may recall an article posted not long ago about a new book by author Ramon Oscuro Martos about the amazing range of album cover images found in the hard/heavy metal rock genres, so it was great to see this new short-form video – produced by the author and film maker Randy Salo – in which Martos provides the narration and briefly discusses why he thinks that the artwork in these genres is unique and an important part of the overall connection between bands and their fans. I haven’t yet seen the book in the flesh, so it was also nice to see how well-produced and illustrated And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers is. It certainly has given me some additional inspiration for when I begin serious work on my own book….To read more about this new docu and to watch it yourself, head on over to the Metal Underground site –http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=113772

That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

 

Album Cover News Recap – April, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – April 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

With Spring finally coming to our readers who’ve suffered through a most-impressive Winter, album art fans are slowly-but-surely emerging from their various states of hibernation and joining like-minded individuals from all over the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe in search of the latest news about album art and the artists that create it. To that end, I’m sure that you’ll agree that there were a number of interesting headlines we at the ACHOF posted throughout the month of April and that the sheer number of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items found in our news feed (several of which I’ll highlight now with the rest, in greater detail, following the intro paragraphs) continues to amaze and impress.

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get into the heads and hearts of talented cover image producers and promoters including  UAE-based DJ and vinyl retailer Shadi Megallaa, designers Carin Goldberg and Steve Keene, photographer Henry Diltz and illustrator Dave McKean,  along with my own interview with this year’s Grammy-winning designer (in the box/special-edition category) Susan Archie and a special Record Store Day interview with this year’s “special ambassador”, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, publishers were busy promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos related to musical acts including Pink Floyd, Rush and, for fans of the fantastic art often found gracing the covers of heavy metal music records, Ramon “Oscuro” Martos’s newest book titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers . For those of us who spent hours custom-packaging our favorite music on cassettes, there’s also a new book on the subject of “mixtape artwork” titled Damn Son Where Did You Find This?: A Book About U.S. Hip-Hop Mixtape Cover Art by authors Tobias Hansson and Michael Thorsby.

It was an exceptionally-busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with curators and gallery owners displaying collections that included the works of Raymond Pettibon, Frank Frazetta and photographers Joel Brodsky, Jim Marshall, Jimmy Steinfeldt, Anton Corbijn, Neal Preston, Michael Halsband, Brian Duffy and a group show in NYC featuring several well-known shooters that covered the early rap/hip-hop scene.

Other stories included features on the role of logo art in music marketing, using Google Maps to locate and view the current state of the places where famous album cover photos were taken and one artist/musician (Natalie Sharp) and her ongoing efforts to re-create the cover art of albums she likes on her face using paints and make-up.  News continued with  the announcement of the judging for this year’s D&AD Awards for album cover art/packaging, the premiere of a line of music t-shirts with built-in music downloads as well as several more “best ofs”, “Most Fashionable” and other such “Top 10” lists. The excitement continued with a story about the auction and sale of a cardboard garden gnome that was one of the characters included in the cover collage on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s LP and another on one artist’s work to re-imagine a number of well-known covers with key characters replaced with comic book super-heroes.  I was also happy to provide an update on Kevin Hosmann’s ongoing efforts to finish up production on his new documentary film that will feature interviews with 50 album cover art producers, record label execs and others who’ve contributed to the growth of the medium (and who will share their opinions on the past and future role that this art has/will play in the marketing of music products. Finally, there was info on how the sale of album art prints can serve to raise money in support of scholarships for the next generation of album cover creative/production talent.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interview articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m still on a quest to update those already there with new information and to add another 50 or so new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves but, as I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day (even when it’s beautiful outside and I REALLY want to play hooky) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

August 30th – 1) A reminder to our friends in the LA area – don’t miss the opportunity to take part in the opening night festivities for the new “A Lad Insane by Brian Duffy” photo exhibition at the recently-relocated Mr. Musichead gallery in Hollywood. The reception takes place Friday, May 1, and begins at 7pm. According to the gallery, there “will be photos from Brian Duffy’s five different photographic shoots with David Bowie. These groundbreaking sessions not only documented Bowie’s career and pioneering reinvention, but illustrate Duffy’s special relationship with him.

(The late photographer’s son) Chris Duffy will be present to talk about his father’s working relationship with David Bowie.  Copies of his book  ‘Duffy Bowie : Five Sessions’  will be available for purchase and signing on the evening. The evening’s co-hosts will be Martin and Mary Samuel. An award-winning hair stylist, Martin worked with Bowie on the set of “The Man Who Fell to Earth”.

For more info, visit the gallery’s site at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13357

2) The UK’s National Portrait Gallery has just added another album cover image to their collection – Dav Stewart’s photograph for Tempest’s album Everybody Down – and will be including it in an exhibition called “Picture The Poet” that will begin its tour of exhibition spaces on Friday, May 1, at The Collection Museum of Art & Archaeology in Lincolnshire. The Portrait Gallery’s collection also includes Mischa Richter’s photo portrait of Amy Winehouse used on the cover for her 2006 record Back to Black and the Mario Testino shot used on Madonna’s 1998 album Ray of Light. The Guardian (UK) gives us the details in this recent article on their site –

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/apr/27/kate-tempest-album-cover-added-to-national-portrait-gallery-collection

3) As part of the prestigious design publication D&AD‘s annual Judging Week prior to the awarding of their coveted D&AD Awards, the President of the professional group behind the awards – Mark Bonner – has posted an article that gives us the details on several of his personal favorites. Included in the list is an album package for New Zealand alt-rock band Shihad’s latest record, titled FVEY (with artwork done by the Alt Group) which features a VERY cool skull sculpture. The record is available in several different packages, including several limited-edition versions that include a poster of the skull image, and Mr. Bonner is hoping that someone will take the hint and create a collectible version of that skull (watch out, Damien Hirst!). More about this on the Campaign web site – http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/1343547/

April 29th – 1) Several years ago, I interviewed several people involved with creating logos for their musical clients and, in nearly every case, these “works for hire” (i.e., projects where they were paid a flat fee, or where they received limited licensing credits) went on to earn their clients millions of dollars via their uses on album covers, merchandise and other related money-makers. While they are just part of an act’s overall identity, great band and label logos can stand alone and, as you’ll see in the linked article written by Tom Hutchins for the Noisey Music By Vice site, have done great things in building tighter relationships between acts/labels and their fans. You’ll also see examples of where things didn’t work out quite as their owners expected… http://noisey.vice.com/blog/the-art-of-the-record-label-logo

2) Blogger Bruce Jenkins – the super-fan that runs the popular Vinyl Connection  site from his base “down under” – has just celebrated the 2nd anniversary of his site’s launch and, as part of the festivities, has introduced a new take on a cover-vs-cover competition that he’s calling the “Cover Art Portrait Playoff”. He’s organized 16 pairs of album covers and is asking fans to pipe in with their “whose better” selections beginning next week. To get folks in the mood today, he’s just posted a nice article on a selection of covers that followed very similar approaches to their covers – in this case, covers that look like they are “ripped from the headlines” – take a look and be sure to check back to cast your votes soon – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/04/28/who-wants-yesterdays-papers/

3) Last-minute album art panel discussion announcement as a bonus item related to the ongoing “Pick Me Up” event now running at the Somerset House in London, the folks that run the “Cover Club” series there announced a show Thursday night (April 30) at “The Studio” space featuring graphic designer Ian Anderson, one of the founders of the renowned Designers Republic studio (Warp Records fans know/love his work). Joining Ian on the panel is Kevin King, the music marketing exec that launched the “Secret 7” music/art campaign that has raised lots of money for charities in the U.K. via the sale of specially-produced record cover artwork created by many of the world’s better-known designers. More info on this event is available via the link at https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/pick-me-up-2015/platform

April 28th –  1) There’s a new entry in the “Sgt. Pepper’s album cover tribute” category, and this one is a doozy! You’ll never guess who did it – that’s right, Who did it (sorry, couldn’t resist)! The cover for the new record titled Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular (a tour playing in several cities in the U.K. and featuring a host of BBC musicians playing music familiar to the TV series’ fans) takes on the familiar collage motif found in Sir Peter Blake’s original design for The Beatles, with this version featuring a collection of characters seen in the show – Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels included! Not sure who is responsible for the art, but hope to find out. In the meantime, you can take a look at the work reporter Marcus for the Doctor Who News fan-site gives up a look at the image via the link – http://www.doctorwhonews.net/2015/04/symphonic-spectacular-homage-album-over.html

2) The folks at the Mass Appeal web site have taken inspiration from several other sites (including The Guardian) to use the handy Google Maps application to seek out and display the locations where a number of well-known hip-hop album cover photos were taken. I’m quite appreciative of the fact that they also provided readers with a bit more information (and proper credits) on each of the featured images (yes, working people actually did create the original images, thank you!). If you’ve always wanted to see where the covers of albums including Ice Cube’s Ameriikkka’s Most Wanted, Jurassic 5’s Quality Control, MC Lyte’s Eyes On This and Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head (along with another 10 or so) were first photographed, click on over to the article via the link – http://massappeal.com/iconic-hip-hop-albums-in-google-street-view/section/nas—illmatic

3) Vinyl records have always held a special place in the hearts of music fans, but it is rare to find such love and commitment in societies that, under most circumstances, work to keep such examples of Western decadence away from the local populace. In this article on The National‘s site (an English-language publication headquartered in Abu Dhabi), you’ll meet Shadi Megallaa, a DJ, record label and soon-to-be record retailer in the UAE and learn more about his plans to turn his personal collection into a record store that he hopes will appeal to the audio purists he knows in his home town. After moving recently from New York City to Abu Dhabi, this entrepreneur is working hard to make sure that this effort – which will be called “Flipside” (which I love, as it was the name of a popular record chain in the Midwest that I spent many hours in as a youth) – succeeds in spite of both industry forces and the social mores that exist in that part of the world. Let’s all wish him luck – http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/music/a-look-at-the-growing-vinyl-record-scene-in-the-uae#full

April 27th – Special Fashion Edition…

1) Whether you believe that album cover art reflects the styles/fashions of the day or, in many cases, helps set those standards, you must admit that there have been many album cover images that are “stylin'”, featuring musical acts such as Grace Jones, Joni Mitchell, Madonna and others who, in addition to being reviewed as musicians, were also always in the headlines for their sense of fashion (good or bad). In this recent article by writer Austen Rosenfeld for the Style.com site, you’ll find 14 examples of memorable record covers that the author considers to be “the most fashionable of all time”. If, after looking at the list, you care to comment or add some examples of your own, I/we would love to see what you think…I’ll start – conspicuous in its absence is the cover for Saturday Night Fever…your turn…
http://www.style.com/culture/entertainment/2015/fashionable-album-covers

2) Just prior to becoming a fashion icon herself (i.e., before Like A Virgin and the film Desperately Seeking Susan), young Madonna Ciccone was another in a long line of struggling musicians/performers trying to make a name for herself in the music business, so when Warner Bros. Records hired freelance designer Carin Goldberg to work with their new one-name act, her first thought was “God, it’s going to be one of those” but, as time would tell, this turned out to be the start of something big. Ms. Goldberg would go on to do covers for a number of other pop/jazz/classical acts, and the photographer, Gary Heery, would shoot covers for acts including Roy Orbison, Paul Simon, Joe Cocker and others, but as you’ll read in this interview by NYMag.com’s Erica Schwiegershausen, this one cover portrait will continue to cement this team’s place in classic album cover history. http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/04/making-of-madonnas-first-album-cover.html

April 24th – 1) The folks on Public Radio’s “here & Now” show have posted a multi-media extravaganza (i.e., an audio interview with a series of photos you’ll reference while you listen to the interview) featuring host Robin Young’s recent conversation with album cover photo great Henry Diltz. The eleven-minute interview includes Mr. Diltz’s recollections about a number of his earlier works, including his escapades with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Paul & Linda McCartney, Richard Pryor, The Doors and several other legendary performers. Henry went on to launch one of the best-known galleries dedicated to rock photography – the Morrison Hotel outposts – and has always impressed me with the detailed memories he has of his time spent with early rock royalty, so I hope you’ll take a break from your weekend to listen to this (and the nice soundtrack that accompanies it) – http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/04/23/henry-diltz-music-photography

2) New works by artist Raymond Pettibon, well-known for his covers and illustrations for early punk/alt rock pioneers such as Black Flag, Minutemen and Sonic Youth, are the subject of a new exhibition at the Regen Projects gallery in West Los Angeles running now until May 30th. Titled “From my bumbling attempt to write a disastrous musical, these illustrations muyst suffice”, the new show, according to the gallery’s PR, puts on display “a broad spectrum of influences ranging from Southern California surf culture, punk rock aesthetics, baseball, and film noir to popular culture, world history and politics.” Included art works of pen and ink on paper, gouaches and several collages, all done with the artist’s unique perspective on pop culture gloriously on display. I just want a print of the cover he did for Sonic Youth’s Goo but, hey, that’s just the collector in me talking…More on this on the ArtDaily.com web site – http://artdaily.com/news/78110/Exhibition-of-new-work-by-Raymond-Pettibon-opens-at-Regen-Projects-in-Los-Angeles

3) The estate of the late photographer Jim Marshall has teamed with UC-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism to spearhead and help endow a new fellowship program for students of the craft which, quite rightly, will be called the “Jim Marshall Fellowships In Photography”. There’s an exhibition currently running on campus through the end of May called “The Haight: Love, Rock and Revolution” (accompanied by a photo book by the same name) that includes Marshall’s imagery from that San Francisco neighborhood featuring the stars of that time (late 1960s) and place including The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and others (read more about this show on the school’s info page at http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2015/01/29/love-rock-revolution-exhibit-features-work-of-legendary-music-photographer-jim-marshall/ ), with more of the details about the Fellowship, its funding and ways you can donate to it, available via the link – http://journalism.berkeley.edu/news/2015/feb/02/jim-marshalls-the-haight/

April 23rd –  1) Rock & Roll fine art and photography can do a world of good for more than just the collectors and fans of the art-form…As you’ll read in this recent article on the ETNow web site, proceeds from the sale of art prints featured in photographer Neal Prestons recent exhibition at the Musikmesse industry event (in Frankfurt, Germany) were totaled up and a check for $50,000 was given to the “Behind The Scenes” charity, a group that provides disabled or injured industry professionals with grants to help them better-manage their day-to-day living expense. Preston’s show, titled In the Eye of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hurricane, was done with the support of Lightpower, the German-based distributor of lighting products and put over 60 of his best-known photos of rock royalty (Led Zeppelin, Queen, Bruce Springsteen and many others) up for viewing in a series of super-sized prints.
Read more about this donation at http://www.etnow.com/news/2015/4/lightpower-donates-50-000-to-behind-the-scenes-from-the-neal-preston-rock-n-roll-photo-exhibition
and, to see more of the exhibition, click on over to the Musikmesse site at http://musik.messefrankfurt.com/frankfurt/en/besucher/events/neal-preston.html

2) In Ramon Marcos Garcia’s (AKA Oscuro) recent posting on the Metal Underground site, the author presents a number of album covers that have been based on classic/historical imagery. Fans of art history have long-admired the works of artists from centuries past such as Hieronymus Bosch (the 15th Century Dutch painter best-known for the fantastic “Garden of Earthly Delights”), Jean Delville (the Belgian “Idealist” from the late 1800 – early 1900s) and John Martin (the 19th Century British painter who helped us visualize “Paradise Lost”), so it is fascinating to see works from these and other artists both inspiring today’s album cover illustrators and, in cases like those featured in this article, being “borrowed from” quite freely. You’ll find covers from bands including Morbid Angel, Celtic Frost, Candlemass and others featured in this article, along with the stories about how these historical images found new life on the covers of some of today’s most-progressive musical acts. http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=112500

3) I was browsing through the aisles of the Portland book-selling institution Powell’s when I came across a book that I hadn’t seen previously and, in my ongoing effort to provide album cover art fans with as many resources as possible of information that might help them better-understand the scope of the talent that has produced memorable album art over the years, I wanted to bring this book to your attention.

Published in 1977 by Collier Books and written by the team of Brad Benedict and Linda Barton (both of whom now have credits for scores of books on the arts), Phonographics: Contemporary Album Cover Art & Design is a nice collection of works (over 150 included) of album art produced during the late 60s – early-mid 70s, a period that finds the industry in its “Golden Years”, with regards to the innovations being employed and the importance the recording industry attributed (at the time) to the overall success of recorded music products.

The book’s introduction, though, serves as a painful reminder that, back then, the visuals brought to the packaging of music products were integral parts of their labels’ production/marketing plans, only to have been reduced in importance over the years since this book’s publication – much to the detriment of fans and the talent that worked so hard to deliver such great art and imagery. To those still working on these works today – keep up the good work!

April 22nd –  1) Had a very nice catch-up conversation a few days ago with designer-now-user-experience guru Kevin Hosmann about the status of his labor-of-love project – a documentary film about album cover designers titled “The Album“. Kevin has been working diligently to capture the stories of 50 people who’ve worked in various capacities within the album packaging world – designers, art directors, photographers and other printing/production experts active from 1965 thru today – to chronicle their efforts and. at the same time, the evolution of the music industry.

As a former record cover designer himself, with credits for designs for musical acts including MC Hammer, the Beastie Boys, N.W.A., Tupac, Stone Temple Pilots and others, Kevin is hoping to share his and his former cohorts’ experiences as creatives in an industry that has undergone many changes over the past 20 years, with many of those changes making it difficult for design/visual talent to earn a respectable living (“I need an album cover by tomorrow – here’s $100”). He’s posing a number of questions to his subjects about how they’ve adjusted their approaches to their album art projects and will craft his film from their responses and anecdotes about the people and projects they’ve worked on.

In the meantime, fans can take a look at his rough footage on a Vimeo site he’s set up (https://vimeo.com/user9960212) and, for more info and a nice collection of “back in the day” photos, you can bop on over to his Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Album/1514923212059261
I hope to keep in touch with him as time goes on and eagerly await the time he’s ready to share the film with fans (like me!) of album cover art and artistry.

2) Once again, some brave (or foolish – you decide) soul has published a “Top 10 Best” list of album covers but, in this case, the author (Josh Pellis, writing for the FDRMX.com site) works to provide enough detail to help substantiate his rankings of the “Top 10 Most Artistic Album Covers of All Time” so, whether you agree with him or not, at least you can give him credit for a somewhat-scientific approach to the topic.

The list does include records released over a time period that takes into account many changes in the music world, beginning in the mid-1960s with albums by The Beatles and Hendrix, proceeding thru the 70s, 80s and 90s with records by Pink Floyd, Korn, Dr. Dre and others and including more-recent records by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Calle 13. To read the writer’s complete rundown, click on the link at http://fdrmx.com/top-10-most-artistic-album-covers-of-all-time/ and then let me know what you think…

April 21st –  1) Just finished reading a nicely-done interview with illustrator Dave McKean, a talented guy with many credits in both the book and record cover worlds and the artist behind one of my own personal favorite album covers, that being Fear Factory’s Demanufacture – a classic “man vs. machine” (or is it “man as machine”?) image. McKean has done work for many other metal/hard rock bands as well as supplying covers for books by authors such as Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman and has always shown how today’s digital imaging tools can be put to good (i.e., artistic) use when assignments call for something “other-worldly”. Read Dan Franklin’s in-depth article on The Quietus web site – http://thequietus.com/articles/17626-dave-mckean-interview

2) In Phil Miller’s recent interview article on The Herald (Scotland) site, artist and writer John Byrne talks about returning to the album cover art world recently to take on an assignment for the 25th anniversary recording for Scottish band Shooglenifty. While he’s mostly spent his time lately writing and taking on the occasional art commission, it’s been a while since he’s done record covers. His past work for The Beatles, Stockholm Syndrome and Gerry Rafferty garned him much praise, so it’s nice to see him at work again in this area –
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/byrne-designs-album-cover-for-folk-band.122978964

3) Next week, seminal rock band Journey will be releasing a new record and, in addition to the new music from this best-selling group, fans will be given the opportunity to purchase a limited-edition, 9-color 36″ x 12″ screen print – signed and numbered by the artist, Mark Englert, for only $60. The band has long been a supporter of great album art, beginning early on with works by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley and with several other talented artists following those esteemed names, so it is no wonder that they’re continuing the tradition of offering fine art along with their fine music – click on the link to see the new cover art – pre-orders were to be accepted beginning April 23 – http://store.iam8bit.com/collections/journey/products/journey-limited-edition-print-by-mark-englert

April 20th – Record Store Day follow-up items:

1) Looks as though this year’s RSD was very well-attended world-wide, with over 3,000 indie stores participating, offering specially-produced packages and lots of in-store appearances by musical acts of all types and degrees of popularity. RSD is one of those times where big-name acts come down from their heavenly mounts and mingle with their fans, so you’ll get to see and hear them in some very intimate settings. Quite the treat!

As reported by Shaun Tandon on the ArtDaily web site, the popularity of vinyl continues to grow, brought about by the hand-crafted nature of many of the unique, limited-edition products being offered (you might call them “artisanally-produced music products”) and the depth of information that typically accompanies these packages. Of course, based on the fact that the most-popular vinyl record being sold these days – Abbey Road by The Beatles – you can perhaps correlate it’s sales with the always-in-the-Top-5 rating of its album cover…just sayin’..
http://artdaily.com/news/77984/3-000-independent-stores-have-big-turnout-on-Record-Store-Day-shows-rebirth-of-vinyl

2) About a year ago, I reported on the Record Store Day-related antics of musician Natalie Sharp – AKA “The Lone Taxidermist” – when she released a series of photos of herself sporting face make-up that re-created several well-known album covers (Joy Division, Kraftwerk and others). This year, she’s worked to expand her portfolio of cover-based facepaint, adding covers from Nirvana, Talk Talk, Aphex Twin, Bjork and others (even Mike Oldfield’s classic Tubular Bells!). You can learn a bit more about her ongoing exploits in this Ann Lee-penned article on the MetroUK web site – http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/18/musician-paints-face-to-resemble-famous-album-covers-and-she-looks-awesome-5156220/

April 17th – 1) Every day, I learn a little bit more about the various ways that talented people work to add visuals to their music…In this article by New York Times writer Jon Caramanica about a new book on the subject of mixtape artwork (titled Damn Son Where Did You Find This?: A Book About U.S. Hip-Hop Mixtape Cover Art by authors Tobias Hansson and Michael Thorsby) that features in-depth interview with five graphic artists that have specialized in the field, you’ll learn more about their approaches to the projects they work on and what they do to differentiate their work from what’s typically found on these products. Knowing that they must compete with mainstream products (and the mainstream mindset of many of their clients), they all strive to bring their unique backgrounds and talents to bear when creating some very impressive imagery – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/arts/music/celebrating-the-fast-moving-bug-eyed-wily-world-of-hip-hop-mixtape-covers.html?_r=0

2) Writing for Esquire Magazine, Dan Hyman has posted an interview with artist Steve Keene, the guy responsible for some memorable covers for musical acts such as Apples In Stereo, Silver Jews and, most-notably, Pavement, with this particular article focused on his cover for Pavement’s 1995 record Wowee Zowee (which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release). For an artist well-known for his enormous output, the interview provides some keen insight into how he approached projects that required a bit more attention in order to please his indie icon clients.

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/a34283/steve-keene-pavement-interview/

3) Over the past many years, Todd Rundgren has shown us his many talents as a musician and producer, but with the release of his new record titled Global (and to help promote his world tour in support of his record), Mr. Runt shows off his chops as a visual artist by both creating the cover image for his new album and by sponsoring a contest in which some lucky fans will win their portraits painted by the man himself. To enter the contest, you must show off your own creativity by submitting some evidence – a video, a collection of ticket stubs, pix of your Nazz memorabilia, etc. – that proves that you’re the “Ultimate Todd Rundgren Fan”. You can find all of the details on how to enter in this posting on the GOLDMINE site – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/win-signed-portrait-created-todd-rundgren Good luck!

Bonus Record Store Day posting!

1) My chum Terry at our town’s most-significant temple to all things recorded – Music Millennium – was kind enough to share some info with me about some of the amazing limited-edition special releases that were available starting April 18th, and so I wanted to forward that info on to you with the hopes that you’ll find some time tomorrow to go and see what’s new and exciting and, if so motivated, support your local record retailers at the same time with a purchase or two.

Here’s a link to a handy listing of many of the unique items that are be available (over 500 of them, at this point), with many of them sporting custom covers, colored vinyl and/or bonus items, including posters, art prints, beer cozies, and more!
http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases

A quick scan of the list shows me some very cool items including a David Bowie “Changes” picture disc, a Miles Davis 10″ vinyl box set, a vinyl re-release of The Doors’ Strange Days that features a cardboard sleeve/insert made at the same factory that printed the original in 1967 and, to plug a local recording, Blitzen Trapper’s live recording (recorded at the Doug Fir Lounge here in PDX) of their take on Neil Young’s Harvest LP which sports a smartly-done remake of the original cover image as well. I also saw that, at Terry’s store, anyone who buys a copy of the new Best of the Grateful Dead 2-CD set will also take home a limited-edition print of the Skeleton & Roses cover art – just one of the many examples that should motivate us all to make a beeline to the record store this weekend.

2) Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl is this year’s ambassador for Record Store Day, and he’s pitching in with a special edition 4-song 10″ vinyl record called Songs From The Laundry RoomUSA Today reporter Patrick Ryan has posted an interview with Mr. Grohl in which he spouts off about his love for all things vinyl, sharing info on the first record he ever purchased, time that he spent at record stores growing up and why he thinks that today’s youth has become enamored with vinyl (hint – besides the music, it has something to do with ALBUM COVERS!). Enjoy the entire interview via the link – http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2015/04/15/dave-grohl-foo-fighters-record-store-day-2015/25749947/

April 16th – For those fans of album art from the “heavier” side of the aisle…

1) The fantastic art of Frank Frazetta is featured in a new exhibition that opened April 17 at the Metropolis Gallery in NYC. This is the first such showing of the late artist’s work in the area and is the centerpiece of the gallery’s grand opening activities. Comic book fans have long-known about the gallery’s parent company – Metropolis Collectibles – as the largest vintage comic dealer/auctioneer, so with the opening of this retail gallery and the showing of Frazetta’s work, fans of comics, fantasy fiction and album covers will all have something great to see. The show is in good hands as the gallery’s curator is Rob Pistella, who was Frazetta’s business manager until the artist’s death five years ago. One of the paintings on display will be his iconic “Death Dealer“, an image best-known by classic rock fans for its use on the cover of Molly Hatchet’s 1978 debut album. More details on this show are available on the PR Underground site – http://www.prunderground.com/frazetta-exhibit-at-metropolis-gallery-in-new-york/0056240/

2) Billboard’s Christa Titus gives us a nice overview of the new book by Tampa, FL-based writer Ramon “Oscuro” Martos (well-regarded for his ongoing MetalUnderground.com series about the album art featured on heavy metal music recordings) titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers, just released by publisher Dark Canvas/Handshake Inc.. The book includes the stories behind over 50 memorable metal covers and explores the wide range of styles and subject material featured in these images. While blood, fire and decay are prominently featured, there have been some beautifully-disturbing covers as well, so it is nice to be able to better-understand – in the words of the people who produced these works – their underpinnings and back stories. Whatever you might think of the subject material, there’s no denying the artistry often on display…

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6524434/and-justice-for-art-book-metal-albums

April 15th – A pretty interesting day in album cover news, I think…

1) German illustrator Uwe De Witt has two passions – comic book art and music – and it was with great pleasure that I discovered this article on his recent efforts to re-imagine classic album covers, this time substituting comic book heroes and villains for the characters found on the original covers. I think that he’s done a fantastic job in both selecting the covers he wanted to do and then producing the remakes in an entirely believable fashion. In Ben Kaye’s article on the Consequence of Sound (COS) site, you’ll see examples of records for Aerosmith, Gorillaz, Lou Reed, Nikki Minaj and others. I was particularly impressed with his take on the cover for the West Side Story soundtrack, originally by Saul Bass, but now featuring Daredevil! See the rest at http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/04/artist-reimagines-classic-album-covers-with-comic-book-heroes-and-villains/

2) In another story where an artist has been motivated by dual passions (this time, hip-hop music and professional basketball), you’ll find the details of Jesse Nunez’s recent efforts to re-do well-known rap/hip-hop album covers, replacing the original people featured on the cover with images of NBA stars including James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and others. Laker fans will either love or hate what he’s done with putting the (nearly-expired – sorry, Mark) Kobe Bryant on the cover of a memorable Notorious B.I.G. album…see the rest of Nunez’s work on his Behance site – https://www.behance.net/gallery/25007927/Album-Art-Recreated

3) The annual Florida Music Festival in and around Orlando was enhanced by a new exhibition of the work of photographer Jim Leatherman that launched on Thursday, April 16 at the City Arts Factory, running through May 15th. Leatherman’s photos have been featured in many articles, books and several album covers, with a lot of his best-known work chronicling the 1980s indie-rock scene (Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Archers of Loaf and others), and it was the support from his many fans (via a recent GoFundMe campaign) that provided the incentive for the staging of this show. Ashley Berlanger’s article in the Orlando Weekly gives you the details – http://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2015/03/06/gritty-stunning-underground-rock-photographer-jim-leatherman-finally-gets-a-gallery-exhibit

April 14th –  1) With all of the attention the media has been giving to Hillary C. lately, it is also important to note the role that women have played in the making of famous album covers and, with the help of Mike McPadden and the crew at VH-1, they’ve made that easier to do by publishing an article titled “True Stories of Women On Classic Album Covers”. The article tells us the stories about some of the women that have been featured on records by a wide range of musical acts, from Bob Dylan to Black Sabbath, Blink-182 to Roxy Music and many others. You’ll find photos and illustrations of girlfriends, models, porn stars, etc. but, surprisingly, not one politician! Learn more about the ladies that have been featured in some of the most-memorable covers in rock ‘n’ roll history via the link – http://www.vh1.com/music/tuner/2015-04-06/women-on-classic-rock-album-covers-true-stories/

2) The Trocadero Art Space in Sydney, Australia hosted a show that ran through April 25th in their  Galleries 1&2 (guest-curated by photographer Brendan Lee) called “Turn Up Your Radio” that featured artworks created by musicians. As you know, many musical performers have also displayed their chops as visual artists, and this collection of images – which is accompanied by a playlist also created by the participants – gives visitors a chance to see how 15 of the country’s most-talented (i.e., multi-talented) artists have chosen to express their feelings visually about pop/contemporary culture today. More info is available at http://www.trocaderoartspace.com.au/uncategorized/gallery-12-apr-11-24-turn-up-your-radio-by-guest-curator-brendan-lee/

3) For his 60th birthday, photographer Anton Corbijn received a fine gift – that of an exhibition of his photos of U2, Nirvana, the Rolling Stones and many others that is featured in not one but two museums in The Hague, in Corbijn’s native country of Holland. The retrospectives – titled “Hollands Deep” and “1-2-3-4” – run until June 21 at The Hague Museum of Photography and Gemeentemuseum. While the 1-2-3-4 show is a more-traditional showing of his celebrity photography, Holland’s Deep is unique in that it features photos of Corbijn himself – dressed as some of his favorite musicians, including Elvis, Hendrix, Cobain and others – all taken in his home town of Strijen. You can read more about both shows in this recent ArtDaily article – http://artdaily.com/news/77713/Dutch-master-lensman-Anton-Corbijn-toasts-60-with-new-expos-at-the-Gemeente-Museum-in-The-Hague

April 13th – 1) The works of three well-known photographers who documented the emergence of the rap/hip-hop scene in NYC are featured in a new exhibition now running at the Museum of the City of New York. Titled Hip-Hop Revolution: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper and curated by Sean Corcoran, who produced the exhibition as Curator of Prints & Photographs for the Museum, the show (which runs through September 13th) includes over 80 photos taken between 1977 and 1990 and features images of many of the people that led the way for hip-hop’s birth and ultimate adoption as an integral part of Pop Culture. You’ll find photos of “Afrika Bambaata, Kool Herc, and Cold Crush Brothers, breakers like Rock Steady Crew, and breakout acts such as Run DMC and the Beastie Boys”, among many others. Beckman was also responsible for memorable cover images for The Police, Squeeze and other New Wave artists before “crossing the Pond” to cover the excitement in late 1970s New York City – more about this in this ArtDaily article –
http://artdaily.com/news/77613/Exhibition-presents-historic-early-days-of-hip-hop-culture-and-music

2) Read a fascinating article on the PopMatters site by Elodie A. Roy titled “The Curious Art of Wrapping Music” that takes us through an early history of music product packaging before taking us on a tour of modern approaches to the subject including – which was new to me – a DIY Album Art scene that grew in the U.S. and Europe after the days of punk. The author believes that there’s a section of modern music buyers that will respond very positively to the availability of physical products, particularly those that are packaged attractively. With the rise in popularity of both vinyl records and hand-published “zines” (with some being packaged with CDs of music that accompanies and/or complements the editorial), she presents a compelling argument, don’t you think? http://www.popmatters.com/column/191453-the-curious-art-of-wrapping-music/

3) Finally, in a nice example of an album art creator’s willingness to do just about anything to work with a music industry client to produce a memorable cover image, here’s a link to Ryan Middleton’s story on the Music Times site about photographer Sandy Kim and her recent efforts to work with rapper Young Thug on a cover image for his new release titled Carter 6. He had ideas, she had ideas; she wanted him naked on the cover – guess what he wanted? Follow this through to it’s interesting end via the link at

http://www.musictimes.com/articles/34932/20150408/young-thug-carter-6-cover-photographer-naked.htm

April 10th – 1) Designer/artist James Marsh, well-known for the beautiful and beguiling illustrations for Talk Talk, Steeleye Span and others, has just released a collection of new (and affordable) limited-edition prints in a series that he calls, smartly, “Small Edition Prints”. There are 15 new images in the series, with designs that run the gamut from geometrics and Vasarely-like forms along with Marsh’s well-regarded blends of fantasy and realism. In signed/numbered editions of 10 8″ x 8.5″ prints of each design, collectors can own these for less than $100 each (£62), including postage. To see these new items, along with his other collections, hop on over to his site at http://www.jamesmarsh.com/fine-art/small-edition-prints/

2) If you were anywhere near the Meadowlands Expo Center in New Jersey on Saturday, April 12 at 4pm EST, you had the chance to meet and hear a presentation by one of rock music’s most-respected designers – John Van Hamersveld. Mr. Van Hamersveld – the designer responsible for the covers for Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles, Eat To The Beat by Blondie and Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones (among others) was at the East Coast ComicCon and was interviewed by Cliff Galbraith in a session titled “John Van Hamersveld : Album Covers and Posters That Rocked The World”. John’s contributions to rock & roll imagery are truly notable, as is his perhaps best-known “Endless Summer” poster, a must-have for any fan of surfing..Get the details on the convention’s site at http://eastcoastcomicon.com/panels

3) To follow-up an earlier post about upcoming auctions that feature rock music imagery, I would be remiss to leave out one that took place April 18 in Los Angeles that featured an image well-known to Beatles fans – yes, for the right price, you could have become the new owner of the cardboard garden gnome that is standing next to George Harrison on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s album! A possession of one of photographer Michael Cooper’s assistants, the Sir Peter Blake-designed gnome stands about 20″ tall and has been signed by all four Beatles. You’ll find this item amongst the many being offered in the ’ Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Signature® Auction hosted by Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills. Pre-auction online bidding was at around $14,000 at the time I posted this news (with a pre-auction estimate of $25,000), so it was interesting to see what fans were willing to cough up to own the very unique bit of album cover history (see results in the update, below). More on this in writer Jamie Bowmans article on the Liverpool Echo site – http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/showbiz-news/cardboard-garden-gnome-signed-beatles-9013670

Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover Garden Gnome auction update – some lucky (and, luckily, wealthy) Beatle fan was the winner of a recent auction for this rare bit of Fab Four memorabilia, with the final price paid going well over the pre-auction estimate of approx $16,000 (£11,000). The final price paid – $43,000 (£29,000) – and for that money, the new owner gets a group-signed item designed by leading British Pop artist Sir Peter Blake. I’m hoping that the cardboard cut-out of Edgar Allen Poe comes up for sale at some point but, until then, I’ll just congratulate Mr. or Ms. Anonymous Auction Bidder. Read the rest of the details in Callum Paton’s article on the Daily Mail online site – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3049171/Garden-gnome-featured-Beatles-iconic-Sergeant-Pepper-s-album-cover-sells-29-000.html

April 9th –  1) An album cover “newbie” is responsible for the artwork for The Prodigy’s latest release titled The Day Is My Enemy. When frontman Liam Howlett saw a book by designer Nick McFarlane while touring an art gallery, one look was all it took and Howlett contacted McFarlane at the Auckland, NZ ad agency he works at to ask him to collaborate on the album’s cover image. 166 comps later (!!), the final design was agreed upon and, since its introduction, it’s been getting a lot of attention. The image of a fox looking for shelter in an urban wasteland was so strong that the band staged an event in early April where they projected the cover image on another well-known album cover icon – i.e., the Battersea Power Station in London (featured on Pink Floyd’s Animals) at a promo event there. You can read an interview with the designer in this article on the New Zealand Herald‘s web site – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11426537 and see images of the cover projection event on the NME site via this link – http://www.nme.com/news/the-prodigy/84194

2) Over the weekend  of April 11 & 12, fans of art and music had a unique opportunity to add one of over 700 Grateful Dead-related items to their personal collections from the selections being offered at Donley Auction Service’s “Grateful Dead Family Jubilee Auctions, Parts 1 & 2”. Album and poster art fans were particularly happy to see a number of items offered featuring the works of artists including Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Phil Garris and Rick Griffin. With so many items to sell, the auction was divided into two collections, with each day’s catalog packed with items such as:

Saturday, Part 1 – Rick Griffin’s preliminary artwork for the image he created for the band’s 1981 album Reckoning (opening bid $4500 – sold for $4500); a Stanley Mouse oil painting titled “Whiskey Skeleton & Guitar” for a project that was never published (pre-event estimate $25,000 – sold for the bargain price of only $4500) and Phil Garris Blues For Allah and Play Dead prints ($400 opening bid for the pair, which was also the final sale price), plus others…

Sunday, Part 2 – Two Mouse watercolors of the artwork for Workingman’s Dead – one large, one small – with online bids currently at $1100 and $500 (ultimately selling for $1900 and $1200 respectively) and two Griffin AOXOMOXOA prints, including a very rare 1st edition which had an opening bid of $3750, a pre-auction estimate of $8-10,000 and, unfortunately, was left unsold).

Pop on over to the auction’s Proxibid site to see the results of both days worth of fascinating Dead memorabilia – Day 1 – https://www.proxibid.com/asp/Catalog.asp?aid=91369 and Day 2 – https://www.proxibid.com/asp/Catalog.asp?aid=93716

3) Bringing me back to the days of Windows 3.0 (with multi-media extensions) and CD-ROM-based entertainment, there’s a new “interactive video” up to help promote the release of the re-mastered Led Zeppelin catalog that features a clickable Physical Graffiti cover image and the music from an updated version of “Trampled Under Foot” called “Brandy & Coke”. Clicking on each of the windows unveils a media clip – images, animations, videos, etc.. Now, if they only let you walk down the building’s hallways in very slow 3-D fashion, they might have the makings of a new-style “Myst For Boomers” 😉 More on this on Fast Company‘s design site at http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044616/interactive-led-zeppelin-ice-medusa-azealia-banks-the-weeks-best-music-videos

April 8th –  Three for the rock photography fans in the audience:

1) A 30-year retrospective showing (titled “Rock ‘N’ Roll Lens”) of the work of photographer Jimmy Steinfeldt  opened Thursday, April 9th at 7PM with an artist’s reception at the Mr. Musichead gallery in Los Angeles. Steinfeldt’s credits include shots for the album packages for a long list of noted musical acts, including The Replacements, Kim Wilson, Dee Dee Ramone, Vince Neil, LA Guns, Bob Mould and a host of others. His live-action and editorial work has been seen in Rolling Stone, SPIN and other publications, so if you’re in the area and want to see more of the work by one of rock’s better-known shooters, bop on over to this Hollywood institution – more details at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13384

2) The growing music scene in Manchester, England in the mid-1980s was dominated by the presence of several hot bands including The Fall, New Order and Mr. Morrissey’s band The Smiths, and with the addition of new clubs and a concerted effort to establish the local cultural scene, some folks felt that the city’s uniqueness was being threatened. With a new album – to be titled The Queen Is Dead – ready for release, the band hooked up with photographer Stephen “Steve” Wright in an effort to come up with some imagery that would show “the real Manchester” and, as a result, one of rock’s most-enduring photos was created. Writing for The Quietus site, Mick Middles talks to Mr. Wright about the inspiration and effort behind the making of this well-regarded image – http://thequietus.com/articles/17532-salford-lads-club-the-smiths-photo

3) The career of photographer Michael Halsband, perhaps best-known for his photo of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat looking as though they were ready for some serious boxing, is the subject of a new show that was on display until April 25th at the National Arts Club gallery in NYC. Born, raised and trained in New York, since the 1970s Halsband has been commissioned by publications such as GQ, Interview, Rolling Stone, Vogue and others to provide memorable portraits of celebrities in the worlds of entertainment, politics and fashion, with album cover credits in his portfolio for artists including INXS, Iggy Pop, Klaus Nomi and Northern State. Read more about the artist and the show in this article on the Art Daily site – http://artdaily.com/news/77611/Survey-of-portraiture-by-American-photographer-Michael-Halsband-on-view-at-The-National-Arts-Club

April 7th – 1) Just received updated news on a new album cover art-related product line I reported on last year. Designer Astrella and her husband Jason have released the first group of “Musical T’s” – i.e., deluxe t-shirts featuring licensed designs of your favorite covers that come with an ingenious new bonus – embedded technology called “Activation Tech” that gives buyers exclusive access to related digital downloads! The shirts will first hit the shelves at selected Bloomingdale’s stores in the U.S. in May and, according to an email I received from Jason, the initial releases will include:
Queen – News of the World
The Who – A Quick One
Elton John –The Diving Board
The Spencer Davis Group – Funky
Slightly Stoopid – Best Of
The Vandals – Peace Through Vandalism
Drake Bell – Ready Steady Go
Miles Davis – Blue Moods
John Coltrane – Lush Life
John Lee Hooker – The Country Blues
Thelonious Monk – The Unique Thelonious Monk
If you’d like to learn more about this new line and the people behind it, Matt Hamblins recent article on the ComputerWorld site provides a nice intro – http://www.computerworld.com/article/2905301/musical-ts-combine-album-art-with-a-one-time-download.html
Jason also forwarded a link to an ABC news story about the product from Fashion Week –
http://www.kesq.com/all-star-band-performs-at-fashion-week-el-paseo/31988608
With celebrities from all across the music spectrum – including Matt Sorum, Carmen Rizzo, Tommy Flanagan and NSYNC’s Lance Bass – modeling the shirts, these are bound to find themselves into a lot of rock and roll wardrobes, don’t you think?

2) The nice people from the U.K.’s “Cover Club” asked me to announce that their third installment in their album cover designer interview event series took place at 8pm on Thursday, April 9th at the Ace Hotel in London’s Shoreditch area. The featured guest speaker was designer Lewis Heriz, best-known for his role in (according to their release) “forging the reputation of Soundway Records as one of the most forward-thinking re-issue labels in the world.” A DJ will be on-hand at this free event and will be playing selections from albums that feature Mr. Heriz’s handiwork, including tracks from Drum Talk’s latest.
http://blog.lewisheriz.com/post/113447620077/cover-club9th-april-8pm-ace-hotel-100-shoreditch
Cover Club’s producers also announced that cover designer Ian Anderson – founder of the Designer’s Republic studio and one of the people responsible for the visual aspects of the Warp Records catalog (Cabaret Voltaire, Pop Will Eat Itself, etc.) – would be the featured speaker at a special-edition Cover Club event that took place in late April (as late as May 1) at the Pick Me Up design and illustration festival at London’s famed Somerset House arts & culture center. More info on this as it is made available…

April 6th – 1) Just got a newsletter from the talented team at Storm Studios in which they were promoting a new edition of a book that features more info on the work that the late Mr. Thorgerson and Company had done for one of their best-known clients – Pink Floyd – so I thought that I’d share the details with you. The newest edition of Mind Over Matter: The Images of Pink Floyd is a nearly 300-page book that gives you a very-detailed (and beautifully-illustrated) look behind the scenes of the making of the album covers we all know and love – I’m also impressed with the new cover image they created for the book, featuring FIVE of the famous DSOTM prisms! Published by Omnibus Press, it’s available through all of the major book-sellers – http://www.omnibuspress.com/Product.aspx?ProductId=1105659

2) Almost as well-known to album cover aficionados is the work that artist Hugh Syme has done for Canadian rockers Rush, and so it is with much excitement that I’m pleased to be able to let you know that you can now pre-order your copy of a soon-to-be-released, 272-page coffee table book (with text and interviews by journalist Stephen Humphries) titled The Art of Rush. Working together for 40 years, the band and Mr. Syme have created many a memorable album image, with much of the pre-Photoshop imagery leaving fans amazed and impressed (and other designers asking “how the heck did he do that?”). The reporters at Blabbermouth.net give us a preview on this much-anticipated tome – http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/the-art-of-rush-book-coming-soon/

3) Growing up in Chicago, my radio was pinned to WXRT, so it was with great pleasure that I read a recent article by one of the young staffers “stoking the flames” of classic rock there (Molly Olsem) titled “10 Of The Most Iconic Album Covers & Their Back Stories”. Molly has put together a nice selection of covers old (The Beatles’ Rubber Soul and Warhol’s famous “banana cover” for The Velvets & Nico, for example) and newer (covers for Radiohead, Beck and Wilco are included) and gives us a bit of info about each was made, so let’s support Molly’s efforts to keep her audience in the know about classic cover imagery by clicking on over to her story on the station’s web site at http://wxrt.cbslocal.com/2015/03/26/10-of-the-most-iconic-album-covers-and-their-backstories/

April 3rd – 1) Fans of rock photography had a chance to see (and own) a display of examples of some of the best-known photo images in rock and roll history at the Joel Brodsky exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC that was on display until April 14th. Although Brodsky passed away in 2007, his widow Valerie has worked hard to produce a series of art prints of some of his best-known works, including what is perhaps his best-known photo – that of The Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison in what has become known as the “American Poet” pose that was included on the cover for the band’s debut album in 1967. With over 400 album cover images to his name, it is no wonder that writer Chris Sommerfeldt (in an article written recently for the Resource Online site) was impressed when he found himself surrounded by some of the most amazing examples of rock photography ever put on display – http://resourcemagonline.com/2015/03/fire-lower-east-side-joel-brodsky/50200/

2) Designer Paula Scher’s portfolio of well-known album cover images is truly impressive but, with hundreds of covers to her credit, even she admits that there were some projects that were better-done than others. It is surprising to find out, though, that one of rock music’s best-known cover images – that being the fleet of flying guitar-shaped ships found on the illustration Ms. Scher and Roger Huyssen developed for Boston’s debut LP – is, in her opinion, “a mediocre piece of work” (!!). Writing for The Atlantic‘s web site, art/music historian Steven Heller gives us the story about how this work was created and, regardless of its creator’s feelings about it, continues to be (39 years later) an important icon of the band and the era they launched their careers in – http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/03/the-immortality-of-the-more-than-a-feeling-cover/388739/

3) While we in the Western World are typically free to view – and then respond to – the works of art featured on our favorite music recordings, that is not the case in some countries around the world and, in James Gordon’s recent piece written for the U.K.’s Daily Mail site, we’re given a chance to see how the covers for recent releases by some of the most-popular musical acts in the world have been made “more palatable” for consumers in the Middle East and parts of Asia. You’ll find examples of before/after artwork for Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry and learn about the efforts by local censors to save the sensitive eyeballs of their local constituents from burning in wherever they go locally to burn – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3011459/Record-companies-censor-sexy-album-covers-sold-Middle-East-not-offend-religious-beliefs.html

April 2nd – Happy to (finally!) be announcing the publication of my newest interview featuring Susan Archie, one of this year’s Grammy winners in the packaging categories. If you haven’t yet seen the product package that Susan and her fellow team members produced for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27), released by Third Man Records/Revenant Records, “you ain’t seen nothing yet!” This was most-certainly a labor of love for everyone that participated in the project – how else can you explain the amazing details and information you get in the set (which comes packaged in a hand-tooled walnut case!)?

I’d like to thank Susan for her time and patience as we worked together to provide music packaging/cover art fans with a most-compelling tale about an effort to bring collectors a box set unlike any you’ve ever seen – enjoy the story and, if you feel like sharing, please do…

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/interview-with-susan-archie-2015-grammy-award-winning-designer/

That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed – https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

 

Interview with Emilie Sandy – Deja Vu Album Artist Portrait Series

Today’s Interview Topic – the making of the photographs included in the series titled “Deja Vu”, featuring the portraits of many of the best-known photographers from the world of album cover imagery.

Chris Gabrin and Elvis Costello portraits

Chris Gabrin as Elvis Costello, by Emilie Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever I view a photograph these days that was used on a well-known record cover – particularly, an album I remember buying from one of my favorite record shops (oh, so long ago), I tend to first recall my initial reaction to the image overall (i.e., what was it about the photo that pushed my “pause” button while sifting through the record bins) before moving on to the details found upon further exploration and assessment of the final shot used. I often wondered where the photos were taken, who the people were that you might find in the backgrounds and what sort of photo-trickery was used to create a number of the impossible scenes that were created for our enjoyment well before the availability of the photo-manipulation tools used most-frequently by photographers and art directors today. Getting these answers was one of the main reasons I began contacting the people responsible for a number of these images to ask for these details directly, resulting in the nearly 100 interviews I’ve done and shared with you over the past 7-8 years.

While I know that many of you have shared the same thoughts and fascinations about “the making of” many of your favorite covers, I have never before seen a case where someone who displayed the same interest in album cover-making as I have embarking on a project where, using her talents as a designer and photographer, she worked to “get inside” both the production processes and the minds of the people who’d taken many of her own favorite covers. Using her professional relationships with photographers including Anton Corbijn, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz, Terry O’Neill and others, U.K.-based photographer Emilie Sandy collaborated with these talented people several years back to have them re-create (to the best of their ability) and/or re-interpret some of their best-known album covers. The resulting series of images was called “Deja Vu” and, I think you’ll agree, they certainly work to shed a light on the subjects, their approaches towards making memorable album cover images and how they have ultimately influenced a young photographer’s career and her own approach to shooting photos that will endure. Continue reading

Interview with David Turner – the making of the Lulu album cover

Interview with designer David Turner regarding his album cover work for Lulu, a 2011 release on the Warner Bros./Vertigo labels, based on a collaboration between musical artists Lou Reed and Metallica (and winner of a “Gold Award for CD/DVD Packaging” in the 2013 Graphis Annual).

Lulu, Metallica, Lou Reed, album cover, David Turner

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

During a press interview about their collaboration on Lulu, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich recalled the late Lou Reed’s challenge to the band, asking them “are you game for a little adventure – do you want to go on a ride with me?” They well-understood what working with Reed would entail, having performed together in 2009 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary concert and being witnessing first-hand, in rehearsals, why he had a well-deserved reputation as a perfectionist (during which, via sheer force of will, they earned his respect and an invitation to work together again under the right set of circumstances).

Those circumstances arose a couple of years later when Reed asked the band to work with him to set music to lyrics he’d created based on German playright Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu” series of plays written at the turn of the 19th & 20th centuries (and later re-interpreted in the great silent film Pandora’s Box by GW Pabst). Wedekind, also well-known for his play Spring Awakening, created stories (quite scandalous at the time) in which the main character, Lulu, dances her way through German high society in tales involving sex, lies and murder in degrees never before depicted in the theater. The poems/lyrics that Reed created to retell these stories needed music with the weight and energy that a band like Metallica produced naturally so, again, Lou tasked the group to work with him in methods outside their normal “comfort zone” – in other words, impulsively, without the thought, analysis and studio precision that they were used to in a recording session.

Having successfully lived up to the challenge of creating new music with a man considered one of the ultimate music industry “outsiders” (perceiving themselves as always having been outside the musical mainstream as well), the band turned to designer David Turner of the international design firm Turner Duckworth, who had worked with them on the highly-lauded, Grammy Award-winning packaging for 2008’s Death Magnetic, to come up with designs for the record that would best-reflect the unique nature of the music inside. The resulting packages – including a limited-edition deluxe, 12″ square bound hard-cover version with an illustrated lyric book and a book of photos of the musicians shot in Sweden by 2013 ACHOF inductee Anton Corbijn – were honored with a “Gold Award for CD/DVD Packaging” in the 2013 Graphis Annual. I was eager to learn more about the process and inspiration behind these stunning products and, with the help of David Turner and his team, I’m happy to provide you, my readers, with the details …

Continue reading