Tag Archives: auction

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For July/August, 2018

 

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF JULY, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR AUGUST.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings to you all. Work continues on updating the biography section of the ACHOF web site and so, as I noted last month, this month’s news summary is an abridged one, with less commentary from me and a somewhat-reduced number of stories featured in each section. Even so, much work continues in this area, and there’s a lot to review – interviews, profiles, news about new books and prints, etc. – that I think you’ll appreciate and enjoy. As you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, if you simply read the summaries I’ve written and click the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of your favorite – or soon to be favorite – album art creators.

I am pleased to announce that the first part of a two-part article I’ve written about album cover art, artists and album art production has been added to the Illustration History web site – https://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/producing-album-cover-art-for-clients-in-the-music-business

A project of the esteemed Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA), the Illustration History site serves as an educational resource for fans, students and teachers of the fine arts of illustration and design, so it’s an honor to be able to share some of my research and writing on a subject – album cover art – that features so many great examples of work by the talented people who’ve contributed to the visual side of the music business since the 1940s. Part 2 is due soon but, in the meantime, hope you’ll take a look and share this with your friends. I’d like to thank curator Jesse Kowalski for this opportunity and hope that you’ll spend some time digging through the site’s impressive archives, too.

Also earlier this month, I posted a special alert letting you know that, for the second year in a row, album packaging creators from all over the world are being invited to submit examples of their best, most-recent works for consideration by the esteemed judging panel for the 2018 “Making Vinyl Packaging Awards”. According to the show’s advance press, they’re “now accepting submissions in 14 categories that highlight why packaged media is still important in the digital age. Entries may come from record labels, pressing plants, brokers, packagers, printers, mastering facilities, artists, and distributors from anywhere in the world. Submissions will be judged online by award-winning art directors in the U.S. and Europe. In late August, the winners will be selected from the finalists at the offices of AIGA, the prestigious design organization, and receive their prizes at a ceremony at the MAKING VINYL conference in Detroit on Oct. 1st.”

Last year’s judging panel included a number of album art industry notables, including Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Sylvia Reed, Gail Marowitz, Sean Mosher-Smith, Stefan Bucher, Craig Braun and Making Vinyl founder, PR guru/journalist/educator Larry Jaffee. The 2017 Awards, given then in 8 categories, showcased the talents of both well-established designers, such as Lawrence Azerrad, who lead the efforts to create the fantastic Voyager, 40th Anniversary Edition box set and Shepard Fairey, who was nominated for an award in the same category for Blondie’s Pollinator, alongside emerging talent such as the team of young designers/art directors at Third Man Records (Rex Runyeon and Ryon Nishimori), who took home an award in the “Best Record Art” category for their captivating photo-based cover for their label’s release titled The Monks, Hamburg Recordings 1967. You may recall that last year’s “Best Overall Package” category featured a tie between creators of the packaging for AKATRE’s BLCK RCK and Pet Symmetry’s Vision, and now that this year’s top prize has been re-named “The Alex Steinweiss Award” in honor of the noted record packaging innovator, the nominees in this category should be extra proud to be in the running.

For 2018, there are two new categories being added for CD packaging, an award for best use of sustainable materials, one that recognizes the special limited-edition products that are created for the annual Record Store Days and two awards being proffered (one vinyl, one digital) called “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” which, according to the award show’s producers, “Recognizes innovation in structural design that takes into account the use of new machinery or materials or folds or printing processes that stretches the boundaries of album packaging that previously existed.“ I can’t wait to see whether packages are submitted that were made on 3D printers. One more addition to the 2018 awards process is the addition of a highly-esteemed writer, researcher and self-described expert on album cover packaging to the panel of judges reviewing submissions prior to the final voting, with that person being ME! I’m quite honored to have been asked and look forward to being able to review all of the work being submitted.

The deadline to enter your online submission(s) with digital photos is Wednesday, Aug. 15, 11:59 pm (EST). Eligible works include packages offered for sale between the dates Sept. 1, 2017 to Oct. 1, 2018. There’s a page on the Making Vinyl site that provides anyone interested with all of the info they’ll need (submission formats, costs, etc.) to send in their work – https://makingvinyl.com/awards-2018/

I’ll be updating this story as more info comes in and, of course, will be announcing the winners immediately after they’ve been given their honors. As always, it’s my plan to be able to interview one or more of the honorees about “the making of” their winning works, so stay tuned for more.

As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

1) UPCOMING, RECENTLY-LAUNCHED/CURRENTLY RUNNING AND JUST-CLOSED SHOW/EXHIBITIONS –

a) There’s a truly-impressive Michael Jackson-inspired art show now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in London from now through October 21, 2018 that features works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Kehinde Wilde and a whole host of word-class artists who’ve been inspired by the late King of Pop.“Michael Jackson: On the Wall” includes works by 48 artists and includes a number of works from private collections that have never been put on public display before.

After the show wraps up in London, it will travel to Paris, Bonn, and Espoo in Finland, with more details provided in Henri Nuendorf’s exhibition overview as seen on the ArtNet News site –https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/michael-jackson-npg-london-1310123?

One of the items included in this show is Mark Ryden’s memorable cover for MJ’s 1991 hit album Dangerous, with the story behind this gorgeous cover provided in one of Eben Benson’s recent Juxtapoz Sound and Vision  articles – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-michael-jackson-s-dangerous-cover-artwork-by-mark-ryden/

b) In mid-July, the San Francisco Art Exchange launched a show based on photographer Jim Marshall’s portfolio of images of country music legend Johnny Cash, with gallery visitors being treated to a number of rare and never-before-seen photos, including a series taken during the performer’s storied concert recorded 50 years ago at California’s Folsom State Prison.

According to the gallery’s press release, “These photographs include images of Cash onstage and touring the prison grounds, along with several from the legendary sound check at San Quentin when Cash so famously ‘flipped the bird’ for Marshall. These new photographs and a selection of the estate editions released in 2011 will be featured in our upcoming exhibition along with several extremely rare and highly sought-after signed photographs from Jim Marshall’s personal archive of prints.”

The gallery also announced that collectors who purchase one of the prints made available during the show will also receive a free copy of the soon-to-be-released book of Marshall’s photos titled Johnny Cash at Folsom & San Quentin Photographs by Jim Marshall , due to be published by Reel Art Press  later this summer.)  PLEASE NOTE: Collectors who purchase any Jim Marshall photograph during the exhibition will receive a complimentary copy of the new book coming out later this summer.

Fans can view a PDF version of the exhibition’s catalog of the artwork via this link – http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400162

c) Juxtapoz also provides us with the details of another gallery show that ended July 21st that would have been of great interest to anyone drawn to great examples of the intersection of music and art. While not specifically album cover-centric, the sheer number of musical and visual creatives who teamed up to create both this show and the coffee table book it’s derived from has forced my hand… https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/painting/nick-cave-tom-waits-swoon-and-many-more-collaborate-for-children-s-literacy/

The Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles hosted the show built around the music and art created for the book Waxploitation: Stories For Ways & Means, a nearly 10-years-in-the-making effort that resulted in a 350-page book featuring stories written by famous musicians (Frank Black, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and others), all illustrated with artwork by a number of artists that Juxtapoz readers will be familiar with (Joe Coleman, Anthony Lister, Swoon and many others). A portion of the proceeds from both the show and the book are being donated to several worthwhile charities, with more details available on the gallery’s web site at http://www.coreyhelfordgallery.com/shows/waxploitation-stories-for-ways/the-devouring/

d) I promised to bring you news of album cover artists working all over the world, and today’s no exception. Here’s an article about a Malaysian artist named Mustaffa Ahmad Hidzir, who works under the pseudonym “Tapa”, who has spent the last 40 years designing/producing over 300 album covers and who last year released an award-winning coffee table book that was published by the Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia Bhd. 12×12 Album Cover Design offers up almost 200 of his covers, along with the stories behind them, and beginning on August 4th, fans and lovers of album art will be able to take in a week-long exhibition of his works in a show at the Penang House of Music during the George Town Festival. If you happen to be at the venue a 3PM on August 5th, Tapa will be on-hand to lead a lecture about his career as an album cover designer.

For more info on the artist and his career, click on over to this recent article in the local Sun Daily newspaper – http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2018/07/06/drawing-attention

And to see more about the festival and Tapa’s show there, please visit – https://georgetownfestival.com/programmes/12-x-12-album-cover-design

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) To read my recent mini-interview with Ashley Simerman of KnuckleBonz about their new series of 3D album covers, please scroll down to Section 4 of this news summary

b) Here’s a link to a video posted by YouTube star/fashion and lifestyle blogger Karen Yeung (IAMKARENO) of an interview and photo session during which famed photographer Marcus Klinko works with the not-very-camera-shy blogger poses to try and re-create the look of his famous Beyonce Dangerously In Love album cover – https://petapixel.com/2018/07/13/hanging-out-with-the-photographer-of-beyonces-diamonds-album-cover/

Klinko tries to make it all sound so scientific for the Petapixel reader (“I use top end modifiers from Broncolor and Elinchrom, with custom adapters I built… all the lights in the video are by Flashpoint/Godox….I use a combination of 600Pro, and H1200 for all of my studio and location setups, and occasional use the Evolv200 as well”), but Karen’s just having fun pretending to be Mrs. Jay-Z for a while….

c) Almost slipping past my Google Alert web was this recent interview by Eric Skelton on the Pigeons & Planes site with photographer Nick Walker about his recent work with Playboi Carti for the cover of the rapper’s Die Lit album. The cover image works to bring a very punk-inspired aesthetic to the singer’s “against the grain” approach to his music-making – https://pigeonsandplanes.com/in-depth/2018/05/die-lit-playboi-carti-cover-photo-nick-walker-interview

Walker’s worked with many of the top names in the R&B and Rap world – from Beyonce to Nikki Minaj and FKA Twigs, along with a number of other artists on the Interscope label, so the pairing of the two talents seemed both inevitable and a really good idea, I think you’ll agree…

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) This just in – the nice folks over at the Psychedelic Art Exchange just sent me a note about their current poster auction (on now through August 9th) that peaked my interest and, therefore, I’m duty-bound to share the news with you as well. As you know, many of the people who’ve made some of your favorite album cover images – Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin and many others – began their careers creating posters for some of the now-famous concert promoters and venues on the West and East Coasts – The Fillmores, The Avalon Ballroom, Winterland, etc. – and as the years go by, the original posters these artists created are becoming increasingly-rare and valuable, so when a collection of posters are presented that include some of the rarest and finest-quality examples available, doesn’t it make sense to go and take a look?

The highlight of the offering is, what I’m told, the finest example of what’s known to collectors as “FD-26-OP-1”, better-known to us mortals as the “Skeleton & Roses” or “Skull & Roses” poster Mouse & Kelley did for the Grateful Dead’s September, 1966 appearances at the Avalon Ballroom. The same basic design was also featured on the band’s 1971 2-record live album titled Grateful Dead (which became their first gold-selling record). This poster will sell for a load of money (it’s current bid, as we go to press, is $19,000). The auction company people go on to tell me that there are many other posters available that would, on any other occasion, themselves be headliners, and a quick look at the offering certainly backs up their claim, so why not take a few minutes sometime soon and visit the online catalog at https://auctions.concertpostergallery.com/Catalog.aspx  Happy bidding – buy yourself something nice!

b) Earlier in July (on July 6th, to be precise), I did a special posting about Gotta Have Rock & Roll’s latest Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction that was scheduled to take place beginning July 11th and ending July 20th, so now that the bidding’s over, I wanted to get back to you with some of the results on the key items I’d highlighted in that preliminary posting.

From the Larry Vigon collection – most everything sold for prices that were the opening bids for the items up for auction (good deals, overall, with several exceptions), such as the paintings he did for the front and back covers of Eric Clapton’s 1985 record Behind The Sun (listed with opening bids of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively and sold at those prices) and the comps, including George Hurrell’s hand-tinted photographs, of the cover art he created for Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 hit record Mirage (opening bid, $3,000; sold for the tidy sum of $9,422!). In addition, bidding on his hand-drawn lettering  created for the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours ($2,000 to start) sold for $2,000, whereas several other production elements (photos, drawings, etc.) for other Fleetwood Mac records – as well as some of the band members’ solo album efforts – sold for prices ranging from $1,289 for photos of Lindsay Buckingham from Law and Order to $2,000 for Helmut Newton shots from Christine McVie’s Songbird.

Also available were the original cover painting Vigon created for Chicago’s 1984 record titled Chicago 17, a rather unique take on the well-known John Berg/Nick Fasciano band logo-based covers, this time with the logo seemingly popping through a brown-paper wrapper (art director credits to the talented Simon Levy), with starting bids accepted over $3,000 (sold for $3,000). Pat Benetar fans were be able to bid on a nice archive of 20 photos (B&W and color) and layouts for records including her 1987 hit Seven The Hard Way ($1,000 opening bid; sold for $1,000), while fans of the Counting Crows placed bids to own the artwork Vigon created for the debut record August And Everything After ($1,000 opening bid; sold for $1,000).

Other album art-related items available in this auction included drawings by artist/illustrator Greg Hildebrandt done for Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules and composer/TSO founder Paul O’Neill’s rock opera Beethoven’s Last Night (surprisingly, all unsold), while further items of interest, including original drawings by Michael Jackson (sold for $2,200 – $3,500), a John Lennon/Yoko Ono-signed photo from their 1969 “Bed-In” protest in Montreal  album ($15,000 asked opening bid – unsold) and CD/LPs signed by Nirvana (unsold) and Led Zeppelin (also unsold).

There were over 900 items in the auction, so if you’d like to go and see what was available and sold, you can now head on over to the company’s auction site – http://gottahaverockandroll.com/#

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Some of you who might remember my old gallery days will recall that I sold items from a line of intricately-crafted sculptures of iconic rockers/rock imagery made by a company called KnuckleBonz and, I’m glad to report, they’ve recently announced that they’re going to be manufacturing a line of limited-edition album cover art recreations they’re calling “3D Vinyl”. The first two items they’ve announced are stunning renditions of two great albums – Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, both of which are perfectly suited for a 3-dimensional sculpture.

https://knucklebonz.com/product/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-3d-vinyl/

They’ve produced a nice intro video on this new Pink Floyd-based item that you can view at https://vimeo.com/276302319

https://knucklebonz.com/product/guns-n-roses-appetite-for-destruction-3d-vinyl/ will take you to the page on their site with all of the details on the AFD 3D Vinyl product, with the promo video available at https://vimeo.com/276296813

I’ve reached out to the talented team of designers and marketers who’ve created these new products and hope to bring you an update on their efforts soon.

UPDATE/INTERVIEW – Earlier in July, I shared the initial information about the intriguing new series of 3D album cover art pieces that the talented folks over at KnuckleBonz have begun producing and now, as a follow-up, I’m happy to be able to   parcel out a bit more on the subject based on a brief interview I did recently with one of the founders of the company, Ashley Simerman, whose excitement for these new products is pretty evident from the answers she’s provided…

Mike Goldstein, ACHOF – Hello again, Ashley. Nice to be in touch with you again. I was thrilled to read the preliminary info on your 3D album cover sculptures and, as you might imagine, I was eager to learn more about them and your work on making them so I can share this info with my readers. Let’s start with a bit more about your decision-making process. I know that all of your products are licensed collectibles, but I’d be curious as to how you chose the first two covers to produce. Were these your first choices, or did they come as the result of existing or new relationships with the musical act/management/record label/licensing companies?

Ashely Simerman, KnuckleBonz – Hi, Mike. Thanks for checking in and for featuring us! Our first two projects we announced for our new KnuckleBonz 3D Vinyl® are:

1) Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction – This is an obvious choice for KnuckleBonz to lead with this album as we announce this new category that pays homage to the great album art over the last several decades. Appetite for Destruction is undoubtedly one of the greatest debut albums in rock music history. Not only was the album successfully from the standpoint of album sales, but Guns N’ Roses went from nothing to touring with the Rolling Stones as a result of the success of this album. Artistically, it is a great fit , as well. The skulls and subtle detailing make this 3D Vinyl® stand out.

2) Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd undoubtedly mastered combining amazing visuals for all their album covers. Launching with this particular album is a more personal choice for us here at KnuckleBonz. This is an album that we love to just put on here at the studio and listen to in its entirety. This is a favorite, for sure, just because the music is so amazing. But add the robot handshake on the cover and that was a project we all were very excited to recreate in 3D. Wish You Were Here is a perfect fit for 3D Vinyl®, after all, we intend for these collectibles to pay tribute to the most iconic and artistic album covers over the last several decades.

Mike G – How did you guys approach the creative aspects of the projects – meaning, how did you determine what would be 3D, what would be on the back cover, etc.? Did you work with anyone from the original design team in order to make these choices, or were they your decisions to make?

Ashley S – Everything we do creatively for these 3D Vinyl® designs are done internally here at KnuckleBonz. We are long-time fans, just like our customers. We are simply interpreting what would be cool for each project. Ultimately, what we come up with is a design we would like to have on our own wall on display shelf. Once we get that point, we share with the artist or band and we do have to get approval. Then we hope fans around the globe agree that it is a proper tribute to the original album. We only make a finite number of each; typically we limit the production to less than 2000 of each 3D Vinyl® project, making these highly collectible and exclusive.

Mike G – So, of course I must ask you –  Any hint of what’s coming next or later?

Ashley S – We have quite a few coming later this year – including the two KISS albums we’ve announced*- so stay tuned to knucklebonz.com or follow us on FaceBook for new product news. Everything we do is officially licensed so we can’t reveal any projects just yet, but I think rock music fans will be excited about the line-up. We certainly are thrilled to be working on these amazing projects.

* their debut album titled KISS, along with Destroyer.

Learn more and place your pre-orders on the KnuckleBonz site at https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/3d-vinyl/

b) There’s been a lot of recent press about Madonna’s efforts to raise money for, and awareness of, her charity called Raising Malawi that works to improve the lives of children in that country (since 2012, she’s built 12 schools that have served nearly 10,000 students in the area). In this article on the Bored Panda site, you’ll learn about French fashion photographer Vincent Flouret’s imaginative efforts to add to the fund-raising efforts by selling prints of photos he’s taken of his beloved dog Max. What makes these images unique (and of interest to us album cover fans) is that he’s made up and costumed Max so that he appears as Madonna did on the covers of several of her best-known albums – Ray of Light, Music, Like A Virgin, True Blue and more – along with scenes lifted from some of the Material Girl’s most-famous music video. “Maxdonna” is a very attractive Golden Retriever, so these recreations, while a bit campy, are still quite nice-looking.

https://www.boredpanda.com/iconic-madonna-scenes-recreation-maxdonna-vincent-flouret/?

You can also find Vincent’s Maxdonna photos on display from now until the 16th of August in Arles, France at  L’AGENCE ARLESIENNE, 26, place Paul Doumer, 13200 Arles.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkC6JY4FNXs/?taken-by=max_et_vincent

In French, but you’ll figure it out….

c) Fans of the band Rush will find a lot to like here…While perhaps best-known for his drumming skills, Rush’s Neal Peart was also the band’s lyricist and, therefore, quite handy with words, as was evidenced in his co-authoring (with sci-fi writer Kevin J. Anderson) of the novel Clockwork Angels. Skip ahead six years since the book’s 2012 (no, not 2112) debut and what do you find but a new version of the book, done this time as a graphic novel (published by Insight Comics) and featuring a cover by life-long Rush cover artist Hugh Syme. Writer and long-time Rush fan Skip Owens gives us a preview in this article on the GeekDad site  – https://geekdad.com/2018/06/clockwork-lives-is-now-a-graphic-novel/

5) Other articles of interest –

a) A couple of months ago, I introduced you to Juxtapoz Magazine’s weekly series called Sound and Vision that, with each article, shares the details behind the making of some of your favorite album covers. Since that time, Managing Editor Eben Bensen has stayed true to his promise to give us a new story every week, with the most-recent articles summarized below:

– My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 Loveless cover, featuring a stylized photo of a guitar done by photographer Angus Cameron –

https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-my-bloody-valentine-s-loveless-cover-photography-by-angus-cameron/

– Stanley Donwood’s cover for Radiohead’s The Bendshttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-stanley-donwood-on-the-making-of-radiohead-s-the-bends-cover-art/

– Robert Mapplethorpe’s striking photo of Patti Smith for the cover of her 1975 debut album Horseshttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-patti-smith-s-horses-cover-photo-robert-mapplethorpe/  (Am I the only one who always thinks of Gilda Radner when I see this image?)

I’ve since contacted Eben B. and asked him more about the origins of this series in Juxtapoz – whose founder Robert Williams himself has several album cover credits on his impressive resume, including the original (banned) robotic rapist-based cover for Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction – and I’ll soon be posting the text from a mini-interview I did with him about his interest in the subject. I was very pleased to see someone representing “Millennials” with such knowledge and wisdom and so I look forward to sharing this with you soon.

b) I’m hoping that many of you have had, at one time or another, the opportunity to attend one of the world’s premiere art-related events, that being the celebrated “Pageant of the Masters” in Laguna Beach, CA, where the folks that put this extravaganza on every summer amaze audiences with their recreations of famous works of art built around live models placed in meticulously-recreated sets. I was lucky enough to live in Laguna for a number of years many years ago and, although the throngs of tourists made driving difficult for locals, we always made sure to see at least one performance of the POM each year.

This year, I’m proud to say, one of the masterpieces that will be given the POM treatment will be the famous 1964 theatrical poster for the film Endless Summer, created by one of the design world’s most-respected artists, that being John Van Hamersveld, who also holds a special place in the hearts of album cover art fans for the covers he created for The Beatles, KISS, Rolling Stones, Blondie and many others. I can’t think of a better way to honor JVH’s contributions to the art/design world than by having one of his best-known works presented in a bill (with this year’s theme being “Under The Sun”) that also includes paintings by Masters such as Claude Monet, John Singer Sargeant, Paul Gauguin and other modern masters – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155665181841444&set=a.10151014367531444.424291.612486443&type=3&theater

They finish off each year’s performance with a recreation of DaVinci’s Last Supper, which I think would only be cooler-looking if they included JVH himself in the scene (or, at least, someone wearing his trademarked round glasses). In any case, congratulations to one of our own Modern Masters!

c) Southern California is one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations, with one nice stretch of road – Laurel Canyon Drive, in Laurel Canyon – on most maps due to the number of celebrities from the music, film and TV industries who’ve made their homes there over the years. For the last six years, residents of the area have celebrated just how lucky they are to live (or have lived) there via an annual festival called the Love Street Fest, and this year’s festivities drew a good crowd due to the fact that they were honoring two men – Henry Diltz and Gary Burden – who’ve contributed greatly to the music business by producing photos and designs for a number of famous album covers. You can take a look at some of the photos taken a couple of week’s back during this year’s celebrations on the group’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/lovestreetfest – where you’ll find pix of the throngs of attendees, including surviving members of The Doors Robby Krieger and John Densmore, whose fellow band-member Jim Morrison wrote a song about the Drive called “Love Street”.

d) Last month, I wrote a bit about a surprise visit Paul McCartney made to his old home town of Liverpool and the sense of joy and happiness that followed him wherever he went and, in another article I saw recently, Maca worked his magic again as he hit the zebra crossing in front of Abbey Road studios again, 49 years later – https://www.nme.com/news/music/paul-mccartney-crosses-abbey-road-49-years-iconic-album-cover-shoot-ahead-intimate-gig-2358292  I believe that he kept his shoes on this time…and he’s still not dead.

e) In all the years I’ve been a music fan – a fan of most all genres of music, but with a particular love of hard rock, Prog rock, jazz-rock fusion, punk rock and pretty much anything put out by a Beatle (including Billy Preston and Jeff Lynne) – I’ve only on occasion found myself out of my element, with that taking place when I talk to fans of two genres – jazz and metal – where I often find fans with an intense passion for music/musicians in those genres and an intense dislike for those on the outside. Once again, I felt a bit of this attitude in Jon Wiederhorn’s recent Loudwire Magazine article about album covers that “look metal, but they’re not” – http://loudwire.com/14-album-covers-look-metal-but-arent/

In the mix, you’ll find examples of those who truly don’t belong – Lady Gaga, Grateful Dead, ELP and DMX – while others were from bands that seemed to be on the cusp (Demon, Uriah Heep, Necro, Nazareth and others) but who at least, according to the author, didn’t achieve the level of metal-ness required to be included as a “true” metal act (at least, on the featured record). Whether you agree or disagree with whether they belonged on such a list or not, you have to give each of them a bit of credit for wanting to express themselves so heavily.

f) Hoping to “shed a little light” (you’ll see how clever I am when you see the cover image) on the story behind the Nick Cave album cover for his 2013 release Push The Sky Away which featuring his wife, model and fashion designer Susie Bick, in the buff in a photograph taken at the couple’s home by Dominique Issermann- https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-perfect-story-behind-nick-caves-naked-album-cover-starring-wife-susie-bick/

The French fashion photographer was on hand to capture this image as part of an assignment for a French fashion magazine, which only goes to show you…how to save money on an album cover shoot?

g) Finally, if you find yourself with a few minutes to kill this weekend and want to challenge your knowledge of album-related artwork – particularly, band logos – I’d invite you to take this quiz you’ll find on the Topix.com site – Not meaning to brag (too much), but I got 40 out of 40, although I did have to guess on one of them, but got it right, lucky me! – https://offbeat.topix.com/quiz/17911/  In this brand-driven society, it’s nice to see that I’ve been thoroughly penetrated by the power of these iconic images.

That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the month of November, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, 2016

 

By Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s early December, 2016, and WOW! has a lot happened since we last communicated. Of course, the results of the U.S. elections early in the month have either demoralized or energized half the population here, with only the news of the Chicago Cubs breaking their 108-year World Series drought bringing everyone together in peace and harmony, if only for a short while…With all of the uncertainty remaining as to what’s in store for us here, you’d think that there’d have been a brief slow-down in the output of news relating to the art and music scenes but, no, creative people continue to do what comes naturally and, therefore, other people with related businesses and interests (galleries, publishers, collectors, etc.) continue to do what they do to share what they do with the rest of us. As you’ll find in this most-recent summary of news from the world of album cover artists and the wonderful products they’re creating for us fans and collectors of the genre, I believe that we’ll all find enough inspiration to see us through whatever comes our way.

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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.

 

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2014

by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor – AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Fall is finally here and, although your Curator out of the office early in the month, the flow of album cover-related news stories continued unabated. The news was dominated by several classic rock-related events, including the opening of the David Bowie Is exhibition at the MCA in Chicago, the over-sized release of U2’s latest album and the preview of Pink Floyd’s first new record in over 20 years, which features cover art from a soon-to-be-well-known new artist. Of course, there were also a number of stories posted about various aspects of the world of album art – “best ofs”, “rejected covers” – even a photo-story about “hidden images” found in famous record covers (very mysterious and cool at the same time).

There was good news on the self-funded book publishing front, with several artists/photographers raising enough money to be able to produce and publish books of their work for fans eager to own them (which only gave me more incentive to consider doing this myself!). You’ll also read about several exhibitions using albums/album art as a central theme for their designs, proving to cover art fans that album art – particularly vinyl record art – continues to serve as a cornerstone reference for Pop Culture fans.

In preparation for this year’s ACHOF voting efforts, many new biographies have been added to the site this past month so that, by the end of November, our voting panel (as well as our fans) will be well-prepared to select this year’s inductees into the ACHOF Class of 2014. I’m proud to announce that we’ve added several new voters to the panel, including writers, gallerists and film-makers from the U.S., U.K., Australia and Italy, which helps illustrate that there are fans and experts on the subject all over the world now part of the ACHOF effort.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed while enjoying your late-Summer vacations, getting the kids back to school, etc.. We’re working every day to continue our efforts 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.

September 30 – Album covers can be so inspiring and mysterious….

1) Writer Lucy Dayman’s recent article on the ToneDeaf site presents 13 examples of “hidden images” or messages found on classic rock album covers of acts ranging from Black Sabbath to Frank Zappa. While I’ve been aware of several of them – the little Klaus Voorman image in George Harrison’s hair on the cover of Revolver by The Beatles, for example – most of them were news to me. I was particularly impressed with the drug reference buried on the cover of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats and the optical illusion featured on The Black Lips’ 200 Million Thousand – freaky, man! Spend a little time on this slide show and, of course, if you’re aware of any other fine examples of this art, please share it here with your friends. http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/419684/13-hidden-images-classic-album-covers.htm#1

2) I’m often asked to share info on “my favorite album cover” with others and, while of course this is impossible for me to answer, when I do run across a discussion of the subject by others in the album cover art world, I’m more than happy to share that with ACHOF fans. Today’s example is from an article on the Design Week web site, featuring the opinions of a number of established and up-and-coming designers, art directors and others involved in the making of today’s album cover imagery. Of course, there are mentions of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc., but there are a few that I hadn’t seen before and am now glad that I have. Take a look and see if you agree –http://www.designweek.co.uk/voxpop/whats-your-favourite-record-cover-art-of-all-time/3039133.article

September 29 – It’s U2 Monday (is it Monday for you, too?):

1) For those fans that intend on purchasing a physical copy of U2’s latest record (titled Songs of Innocence – I could have sworn that it was called “Now, Where Did That Come From?”) when it is released in mid-October – the band has released the album cover image which features a shot by photographer Glen Luchford featuring drummer Larry Mullen hugging his son Aaron Elvis. Fans of the band will recall that two of their earlier releases – Boy and War – both featured the image of the son of Bono’s friend Guggi Rowen, so they say that they chose another youthful subject in order to illustrate the band’s efforts to reach back into their youth in a search for inspiration for material for their new record. The writers for Ireland’s RTE site provide more details in this article –http://www.rte.ie/ten/news/2014/0926/648174-u2-to-release-new-songs-larry-cuddles-naked-bloke/ 

2) As you might figure, the controversial record has encouraged a number of people to express their feelings about the music (and how it was somewhat forced upon them), so it only makes sense that they’ve also taken to doing something creative with the father-hugging-son imagery that is featured on the record’s cover. One good example of this (actually, almost 30 good examples) are on display on Diffuser.FM’s site in a photo essay they call “Rejected U2 Album Covers” – take a look – http://diffuser.fm/rejected-u2-album-covers/

September 26

1) You don’t often find the opportunity to bid on items from the personal archives of a famous album cover photographer, so I’m particularly interested in following the bidding on the dozens of photos that will be put up for sale this weekend in Backstage Auction’s offering of works from Ian Wright. Wright’s photos of the “who’s who” in musical talent in London in the 1960s – The Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones, Bowie, etc. – have been featured in countless articles, exhibitions and, of course, album covers, and a collection of these images is in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Author Peter Lindblad’s interview of Mr. Wright is a really good read, diving into his relationships with his subjects and providing details on several of his most-memorable photo sessions. Well worth the read, whether you’re looking to add to your knowledge or your collection (or both) –http://backstageauctions.blogspot.com/2014/09/ian-wright-is-ready-for-his-close-up.html 

Update – The auction ends on Sunday, October 5th, so there’s still a few days to bid on any/all of the items in this auction. One thing that I didn’t mention in the original article was that the purchasers of most of the Ian Wright works in this auction not only receive a print, but they also get the negatives and the rights to the images themselves, making them valuable investments. Starting bids are in the $500 – $1000 range….

2) Album cover artwork often includes images that reflect the musical act’s politics or world view in general, so it was nice to see this recent article by the folks at Music Times about “5 Album Covers That Use Famous Photos”, featuring records by The Roots, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against The Machine and two bands I was unfamiliar with – Anthony & The Johnsons (I Am A Bird Now) and the Lovely Bad Things (The Late Great Whatever). Many of these images, on their own, might be a bit disturbing (e.g., a photo former “Warhol Superstar” Candy Darling on her deathbed), but that only makes them more memorable and, in most cases, appropriate for this particular use. For extra credit/consideration, I’d like to also include several of the Dead Kennedys’ records, such as Frankenchrist (with its Shriners in mini-cars cover) and Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, which features a photo of several police cars on fire, shot during the White Night riots that took place in San Francisco in 1979 after the sentencing of the man that killed Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk. Anyone else care to add to the list?
http://www.musictimes.com/articles/10624/20140922/5-album-covers-that-use-famous-photos-the-roots-led-zeppelin-and-more.htm

September 25 –

1) More coverage of the Bowie exhibition in Chicago – Sun Times Media writer Jeff Elbel put together a nice overview of “iconic” David Bowie album covers, including bits on The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and Low. In the “runner up” positions, he added The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust… and The Next Day. While he did include some information about several of the people who’d created these works of art, much was left out which, of course, your Curator must quickly add for the entire story to be told:
a) Hunky Dory – art direction by George Underwood;
b) Low – art direction by Kevin Cann, who was also responsible for the liner notes and designs for several of Bowie’s records. He also authored the critically-acclaimed 2010 Bowie bio book (say that fast 3 times!) Any Day Now. Cann had gone to art school with Brian Eno and met Bowie via that connection.
c) Ziggy Stardust – design/art direction by Terry Pastor;
d) The Next Day – the original photo used as the basis of this controversial design was the one Masayoshi Sukita had taken for Bowie’s 1977 record Heroes. Designer Jonathan Barnbrook, who was also responsible for the covers for Bowie’s Heathen and Reality releases, adapted this well-known photo for the new record.
e) The Man Who Sold The World – a collaboration between designers Wit Hamburg and Keef.
Now you know “the rest of the story”….
http://entertainment.suntimes.com/entertainment-news/david-bowie-found-album-cover-inspiration-myriad-sources/

2) The album cover paintings – both originals and his re-interpretations of classic LP covers – of designer/artist Howie Green were on display in an exhibition that began on September 28th at the Massbay Community College in Wellesly Hills, MA titled (appropriately) “The Album Cover Paintings of Howie Green”. The show kicked off with a reception there from noon – 3PM and all were invited. More info on this show is available on the artist’s site at http://www.hgd.com/gallery/howie_green_events.htm

Update – per Howie’s Facebook page, this event was quite the success, with many collectors going home with new Howie Green prints to present proudly on their walls.

September 24 –

1) The cover art for Pink Floyd’s first album in over 20 years – titled The Endless River, and due out in November – has been released. The work, done by a young digital artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin, was proposed by Aubrey Powell, part of the famed Hipgnosis team (led by the late Storm Thorgerson) who were responsible for the band’s best-known covers, after examples of his work were seen online. Once the designs were finalized, examples of the finished cover have been put on display prominently in major cities throughout the world, including a 25-foot cube installed in the South Bank area of London. The Independent‘s Adam Sherwin interviewed the lucky and talented young artist for this article, which you can review via the link at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/the-endless-river-pink-floyd-unveil-cover-art-for-their-first-new-album-in-20-years-9749012.html

2) And now for something completely different – a new touring exhibition has been launched featuring examples of “DIY”/punk record cover artwork, with the first show on the tour now up in London. Titled For The Record, the show features examples of the design work by many of the best-known designers in the genre, including Malcolm Garrett, Julian House, Central Station Design, Barney Bubbles and many others. Conceived and organized by designer Steve Rowland of MadeLab Studio, the display will be put on in a variety of “pop-up” locations, with the schedule of events and list of participating artists/record labels available on the show’s site at http://www.fortherecordproject.co.uk/ Based on the samples I’ve seen, this is a must-see for fans of classic indie record design.

September 23 –

Today is opening day for the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and, based on the reports I’ve seen on the show, this is a must-see for fans of music-related art and design. A subset of the show that ran recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, this show features over 400 items that help illustrate Mr. Bowie’s impact on popular culture – costumes (Ziggy Stardust, Scary Monsters, etc.), album art, lyric sheets, music videos, stage props, etc.. It is presented in chronological order, allowing fans to view the progression of the man from street mime to accomplished and influential musician, actor and design icon. The show runs through January 4, 2015 – more info and a list of related events is available via the museum’s site – http://www2.mcachicago.org/exhibition/david-bowie-is/
There’s even a show hotline available – 312-397-4068 – if you’d like to hear more via phone….

On a related note – one of the photographers who, from the years 1972 thru 1980, was an important contributor to Bowie’s public image via his shots of the Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Scary Monster, Lodger and “Thin White Duke” personnas the artist adopted – was the late Brian Duffy, and I’m pleased to report that the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery will soon be launching an exhibition/sale of prints of a number of images taken during those five photo sessions. The show, titled Bowie|Duffy: Five Sessions, opens this Saturday, Sept. 27th with a reception at the gallery. A selection of photos from the show – which runs through November 1 – is available for viewing on the gallery’s site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400088

September 22 –

1) Photographer/album cover designer/film-maker Anton Corbijn, best-known to record cover fans for his covers for U2, has been given the “Best International Literary Adaptation” award from the Frankfurt Book Fair for his recent thriller A Most Wanted Man, which was based on a John LeCarre novel of the same name. The film stars, among others, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe and focuses on the many intricacies of “the global war on terror”. It only seems proper that the man that directed the music videos for Depeche Mode’s “Strangelove” and “Barrel of a Gun” should have created such a compelling film – more about this award is available on this announcement on the BookTrade web site – http://www.booktrade.info/index.php/showarticle/55878

2) Saw this item listed in a current Artnet auction and thought you might want to see it as well – Mr. Brainwash – the graffiti artist best-known for the excellent 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary on the world-wide graffiti scene (Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, Banksy, etc.) and his promotion of the art form in the fine art world (as well as the cover for Madonna’s 2009 hit single “Celebration”) – has a work that depicts this week’s birthday boy, Bruce Springsteen, who turns 65, made from broken CDs and vinyl records. Projected to sell in the $25-35K range, the work is one in a series of portraits the French artist has created over the past several years, including ones of Jim Morrison and KISS. To read more about this unique work, head on over to the item’s page on the Artnet site –http://www.artnet.com/auctions/artists/mr-brainwash/bruce-springsteen

Update – bidders in the September 23rd auction for this print did not bid enough to meet the Reserve set for the item, so if you’re interested in this print, you can contact the specialist responsible for the sale of this work – Gracie Mansion – at her office in NYC at (212) 497-9700 Ext. 494 494.

September 19 –

1) The folks at the Grammy organization just released an interview they recorded at the Lollapalooza event in Chicago with graphic artist Shepard Fairey, who was there to curate an art exhibit and talk about his recent “Sound + Vision” collaboration with DJ Z-Trip. During the interview, Fairey – best known for his Andre The Giant and Obama/Hope images, but also a prolific album art designer, having created designs for Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Billy Idol and many others – talks about the sources of his design inspirations, which range from Russian Constructivist/Propaganda posters to the works of Warhol, Rauschenberg, Jamie Reid and Winston Smith (he was also a fan of Hipgnosis/Thorgerson and Stanley Donwood, who has done memorable covers for Radiohead). A thoughtful interview with a very talented screen-print artist – https://www.grammypro.com/professional-development/video/grammy-pro-interview-shepard-fairey

2) This week included the release of a record collection in a very cool package – Def Jam Records’ Def Jam 30 box sets, which are limited-edition/numbered packages – either CD or vinyl – that come in a box that looks remarkably like a turntable/dust cover combination. Designed by a team that includes Darkness Bros. Inc.’s Dawud West (who used to be creative director at the label), Andy Proctor, Sharon Lamb and Tai Linzie, the boxes also include booklets featuring a comprehensive liner notes essay by NYU Prof. Dan Charnas and additional photography and “memorabilia”, along with a limited-edition Def Jam 30 logo t-shirt (along with the music, of course!). More details are available on the DJ site via the link – http://www.defjam.com/dj30-box-set-sept/

September 18 – Two interesting items for lovers of great design –

1) There’s a new book coming out on October 1st that should be of interest to album art fans. Titled Fifty Years of Illustration (published by Lawrence King, UK) and written by two experts in the field – Lawrence Zeegen (Dean of the School of Design at the London College of Communication) and Caroline Roberts (journalist and founder of Grafik magazine) – the book’s focus on contemporary illustration, of course, includes many works by people who’ve created memorable album covers, such as Klaus Voorman (The Beatles’ Revolver), Ian Wright (T.I.’s Paper Trail), David Larkham/Ian Beck (Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), Gerald Scarfe (Pink Floyd’s The Wall), Shepard Fairey (Led Zeppelin’s Mothership) and many others (over 700 illustrations!).

There’s a corresponding exhibition running at the London College of Communication from now thru September 21st as part of the London Design Festival, but if you’d like to learn and see a bit more about the book/show, link on over to this article on The Guardian (UK) web site –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/sep/15/chewbacca-barack-50-years-illustration

2) Design buffs have always swooned over the work of Porsche’s design team, so this new pop-up display in downtown NYC – done as a “modern record store” featuring custom-designed media players that play music and videos inspired by the automaker’s products, delivered on 12″ platters with stylized record covers. In addition to the unique audio experiences, visitors to the store can slide on a pair of headphone to enjoy themed programs that elicit the excitement of a drive in the big city, racing, or a drive in the country, all while viewing video projected on a shiny (I’m assuming) 911 Carrera 4s Coupe (quite the screen, no?). The display, on W 14th St in the Meatpacking district, runs now through October 5th. Read more – and see a photo gallery – on David Pinter’s article on the PSFK.com web site – http://www.psfk.com/2014/09/porsche-popup-sound-store-nyc.html

September 17 –

1) Fans of album cover art now have a new place to visit when they have a craving to add to their fine art collections. Continuing in his father’s tradition (the family was involved in one of the first record art publishing businesses back in the early 1990s), Theodore S. has launched the Hazyrock.com site, where you’ll find an impressive range of album art prints – many signed by either/both the artist that created the image and/or members of the featured musical act – along with DVDs, CD, concert memorabilia, limited-edition toys and other items any music fan would be happy to receive (with the Holidays not too far off, it is always nice to have your resources lined up for your gift-giving needs). Hope that you’ll take a look and tell your friends (I will add this to the ACHOF list of Buying/Selling Resources today, too.). Of particular note to me was the limited-edition DEVO “Energy Dome Throbblehead” – very cool. http://hazyrock.com/ 

2) Received a note yesterday from a writer who’d posted an article I thought you might be interested in. While not specifically album art-related, as a former gallery owner and art preservationist, I feel that it is my duty to provide collectors with this sort of info – the article gives you an overview of how to best store your vinyl record collections. If you’re like me, you have some/all of your collection in boxes in your basement/attic/self-storage unit and, while that may be (in some cases) better than leaving them on a hot radiator, if you want your collection to remain playable for the foreseeable future, you should heed the info you’ll find on Stephanie Hyland’s posting on the Storage.com site –http://blog.storage.com/storage/store-vinyl-record-collection/

September 16 –

1) While most music art fans are familiar with the photos and illustrations that serve as the basis of their favorite album cover designs, there’s also been a lot of time taken during these projects to consider the logo designs and letter (AKA “typography”) and, in many cases, this work proves to be just as memorable. One recent example can be found in the work of the inter-continental design team (one’s in Norway, while one’s in Minnesota) named Non-Format in a recent design – based on a custom typeface – they did for musician Amy Kohn’s latest release, titled PlexiLusso. Their resulting work seems totally appropriate as packaging for new music by Ms. Kohn, an accordion player whose work spans jazz, avante-garde, pop and classical and who has played with Norah Jones, Phil Collins and Dianne Reeves. More about this can be found in Margaret Rhodes’ article on the Wired Magazine site – http://www.wired.com/2014/09/custom-typeface-isnt-perfectly-legible-thats-point/

2) This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Arcade Fire’s Funeral record and, to mark that milestone, Billboard‘s Chris Payne tracked down the artist who created the memorable cover imagery (along with a mural placed strategically in Brooklyn, NY), the talented Tracy Maurice, to find out more about “the making of” this work. The story is somewhat reminiscent of the early NYC music/art scene, with opportunities for folks floating in the same social circles to work together and, hopefully, share in each others’ successes. To read this interview with the Juno Award-winning designer, just follow the link – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6251421/funeral-arcade-fire-album-art-tracy-maurice-neon-bible-win-butler

September 15

1) Sunday would have been Amy Winehouse’s 31st birthday, so it was nice to see news of the unveiling of a work of art – a bronze statue, created by Scott Eaton – that was commissioned by her father, Mitch, who attended the ceremony held at the Stables Market in London along with other members of her immediate family. The statue shows the late singer in a memorable pose, complete with red rose in her hair and Star of David necklace proudly on display. This tribute joins the growing roster of rock star tributes – Hendrix (Seattle), Freddie Mercury (Switzerland), Phil Lynott (Dublin), Bon Scott (Australia) and many others that continue to draw fans from all over the world. More details in this story by Saba Hamedy on the LA Times web site – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-amy-winehouse-sculpture-unveiled-20140914-story.html

2) A photo of Bruce Springsteen’s legendary 1974 performance at the Harvard Square Theater in Boston will be auctioned off this month to raise money for the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. The photo is part of an exhibition of photos by Barry Schneier that is currently on display at the University’s Pollack Gallery thru Sept. 30 – details regarding the auction will be announced soon. More info on this show/auction is available via Chris Jordan’s article on the Asbury Press web site at http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/music/2014/09/11/bruce-springsteen-photo-auction-benefits-collection/15487347/

September 12

1) Happy to report on a new album cover history article series – the folks on The Pier web site – “your No. 1 online destination for good times, great music and up to date news from the Reggae-Rock community” – have published the first article in a series titled “Album & Cover Art History” in which they provide some of the details behind the making of some of your favorite record covers. This first episode includes an interesting mix of covers from musical acts including The Clash, No Doubt, Bad Brains and several others. The writers say that it’s their plan on releasing a follow-up article in late October, so why not get started now and let them know if there are any covers you’d like to know more about – http://www.thepier.org/the-pier-album-cover-art-history-vol-1/

2) The records released by one of glam rock’s early pioneers – T. Rex – always featured interesting and memorable album cover art, so fans of the band will be happy to see it preserved and enhanced in the upcoming (Nov. 3, in time for holiday gift-giving) release of a set titled T. Rex: The Vinyl Collection. 2 versions of the 8-record set, which includes LPs beginning with the group’s first post-Tyrannosaurus Rex record (1971’s T. Rex) up through their 1977 Dandy In The Underworld record, released shortly before Marc Bolan’s tragic death by car crash in September of that year.

Box sets on black vinyl will be generally available thru most music retailers, while those looking for something truly unique can buy one of 500 colored vinyl collector’s edition packages directly from the publisher. There will also be a related, 10-CD set titled T. Rex: The Albums Collection released at the same time for those not vinylly-inclined. More details on this are provided in this article on the Vintage Vinyl News site – http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2014/09/t-rex-first-eight-albums-being.html?m=1

September 11 –

1) Photographer Merri Cyr, well-known for her portraits of luminaries in various aspects of the entertainment business, is perhaps best known for her photos of the late singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley. When Buckley asked her to photograph him and detail his life on tour (as well as shooting the album cover image) – in support of his record titled Grace, she took full advantage of the opportunity, creating a fascinating portfolio of images that are now on display in an exhibition titled “20 Years of Grace” at the Blender Gallery in Sydney, Australia. Many never-before-seen images are included in the show, and Buckley fans can also see more (over 300 more) of Cyr’s intimate photos in her book, A Wished-For Song, Portrait of Jeff Buckley, that’s also available. More on this exhibit, which runs now through September 20th, is included in this recent article by Cindy Tran on the Daily Mail/Australia site at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2743040/He-blew-mind-Photographer-reveals-story-intimate-pictures-Aussie-music-legend-Jeff-Buckley.html

2) Fans of heavy metal music and art can now help fund a project to create a new book dedicated to the display of all that is dark, loud, lurid and fascinating. In support of a new Indiegogo.com project posted by writer and artist Ramon Martos, you can be one of just 300 lucky people who will be able to own a limited-edition, signed book titled …And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers. Having worked several years to secure the rights to the 400+ images that will be included in the finished product, your contributions, according to the author’s pitch, “would make a tremendous difference in the outcome of this project, that—according to Morbid Angel’s front man, David Vincent (who wrote the foreword)—has all the potential to become “a historical document about the importance of Metal album covers.”
Although the campaign has already reached its first goal, there’s still time to secure one of the first run copies, so buzz on over to the project’s page and grab one before they’re gone – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-print-and-justice-for-art

Update – as of October 1, I’m pleased to note that this project has raised over $14,000, well over its $8,310 goal, so supporters will be getting this new book when it is published. With the Indiegogo project still having a month to go, I’m suspecting that there will be a number of other supporters coming, giving the author plenty of resources to create the best version possible of this new book. Congratulations!

September 10 –

1) Not willing to let Nicki Minaj steal all of the limelight with a nearly-naked album cover photo, classic British act Status Quo released a teaser for their soon-to-be-released record (an acoustic set titled Aquostic (Stripped Bare)) that shows two original members of the veteran rock band standing in the nude, with their naughty bits shielded only by strategically-placed guitars. While certainly a bold move by the boogie-woogie band, I don’t think that it will draw the same attention and public outcry as more-recent extremely-revealing covers, as it is doubtful that anyone will be fantasizing about the well-over-60 bodies on display (still quite trim, though). More on this in this article on Ireland’s Independent web site – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-news/status-quo-get-naked-for-new-album-cover-photographed-by-bryan-adams-30551637.html

September 9 –

1) Artist/Designer David Larkham – best known to ACHOF fans as the talent behind most of Elton John’s album graphics – sent me a link to a video he’s produced showing him in the process of creating one of a series of large-scale painted portraits of the Rolling Stones. The video, which gives us a look into the painstaking detail of David’s depiction of Bill Wyman, is set to the music of Wyman’s 1981 hit single, “(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star”. I am always intrigued by what it takes to make great art, and so I’m glad that David saw fit to give us this insight into his latest project – take a look and share it with your friends –http://youtu.be/ToXYb3MXQYI

2) Writer Joey DeGroot of the MusicTimes site has assembled seven examples of unusual record packages that have been released over the years in an article that is a testament to the creativity – and commitment to album packaging as an art form – that has been on display from time to time over the years. Most I’d seen and admired before – Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, Public Image Ltd’s Metal Box, etc – while I wasn’t aware of some of the more-recent examples shown of packages by The Flaming Lips (limited-edition skulls), Street Dogs (a playable package) and, most-amusingly, the Ultimate Box Set by The Residents, which comes packaged in its own refrigerator (!!) for a princely price. Gotta love ’em – http://www.musictimes.com/articles/9712/20140905/7-artists-who-released-music-in-bizarre-packaging-led-zeppelin-the-flaming-lips-and-more.htm

September 8 –

Back from Alaska and happy to announce that the ACHOF site has been added as a resource (under the heading “Other Resources”) to the National Recording Preservation Board of the U.S. Library of Congress. This list includes links to a number of sites/organizations that are there to help inform anyone interested in both the history of recorded music and in preserving the legacy of the people and places that have contributed to recorded music’s rich history.

I’m very proud to see that album cover imagery has been included as part of this effort and look forward to adding more to it as time goes on. If you’re interested in learning more about the NRPB and see what they have to offer (it’s a treasure-trove of info), please follow the link – http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-OTHERRESOURCES.html

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 – August, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – August, 2014

Summer’s almost gone (!!) and, although your Curator was in and out of the office a couple of times this month, nothing could stop the continuous flow of album cover-related news stories. The month was dominated by several important Beatles-related items, as it was the 50th anniversary of their first visit to the U.S. and the 45th anniversary of the release of their iconic Let It Be album. There were stories about several exhibitions, new album cover-related web sites, award shows and recipients of those awards, new books and soon-to-be books, educational programs for budding album artists, the release of new art prints featuring some of your favorite album cover images, fan and industry reactions to the use of sexy images to promote/sell records, as well as a little bit of self-congratulations for our recent inclusion in a Library of Congress resource directory.

Also, with the ACHOF voting season about to begin, many new biographies have been added to the site and, by the end of November, we’ll be announcing this year’s inductees into the ACHOF Class of 2014.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed while on vacation (that’s “holiday” for fans outside the U.S.) this Summer, continuing our efforts 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.

August 31 – Back from Alaska and happy to announce that the ACHOF site has been added as a resource (under the heading “Other Resources”) to the National Recording Preservation Board of the U.S. Library of Congress. This list includes links to a number of sites/organizations that are there to help inform anyone interested in both the history of recorded music and in preserving the legacy of the people and places that have contributed to recorded music’s rich history.

I’m very proud to see that album cover imagery has been included as part of this effort and look forward to adding more to it as time goes on. If you’re interested in learning more about the NRPB and see what they have to offer (it’s a treasure-trove of info), please follow the link – http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-OTHERRESOURCES.html

August 29 – 1) Another cool Kickstarter project that fans of the NYC punk scene will certainly want to look into – photographer David Godlis has initiated a fund-raiser to support his effort to publish a book of his pix of CBGB-era punk rockers – stars, fans, and those who just wanted to stare at the stars and fans – and is offering supporters a number of ways to participate, with many levels including limited-edition signed photos at less-than-going-rate prices. David’s natural-light shots of the clubs and the people who frequented them are impressive, so it is no wonder that, with a goal of $30K, he’s already received pledges for more than twice that (nice!!). The project is accepting pledges until September 30, so please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1745732143/cbgb-punk-photos-by-godlis-1976-1979-the-book to reserve a copy for yourselves.

2) Our friend Adrastos has published a new album cover art story about Bob Seidemann’s very-hip album cover artwork produced for Jerry Garcia’s 1972 solo record. Magritte blood must run through Bob’s veins – it is a fascinating cover for a trend-setting musician. While Seidemann’s Blind Faith cover gets most of the press, his talents graced the covers of a wide variety of musical acts. Read more on the First-Draft.com site – http://first-draft.com/2014/08/27/album-cover-art-wednesday-garcia/

3) Just a reminder – the “American Cool” exhibition that I reported about a while back closed its run at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC on Sunday, Sept. 7th, so while you might have missed your opportunity to see the exhibit in person, you can still compare your own “Top 100 Coolest People” list to the one put forth by the festival’s organizers on their site at –http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/cool/American%20Cool%20Exhibition%20List.pdf

August 28 – Very interested to read about the possibility of a new film by Martin Scorsese about The Ramones. During last Sunday’s 10th annual Johnny Ramone tribute at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary, representatives from the estates of all of the original Ramones – participating in a discussion panel led by event host Rob Zombie – gave fans of the band a little teaser about the film, which is slated for a 2016 release.

Reading through the article (on the Billboard.com site), I believe that it also gives fans a primer into what it takes – licensing-wise – to put all of the rights-related resources in place to make such a film happen. It’ll be a tough slog, but I do hope that they can get it together as it’d be an interesting story to see brought to life by the talented film-maker…

Remember, while it took 38 years for the band’s greatest hits package, titled Ramones Mania (featuring a cover design by George DuBose), to finally achieve gold record status, I believe that there is a significant potential fan base for a movie like this – more on this as it reveals itself –http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6229437/reunited-ramones-estates-plan-big-comeback-including-martin-scorsese-film

August 27 – Always happy to be able to promote local talent with world-wide appeal… just a reminder to folks in the Portland (OR) area that a large exhibition of prints, posters, sculptures and more done by the artist EMEK is now on display at the Peoples Art of Portland gallery here in downtown Portlandia. “The Thinking Man’s Poster Artist” also has a nice portfolio of album cover credits, having created memorable images for musical acts including Erykah Badu, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Bad Religion and many others over the years. The show runs from now through September 14th, with more info and examples of what’s on display available on the gallery’s site at http://www.peoplesartofportland.com/feat-artist.html

August 26 – 1) The talented artist George Underwood – best-known for his memorable cover paintings for David Bowie, T. Rex, The Fixx and others – is the subject of a new gallery show opening soon at the Fosse Gallery in the Cotswolds (U.K.). Titled simply “The Paintings of George Underwood”, the exhibition – which runs from September 7 thru the 27th – includes over 30 of his more-recent oil paintings, all available for sale. If you liked the covers for Bowie’s Hunky Dory, T. Rex’s Electric Warrior, Reach The Beach by The Fixx, Gentle Giant and many others, you’ll be in for a treat whether you attend in person or take a look at these mystical paintings online. Visit the gallery’s site at http://www.fossegallery.com/index.php

2) Tech Times pop culture writer Laura Rosenfield introduces us to a Tumblr site that fans of album cover design should enjoy. Called Tumblr Art of Album Covers, the site works to show fans the images that grew up to become some of our favorite album art images. For example, you’ll see the original graphic novel cover from 1953 that Frank Kelly Freas adapted for Queen’s News of the World album, along with other images for Aphex Twin, Weezer, New Order and many others. The site has been up for a year now, so there are quite a few to see and, hopefully, many more to come. Read more at http://www.techtimes.com/articles/13843/20140823/this-tumblr-shows-you-the-original-artwork-behind-your-favorite-album-covers.htm

August 25 – 1) There’s a new company called HD360 that has developed an app (iOS) that album cover fans should take a look at. While there have been several “interactive album cover” projects launched in the past, this one looks to have a good chance of public acceptance, assuming that they can get more musical acts to join in on the effort. Working with the musical group Bernhoft, the app’s producers have released a “multi-media” (remember thatword?) version of the band’s Islander album. With the app, fans can listen to hi-res audio, watch a 360-degree video of the musicians in the studio (kinda cool), remix the tracks via a number of on-screen devices, view hand-written notes, photo galleries and much more. It’s $20 to play, which might be OK for Bernhoft fans (but a bit much for more-casual participants), but if this is just the first of a series of these projects (and if they come up with tools that allow other bands to build their own interactive albums), they might be on to something here. Read more in this review by Nina Ulloa on the DigitalMusicNews site –http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/08/22/bernhoft

2) While I usually don’t write about specific album cover images (unless they’re SHOCKING ;-0 ), I thought that this cover for the upcoming Aphex Twin record called Syro (due out in late September) was pretty clever – it is simply a list of items that show what a band must deduct from their advance/royalties to repay their label before they earn anything for their efforts. What – you thought that bands made music just to make you happy, and that labels fronted the money only because they want to fully support the Arts? Silly fans…In any case, it’s nice to see that the band is eager to share these details with the hope that when you buy their music, merch and/or tix to their shows, you’ll now know what the money’s going towards….Read more in Joe Lynch’s article on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6228885/aphex-twin-syro-cover-art

August 22 – 1) Who says that folks in the stock art/photography world don’t have senses of humor? In this recent post on the Shutterstock blog, several of the site’s contributors teamed to create a series of album cover images that re-examine well-known records that feature titles that many have mispronounced over the years. Titled “Misheard Album Titles: Hilariously Redesigned Cover Art, you’ll find new takes on classics from Pink Floyd, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Notorious B.I. G and many others. While I personally think that the term “hilarious” might over-state the humor quotient a bit, I did find many of them to be clever-ish, and my personal favorite was the re-do of Led Zeppelin’s Presence (a fine Hipgnosis creation with that famous little obelisk). Take a look and feel free to share your favorites with your favorite album cover art site curator (i.e., me) – http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/misheard-album-titles-hilariously-redesigned-cover-art

2) Proving once again that releasing an album featuring nearly-naked album cover art will keep you in the news for an amazingly-long period of time, writer Iain Shedden from The Australian site has penned an article titled “From The Sex Pistols to Nicki Minaj: Album Covers That Shock“, which chronicles records both old and new that were certainly shocking at the time of their release. In this review of 10 records that were controversial for their cover art, you’ll find examples that were sometimes fascinating (King Crimson, Sex Pistols, etc.) and sometimes disgusting (the Beatles’ famed “Butcher Cover” and the always-tacky Millie Jackson’s work), but whatever you think of the covers, they will certainly serve as reminders of the role that album art plays in crafting the public images of some of our most-remembered musical acts. View the list at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/music/from-the-sex-pistols-to-nicki-minaj-the-album-covers-that-shock/story-fniwj43s-1227032177985

August 21 – 1) In his latest update to his series on album covers that have images that represent the act’s name, Music Times writer Joey DeGroot adds another 11 examples of these very-literal approaches to “branding”. We’re all familiar with the Led Zeppelin I and Big Star examples, but I was less-familiar with the covers shown for Deerhunter, The Locust, Can and others. I was particularly impressed with the covers for the band Acid Witch that feature that group’s attempt to create their own iconic figurehead, ala Iron Maiden’s “Eddie”. Did Iron Maiden ever show us an actual “Iron Maiden” (Eddie was a guy, right)? Read more at http://www.musictimes.com/articles/8903/20140818/11-album-covers-that-represent-the-band-name-led-zeppelin-deerhunter-and-more.htm

2) Just a heads-up for Oasis fans – there’s a new series of limited-edition, artist-signed prints now available from our chums at St. Paul’s Gallery in the UK built around the well-known cover images created by the talented Michael Spencer Jones. Budding Rock ‘n’ Roll Stars can now order one of 195 prints of either/both the front and/or back covers of the band’s 1994 debut record Definitely Maybe priced at £425 (vs. the £495 regular price). Spencer Jones’ photography was featured on many of the band’s album/single releases, so if you’re looking for a great visual memento of the band, check these out at http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=354&numRecordPosition=1

August 20 – 1) No longer can my better half call me a “pack rat” when you see what this nice man has collected – he’s gathered over 1000 copies of The BeatlesWhite Album over the years and now has put them up on display at the FACT loading space on Wood St. during the FACT/Liverpool Int’l Music Festival. The display, titled “We Buy White Albums”, shows off the collection of New York artist Rutherford Chang, who has snapped up copies of the band’s 1968 release – each individually numbered, if you’ll recall, ever since he was 15 years old, and what makes this display unusual in the art world is that he’s looking to BUY more copies from visitors who bring them in during the show’s run (now thru September 14th). Read more on the London-based Artlyst site –http://www.artlyst.com/articles/the-beatles-white-album-sleeve-explored-as-a-blank-canvas

2) In another update to the ongoing celebration of the 45th anniversary of the release of the Fab Four’s Abbey Road record, here’s an interesting story about one Bruce Cameron Clark, who just happens to be one of the hottest crafters of bespoke clothing in London, and his lucky trade made a couple years back with collector/agent Raj Prem. You see, Clark’s creations are very in-demand and, as you might figure, expensive, so Prem offered Bruce an item from his collection – a photo out-take of the now-famous road crossing scene, shot by photographer Iain MacMillan, showing the band crossing back across the street (i.e., towards the studio entrance) – as partial payment for some custom clothing he wanted. While the trade took some time to organize and complete, it now looks as though Mr. Clark will benefit greatly if/when he decides to sell the rare print (one of only 24 known to exist, with the last one auctioned for over $25K). Read more about this interesting transaction in M.L. Nestel’s article posted on the Vocativ site – http://www.vocativ.com/culture/music/abbey-road-album-cover/

August 19 – Back from my trip to the Chicago area and just have to say how impressed I was with my latest trip to the Art Institute there – what an amazing collection! The Magritte exhibit is a must-see – what a mind that man had. The wide range of public art and the Millennium Park “band shell” located next to the museum are just two more examples of the commitment (and contribution) that city has made to the arts – I only wish that I would be able to go back and see the David Bowie exhibit (the one that was organized by the V&A Museum in London and is now travelling) in late September…

With Chicago on my mind, I wanted to point you to a recent article on the Chicago Now site posted by writer Jamie Bernstein in her “Notes From Chicago Music Underground” blog about album covers that have featured Chicago-based scenes. Most of you may be familiar with Wilco’s record that displays a photo of the iconic Marina City towers, but you may not be aware of – or aren’t old enough to remember – covers by Sufjan Stevens, Styx, DJ Rashad or the band named for the city – Chicago. The Foo Fighters upcoming album includes some well-known Chi-Town landmarks in a composite of famous landmarks from around the country as well. Follow the link to see and learn about these and others like them – http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-music-underground/2014/08/8-famous-albums-that-feature-chicago-themed-cover-art/#image/1

August 13 – 1) Fashion and rock music imagery often travel hand in hand, and nowhere is this better-personified than in the photography of Saint Laurent Creative Director Hedi Slimane. His portraits of the very-photogenic Keith Richards, Lou Reed, Christopher Owens, Marilyn Manson and Coutrney Love (among many others) have both been on display in exhibitions and used in campaigns for his creations for nearly 20 years, and so I’d like to let you know that a new exhibition of his black-and-white portraits – titled “Sonic” – has been organized and will be on display beginning September 18 in Paris (just in time for Paris Fashion Week) at the Fondation Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent. A book of photos from the show is now available, as well. The show runs thru next January 11, and the Wall Street Journal‘s William Van Meter’s recent interview with Slimane gives readers a nice intro to the man and his work – http://online.wsj.com/articles/hedi-slimanes-photography-exhibition-documents-rock-legends-1407336986?KEYWORDS=slimane

2) To follow up a posting from earlier this week about the 45th anniversary of the release of the Abbey Road record by The Beatles (which featured that Iain Macmillan photo of the three live band-members and the ghostly barefoot image of the then-dead Paul crossing the road in front of the studio), I wanted to point you to an article that the team at Music Times assembled that details five of the “spoofed” versions of the cover image that were used – to varying degrees of success – by other musical acts since the original record’s release. I thought I’d seen them all, but I was not familiar with the one done the next year by Booker T. & The MGs. You’ll also find examples by Kanye West (whose is, I’m sure, 100X better than the original), the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others –http://www.musictimes.com/articles/8550/20140808/5-abbey-road-knockoff-album-covers-kanye-west-beastie-boys.htm

3) A new “Forever” stamp – the fifth in the Music Icons series – was recently released featuring a very trippy, psychedelic-themed border around a 1970 photo of Ms. Joplin taken by photographer David Gahr (Art Direction by Antonio Alcala). A ceremony used to launch the stamp included a performance by Mary Bridget Davies, the singer who performed as Joplin in Broadway’s “A Night With Janis Joplin”. More info on the stamp is detailed in this article on the EmptyLighthouse site – http://emptylighthouse.com/janis-joplin-featured-limited-edition-forever-stamp-1670608356

4) Singer/songwriter/Joplin friend Johanna Hall penned a nice article in the recent issue of Esquire Magazine titled “Janis Joplin Is Finally Immortal” in response to the release of the new “Forever” stamp featuring her likeness and, while many fans have had that sentiment for over 40 years now, it is a treat to be able to read some of the details of their budding friendship and collaborations. Ms. Hall’s song “Half Moon” – co-written by her ex-husband John Hall, later of the band Orleans – was the B-side for Joplin’s smash hit single “Me And Bobby McGee” and came after a simple request by Janis – You’re a woman, you’re a writer. Write me a song!”. The article can be found via the link –http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/janis-joplin-2014

August 12 – 1) The people have spoken, and the folks that host the annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) have announced the winners of this year’s “Vox Populi” awards in the album cover design/packaging categories. They are:

  1. In the “Album Art” category, the award goes to Nick Keifer for his work on Rick Barry’s Curses, Maledictions and Harsh Reiterations.
  2. In the “Album Packaging” category, the award was shared by Pearl Rachinsky and Corin Raymond on Mr. Raymond’s own Corin Raymond & The Sundowners’ Paper Nickels. Congratulations to all of the winners – keep up the good work. For more details on these and the other winners, head on over to the IMA site at: http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/2014/the-13th-annual-independent-music-awards-vox-pop-winners-announced/

2) On Thursday, August 14th, Elvis fans were given the opportunity to bid on a catalog of six dozen items from The King’s estate during the upcoming “Auction At Graceland” event. Included in the offers were some pretty unusual items – Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage certificate (est. $40-60K), various Graceland-related items (including a cast-iron skillet and a set of blueprints for the home), a piano, a not-yet-shot TV set, Presley’s D-75 Martin guitar, a 1977 Cadillac Seville and a package of collectibles – promo photos and materials, a song list with hand-written notes and a Christmas greeting from Col. Tom and Elvis with the Colonel dressed as Santa – from his December, 1968 TV special.

Cool story – as only Fate would have it, the marriage certificate was from the collection of the County Clerk who had originally sent it out to the couple via the USPS, only to have it come back to the Clerk’s office marked – you guessed it – “Return To Sender” (how cool is that?). Take a look at the auction’s results via the link (requires registration) –http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/28849684_promotional-ephemera-related-to-the-elvis-tv-special

August 11 – It was 45 years ago today….well, at least this month! The folks at UltimateClassicRock.com were kind enough to remind us just how old we are (!!) – and how influential many examples the album cover imagery from 1969 was – via these two stories:

1) Writer Jeff Giles gives us the details behind “the making of” photographer Iain Macmillan‘s memorable photo of The Beatles crossing the street in front of EMI’s Abbey Road studios, with the resulting image used by art director John Kosh on the cover of their Abbey Road album. Since then, this crosswalk has become one of the most-visited spots on any music fan’s tour of London. Read more about it via the link – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-abbey-road-cover-shoot/

2) Writer Corbin Reiff has published the details behind the making of one of the era’s most-controversial cover images, that being Bob Seidemann’s picture of a very young Mariora Goschen in the buff, holding a chrome sculpture of an airplane and freaking out nearly every music retailer looking to sell this supergroup’s debut recording (“but she got a pony for it!”)…Of course, the combination of Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker’s talents on this LP should not be over-looked, either, but the memorable cover artwork is certainly one that tested the limits of what arbiters of taste would accept at the end of the “psychedelic era”. I was fortunate enough to see the mechanicals for this picture on display during the “Who Shot Rock & Roll” exhibition a few years back, but if you’re unfamiliar with the cover’s story, follow the link to this informative article – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/blind-faith-debut/

August 8 – 1) Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of presenting you with an interview I had done with film-maker Eric Christensen, the man behind a fine film about album cover art/artists titled “The Cover Story – Album Art”. That film, as well as his other works for TV and cinema, was another example of Eric’s long history of highlighting the best examples of how Popular Culture is reflected in – and influenced by – the many creative souls that find a place for themselves in either/both the “mainstream” or “the fringes” of the worlds of art and music.

Today, I’d like to let you all know about Eric’s latest film project – a documentary about the career and life of musician and 1950s pop personality Korla Pandit. Some of you might recall some of the early TV performances of this organist, who performed while dancers in strange (to Americans) costumes performed exotic dances in the background, while others will remember his role as the wrap-party organist in Tim Burton’s cult film about a cult film, Ed Wood. Whatever happened to Korla Pandit, and just who was this man? Eric and his production partner John Turner have finished principal production on this film – which featured interviews with musicians (and other performers who were mesmerized by Pandit’s on screen performances) such as Carlos Santana, Booker T. Jones, Chester Smith, writer Ben Fong-Torres and many others – and have just launched a Kickstarter program to raise the remaining $10,000 needed to complete the film, so I hope that you’ll visit their site and consider donating to this inspired effort –https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/897309218/korla

If you’d like to read my interview article with Eric, please click on the following link –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-film-maker-eric-christensen/

Updatethe project was successfully funded, with a total of 74 backers pitching in nearly $11,000 to fund the final production of the film. Looking forward to seeing this film in theaters when it is released!

2) If you’ve always wanted to see what life would be like as a photo-journalist, covering your favorite musical acts, the folks behind the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem, PA have just the program for you! Budding rock photographers who signed up for the Center’s “Photo Pass” program were given instruction and, after completing the basics, a special press pass that allowed them to shoot a performance by rock legends The Moody Blues, along with other headliners including Steely Dan, the Avett Brothers and Weezer, at the MusicFest 2014 event held nearby. This is the latest in a series of events that began last year, letting students cover shows at a cafe and a local blues festival as well as the larger MusicFest concerts. For more information on this, as well as the opportunity to see some of the results of this year’s group of students’ work, please take a look at Express Times‘ writer Dustin School’s article on the LehighValleyLive.com site –http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/musikfest/index.ssf/2014/08/musikfest_2014_photo_pass_program_teaches_students_what_it_means_to_be_a_professional_concert_photog.html

3) It’s exciting to see the work of artists who understand the power of online promotion get rewarded for their extra efforts. An artist based in West Liberty, Iowa named Christopher McMahon always keeps his online portfolios fresh with new work and, as a result of his paintings being appreciated and talked about on various social media sites, one of his paintings (“Mountain Monster”) is now being used on the cover of the ever-popular band Weezer’s upcoming album (due out in late September). Chris’ work features strange creatures and monsters set in idyllic outdoor scenes (think Abominable Snowman in a Christmas card setting) and his sense of humor and style attracted fans around the world, with their postings/repostings/tweets (etc.) bringing the images to the attention of Rivers Cuomo, who tracked Chris down in order to strike a deal to use the work on their new record. He’s now quite the local celebrity, as he’s now featured in this article by Jason Leigois on the Muscatine (IA) Journal’s site –http://muscatinejournal.com/entertainment/music/west-liberty-man-s-art-is-a-monster-hit/article_93848a7b-3647-5325-b611-285c12419daf.html

August 7 – Two items for fans of album cover graphic design:

1) One of the most-memorable images in album cover history – the cover for London Calling by The Clash – is the subject of a new “revival” of an earlier (2010) exhibition featuring the works of artists inspired by the original cover done by Ray Lowry (his design/lettering around Pennie Smith‘s iconic photo). Titled “London Calling 2014” and now on display at The Whitaker Rossendale Museum & Art Gallery in Northwest England (up the M66 from Manchester), the show runs thru September 27th and will include a series of related events including “Vinyl Nights”, hosted by the late Mr. Lowry’s son Sam and featuring a specially-curated playlist of some of Ray’s favorite tunes. Sales from the exhibition – including prints of the extra-cool graphic re-working of the original design – help raise funds for the local INSPIRE substance abuse services program. More on The Whitaker’s site at http://www.thewhitaker.org/events/london-calling-2014/

2) Each August, fans of Afro-Beat music superstar Fela Kuti commemorate his death and life via performances and exhibitions and, this year, African news service This Day Live sought out Kuti’s best-known album cover designer, artist Lemi Ghariokwu, to talk to him about his relationship with Kuti, his long-standing love of both his country’s music (starting at age 11 with exiled singer Miriam Makeba) and the work of graphic artists from all over the world and his career in the music business, having designed thousands (!!) of album covers for both African musicians and pop artists including Mariah Carey, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley. You can read the entire interview on the This Day Live site at http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/lemi-ghariokwu-an-artist-s-chronicles-of-consciousness/185198/

August 6 – 1) Running through the end of August at the Watts Gallery in Compton (Surrey) U.K. was a show built around the career of the now 82-year-old artist Sir Peter Blake, best-known to Beatles fans as the mastermind behind the album cover for the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP. The show covered his work from the 60s thru last year and includes many of his best-known images, including covers for The Who, Band Aid and many more. In late July, Blake toured the show and lead a discussion about his work. The folks from the CCA Gallery, who publish Blake’s works, were also there with an art bus full of prints available for purchase. More on the show and Blake’s visit is detailed in the article by Andre Langlois on the GetSurrey.com site –http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-7543094

2) The team at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery just announced a Beatles-oriented exhibition that launched with a party held there Saturday, August 16 at 7pm. The show, which features 50 images from the gallery’s collection, is timed to commemorate the band’s mid-August kick-off of their 25-concert 1964 American tour at San Francisco’s Cow Palace music venue (trivia fans will recall that their final U.S. performance took place 2 years later, again in SF, at Candlestick Park). Some of the album cover images included in the display include Rubber Soul, Beatles For Sale and the back cover for Abbey Road. A preview of the exhibition is now up on the SFAE web site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400076

August 5 – I admit it – I was wrong (!!). A few days back, you might recall a headline story I’d put up about a film companion to the Paul’s Boutique record released 25 years ago by the Beastie Boys. In that summary, I said that, rather than use the actual music from the record – in order to avoid possible copyright issues – the film’s producers had instead used a re-recording of the music done by a group of DJs. Well, as it turns out, I mis-understood a quote from the interview, which lead me to believe what I’d said. In fact, the film did (bravely) use the actual music from the record, something I would have been able to tell right away had I actually watched the film and read the Summary Presentation about the film’s inspirations and production methodology, spelled out nicely on the producer’s web site at http://www.paulsboutiqueavc.com/

I want to thank the film’s producer/director – Paolo Gilli – for setting the record straight. I hope that you’ll all watch his full-length video, available on the web site – it’s truly a labor of love!

I promise to be a better journalist going forward – thanks for your patience and support. Mike G

August 4 – 1) Several years ago, singer Nicki Minaj‘s publicity team asked the folks at the popular AllHipHop.com site to remove a sexy image of Ms. Minaj as, they thought at the time, it cheapened her image at a time they wanted to keep it clean. Now, with the release of her controversial new Anaconda record cover image, AHH’s owner Chuck Creekmur has issued an open letter to the singer wondering out loud whether the image she’s now developing is counter to what she needs to stay in the public eye, asking her point-blank “Is this the path you want to lead impressionable kids down? Make no mistake about it, you are a leader now”…While it’s always been an integral part of any new music’s marketing campaign, a musical act’s album cover art often becomes the de-facto image associated with that act at that time, so I think that it’s crucial for any act to take ownership of the consequences of this important, artistic decision as well, don’t you? Read more about this letter in this article by Florence Adu-Yeboah posted on the International Business Time’s web site –http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/allhiphops-creekmur-pens-open-letter-nicki-minaj-about-x-rated-album-cover-1458737

2) Revolver Magazine, the online home for lovers of all things loud and soul-shaking, has been posting a weekly selection of album cover images under the title “NFSW: The Most Insane Album Cover Sent To Us This Week…” and, I have to admit, I’m finding the collection of images so far to be mind-boggling in both their artistry and their ability to nearly make you puke (“Perfect!”, cried Mikey Metalhead). This week’s cover is for the upcoming album from “death metal sickos” Obituary for their new record (set for release in October) called Inked In Blood. I just want to know – was the tattoo done before or after…? Follow the link to see this week’s winner and find links to the series archive (don’t say that I didn’t warn you!). http://www.revolvermag.com/news/nsfw-the-most-insane-album-cover-sent-to-us-this-week-728.html

Album Cover News Recap – June 2014

Album Cover News Recap – June, 2014

Summer’s here, and as if in answer to that yearly question “what am I going to do with my free time this Summer?”, a new batch of album cover-related exhibitions and auctions launched in June and look to continue throughout the rest of the season. I’m also happy to have been able to offer fans of art and music some new insights into “the making of” great album art via interviews and features about creating stimulating packaging for both classic and emerging musical acts. Highlights of this past month’s coverage include: information on a variety of exhibitions (both in the U.S. and overseas), including major shows by artists including Brian Griffin and Joe Garnett; an interview with Grammy Award-nominated designer/photographer Glen Wexler; info on the nominees and winners of this year’s Independent Music Awards (IMAs) in the album packaging categories; several new books and fine art print editions of rock and album cover photography and a number of new biographies of some of the design talent that has been responsible for many of your favorite album art images. As we always like to say (and show you), there’s always something new to see in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site

June 30th – 1) The works of the very-talented designer Rex Ray (you’ll know him from his cool album cover for David Bowie’s Reality) are featured in a show now on display at the Turner Carroll Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico titled “Biomorphed”. The show’s focus is on how the natural world influences designs, and you’ll enjoy browsing thru Rex’s colorful abstracts, alongside those of artists Shawn Smith and Josh Garber – more info on the gallery site at http://www.artnet.com/galleries/turner-carroll-gallery/biomorphed-shawn-smith-rex-ray-and/

2) Fans of the rock band Kansas – a group that has always given fans a selection of fantastic artwork to go along with their progressive music – will enjoy learning more about the images that accompanied many of the band’s best-loved records from the perspective of drummer Phil Ehart. Interviewed for Goldmine Magazine, Phil gives us the stories about inspirations for covers done by artists including Dave McMacken, Peter Lloyd, Tom Drennon, Bruce Wolfe and many others – http://www.goldminemag.com/article/phil-ehart-shares-behind-paintbrush-stories-kansas-album-art

3) I must admit that, due to the circumstance that I grew up 4500 miles from the U.K., I was rarely shown the works of many bands that either were not released in the US or were sold at more-esoteric retailers (and not EJ Korvettes, where I did most of my record shopping in my youth). For example, I was not aware of the album cover works of artist Steve Hardstaff until I read writer Tony Dewhurst’s story about his appearance at a fair/expo in Lancashire this past weekend. As it turns out, Dewhurst has done covers for musical acts including The Strawbs and Half Man Half Biscuit (!!) and posters/other graphics for The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and many others. I’ll now do some digging on this talented individual and will report back with the whole story. In the meantime, read Dewhurst’s story on the Lancashire Telegraph web site – http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/leisure/whats_on/11303770.Artist_to_the_stars_Steve_Hardstaff_hosts_talk_and_gig/

June 27th  – As part of a recent contest held by the people behind the Design Crowd site (a site that hooks up graphic artists with clients looking for design help), participants were asked to create their own, re-realized versions of classic album art, and over 80 people submitted their work for consideration, with the winner being GusDesign‘s colorful version of U2’s Pop record. Other nice remakes were done of records by Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana and many others. If you’d like to see more and learn more about this endeavor, please read Andrew Lasane’s article on the Complex. com web site –http://www.complex.com/art-design/2014/06/designers-recreate-iconic-album-covers-for-a-designcrowd-photoshop-contest

June 26th – 1) I’ve been hard at work on bios this week and have a number of new ones up for your viewing pleasure. Included are notables such as Tim Bryant, Greg Burke, Steve Byram, John Byrne, Brian Cannon, Michael Carney and John Casado. All have impressive portfolios, some with multiple Grammy wins, and I was floored when I found out that one of them was responsible for the logo for the first Apple Macintosh computer in 1984 (guess who?). You’ll find them all on this page –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-artist-biographies-a-c/ – some scrolling required!

2) Found this fine video interview with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on the Blabbermouth site about the making – and re-making – of Led Zeppelin 1, which has now come out in some very fancy packaging, including one set that includes a limited-edition print of the record’s history-making (or was it history-taking?) zeppelin cover. Delivered to you with a whole lotta love, of course –http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/jimmy-page-talks-to-absolute-radio-about-making-of-led-zeppelin-i-video/

June 25th – Well, the results are in, and some folks are going home with expensive treasures to show off to their friends! At yesterday’s “Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk” auction at Sotheby’s, over $4 million was spent, including the following album cover-related items:

1) Joel Brodsky’s photo of Jim Morrison – est. $6-9K, sold for $13,750 (inc. buyer’s premium);

2) Bob Seidemann’s photo for the cover of Blind Faith – est. $2-3K, sold for an impressive $17,500;

3) A print of the cover for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, signed by Jagger, Richards and Watts – est. $4-6K, sold for $13, 750;

4) Two Joni Mitchell art images sold – a) a self-portrait with an $8-12K est sold for $10K, b) a drawing of Crosby, Stills & Nash with a $5-7K est sold for $6250

Some bargains were also had, such as an Axis: Bold As Love lenticular print selling for $2500, a Gered Mankowitz portrait of Hendrix selling for $8750 ($8-12K est) and a Mick Rock print of his photo for the cover of Iggy Pop’s Raw Power album selling for it’s $5K starting price.

Of course, the big items for the day were the two Bob Dylan working manuscripts for the songs “Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and “Like A Rolling Stone”, which both sold for well above their auction estimates, with some lucky fans paying $485K for the “Hard Rain” item and $2.045 million for “Like A Rolling Stone”.

Congratulations to all the winners – enjoy your new purchases!

To download a list of all the final prices achieved at this auction, visit the Sotheby’s site at http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/results.results.sale.pdf/2014/rock-roll-history-presley-to-punk-n09160.pdf

UpdateBusiness Insider Magazine reporter Harrison Jacobs led a team that was given advance and post-auction access to the aforementioned Sotheby’s auction and detailed their visits in an interesting and photo-packed article published on the 27th. If you’ve ever wondered what went in to putting together and then staging a formal art/memorabilia auction – from gallery prep to catering to creating catalogs for visitors and bidders (both in-person and online) – this article gives you a nice pictorial overview – http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-sothebys-rock-and-roll-auction-2014-6?op=1

June 24th – 1) While this exhibit ended its run on June 29th, you can still follow up to learn more about the works that were on display… the West London Art Factory staged a “pop-up” show at The Muse on Portobello Road that included both a nice series of prints for sale and – the thing that caught my eye – a selection of custom-painted “Marlow Art Guitars” that feature impressive works of art – many music-themed, as you might figure – by a number of today”s leading young artists. These guitars were created and are sold to support the Teenage Cancer Trust, who receive a portion of the proceeds from sales of these one-of-a-kind instruments. There’s a link to the online catalog on the WLAF site, so be sure to take a moment online to see the full range of their offer –http://www.westlondonartfactory.com/

2) While he certainly doesn’t need any help from me, publicity-wise, I would like to direct Pop Art fans to the upcoming full-bore exhibition of artist Jeff Koons‘ work that will be on display at the Whitney Museum of Art in NYC. The show, titled “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective”, opens on June 27th and is said to be the largest collection of his works ever assembled – it nearly fills the entire museum! You’ll know Mr. Koons’ work from the grand sculptures he’s done featuring Popeye, Michael Jackson (and Bubbles the Chimp) and Lady Gaga (as seen on the cover of her latest album). The exhibition will be up until October 19th. For more information, please read AP writer Ula Ilnytsky’s article on the Lake County Record-Bee site – http://www.record-bee.com/sports/ci_26022691/jeff-koons-whimsy-takes-over-nyc-museum

June 23rd – Two auctions took place this week with a lot of album cover-related items up for bid:

1) At Sotheby’s “Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk” auction in NYC on June 24th, you were able to bid for items including a printer’s proof set used to make Beggar’s Banquet for the Rolling Stones (art/photo by Wilkes and Feinstein); a Joel Brodsky print of Jim Morrison (est. $6-9K); a Gered Mankowitz print of Jimi Hendrix (est. $8-12K); a Hendrix Axis: Bold As Love lenticular (!! – est $2-3K); Bob Gruen’s iconic John LennonNYC print (est $4-6K) and more by Mick Rock, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Koons and John Van Hamersveld. More at http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2014/rock-roll-history-presley-to-punk-n09160.html. Results were reported in a subsequent article, above.

2) On Wednesday, Bonham’s staged an Entertainment Memorabilia auction in London where participants were invited to bid on items including a print of the cover for Led Zeppelin 4, signed by Page, opening at $1K: The Clash’s London Calling photos and a rare counter display, both by Pennie Smith, starting at $850; a set of photos by Bob Gruen taken during the session for John & Yoko’s Walls & Bridges, starting at $1700; and a custom, multi-platinum commemorative plaque featuring many album covers that was given to Robert Plant, with an opening bid of $8400. See the entire offering at http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21947/

Hope everyone got all that they wished for!

June 20th – Just posted a new interview I just finished with veteran photographer/designer Glen Wexler about his work on Heaven & Earth’s 2013 release titled Dig. With Glen’s impressive portfolio that includes album cover-related work for Rush, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan and many others, it was insightful to learn more about his process and, in particular, how this particular cover came as the result of 5+ years of developing a particular idea, just waiting for the right application. Glen was kind enough to provide me with some images of his work-in-progress on that – and other – record packages, so you’ll see some great examples of how great album cover art develops from concept into the finished product. https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/interview-with-glen-wexler-heaven-and-earth-dig-album-cover/

June 17th – There’s a series of videos I stumbled upon that I wanted to point you to. The Tate Museum and Le Meridien Hotels teamed up to produce a series called “Unlock Art” that includes 8 short films featuring actors, comedians and other presenters taking the viewer thru one aspect of the fine art world. I was particularly impressed with the one hosted by actor Alan Cumming titled “On Pop Art” as it included highlights of the works by three artists that also made big impressions on the album cover art world – Andy Warhol, Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton. Here’s the link to that particular video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHBm8_ooPVo

To learn more about the entire Unlock Art series, visit their site at http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/unlock-art#open288655 (I really enjoyed the short titled “On Shopping for Art” hosted by Comedian Sally Phillips…

June 16th – New info on a Joe Garnett album art exhibition and the release of a very nice fine art print:

1) Opened June 20th at the Fine Arts Gallery in the City of Lubbock, TX’s Buddy Holly Center is a career retrospective featuring the work of famed album cover artist Joe Garnett. Titled “Mavericks, Misfits, & Musicians: The Art of Joe Garnett“, the show will include an impressive selection of prints, paintings, etc. from Joe’s portfolio. You’ll know his work from the images her created for The Doors, Captain Beyond, Alice Cooper and others, as well as the theatrical posters he produced for movies including Diner, Hooper and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The show is on until August 10 – more info on Joe is available on his site – http://joegarnett.myshopify.com/pages/about-us and info on the exhibition can be found at http://www.mylubbock.us/departmental-websites/departments/buddy-holly-center/fine-arts-gallery

2) The folks at St. Paul’s Gallery in the UK have just released a new fine art print of one of the most-talked-about album covers of the 1980s – Andie Airfix‘s fantastic image for Def Leppard’s Hysteria. With world-wide sales of over 20 million copies, its an album you’ll find in many a record collection, but only 195 will be able to own this signed print – more info on their site at http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=487&numRecordPosition=1 

Why not pour some sugar on your album art collection?

June 13th – two “tastemaker” online magazines put forth their album art-related collections:

1) Mari Andrew of Paste Magazine has published an illustrated article titled “25 Fashionable Moments in Album Cover Art“, a list that features, as you’d figure, some very stylish works with folks wearing nice clothes, interesting hair styles and backdrops that reflect the art and fashion of the day. While there’s not much commentary, the gallery is a good one, spanning the past 40 years or so in pop music – http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/06/fashionable-moments-in-album-cover-art.html

2) The “Green Label Sound” site (sponsored by Mountain Dew and others) has organized a collection they call “The Most Iconic Hip-Hop Cover Art of All Time” and, while not really explaining what criteria were used to make these selections (besides “you only get one chance at a first impression”), the 15 covers included in the collection are pretty iconic, featuring Kanye, GZA, Outkast, DMX, Notorious BIG and others.

Warning – this site has a LOT of pop-ups & distractions, unfortunately…http://green-label.com/sound/iconic-hip-hop-cover-art-time/

June 10th – 1) Here’s another example of album cover art-inspired creativity – musician/artist Wesley Stace (who’s performed using the stage name John Wesley Harding) has come up with his own take on classic album covers, using emoji art to recreate 70 records, from Help! and Sgt Peppers by The Beatles to Animals and Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd and more-recent records by Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction and many more. Stace admits upfront that he’s not a trained graphic artist, but looking at what he’s done thus far, he’s obviously got a keen eye for composition. You can see an introduction to his work on this article on the Fast Company site by Joe Berkowitz and the rest on Stace’s Twitter feed – http://www.fastcocreate.com/3031482/a-musician-recreates-classic-album-covers-in-emoji

2) Photographer Piper Ferguson has just posted a number of shots she took for the new release by the Afghan Whigs on Subpop Records…Do To The Beast is the band’s first release in 16 years, and her photo session at the Paramour Mansion in Silver Lake, CA shows Mr. Dulli and the band in fine form – http://www.piperferguson.com/Afghan-Whigs-Subpop

June 9th – What a world, what a world:

1) While most music fans have considered the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love – with artwork by David King/Roger Law, based on a photo of the band by Karl Ferris – a psychedelic era masterpiece, the censors in Malaysia have decided to curtail the sales of this record, 47 years after its release, based on what they’re calling “religious sensitivity”. You may recall that the cover features a drawing of a Hindu deity and now, after all these years (and millions of copies sold), it’s too much for some folks to handle. Perhaps it is because they don’t want a “guitar god” competing with an “official” one? This one deserves a “pul-eeze!”, don’t you think? More as reported in the Hennemusic site – http://www.hennemusic.com/2014/06/jimi-hendrix-album-banned-in-malaysia.html

2) Speaking of inspiration (of the album cover art kind) – here’s a nice article/interview with a musician who very much appreciates what visual imagery accompanies his music…While he understands that much of today’s music is delivered digitally (and, therefore, often without a proper album cover image), Nick Mulvey has collaborated with his designer (Stuart Hardie) quite closely on all of the designs for his new album (titled First Mind) and related singles. In the interview on the Clash Music site, Nick shows a great sensitivity to the process of visualizing his music for fans old and new (there’s a nice video accompanying the article as well that dives into the thinking that went into his album graphics – well worth the watch) – http://www.clashmusic.com/features/write-on-nick-mulvey

June 6th – 1) Very nice retrospective article on the Dangerous Minds site about artist (and playwright) John “Patrick” Byrne, who created a number of whimsical paintings for record covers for Gerry Rafferty, Donovan, Stealer’s Wheel and an alt cover for The Beatles’ White Album (later used on their 1980 Ballads compilation). Quite the multi-talented guy, so if you’re unfamiliar with his artwork, this is definitely worth the look –http://dangerousminds.net/comments/the_fabulous_album_cover_art_of_playwright_john_patrick_byrne

2) Author/cyber-guru Bob Cherry – who’s Cybergrass site is one of the original entertainment sites on the web – recently penned an article about album cover art, presenting it as an integral part of a complete music experience and offering up some suggestions on what a designer should include in creating a “proper” record cover. I’m hoping to find out a bit more about Bob’s motivations behind this article (and a bit more about his personal collection) but, in the meantime, I wanted to share his words of wisdom with you, via the link –http://www.cybergrass.com/node/3705

3) Finally – an apology for a mental lapse – in a posting earlier this week, I referenced Andy Warhol‘s famous cover for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and, in what must only have been the result of a “senior moment”, I noted that it featured his “banana cover” which, any album cover fan worth his salt will tell you, was NOT the cover for Sticky Fingers, which did in fact display another iconic image, that of the leather pants with the working (at least on early copies) zipper. I do apologize and promise to work hard to redeem myself going forward. Thanks for your patience and enjoy your weekend. MG

June 4th – The 2014 Fotofestiwal in Lodz, Poland – one of the world’s premiere photography exhibitions – was even more impressive this year with the inclusion of an exhibition of ACHOF inductee Brian Griffin‘s work. Titled “DisCover Photography”, the exhibit included over 60 of Brian’s photos, including covers for Iggy Pop, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and Depeche Mode, among others (according to Brian, Poland is the home of the world’s most-active Depeche Mode fan base), and this is the festival’s first music-centric exhibition, so it’s quite the honor for Mr. Griffin.

The Grand Opening party took place on Saturday, June 7th at 8PM (with Brian will be in attendance) and the show ran thru June 15th – for more info, please follow the link – http://www.fotofestiwal.com/2014/en/exhibitions/special-exhibitions/brian-griffin/

June 3rd

After months of deliberations, the distinguished judging panelists for the 13th Annual Independent Music Awards have completed their ratings for this year’s program. Here’s a recap of the Nominees and Winners in the Album Art categories – quite the grouping of talent, I’d say….:

Album Art / Photography Nominees

Angie Pickman, KS, USA – Maria the Mexican – Moon Colored Jade

Kathryn Lynn Shearman / Kazoo Studios, CA, USA – Tamar Haviv – You and Me Without Pajamas (“Lost At Sea”)

Mike Wohlberg / tFk! Illustration, PA, USA – Death Valley High – Positive Euth

Nick Kiefer, NJ, USA – Rick Barry – Curses, Maledictions and Harsh Reiterations

Pavel Postovoit, Jerusalem, Israel – Adaam James Levin-Areddy – You’re Like Bad TV

And the winner is – Angie Pickman of Lawrence, KS, USA for her work on Maria the Mexican’s Moon Colored Jade. Angie is a full-time “cut paper artist” living in Lawrence, Kansas and is known in local art circles as “The Rural Pearl”. You can see more of Angie’s work on her site at http://ruralpearl.com/blog/?page_id=344

Album Packaging Nominees

Cheng-dao Chou & Sung-lan Chen / 9d Visual Creation, CA, USA – Tsung-pei Fan – Longing for the Unforgettable Spring Breeze

Hui-chen Huang & Szu-wei Cheng / Keystone Design Co., Taiwan – Taiwu Children’s Ancient Ballads Troupe & Daniel Ho – To & From the Heart

Pablo Bernasconi, Alain Gomez & Carolina Musto, Venezuela – Famasloop – La Quema (Box)

Pearl Rachinsky & Corin Raymond, ON, Canada – Corin Raymond and The Sundowners – Paper Nickels

Sunday Morning, NY, USA – Luiz Ebert and Fidel Fidel Cuéllar – Audiograp

and the winner in this category is – Hui-chen Huang & Szu-wei Cheng of Keystone Design Co., in Taiwan for their work on Taiwu Children’s Ancient Ballads Troupe & Daniel Ho – To & From the Heart . The team at Keystone Design was nominated twice in 2013 for their work for Wind Music. To see more of their portfolio, visit their Flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/keystonedesign

Congratulations to the Winners on a job well-done!

This year’s judging panel includes a wide range of talent in the areas of music production (songwriters, musicians, engineers, etc.), talent management, venue booking and management, tour production and coordination and music journalism. Read more about the members of this esteemed panel via the link –http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/judges/13th-annual-ima-judges/

Visitors in the NYC area were invited to join IMA staffers at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium on Saturday, June 7th at 11am for a “Meet The Artist” showcase featuring multiple IMA nominee Elizabeth Mitchell. Co-presented by The IMAs and Lincoln Center, this event was another in their ongoing collaboration with Lincoln Center. More info on this event is available at http://atrium.lincolncenter.org/index.php/2014-elizabeth-mitchell

That’s all for now – be sure to check back Monday thru Friday for the latest album cover art news!