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Album Cover Artist and Art News Summary and Preview for the Months of May and June, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF MAY, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JUNE, 2017.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings to you all on this first day of June, 2017.

I’d like to first let you know about an important change I’m making in the delivery schedule for my album cover artist/art news bulletins. For the next several months, I’ll be reducing the frequency from weekly to monthly (plus timely news alerts) in order to be able to focus my almost-complete attention on my book project. As it was my plan to have the book completely written prior to the launch of my fund-raising efforts – with final design and editing to come based on the success of that fund-raising (i.e., the more $$ raised, the more pages I can include in the book) – it finally occurred to me that I was getting further and further behind and, at this point, I’m nearly a year past when I’d hoped to put this out.

This is simply unacceptable to me. I’d promised all of the fine people who’d contributed to the book’s content that I’d have it in my readers’ hands ASAP, so now, even if it means trimming my news coverage, I’m going to do everything I can to live up to those previous commitments.

Such is the life of a one-man operation.

I do appreciate all the support I’ve been given and continue to get from both contributors and my readers, and I will work hard to finish this project and get back to the important work of updating the ACHOF’s bio section, adding more interviews and producing a regular series of news updates.

And so, In this month’s summary, you’ll find both a robust recap of last month’s stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business as well as several previews of what’s going to be on display/hitting the shelves next month. As always. you’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works continue on with their good work, and it’s my pleasure to be able to share the details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. There continues to be an impressive number of items about album cover art/artists in the daily news cycle, adding stories of great interest and fascination to the month’s recap of the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find on a wide range of related topics.

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.

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of April 2017

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL, 2017

Happy May 1st to you all. While the weather here in the Chicago area has certainly swung towards Springtime (a day spent in the gardens at the nearby Baha’i Temple found the magnolias and spring flowers in full bloom), it hasn’t quite “stuck the landing”, but I’ve gone ahead and planted basil on my balcony and can vouch for the fact that there are trees with leaves on them as I look out my office window as I write this month’s summary and continue to work on my book.

Speaking of which – I’ve scripted my presentations for my upcoming crowd-funding project and, with any luck, will have something for you to look at quite soon. As I mentioned before, I’m mostly focused on deciding what to/not to include in this first collection (that’s been the toughest part, because I want to share everyone’s stories), but it looks like this will be a 400+ page book, so fans will most certainly find things in it relating to many of their favorite album cover creators. I also finished my inventory of the premiums (art prints, mostly) that will be used to incentivize you to support me at various funding levels, so I do hope you’ll take a look at my offering once it’s up and running. More to come, for sure.

In this month’s summary, you’ll find a robust offering of stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business. You’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works are quite busy – as I’ve been, too, gathering these stories so that I can share the fascinating details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. There continues to be an impressive number of items about album cover art/artists in the daily news cycle, adding stories of great interest and fascination to the month’s recap of the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find on a wide range of related topics.

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) Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1942 and raised in Penicuik, Midlothian, a town SW of the city, Albert Watson’s technical training in the arts took place first at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (up the East Coast, in Dundee) where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design and then at the Royal College of Art in London, where his focus was on film and television. Born blind in one eye, he nevertheless enrolled in photography classes as well and, in 1970, moved to Los Angeles, where his wife had accepted a teaching job and he began his search for work as a photographer. Within a year’s time, he’d sold a couple of images to Max Factor and drew attention to his talents behind the lens.

Watson opened his own photo studio in L.A. in 1974 and travelled between the coasts frequently on fashion magazine assignments for clients including GQ, Mademoiselle and Harper’s Bazaar magazines, where his 1973 portrait of film director Alfred Hitchcock launched his career as one of the most sought-after celebrity portaitists. A portrait of an Indian Chief he’d taken was selected for use on the cover of Chicago folk band Mason Proffit’s 1974 double LP compilation titled Come And Gone and won him the Grammy Award for “Best Album Cover” the next year. In 1976, he landed a gig at Vogue magazine, which brought him to NYC to stay.

Since that time, Watson’s photos have been featured on several hundred covers for Vogue and its international editions. His celebrity photos have appeared in Arena, Esquire, Interview, Max, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Stern, Time, Vibe and others, while his list of clients in the advertising world includes companies such as Acura, Armani, Chanel, Clairol, Escada, Estee Lauder, Gap, Lancome, Levis, L’Oreal, Max Factor, Revlon, Sony Music, Toyota and many more. Some of the other album covers he’s shot include such memorable images for records including Jay-Z’s The Blueprints 2: The Gift and the Curse, Love Deluxe, Lovers Rock and Greatest Hits for Sade, Carly Simon – The Best of Carly Simon, Keep The Faith for Faith Evans,  Michael Jackson’s Invincible and LL Cool J’s All The World: Greatest Hits, among others. He found more work in the entertainment world producing photos for dozens of films/film promo posters, including The DaVinci Code, Flashdance, Kill Bill, Memoirs of a Geisha and others and further applied his film and TV production training by directing more than 650 TV commercials.  Additionally, Watson has served as the official Royal Photographer for Prince Andrew’s wedding to Sarah Ferguson and for His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco.

In addition to his busy commercial schedule, Albert has spent much of his “free” time working on projects based on his travels around the world. These images, along with his portraits of celebrities from all aspects of the entertainment, sports and political worlds, have been featured in a number of  museum and gallery shows, including exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, the Museum of Modern Art in Milan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography in New York City and others and are included in the permanent collections at the NPG and the Met. A new show featuring 29 photos that span his entire portfolio – landscapes, celebrity portraits, fashion photography, etc. – and titled Albert Watson: KAOS has just opened at Opiom Gallery, in Opio, France (just off the D7 East of Grasse), and will be on view through June 10, 2017. This grouping had its first showing last year at the St. Moritz Art Masters in Switzerland and, later this year, art book publisher Taschen will be releasing a special collector’s edition of a book by the same name.

Crave online contributor Miss Rosen gives up an overview of the show on their web site at http://www.craveonline.com/art/1248555-photographer-albert-watson-is-the-master-of-kaos-and-beauty#/slide/1    while more information on this show, along with directions to the venue, can be found on the gallery’s web site at http://opiomgallery.com/en/expositions/presentation/39/albert-watson-kaos

b) This year marks the 50th anniversary of a celebrated time and place in American music/art/pop culture history, that being of the “Summer of Love” in the San Francisco Bay area. This was the epicenter in the U.S. of rebellion against “The Man” and all of the conservatism he stood for, and so it only with a bit of irony that an industry was quickly built around the art, music and other lifestyle accouterments needed to fully participate in the festivities taking place in SF’s parks and the Haight-Ashbury district.

From now until August 20th at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate park, visitors can tour an exhibit called The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock and Roll that celebrates all of the groovy, trippy and far-out elements that defined the psychedelic scene in mid-1967. You’ll find hundreds of examples of the music (Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, etc.), clothing and, of course, artwork – even a recreation of a fully-stocked poster store (Mouse, Kelley, Conklin, Moscoso, Crumb, etc., doing work for Fillmore, Family Dog, etc.) and, as you’ll note by reading Sara Wood’s recently-posted article on the topic, even those who thought they’d find the whole thing a bit too twee (bummer, bummer) were swept up a bit in the gaiety on display – http://www.ebar.com/arts/art_article.php?sec=general&article=412

More information on the shows location and hours can be found at https://deyoung.famsf.org/summer-love-art-fashion-and-rock-roll , while a rather nicely-done online presentation that includes  a special section about psychedelic posters can be toured via this link – http://digitalstories.famsf.org/summer-of-love#posters

BONUS #1 – while you’re in the general vicinity, those of you with a more-educational interest in mid-60s counterculture might also want to catch the BART to go and visit the Hippie Modernism show at the Berkeley Art Museum.  According to the show’s promo materials, the exhibition “demonstrates how the counterculture, once dismissed as a social and aesthetic anomaly, introduced ideas and techniques that have profoundly shaped contemporary life, including ecological awareness, social justice, and open communication.”

Wow, man. I think I’m just going to trip out on the pretty pictures…

https://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/events/hippie-modernism-the-struggle-for-utopia-1

BONUS #2 – The ongoing struggle between the Boomer Generation’s desire to play up the importance of the Bay Area’s “Summary of Love” fifty years ago (!!) and its impact on popular culture versus the whining of “enough already” by reporters from younger generations is prominently on display in this new article by two KQED reporters about the current show on the subject at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. While Emma and Sarah might be distressed by what they feel “is the kind of programming every San Francisco institution is apparently required to produce by law (AKA a strong promotion from the city’s tourism bureau) during the summer of 2017,” they later find themselves admitting that one aspect of the show – the display of over 150 posters and handbills done by noted psychedelic-era artists such as Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, Lee Conklin, Victor Moscoso and others, as well as a demonstration area showing how these screen-prints and lithographs are created – are something of interest and make the tour worth your while…

While nostalgia might be overplayed these days, the simple fact that people of all ages are enthralled even today by the artwork created by the aforementioned artists and their compatriots (along with the album covers they created for bands including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Journey and many others) should quash any inference that these works are less than worthy examples of fine art for the ages. Look and learn, kiddies.

https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2017/04/12/de-young-summer-of-love-50th-anniversary/

c) All the way over on the other side of the country, rock photography fans in and around the Philadelphia, PA area can bop on over to take a look at a new show built around the amazing portfolio of noted rock photographer Bob Gruen, the man responsible for an impressive number of images we all know and love. On display now through May 26th at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, “Rockers” puts on display many of the highlights of Gruen’s 40+ year career during which he has captured many of the top acts in the music world, gaining world-wide recognition for his works featuring artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Muddy Waters, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Madonna, Kiss & Alice Cooper.

As chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine in the 1970s, Bob specialized in candid, behind the scenes photo features. He toured extensively with the emerging punk and new wave bands including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Patti Smith Group and Blondie. This seminal body of work reflects a profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists, with perhaps his best-known buddy, the late John Lennon, serving as the model in one of Bob’s most-famous shots, that being the one Lennon wearing a “New York City” t-shirt, captured in 1974.

PhillyVoice.com writer Sinead Cummings provides us with a brief intro to the show at http://www.phillyvoice.com/bob-gruen-photo-exhibit-gives-intimate-look-at-rock-n-roll-icons/ while more information on the exhibition, including info about upcoming activities related to the show such as an artist’s interview and book signing on May 3rd, can be found on the gallery’s site at http://drexel.edu/pearlsteingallery/exhibitions-events/exhibition-archive/2017/April/Bob%20Gruen%20ROCKERS/

d) While much of the world outside of NYC knows the creative output of Alan Vega for the now-iconic eagle logo he created for the Ramones (yes, you’ve got that t-shirt) he was also, in fact, a trend-setting musician, one-half of the avant electro-punk duo and Max’s Kansas City/CBGBs regulars known as Suicide. Balancing a music career – one that began in the early 70s (in-your-face punk before there was a “punk”) before moving on to solo work and collaborations with other acts including Ric Ocasek, Al Jourgenson of Ministry and Alex Chilton (among others) – with visual output that included well-regarded gallery shows that featured his “insult paintings”, sculptures and other works, Vega died in 2016 at the age of 78.

Film-maker and Vega family friend Paul Tschinkel spent the last year since’s Vega’s death working on a documentary film featuring interviews with Alan and his family and performance footage from several different periods during Vega’s career and, for those of you who were in the NYC area on April 14th, I hope that you had the opportunity to watch a screening of Alan Vega: An Artist’s Story during a “Howl! Happening” at the Howl! Arts Gallery on East 1st St. Gallery 98’s Mark H. Miller was on hand to MC and several luminaries, including Vega’s wife and son and musician Martin Rev (his partner in Suicide), were there to share in the evening’s festivities with all in attendance. More info can be found at  http://gallery.98bowery.com/news/alan-vega-of-suicide-video-tribute-screens-friday/ and also on the gallery’s site – https://www.howlarts.org/event/paul-tschinkel-alan-vega-an-artists-story/

e) Photographer/curator/gallery owner Guido Harari’s Wall of Sound Spring Group show featuring photos by David Burnett, Merri Cyr, Henry Diltz, Jim Marshall, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Masayoshi Sukita and many others opened Sunday, the 16th of April at the gallery in Alba, Italy (SE of Turin, NW of Genoa). Titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Hearts and running through June 11th, the show will put on display dozens of well-known album art images, artist portraits and more, with some shown in public for the first time.

In celebration of both the launch of the new season of Mick Rock’s Ovation TV series (On The Record with Mick Rock) and the just-released documentary on Mr. Rock’s career as an in-demand rock photographer (titled SHOT! and produced by VICE Films and Straight Up Films), there will be an expanded selection of photos from this acclaimed shooter on display in this new show.

More info can be found on the gallery’s site – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/rock–n–roll-hearts-e21

f) Just a quick reminder to all the Chicago-area rock art, fashion, memorabilia and music fans (as my childhood friend Bozo the Clown used to say – “Hey, that’s me!”) – the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism travelling show is now running at Chicago’s Navy Pier – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/

A quick trip through the show’s online picture gallery shows many examples of the wide range of creative album covers that have graced the band’s recordings over the course of their 50+ career – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/image-gallery/

g) 83-year-old Michael Mendel’s family fled Nazi Germany (through Holland, then to Cuba before coming to the U.S. and the New York area in 1938) when he was only 4 years old.

More recently, he used his talents as a painter (which he picked up on late in life) to create a series of black & white and hand-colored images that track some of the key moments of his life and flight to escape persecution to come to America (watch this short YouTube video, where you’ll find the artist taking you through some samples of that work – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr2E2zVL72g), where he went on to become an in-demand art director (first for Columbia Records, then on to Epic, Paramount and others) who worked on hundreds of record covers, including ones for Tommy James, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Curtis Mayfield, Van McKoy, Roy Orbison, Small Faces, The Stylistics and many others.

He retired from the music business in the late 1980s and switched his focus to producing watercolor paintings, so it is with great pleasure that I’m able to share an article by Bronx Times reporter Patrick Rocchio that introduces us to a show that was running at the Riverdale Senior Center  through the month of April in which a large selection of Mendel’s album artwork was on display – http://www.bxtimes.com/stories/2017/13/13-mendel-2017-03-31-bx.html   His son David is also promoting his “Just For The Record” show on his Instagram account (pretty cool Dad, no?) – http://www.imgsta.com/media/raisedonradio/BSP0cFDhMhw

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Of the musical acts that were recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pearl Jam has always worked almost as hard on their visuals – their album covers, merchandise and concert posters – as they have on their music, and one of the reasons why they’re consistently coming up with “just the right” designs could be that they’ve worked with the same design firm – Seattle’s Ames Bros – for almost their entire career. The firms ties to the band go one degree further than most in that one of the two principals – designer Barry Ament – is a sibling of Pearl Jam’s bassist, Jeff Ament, and the two have shared inspirations and ideas (along with Barry’s partner Coby Schultz and the rest of band’s members, who all participate in design development) ever since they were kids.

In this recent video profile served up on Seattle’s 12News/ABC website (with reporting done by reporter Jake Wittenberg), viewers are given a brief tour of the agency’s studio and archives, where you’ll see a number of both well-known and unique designs created for the band over the past 20+ years. The duo are quite humbled by the fact that their #1 client has now been enshrined into the R&RHOF – “It’s been fun,” said Barry. “The guys have a lot to be proud of right now.”

http://www.12newsnow.com/entertainment/music/pearl-jam-artists-excited-about-hall-of-fame/429885541

b) As we’ve just passed the one year anniversary of the unfortunate death of Prince, it was nice to see the folks at CNN change their focus a bit away from the antics in Washington, DC and offer up a 2-minute package (from Stephanie Elam) featuring photographer Allen Beaulieu, the man that brought us the memorable photos found on the covers of several of the Purple One’s early hit records (Prince, Dirty Mind and Controversy). In this interview, Allen gives us a teensy bit of background on the hows and whys for each cover image but, to me at least, the most-moving part of the interview centered on the fact that he wished that he’d stayed closer to the late musician, not knowing that a big hug received during photography during the 1999 tour would be his last.

The relationships between the photographer and his subject can grow deep –

http://www.cnn.com/videos/entertainment/2017/04/21/prince-photographer-memories-elam-pkg.cnn

c) The recent Record Store Day festivities put a lot of talent on display including, I think you’ll agree, a lot of fine work on the packaging, with colored vinyl, limited-edition releases and a ton of related merch showcasing the output of designers, photographers, illustrators and the like in close collaboration with the musician and label clients. However, in this recent Creative Boom article by Katy Cowan, you’ll find an added degree of creativity in the RSD-related work of the “masters of paper craft” Nearly Normal as they joined forces with Amsterdam-based record retailer Concerto to produce some quite-special items for an exhibit that will be on display in the store through May 19th called Vinylize!

According to the store’s site, “at the invitation of the Amsterdam Shop Around, about 50 artists used their favorite record sleeve as a canvas. The artwork of various artists such as Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and Blondie (to name a few) got a “VINYLIZE makeover”, resulting in a completely new and unique Artwork.” In the case of the one-off cover created by Nearly Normal’s Jaime Kiss, the inspiration was Kraftwerk’s 1981 hit Computer World, and not only did the agency produce a cut paper-based cover homage, they also took it further by creating a series of fine art prints for collectors and producing an animated (8-bit style) music video for the song based on that artwork. Learn more about the project and see what true love hath inspired –

http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/vinylize-paper-crafters-nearly-normal-celebrate-record-store-days-10th-anniversary-with-kraftwerk-tribute/

d) For some clients, image is everything, and in the competitive world of mid-1990s Gangsta Rap records, the more you could extol just how bad-ass you were, the better your credibility was with your target audience. In a recent Instagram posting (that was reported in Peter A. Berry’s article on the XXL.com web site, photographer Chi Modu shares the tale of “the making of” the quite-nasty images for the packaging of Mobb Deep’s 1996 record Hell on Earth.

Using the gangster movie Scarface for its thematic clues, Modu tells us that, in an effort to re-create a scene where Tony Montana had dumped drugs and cash on a large marble table to display the spoils of his efforts, the production crew had scouted a location inside a monastery in NYC and rented the space while not exactly sharing the details of what they’d be doing with the property owner. As you might figure, much hilarity ensued – http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2017/04/chi-modu-story-shooting-mobb-deep-hell-on-earth-cover

The folks at XXL followed this article up with one later in the month about Modu’s 1993 portrait of a young Snoop Dogg standing near a road sign on California Highway 187 (better known to locals as the section of Venice Blvd. that runs from Venice to Culver City) that’s now being used as the cover for Snoop’s soon-to-be-released new record titled Neva Left.

http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2017/04/snoop-doggs-new-album-cover-neva-left-chi-modu-photo/

e) Fans of album art with a creative streak are always working on ways to impress us with their talents and appreciation of great covers of the rock ‘n’ roll era. Sometimes, they’ll take well-known covers and manipulate them using today’s graphic design tools – mostly on computer – which produces many of the animated gifs, parodies and old-cover-with-new-characters items that pop up here in the ACHOF news feed from time to time. Rarely, however, do amateur artists go “old school” and, when they do, it’s wonderful to see what they’ve been able to create using just the basics – paints, a pencil or, in this case, a camera, some construction paper and a glass prism.

At the following link, the editors of the PetaPixel site have posted an interview with Mason Maxwell, member of the Reddit ITAP (“I Took A Picture”) group and a guy with a Nikon 5100 who decided to take this on – i.e., re-creating the memorable cover graphic for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – while listening to the record several times for motivation.

https://petapixel.com/2017/03/30/photographer-recreates-dark-side-moon-album-cover-camera/

Check out Mason’s Reddit page via this link https://www.reddit.com/r/itookapicture/comments/627mny/itap_recreation_of_the_dark_side_of_the_moon/

f) What does an artist do with his or her day? Dennis Morris, the man responsible for some of rock’s best-known album cover portraits, including you’ve-seen-them works for an impressively-broad range of acts including Bob Marley, Public Image Ltd and Marianne Faithful (among many others), works to answer that query as he takes us on a video tour of a “typical” day as an in-demand celebrity photographer.

Morris, whose desire to become a photographer began at an early age (he began shooting photographs at the age of 8 and started his professional career began at the age of 11 when he sold some shots he’d taken of a political demonstration to the Daily Mirror newspaper), makes sure that his camera is never far from hand and continues to photograph popular figures in all walks of life, with his shots featured in publications such as GQ, People, Rolling Stone, the Sunday Times, Time, V magazine and Vogue, among many others.

This video is part of a series on BBC4 called What Do Artists Do All Day? which, over the course of its run, has also done features on two more album art-related subjects – graphic artist/designer Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s and Live Aid fame) and photographer Albert Watson, whose album cover credits include shots for Carly Simon, John Denver, Sade and LL Cool J, among many others…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rjr1d/episodes/guide

g) I really need to check my Google Alerts more often – sorry about the delay in reporting this, but noted artist Alan Aldridge died several weeks ago in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 73. Anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to Pop Culture visuals over the past 50 years has seen numerous examples of Aldridge’s work, having designed logos for the House of Blues and the Hard Rock Cafes, illustrated dozens of book covers (with a focus on science fiction titles) and, for music lovers, created an impressive portfolio of album covers, including memorable examples such as Goodbye for Cream, Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy for Elton John, A Quick One for The Who and Wonderwall Music for former Beatle George Harrison. Beatles fans will also remember Alan’s art direction and illustrations for one of the most-popular lyrics books ever published, that being The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics.

Born June, 1943 in London, UK, Aldridge’s first design job was as an illustrator for The Sunday Times Magazine. In early 1965, he was hired by Penguin Book’s editor Tony Godwin to become their art director and, for the next two years, he designed a number of well-received book covers, with a focus on science fiction titles. In 1968, he launched his own graphic design firm (called INK) and, going forward, his unique, psychedelic illustrative style was applied to a wide range of projects, with Aldridge credited for creating memorable designs/illustrations for clients including Falcon Motorcycles, Heineken, Lucky Brand, MAC cosmetics, Samson, Paul Smith, Virgin Atlantic and many others.

Sarah Dawood’s obituary for the late artist can be found on the Design Week site at https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/20-26-february-2017/remembering-alan-aldridge-revolutionary-graphic-designer-swinging-sixties/

h) Continuing on with the bad news, another famous contributor to the album cover art scene – photographer Don Hunstein – died recently at the age of 88 following a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Hunstein grew up in St. Louis, MO and attended Washington University, graduating in 1950 with a degree in English. After college he enlisted in the US Air Force and was stationed in Fairford, England and assigned a desk job. It was this assignment that allowed him to travel around Europe. He began photographing casually, taking pictures to send home to his family, and then with the help of a Leica M3 purchased in the PX and inspired by a book of renowned street photographer Henri Cartier Bresson’s work, his hobby began to take him on a lifelong path. Transferring to a base near London, he joined a local camera club and took evening classes at London’s Central School of Art and Design, becoming influenced by the artists and designers whom he met there. He returned to the States in 1954, ending up in New York City, where he eventually landed an apprenticeship in a commercial photography studio. There he honed his photography skills by mastering large format cameras and lighting.

He soon met and was mentored by Deborah Ishlon, who worked in the publicity department at Columbia Records. She offered him a job helping her run the photo library there and supplying prints to the press. As he began to take his own photos for the company, they recognized his talent, and he gradually worked his way into the position of Director of Photography for CBS/Columbia Records. As staff photographer during Columbia’s heyday as a major rock, jazz and classical music label, Don was there to witness – and photograph – a number of iconic moments in the early history of rock music.

Over the course of his career at CBS, he shot over 200 LP and CD covers and documented the recording of many of the great albums in music history, producing instantly-recognizable portraits of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis and many others. Notable examples of his album cover work  include Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan; Blood Sweat & Tears – More Than Ever; Al Kooper – You Never Know Who Your Friends Are…; Cryan’ Shames – Scratch The Sky; Johnny Cash – Love and Bridge Over Troubled Water for Simon & Garfunkel .

You can find more about the man and his life via the following obituary articles – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/don-hunstein-freewheelin-bob-dylan-photographer-dead-w473676  by Daniel Kreps for Rolling Stone Magazine and Richard Sandomir’s portrait in the New York Timeshttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/arts/music/don-hunstein-dead-photographer-of-music-stars.html

i) Now, on to articles about the living (!!) – My wife just started a new job here in Chicago and, while meeting some of the nice people around her office, one mentioned that her grandson was in a band and had done the album art for their records, so she forwarded me a link and, after reading it and taking a look at the work that’d been done, thought that you might enjoy it as well. Twin Peaks is a popular local “garage/pop/punk” band (with psychedelic tendencies) that’s been together since 2010 and has released three albums along the way, including 2016’s Down In Heaven, which features artwork done by the band’s guitarist and vocalist Clay Frankel.

At first glance, you might think that the covers were done by another well-known indie artist/musician, Daniel Johnston, best-known to design fans for the “Hi, How Are You (The Unfinished Album)” t-shirt sported by Kurt Cobain in an often-seen photo of the late rocker, and Frankel, in this 2016 interview by Lucy Bourton for the ItsNiceThat.com site, admits to Johnston’s influence in his colorful-yet-slightly-disturbing approach to his artwork (“I really sucked at everything I tried”, he’s quoted. “Picasso my ass. But it didn’t matter. It was fun”). Working on his art during the band’s down-time (which, by the looks of their upcoming tour schedule, on the road for shows in the U.S., Canada and Europe over the next several months with White Mystery), he’s also supplied his artwork for the music video for the group’s latest single, “Holding Roses”. You can read the entire interview via the link – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/clay-frankel-twin-peaks-070916 and learn more about the band and its ongoing activities at http://twinpeaksdudes.com/, where you’ll also be able to watch the music video just mentioned.

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) You might recall that, several weeks ago, I reported on a series of stamps released by the Isle of Man postal service that were based on the artwork of the great album art designer Roger Dean, with the collection also including some new works Dean created expressly for this commission. The artwork was on display to the public in several exhibitions in late 2016 and was returned to the Sayle Gallery in the town of Douglas on the Isle of Man, where a number of original works, along with production elements such as sketches and production proofs, were then offered to collectors in the area.

Since then, according to this article by LC on the IsleofMan.com site, four of the works, including Pathways at Night (from the YES Progeny album set) and two studies created for the cover of Moody Blues bassist John Lodge’s 1977 LP Natural Avenue were purchased by fans and collectors and have found happy homes on the Isle. Now THAT’s supporting local industry – http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/82330/roger-dean-paintings-acquired-by-isle-of-man-collectors

b) The special fund-raising photography auction held several days ago that featured a number of highly-collectible works donated by Mr. John from his personal collection of many the industry’s best-known photographers resulted in the raising of over $3.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. As I reported a short while back, the 120+ works included images produced by artists including Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe and others, with the big bucks being shelled out for several wonderful Ansel Adams prints, including $559K for Clearing Winter Storm, $439K for Aspens, Northern New Mexico (1958) and $112K for a color print titled Church, Sunset, Rear, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, c. 1948.

A 1978 Robert Mapplethorpe photo of Blondie’s Debbie Harry fetched over $32K, beating out a 1980 photo of the same subject by Andy Warhol, which was purchased for a mere $18,750. You can tour through all of the auction’s results – a mini-exhibition of some of the world’s best photography – via the link to the Christie’s site – http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intsaleid=26921

c) In early April, the team at Gotta Have Rock & Roll released the details of what was going to be on offer in their “Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction April 2017”, and a quick look through the huge (1400+ item) catalog revealed prints by Ringo Starr, a selection of Beatles-related production artwork (including a negative taken from the “Hey Jude” photo session), a Stevie Nicks painting from the late Nicks/Fleetwood Mac cover artist Herb Worthington’s personal art collection and a custom-painted canvas stage backdrop used by the Ramones over 2 years of touring (opening bid of $10K).

The actual auction took place on April 29th, so if you’d like to take a look at what was sold in the two main categories of interest here at the ACHOF, you can click on over to these two pre-sorted pages – https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   and https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Photographs-110.html

where you’ll find that one of the Ringo prints sold for it’s opening bid ($1000), the Stevie Nicks painting went unsold (not a lot of buyers in this category, for some reason), while the Ramones canvas stage backdrop was won with a final price paid of $13,000. The Hey Jude photo also went unsold, but a negative of the band from the Sgt. Pepper’s photo shoot did find a new home, won with a $200 bid.

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Back in February, I’d reported on the amazing success of a book from the Genesis Publishing house (REVOLVER 50: THE GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION ) that celebrated artist Klaus Voorman’s trend-setting (and Grammy Award-winning) work on the cover for the Revolver LP by The Beatles, released 50 years ago (all of the 500 copies printed of the Deluxe and Collector’s editions sold out in 12 days!). Well, with Voorman still quite active and still quite creative, the team has put together a new product – a series of fine art prints/collages, based on an updated Revolver design and individually-embellished by Voorman, making each one unique – and are now taking orders for one of the 250 of these prints that will be made.

According to Voorman, this new print will serve to illustrate how he’s reflected on his original design over the years – “I had an idea of doing a collage again so people could get an original in their hands… It’s a different version of the cover… right in the middle of creating it.” On top of a new pen-and-ink-based print, Voorman will lay on other printed elements – pens, tubes of paint, etc. – that represent the artist’s craft of making a collage. “A pair of scissors lying there, a knife or a pencil or a brush, all of these things you actually use when you are at the table working on a piece.”

To help you get a look at the artist and his take on this new work, the folks at Genesis have also posted a video – https://vimeo.com/213979087 – while if you want to see more of the works being offered and, if then so inspired, place an order for one for your very own, click on over to the publisher’s site –http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-the-collage-series-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm

b) Several years ago, when I was still running my art gallery, I had the pleasure of selling a line of limited-edition sculptures made by a company called KnuckleBonz. While there have always been rock music-related figurines available – vinyl dolls, bobble heads, etc. – the products that the team at KnuckleBonz were producing were definitely several notches above the norm (and priced accordingly). Over the years, they’ve created hand-painted models of illustrious rock and rollers such as Ozzy, Dio, Rush, Lemmy and several others. On the bookcase behind my desk stands one of my favorites – Keith Emerson, standing in front of a rack of synthesizer (mine’s wearing a miniature baseball cap I found!) and, in another room, Jimi Hendrix stands, captured in mid-solo.

I haven’t reported on these folks for a while, as my focus remains on album art-related items, but a recent press release from the company about several new items has broken the curse, and I’m happy to tell you that two upcoming releases might be of interest to album art fans looking for “something a little different”. The first item is a new statue of Alice Cooper (titled “Alice Cooper II (Snake)”) which shows the world’s best-known shock-rocker posed with his pet python in one hand, microphone in the other, and standing on top of a base that replicates the colors and textures of one of Cooper’s best-known records, 1973’s Billion Dollar Babies (with original artwork done by the talented team at Pacific Eye & Ear). The second item is a new work that continues on the company’s recognition of album art iconography, begun early on with their sculpture of Rush’s “Starman”, with the upcoming release of a statue based on Motorhead’s mascot Warpig, AKA Snaggletooth, The Bastard, The Iron Boar, etc.. When fantasy artist Joe Petagno’s first iteration of the character was used on the band’s  self-titled 1977 debut recording, little did we know that, now 40 years later, that character would rank up there in the pantheon of iconic rock logo/images, along with band IDs such as the Lips & Tongue for the Rolling Stones, the Flying Eagle logo for the Ramones and the Misfits’ Skull Fiend, but your attendance at any metal music concert would certainly support that assertion.

In any case, this meticulously-crafted bust, complete with image-appropriate scrap heap base with chains and skulls, would certainly make a great gift for the metalhead on your gift-shopping list. See these two items, along with the other just announced, officially-licensed sculptures of Syd Barrett, Lemmy Kilmeister and an alt Alice Cooper model (in strait-jacket) by visiting the KnuckleBonz site at https://knucklebonz.com/shop/

c) 40 years after “God Save The Queen” became one of the most-recognized punk-era images, artist Jamie Reid is back with two new prints – one, an update to his classic Swastika Eyes and the other making clear his take on the new “American Royal Family”. These new works will be released to hungry fans as part of the Cultural Traffic counter-culture print and publications fair that will take place in NYC beginning on May 7th and where, according to the folks at L-13 (a Clerkenwell, London-based ” creative platform, spiritual home and technical epicenter for a small group of artists that founder Steve Lowe has found himself working with – both in collaborative venture and by way of support for the individual artists” – i.e., the people who’ll be printing and publishing these new works), “40 years after Jamie Reid first put Swastikas on the eyes of the Queen and stuck a safety pin through her mouth, he now turns his iconoclastic attention to the United States of America using elements from the original Swastika Eyes collage…All profits from the sale of the print will be used to publish a bound version of Eight Fold Year: a book of the Druidic calendar by Jamie Reid.”

I want one, I want one (but I won’t tell you which one – YOU guess). You can take a look at the new prints and, if so motivated, place a pre-order via one or both of the following links:

http://l-13.org/product/jamie-reid-swastika-eyes-queen/

http://l-13.org/product/jamie-reid-swastika-eyes-trump/

d) More Mick Rock-related news – Back in 2013, photographer Mick Rock and his buddy Lou Reed were working on a book for Genesis Publishing that based on Rock’s deep archive of photos and film of the seminal NYC rocker/trendsetter. Unfortunately (in so many ways), Reed died while the book was first released and, out of respect for the family, further sales were put on hold. As this November is the 45th anniversary of the release of the ground-breaking (and, certainly, career-breaking) Transformer LP, the family and Mr. Rock have agreed to celebrate the legacy by re-starting sales of both the book and a special series of fine art prints.

While the ultra-deluxe version of the book completely sold out during the initial offering, there are still copies that will be made available this Fall from the quite-nice, Mick Rock-signed Transformer Limited Edition (2000 total copies) version, which comes complete with a specially-produced 7″ picture disc and an updated photo/essay booklet. Priced quite reasonably at £295.00, pre-orders are now being accepted at  http://www.genesis-publications.com/transformer-by-lou-reed-and-mick-rock/

Photo collectors now also have a chance to own one of the six framed photo prints in Rock’s “Transformer Series“. While they were working together on the book, Reed and Rock chose these previously-unreleased images to offer to collectors, with the selected photos of “personal and historical significance… the Transformer Series reveals Lou the performer, the New Yorker, the artist and the friend.”

The limited edition, 20″ x 30″ signed and estate-stamped giclee’ portraits are being sold for £1900.00, plus shipping. Orders are being accepted at http://www.genesis-publications.com/transformer-loureed-mickrock/default.htm

I’m particularly fond of two of the prints, one called “Transformer” that’s a contact sheet-style image of the July 14, 1972 Transformer photo shoot, while the one called “Make Up” is done in the same way (make up and lighting) that the album cover image was created – quite striking.

Bonus – here’s a link to a recent posting on the Entertainment Weekly site in which Rock gives us some background info on the shooting of the Transformer album cover. It’s also where you can watch the preview for the aforementioned Shot! documentary – http://ew.com/music/2017/04/07/mick-rock-lou-reed-transformer/

e) According to photographer Jimmy Steinfeldt’s site bio, Jimmy “is a self-taught photographer who has only to squint through the lens for inspiration.” Citing photographer Richard Avedon and cinematographer Karl Freund among his strongest influences, Jimmy’s talents have brought him from his first gigs as a shooter at local concerts – his 1986 shots of Madonna for Rolling Stone kicked his career into high gear- to a 30+ year career (which has included a 2007 honor as Photographer of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards), during which he’s produced portraits of everyone from Bob Dylan and Miles Davis to John Denver, Willie Nelson and Dee Dee Ramone. His album cover credits include work for Denver, Davis and Ramone and, after adding in shots for Paul Westerberg, Matt Sorum and Dishwalla, among others, you’ll not be a bit surprised to find that, from time to time, he’s been able to tap into his portfolio to produce very-desirable photo books for collectors as well.

Steinfeldt’s newest book – Rock ‘N’ Roll Lens Volume II – has just come to market and, according to the press, it includes “fifty of his best black and white photographs, as well as commentary attributed to the stories behind them from his celebrity friends. Contributors include Lou Gossett Jr., Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Clem Burke of Blondie, Slim Jim of the Stray Cats, Apollonia of Purple Rain, and more.”

Read more on the artist and his work in this Music Desk article on the Broadway World site – http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/Acclaimed-Photographer-Jimmy-Steinfeldt-Releases-Second-Volume-of-Book-Rock-N-Roll-Lens-20170310 . You can order the book on the artist’s site at http://www.jimmysteinfeldt.com/book.html

5) Other articles of interest –

a) There’s been a fair amount written about this being the 50th anniversary of the release of what many consider to be the record with the “best” album cover ever made – that being The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album. Whether or not you think it’s the ultimate album cover, no one can deny that it has been incredibly inspirational, particularly to those musical acts and album cover artists who’ve chosen to make parodies (or are they homages?) of the record’s cover over the years.

In an effort to show us the wide range of styles and subjects that have been used to create these other works (including several newer ones from the man who lead the effort to create the original – Sir Peter Blake – the staff at the Ultimate Classic Rock site have put together a slide show of over 40 (42, to be exact) of these covers, including ones fairly well-known, such as the cover for We’re Only In It For The Money by Frank Zappa & The Mothers (one of my favorite t-shirts), to Eric Idle and The Rutles Sgt. Rutter’s Darts Club Band (featuring the classic Rutles tune “Cheese and Onions”) to covers by The Muppets, The Simpsons and MAD Magazine. I’m really quite shocked that this isn’t a must-do project idea for any self-respecting art school curriculum.

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-sgt-pepper-cover-art-tributes/

b) When musician Damon Albairn and illustrator/animator Jamie Hewlett first teamed up years ago to create their very modern animated rock band (sorry Cartoon Beatles) Gorillaz, the music world didn’t know quite what to make of them. Where could “the guy from Blur” and the comic book illustrator who brought us Tank Girl take its audience? Fans of animation understood right away – when you live in AnimationLand, you can go anywhere, do anything or be anyone, and so over the years, they’ve taken us on a musical journey – via music videos, live shows, web sites and other multi-media extravaganzas with some impressive special guests – through a world inhabited by denizens both natural and supernatural.

Now, after 7 years without a new Gorillaz record (and corresponding trips through their imaginations), the band’s creators have returned with a new record that will be backed by a tour featuring new art and animations and, in an interesting tie-in to the release of that new album titled Humanz, a travelling haunted house much like the one created for the first music video from the record for a song called “Saturnz Barz”. In the various rooms of this house where the band’s members are living are all the appropriately-spooky items, including a copy of the mind-boggling triptych by the 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch titled The Garden of Earthly Delights, a work perfectly matched to the record’s supernatural references. Artsy writer Abigail Cain takes us on a tour of the rest of this homage to all things extraordinary, something fans of the band’s work have grown to expect and appreciate over the years. With this new effort, the creators behind this band reward us amply.

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-gorillaz-haunted-house-full-art

c) On April 2nd, the Canadian music industry handed out its annual Juno Award for “Recording Package of the Year” to the team of Jonathan Shedletzky (art director), Isis Essery (graphic designer) and illustrator Jeff Lemire for the wonderful packaging they put together for Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie’s 2016 solo record titled Secret Path. Downie also collaborated with cartoonist Lemire on a graphic novel to accompany this record and the entire team worked together to produce a broad series of items, including 10 posters built around the lyrics of each of the songs on the record.

AD Shedletzky has been a marketing and label manager for Arts & Crafts since 2013, while Essery’s portfolio includes award-winning work in design, film and photography. Cartoon fans know Lemire’s work from his contributions to Marvel titles such as Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight and Old Man Logan along with many other books, graphic novels and commercial jobs.

Congratulations to this winning team as well as to the others nominated in this category. Read more on them all via the link below – http://junoawards.ca/nomination/recording-package-of-the-year-jonathan-shedletzky-art-director-isis-essery-designer-jeff-lemaire-illustrator/

d) Speaking of the Juno Awards – As a way to bring more fan fun to the table during awards season, the folks running the Ottawa, Canada Wellington West Business Improvement Area’s promo activities recently teamed up with a designer named Jamie McLennan (co-owner of Character Creative) on a project that long-time fans of “Sleevefacing” will recognize and appreciate.

Since this year’s Juno Awards took place in the country’s capital city, music was in the air and inspired the creative Mr. McLennan to come up with a way to help the local businesses increase their visibility with the area’s residents by involving them in a creative enterprise like the one (labeled “Vinyl Faces”) they devised – using  themselves as either the main image, or part of the background, in an album cover. Even the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, agreed to participate and proudly stood behind a record  cover of the late great Leonard Cohen. Writing recently for Ottawa-area local paper the Kitchissippi Times, Bradley Turcotte gives us more of the details – https://kitchissippi.com/2017/03/30/vinyl-faces-ottawa-junos/ , while a gallery of submissions can be viewed via the link – http://wellingtonwestvinylfaces.ca/

e) Several weeks ago, I reported on a special-edition Rolls Royce motorcar that was designed by The Who’s Roger Daltry and was based somewhat on the Mike McInnerney cover art for the band’s seminal Tommy Well, it turns out that that was only PART of the story and, in fact, there is an entire series of bespoke automobiles that are being offered to well-heeled collectors by the renowned British manufacturer this year. Reading through Dave Abrahams’ article on the topic for South Africa’s Independent Media, I now see that there are custom designs for The House of Rolls that were done in concert with Ray Davies of the Kinks, producer Gilles Martin (in a tribute to his father, Sir George Martin), singer Dame Shirley Bassey (who, to commemorate the three James Bond movie theme songs she delivered – ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘Moonraker’ and ‘Goldfinger’- had the panel between the rear seats embroidered with a diamond, with the tread plates and Spirit of Ecstasy hood statuette finished in gold), Status Quo’s Francis Rossi and Rolling Stones guitarist (and much-collected fine artist) Ron Wood, whose artwork for his 2010 solo record I Gotta See has been woven into the embroidery placed on the panel between the rear seats. When only the most-custom will do – http://www.iol.co.za/motoring/latest-launches/rock-n-rolls-musicians-design-bespoke-wraiths-8416274

f) On occasion, it gets a bit messy in the world of rock music-related imagery. While many artists – in these days of “if I found it on the Internet, it must be free” copyright management – try to be vigilant about protecting their copyrights, there is this sometimes well-defined and sometimes less so doctrine called “Fair Use” that raises its ugly head, sending art creators and re-creators to court to figure out who-can-use-what-when and whether certain uses cross over the fair use line into infringement. In this recently-published article by Eileen Kinsella for the ArtNet News site, you can read about an example of just what lengths parties in copyright-related disagreements will go to both protect their rights as copyright holders and their rights as artists who believe that they’re free to use an image to create something derivative-but-unique. In this case, in what looks to be an interesting turn-around, the Andy Warhol Foundation is pre-emptively suing photographer Lynn Goldsmith for her assertion that, without her permission, a 1981 photo she took of the late rocker Prince served as the basis for a series of prints released by Warhol. The Foundation says that they’re suing in order “protect the works and legacy of Andy Warhol.”

Wowee. This is one to watch, for sure – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/warhol-foundation-strikes-first-photographer-complains-copyright-922025

UPDATE – In a follow-up to last month’s story regarding the battle between photographer Lynne Goldsmith and the Andy Warhol Foundation – although she’s yet to be served with the papers looking to stop her from pursuing any remedies for the use of her photo of Prince in an early-80s print made by artist Warhol, she’s not just going to let the other side win the battle taking place in the media. Read the latest salvos in Eileen Kinsella’s update on the Artnet.com site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/prince-photographer-fires-back-warhol-foundation-copyright-suit-923759?

g) When a band chooses to name an album Heartworms, inquiring minds want to ask where the inspiration came from. Interviews with the guy who essentially IS The Shins – singer/songwriter James Mercer – seem to indicate that he’s now feeling the weight and unease of ultimately being responsible for the band’s success so, perhaps, he’s feeling that anxiety crawl through him in a fashion similar to the way the foot-long worms invade your pets’ lungs, heart and blood vessels… In any case, when Mercer turned to artist Jacob Escobedo (of Cartoon Network design fame) to help him with an appropriate cover for the new record, Escobedo – a fan of Japanese artwork featuring the spooky creatures called Yokai (seen quite a bit as the nemeses in anime) – came up with the image for the package when “after hearing the album, I had this vision of worms overtaking a lush garden, pouring out of a dead heart.” Escobedo’s no stranger to those following creative types in the music/album art world, having produced memorable images for The Shins and other clients including My Morning Jacket, Danger Mouse, Christian Rich and Cartoon Network’s own Adult Swim Singles

Billboard.com writer Zack Ruskin talks to the pair about this effort in his recent posting – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7728836/the-shins-heartworms-cover-inspiration-japanese-yokai-art

h) According to the sentiment expressed in a recent article by John Meagher for Ireland’s The Independent, “the creative minds behind band photos and album artwork are the music industry’s unsung heroes” – a tenet yours truly has stated on several (thousand) occasions since I began writing on the topic oh-so-many years ago. Citing examples of many musical acts who’ve collaborated with visual image makers – Anton Corbijn with U2 and Depeche Mode, Peter Saville for acts on the Factory Records label and Jean-Paul Goude for Grace Jones are featured in this list – the author goes on to state that, while you can pay to work with the best, great album art can also be made on more-meager budgets, as evidenced in this year’s short list of records nominated for Ireland’s recently awarded Choice Music Prize awards – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/magical-union-of-sound-and-vision-35539435.html

Staying on the same basic topic, an article posted by contributing writer Satish Reginald for New York University’s NYUNews.com site (https://www.nyunews.com/2017/04/06/the-paradigm-shifts-of-album-artwork/)also looks to explore the importance of packaging music in sleeves that help bring consumers to look at a new record but, as I’ve found in many similar articles over the years, the author gives readers more questions than answers and, if you take away what I did from the article, falls back on the often-stated notion (often stated by young people, that is) that the digital delivery of music to teeny-tiny screens has dramatically-reduced the value/importance of good album art.

While I completely understand that sales of physical recorded music products have tanked since the introduction of electronically-delivered music, recent upticks in the sales of vinyl, band merchandise, etc., continues to illustrate the basic “analog” nature of the human animal. Given time to explore, discover and then own physical music recordings, people of all ages are, in increasing numbers, realizing that it requires a certain level of dedication to that search for great music (and the art that accompanies it) if you really want to find something that resonates. This is, of course, a simple way for me to remind you that although this year’s Record Store Day (April 22) is now behind us, you can still visit your local record retailer to take a look at all of the special items created to celebrate the day. You can see the latest offerings on the special RSD promo site – http://www.recordstoreday.com/

Hope you’ll take the time to find something you’ll love today and going forward. It’s there – you just have to dig a little.

i) Spoofing album cover images has always been the source of fun for artists, other musicians and fans of both, but of course it took creative types with web sites and Tumblr accounts to take the practice to the edge (and, often, over). Recently, I saw an article by Louise McCreesh on the Digital Spy site that dives a bit into the phenomenon, with a focus on a Tumblr called Cover For Me that challenges participants to recreate album cover images using available materials in 10 minutes or less.

http://www.digitalspy.com/music/news/a823847/people-recreating-album-covers-10-minutes-or-less/

As you might figure, some of the records chosen are quite obscure and some of the results are less-than-impressive but, in some instances, people show us flashes of brilliance. After you read the article, I’d invite you to visit the blog site and scroll down the submissions because, right before your very eyes, you’ll see some examples that’ll surely make you smile –  https://coverforme.tumblr.com/

My favorites are the ones done for records by Prodigy (fun with aluminum foil), DMX (fun with body paint) and FKA Twigs (fun with…whatever). Yours?

j ) As it seems that this week’s summary shows off my Chicago Pride, I’d like to end it by pointing you to an article on the Downers Grove (IL)-based Suburban Life site featuring a guy from Wheaton (also down in that direction) who has invented another way to frame your favorite album covers (and comic books, too) so that they can be displayed on the walls of your abode. According to the article, Bill Zeuch is on target to sell a million dollars of these things this year (and, at less than $10 each, that’s a lot of units), so click on over to find out what all the excitement’s about (and to watch Bill demo his product with slightly less enthusiasm than the typical TV pitch-person) – http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2017/03/15/wheaton-man-puts-comic-books-album-covers-in-new-light/amyd340/

Get more details on the company’s web site – http://www.comicmount.com/AlbumMount-AM001.htm

SPECIAL NOTE IN SUPPORT OF THE ARTS – I have always worked to make sure that my reporting was focused on the facts and not so much an expression of my own tastes, keeping my editorial comments mostly of the humorous variety. With today’s news regarding the new Administration’s proposed gutting of Arts and Humanities program funding from the federal budget, I find it necessary to appeal to everyone who understands the importance of these programs to both a well-rounded education for our kids and the livelihoods of those who use government grants to further their efforts to produce great art, music and writing for all of us and ask you to make sure to contact your local/state/federal representatives to implore them to maintain these investments in our country’s future.

Unless, of course, the plan is to hire all of these artists to paint the border wall and have musicians and poets perform on stages set up along the way but, somehow, I don’t think so…

To read more about what’s been proposed and how it will affect the targeted programs and the products they produce, click over to writer Caroline Elbaor’s recap on the Artnet site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/trump-proposes-eliminating-national-endowment-arts-893744

The arts advocacy group Americans For The Arts recently posted an informative article on the topic that should be a must-read by anyone looking to better-understand the basics of what these organizations do (i.e., the NEA, the NEH, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Americorps, among others) so you can come to your own conclusions regarding whether/how much public money should be reserved for their ongoing operations.

http://www.americansforthearts.org/by-program/reports-and-data/legislation-policy/legislative-issue-center/national-endowment-for-the-arts-funding-for-arts-agencies

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

All text Copyright 2017 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 February, 2017

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUary, 2017

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. It’s “awards season”, what with the Grammy Awards, BAFTAs, Writer’s Guild and Independent Spirit Awards and, to end the month with a bang,  the Oscars (followed, in a few months, by another flurry including the Billboard, Tony and BET Awards shows). I don’t know about you, but I’m growing a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of these shows and am somewhat confused as regards their relevance beyond the steady stream of production-related income enjoyed by the folks that stage them…Of course, people should be proud of what they do and want to praise the best examples of work within their respective fields of artistic endeavor, but I find it somewhat sad that some of the most-talented people – those working behinds the scenes, with their credits listed well-down from the top (you know, the part that’s sped through at an impossible-to-read pace during on-screen credit rolls) – are only mentioned in passing or, as we saw during the Oscar telecast, relegated to their own sparsely-attended and covered award ceremonies. Trust me, I understand why this is the case. I mean, who wouldn’t rather see a popular musician’s acceptance speech than hear from the recording engineer or the music video director (or the team that created the group’s logo and album cover), so that’s what sponsors and fans expect to see during an award show telecast. I guess that we fans of cover art can only take solace in the fact that you’ll probably see many more people wearing Dark Side of the Moon t-shirts than clothing emblazoned with a photo of Katy Perry thanking her fans, the label, her manager and her accountant for their support…

In this month’s summary, you’ll continue to be impressed with the stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business. You can be sure that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works will continue to promote these good works and will share what they do with the rest of us. There continues to be a number of articles about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.

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) You know his work and, beginning March 11th at the University of Brighton (UK), you’ll be able to tour through an exhibition culled from his 50+ year portfolio of work as a world-class designer, illustrator and, alongside his commercial practice, educator. George Hardie’s credits include work he did while part of the Hipgnosis team for clients including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Alan Parsons, Genesis and many other classic acts and then, working independently and in collaborations since the early 1980s (with design firms including Pentagram, The Partners and Trickett & Webb), Hardie provided his talents to a wide range of clients and garnered widespread recognition for his stamp designs for the Royal Mail, including the Channel Tunnel commemorative stamps in 1994, the Millennium stamp (for which he won a D&AD design award) and the Magic stamps in 2007.

An experienced educator, Professor George Hardie taught postgraduate students of graphic design at the University of Brighton’s Faculty of Arts and Architecture from 1990 until his retirement in 2014. He has run a number of design workshops world-wide and was a visiting professor at the University of Nagoya, Japan in 2006. In 1994, Hardie became a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (where he served as International Secretary from 2007-2010) and was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry by Britain’s Royal Society of Arts in 2005, an award given to design professionals who have shown “sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry”.

His work has been exhibited extensively, including shows at the University of Brighton (1993′s “George Hardie Works”), Barcelona and in Ljublijana in 2008. His books – Available in Other Colours: the Illustrations of George Hardie: A Book of Scraps (1993, and winner of the graphic design section of the Pantone International Color Award that year). Denouement (1996) and Colour Atlas (1997) have been included in design exhibitions at the Pentagram Gallery and in Nagoya, Japan.

This new show at the University of Brighton’s University Gallery in Grand Parade will include a display of the original artwork for one of his best-known album covers – the dirigible-covered Led Zeppelin – the size of which, to fans of record art, will come as a bit of a surprise, much like the first time you see the Mona Lisa (it’s smaller than you think). Hardie shares a bit of the story behind that cover  in an intro article by Andre Rhoden-Paul   on The Argus (UK) web site – http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15099162.A_stairway_to_heaven_for_fans_of_record_covers/

The “George Hardie: 50 Odd Years” exhibition will be on display through April 7th, with more info available on the following web sites – https://www.brighton.ac.uk/about-us/news-and-events/news/2017/02-14-george-hardie-%e2%80%93-50-odd-years.aspx

University Gallery info – http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/whats-on/gallery/gallery-exhibitions-2017/march-2017/george-hardie-fifty-odd-years

b) This past month marked the launch of a newly-curated rock photo show at the prestigious Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT titled Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography that, as you’ll read in the article recently posted on the New England Cable News site (which also gives you a nice video tour of the show along with an interview with the show’s curator – and the museum’s director – Tom Denenberg), gives fans a lot to see during their visits. Over 250 photos, including both well-known and little-seen images shot by a virtual “who’s who” of photographers from the world of music, features work by a number of people who’ve contributed photos for album covers including George DuBose, Bob Gruen, Lynn Goldsmith, Laura Levine, Jim Marshall, Baron Wolman and many others.

Fans will remember Denenberg’s original staging of the “Backstage Pass” show several years ago at the Portland (ME) Art Museum and, for this updated showing, they’ll be able to take home a new souvenir catalog – published by Yale University Press – that includes over 100 of the images on display, along with essays by Greil Marcus, Glenn O’Brien, Laura Levine and Kate Simon.

http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Backstage-Pass-to-Exhibit-Photos-of-Music-Icons-413437183.html

For more information on the show, which runs through May 7th, visit the museum’s site at https://shelburnemuseum.org/exhibition/backstage-pass/

c) Chicago-native Jim Marshall moved at an early age with his family to the Fillmore District in San Francisco, and purchasing a camera while still in high school, began his career by capturing the musicians and artists working  in the Bay Area on film. In 1964 he covered performances at the Newport Folk Festival and then moved back to San Francisco later that year. From that point forward, he was given unprecedented access to most of the iconic events in the history of popular music, shooting The Beatles’ final concert at Candlestick Park (the only photographer allowed backstage) in 1966, the Monterey Pop Festival and the pre-eminent acts performing during the “Summer of Love” in 1967 (Santana, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Cream, etc.), Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968, Woodstock, Johnny Cash “flipping the bird” at San Quentin and adding his images to the album covers for The Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore East, Moby Grape and Commander Cody’s Country Casanova.

The 1970s found Jim continuing his streak of award-winning images, many of which graced the covers of Rolling Stone and LIFE magazines, including photos of the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, T-Rex, Joni Mitchell, jazz greats Carmen Mcrae and Dizzy Gillespie and Karl Malden and Michael Douglas on the set of the TV series Streets of San Francisco. In 2004, Jim received the Lucie Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Photography” and a book, titled Jim Marshall: Proof, which provided a rare look at the creative process, was published. In 2005, he was the recipient of MOJO magazine’s 2005 “Honours List Image Award”.

Two photo shows that chronicle the late photographer’s life titled Jim Marshall: 1967 – one at San Francisco City hall (Ground Floor Exhibition + North Light Court Banners) now thru June 17th, with a separate show in Los Angeles at the Grammy Museum’s  Special Exhibits Gallery on the second floor beginning March 10th (and running through May 14th) – are available for public consumption and, for a recent article that introduces us to these shows and how they were organized, the team at Juxtapoz Magazine interviewed SFAC Director Meg Shiffler as well as several other well-known chroniclers of the Bay Area music scene, the results of which can be read via the link at https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/jim-marshall-s-1967-an-all-access-pass/

d) For a new installation at two venues in downtown Los Angeles (FigAt7th and the Bank of America Plaza) that premiered February 10th and runs through the end of March, psychedelic art legend John Van Hamersveld has produced several monumental images in vinyl that will serve as centerpieces to a show of his works from the late 1960s to present day. Titled Signs of Life, you’ll get a chance to get up close and personal with examples of artwork produced by the talent responsible for some of your all-time favorite album covers, including Magical Mystery Tour for The Beatles; Blondie’s Eat To The Beat; Hotter Than Hell for KISS; The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street and many others.

Produced by the Arts Brookfield organization, you can learn more about the show on their site at http://www.artsbrookfield.com/event/signs-of-life/

Events that will be taking place in conjunction with this exhibition run from a special, psychedelic-themed Valentine’s Day party to a series of luncheons that will be held every 2nd and 4th Friday in February and March, during which you’ll be entertained by musicians from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) who’ll perform music by each iconic musician (Beethoven, Mozart, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix) portrayed on the windows of Bank of America Plaza.

e) On February 8th, 2017, the New Museum in NYC opened a major exhibition focusing on the work of artist Raymond Pettibon. Presented on three full floors of the museum, “Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work” is the largest curated show of Pettibon’s work to date and features more than 700 works he’s created, from the 1960s to the present. One of the best-known artists to emerge from the LA-area punk rock scene of the late ’70s-early ’80s, Pettibon – the brother of Black Flag guitarist/song-writer Greg Ginn – rose to fame creating the minimalist and hand-drawn images for the band and their label, SST Records. Pettibon’s album cover credits include Introducing The Minutemen and Post-Mersh, Vol. 1 for The Minutemen; Life – A Tiny Twofer; Mike Watt – Hyphenated-Man; Black Flag – My War, Jealous Again, Slip It In and The Process of Weeding Out; Sonic Youth – Goo; Foo Fighters – One By One; Off! – Off! and Wasted Years and Saccharine Trust – Past Lives.

The museum’s show was curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director. Visitors and fans will be able to purchase an illustrated catalog of the show (co-published by the New Museum and Phaidon Press Limited), and following its run at the New Museum (on display through April 9th), the exhibition will travel to the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, the Netherlands, where it will be on view from June 1–October 30, 2017.

http://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/raymond-pettibon-a-pen-of-all-work

Writing for Juxtapoz Magazine, Carlo McCormick also provides a bit of an art world overview in this recently-published article on the magazine’s web site – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/raymond-pettibon-the-pen-for-these-times/

f) The popularity of themed cruises – particularly among Baby Boomers, who quickly snap up cabins on the several music-themed excursions that feature name acts performing for, and then mingling with, appreciative audiences – continues to grow, but this one’s the first I’ve seen that also included an exhibition and gallery of notable music imagery as well as the featured artist – in this case, Roger Dean – on board to help promote the sale of his works.

Departing from Tampa, FL this past February 7th and headed out on a fun-packed four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, classic rock fans on the “Cruise To The Edge” were treated to a schedule of performances by musical acts including YES, Kansas, Steve Hackett, Focus, Spock’s Beard, Mike Portnoy, Pat Moraz and many others. In between sets, album art fans were able to head on over to the Diamond Club on Deck 13 to view the exhibition mounted by Dean and his U.K. fine art dealer, Trading Boundaries and, when so motivated, purchase one or more of the many prints that were on sale there. Dean was also selling collectible doodles and produced a special-edition Cruise To The Edge 2017 print just for tour participants. Details on this sold-out cruse are posted on gallery’s site at https://therogerdeangallery.smugmug.com/Exhibition-Dates as well as on the cruise line’s site – http://cruisetotheedge.com/

Now that they’ve returned to dry land, I’m able to point you to an article posted by Elmore Magazine’s Ira Kantor who, as a traveler on that cruise, was able to report back on what he experienced on board, from all of the music he was able to eat to an overview of the Dean exhibit, where he met Roger and shared his love of the album that kicked the artist’s career as a record cover designer into high gear – Afro-Pop band Osibisa’s self-titled 1971 debut, which featured flying elephants that would become the band’s signature visuals ( side note – after Dean did the band’s first 2 covers,  the group brought in another fantasy-inspired artist – Mati Klarwein of Santana/Miles Davis album cover fame – to do their third record’s cover). He also walked away with a personalized print of one of Dean’s wonderful covers for YES – Tales from Topographic Oceans. Lucky guy.

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2017/02/music-news/cruise-to-the-edge-diary-day-3

 2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Jamaican-born (but now Los Angeles-based) artist and photographer Neville Garrick has enjoyed a long association with the late, great Bob Marley (and several other well-known reggae music acts), having produced record covers, stage props and the like for his clients, so it would only make sense that, as they extended their brands into new areas, he’s be brought on to help design promo imagery/packaging for these new efforts as well.

Being as it is that a major component of the Rastafarian religion is the consumption of cannabis, the Marley family name has, for some time now, been used to brand a line of cannabis products sold in the U.S. called “Marley Natural” which, according to their site, “celebrates Bob Marley’s appreciation for the healing power of nature, the beauty of the earth and the relationship we all share with it.” As it is that Garrick is also one of the founders and Executive Director of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, he’s brought his in-depth knowledge of both the musical legacy and ongoing promotion of pot-related activities to task by coming up with the package designs for the brand’s first Anniversary product line, which you can find out more about in this recent article by Oscar Pascual on the SFGate.com site – http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2017/02/21/bob-marleys-album-cover-artist-now-designs-music-legends-cannabis-packaging/

Each of the four designs created by Garrick was greatly inspired by Herb (and not the “Peaches &” variety)…

b) To offer local musical acts “something special” when it came to album cover design/packaging, designer/art director David S. Blanco took it upon himself to expand his service offering a bit further than most. In fact, he created a record label – called Blank Editions – which creates and sells limited-edition music packages, recorded on vinyl and cassette tape, that incorporate Blanco’s biggest design influences, including architecture, minimalist art and the design aesthetic promoted in the 1970s by the Sainsbury grocery chain.

Writing for the Creative Boom site, Emily Gosling profiles David and the London-area company he launched in late 2011, showing off a number of his eye-catching packages he’s created for the three lines of projects he publishes – the Solo Series, which are limited-edition vinyl singles sold in handmade packaging; the Blank Tapes series, “mini albums”, EPs and experimental work from local acts which are released on cassette tape; and The Blank Community,  which is, according to the label’s site, “an open ended series to service more official work by local bands and artists.”  Artists who’ve worked to release music through Blanco’s label include Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, Douglas Hart from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Yuki Tsujii from Bo Ningen, Ted Milton from Blurt and several others. An in-demand designer/illustrator, Blanco has also done work for happy commercial clients such as The Guardian, Independent and Observer news organizations, Porter Air, Marquis Vodka, Nat Boyd and other record labels including All Saints, Heavenly, Polyvinyl, RCA and Universal Records.

Read more about this multi-talented (and greatly committed) artist via the link at http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/david-blanco/

c) “I always thought music and art went hand in hand together” is a quote from U2 bassist Adam Clayton as he talks with Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art for the Christie’s auction house prior to a sale that includes works by the late Pop artist jean-Michel Basquiat, about his passion for Basquiat’s work (which he collects) and about how the creative spirits of artists and musicians are similarly applied and how and when they intermingle, what comes out the other side…

Like his mentor/friend Andy Warhol, Basquiat also produced some notable album art work, including the fascinating covers for the Beat Bop series for Tartown/Profile Records, The Offs and German jazz musician Peter Kowald, but it was the painter and graffiti artist’s ability to easily mingle with both the fine art and hipster crowds of his era that impressed Clayton the most  –  http://www.christies.com/features/U2-Adam-Clayton-on-Basquiat-8034-1.aspx?

d) In a recent episode of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s State of Wonder radio show, host April Baer and reporter Matt Drenik interview two local artists who’ve made names for themselves in the world of album cover design – Orion Landau, whose impressive work as a graphic designer and art director for the metal music label Relapse has provided stunning designs for company’s acts such as Pentagram, Pig Destroyer and Red Fang (along with many others) for over 15 years, and local design legend Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co, who has produced impressive record package and merchandise designs for musical acts including Richmond Fontaine, Dawes, Conor Oberst, Danava, the Old 97s and Dinosaur Jr. (among others) and other notable work for commercial clients including Nike, SubPop Records, Timberline, Target, Bernie Sanders and more.

You’ll learn more about what it takes to deliver impressive designs these days in a field where consumers are looking for imagery for covers (and related items, such as tour posters and merchandise)  that (in Landau’s case) must appeal to a metal fan’s over-the-top expectations while guiding his clients away from “me-too” cover ideas (and producing great art on sometimes-meager budget), while Draplin is constantly challenged to create memorable work for clients who often don’t realize that they need to impress fans with quality graphics now because, quite honestly, “how many records are your really going to make in your life?”

You can listen to “What It Takes To Design An Iconic Album Cover” via the link at http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/stateofwonder/segment/chloe-eudaly-portland-winter-lights-festival-tony-furtado-sallie-tilsdale/

The interviews begin at around the 17:30 mark in the stream…

e) Photographer Piper Ferguson is one busy person these days! The LA-based shooter, well-regarded for her work over the years for a host of clients in the music business (from classic acts such as Merle Haggard, David Crosby and Kenny Rogers through the Backstreet Boys, Kasabian and the Shins to breaking acts such as Capital Cities and Bad Flower) continues to impress with projects that show off her talents as both a photographer and video director. I just received an email from Piper in which she lists some of her most-recent accomplishments, including several new music videos and some really well-shot commercial gigs (Zenni Eyewear and promo imagery for the 2017 Backstreet Boys “Larger Than Life” show in Las Vegas).

I’ve been a fan of Piper’s for a number of years now (she got me hooked with her great portraits of Merle Haggard standing in a swamp and Joe Strummer just sittin’ on a porch), so I’d invite you to take a look at her latest via this link to the web version of her recent email – http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=13a601b2c2b2ac92204379c01&id=48b49da285&e=3b62189452

f) Over the years, I’ve written several articles about the interesting fact that there are many people working as musicians who were either serious student of the visual arts or amateur image-makers, as evidenced by paintings, sculptures and the like produced by rock music luminaries including Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and many others. In some cases, however, these musicians-turned-artists have gone on to do double-duty or switched their career focuses altogether to work first and foremost as a designer, art director, photographer, etc. (e.g., Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean fame comes to mind).

In a recent article posted on The Week (U.K.) web site that excerpts from Francesco Spampinato’s interview of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon done for the new Art Record Covers book by Taschen, you can read about this artist’s ongoing efforts to participate fully as an artist of both the musical and graphic arts persuasions, beginning with her training at the famed Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (and some time spent later on working at various art galleries in NYC’s Soho art district), writing for several art scene publications and, along the way, curating art shows and presenting her own works in curated events. She’s also produced album artwork for records by acts she’s been involved with including Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore and Free Kitten as well as Essential Logic and Mirror, among others, and used her connections to the NY art scene to secure the participation of major artists such as Gerhard Richter, Mike Kelley and Raymond Pettibon to produce memorable album art for her own records (well done!).

http://www.theweek.co.uk/80781/art-record-covers-kim-gordon

 3) Sales/Auctions –

a) In case you weren’t aware – mid-February was Grammy time (!!) and, as part of the boatload of Grammy-related activities, fans and collectors were able to help support the organizations two charitable arms – The Grammy Foundation and MusiCares – by participating in their annual signed memorabilia auction, which this year featured a number of album art-related offerings including a selection of artist-signed album presentations featuring noted Grammy Award noms and winners (Adele, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder and many others). Bidding ended February 19th and, on some of the items, was quite hot and heavy… While the original set of items has been snapped up by lucky collectors, there is a post-award show collection that’s now available that includes several items signed by Grammy show participants, as well has a number of items – including a 2018 Grammy Award Show VIP Experience package (with bidding starting at $5,000) now up for bid , so why not take a look and add something wonderful to your collection as you simultaneously give your support to these charities’ great work.

http://www.ebay.com/rpp/grammy/59th-awards/signed-memorabilia

b) In celebration of Black Sabbath’s return (and final) engagement in their hometown of Birmingham, England at the Genting Arena on Saturday, February 4th, the folks at St. Paul’s Gallery are offering album art fans an opportunity to buy a very limited-edition print (one of 195) of the Hipgnosis-designed Technical Ecstasy cover – hand-signed by both artist Storm Thorgerson and Sabbath guitar legend Tony Iommi.

This album – a Gold-selling record that rose to #51 on Billboard Magazine’s Pop Album chart – featured the somewhat-controversial cover art that showed, as Ozzy would put it, “two robots screwing on an escalator.” As always, the Hipgnosis team arrived at a very-interesting way to graphically-depict the record’s title, and with less than 200 copies available world-wide (and fewer-still featuring Iommi’s signature), right-minded fans might want to click on over to the gallery’s site to grab one before they’re gone – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/album-prints/storm-thorgerson-black-sabbath-print.asp?

I first saw the band play at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago in 1971 (I think it was ’71, but might have been ’73. Wishbone Ash was the opening act…) and it was awe-inspiring for a kid in his teens. Lots of cool album art over the years, with Hipgnosis adding their unique stylings to both the 1976 Technical Ecstasy cover and the 1978 Never Say Die! cover with the two plugged-in pilots (the last studio record featuring all of the original members). Sad to see the end of their reign as the Godfathers of Metal Music, but they had a great run…

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) In advance of my long-form interview with Taschen’s Julius Wiedemann about his new book on the art of the album cover called Art Record Covers (which will soon be available on the ACHOF site ), I did want to point you to several nice articles on the book that, in varying degrees, help both introduce the book and the stunning works found between its covers:

– The first was posted recently by Stephanie Strasnick on the Architectural Digest site and provides you with a bit of an intro, along with some nice examples of art taken from the book. The book’s cover is Andy Warhol’s seemingly neon-inspired work for John Lennon’s Menlove Avenue record, the posthumous 1986 album of unreleased music recorded during the Walls & Bridges and Rock ‘n’ Roll sessions, so with a cover like that, you’re bound to find much to interest you on the inside –  http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/proof-that-artist-designed-album-covers-are-better-than-the-rest#

– In The Guardian (UK)’s Art & Design section, the editors have selected works created by several of the world’s better-known artists and designers and have provided a bit of text, too, to go along with the large, colorful examples on display. You’ll find covers done by noted artists such as Ai Weiwei, Ed Ruscha and Keith Haring along with those by newer talents such as Ryan McGinley, Albert Oehlen and the Dutch design team Metahaven, among others – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/jan/20/sound-art-album-artist-record-covers-taschen-ai-weiwei-ed-ruscha-keith-haring-takashi-murakami

– In Mungo Glaysher’s recent brief article on the topic for the Middle East edition of Esquire Magazine (based in Dubai), a somewhat different selection of covers are highlighted, such as those for musical acts including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tyler The Creator and Blondes, with art by Urs Fischer, Mark Ryden and Guyton/Walker, respectively.

http://www.esquireme.com/content/19491-sound-art

– Over on the It’s Nice That site – Rebecca Fulleylove writes with an eye towards that site’s design and art-oriented readers/viewers, displaying even more of the covers included in the book, adding images by Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Shrigley and Banksy, among others – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/taschen-art-record-covers-040117

b) In early 1965, cartoonist/caricaturist Gerald Scarfe was visiting the Twickenham Studios set where The Beatles were shooting segments for their film Help! and had the opportunity to sketch the band-members while they were in costume. When he was finished, he had the lads sign the work he’d created (which was later published in London Life magazine) and added it to his personal collection. Now, all these years later, Scarfe has asked the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange to help him find a new home for this rare and unusual work. For well-heeled collectors who might be interested, click on over to the special page that’s been set up on the gallery’s site (more info on this effort is coming soon – stay tuned) –

http://www.sfae.com/announcements/2017/scarfe_beatles/

If you are, perhaps, looking for a somewhat more-affordable Scarfe-designed option, there is another Beatles-themed print currently for sale on the illustrator’s personal web site. This particular print – produced on archival matte paper in a signed and numbered edition of 100, approximately 13″ x 19″ – is of a drawing from Gerald’s book and exhibition titled, Heroes & Villains, that was held at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2003.

http://www.geraldscarfe.com/shop/discount/the-beatles/

You’ll note that Mr. Scarfe’s work will also be included in the upcoming Pink Floyd art-related extravaganza opening on May 13th of this year at the V&A Museum in London (called Their Mortal Remains – more details forthcoming).

c) In 2013, author/broadcaster Jon Kirkman produced a gift for YES fans built around his 35+ year involvement with the band – a limited-edition book titled Time And A Word: The Yes Interviews. The autographed art book was priced for collectors, but now, working with Simon Robinson’s Stereo33 books, he’s re-worked the tome (including some updates) and is now offering the much more affordably priced, 260-page book with a new name – YES Dialogues – which features cover art, and interviews with, long-time YES collaborator Roger Dean. The new version also adds interviews with the late YES bassist Chris Squire, YES/ASIA keyboardist Geoff Downes and some members of a band named Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, the group that, in 1968, would evolve into the first iteration of YES. Learn more about this new release on the publisher’s sites – https://stereo33books.com/yes-dialogues/ and

http://www.ekmpowershop28.com/ekmps/shops/easyontheeye/yes–dialogue-full-order-292-p.asp

d) With the Grammy Awards taking place this past month, it’s important for fans of album cover art to understand the sometimes long-lasting impact that certain Grammy-winning album cover designs have had on the art and music scenes, and what better way to illustrate that than to report on the recent success of a new, limited-edition book offered by the U.K. publishing house Genesis Publishing that celebrates the work of the multi-talented illustrator Klaus Voorman for 1967’s Grammy winner for “Best Album Cover – Graphic Arts”, that being Revolver by The Beatles.

In 1965, the band began to experiment with what had been, to that point, a pretty standard-issue, photo-based approach to album cover imagery when they released Rubber Soul with a cover that was pretty “trippy” and used psychedelic lettering and contained NO MENTION of the band’s name (!!). The next year, when they began the efforts to select an approach for the cover for their new album Revolver, they turned to their chum (and occasional bass-player) Voorman to apply his talents to creating an illustration that would ultimately incorporate photos that the band supplied and would go on to free other album cover art directors to try out some of their more-experimental ideas for their own clients hoping to compete for the buying public’s eyeballs going forward.

According to the publishing company’s promotional materials about the now-fully-subscribed (that means SOLD OUT) art book, “Voormann is working with Genesis Publications on a limited, Grammy Anniversary edition of a book he has created, entitled REVOLVER 50. Including new artwork, photos, and introductions by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the book offers a fascinating insight into the making of the legendary cover artwork. The commemorative REVOLVER 50: THE GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION is limited to only 500 copies. Each book comes with a signed original drawing by the artist; a one-of-a-kind artwork, from a selection Voormann has curated exclusively for this anniversary edition, as well as a special Grammy Anniversary 12-page commemorative booklet.”

As I noted previously, the two versions – a “Deluxe” edition of 67 copies (of 500 total in the edition) and priced at £325.00 and a “Collector’s” edition (#s 68 thru 500) – sold out in 12 days. Congratulations to all of you who managed to grab a copy, but for all of us who weren’t so lucky but who’d still like to go over the details (we can dream, can’t we?), here’s a link – http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-birth-of-an-icon-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm

e) Fans of minimalist-inspired album artwork ala that created by ACHOF “Early Influencers” Alex Steinweiss, Saul Bass and S. Neil Fujita and others including Josef Albers and Andy Warhol should really get a kick out of a new series of prints being offered by LA-based label/retailer Daylight Curfew, who recently collaborated with artist/designer Mick Watson who, working under the moniker Smartesgiant, has created art inspired by some of Hip-Hop’s classic albums. According to Daylight Curfew’s PR, the team chose “some of our favorite hip hop records, ones that inspire us daily, and those we classify as instant classics. Each are reinterpreted and abstracted in minimal form. Being huge fans of minimalism, abstract expressionism, and hip hop, we figured you may enjoy the collection as well.”

Included in the offering are wonderful re-interpretations of covers from musical acts including Nas, Outkast, Run DMC, Run The Jewels, Salt-N-Pepa and Kanye West.

Priced at only $45.00 unframed and $95.00 framed, each giclee’ print is sized at 18×24″ (unframed) and has been produced to museum-quality standards. They’re printed on 310gsm fine art matte cotton rag and printed with Roland eco archival inks on a bleach-free, soft-textured surface.  To see the entire collection and learn more about what’s available, click on over to https://www.daylightcurfew.com/blogs/daylight-curfew/smartestgiant-x-daylight-curfew

5) Other articles of interest –

a) While Spoon’s newest album – Hot Thoughts – might not be hitting shelves until later in March, fans can get a head-start on their immersion into the new music package by spending some time with a new app called the Aura Reader that will allow you to make your own album cover image. The first step is to click on over to the special site they’ve created – http://aura.spoontheband.com/ – and then begin the process by creating a Spotify playlist of 10 songs that “describe yourself”. The app will then analyze your playlist and…well, since I’m an old person and can’t name 10 Spoon songs, let alone 10 that describe me, I’ll have to let one of my readers go through the process and then share the results with the rest of us.

Exclaim.ca’s Brock Thiessen recently published a brief overview of the app that helps explain things a bit – http://exclaim.ca/music/article/you_can_now_make_your_own_album_cover_for_spoons_hot_thoughts#  Maybe if I get the time, I’ll be able to see what color my aura is but, in the meantime, enjoy yourself.

b) I hope that all you professional and aspiring album art/packaging designers/art directors saw my recent posting regarding the last date you were able to submit your work to the 2016-17 A Design Award international design competition (that being this past Tuesday, February 28th).

This huge competition – with a judging panel of over 160 scholars, professors, designers and members of the press – covers great design in hundreds of categories and, in the packaging category – everything from works for distilled beverage companies, seeds, frozen foods, cosmetics and other goods to CD and DVD sleeves and boxes. If you’d like to see the submissions turned in by the individuals and teams from around the world that beat the deadline (best of luck to you all), you can click on over to http://www.designaward.com,  where winning designs will be highlighted later this year. More info at  #adesignaward

c) Grammy Award Show Results – In case you didn’t get a chance to see them…during the pre-telecast “Premiere Ceremony” event on the Sunday afternoon prior to the recent award show in Los Angeles, the winners for the two design and packaging related Grammy Awards were announced, and they were:

For “Best Recording Package” –  Jonathan Barnbrook (art director) for Blackstar, performed by David Bowie and released on ISO/Columbia Records, and

For “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” – Gérard Lo Monaco, art director for Edith Piaf 1915-2015, with music by Edith Piaf and released on the Warner Music France label.

Although not album image-related, I would like to congratulate album note writers Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin for their Grammy-winning work on the liner notes for  Harbinger Record’s Sissle And Blake Sing Shuffle Along.

Congratulations to both the winners and this year’s other nominees for their continued great work in the field of album art and packaging design and production.

d) One of the tributes that was performed during the recent Grammy Awards telecast was in honor of the late David Bowie, so it’s nice to be able to report that one of this year’s Grammy-nominated works (and the eventual winner – Jonathan Barnbrook’s titillating cover for what would turn out to be Bowie’s final album – Blackstar ) was also recently honored with one of this year’s “Beazley Designs of the Year” awards, announced by London’s Design Museum in advance of an exhibition of all of the nominated and winning designs that was on display at the museum through February 16th.

In its ninth year, the Design of the Year awards celebrate design that promotes change, enables access or captures the spirit of the year. Previous winners have included the London 2012 Olympic Torch and the Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Barnbrook’s design was the top vote-getter in the Graphics category, while the overall winner was a project that produced the “Better Shelter”, an easily-transported, flat-packed housing module whose design team included the IKEA Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (who currently has over 30,000 of these tiny homes in use) and which, according to the item’s info page, “works to create more robust and appealing shelters for refugees” and which, while not solving the crises, “goes a long way to accelerate innovation, challenge unacceptable norms and communicate respect.”

So while an album cover design isn’t solving a humanitarian crisis, it is a fitting tribute to an artist who used his considerable public visibility and personal resources to support a number of charities, including Save The Children, Witness, War Child and many other groups that do.

https://beazleydesignsoftheyear.com/#/project/blackstar

e) Last year, when U.K. utility company Smart Energy GB set out on a country-wide effort to install “smart meters” in every home (with each meter including a small, in-home display that shows users their consumption stats), they turned to noted designer Sir Peter Blake (of Pepper’s fame) to help design and illustrate promotional materials for that effort. Now, in an example of generosity to one of the country’s charitable organizations, Sir Peter has donated one of only 30 signed prints of his The Arrival of the Smart Meters to People United in Canterbury, U.K.

A recent article by Tom Pyman on the Kentnews.co.uk web site gives us the details and the very happy and grateful reactions of all parties involved – http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/dartford_pop_artist_sir_peter_blake_who_designed_cover_of_beatles_album_sgt_pepper_donates_unusual_homage_to_smart_meters_to_kent_charity_1_4869813

f) While we were all saddened recently by the passing of actress/feminist icon Mary Tyler Moore, it was something of a comfort to see this article posted by reporter James Reed on the Los Angeles Times web site in which we’re introduced to some of the work MTM did as a model for late 1950’s album covers, including several for a label called Tops, who included a young Ms. Moore’s youthful visage (and dancer’s physique) on records with titles such as Latin Favorites (by Miguel Lopez), Organ Favorites (by Steve Philips) and not one but two Gigi records – one for Gordon Fleming and the other for the Norman Leslie Orchestra. Included in the story is a link to a RateYourMusic.com page where you can find these covers and choose your favorites. While these early works don’t give us much of a clue as to how Ms. Moore would grow into the portrait of the intelligent, independent woman – one that didn’t rely on her looks to make it in “a man’s world” – they certainly help illustrate how the products released by record labels of the era most-certainly reflected the societal norms of the period.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-st-moore-album-covers-20170126-story.html

g) Those of you who’ve been following my writing over the years know just how impressed I’ve been about the long-lasting nature of some of the imagery that’s been created to help both promote a band’s music and to create symbols that fans immediately are drawn to (think the Lips & Tongue logo for the Rolling Stones, the Skull Fiend image for the Misfits, etc.). And whether you’re a fan of their music or not, you cannot deny that, since its first appearance in 1980, there have been very few icons that have so consistently identified a musical act as Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” (AKA “Eddie The Head”).

What’s interesting about this particular character is that, unlike many bands who’ve had only one or two artists responsible for the basic “look and feel” of a character, in Eddie’s case, there have been at least 8 artists who’ve all produced their own take on this key player, from Derek Riggs’ original adaptation of what was originally a mask used as a stage prop through the newest iterations created by Melvyn Grant and Mark Wilkinson. In this recent article by Joe DiVita for the Loudwire.com site, the author takes you through a timeline and overview of the 25 covers that have been produced for the various albums the band has released and, to add insult to injury, actually has the nerve to rank them (leaving, of course, a lot of room for discussion and online ranting and raving about the other guy’s stupid list).

http://loudwire.com/iron-maiden-studio-live-album-cover-artwork-ranked/

While I won’t be so bold as to rank them myself, I will go on record saying that, personally, I’m a bit partial to Mr. Riggs’ originals, along with Hugh Syme’s disturbing take found on The X Factor

h) While the idea behind the long-running “Sleeveface” site – where folks from all over the world worked to create interesting photographs by (according to the site’s definition) “…obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion” – has continued to inspire creative types to one-up each other via some really-entertaining displays of visual artistry, I was really impressed with a new music video just released by electronic music artist Corey Regensberg (working under the name Moon Bounce) in which he walks into a record store to find all of his favorite records now picturing his own image on the cover.

Realized by the talented music video director Peter English (working alongside animator/art director Raymo Ventura), Regensberg’s video for his song “Drugs” shows him appearing on the jackets for records such as …and, in some cases, bringing those images to life with himself as the main character. You’ll also get a kick out of how the production credits for this video are presented – nice job, people!

Nathaniel Ainley shares an intro to the project in this recent posting on the Creator’s Project blog –

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/corey-regensburg-iconic-album-covers

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

All text Copyright 2017 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 January, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF january, 2017

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. The other night, I went to my first local Grammy chapter event – something dubbed a “member celebration” (due to the fact that there are scores of Grammy nominees living in the area) and held in a ballroom at a local landmark – the Chicago Athletic Club on Michigan Ave. Having moved here from Portland and having participated on occasion in local events sponsored there by the Pacific NW chapter (based in Seattle, about 3 hours away), it was great to see an event so well-attended and easy-to-get-to at the same time. The highlight for me that evening was a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir, a group of young people from all over the city who, when assembled and lead by a talented director, lifted spirits with an impressive set. It would also be inspiring to be able to work with both this and other local professional organizations to promote the talents of people that contribute great designs to the music industry, so wish me luck in my efforts.

This month’s summary, which comes just a couple of weeks before this year’s Grammy Award festivities (and, as you’ll read, just shortly after the announcement of the winners of the “Best Art Vinyl Awards” for this year) will continue to impress you with the displays of creativity put forth by people working for clients in the music business and that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works will continue to do what they do and share what they do with the rest of us. There continue to be regular contributions about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.

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) Multi-Grammy-Award-winning photographer and Creative Director Hugh Brown, in addition to his impressive portfolio of album cover work created during stints at I.R.S. Records and Rhino Records before setting up his own shop – Hugh Brown Heavy Industries – has also been regularly-featured in museum and gallery shows throughout his career. As an artist “specializing in photography, print making, assemblage, and forgery”, his works include memorable portraits for a number of entertainment industry luminaries including Robert Downey Sr. & Jr., Chris Isaak, Mick Jones, Freddy Mutant, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson and Neil Young, among others.

Recently, the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, CA launched a 10-year retrospective show (“Looking Back: 10 Years of Photography from ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY”) featuring all of the photographers who have been on display during the various shows the gallery has staged since 2007 and, I’m excited to report, some of Hugh’s work is included, along with beautiful and impressive works from dozens of other noted shooters (it must be thrilling to have your works featured alongside icons of the photographic arts including Man Ray, Julian Wasser, Dennis Hopper and many others).

The show runs through the 11th of February, with more details available on the gallery’s site at – http://www.robertbermangallery.com/exhibitions/looking-back-10-years-of-photography-from-robert-berman-gallery

b) In advance of a new show launching at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that will highlight the career of the photographer Chris Cuffaro (Chris Cuffaro: GREATEST HITS – 30 Years of Music Photography), the show’s sponsors will be staging a special event on Thursday, February 2, 2017, from 8:30 PM – 11:00 PM PST at the Gibson Brands location at 8801 W. Sunset in West Hollywood, CA (which some of us will remember as the former location of the best-known Tower Records store).

This music photography exhibition, auction and live music experience is being staged to benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that gives help to musicians who need assistance in dealing with many of Life’s struggles.

The fundraising auction will put a collection of stunning images of from Cuffaro’s portfolio of some of the music industry’s best-known acts including Ice Cube, Jane’s Addiction, George Michael, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slash, Gwen Stefani and dozens of other music legends. Cuffaro’s output has included a number of album images for clients including Bad English, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth and Burt Bacharach, among others. Music that night will be provided by performers including Givers & Takers, Josh Todd, Lauren Ruth Ward, Particle Kid, The Palms and others soon-to-be announced.

Tickets for this show begin at $30 and are available via the link – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chris-cuffaro-greatest-hits-30-years-of-music-photography-exhibition-auction-tickets-31015079939?

c) Just a reminder to you all regarding the soon-to-close “David Bowie by Duffy” exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London that began this past January 6th and runs thru February 5th. Bowie, who would have turned 70 on January 8th had he not left this mortal coil a year ago, was an often-photographed subject, but only a few photographers have produced images of the ever-changing artist that would be considered “iconic” – one of them being the late Brian Duffy, perhaps best-known for his photos used on the covers of classic Bowie records including Aladdin Sane, Lodger, Scary Monsters and others. According to the Gallery’s PR, the show will be “a celebration of the dynamic relationship between two of the century’s greatest artistic innovators. This exhibition of original prints signed by the late Brian Duffy is a moving insight into the minds of two exceptional creatives in partnership between 1972 – 1980. Duffy’s iconic images emphasize the longevity of Bowie’s distinctive persona and offer a poignant retrospective to one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times…”

https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

Alison Maloney, writing for The Sun, gives us a bit more to read about regarding this show, including a nice selection of images that will be part of what’s on display – https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2525673/unseen-david-bowie-photos-by-iconic-album-cover-photographer-go-on-show-to-mark-the-first-anniversary-of-his-death/

This show coincided with another significant Bowie-related event – a concert that was staged at the O2 Brixton Academy venue on January 8th (as well as other venues around the world, ending February 2nd with a show in Tokyo, Japan0 called “Celebrating David Bowie” and which featured an intro by Bowie chum Gary Oldman and a large cast of Bowie band alumni including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew and many others in performance.  Highlights from the shows can be seen at http://celebratingdavidbowie.com/

d) 1976 Stillwater High School graduate Daniel Corrigan began his career as a professional photographer when he started taking photos for the Minnesota Daily, delivering photo coverage for the arts and entertainment section, with the famed First Avenue club on his list… He now works in several roles at First Avenue, including as an assistant to the facilities manager and a staff photographer.  You’ll recall that, back in October, I reported on the release of a new book that tapped into his 35+ year archive of great photos taken with music industry notables including Prince, Husker Du, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others. He collaborated with Josh Leventhal at the Minnesota Historical Society Press to produce both the book and the exhibition – Heyday: 35 Years Of Music In Minneapolis – now on display at the Mill City Museum (located at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis – http://www.millcitymuseum.org/heyday-exhibit) which includes a curated selection of the over 500 images included in the book, taken over the Corrigan’s career and including album cover shots for acts including Babes In Toyland, The Replacements, The Cows (Cunning Stunts – always loved that title), They Jayhawks and others.

Patty Dexter gives us an overview of the show in her article for the Eden Prairie News http://www.swnewsmedia.com/eden_prairie_news/news/entertainment/exhibit-highlights-minneapolis-music-history-in-photos/article_61b9f44b-87b5-5736-9b56-89790fe78757.html 

Bonus materials – fans of Corrigan’s work will enjoy watching some/all of an 8-part video interview with Daniel that was put together by the Minnesota Historical Society and is available via their Facebook page – begin at the beginning – https://www.facebook.com/minnesotahistoricalsociety/videos/10154570590455600/

e) Prog Rock and Fantasy Art fans on the other side of the globe were in for a treat the weekend that began on Thursday, January 19 when Roger Dean, the artist responsible for many of the best-known logos and album covers for bands such as YES, ASIA, Uriah Heep and Virgin Records, manned a display at the Singapore Contemporary Art Show. On display were over 20 different prints, including fan favorites such as Tales From Topographic Oceans (YES), Magician’s Birthday (Uriah Heep) and the several variations available in his Arches and Dragon’s Garden Over 90 artists and galleries were included in this show and, as a special treat, Roger hosted two demonstrations during which he painted and discussed how he creates his fantasy landscapes. A rare chance to watch and learn from a master!

More on this show and Mr. Dean’s presence there is available via the link – http://www.asiacontemporaryart.com/artists/artist/Roger_Dean/en/

f) Famed rock photographer Ethan Russell brought his travelling multi-media presentation and exhibition – “The Best Seat In The House” – to fans in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Thursday night, January 26th with a show at The Studio (AKA The Studio at Hamilton Place). A man with a truly impressive resume, having provided us with memorable photos of top music acts including The Beatles (Let It Be and many intimate photos of John and Yoko), the Rolling Stones, The Who (including the iconic “pissing on the wall cover found on Who’s Next), The Doors, Linda Ronstadt and so many more, shares the stories behind the photos, with some 375 of them included in the presentation. Visitors were able to view a number of shots on display before the show and then, after the show, purchase prints to add to their own collections.

The show’s local producers – CORE Entertainment – provide us with an introduction to the man and his work and, via a link on their site, an interview with Russell produced by a local TV station – http://www.coreentertainment.ca/events/detail/ethan-russell

g) Throughout the history of commercial photography, photographers have used contact sheets (you know, those pages of thumbnail-sized prints made from the negatives created during a photo shoot) to be able to review a session’s work (alone, or with their clients) prior to making decisions about which images are going to be used or printed. In addition to their specific business purposes, these sheets are also a way for viewers to get an insight into how photographers strategize, experiment and ultimately select the “perfect” image for a job.

In a new exhibit that ran through January 28th at the Fahey/Klein Gallery on N. LaBrea Ave.  in Los Angeles simply titled CONTACT, organizers selected a series of important photos from the archives of an impressive list of image-makers and have put those prints alongside their contact sheets so viewers were able to get a better understanding of what went in to “the making of” each photo. Album art fans found a lot to look at in this group show, with the works of photographers including Joel Brodsky, Daniel Kramer, Herb Ritts and Norman Seeff putting on display images of illustrious musicians including Joan Baez, The Doors and Carly Simon, among others.

In addition, visitors found contact sheets that included shots taken during Lawrence Schiller’s time on the set with actress Marilyn Monroe and Julian Wasser’s memorable shot of the then-unclothed photographer Eve Babitz (who also has a nice portfolio of album cover shots) playing a game of chess with famed conceptual artist/chess aficionado Marcel Duchamp. According to an article posted recently on the Loeil De La Photographie site – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2017/01/04/article/159931923/contact-iconic-images-contact-sheets/

Also on display were works by noted photographers including Harry Benson, William Claxton, Arthur Elgort, Robert Jackson, Roxanne Lowit, Christopher Makos,  Steve Schapiro (shots of artist Andy Warhol and his entourage from Warhol’s Factory), Stephen Somerstein, Phil Stern and Bob Willoughby. More photos of the show can be found on the gallery’s site at  – http://www.faheykleingallery.com/photographers/various/installation/contact/contact_in_01.htm

h) There’s a new exhibition of rare psychedelic posters, album art, etc. – a “collection that highlights the ideas and culture of the 60’s and 70’s, which can still be related to today” – that is being hosted by the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the campus of the Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC. The show, which is titled “Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection” is built around selections made from the personal archives of producer David Poppe, who also hosts a video show called “The Poppe Show”, which takes viewers behind the scenes of film and stage productions.

Local news station WWAY has posted a brief intro to the show on their site – http://www.wwaytv3.com/2017/01/04/rare-psychedelic-posters-on-display-in-new-cfcc-exhibit/ and local fans can learn more about this display, which will be up until February 11th, via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/

Directions to the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the CFCC campus – http://cfcc.edu/danielsgallery/about/

Exhibition update – As it is my goal to be able to provide my readers with the most-complete info available on the items I highlight in this news summary, I felt like I’d let you down a little when I published some basic info on the art show now on display at the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery (on the campus of Cape Fear Community College) in Wilmington, NC that features selections from the private collection of David Poppe (it was all I could find at the time). Since then, I was able to get hold of Mr. Poppe and he sent me a link to a new article in the local pub called Encore Magazine that gives us much more about both Mr. Poppe and his collection. It turns out the David was employed years ago at a place in Tampa, FL called The Losers, a donut shop-turned-rock club that hosted many of the better-known travelling and local acts in the late 1960s-early 1970s (and who featured Lynyrd Skynyrd as their house band). Poppe befriended many of the acts that came to play and, over the years, built up a collection of over 400 rare posters (of which over 130 are on display in this show) crafted by the creme-de-la-creme of psychedelic artists of the era – Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, Joe Petagno and Wes Wilson, among others.

http://www.encorepub.com/vivid-nostalgia-the-poppe-collection-opens-with-rare-poster-art-from-60s-and-70s/

As I reported previously, Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection will be up until February 11th, with more info available via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) When photographer Mike Searle was a young man back in the late 1970s, he had taken some photos of one of his favorite bands – The Jam – when they performed in concert and stuck them in a drawer, where they remained for many years while he finished his schooling and went on to start his career. Recently, he posted some of them on his blog and while he’s now a publisher of surfing-related books and magazines such as Carve and The Surf Cafe Cookbook, he’s very happy that the nice folks at Universal Music stumbled across his old photos as they then reached out to him to license them for a new Jam album package.

Writing for the Cornwall (UK) Live site, Lee Trewhela recently posted an article that documents this wonderful case of “never too late to be a rock photographer” wish fulfillment –

http://www.cornwalllive.com/cornwall-photographer-sees-dream-come-true-as-his-pictures-of-the-jam-are-used-on-new-album-cover/story-30050520-detail/story.html

b) I’d like to note the passing of a photographer of impeccable – yes, even Royal – credentials. Anthony Armstrong-Jones AKA Lord Snowdon, former husband of the U.K.’s Princess Margaret and a photographer with a portfolio that includes scores of portraits of A-list celebrities from all over the world, including entertainment celebrities such as Cher, Madonna, Prince, Queen (of course) as well as several album cover images for French pop star Serge Gainsbourg and British singer Shirley Bassey, died earlier this month at the age of 86.

Nathalie Atkinson’s article for The Globe and Mail site chronicles the details of a life well-lived – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/lord-snowdon-the-photographer-as-famous-as-hissubjects/article33623114/ and, to read something on a more-personal relationship between Snowdon and one of his appreciative subjects – Queen guitarist Brian May – Dave Lifton’s article on the Ultimate Classic Rock site – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/brian-may-queen-greatest-hits-lord-snowdon/ finds May retelling the story of the making of the album cover for the band’s best-selling records – their 1981 Greatest Hits release – which, in the end and because of Snowdon’s deft touch, produced a photo of the band “with all of us looking quite decent”.

c) Alternative Press video interview with Mike Cortada – APTV’s Orlando-based correspondent Tori Kravitz recently posted a video interview with designer Mike Cortada, principal of MCHC Design (http://www.mikechardcore.com/) and a much-requested artist with a number of clients in the hardcore metal music scene. Recent clients include musical acts such as A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, Misfits, Wonder Years and Fall Out Boy, as well as many companies looking for leading edge illustration talent for their logos and advertising imagery. When you look at the designer’s portfolio, you’ll find a wide variety of styles and techniques used, so it’s nice to be able to hear more about Mike’s inspirations and how he goes about collaborating with this clients – http://www.altpress.com/aptv/video/mike_cortada_talks_designing_the_scenes_biggest_album_covers

One suggestion from an old-time video producer to the APTV team – please do something to better-mic your reporters and your interviewees. A couple of lavaliere mics will go far in reducing the echo… 😉

d) Continuing on with coverage of the first anniversary of art/music/fashion trend-setter David Bowie’s death last year at the age of 69, ArtDaily writer Shaun Tandon recently posted an interview with award-winning sax player Donny McCaslin regarding his collaboration with Bowie on what would turn out to be his final album, Blackstar. While their friendship and musical partnership lasted less than a year, the impact has been profound on the experimental musician, who went on to include an unused song from the Blackstar sessions on his own recent release titled Beyond Now. http://artdaily.com/news/92822/Year-on–Bowie-remembered-as-engaging-until-end .

One final note on the topic – I think that you’ll enjoy Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s recent article for Creative Review regarding Grammy-nominated designer Jonathan Barnbrook’s “easter eggs” for the Blackstar album – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/secrets-of-david-bowie-blackstar/  Daniel shares that he’d bought the record when it was released a year ago and put it away, seal un-broken, music un-listened to, until opening it for this article, and what he discovered (beyond the music) serves as a nice analog to most art-lovers’ thoughts about Bowie’s more-than-skin-deep contributions to the art world throughout his career.

e) Owatonna, Minnesota is quite proud of the recent achievements of one of its graduates – artist/art director Eric Carlson – as is evidenced in this article by Ryan Anderson on the local Owatonna People’s Press site – http://www.southernminn.com/owatonna_peoples_press/arts_and_entertainment/article_5d0aff7d-c52c-5412-97dd-e27ca3afb718.html – regarding Carlson’s Grammy nomination for “Best Album Package” for the work he produced for Bon Iver’s latest record, titled 22, A Million.

Carlson continued his education in Minnesota, attending art school in Minneapolis and integrating himself in the local art/music scene (he’s also a working musician) before leaving five years ago to seek new opportunities in The Big Apple, where he lives and works currently. A mutual friend introduced Carlson to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the two had discussed working together some day, but it wasn’t until the 22, A Million project presented itself that they were able to collaborate on what would become a Grammy-nominated cover project.

You can read more about Eric and the story of his life – from a family that promoted creativity through his schooling and earlier accomplishments to his more-recent successes (including comments from his mother Catherine!) via the link.

f) The things that news reporters have to put up with sometimes…having done hundreds of interviews myself, I know that sometimes a subject doesn’t have a lot to say or, for whatever reason, isn’t pleased with being asked about this or that. While I know that, throughout the course of an artist’s career, he or she may be asked the same questions over and over again – particularly, when they’ve created an image that’s become quite famous – I’d hope that, after a while, a subject would realize that newer generations might want to gain a better understanding about his/her work and, once they’ve granted permission for an interview, would be able to deliver replies that serve to enlighten and/or entertain.

Noted photographer David Bailey, now in his late 70s, has lived a life that includes details that could only come via an association with the biggest names in the entertainment business – he’s dated top fashion models; Mick Jagger served as his best man at his wedding to French movie star Catherine Deneuve, etc. – but as you’ll see when you read through Elizabeth Howcroft’s recent interview article posted on the Varsity (U.K.) web site, the shooter best-known to album art fans for the pictures he took that were used on the covers of records including Goats Head Soup and Get Yer Ya-Yas Out for the Stones, The Way We Were for Barbra Streisand and others for Cat Stevens, Procol Harum, Marianne Faithful and others seems rather two-faced in his answers regarding the value of his work by first saying “I don’t like photography. I’m not interested…anyone can be a fucking photographer!” and then following up with a statement where he agrees with Leonardo Da Vinci’s statement noting the artistry in painting and extends it to photography (…is photography art? Of course it’s fucking art”).

Whatever you take away from this interview (personally, I was happy to see that the reporter came through the effort relatively unscathed), you will certainly find it an intriguing look into the psyche of someone who has experienced and then processed a life quite apart from what most mere mortals are exposed to. https://www.varsity.co.uk/culture/11647

g) A 2X Grammy nominee for “Best Album Package”, photographer Elliot Gilbert shares his insights about his efforts that have resulted in scores of images that have graced a number of your favorite records in this recently-posted interview conducted by Loring Kemp for her Cover Our Tracks site – http://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2017/01/09/Elliot-Gilbert-on-his-work-with-The-Cars-Tom-Waits-Van-Halen-and-The-Motels

During this in-depth discussion, Gilbert talks about his first forays into the world of commercial photography (he was such a fan of those shooting for the ad industry that he spent untold sums of money on magazines each month just to be inspired by their work) and, with great detail, his efforts in creating the memorable cover and package images for records including The Cars’ 1978 debut record (w/famed CBS Art Director Ron Coro), Van Halen and Van Halen II, The Motels, Look Out For #1 for the Brothers Johnson  and Tom Waits’ 1978 release Blue Valentine, which also featured then-girlfriend Rickie Lee Jones on the back cover.

As always, Loring does a great job in pulling out the most-interesting details from her subjects, so enjoy the interview – you’re sure to learn something new.

h) There will be a new show staged soon – tentatively titled “Trevor Key’s Top 40” and organized as part of the Hull City of Culture celebrations – that will be based on selections made from the archives of the late designer Trevor Key by designer Scott King and stylist Lesley Dilcock (along with photographer Toby McFarlan Pond, who had served as Key’s assistant). I first read details about this show on work of the talented Mr. Key (who died in 1994 from a brain tumor) in an article written by Patrick Burgoyne for the Creative Review site that also features quotes from designers and former Key collaborators and fellow artists including Peter Saville, Brian Cook and Wolfgang Tillmans.

https://www.creativereview.co.uk/trevor-key-archive/

You’ll also be able to watch a short video of their exploration through the late Key’s archives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37pgycx6hiw   during which King and Pond discuss Key’s influence on their respective careers and the unearthing of some of the production elements used to create one of Key’s best-known works – the cover for Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells LP. Further digging finds other one-of-a-kind items used to create a number of other iconic images from his catalog of cover work for clients including the Sex Pistols (for which his design goal for a record released after the band’s break-up was to discourage sales – very punk, no?) and New Order. One written design brief they uncovered talks about Key (working with designer Jamie Reid) hoping to come up with a design template incorporating a swastika that would be used on as many music products as possible in order to illustrate “the oppressive nature of the music industry” (again, as punk as can be).

Show info – https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/events/trevor-keys-top-40/  We’ll share more info on the dates/locations of this show once it becomes available…

i) In a recent article on the Artsy.com web site by Nora Landes titled “These Photographers Captured Blondie, Joan Jett, and the Women of Punk”, the author assembles samples of the works of several photographers who “saw it all” as they worked to show that “punk rock had a look. In the punk scene of the 1970s and ’80s, both onstage and off, style was just as important as which bands you went to see. Attitude was the greatest accessory. Amid the sea of leather jackets and tight pants, the punk aesthetic was captured by daring photographers along for the ride.”

Featured in this collection are details and sample images from photographers including Brad Elterman (Joan Jett & The Blackhawks), Ray Stevenson (Souxsie & The Banshees), Chris Stein (Debbie Harry & Blondie) and Jim Jocoy (Exene Cervenka from X), who each documented the similarities and unique aspects of the styles and attitudes on display in the punk scenes in the U.S. and the U.K..The original “nasty women”, perhaps?

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-these-photographers-captured-blondie-joan-jett-women-punk

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Just received an email from the team at Backstage Auctions regarding their efforts to kick off the new year with a sale of merchandise left unsold from recent auctions and, looking over the listings, I’ve found a number of album art-related items that the collectors in the audience might want to take a look at, including a) several production proof prints of artist Mark Ryden’s fantastic album art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 hit record Dangerous; b) a set of production proof prints for the LP, CD and cassette versions of Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, featuring the multi-bedded cover art created by Storm Thorgerson and Colin Elgie; c) a collection of various LP cover proofs for Bruce Springsteen records including Born In The USA and Tunnel of Love and other original art pieces featuring works for musical acts including Aerosmith, Metallica, Van Halen and others. You can find out more about these and the many other items available via the link at http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/original-artwork/st/0/32/

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) The folks at the U.K.’s Flood Gallery have just announced that they’re taking pre-orders on a new book that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles album with what has become one of the most-praised (and copied/recreated/spoofed) cover images of all time – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The 176 page hardback book, titled Sgt. Pepper At Fifty, was authored by Bill DeMain, Gillian Garr and a man responsible for another one of rock music’s best-known covers – Mike McInnerney, creator of the gatefold cover for The Who’s Tommy – presents Peter Blake and Jann Haworth’s mind-bending collage by looking at several aspects of the image’s creation and ongoing legacy in the worlds of music and Pop Culture.

Scheduled for release on the 15th of May this year, fans can reserve their own copies on the Flood Gallery site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/the-beatles-sgt-pepper-at-fifty?variant=37416861959 and for another example of the impact that image continues to have on the world of design, I’d invite you to read about Sir Peter Blake’s latest iteration in the article found below in Section 5.

b) Writing for the Hyperallergic site, reporter Megan N. Liberty takes us on a deep dive of a book built around the travelling Total Records album art show (currently on display through April 23rd in Berlin, Germany at the C/O Gallery there) – http://hyperallergic.com/347107/a-spin-through-the-history-of-photographic-album-covers/

The book, edited by Antoine de Beaupré and published recently by Aperture, is one I’ve been eager to see as I’m told that it promotes what we’ve been saying here at the ACHOF all along – i.e., that the works created to illustrate and promote record packages should be treated with the same respect and deference as all works of fine art due to the way that they combine (at least, the good ones do) the best aspects of the fields of design, photography, historical writing and impact marketing. And while she states that “the record is an obsolete medium” (when, in fact, the sales of vinyl continue to grow impressively each year), she goes on to say that, in today’s image-happy environment, where everyone is carrying and using a camera, a well-crafted image can still take your breath away…

The Total Records album art exhibition – featuring 500+ of the most-impactful record covers produced over the past 50+ years – continues on in Berlin, with more info available to fans via the gallery’s site (in English) at http://www.co-berlin.org/en/total-records

c) When, at the age of 35, you’ve already amassed a portfolio of work that is so impressive that it can serve as the basis of an art book, you know that you’re working at a level a notch or two higher than your peers. Now that publisher Floating World Comics has published a new book based on the career (thus far) of Lexington, KY-based artist/designer Robert Beatty, whose imaginative digital artwork for clients in the music business and publishing world including Tame Impala, Neon Indian, Real Estate, the New York Times and The Wire has both amazed fans and left many of them asking “just how did he do that” (to which he has, in some cases, provide them with tutorials on how to manipulate images in Photoshop in order to achieve something similar in their own work)?

Titled Floodgate Companion, the 112-page book shows us many more examples of his creative output and gives us some of the stories behind these efforts. In a recently-published overview of this new publication, The Washington Post’s Aaron Leitko, you’ll see several examples of Beatty’s mind-boggling work, including the cover for Oczy Mlody, the most-recent release by psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips, whose frontman Wayne Coyne had discovered Robert’s work on Instagram and just had to have it for his own (little did he know that Beatty had already done scores of record covers!).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/all-of-the-best-new-psychedelic-album-covers-are-made-by-the-same-guy/2017/01/19/fa489522-d76d-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?

To take a look behind the scenes at Beatty at work in his favorite place (at home in Kentucky), you can watch this “Pitchfork Unsung” video from Octorber, 2015 – http://pitchfork.com/tv/50-pitchfork-unsung/1562-pitchfork-presents-unsung-robert-beatty/

d) The prolific album cover art book author/editor Julius Wiedermann of the Taschen publishing house has recently announced the details of a new book coming out next month titled Art Record Covers that, according to the press announcement, “showcases an alphabetized collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. Highlighting the relationship between image-making and music production, the anthology presents 500 covers and records by visual artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha and many more.”

The new book was assembled by “contemporary art and visual culture historian, writer and artist” Francesco Spampinato who, in addition to be an art professor at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, has authored two other recent books on design, including 2015’s Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists, published in 2015 by Onomatopee (Eindhoven, NL).

While I’m working to get a more-detailed look at the book and its contents put together for you soon (Julius has been kind enough to work with me on a special feature for the ACHOF that you’ll see soon), I’d invite you to read reporter Rebecca Fullylove’s recently-posted article on the It’s Nice That site for a bit of a preview on what should be a thoroughly-comprehensive (at 448 pages!) look at, as the publisher puts it,  explores how modernism, pop art, conceptual art, postmodernism and contemporary art have all informed the art of album visuals over the years.”  http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/taschen-art-record-covers-040117?

Pre-orders are now being solicited on the Taschen site – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/music/all/03430/facts.art_record_covers.htm

e) When Arthur Kanofsky was young, he was fascinated with fairy tales, fantasy illustrations and, as a Boy Scout in his Bronx troupe, reptiles (earning himself a Reptile Study merit badge!). Hoping to become a world-famous artist when he grew up, he took the first step in preparation for this career when he enrolled in NY’s Cooper Union College but, a year into his studies, he was drafted into the Army, bringing his talents to a special unit  – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops AKA “The Ghost Army”. These artistically-trained troops were sent in to areas where they created the illusion of the presence of actual Army units, fooling the enemy into thinking that they were out-manned/gunned via inflatable tanks, artillery, sound effects and dummy battalions. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. and worked briefly in the theater before returning to his studies in art, design and photography at Cooper Union and graduating with honors in 1950. With his experience and impressive talents clear to prospective employers, Arthur (now Kane) accepted a position as the art director for Seventeen Magazine becoming, at age 26, one of the youngest holding this position at a major publication.

With his highly-unique talents and experiences combining to give Kane exceptional conceptual/compositional skill set, Kane became a must-have photographer for all of the best-known photo journals and magazines of his time, with his works appearing in the U.S. in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, McCall’s and others and overseas in the Italian versions of Bazaar and Vogue, Amica, Stern, German Vogue and Zeit. His subjects included celebrities in the fields of music (Bob Dylan, Cream, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Morrison, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Frank Zappa), art (Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Cy Twombly) and photo illustrations for a wide range of subjects, from the concentration of talent in Harlem, NY illustrated in his famous 1958 portrait titled Jazz to the struggle for civil rights down South as well as the plight of wounded war vets and many other aspects of the politics and cultural changes that were taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Austin, TX-based Modern Rocks gallery has just released a new collection of Art Kane photos for sale to collectors, with some of your favorite album cover images (such as those for The Who’s The Kids Are Alright and Jim Morrison’s An American Prayer) included in the mix. Although Kane died in 1995, his son Jonathan has made sure that his legacy lives on via the careful curation of his father’s archive and the release of limited edition, fully-authenticated prints of these beautiful photographs.

http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/art-kane-photographer

5) Other articles of interest –

a) “Those were the days, my friend” – ah, yes, remember when those with all of the money and power and connections all worked together to create something new and exciting for the buying public? Back in April of 1969, when the Rolling Stones were beginning to organize the team that would work on the record that would ultimately become their April, 1971 release Sticky Fingers – the one that would incorporate the first use of the “Lips & Tongue” logo that would become their core graphical element for years to come – Mick Jagger sent artist Andy Warhol a note that established the terms of the relationship that would produce what would become one of the best-known album cover images of all time.

As you’ll read when you click on over to writer Nathan Giannini’s recent article for the Yahoo! Music site, Jagger gave Warhol (who’d later do a pair of very Warhol-like cover images for the band’s Love You Live LP and a later solo record for the singer as well), Jagger basically told Warhol that he could do whatever he pleased and charge whatever he wanted just as long as he remembered that anything “more complex than just pages or fold-out” would most-probably be delayed in production. As we all know by now, Warhol responded by producing a design incorporating multiple layers, a die cut cover and a zipper that could damage nearby packages, sending sleeve design/manufacturing company head Craig Braun and his team (hey, Ernie!) into a scramble to build a package that would work better (these travails have been retold in several sometimes-conflicting interviews with the parties involved, including one I did several years ago – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/07/uncovered-interview-part-2-rolling-stones-lips-logo-by-ernie-cefalu.html

Let’s not even get started on who in fact was the actual model used in the final photo…

https://www.yahoo.com/music/mick-jagger-letter-to-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers-album-153922769.html

Bonus content – Exhibition producer Raj Prem has put together a new display of rarely-seen photos of the Rolling Stones taken by photographer Peter Webb during his 1971 shoot for the band’s Sticky Fingers release. “Lost” (i.e., buried during a move) for 40 years and then re-discovered, this presentation – Sticky Fingers: The Lost Sessions – Photographs by Peter Webb can be viewed on (and prints purchased from) the San Francisco Art Exchange’s web site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400120

b) Not long ago, I reported on a series of stamps issued by the Isle of Man Post Office built around the album cover images of artist Roger Dean (which will soon also be the subject of an interview I’ll publish with one of the stamp series’ creators), showing off another example of an enlightened government agency paying tribute to the talents of one of its better-known citizens. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the death of David Bowie, I’d like to share some information (in the form of two articles) about an upcoming collection of stamps that will be released in mid-March by the U.K.’s Royal Mail that commemorate both the musician and his deep catalog of artistically-created album cover images.

With record covers such as those created for Aladdin Sane, Hunk Dory, Heroes and, most-recently, Blackstar serving to mark milestones along the timeline of the always-changing artist’s career trajectory, the postal service will be producing a set of 10 stamps that include those covers (and others) as well as several photos taken during the Ziggy Stardust and Serious Moonlight tours. Reporting for Linn’s Stamp News, writer Denise McCarty gives us an intro to the series from a philatelist’s viewpoint (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence!) – http://www.linns.com/news/world-stamps-postal-history/2017/january/david-bowie-royal-mail-commemorative-stamp-set.html#

while over on the Artnet.com site (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/david-bowie-stamps-royal-mail-831404?), Brian Boucher notes that while several other bands have been honored with U.K. postage stamps (the latest being Pink Floyd), this is the first time that a solo act has been so honored.

Alongside the standard-issue collector’s packages, this issue will feature several limited edition David Bowie souvenirs, including a special “David Bowie Album Art Fan Sheet” – a 24-image sheet that, in addition to the six covers included in the new stamp series, adds 18 others, from his earliest records to his last (in an edition of 10,000 sheets) and a framed, limited-edition (950 numbered copies) giclee print of the Heroes album cover with a post-marked stamp set into the mat. Pre-orders are being taken now on the Royal Mail site. More details can be found at http://www.royalmail.com/davidbowiestamps?iid=PEVU_MGProjectDJ_DD_05

c) An upscale London hotel – the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, a place that has played host to hundreds of celebrities, recently hired collage artist Sir Peter Blake to create a Sgt. Pepper’s-inspired collage to cover its façade while going through a major renovation. Using the hotel chain’s fan-shaped logo as a design cue, Sir Peter created a new collage – titled “Our Fans” and captioned with a sign reading “Still Open To All Our Fans” – using the images of 99 of the chain’s better-known past guests, including actors Morgan Freeman, Sigourney Weaver, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren, musicians including Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (only seems fitting) and many other notables from the fields of fashion, food, design and more. Standing next to Mr. Freeman (and two down from Dame Edna) is Sir Peter himself – very Hitchcockian, I must say.

According to reporting done for the ArtDaily.com site – http://artdaily.com/news/93235/Sir-Peter-Blake-creates-bespoke-collage-for-Mandarin-Oriental-Hyde-Park – the artist noted that, while similar in style to his best-known album cover, “this artwork was very different to my usual way of working”, he said. “A collage is very time consuming and laborious, but this was more a matter of arranging the figures and making them work together – making sure no one had a cut-off shoulder or missing legs – that’s the skill of it. It was an amazing project to work on. Hopefully, people passing by will try to spot celebrities they recognize,” he added.

Still active at 83, Sir Peter is currently developing several new projects, including his contributions to a series of murals that will be installed outside the Turnham Green tube station in West London that celebrate the performers who appeared in the 1950s at the nearby (and now-demolished) Chiswick Empire Theatre.

d) Most record art fans know that many of their favorite cover photos were taken in real-life locations, and some of them (think the crosswalk in front of Abbey Road/EMI Studios in London) have become tourist magnets. In Bill Wiatrak’s article for Houstonia Magazine, you’ll find a list of album cover spots slightly less-travelled, such as the rocks that make up Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, where the Hipgnosis team let loose a troop of naked toddlers for the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy. Any true cover fan with a lot of time/inspiration/money will want to use this list as a reference for a whirlwind tour of well-known cover spots – https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2016/12/20/10-places-to-recreate-your-favorite-rock-n-roll-album-covers

Of course, if you do go ahead and take this tour, please let me know as I’d love to interview you for our site….

e) Photographer Nick Knight is well-known to album cover fans for a career of well-known cover shots for top musical acts including Bjork, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Lady Gaga and many others. He’s also a go-to shooter for celebrity portraits, with one of his better-known subjects being England’s Royal Family. In this recent posting in The Guardian (U.K.), you’ll now have a chance to see some previously unreleased shots taken from a portrait session with Queen Elizabeth II and her son (the other Prince, but not nearly as talented) which were originally commissioned by Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Q’s 90th year – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/18/queens-90th-birthday-marked-by-fashion-and-rock-photographer

At least this Queen and Prince are still alive and in original form…

f) Throughout history, album covers and album cover artists have often times expressed the political views of either/both the artists and their music industry clientele. Artists such as Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols) and Kosh (John Lennon/Yoko Ono’s “War Is Over”) have created iconic anti-establishment images and, in light of today’s somewhat-controversial inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, artist Shepard Fairey, who produced the renowned “Hope” poster for Barak Obama’s campaign as well as album covers for Led Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty and others, has created (along with several others) a series of protest posters that look to convey messages of strength, dignity and equal rights for all.

The “We The People” series – done in Fairey’s trademark style – was commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation and funded by a wildly-successful Kickstarter campaign. The posters feature images of some of the minorities – Muslims, Hipsanics, Native Americans, etc. – who were on the receiving end of some of Mr. Trumps campaign rhetoric and include tag lines such as “We The People – Are Greater Than Fear” and “We The People – Defend Dignity”. The images were inserted as full-page advertisements in local Washington, D.C. publications so that people either attending or protesting near the inauguration ceremonies were able to display them at will (protesters carrying traditional picket signs were banned from the area).

You can also download the posters from the organization’s web site (http://theamplifierfoundation.org/wtp_wmw_highresart/) and use them however you see fit. Amah-Rose Abrams just posted an article on the Artnet.com site with more details on the project – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/shepard-fairey-releases-we-the-people-series-824468?

This effort answers one of the questions I always pose to artists during my interviews with them – “Does art reflect or influence what’s current in Popular Culture?” In this case, a little of both…

g) While the customization tools made available to potential customers on the sites of many companies that offer made-to-order products were created to promote and simplify the process of buying these products, there are many examples of creative types using these tools to both practice and promote their skills to a broad audience. One recent example can be found on the Instagram site of a Bristol, UK-based designer/shoe fan Sam Brandt, where you’ll find images of the designs he created on the Nike site that show his deep appreciation of the color schemes and tag lines found on a number of well-known rap/hip-hop records.

When you visit the site at https://www.instagram.com/hoekon/  you’ll find shoes that will certainly kick off conversations with fans of acts like MF Doom, J Dilla, Dr. Dre (gotta love the “Deeez Nuuts” text on the cuffs), Ghostface Killah and many others. Not sure if I’m ready to replace by Black Sabbath-themed Chuck Taylors but, if I was, I’d like to think I’d find some inspiration in Sam’s work.

h) Forward-thinking multi-media publishers are continuing to show us their ongoing attempts to give consumers products that put their best creative ideas front and center. Such is the case with the U.K.-based publisher Four Corners Books, who teamed with art director John Morgan (of John Morgan Studio) and tattoo artist/illustrator Liam Sparkes to come up with the impressive packaging for a record of music to accompany their latest release – a new version of the classic Jules Verne tale 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. The music is by Jonny Trunk of Trunk Records, with the project allowing the composer to create soundscapes for ” the only book I could think of that would allow me to make some underwatery music” and create an album cover with just the right matching sailory imagery.

Creative Boom’s Laura Collinson communicated with members of the team that put together this inspired package, available via the link at – http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/20000-leagues-under-the-sea-beautifully-illustrated-record-sleeve-inspired-by-the-creatures-of-the-deep/

i) With sponsorship and merchandising having such important roles in the money-making aspects of a musical act’s career these days, if you’re a lesser-known act, you focus on t-shirts and custom-branded jump drives with MP3 files on them, whereas if you’re Roger Daltry, lead singer for The Who, you team up with British motorcar maker Rolls-Royce to come up with band music and image-inspired design motifs for hand built automobiles(!!)

According to this recent article posted on the News18.com site (CNN‘s partner in India), “the collaboration is the first of nine ‘duets’ that Rolls-Royce is planning with legendary British music stars (created under the name “Inspired By Music”, a project that launched in 2015( that it hopes will be music to collectors’ ears.” Of course, Daltry is undertaking the two design projects (the second, working in conjunction with artist Mike McInnerney, best-known for his mystical cover art for The Who’s rock opera Tommy) on behalf of his much-loved charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust, who’ll be the recipient of a percentage of the sales from these two very unique and collectable cars.

Very eager to see a customized Rolls-Royce Wraith (which are priced beginning at a tad over $350,000) with a bulls-eye on it. Hope it doesn’t end up being a target ;-(

http://www.news18.com/news/auto/rolls-royce-wraith-to-rock-and-roll-with-roger-daltrey-1324939.html

The complete press release from Rolls-Royce on this project is available via the large and exquisitely detailed link at https://www.press.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/rolls-royce-motor-cars-pressclub/article/detail/T0266692EN/rolls-royce-and-roger-daltrey-celebrate-the-who’s-legacy-in-support-of-the-teenage-cancer-trust?language=en

Special announcement –

On January 5th, at the Hari Hotel in London, the “Best Art Vinyl 2016” Award Winners were announced. The results were based on the work of a nomination panel of 10 art and design experts, as well as the thousands of votes cast by music fans worldwide, and the winners were selected from the 50 record covers nominated late last year.

Top prize goes to Matthew Cooper for his work on Everything You’ve Come To Expect for the Last Shadow Puppets. Second prize was awarded to Jonathan Barnbrook for his package for the final David Bowie album Blackstar, while Jonathan Zawada received the third-most votes for his work on the Mark Pritchard album Under the Sun. The full list of the 50 nominated designs, along with details on the previous winners, is available for your review on the Best Art Vinyl site at http://www.artvinyl.com .

A window display of the nominated and winning art will be up at the Hari Hotel until the end of March, 2017.

Writer Miriam Harris has posted an article with details on the event on the Digital Arts Online site – http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/illustration/best-album-art-2016-see-winners-of-best-art-vinyl-awards/

Congratulations to the winners – your work continues to inspire and impress us all!

Just a reminder – the Grammy Awards for “Best Recording Package” will be handed out at a special pre-telecast ceremony – called the “Premiere Ceremony” – at 3:30PM EST on the 12th of February, with the winner for this (and the other packaging Grammy Awards) reported here ASAP they’re announced. To remind you of the nominated art directors in the category this year, here are the details –

  • Ciarra Pardo & Rihanna for Anti (Deluxe Edition), performed by Rihanna
  • Jonathan Barnbrook for Blackstar, performed by David Bowie
  • Andrew Savage for Human Performance, performed by Parquet Courts
  • Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds for Sunset Motel, performed by Reckless Kelly
  • Eric Timothy Carlson for 22, A Million, performed by Bon Iver

Album Cover Hall of Fame All Points Bulletin –

Greetings to you all. Earlier this month, I received a request from photographer Brian Griffin for help in locating a copy of a record that he shot the cover for and, as I know that many of you have impressive collections going back many years, I thought that I’d ask you all for your help in this effort.

The record was a 1978 release by Peter Hamill titled “If I Could“. The particular image Brian’s looking for was used on a Canadian release on the Charisma Label (1211-200) – design was by the late, great Barney Bubbles and the photo, of course, was by Mr. Griffin.

He’s looking to either get a 300DPI scan of the cover or, if need be, find a copy of the record so that he can get the cover scanned himself.

If you can help in any way, please contact me either via Facebook or via email at curator@albumcoverhalloffame.com

Here’s a link to the item on the Discogs.com site – https://www.discogs.com/Peter-Hammill-If-I-Could/release/3837669

Thanks to you all for your help – let the hunt commence!

R.I.P. John Wetton – “One thing is sure…that time will tell” that you gave us all a lot of pleasure.

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

All text Copyright 2017 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 News Summary for July, 2016

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s the first day of August, 2016. What’s new, you might ask. Well, assuming that you’re not outdoors (too much sun) or aren’t taking shelter from freak storms (or from the gusts of hot air emanating from your TV sets these days), I’m thinking that you’re enjoying the summer overall and are sharing your love of whatever drives your passions with your friends and family. All of us lovers of album cover imagery are a bit of a family, wouldn’t you agree (albeit a sometimes-dysfunctional one, with yours truly as your “arty” Uncle Mike (and NOT your Wicked Uncle Ernie – apologies to all un-wicked Ernies).

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the new and much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to impress us fans, critics and other observers of the art form with their collective output, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics:

1) Upcoming, recently-launched and just-closed show/exhibitions –

a) While the extremely-well-attended Ramones-centered art/memorabilia show at the Queens Museum may have closed this past weekend (July 31st), the kind folks at local public TV network WLIW/Channel 13 have posted a 7 minute video presentation on their Metrofocus web site – http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2016/07/ramones-exhibit-rocks-queens/ – that includes a brief tour through the show, where you’ll see photos by George DuBose, Roberta Bayley and others (including various iterations of Arturo Vega’s iconic presidential seal-like logo for the band) along with interviews with Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh, Johnny’s widow Linda, the band’s former tour manager Monte Melnick and the exhibition’s curator, Marc Miller, a fellow with a long history of producing punk-based art/music shows. Hey ho, if you can’t go, watch the video…

b) Up for a brief run (mid-July through July 30th) at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery on the campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY was an album art show featuring over 1000 record covers on loan from local collectors and the archives of the school’s own radio station (WUSB).

ON THE RECORD: ALBUM COVER ART was presented in conjunction with the Stony Brook Film Festival at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, a venue that has also hosted performances by many of the musical acts (including local talent such as Bob Dylan, Blue Oyster Cult, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Reed and others) whose record albums are on display in this show.

One of the people that curated the exhibition – Karen Levitov, the gallery’s Director – was kind enough to share some additional background info, exhibit details and some photos of the display with me, which I’ll now share with you – “Last summer we had a Vintage Film Poster show during the Film Festival that got a terrific response, so we wanted something just as fun and appealing this summer. Our campus radio station, WUSB 90.1 FM was relocating and packing up its vinyl archive, so we decided to collaborate with them to put this show together. The gallery has a playlist of songs from the albums in the gallery and a documentary video on album cover art…We have over 1000 albums:  811 album covers on the walls and in display cases, plus over 200 playable vinyl records in our listening lounge and children’s area.

Album cover artists represented in the show include famous graphic designers, photographers and artists including Andy Warhol, Shusei Nagaoka, Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, Brian Duffy, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley, Banksy and many more. Rare and unique albums include The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today with the original cover known as the “butcher cover”; The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request (with its 3D cover); John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgins nude cover and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers cover by Andy Warhol  – with a real zipper!”

The festivities were kicked off with a special Q&A session with one of the founding members of Blue Oyster Cult, drummer Albert Bouchard, so if you missed the show, you can still learn more about it on the gallery’s site at http://zuccairegallery.stonybrook.edu/2016/07/on-the-record-album-cover-art/   

c) London’s Somerset House gallery is hosting an exhibition of art – both well-known and newly-created just for this show – inspired by the films of director Stanley Kubrick (from now until August 24th, sponsored by Canon). Included in the show’s display catalog are several works and work-related materials produced by airbrush artist Philip Castle, creator of memorable imagery for album covers and promotional efforts for artists including David Bowie, Pulp, Sir Paul McCartney, Metronomy and The Cars (see the item in Section 2, below, regarding a profile on the artist and his work). More info on the show is available online at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/daydreaming-with-stanley-kubrick

d) In late 1950s – early 1960s London, three upstart young photographers – Brian Duffy, David Bailey and Terence Donovan – were on hand to both document and participate first hand in the rapidly-modernizing changes in the fashion and entertainment scenes. In addition to capturing memorable portraits of stars who arose from within the scene – actors, designers, artists and musicians (you’ll recall Duffy’s shots of David Bowie, including the famous cover for his Aladdin Sane LP, along with Bailey’s psychedelic cover image for the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup), it was arguably Donovan who presented the broadest portfolio of artistically-crafted photos (and, later on, videos), including some that served to help launch the careers of his subjects.

While Bailey and Duffy have had a number of books and museum/gallery shows chronicling their careers, it wasn’t until now that Donovan’s contributions have been given the honor of a major retrospective. Now running at the Photographers’ Gallery in London is a show presented in association with camera manufacturer Ricoh (running through September 25th) titled Terence Donovan: Speed of Light that will include, in addition to a stunning collection of photos, a nice collection of related materials, including contact sheets, notes, diaries, sketchbooks and many previously-unseen items.

The Telegraph‘s Robin Muir gives us a preview of the show, along with some background on the photographer whose subjects have included everyone from Twiggy to Yassir Arafat.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/photography/what-to-see/terence-donovan-the-man-who-launched-a-thousand-stars/

Find out more about the show at the gallery’s site – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/terence-donovan-speed-of-light-2

On a related note, being published immediately after this show closes is a new book of Donovan’s most-beautiful portraits titled, quite appropriately, Terence Donovan Portraits. The book’s authored by Philippe Garner, a Director and International Head of Photographs and of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design at the Christie’s  auction house. Released this month in Europe (and due to hit the streets in the U.S. on September 27th), the 176-page book is being published by Damiani, with more details available on the company’s web site – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

e) Just a reminder that the “Fine Art of Rock” exhibition – featuring the album cover works of Ernie Cefalu, Joe Garnett, Ingrid Haenke, Drew Struzan and the other talented artists that made up the roster of famed album art design studio Pacific Eye & Ear – launched in July at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum for a run that will continue there through November 20th. On display will be original illustrations, paintings and working materials created for records by bands including Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, The Doors, Aerosmith, Grand Funk Railroad and many others. There’s a nice preview article by writer Bob Mehr that’s been posted on The Commercial Appeal: Memphis that also includes comments by Ernie – http://www.commercialappeal.com/entertainment/music/features/the-fine-art-of-rock-pays-tribute-to-album-cover-images-at-memphis-rock-n-soul-museum-376179b5-0e8b–386706541.html and for more info about the venue, click on over to their web site at http://memphisrocknsoul.org/

On a related note – The folks at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum recently alerted me about a selection of photos posted on the Facebook page of classic rock aficionado John Gable taken during his visit to the Fine Art of Rock exhibition currently on display at the museum, so if you’d like to take a brief tour of some of the notable album art on display there, click on over to John’s gallery at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206818128717266&set=pcb.10206818132277355&type=3&theater

f) Designer/blogger extraordinaire Simon Robinson recently posted an article on his ST33 site that introduces readers to a new exhibition which launched on the 14th of July that includes a display of over 500 album covers created for musical acts of the Jewish faith – in a wide variety of musical styles – that is currently on display at the Jewish Museum in London, UK. According to the museum’s site, the show – titled “Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl” (gotta love the name, no?) celebrates “the history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, music producers and songwriters.”

In addition to being able to view examples of early phonographs and gramophone (which, by the way, was invented and patented, along with the first phonograph record, in 1887 by Emil Berliner, a German-Jewish immigrant to the USA), visitors can track the growth of recorded music through the 20th Century to the present, “from Jewish folk music to Yiddish theatre songs, from Broadway musicals to rock‘n’roll via the rebels of punk and psychedelic rock. Hear personal stories from artists, musicians and collectors. Explore the art of the record sleeve and enjoy a display of 500 records including iconic sleeves from Amy Winehouse, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, and Barbara Streisand.” The show runs through October 16th.

Read Simon’s intro to this interesting, historic display on his site at https://st33.wordpress.com/

More info on the show is also available on the museum’s site at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/jukebox

g) Billboard Magazine contributor Gail Mitchell just posted an intro article about the newest exhibition that just launched at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that should be a treat for Beatles fans. This show, curated by the Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits, has been entertaining audiences all across the US since it opened up in NYC in 2014 (setting attendance records wherever it stopped), has now “come home” to the LA-based museum and will be appearing there through September 5th.

According to the museum’s press, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” brings us back to the early ‘60s when rock & roll was re-energized–some say saved–by four lads from Liverpool. The exhibit covers the period from early 1964 through mid-1966—the years Beatlemania ran rampant in America. During this time the band affected nearly every aspect of pop culture, including fashion, art, advertising, media, and, of course, music. On display are many Beatles-related pop culture artifacts from the period, as well as correspondence, instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, interactive displays, and an oral history booth in which visitors can leave their own impressions of The Beatles. Screenings and a series of talks reveal the continuing impact of the Beatles.”

Based on the show’s description and photos, there will be a lot of items on display that will be of interest to record art fans. Related events include one that vinyl lovers will have enjoyed – a specially-produced “Record Theater” event on July 18th which featured the music from the band’s 1966 release Revolver – the record featuring Klaus Voorman’s fantastic psychedelic ink drawing on the cover.

To read Gail’s article online, click on over to the Billboard site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7431018/beatles-exhibit-grammy-museum

and, for more information on the show and all the related screenings, discussions and events, visit the museum site at

http://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhibits/ladies-and-gentlementhe-beatles

h) As part of the kick off festivities surrounding the “Chunk of Punk” photo exhibition which launched July 8th at the High Street Gallery at the Uncorked Wine Bar in Akron, OH (featuring the works of Jill Furmanovsky, album cover contributor extra-ordinaire), the Akron Art Museum hosted a special talk about the local rock music scene that featured both Ms. Furmanovsky and local music legend Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Chunk of Punk was part of Punk Week in Akron, which celebrates the genre via a series of events including concerts, film screenings and related displays of artistry. More on this event can be found on the Museum’s web site at

https://akronartmuseum.org/calendar/artist-talk-jill-furmanovsky-with-chrissie-hynde/10486

Up-to-the-minute updates of this exhibitions can be found on the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/22HighStreetGallery/

i) The Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA has a new group photography show running now through September 13th that they’re calling Music To Our Ears and which features a fine collection of photographs – portraits, concert photography, etc. – by a dozen respected shooters including Charlie Sawyer, Roger Farrington, Marc Lacatell, Rowland Scherman and others, as well as shots from Ron Pownall, the man responsible for album package shots for a number of renowned musical acts including Joe Perry, Rick Derringer, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rainbow and many others.

According to the gallery’s site, the exhibition will also include “some music posters courtesy of our friends at the International Poster Gallery and some new guitars by Booches Custom Guitars.”

Prior to the launching of this event, Pownall was interviewed by Jody Feinberg for the Abington Wicked Local web site – http://abington.wickedlocal.com/entertainment/20160610/rock-n-roll-photography-on-display-at-cohasset-arts-event    There, you’ll learn about highlights from Ron’s career, including a photo taken in 1976 capturing the then 19-year-old Charlie Baker – now the Governor of Massachusetts – at an Aerosmith concert in Providence…

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) 20 years ago, a young photographer named Jonathan Mannion was hired by Rocafella Records to shoot a photo for the cover of the debut record (titled Reasonable Doubt) by a rapper named Shawn Carter who was looking for someone who’d present him to new audiences as someone who’d already established himself as the best in his profession. Shawn Carter went on to become music mogul Jay-Z and, as part of the festivities held to celebrate the record’s 20th anniversary, Mannion’s intimate photos from that session were presented in a “pop-up” exhibition called, quite reasonably, “PROPHECY”. A total of 22 images were shown at the private event – Vibe‘s Josias Valdez was on the guest list, talked to Mannion about how everything came together then and what’s next in this nicely-crafted illustrated interview – http://www.vibe.com/2016/07/jonathan-mannion-interview/

Just received an email from Mr. Mannion in which he details some of the latest things he’s been working on, including album covers for 2 Chains (College Grove), Dj Khaled (Major Key) and Gucci Mane (GUWOP). He’s also just teamed with  retailer PINTRILL to release a series of pins based on album art images Mannion’s done for Jay-Z, including some that celebrate the anniversary of their working together on Reasonable Doubthttp://www.pintrill.com/products/mannion-pin-pack?variant=21301575300

b) Houston-based artist Kevin Peterson received a call from someone on April Fool’s Day saying that they wanted to use a painting of his on the upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers’ record The Getaway. Of course he thought it was a joke…that was, until he was assured that front man Anthony Keidis had seen the work – an ultra-realistic painting titled “Coalition II” of a young girl strolling down a graffiti-marked street along with a bear, a raccoon, a fox and a black bird – and felt that it would perfectly-represent (according to Patrick Flanary’s interview with Peterson recently posted on the Billboard.com web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7408793/red-hot-chili-peppers-album-cover-choice) “the strength that it takes growing up in the world today, those traumas that it takes to get through it, and to survive and thrive.” Like Keidis, Peterson is a recovering drug user himself who found a new beginning in the Arts, so there’s some poetic justice in how the two found each other for this project.

c) After meeting artist Andy Warhol in the late 1950s while he worked as a waiter in a NYC restaurant (to supplement his starving artist career at the time), the two formed a tight bond that ultimately led to both a romantic and creative relationship that would last 10 years and out of which would spring “The Factory”, a place where strange and wonderful things took place. That person – Billy Name (originally, William Linich, Jr. ), one of the last few of the original cast of characters who called The Factory home, died recently at the age of 76.

While he spent the rest of his life post-Factory as a poet, Name’s photographs were included on the famous packaging for The Velvet Underground and Nico (the band’s  Warhol-produced debut album, as well as their self-titled third record, where he’s also a character who knows right from wrong (“…But, Billy said, both those words are dead”) in the group’s  song from that record called “That’s the Story of My Life”.

You can read Name’s obituary in The Guardian via the link – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/18/billy-name-andy-warhol-factory-photographer-dies-76

d) Man Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James – best-known for his 2015 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings – is featured in a recent interview with Jason Parham on TheFader.com site in which he recounts his earlier career as Creative Director (and album art producer) for top-selling Jamaican musician/recording artist Sean Paul. The two attended the same college in Jamaica before meeting professionally via Sean Paul’s manager in 1999 (while James worked as an independent writer/designer for commercial clients) to collaborate on the musician’s Stage One record. In the interview, you’ll learn more about James’ influences (Bjork and Pen & Pixel – quite the range!) and some additional details on several of the other covers he created for his famed fellow alum –

http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/12/sean-paul-album-covers-marlon-james

e) See item in Section 4 about a recent interview in The Guardian with acclaimed artist/musician Klaus Voorman’s regarding his just-released graphic novel about his time with The Beatles.

f) Interesting profile of artist Philip Castle in a recent posting on The Guardian‘s site by reporter Jonathan Jones. Album art fans will recall Castle’s contribution to the cover art featuring Brian Duffy’s memorable photo of David Bowie found on the Aladdin Sane LP (Castle created the silver teardrop found on Bowie’s shoulder, while film poster fans will recall his campy artwork crafted for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. While both of those efforts earned Castle many fans in the entertainment world, it was his artwork for Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 futuristic crime masterpiece A Clockwork Orange – now included in a show at London’s Somerset House gallery called “Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick” – that cemented his place in Pop Culture history. Kubrick’s very hands-on, detail-oriented work ethic had him send Castle art and sculptures used in the film for use in his prep for the poster work (leaving him with great souvenirs!), and Castle would go on to work with Kubrick again on the art for his celebrated war feature Full Metal Jacket. Read all the details via the link at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/07/stanley-kubrick-and-me-designing-clockwork-orange-poster

For some additional insight into this artist and, in particular, his album cover artwork, you might also want to spend a few minutes watching this 2011 video interview with London-based photographer Steve Mepsted posted on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbEAb2HoLVc

g) Another “local boy done good” feature was recently posted on the Somerset Live (UK) site that reminds us of the great talent of fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, who recently licensed one of his works for use on the cover of the latest compilation record by the Rolling Stones (Another Time, Another Place II). Matthews’ art has been featured on scores of books, posters and a number of album covers, including those for Asia, Hawkwind, Barclay James Harvest, Nazareth, The Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep and Rick Wakeman, but in this case, it was an image he’d done 40+ years ago while working for the famed Big O poster house – one that had caught the eyes of the Stones’ production team and, miraculously, ended up being used – without Matthews’ consent – on a U.S. tour poster for the band that the new record’s publisher requested be used on the recent release – this time, with credit and, I’m assuming, some compensation. Good work always wins out in the end…

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/8203-paulton-artist-designsthe-rolling-stones-album-cover/story-29453182-detail/story.html

h) When two collaborators in music both hold degrees from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, you’d have to think that they’d be looking for just the right images to grace the covers of their records and, in the case of the band Quilt and co-founding members Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski, you’d be right! For the cover of their 2016 release Plaza, after they came upon an image of a 1992 illustration by the late artist Ken Price (who also provided the cover art for The Paperhead’s 2014 release titled Africa Avenue) and realized that the artwork would be perfect for their upcoming record, they contacted the artist’s estate (managed by his son Jackson), made an impassioned plea for a license, and were rewarded with the permission they sought.

In Katherine Turman’s recent article for The Village Voice, you’ll meet these two talented young people and learn more about their ongoing efforts to “stitch together music and visual art”, much to the pleasure of their fans – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/perfect-cover-for-their-latest-album-quilt-stitch-together-music-and-visual-art-8768833

i) The works of legendary hip-hop photo specialist Ernie Paniccioli were featured recently in a rather-cool new project launched in Edmonton, Canada called the “Knowledge is Pow Wow” (which according to the project’s site, “will explore religious pluralism and social justice through inclusive conversation and creative expression …young adults from Edmonton’s downtown communities will hear from leaders representing Indigenous, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faiths and culture.”). Paniccioli, a Cree Native American who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, got his start in photography in the streets of his neighborhood, capturing images of the graffiti culture that reigned in the 1970s. His images got him a lot of attention, particularly from the artists in the emerging hip-hop/rap music scenes there and he was asked by a number of the soon-to-be-stars of the time – Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and many others – to provide them with shots for their album packages and promotions.

For an interview with Ernie done prior to the exhibition that was posted recently on the CBC News web site, click on over to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/famed-cree-hip-hop-photographer-s-work-on-display-in-edmonton-1.3652907

j) One of the design groups most-responsible for the over-the-top, bling-filled covers found on many of the rap genre’s best-known acts of the 1990s – 2000s was a Houston-based firm called Pen & Pixel, founded by two brothers (Aaron and Shaun Brauch) and whose work was featured on three-quarters of a billion albums, including 38 gold and 12 platinum-selling discs. The firm grew quickly and expanded their client list to include mainstream musical acts including Cher, Destiny’s Child, Lyle Lovett, Chris Rock and ZZ Top only to become victims of the many changes that rocked the music business, with the brothers leaving to start other careers – Aaron as a serial entrepreneur and business development consultant while Shaun continued on as an executive/creative director for several creative services companies.

New York Times contributor Will Stephenson recently posted a “Letter Of Recommendation” article that chronicles the firm’s rise and fall and how their designs established – at least for a while – the design guide for the proper proportions of cars, jewelry, money and scantily-clad women that should appear on any self-respecting rapper’s latest release.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-pen-pixel.html?

k) Not sure how I missed this when it aired a couple of months back, but Rene Montagne of NPR Radio’s “Morning Edition” did a very nice interview with one of the best-known artists to work in the Bay Area since the mid-1960s – that being, Wes Wilson, the guy credited with crafting the trippy, balloon-y fonts that became a mainstay of gig poster designs from that era (he’s also applied his talents to album art of the day, most-notably on the cover for Cream’s Disraeli Gears LP). Samples of Wilson’s posters were included in the grand re-opening exhibitions staged when the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art threw open its doors after a major renovation and there are more examples of his work in the museum’s permanent collection – https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Wes_Wilson

Listen to Wilson as he recalls how and why he got into the field, what motivated and shaped his work and how he hoped that his works would show, during the time when the war in Vietnam was raging, that “things are going to get better”. http://www.npr.org/2016/05/13/477900499/psychedelic-font-how-wes-wilson-turned-hippie-era-turmoil-into-art?

l) One of the most-impressive gallery collections of rock music-related fine art prints I’ve had the pleasure of seeing was on display at the San Francisco Art Exchange and, during my last visit, I had the pleasure of meeting the staff there, including the co-owner, Theron Kabrich. For those who haven’t seen the gallery’s collection (available online on their site at www.sfae.com), you’ll find editioned prints by many of the masters of album cover imagery, including designers Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson and photographers Joel Brodsky, Elliott Landy, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock and others – usually presented in collections that will appeal to lovers of the imagery of rock’s foremost musical acts.

In his most-recent “Art Dealer Show” audio interview/podcast, art world veteran Danny Stern (who got his first gallery job at SFAE) talks to his mentor Kabrich about his start in the business – having transitioned from a career in the fields of psychology and mental health to his career in the art world after, according to his site bio ” he had traveled throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Nepal and India, collecting art and objects along the way. This set a new chapter in motion from a career in clinical psychology to one as a fine art dealer.” Today, along with his co-owner Jim Hartley, Kabrich presents his gallery’s clients with fine examples of the works of the people that have produced many of the world’s best-known images from the world of Popular Culture, so it’s a rare opportunity to be able to listen to him discuss a whole range of topics with his learned cohort.

The 67-minute-long podcast is available via streaming/download, etc. – http://artdealer.show/004-theron-kabrich/

m) Ask six designers about their favorite/most-inspirational album cover designs and, of course, you get six completely-different stories, but in this recent article on The Guardian (UK) site built around interviews by Kathryn Bromwich, Imogen Carter and Katie Forster, I was particularly-intrigued by the appearance of several “classic” record covers in the answers proffered by some of these young-but-talented design pros. Included in the list of influential designs are covers by bands such as Sparks (their 1975 record Indiscreet is a favorite of Bedwyr Williams), The Human League (Inspiration, their 1979 record which profoundly impressed Julie Verhoeven) and Pink Floyd, whose 1969 record Ummagumma suggests the compositions of the Dutch Masters to Alice Anderson.

Always interesting to learn more about what goes on in the heads of today’s most-creative designers, I think…

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jun/26/art-on-your-sleeve-artists-album-covers-juergen-teller-lynette-yiadom-boakye

n) Orange County, CA has produced a staggering number of talented people who’ve left their marks on the entertainment business – Steve Martin, Bob Deal (AKA Mick Mars) of Motley Crew and Gwen Stefani are just a few we can mention – but few have contributed as influential and long-lasting an item as the logo design created by Westminster High School graduate Gerard Huerta – that being the AC/DC lettering and logo that has graced the covers, sleeves, t-shirts, tattoos, posters and other memorabilia purchased by millions of fans since its introduction in 1976. Huerta began his career at CBS Records in New York designing album covers and creating letterforms for Boston (see the article on this cover later on in this posting), AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Stephen Stills and Foreigner. He started Gerard Huerta Design in 1976 and has been drawing custom letters and logos ever since.

OC Register staff writer Peter Larsen recently posted a profile on the ever-busy artist at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/huerta-720158-westminster-lettering.html

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerard several years back about his work on that iconic logo and so I invite you to take a gander at that article on my old archive site –

http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/07/cover-story—a.html

o) Record covers have always reflected the fashions of the day, so leave it to the writers from Vogue Magazine to track down and interview a person that many of us classic album art fans know, but only from the waist down to his knees! Of course, I’m talking about Corey Grant Tippin – make-up artist, model, actor and Andy Warhol muse/chum, whose mid-section was featured prominently on the un-zippable album cover created for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers record, released in 1971.

In this article by Laird Borrelli-Persson that serves to introduce the relationship between Tippin and famed 70s illustrator Antonio Lopez (whose works are the subject of a new show on display at the new El Museo del Barrio “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion”), the interviewer questions Tippin about Lopez, his career as an in-demand make-up artist and working with Warhol and the team that created the acclaimed and controversial record cover –

http://www.vogue.com/13448063/corey-grant-tippin-interview-antonio-lopez-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers/

p) Writer Vikki Tobak’s new interview series for the Mass Appeal web site launches with an interview with one of the best-known photographers who has covered emerging music scenes over the past several decades – Janette Beckman. Ms. Beckman’s credits in the album art world include cover shots for The Police (Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Every Breath You Take: The Singles); Squeeze (Six Of One); Gang Starr (No More Mr. Nice Guy); Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (On The Strength) and Salt-n-Pepa’s A Salt With A Deadly Pepa and Push It, among others, as well as the subject of this recent interview – an iconic image taken of British rapper Slick Rick during a Def Jam press shoot in NYC for The Great Adventures of Slick Rick album in 1989.

The interview dives into “the making of” this and other shots from her career and provides camera nerds with the details of the equipment she employed to make the magic happen – http://massappeal.com/contact-high-the-stories-behind-hip-hops-most-iconic-photographs/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) St. Paul’s Gallery, one of the premiere publishers/galleries that specialize in album cover art prints, just informed me of a sale they’re running in conjunction of the recent opening of the world-traveling “Bowie Is” exhibition at the MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna – in Spain (see http://davidbowieis.it/en/ for more details). From now until this Friday, August 5th, the nice people at St. Paul’s are offering a 10% discount (via the promo code LIDNI231 entered at check-out) on any of the fine Bowie-related art prints they have available, including prints (some of which have copies also on display as part of the Bowie Is show, organized by the V&A Museum) by acclaimed artists/photographers such as John Rowlands, Celia Philo & Philip Castle, Terry Pastor and others. Some of the prints were co-signed by Mr. Bowie prior to his sad death this past January, making them all the more collectible. To see the entire offering (prints, limited-edition books, posters, sculpture, etc.), follow the link to the gallery’s site – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=264&numRecordPosition=1

b) The team at Gotta Have It Rock & Roll auction house have just released a summary of the prices paid for items that were included their recently-held auction, with bidding closed on Saturday, July 30th. Fans of unique, album art-related items will find several examples of items that found new homes with collectors who participated in the “Rock and Pop Culture Auction – July 2016” event, including several groups of photos of the late artist formerly known as Prince (each of the three sets sold for a mere $100) and an abstract painting done by singer Alanis Morissette, which sold for $5363, well above the $4000 top pre-auction estimate.

Collectors seemed to be holding on tight to their purses/wallets as many items went unsold, including a set of photo proofs/negatives done for records by Steven Van Zant, artwork for Journey’s Time 3 box set (autographed by singer Steve Perry), a pair of photos offered up by the estate of Herb Worthington that were used on covers for Fleetwood Mac and Lita Ford (although, a Worthington-owned RIAA Platinum LP plaque for Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna did sell for $587, near the top of the estimated value range) and an art board featuring a 16 x 20″ Neal Preston photo shot for the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Live 75 – 85 record album. If you’d like to see more of the results, click on over to https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   Congratulations to all who found something nice to add to their personal collections.

c) Lovers of the artwork of the late Rick Griffin were in for a treat this past month with the announcement of a special auction of his works hosted by the Psychedelic Art Exchange. Griffin, who created the now-famous artwork for the cover of the Grateful Dead’s trippy 1969 album AOXOMOXOA, along with covers for musical acts including Kerry Livgren, Cold Blood, MAN, The Packards, Darrell Mansfield and others, was also a celebrated poster artist, creating hundreds of designs for acts playing at Bay-area venues. In the late 1960s, Griffin teamed up with several other celebrated local artists, including Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson to start an agency specializing in psychedelic posters called Berkeley Bonaparte and, in the list of over 100 posters that were included in this auction, you’d have found wonderful examples of this work, along with images he created for his other loves, such as surfing, comic books and religion.

Take a look at what curator Glen Trosch has put together for you to look at in this month’s new auction and, if you’re so inclined, add to your collections, via the link – http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) There’s a new Klaus Voorman book (a graphic novel) that tells the story of his relationship with The Beatles beginning with his first encounter with the group in 1960 in a Hamburg, Germany bar. Birth of an Icon: Revolver 50 includes the story about his Grammy-winning illustrations done for the cover of Revolver for The Beatles. In a recent interview with Robin Stummer for The Guardian web site, Voorman shares some of his recollections (“I created the Revolver cover. It was on the third floor of a house, in a little attic apartment, it was in the kitchen. Parliament Hill, Hampstead. I was staying there. I went back there recently, the building is exactly the same.”) which remain quite vivid even after all these years.

Trained as both a graphic artist and a musician, Voormann and his girlfriend, the photographer Astrid Kirchherr, met the band early in their career (the Pete Best/Stu Sutcliffe days) and inspired their looks at the time (black clothes, leathers and low-cut bangs). Astrid spent hours shooting the band (some of her best-known shots were used on the album packages for the band and several solo LPs, including George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music and John Lennon’s Signature Box compilation). Voormann went on to spend much of the 60s and 70s alternating stints on the pop and rock circuit, playing bass with Manfred Mann, George Harrison and John Lennon – including on Lennon’s Imagine – with his work in graphic design and fine art. Did covers for the Bee Gees (Bee Gees 1st and Idea, more for Beatles-related projects (inc. 1995’s Anthology compilation and Ringo’s Ringo), his own 2009 solo album A Sideman’s Journey (featuring guest appearances by former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Yusuf Islam, Jim Keltner, Joe Walsh and others) and, more recently, a quite-Revolver-like illustration for the cover of Japanese rockers Glay’s 2014 release titled Music Life.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/23/beatles-revolver-cover-klaus-voormann

Book info on Voorman’s site (set for an early August release) – http://www.voormann.com/shop/birth_of_an_icon_revolver_50

b) The works of one of the “Early Influencers” of record album artwork – artist David Stone Martin – have always intrigued fans of album art with their simple-yet-compelling lines and colors – just ask any fan of the many (over 400!) covers he created for records by acts including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and others who appeared on the several labels headed by the great jazz promoter Norman Granz (Asch, Clef and others) during the 1940s-50s. While some of the covers have been available previously as fine art prints, there’s a new, much-larger collection that’s being offered at the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX that comes from publisher Audioframe as the result of their pain-staking efforts to restore vintage plates and recreate the excitement of the original designs. Each print is hand-numbered and is stamped by DSM’s archive. There are 4 sizes available, in editions from 200 for the 14″ square prints, offered at $380, to just 25 prints in the huge 44″ square versions, priced at $1995. To see the entire collection, visit the Modern Rocks site at http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/buy-david-stone-martin-prints/

c) Tom Sheehan’s photos have been featured on hundreds of album covers and packages throughout the years (inc. those for the Flamin’ Groovies, Ian Dury, Aztec Camera, The Charlatans UK and others), but it is his photos of Robert Smith and his mates in The Cure – taken beginning in 1982 while he worked as the principal photographer for Melody Maker magazine – that are probably his best-known works, so it’s exciting to see a hand-picked selection of them taken over a 23-year period (thru 2005) compiled and offered in a soon-to-be-published new book. In Between Days. The Cure in photographs 1982 – 2005 is scheduled to be released this coming November in two beautiful editions – the Deluxe (2500 copies) and the Super Deluxe (just 700 copies) – each with 240 pages of photos and text, with the Super Deluxe version including a signed COA, a deluxe slipcover and an envelope containing three 5×7″ photos, suitable for framing. The Price for the Deluxe version is £48.00, while the Super Deluxe is available for £70.00, with pre-orders now being accepted on The Flood Gallery’s site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/the-cure-in-between-days?

d) The late Nirvana guitarist/songwriter Kurt Cobain showed a love for the visual arts by contributing album images for his band’s In Utero and Incesticide records, some of which will be on display as part of the recently-announced touring show of his art, organized by his family and Jampol Artist Management – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/kurt-cobain-art-exhibition-522386. Kurt’s visual arts genes live on in the artwork now being produced by his only child, the now 23-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, who has begun offering prints of her humorous-but-slightly-macabre artwork via the Depop online art store (https://www.depop.com/en-us/space_witch666). Ranging in price from $150 to $400 per print, the nine different images include, according to this recent article on the ArtNet site by Sarah Cascone, several works that were included in her first series released back in 2010 and illustrate that the young Ms. Cobain shares some of her Dad’s slightly-strange, dark humor…learn more via the link – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/frances-bean-cobain-art-for-sale-355262

e) Another reason to have braved the crowds at last month’s Comic-Con in San Diego is presented in this article by Ethan Anderton on the Slashfilm.com site about two sets of limited-edition items – one set of special-edition vinyl recordings and another set of related album cover art prints – featuring your favorite characters from one of last year’s most-successful animated films – Pixar Animation’s Inside Out. While supplies lasted at the show, festival goers were able to purchase 7″ vinyl copies of music taken from Michael Giacchino’s score for the film (not previously released on vinyl) that will be produced by specialty supplier Mondo in small batches (2500 copies in each) that feature both colored discs and artwork focused on one of the movie’s main characters (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Riley). Also at the show, the first group of limited-edition (200 each out of 420 total per image) 18″ x 24″ prints of the albums’ different covers (done by the Toronto, Canada-based Phantom City Creative team, the same group that produced the stunning album art for Mondo’s soundtrack album for the Hannibal film soundtrack) were offered up by the folks at Cyclops Print Works, with the rest being made available by the publisher after the show.

To see all of the aforementioned art that’s available, link on over to the Slashfilm article now – http://www.slashfilm.com/inside-out-vinyl/

Visit the Cyclops Print Works site to get your own copy of one or more of these new collectibles – https://www.cyclopsprintworks.com/

You’ll find another Mondo-based article down in Section 5 that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well…

f) Please see the article in Section 1 of this recap about the new book coming out featuring portrait photos by the great Terence Donovan – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

g) Photographer Drew Carolan, well-known for his compelling album cover photos featuring musical acts including Ziggy Marley, Eric B. & Rakim, Living Colour and many others, shared with me some information about a book he’s going to release this fall that should be of great interest to fans of the early 80s music scene as it transitioned from punk to the more hardcore styles. Over a two year period – from 1983 to 1985 – Drew set up shop near famed rock club CBGBs in the Bowery section of New York City to document – in an effort called the “Matinee Project” – the people who participated in the scene and attended the hardcore/metalcore events that were held nearby. Partnering with Radio Raheem Records (home of bands including Agnostic Front, Charred Remains, The Androids and other hardcore stalwarts), the deluxe hardcover book – titled Matinee: All Ages – On The Bowery NYC 1983 – 1985 is sure to please fans and those interested in seeing shots from this most-fascinating musical/pop culture era. Several years ago, Carolan created a video that highlights the time he spent creating this series which should serve as a great intro to his project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jN46nf0nl0

To sign up for updates on the availability of this book, please visit http://www.radioraheemrecords.com/matineebook

h) While not easily falling in to this category’s basics (i.e., new prints, books and other arty collectibles), this item is of enough import that I felt it should be mentioned as it does involve collectibles of another type – i.e., postage stamps. On July 7th, the U.K.’s Royal Mail released a series of stamps that feature images connected to one of the nation’s best-known treasures, that being the rock band Pink Floyd. The collection of 10 different images gracing the new stamps include several of the band’s iconic album covers including early releases such as The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals, up to the group’s final 2014 release The Endless River. Four additional stamps feature photos of the band performing live on tour, including shots from concerts at London’s UFO Club in 1966, the Dark Side of the Moon tour in 1973, 1981’s The Wall tour and 1994’s The Division Bell tour.

Besides the stamps, there are a number of related items that are being promoted by the mail service, including souvenir sheets and presentation packs, framed collections, two cover collections, including one commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of group founder Syd Barrett and a special numbered limited-edition item called a “Moon Maxi Sheet” that presents 10 of the Dark Side of the Moon stamps on top of a 9 x 7 replica of the renowned prismatic cover art.

As you might imagine, there has been a fair amount of coverage about this new collection, so if you’d like to learn more, click on over to this article on the BBC site – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-36382247

or another example on the Belfast Telegraph site at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/music/news/pink-floyd-stamps-to-feature-innovative-album-covers-34747737.html

To see and buy these new items, pop on over to the Royal Mail site at http://www.royalmail.com/pinkfloydstamps

i) Comic book publisher Storm Entertainment has released a new comic novel that presents the life and times of the late artist Prince. Titled Tribute: Prince and penned by writer Michael L. Frizell, the comic book features artwork by Ernesto Lovera and Vincenzo Sansone. Lovera has previous credits doing artwork for tribute comics on other famous subjects, including Britain’s Royal Family, pin-up model Bettie Page and an earlier (2013) book on Prince titled Fame, while Sansone has done work on books about John Wayne and Pope Francis. Writer Frizell’s past comic book work covers famous figures in popular culture, politics and music, including books on Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Nancy Reagan, Bono, Miley Cyrus, The Osbournes, Jerry Garcia and Amy Winehouse. Over the years, Storm Entertainment, formerly known as Blue Water Comics, has released a number of tribute comic book biographies, including ones on David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and many others.

Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Althea Legaspi provides us with additional details and comments from the creators of this 24-page tribute to another artist who has left this planet way too soon –  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tribute-prince-new-comic-book-released-20160609#

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Some of you might recall a posting some time back about a new “Floating Record” turntable I’d bought via a Kickstarter project in support of a Chicago company called Grammovox. As a Grammovox owner/supporter, I’ve been the recipient of a regular email newsletter in which they share info on new products (including a retro-style Bluetooth speaker) and on vinyl record products that, when mounted to be played on the vertically-oriented turntable, look extra cool – picture discs, colored vinyl and, in the case I’m sharing with you today, a series of records made by an artist named Curtis Godino that are filled with various liquids. Very lava-lamp visuals, you’d have to figure. Two notable commissions for Godino include “blood-filled” records for clients including Waxwork Records’ Friday The 13th soundtrack and Mondo’s soundtrack for the blood-drenched film ALIENS.

Grammovox staffers recently interviewed the Brooklyn, NY-based artist about the wide range of liquid disc projects – for both musical and fine art clients – for their blog titled The Reverb, which you can reach via the link at https://www.gramovox.com/blogs/posts/interview-with-curtis-godino?

b) Today’s second story about record releases with interesting delivery options shows us a new album titled Ecume on the AntiVJ label by Belgian record producer Thomas Vaquie’, who collaborated with the appropriately-named (for an album package designer) artist Yannick Jacquet (!!) to create a sleeve made of concrete cast resin that’s been inscribed with 3D representations of the waveforms of some of the album’s music. Writing for the Stoneyroads.com dance music web site, Joseph Smith gives us an overview of the limited-edition (25 sets) offering – priced at €90 (not including shipping!) – http://stoneyroads.com/2016/07/artist-creates-concrete-record-sleeve-for-album

c) Levi’s 505C jeans – whether you know it or not – have been featured on two of rock’s most-iconic album covers – Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones and the debut record by NY punk legends Ramones, and with retro styling having a bit of a comeback, the clothing company has decided to re-issue this series in order to fulfill the desires of punkers and Factory-wannabes of all ages to dress as their heroes did.

http://www.gq.com/story/levis-505c-new-style-archives-denim-jeans

d) R.I.P. cartoonist and illustrator Jack Davis, one of the founding editors of Mad Magazine, who died Wednesday at the age of 91. Over his long career, Davis gave us memorable images for a variety of book, magazine and commercial advertising clients (e.g., he designed the original bug that screamed “RAID!” on the bug spray commercials), but besides his great cartoons for Mad, I remember him best for his poster for the 1963 film (then DVD) It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World and his album cover for Johnny Cash’s 1966 record Everybody Loves A Nut.

His colleagues at Mad posted a tribute to him that gives you a nice retrospective of his career – http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2016/07/27/mad-remembers-jack-davis-artist

Truly a great – sad to see him go.

e) Being that we find ourselves – both here in the U.S. and abroad – in the midst of a fair amount of political news-making (elections, party overthrows, military coups, etc.), we’d be disappointed if somebody didn’t use the opportunity to create a series of album cover-influenced images featuring a selection of those folks making the headlines. Well, no reason to be disappointed – the team of reporter Graeme Demianyk and picture editor Tahira Mirza of the U.K. edition of the Huffington Post have crafted a selection of 10 covers that insert politicians including former PM David Cameron, past London mayor Boris Johnson and ex-Labour Party leader Ed Miliband into familiar album art scenes from musical acts including the Beach Boys, Sting, Johnny Cash and Madonna, among others. The creators’ reasoning for this work was stated quite simply – “Sometimes politicians look like they’d rather have been in a band. We’ve tried to make it happen”. I wonder if any of the politicians featured in the grouping would have rather been in the theater? I could definitely see Nigel Farage playing Aaron Burr on a poster for Hamilton http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/album-covers-politicians_uk_57754d63e4b0b9c0dc08ce37

f) They keep trying to get away with this crap…blame it on the “if it’s on the Internet, it must be free” approach to art/photo license management…Photographer Glen Craig, whose portraits and performance photos of many of rock music’s best-known acts (Rolling Stones, James Brown, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and many, many others) have been seen in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and books over the years and, along the way, he’s had special relationships with many of the musical acts he’s taken photos of. Blues guitarist B.B. King was one of those acts, with Craig’s photos of the “King of the Blues” gracing the covers and inside pages of top music magazines of the day including Cashbox, Hullaballoo, Guitar Player, Downbeat and others, so you know that it was a pretty well-known fact that the two were connected.

This seems to have escaped the fact of those responsible for putting together the cover art for several more-recent Universal Music releases of performances by Mr. King, including 2012’s Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr. B.B. King, whose cover shot is one from Mr. Craig’s archives and was not licensed for this use. Not too happy to have found this out by happenstance, Mr. Craig recently sued the label and Mr. King’s estate to recoup royalties he should have earned from a proper license, with the details of the lawsuit and its outcome still pending. The folks on the TMZ.com site recently posted a startling expose of this atrocity, which you can review via the link at http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/11/b-b-king-universal-music-sued-album-photos/   (right next to the link to the article titled “Gigi Hadid’s HUGE Breasts Spill Out…WOW!). Love them TMZers, don’t you?

g) And I thought that I held grudges for too-long a time…It seems that, back in 2013, a spat was ignited between singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens and Jehnny Beth of the UK-based punk band The Savages after Stevens posted a critique of the typography that The Savages used on their Silence Yourself debut record. While the band didn’t respond at the time (Stevens did say that he liked the music), Jehnny showed us that the wound remained deeply ingrained in her psyche when she asked the radio jock she was being interviewed by to not play a Stevens song during the show because “…he wrote a quite funny blog post about how much he hated our album cover.” Stereogum’s James Rettig gives us the details in this recent posting – http://www.stereogum.com/1886227/savages-jehnny-beth-responds-to-sufjan-stevens-critique-of-their-album-cover/news/ All I can say, in the vernacular common for an earlier time, is “take a lude, dude”…

h) If you have a story or personal recollection about the late artist/illustrator Richard Amsel (well known for his film poster and album cover work), the guy that is making a documentary film about the artist is looking for your help. As part of his effort to gather materials for his film, Adam McDaniel was at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con gathering, camera in hand, ready to capture your stories for posterity. In particular, he was looking for other artists who might have worked with Amsel sometime during his career, so if you missed each other during your trip to this huge pop culture extravaganza and have a story you’d like to share, please contact Adam via email at cinemalad5@aol.com. For more information on this film project, please visit their site at http://cinemalad5.wix.com/richardamselmovie

i) While not an article on album cover art per se, I did discover an article about a new book that’ll be hitting the shelves later this year that covers and highlights the work of people – illustrators, graphic designers and industrial designers who, according to a quote from the book’s author,” in many ways, have been left out of design history.” Sound familiar?

The new book, titled The Art of Atari, was written by Tim Lapetino, executive director of the Museum of Video Game Art (playmova.org) and, according to writer Colin Campbell’s recent article for the Polygon web site, “celebrates the packaging and games that were part and parcel of the late-1970s and early-1980s era of console gaming.” Reading through this article, there were many parallels between the perceived roles that designers played in this burgeoning industry – creating eye-catching packaging, marketing materials, advertising, etc. – while in the shadows of the “stars” of the genre (i.e., the video game programmers) with their counterparts in the music business, who typically are the record label execs, band managers and the musical acts themselves that I am pleased to find out that there are others like me (and you, my readers) who have realized just how important it is to provide greater visibility and praise for the “unsung heroes” of these entertainment areas.  I hope to reach out to Tim to find out more about his work and his new online museum but, in the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at this preview – http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/7/4/12083190/inside-the-art-of-atari

j) In the annals of rock music album art history, few band logos/images have been more memorable than Boston’s Spaceship Guitar, the Roger Huyssen-produced illustration (featuring Gerard Huerta’s lettering) which was found on the cover of the band’s 1976 debut record and which went on to sell over 25 million copies world-wide, becoming the second best-selling debut record of all time.

This year, for their 40th Anniversary tour, the group asked the folks at Seattle-based design/animation shop Straightface Studios to expand upon that original design to create an impressive 3-D animation that provides the backdrop to the band’s live concert production. The two-month project produced thousands of hi-res frames used to create the video, with the awe-inspiring results available for viewing as part of writer Kurt Schlosser’s recent article on the Geek Wire site – http://www.geekwire.com/2016/boston-concert-seattle-straightface/

I have more than a feeling that you’ll like what you see (sorry, I just had to do it).

k) We’re often inspired by the images we find on the covers of our favorite record albums, but this is the first time that I’ve read an article where a noted design/innovation consultant has been able to extract the DNA from classic album cover art and apply it to the exploration of how effective teams of people work together to innovate in the workplace (wow – I haven’t written a sentence like that since leaving the Corporate world 10 years ago, and it still stings a bit…).

In this recent article in the Huffington Post by Geoff Tuff (who heads up the Doblin group within Deloitte) titled “Innovation Lessons from the Dark Side“, the author describes how, after deep deliberation, the Hipgnosis-designed cover art for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon presented to him “a reflection on how innovation teams can serve as a prism to play two essential roles for their business: dispersion and re-composition.” By “dispersion”, Tuff means feeding a core business in on one side of a prism and having it come out – through the application of a number of innovative ideas – refracted into a myriad of colorful results. “Re-composition” hopes that truly-capable teams are able to look at the many different ways innovation takes place in the “outside world” and then focus on what’s best for their own efforts going forward.

We’ve all noticed that the titles of the songs on the album – “Time”, “Us & Them”, “Money” and others – all relate quite clearly to

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoff-tuff/innovation-lessons-from-t_b_10364740.html

l) The things some artists will do in order to achieve just the “right” look for their album cover photo! While I typically will not send my readers to gossip sites, this recent article on the Perez Hilton site includes a video of heart-throb Nick Jonas standing still while a sheet of glass is broken over his head, with the results captured via high-speed photography and used on the cover of his latest release titled Last Year Was Complicated. Photography by Yu Tsai, with design and art direction by Kyle Goen (AKA Kyledidthis), the guy responsible for recent album covers for pop artists including Babyface, Ariana Grande, Kid CuDi and Erykah Badu. I’m impressed that Kyle was able to convince the musician (and his management) that this was the best way to produce this image – it harkens back to the days (prior to computer graphics) when art directors had to use their imaginations and available resources to create images like this one…

http://perezhilton.com/2016-06-08-nick-jonas-album-cover-art-last-year-was-complicated-broken-glass-head#

m) Attention all album packaging designers – it’s that time of year again to submit your entries to the annual A Design Awards international design competition. If you’re unfamiliar with these awards, here’s a little more of an intro as provided by the organization’s PR folks – “The A’ Design Award & Competition has been established to promote and recognize the best design works in all countries and in all creative disciplines. The primary aim of the A’ Design Award & Competition is to create a global awareness and understanding for good design practices and principles by highlighting the best designs in all countries and in all industrial fields. The ultimate aim of the A’ Design Awards is to push designers, companies and brands worldwide to create superior products and projects that benefit the society.

The A’ Design Award & Competition has a philanthropic goal to advance society by pushing the frontiers of science, design, creativity and technology forward by creating incentives for innovators to come up with better ideas. The A’ Design Competition aims to create incentives that ignite and reward creativity, original ideas and concept generation in all industrial sectors.”

To those of you who work for clients in the music/entertainment industries, there’s an award category called “GRAPHICS AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN AWARD” that focuses on marketing/promo design – posters, flyers, logos, consumer/trade ads, etc. – with more details on that category available via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/graphicsandadvertisingdesign.html

Packaging designers can find out the details of submissions in the “PACKAGING DESIGN” award category via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/packagingdesign.html

Regular submissions will be accepted until September 15th, with the actual judging/award announcements coming out next April, so watch this space for any updates and for information on the winners in these categories. Best of luck to all who enter!

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (usually on Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month (after the move to our new home near Chicago!) with another summary for you.

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved.

Album Cover News Recap for January, 2016

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap for the month of January, 2016

It’s early February 2016 and, while we here in the Pacific NW continue to endure a mostly-dreary Winter season (sun lamps are hot sellers here), we must consider ourselves lucky considering the bashing that many other areas of the country have been getting. And, while the circus sideshow we call “politics” continues to grab much of our attention these days, your Curator (hey, that’s me!) has been fortunate enough to tour art exhibitions in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and here in Portland, where the 2016 Print Fair was held this past weekend at the Portland Art Museum – lots of great art was seen and appreciated – yes, there is an art world beyond Album Cover-land!

My travels did, of course, slightly reduce the number of days I was able to share the latest album art-related news with you (and, even with a Leap Day added, this will occur again naturally in February), but the steady stream of album art-related news remained unabated, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, profiles, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the impressive number  of exciting and inspiring articles you found in our news feed, I’ll now spend just a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure… Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

It’s early December 2015 and, here in the Pacific NW, we’ve already been treated to the first blasts of Winter air – great skiing on Mt. Hood and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather – with the last bits of Fall’s colors reminding us why we moved here. The craziness we all seem to suffer from at the end of the year has done nothing to stunt the flow of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed including many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and the first “best and worst” lists adding to the endless source of joy and inspiration found in our news feeds, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including art directors Gary Burden, John Van Hamersveld, Kosh, Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) and Tupac’s designer Riskie; photographers Dan Corrigan, Dave Drebin and Brian Cooke, as well as artist/illustrator Tommie Phillips (AKA “Tommie Molecule”).

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer Jay Blakesberg (about the Grateful Dead’s farewell shows), designer/illustrator James Marsh (on his work for Talk Talk), author David Hamsley (with a comprehensive book on Disco-era covers), a GWAR photo retrospective and Taschen’s extensive homage to “the father of album covers”, Alex Steinweiss.

World-wide, there were a large number of exhibitions and shows in museums and galleries built around rock-related imagery that premiered during November, with collections on display that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as Beatle-daughter Mary McCartney’s show of both her/her mother’s family portraits, painter/professor Don Munson’s latest works, a show centered on the art made during So. California’s punk era, cartoonist Jamie Hewlett’s (of Gorillaz fame) latest works, musician/artist Andy Votel’s cassette mix-tape cover designs, White Zombie’s Sean Yseult’s highly-personal artwork and photo shows featuring the works of Dan Fong, Tony Mott, Ken Davidoff and Masayoshi Sukita.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the many new examples of album art-inspired merchandise (something to keep in mind at Holiday time!), a profile of rock star clothier Manuel Cuevas, new record packages where music is delivered via chip-embedded picture cards, a look at the art of design house/record label Mondo, several items listing the “best” and “worst” covers in genres including heavy metal and hip-hop and a look at how photographer Jon Smith creates cover images based on high-speed shots of bullets penetrating various solid objects.

As it typically the case, I don’t have the time/space to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

One final noteWe’ve just completed this year’s annual nominating/final voting polls for the ACHOF and, as part of that effort, I’ve added  several new biographies to the Artist Bios section on the ACHOF site during the month. You’ll now find the list of this year’s inductees on the ACHOF via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2015-inductee-intro-page/ – where I’m sure you’ll find some of your favorite album art producers added to our growing list of honorees.

With all of the year-end distractions now upon us , I’m doing my part to help you in your efforts to catch up on recent news you may have missed but,  as I repeat (incessantly, I know) 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 – it’s my Holiday gift to you!  You can be sure that I’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) 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). Enjoy your Holidays!

November 30th –  1) So, you’ve collected years of rock and roll memorabilia, photos and memories of rock music events and are looking for a way to share it all with the world at large? Of course, you could always do something silly – like launch a blog or web site – but, beginning on December 1st, the curators at The Smithsonian want you to share with other fans via a new site they’ve launched because, according to their press release, “we want rock’n’roll as seen through your eyes: at clubs, concerts, festivals, and beyond.” With one of the ultimate goals of this project being the publication of a book of crowd-sourced images (in the Fall of 2017), the new site (rockandroll.si.edu) will work to be ground central for amateur archivists from around the world. I hope to find out more about the details of this project and will share them with you soon but, in the meantime, you can learn more about how you can help our National Museum become one of the world’s most-complete storehouses of rock music imagery via the link – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-smithsonian-wants-you-to-hit-them-with-your-best-shot-300182334.html

2) Holiday time is the time where rock imagery fans scour the world trying to find never-before-sent gifts to their fellow collectors and, each year, I’m always impressed with some of the unique items I find and am able to share with you. While I’m working on a more-comprehensive article for later in the month, I did want to show you one example I found recently – a collection of cozy blankets and tapestries adorned with well-know album cover and rock portrait designs. Writing for Fast Company‘s design site, Joe Berkowitz introduces us to products sold by a company called society6 that include several well-known album covers nicely-rendered in fabric – you’ll find art for musical acts including Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, Primal Scream, Seal and many others. Lots to choose from, so if you’re stymied for an idea for something new and exciting, take a look – http://www.fastcocreate.com/3053856/wrap-yourself-up-in-music-with-blankets-patterned-after-your-favorite-album-covers#2

November 27th –  1) The talents of the accomplished graphic artist/album cover designer James Marsh are now available in gift-giving form via the new, just-released paperback version of the sold-out 2012 book called “The Spirit of Talk Talk. He kicked the book’s promo off a couple of days ago at a star-studded, musically-intriguing party (featuring The Spirit of Talk Talk Band) at the Clapham Grand in London and, based on the coverage of the event, a great time was had by all who attended. James’ newly-revised book adds pages of new content (artwork, interviews and more) and is a must-have for fans of the artist’s amazingly life-like (and yet surrealistic) illustrations. You can find out more about the book via the Spirit of Talk Talk site – http://spiritoftalktalk.com/ and see pics and video of the recent promo party at https://www.facebook.com/SpiritOfTalkTalk/?fref=photo

Congratulations, James – nice work!

2) In a newly-launched exhibition at NYC’s Gagosian Gallery (available for viewing from now until December 19th), you’ll find an impressive display of photographs that highlight the fact that talent can certainly be inherited. Viewers of “Linda McCartney|Mary McCartney – Mother Daughter” will find a selection of intimate family portraits – some never shown in public – as well as photos well-known to fans of Sir Paul and his family, such as Linda’s shot of her husband and then-baby Mary featured on the cover of the 1970 solo record McCartney. In Sue Williamson‘s interview article on the W Magazine website, you’ll learn more about how this exhibition came together and a bit about how young Ms. McCartney thought it would show how influential her mother’s talents as a photographer turned out to be – http://www.wmagazine.com/culture/art-and-design/2015/11/mary-mccartney-gagosian/photos/

3) While some music fans might be intimidated by the prospect of exploring the cultural themes of rap and hip-hop music, album art fans will be greatly-rewarded by a thorough exploration of the development of the genre’s visuals over the years, with many records serving as stunning examples of both visual artistry and social commentary. In an article written and compiled by Dominique Zonyee for The Boombox site titled “25 Striking Hip-Hop Album Covers That Will Make You Appreciate a Rapper’s Creative Side“, you’ll find a photo gallery showing off examples of memorable cover art for 20+ years of musical acts including Wu-Tang Clan, Geto Boys, Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, DMX, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake and many others. Some are cliche’, some are disturbing and some show an impressive degree of knowledge of the technical and historical influences that simply make for great art – enjoy – http://theboombox.com/25-hip-hop-album-covers-rappers-creative-side/

November 26th –  1) As I’m a fan of artists who’ve excelled in the two disciplines of cartoon animation and album cover art, on the rare occasion that one person achieves fame in BOTH arenas, I’m even more impressed. Such is the case with Jamie Hewlett, the guy responsible for Gorillaz – the “make believe” band that featured music videos (and album covers) built around band members that sprung from the crafty fingers of Mr. Hewlett and who achieved a great deal of success several years ago and whose last record (2010’s Plastic Beach) included the talents of Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg and singer Bobby Womack. While Gorillaz will be staging a comeback soon, Hewlett’s talent as a fine artist was the subject of an exhibition (titled “The Suggestionists”) that was on display through December 2nd at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Read more about the artist’s latest efforts in Holly Williams‘ recent interview article on The Independent (UK) site – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/jamie-hewlett-on-the-return-of-the-gorillaz-and-fine-art-saatchi-gallery-exhibition-a6733491.html

2) Fans of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita – perhaps best-known for the photo he snapped of glam-rocker David Bowie in 1977 that was used on the cover of his Heroes LP (and re-purposed in 2013 on the cover of the singer’s popular record titled The Next Day) – can hoof it on over to the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC (until Nov. 30th, moving to the gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami the following week) to view a retrospective they’ve assembled titled “Sukita: David Bowie”. In this article on Time Magazine‘s site by Kenneth Bachor, you’ll read more about the artist and his 40+year relationship with the rocker who’s called Sukita “a brilliant artist” – see if you don’t agree… http://time.com/4117090/sukita-david-bowie-photos/

3) Colorado Public Radio’s reporting team of Michael D. Yoanna and Nathan Heffel has posted an audio interview with photographer Dan Fong, a shooter with a resume and portfolio that includes portraits of nearly every major musical act that toured through the Denver area in the 1960s-70s (The Who, Van Morrison, Tommy Bolin and others), a series of album cover images for The Doobie Brothers and, based on his further talents as a chef, cooking for a dinner party for The Rolling Stones. A new exhibition of Fong’s photos from the era are also now on display (titled Legends of Rock) from now through January 2nd at the Robert Anderson Gallery in Denver. Sharing the interview with Fong is security guru to the stars, Jerry McKim, who shares tales of his duty keeping fans from killing themselves and the bands that played the local venues – good times, for sure.

https://www.cpr.org/news/story/denvers-rock-heyday-through-eyes-photographer-and-security-man

November 24th –  1) One of the most-creative labels behind the resurgence in the sales of vinyl records is Austin, TX-based Mondo, founded by a saloon owner named Tim League who grew his business to include concerts, merchandise (both their own and from major licensors) and, ultimately, a record label that produces and distributes smartly-packaged music. Their specialty is custom-produced movie soundtrack albums, and the 50+ records they’ve released includes compilations from films such as Star Wars, Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy and many others. Their products have featured art work done by several highly-collected fine artists (including Olly Moss and Tyler Stout, among othes) and, in this recent article by Zack Ruskin on the Consequence of Sound site, you’ll learn more about the company’s past and plans for the future, straight from the principals – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/11/merch-madness-inside-the-world-of-mondo/

2) While 1969’s International Palm Beach Music & Arts Festival held at the area Speedway didn’t move the Pop Culture needle the same way that Woodstock did that year, the fact that key period bands such as The Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones (as well as many others) played before the 50,000 or so ticket-holders over the three days of the festival gave local photographers such as Ken Davidoff a chance to capture memorable images of these bands for posterity. All these years later, Davidoff is now earning a living licensing shots from his portfolio – including images from the previously-mentioned shows – via his OldRockPhoto.com site and displayed a selection of them in a show that ran thru Nov. 30th at the Palm Beach County History Museum, 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL. You can learn more about the photographer and his career (including time spent with John Lennon) in Leslie Gray Streeter‘s recent article for the Palm Beach Post – http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/arock-n-roll-backstage-pass-classic-rock-photos-by/npN3B/

3) One of the best-known Elvis records – titled 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong – featured Elvis in a custom-designed gold lame suit created by famed clothing designer Manuel Cuevas, who also supplied iconic clothing for Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the stars featured in over 100 films and TV shows. Still tailoring-away in his eighties, in this interview article by Freunde von Freunden for The Creators Project, you’ll learn all about the designer’s time spent as a youngster studying from the great Nudie and then stepping out on his own to help design important aspects of many a star’s public and on-screen personnas – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/meet-the-man-who-made-elvis-signature-gold-suit

Any guy who has helped cement our fondest remembrances of Raquel Welch and Marilyn Monroe is a friend of mine…

November 23rd –  1) Very nice article on one of the world’s best-known and prolific album cover artists – Kosh, the man responsible for cover images you love including Hotel California for the Eagles, Abbey Road for The Beatles, Who’s Next for The Who and many, many others. I wrote a while back about the fact that Kosh is now selling a line of prints that include some very well-done “mash-ups” of some of his famous works – how about “Abbey Hotel”, where the Fab Four are now crossing the street in front of the iconic So. CA. hotel (!!). In writer Laura Huntt Foti’s feature on the Best Classic Bands site, the designer gives us some delightful tidbits on the stories behind several of his images, available via the link at http://bestclassicbands.com/kosh-creates-unforgettable-lp-covers-11-17-15/

2) Designer/photographer Brian Cooke has contributed a number of memorable images for fans of rock and roll since starting in the business in the 1960s. Since then, working as both an in-house producer for Island Records and as a freelancer doing work for other labels including Chrysalis and Virgin Records (where he produced over 150 sleeve images), Cooke has worked to introduce us to many now-classic acts in the worlds of rock, punk, New Wave and beyond, including Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, Steve Winwood/Traffic, Robert Palmer, the Sex Pistols, Mott The Hoople and many more. Writer Sharon Dale, reporting for The Yorkshire Post, talks to Cooke about his career and his two recent efforts – a blog and a retail web store – to share highlights of his experiences (his “adventures”) with fans world-wide – http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/yorkshire-living/arts/art/sleeve-notes-my-adventures-in-rock-n-roll-1-7561323

3) The packaging and distribution of retail music products continues to evolve with the times and technology, as you’ll see in this recent article by Brooke Roberts-Islam in the Huffington Post about musician Beatie Wolfe and how she’s chosen to sell her music product to fans – via a specially-produced deck of cards that include NFC technology that allows properly-app’d smart-phones to instantly play her songs, accompanied with lyrics, artwork and other proprietary content. It’s a pretty cool combination of digital and physical, I think you’ll agree – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/brooke-robertsislam/beatie-wolfe_b_8503290.html

Has anyone actually seen or played with anything like this? Please share, if you have…

November 20th –  1) If you find yourself anywhere near Napa, CA, you owe it to yourself to drive on over to the gallery at sparkling wine maker Mumm Napa to see a showing of photos, taken by Jim Marshall and curated by both Carlos Santana and the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery. According to the press release for “Jim Marshall Seen Through The Eyes Of Carlos Santana”, the show serves to both allow the winery to introduce their new, limited-release sparkler called “Santana Savor” and for the award-winning guitarist “to show Jim Marshall’s genius as a photographer, a chronicler of history and portraitist of no equal.” The two first met in 1965 when a mutual friend of theirs introduced them and asked Jim to shoot some publicity photos of what was then known as the Santana Blues Band, and their friendship endures to this day (even after Jim’s death in 2010). The show runs through May of next year, and details can be found via the link – https://www.mummnapa.com/visitmummnapa/events/jim-marshall-seen-through-the-eyes-of-carlos-santana

2) Designer Gary Burden‘s work in the album art field is legendary, so it’s nice to be able to learn a bit more about “the making of” his “10 Most-Memorable Album Covers” in this recent article/photo gallery put together by Melody Lau on the CBC Music blog – http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2015/11/From-Neil-Young-to-Joni-Mitchell-artist-Gary-Burden-on-10-of-his-most-famous-album-covers   If you’re in Toronto anytime between now and next February, you can also tour a new gallery show of Burden’s (and his wife, Jenice Heo’s) creative output called The Neil Young Series on display at the STRUCK Contemporary gallery on Adelaide Street East. The display includes a number of new mixed-media works the duo recently produced that attempt to express their feelings about the musician and his music. You’ll recall that Burden created the album cover for Young’s 1970 album titled After The Gold Rush, as well as those for On The Beach and several CSN&Y albums, including Deja Vu and 4-Way Street. 

3) Andy Votel is truly a multi-talented guy – artist, musician, producer, record label owner – and so it seems natural that he’d apply his gifts to music-and-art-related projects for himself and his stablemates. A true indie at heart, he’s also decided to “buck the system” and, rather than create new music/art for more-traditional retail distribution, Andy has decided to offer fans a series of cassette mixtapes that sport the artist’s colorful cover imagery. Working with the Manchester (U.K.)-based gallery Electrik, you’ll be able (through December 3rd) to see an exhibition of his latest works that include “tape covers – ranging from Bollywood horror themes to Tokyo pop via music made entirely on home made instruments.” Writing for TheQuietus site, John Doran has posted an interview with Votel during which he discusses his anti-establishment approach to delivering music and art via a medium most consider being from a bygone era – http://thequietus.com/articles/19215-andy-votel-turn-on-tape-in-tab-out-exhibition-preview

November 19th –  1) Here’s a great interview article with a great interview article subject – graphic artist John Van Hamersveld, a guy that has so many impressive credits that it’s difficult to begin to summarize them. The Endless Summer poster? That’s him. The Fatburger logo? John again. The covers for Magical Mystery Tour, Exile On Main Street and Hotter Than Hell for KISS, along with posters, prints and, most-recently, a huge, classic Japanese art-inspired mural in Hermosa Beach, CA – all show this artist’s impact on Pop Culture over the past 50 years – so it’s with great pleasure that I point you towards writer Thomas Harlander‘s article as it appeared recently on the Los Angeles Magazine site – http://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/the-artist-behind-the-endless-summer-poster-on-his-work-then-and-now/   Surfers world-wide owe JVH an eternal debt of gratitude!

2) While the cover collage for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s and the photo of the same band’s members crossing the street featured on the cover of Abbey Road must surely be the most-copied frameworks for spoof covers, the folks behind seminal British rock band Queen – in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of Queen II and “Bohemian Rhapsody” – have worked to raise money for the BBC’s “Children In Need” charity by sponsoring a contest where fans were able to stop by a spot in London where a recreation of Wayne’s World‘s 1978 AMC Pacer was set up so that participants could record a re-make of the band’s classic tune. In addition, a number of U.K. rock stars participated in another fund-raiser, posing to re-create Mick Rock’s famous “floating head” photo that ultimately served as both the cover for the record and the basis for the memorable music video for the song. Writer Duncan Lindsay, on the Metro U.K. web site – has just posted a quiz that asks you to identify the substitutes in a series of these photo re-creations – I hope that you did better than I did on this (I really need to bone up on my UK pop stars!) – http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/11/quiz-can-you-name-these-stars-who-have-recreated-the-queen-bohemian-rhapsody-pose-5495218/

3) The Boston Globe‘s Mark Feeney recently posted his review on the newly-launched show at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford (running now through January 24) featuring over 100 works by both Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe that explore their takes on sexual identity and gender. Titled “Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls,” the show consists of “mostly photographs, but also silkscreens, books, album covers, and several videos..(that) range in date from 1973 to 1988, a year after Warhol’s death — and a year before Mapplethorpe’s.” You’ll recall one such example in Mapplethorpe’s 1975 photo of Patti Smith, used on the cover of her record titled Horses, showing Ms. Smith posed in a man’s suit, but many other lesser-known but equally-impactful images are on hand to exemplify the many ways these two artists sought to address the topic. More info via the link – https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2015/11/12/warhol-and-mapplethorpe-hartford/cPeQAHuF65XLucOIv35R6M/story.html

November 18th –  1) Some of you may recall the “Featured Fan Portfolio” feature that I did late last year with photographer/writer David Hamsley regarding gatefold record covers. At the time, David was getting materials together for a book about disco records (with a special focus on the visuals that helped create the era’s unforgettable look and feel), and I’m happy to announce that he’s published his book – titled To Disco, With Love: The Records That Defined An Era (it began shipping on Nov. 24th) – and that it was selected by Amazon.com to be included in their “Editor’s Picks for Unique and Unusual Gift Books” section this Holiday Season. http://www.amazon.com/To-Disco-Love-Records-Defined/dp/1250068452

Congratulations, David! Here’s to a successful, Quiana and thumping bass-filled Holiday sales season! If you’d like to revisit my interview with the author, just follow the link –  https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/featured-fan-portfolio-david-hamsleys-favorite-gatefold-covers/

2) One of the best-known music industry shooters from “Down Under” is Tony Mott who, for over 30 years, has provided us fans with many memorable images of bands for both record packages (Concrete Blonde, Icehouse, Sarah McLachlan and others) and news features in major entertainment pubs. With over 30,000 photos published over the years, I can only imagine the difficulty curators faced when trying to pick just a few to feature in a new exhibition titled What A Life! (running now through next February 6th) in the Mitchell & Dixson Galleries at the State Library/New South Wales in Sydney. Writing for the ABC Arts site, Edwina Storie interviews Mr. Mott, who tracks his career from his first big break (a photo of The Divinyls’ lead singer Chrissy Amphlett) through to sessions with Johnny Rotten, the Rolling Stones and Midnight Oil. Read the interview at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-11/tony-mott-reflects-on-the-golden-age-of-music-photography/6931716 and learn more about the exhibition at  http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/exhibitions/2015/what_a_life/

3) Album Artist on The Late Show! How cool is that? Shepard Fairey, the graphic artist best-known for his Andre The Giant “OBEY” graffiti and his Obama “HOPE” poster, also sports a long list of album art credits, including covers for Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots, Bad Brains and many others. Earlier this week, Fairey appeared with host Stephen Colbert to promote his new book and talk about his past and future plans and his willingness to die (or, at least, go to jail) for his art. Here’s a link to the clip of his appearance on the CBS/Late Show web site – http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/330F4113-B7DD-ADFC-BDAD-13BA13743D68/shepard-fairey-talks-hope-obey-art/

November 17th –  1) After his singing partner Jan Berry was badly injured in a car crash back in 1966, Dean Torrence continued to work on a new record and, at the same time, reached back to his earlier training as a graphic artist to start his own design studio – Kittyhawk Graphics – to make sure that the album art featured on his own records was to his satisfaction. He soon offered his services to other music industry friends and clients (including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Chicago) and, in 1973, he won a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover for his work on Pollution (the record/band, not the environment). While he’s not doing album covers any more, Torrence still performs on occasion and, as you’ll read in this recent interview with Frank Mastropolo on the Rock Cellar Magazine site, you’ll learn more about his career, the trail that lead from do-wop music to “the California Sound” and his relationship with friend/competitor Brian Wilson – http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/2015/11/06/dean-torrence-interview-jan-and-dean-beach-boys-brian-wilson-jan-berry/

2) Happy to share Bruce Jenkins’ recent article on the Vinyl Connection site about the re-release of one of rock music’s most-intriguing (and perfectly round) album packages – that of the Small Faces’ 1968 release Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. So much art in a fascinating package, with artwork by keyboardist Ian Mclagan’s art school chums Pete Brown and Nick Tweddell. Now, if they could only figure out how to stop the package from rolling off the shelf.. http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/11/17/multi-colour-of-the-rainbold/

3) Now on display (thru 12/31) at the Sacred Gallery in New York City is an exhibition by another musician-turned-fine-artist Sean Yseult, best-known for her time spent as the bassist for the popular metal band White Zombie. Trained as a graphic artist at the Parsons School of Design in NYC (where she met and then befriended Rob Zombie), since the band’s first break-up in 1998 Sean has worked hard to develop her career as a fine artist, crafting critically-acclaimed mixed media works which have been on display in galleries in the U.S. and Europe. This new show – titled Sean Yseult: Retrospective – includes a variety of works from various times during her career as an artist, including items from a 2004 show centered on her love of her adopted home of New Orleans and three newer collections – SEX & DEATH & ROCKNROLL (2012), MISSISSIPPI MERMAIDS (2013) and her most-recent show SOIRÉE D’EVOLUTION: TABLEAUX VIVANTS ET NATURE MORTES. You can learn more about the artist and her new show on the gallery’s site, via the link – http://www.sacredgallerynyc.com/now-exhibit-sean-yseult-retrospective

November 16th –  1) While not exactly album cover art-related, I did feel as though I could share this brief intro to the graphic artist who created an image that, like so many great examples of well-considered graphics, will certainly stand the test of time. A 32-year-old French artist living in London named Jean Jullien is responsible for the peace-symbol-turned-Eiffel Tower image that has circulated world-wide since it appeared shortly after Friday’s mind-numbing terror attack in Paris, and you can learn a little more about him and the graphic he created – based on an anti-nuclear war emblem that originated in the 1950s – in this AFP article found on the ArtDaily site – http://artdaily.com/news/82919/-Peace-for-Paris–symbol-by-32-year-old-French-graphic-artist-Jean-Jullien-goes-viral

2) Photographer Dan Corrigan‘s 30+-year portfolio of music clients in the Minneapolis, MN area includes a number of well-known album covers, including the shot featured on the package for The Replacements’ 1984 release Let It Be (along with others for a wide range of acts including The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, The Proclaimers…even comedian Lewis Black!). In the latest installment of the Pitchfork TV series titled Pitchfork Unsung which, as you might figure, focuses on folks working in the music business who don’t receive all of the recognition they might deserve (what a concept!), you’ll meet Dan and watch as he takes you through the highlights of his career, including his efforts to keep alive one venerable local nightclub – First Avenue – so that future generations can enjoy the vibe there as much as he has over the years…http://pitchfork.com/news/61941-photographer-dan-corrigan-the-replacements-let-it-be-featured-in-pitchforktvs-pitchfork-unsung/

3) Part of the team that produced the Grammy-nominated cover for jazz-rock hit-makers Chicago (for Chicago VI), Donald E. Munson was the subject of an exhibit that ran through November 28th at the Storr’s Library in Longmeadow, MA as part of their 2nd annual Local Artist Spotlight. “Evolution: Don Munson – Fifty Years of Painting” is sponsored by the town’s Cultural Council, with the exhibit including 50 examples of Munson’s work from 1965 to the present. Munson has worked in a number of roles in the arts during his illustrious career, including time as an award-winning Art Director at Random House and a professor at Westfield State University and continues to paint while operating his Red Stair Studio from his home in Longmeadow. You can see more of Munson’s colorful work and learn more about him in this illustrated interview by Christine White on the MassLive.com site –  http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2015/11/longmeadow_artist_donald_munson_marks_five_decades_of_life_on_canvas.html

November 13th – 1) High-speed photography has produced some fascinating images over the years, so it only makes sense that it would find its way into album cover imagery and, in this recent article/interview with former chemist-turned-photographer Jon Smith (written by Mark Ambrogi for the Current In Fishers site), you’ll learn more about his transition from corporate scientist to producer of pictures of frozen destruction for media clients, including popular party band Umphrey’s McGee, who featured one of Jon’s photos on the cover of their recent record titled The London Session: A Day At Abbey Road Studios – http://currentinfishers.com/aiming-for-art-fishers-photographer-jon-smith-turns-exploding-light-bulbs-into-creative-displays/

You can find more examples of Smith’s work – including the UM record cover, on his site – http://wideeyedilluminations.com/portfolio/umphreys-mcgee-album/

2) Early prog rock fans will remember the mid-60s ensemble The Syn, which featured a pre-YES Chris Squire and Peter Banks and drummer-turned-rock-photographer Martyn Adelman (among others). Although the band broke up in the late 60s, some of the key players reunited in 2004 and have continued to record and perform. A fan of their early music – Denver, CO-area graphic artist Tommie Phillips (AKA Tommie Molecule), was looking to interview the band for a fan-zine he produced at the time called The Lost Chord and, during their correspondence, band-members were so impressed with the drawings Tommie shared with them that they asked him to design and illustrate the cover for their upcoming release titled The Syn: Live Rosfest, which he happily and ably did. In this article by writer Oakland L. Childers for Westword magazine, you’ll meet Phillips and learn more about his past (including stints as a photo-retoucher and pre-press artist for a local newspaper), his entry into the album art world and his desire to help keep great album cover imagery alive (here, here!) – http://www.westword.com/music/tommie-phillips-creates-album-art-from-the-heart-for-the-syn-7308758

3) Oh, and it makes me wonder…why do so many musical acts accept less-than-good artwork for the covers of their albums? You wouldn’t think that this would be the case – particularly in the graphics-heavy world of Metal Music – but as you’ll see in Joe DeVita‘s recent article on the Loudwire site titled “50 Awful Metal Album Covers”, it seems to have been a pretty-regular occurrence throughout modern metal music history. It’s a painful-but-fascinating read/viewing (where “the hits keep on coming”). Enjoy (?) – http://loudwire.com/awful-metal-album-covers/Metalucifer’s Heavy Metal Chainsaw and Heavy Metal Drill made me snort my soda through my nose (not a very metal thing to do – I know)…

November 12th – 1) Elliott Landy‘s photos have graced the covers of records by The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and others, but the scope of his career has also included (among other things) stints as a photo-journalist covering the anti-war movement in the 1960s and an event photographer at the Woodstock Arts & Music Festival. On Wednesday, November 18th at the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center in mid-town Manhattan (NYC), Mr. Landy was on hand to present a career retrospective titled “An Evening with 60’s Rock Legend Photographer, Elliott Landy” that will include a number of images of some of the era’s top music talent at home and in performance. Although the event time has passed, you can still see and learn more when you click on over to the event’s promo page at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-60s-rock-legend-photographer-elliott-landy-59-tickets-18937067278

In case you were wondering, Elliott was a 1959 CUNY graduate…

2) Moving from New York in the 60s to New York in the 1970s, fans of the work of photographer Allan Tannenbaum can click on over to the Mr. Musichead site to see a special “artist of the month” feature on his work that includes a nice photo album and an interview (by Ellice Ruiz) with the esteemed shooter himself. With a career as a photographer that began in the 1960s and included subjects such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Debbie Harry & Blondie, jazz great Charles Mingus, the Bee Gees and many others, he’s established himself as one of the top portrait photographers in the city, but it was his post 9-11 photo show (which he took to galleries in France and Italy) that cemented his place in the pantheon of NYC-based photojournalists, IMHO… Portfolio at http://mrmusichead.com/portfolio-items/allan-tannenbaum/, with the interview at http://mrmusichead.com/featured-artist-allan-tannenbaum/

November 11th –  1) Ghostly International began 16 years ago as an indie record label, and while the successful expansion of Sam Valenti IV’s brand into other leading-edge lifestyle products might have caused some companies to lose focus on the ideals that brought them to market, Ghostly continues to put creativity front and center in the packaging of their music products. In Ben Sisario’s recent article for the New York Times, you’ll have a chance to learn more about Valenti and his company and see some of the unique ways that they’re offering customers limited-edition music and related products, including art prints of Michael Cina’s album art paintings and a 60-pound marble record box – “a D.J.’s standard-issue record crate re-imagined as an ancient ruin”. Cool. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/business/media/ghostly-transcends-its-record-label-roots-to-sell-an-ethos.html

2) It’s “Record Sleeves of the Month” time again – Rachael Steven, writing for the U.K.’s Creative Review, shows us examples of the latest in album cover packaging, with art featured this month for records by Santigold (artist as shrink-wrapped merchandise, with photo by Haruhiku Kawaguchi), Co La (type samples as album art), Joanna Newsom (landscape in a fish tank) and many others. Olga Bell’s latest is particularly-impressive: a limited-run package with a holographic package and marbleized vinyl disc by Alex Trochut – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/record-sleeves-of-the-month/

3) There’s a new writer who has just posted an interesting album cover article on The 405 site titled “Album Cover Dissection” (don’t worry – no album covers were harmed in the making of this article). Sam Quinton gives us a summary of recent record cover images that he (she?) has found intriguing, including those for musical acts such as Battles, Adele, Empress Of and others. Of course, the so-spooky-you’ve-gotta-look cover for a new release by FKA twigs – whose 2014 release titled LP1 was last year’s most-talked-about album cover – looks as though it will be a feature on this year’s list as well… http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/monthly-column-about-artwork-144

November 10th –  1) Nineteen years ago, artist Ronald “Riskie” Brent was trying to build a reputation in his Compton, CA neighborhood for the artwork he sold on t-shirts at a local flea market/swap meet, while at the same time selling drugs on his block just to get by. Rap record producer Suge Knight (who lived nearby) had brought Tupac Shakur and a crew to the area to make a music video and, waiting patiently, Riskie stepped forward to show his work to his neighbor, who was so impressed that, ultimately, he was offered a job at Death Row Records and ended up creating the album art for Tupac’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, the record that was finished and released 2 months after the rapper was murdered. In this story by Michael Namikas on the HipHopDX siteRiskie shares more of the details of his career as one of rap’s best-known graphic artists –  http://hiphopdx.com/interviews/id.2807/title.makaveli-riskie-a-conversation-with-death-row-graphic-artist-ronald-riskie-brent 

2) I wrote not long ago about a new gallery/photo publisher (House of Roulx) I’d found whose chosen mix of subjects and artists (including images from both photographer George DuBose’s archive and that of the late magician Harry Houdini) certainly qualifies them as an important player in the rock fine art photo-selling world, but in this recent interview with the company’s founders – brothers Trevor and Jared Gendron – done by Shawn Setaro for Forbes Magazine, you’ll learn more about their backgrounds (one is a former record label/distributor art director while the other is a successful memorabilia collector and reseller) and how they came to represent the archive of a late photographer who shot the final live performance of singer Janis Joplin – http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnsetaro/2015/11/03/house-of-roulx-from-hip-hop-to-houdini/

November 9th –  1) The exploits of – and mythology behind – “the world’s only openly-extraterrestrial” art/thrash-metal music collective known as GWAR – are the subjects of both a new book on the topic and an illustrated feature in the December 2015 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine. The book – titled Let There Be GWAR and put together by the duo of Bob Gorman and Roger Gastman, featuring a forward by Kurt Loder and published by Gingko Press – was reviewed by Pitchfork.com‘s Shawna Kenney in September as “a high-end tribute for a band known for spewing fake bodily fluids from effigies like OJ Simpson, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Justin Bieber, just to name a few. The text mixes oral history and narrative from the band’s early art collective days through Grammy nominations, tabloid TV appearances, an ACLU-backed lawsuit, the deaths of members Cory Smoot and Dave Brockie, the Gwar-B-Ques and beyond…” Juxtapoz’s in-depth feature will focus on the band’s visual history, so if you’re a fan (or an adoring slave) of all things “bloody and grotesque”, click on over to the preview at http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/issue-preview-december-2015-with-gwar

2) Following up on their earlier efforts in which they used Google Maps/Street View to find and display the actual locations of several well-known rap/hip-hop record covers, the team at Mass Appeal (per this recent article by Tasia Princejust released Part 2 of their series, showing fans of acts both “classic” and new – including Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kool Moe Dee, Fabolous, T.I. and others – exactly where the cover images were taken. You’ll travel to Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and several locations in the NYC area (sounds like the basis of a “bucket list” tour for fans of the subject, no?). http://massappeal.com/iconic-hip-hop-albums-in-google-maps-street-view-part-2/?view-all=1

3) As I’ve been doing research for my new book and collecting the comments of a number of creative/production people working in the music business, I have to admit that I have heard a fair amount of exasperation from folks who don’t feel that consumers of media these days can differentiate between the works produced by trained professionals and those done by amateurs with their phone cameras. A recent example of this frustration can be found in this interview with the very talented (and in-demand) photographer David Drebin posted by Shinan Govani on The Toronto Star site where he admits that, these days, he’s embarrassed to let folks know that he’s a photographer because “everybody is a photographer these days”. A graduate of the Parsons/New School in NYC and with his works selling for sizable sums in major gallery shows, I know that there is an appreciation of his work but, in this selfie-driven society, it’s hard not to agree that its harder to get people to stop and appreciate artistry of any type these days – http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2015/11/01/photographer-david-drebin-clicks-dont-like-on-the-selfie-epidemic.html

November 6th –  1) It’s time to let your opinions be known about who’ll be the cream of the latest crop of album covers…Our chums at Art Vinyl have posted the nominees for this year’s “Best Art Vinyl” voting, and in this nice introductory article by Rachael Steven on the Creative Review site, you’ll learn more about a number of the fascinating works that were created for this past year’s hottest music – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/art-vinyls-record-sleeves-of-the-year/  Once you’ve had a chance to look through the 50 nominated covers, click on over to the Voting Page on the Art Vinyl site to select the three you’d like to support for the title of “Best Art Vinyl 2015” – http://www.artvinyl.com/vote/  Winners will be announced in early January and will be featured in a multi-city art show. Best of luck to all the nominees – nice work!

2) Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting/interviewing several album cover artists whose principal clients are bands from “the Dark Side” of the music business – that is, metal music makers in all sub-categories (heavy, Nordic, death, thrash, speed, etc.). As you may know, some of these bands prefer to include cover art that many of you might consider to be anywhere from “gory” to “disgusting” but, as it has been shown throughout the centuries, many “fine artists” have decided to focus on the topics that have resulted in works that are just as disturbing (to illustrate my contention, I invite you to check out some of the works done by masters such as Goya, William Blake, Francis Bacon and, everyone’s favorite, Hieronymus Bosch).Writing for Diffuser.fmJames Stafford has dug deep into the album art archives to share with us his “31 Most Disturbing (Non-Heavy Metal) Album Covers Ever”, opening up the investigation about the reasons why any musical act chooses to catch your eye with imagery that is meant to disturb – http://diffuser.fm/most-disturbing-album-covers/

3) Lastly – it seems that every year we get to see examples of album art that aren’t wholly original. Some are parodies, some homages and, in the case detailed in David Renshaw’s recent article on the NME.com site, some seem to be the results of either laziness or obliviousness…In the article, you’ll read about the upset that Coldplay has caused the members of a band called Bring Me The Horizon simply because the album artwork they’re going to feature on their newest release looks an awful lot like the artwork that BMTH featured on their 2013 release titled Sempiternal. I’m guessing that there will be some modification to Coldplay’s promo materials before the new record (titled A Head Full of Dreams) is released this month – http://www.nme.com/news/bring-me-the-horizon/89392

November 5th –  1) Many of us have fond memories of the simply-but-colorfully-drawn, trippy 2-D original animation featured in the original 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine. With today’s often over-the-top, computer-generated 3-D visuals that dominate film screens, you had to think that, at some point, some fan with the talent and the wherewithal ultimately had to show us what the film might have looked like if the today’s advanced animation tools were available back then. Enter famed comic book illustrator Alex Ross, well-known in that arena for his super-realistic renderings of characters including Batman, Superman, The Avengers and many others. Back in July, with the approval of the Beatles’ organization, he released several illustrations featuring re-done scenes from Yellow Submarine and, just recently (as you’ll see in this interview with Robin Burks on the Tech Times site), he’s expanded his Fab Four-related catalog to include some amazingly-realistic, limited-edition portraits of each of the band’s members. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/100645/20151029/interview-artist-alex-ross-discusses-drawing-the-beatles.htm 

WWABHD? (“what would Al Brodax have done”?)

2) Fans in the Huntington Beach, CA area had until the 22nd of November to visit the Rainwater Gallery on Main Street to walk through an exhibit of punk music-inspired artwork from the likes of Winston Smith, John Bilhooley and several others titled “AnARTchy” (“I am an AnARTchist”). The punk scene was very active in So. California, with bands including T.S.O.L., Black Flag and many others inciting intense moshing in clubs all along the coastline, so the hosting of such a display of art, posters, photos and other memorabilia in a Surf City gallery only makes sense. Read more about the show in Brittany Woolsey’s feature on it in the Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.com/socal/hb-independent/entertainment/tn-hbi-et-1029-anartchy-20151029-story.html and check out the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/RainwaterGallery/ for details of the several related events they held during the show’s run.

3) “The Grateful Dead are dead, and they’re grateful” John Belushi once said…but are they REALLY dead? I think not, and even though the title of photographer Jay Blakesberg’s upcoming book on the band’s farewell tour – Fare The Well: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of The Grateful Dead (published by Rock Out Books), hitting the bookshelves on December 1st – might indicate the band’s demise, their art and merchandising (and roylaties) will thrive forever or, as Gary Lambert writes in an essay from the book, “… after fifty years, it can’t be denied that the Dead’s art became a tradition unto itself…” Read more about it on the Grateful Web site – http://www.gratefulweb.com/articles/fare-thee-well-celebrating-50th-anniversary-grateful-dead

November 4th –   2X Annie Leibovitz and 1X Alex Steinweiss – not a bad day!

1.1) On November 3rd, the now-being-remodeled San Francisco Museum of Modern Art bestowed its inaugural “Contemporary Vision Award” upon photographer extraordinaire Annie Leibovitz for, as they state, ” the extraordinary achievements of global leaders—creators, innovators and change-makers—whose work foregrounds contemporary art as a vital and meaningful part of public life.” One look at her memorable album cover photos for Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Peter Tosh, Tony Bennett and others brings great truth to that description, no? While originally from Connecticut, Ms. Leibovitz received her schooling at the the San Francisco Art Institute and went to work in 1970 as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine. https://www.sfmoma.org/press/release/inaugural-sfmoma-contemporary-vision-award-to-hono/

Here’s a link to a photo from that night’s event, tweeted by a staffer at the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle –
https://twitter.com/SFC_Style/status/661765970604658688

1.2) Leibovitz also announced that she’ll be bringing a gallery show based on her successful photo project titled Women to 10 countries, beginning in London in January, 2016 and subsequently moving around the world with shows in Tokyo, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York, and Zurich. This project began years ago with the prompting of her then-partner Susan Sontag, became a popular photo book in 1999 and, since, has expanded to include portraits of many notable women, with recent examples including Amy Schumer, Venus & Serena Williams and Caitlyn Jenner (you’ll recall Annie’s first photos of Ms. Jenner for Vanity Fair magazine earlier this past summer). Writing for the ArtNet Daily site, Amah-Rose Abrams gives us more of the details –
https://news.artnet.com/people/annie-leibovitz-reveals-new-women-subjects-349697

2) Anya Tchoupakov from The Creators Project recently posted an overview of a new book by the Taschen publishing house – collected and edited by art directors Kevin Reagan (formerly with Geffen Records) and Steven Heller (formerly with The New York Times) – that provides album art fans with a comprehensive look at the life and work of the man considered to be “the father of the album cover”, Alex Steinweiss. Appropriately titled Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, the 550+ page book includes hundreds of images made by the man that, 75 years ago, convinced a skeptical employer – Columbia Records – to consider the idea that an attractively-packaged record would appeal to consumers and, therefore, increase the likelihood that they’d buy it (what a concept!). Steinweiss would then go on to establish the “standards” regarding imagery, type-styles, etc., that would soon be copied and employed by record labels globally. Anyone interested in the history of this art form should both read this article and then add this book to their collection – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/the-father-of-album-covers

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

Copyright 2015, Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved

 

Album Cover News Recap for October, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – November 2, 2015

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s early November, 2015 and we’re heading into the late Fall season here in the Pacific NW – great hiking and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather, with wonderful colors found all around, including in the many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 or so days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and three new films adding to the pure joy found in our news feeds, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to complete your review of this list by reading/viewing these items at your own pace…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including artist of the macabre Jeff Gaither, art directors Mike Salisbury, Kosh and David Larkham, illustrators Shepard Fairey and Tony Quick (for the NEW Zombies LP) and singer/songwriter/painter John Mellencamp.

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer/collector Raj Prem, the aforementioned Shepard Fairey, photographer Jay Blakesberg (a book titled Hippie Chicks) and videographer/vinly lover Eilon Paz, who brings his Dust And Grooves series from video to print.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during October, with shows in museums and galleries around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as the show at Hilton|Asmus in Chicago featuring photos by Henry Diltz, Carinthia West and Pattie Boyd, Neal Preston’s recent display at the LDI convention, the “Hippie Modernism” show at the Walker Art Center, a show of Michael Cooper photos in London, Graham Nash’s new display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Winston Smith’s collage show in San Francisco, musician/artist Wayne Coyne’s display in Baltimore and a show featuring “make believe” album art in New Haven, CT.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the now-open voting for Art Vinyl’s yearly “Best Art Vinyl” awards, album art created by working musicians, a clothing license deal that will produce gear featuring 80’s style/art icon Patrick Nagel’s artwork,  a scientific study into whether album cover art influences the reviews by music critics and three films – Roddy Bogawa’s look into the life and career of the late Storm Thorgerson called Taken By Storm (covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and many others), one about photographer Robert Frank (Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones) and Colin Hanks & Co’s loving tribute to the life and death of that former temple of all things vinyl – Tower Records – titled All Things Must Pass. As it typically the case, I don’t have the time/space to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

We’re going into the annual voting season for the ACHOF and, as part of that effort, I’ve added  several new biographies to the Artist Bios section on the ACHOF site during the month. With our next class set to be inducted before the Holidays this year, I’m working to include as many as possible for consideration in this effort. With all of the year-end distractions soon upon us , I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on recent news you may have missed but,  as I repeat (incessantly, I know) every month, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) 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).

October 31st – not posted, but added today as a bonus – Bay-area photographer Jim Jocoy has dug deep into his archives and found a collection of late 1970s shots of a “who’s who” in the then-thriving punk music scene (previously publishing some of them in a book titled We’re Desperate: The Punk Rock Photography of Jim Jocoy) and now, in this recent article by Miss Rosen on the Crave Online site, sharing even more of them, including images of Patti Smith, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, Exene Cervenka of X and many other stars of the era. His observation that “Punk is an ephemeral thing. The Rolling Stones are still rolling along, and the Ramones are all gone”, while stating the obvious, certainly underlines the fact that so much of this creative energy has “left the club”… http://www.craveonline.com/art/909159-girls-film-70s-punk-legends-photographs-jim-jocoy#/slide/1

October 30th – 1) Perfectly-timed for a Halloween-weekend item was this just-released feature/interview with artist Jeff Gaither. Fans of album art will recognize his work for metal/hard rock bands including Testament, Pantera, The Misfits, Guns-n-Roses, The Undead and many others (over 200 credits!) but, as you’ll see when you read Kevin Gibson’s article on the LEO Weekly (Louisville, KY) site, the inspirations for the sometimes over-the-top ghoulishness of his imagery come from a fascination of all things serial killer (he even owns a piece of notorious murderer Ed Gein’s tombstone). When you’re done with the article, I’d also suggest a visit to Jeff’s site, where you can learn more about his past, including his five-year stint working for Mr. Rat Fink himself, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth – http://www.leoweekly.com/2015/10/serial-killer-culture-jeff-gaithers-dark-obsession-inspires-his-art-and-fandom/
Site link – www.jeffgaither.com

2) The folks at the Hilton|Asmus Gallery in Chicago have decided to extend the time that their popular photo show based around the photography of Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Carinthia West will be up…Visions Of A Magic Time:Iconic Photographs Of The Music & Culture Of The 60s And 70s will be available for viewing now through December 20th. They also sent over a link to a recent episode of the popular “A Drink With…” web series (sponsored by Virgin Hotels and hosted by Hilary Sawchuck) in which Ms. Sawchuck hoists a margarita or two with the three aforementioned photographers while they talk about the behind-the-scenes details of many of their best-known images and Ms. Boyd (the former muse of rockers George Harrison and Eric Clapton) talks a bit about the ups and downs of being in love…

http://virginhotels.com/2015/10/09/a-drink-with-pattie-boyd-carinthia-west-henry-diltz/

Exhibition info – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/exhibition-schedule.html

October 29th – 1) Album art fans in the New Haven, CT area were treated to an exhibit featuring 67 works of art depicting album covers for “make believe bands” called “Sound + Vision: A Visual Playlist” that ran at the Gallery at the Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., until Oct. 31. This portion of the city-wide “Open Studios” effort showed how local artists would approach projects designed to best-introduce fans to an act’s new music (“you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”), with some of the participants reaching back into the area’s musical history (e.g., a visit by The Doors in 1967 during which Jim Morrison was arrested for various acts of debauchery) to provide the bases for the visual imagery. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 31, there was a closing party with album sales, auction results, and a live broadcast on local radio station WPKN, so if you would like to learn more, read Brian Slattery‘s article on the topic on the New Haven Independent site –http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/sound_vision/

2) Music journalist, photographer, collector and curator Raj Prem has just announced that he’s working on a book chronicling both his own career as a rock photojournalist and working alongside other leading rock shooters – including Michael Cooper, Iain Macmillan, Robert Freeman, Jerry Schatzberg and many others – to curate gallery/museum shows of their works. He’s staged over 100 shows during the last 20 years, so the book will most-certainly include an interesting mix of behind-the-scenes story-telling, interviews and anecdotes. I hope to get hold of the nice man ASAP to see if I can find out more about when he anticipates he’ll release his newest tome but, in the meantime, you can learn more about the man and his plans on his website via the link – http://rajpremnews.com/2015/10/raj-prem-to-publish-new-book-about-his-career-in-music-photography/

October 28th – 1) Ever wonder what your favorite album covers would have looked like translated (literally) into proper French? Me neither – but now that I see them, I’m glad that London-based creative Thomas Olivier has taken the time to provide them to us! I’m particularly amused by several of them, including the newly-revised covers for The Who (“Les Qui”), Talking Heads (“Tetes Parlantes”) and James Brown’s “Sois Sur Ton Bon Pied“. See the rest in this recent article by Ana Leorne on the FourOhFive (is that L’Interstate 405?) site –http://www.thefourohfive.com/culture/article/here-are-some-of-the-world-s-most-famous-record-covers-in-french-144 

2) Influential graphic designer/photographer Mike Salisbury has had his hand in so many well-known images – including album covers for Ike & Tina Turner, George Harrison, James Taylor and Michael Jackson, among others, along with notable design elements for over 300 films (the Jurassic Park logo, for example) – that he most-certainly can claim to have had a notable effect on what Pop Culture “looks like”, but in this recent interview/profile of the artist by Mary Reinholz for The Argonaut site, readers will learn about aspects of his career that will both impress you and leave you wondering (Pop Culture being birthed by the CIA? He says he’s got the proof). I’m eagerly anticipating the release of his series on the topic titled “Mr. Pop Culture” but, in the meantime you can learn more via the link – http://argonautnews.com/mad-dog-sees/
I’d also invite you to view a short video that shows a number of the portraits he’s taken of celebrities from all aspects of Pop Culture via this link –https://youtu.be/l8bg6e3becc

October 27th – 1) In the third installment in his series for Rolling Stone Magazine, Bob Egan talks to photographer Jerry Schatzberg about “the making of” the cover image for Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde (you know, the “fuzzy cover”!). One interesting thing you’ll learn when you read Bob’s article is that while many tried to attribute the slightly-out-of-focus nature of the image to an attempt to appeal to recreational drug users, the real reason Jerry gives is that it was February, they were outside and it was COLD! Schatzberg is also responsible for a number of other well-known album cover images, including photos for Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Cher, The Rascals and my personal favorite, the wonderful Beatle-esque spoof created for Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ We’re Only In It For The Moneyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-dylan-photographer-explain-blurry-blonde-on-blonde-cover-20151027

2) Fans of the fantastic art of Roger Dean have another week to view the exhibition currently on display at the Trading Boundaries Gallery in Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK titled Roger Dean:Somewhere Near Here. You’ll find original paintings, watercolors, sketches and other samples of the artist’s work on display, including art he’s done for YES, Steve Hackett’s Premonitions and more, including items related to the art he produced for the epic 14 CD box set recently released by YES called Progeny (with each disc sporting a unique Dean image). You can also sign up to attend a November 1st workshop with Dean where he’ll discuss his efforts for clients in the music, film and video game worlds – a chance to learn from “the master” of Prog Rock design – more info on the show (which ends its run November 3rd) on the gallery’s site at http://www.tradingboundaries.com/roger-dean/

3) Regular readers will recall an article a while back about the major travelling show being produced by the Rolling Stones that will feature over 50 years of band-related art and artifacts, set to launch next Spring at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Titled The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism, the show ” will use nine rooms amounting to over 1,750 square meters of the gallery, with each room its own distinctly designed environment. Guitarist Ronnie Wood said: ‘Let’s gather things together and let people have an experience in a well designed space’” Tickets are now on sale for the show’s first run from April thru September 2016, with the folks from the DIY Magazine site providing us with a bit more info in this recent post on their site – http://diymag.com/2015/10/21/a-look-inside-the-rolling-stones-exhibitionism

October 26th –  1) According to the research scientists at Lixar, album cover imagery has very little influence on whether a record will receive a good or bad review from critics. The company was commissioned by the Halifax Music Explosion to study this question and, as part of the process, used complicated software to study 1000 record cover images, calculate what makes them similar or unique to others, and then determine if patterns arose that would then be reflected in whether a record was well-regarded (or not). As you’ll read in Remo Zaccagna’s article on The Chronicle Herald (Canada) web site, the results showed that cover art had a <3% chance of effecting the outcome of a review. I’m going to follow up with the players in this study to see if they have any notion as to whether album art influenced consumer buying decisions – I think that most of us would say “yes” (at least on purchases made in the pre-digital-download time frame). More to come – in the meantime, click on over to learn more –http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1318508-music-not-art-influences-critics-lixar-study-concludes

2) While businesses of all types today use data visualization tools to help translate sophisticated data sets into something that mere mortals can understand, did you know that one of the best-known album covers of all time – Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, with design/art by Peter Saville) was based on a stacked plot diagram made during scientific study of pulsars nearly 50 years ago? You did? What a show-off 🙂 In a recent article by Jen Christiansen for Scientific American, you’ll more (and I mean, a LOT more) about these studies and the science that lead up to the image that was originally included in a PhD research paper published in 1970 by radio astronomer Harold Craft. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/sa-visual/pop-culture-pulsar-the-science-behind-joy-division-s-unknown-pleasures-album-cover/

3) Digging through the shelves of my local public library this past weekend lead me to find two books on album art that I wasn’t familiar with previously – Coast To Coast Album Covers: Classic Record Art from New York To LA by authors Graham Marsh and Glyn Callingham was published in 2011 by Collins & Brown (UK) and shows the earlier works of many rock/Pop album cover designers for a number of jazz/popular music labels in the 1950s-60s, while DIY Album Art: Paper Bags And Office Supplies (by J. Namdev Hardisty) focuses on the often hand-made covers created by indie/punk labels beginning in the 1990s. Even the book’s cover looks hand-made, featuring litho art on thick cardboard. You’ll find more details on this page on the ACHOF site –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-page-intro-and-links-to-album-cover-books-and-sites/

October 23rd –  1) Visitors to the Live Design International Trade Show in Las Vegas that weekend had the chance to tour an exhibition of the work of photographer Neal Preston, the man responsible for a host of well-known album cover images, including those for acts including Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Heart, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper and many others. Sponsored by stage lighting company Lightpower, “In the Eye of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hurricane” will showcase Preston’s covers, concert photos and portraits, with the photographer on hand all weekend to talk about his work, making this an even more-exciting opportunity. Read more about this show in this intro article on the Live Design Online site –
http://livedesignonline.com/ldi/ldi-and-act-lighting-present-eye-rock-n-roll-hurricane

2) The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN has a new exhibit that presents – through examples of art (including images created by several of the better-known poster/album artists of the era), design, architecture and other popular culture artifacts – how the counter-culture of the late 1960s – early 1970s impressed itself on all aspects of life at the time. Beginning October 24th and running there through Feb. 28th of next year, “Hippie Modernism; The Struggle For Utopia” puts on display ” a broad range of art forms and artifacts of the era” and “features experimental furniture, alternative living structures, immersive and participatory media environments, alternative publishing and ephemera, and experimental film. Bringing into dramatic relief the limits of Western society’s progress, the exhibition explores one of the most vibrant and inventive periods of the not-too-distant past, one that still resonates within culture today.” The show is curated by Andrew Blauvelt, with more info available on the museum’s site at http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2015/hippie-modernism-struggle-utopia.

3) Is using samples/stock items to create music and/or album art a new form of creativity or simply a way for the less-talented to quickly craft a new work? This seems to be the focus of a new article by Caitlin Lopilato on the Complex.com site titled “Is Using Stock Imagery As Album Art Cheating?” and, based on the comments she’s collected from a number of established designers – including Jonathan Mannion, HK and Kalen Hollomon – the discussion about what makes art of any type “original” remains one that will be batted back and forth for a long time. Sparked by the recent admission that the covers for two of rapper Future’s latest releases were made from stock photography, the author reaches her own conclusion that “the Internet is cutting them out of the equation, and their creative voices are being muffled by the temptation of copying and pasting.” What’s your take on the subject? Read more at http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/hip-hop-album-art-stock-images

Bonus content: Famed cover artist David Larkham shared this link to an interview he participated in with one of his clients (retailer J.J. Hapgood) that, to me, nicely illustrates the “international-ness” of design – a U.K. artist creating compelling imagery for a client he’d originally met in California 30+ years ago who now runs a store/eatery in Peru (O.K., Peru, Vermont!). Larkham, who has done covers for top musical acts including Elton John, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, shares the details of how he developed the modern ID/graphics for an historical business in this article on their site – http://jjhapgood.com/general/legend-artist-behind-j-j-hapgood-logo-ties-sir-paul-mccartney-j-j-hapgood-run-deep/

October 22nd – 1) A group of photographs taken by photographer Michael Cooper of the Rolling Stones visiting sites including Stonehenge, Los Angeles and Joshua Tree are the basis of an exhibition titled “Courting The Stones: Photographs by Michael Cooper” which opened at London’s Proud Galleries Friday, October 16th and will be running there through November 22nd. Cooper – well known for his album cover photo work on both Their Satanic Majesties Request for the Stones and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for The Beatles – was part of the band’s “inner circle”, allowing him to catch band-members in a variety of intimate moments spent with friends (such as the late Gram Parsons), lovers and the people they’d meet in their travels around the world. Read more about the show in this nicely-illustrated article by Tim Chester on the Mashable site – http://mashable.com/2015/10/14/rolling-stones-exhibition-london/

2) The editorial staff at the World Religion News site has come up with a somewhat-unusual (and specific) “best of” album cover art list that looks back over the years for the Top 5 “Most Badass Christian Rock” covers. In the list, you’ll find bands that, in spite of their religion-focused lyrics (and band member lifestyles), these rockers, such as Trouble, Petra and Stryper, understood that hard rock fans had expectations of the inclusion of certain standard elements in their album art – powerful robots/slayers of evil, turbochargers and skulls (representing the evil about to be slayed) – and went to great lengths to provide them (in the most-respectable way possible, of course). Not much else info-wise was provided, but let the images speak for themselves – http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/christianity/christian-band-album-covers

3) The music industry awards for talent based in Canada’s provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador – known as the MusicNL Awards – were handed out this past week, with designer Jud Haynes given kudos for “Graphic Artist Of The Year” based on his cover for Chris Hadfield’s Space Sessions: Songs From A Tin Can (on Warner Music). The awards were distributed at a banquet in the ballroom at the Delta Hotel this past weekend, with the top award winner being Fortunate Ones who picked up awards for Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Folk/Roots Recording of the Year and the top prize, the FACTOR Album of the Year. Designer Haynes has a long list of clients in the music business and, as a former musician, also books bands for local venues. More on the award show on the CBC web site – http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/fortunate-ones-the-once-kat-mclevey-big-winners-at-musicnl-awards-1.3277065
while you can learn more about the award-winning designer on his own site at http://www.judhaynes.com/

October 21st –  1) The video for Part 2 of Bob Egan’s presentation about “the making of” the album art for three quintessential records from Bob Dylan’s catalog – this one focused on Highway 61 Revisited – has been posted as part of an article on the Rolling Stone magazine site. Daniel Kramer’s well-known photo showing Dylan sitting on the steps of the apartment building that his manager (Albert Grossman) lived in – wearing a Triumph motorcycle t-shirt, with Ray Bans in hand – is one well-known by fans, so it is interesting to learn more about the location and the process by which Kramer coaxed this image from Dylan who, at least to me, didn’t seem all too happy about having his photo taken that day…http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/go-behind-the-scenes-of-bob-dylans-highway-61-revisited-album-cover-20151013

2) On the first day of November, the team at Art Vinyl in the U.K. launches its annual survey of the best in album cover art 2015. This year’s judging will be a bit different than what’s been done in the past in that they’re inviting the winners of the previous years’ voting (with voting having started back in 2005) to help select the 50 nominees whose works will also be put on display in five public venues (in Scotland, Italy, Norway, Hungary and England) for fans to review. Last year, over 16,000 participants cast their vote for their favorite covers, selecting the cover for #1-selling U.K. rock duo Royal Blood‘s eponymous record (featuring a Victorian etching-inspired work called “Falls” by artist Dan Hillier) as the best of 2014. To learn more about the upcoming survey and previous winners, please visit the Art Vinyl web site at http://www.artvinyl.com/best-art-vinyl/ Very eager to see who is nominated for this year’s survey – lots of good work done the past 12 months…

3) Original founder/lead singer for Oasis Liam Gallagher has a store in Manchester called Pretty Green that features his clothing line by the same name, and now he’s bringing fans/shoppers an opportunity to see an album cover photo show featuring works – including his many album cover shots for Oasis – by designer/photographer Brian Cannon. Brian’s also done covers for Ash, Suede, Super Furry Animals, The Verve and other well-known music industry clients, so it only makes sense that Gallagher would work with Cannon to shoot photos of his new clothing line as well. In this article by Emily Heward on the Manchester Evening News site, you’ll learn more about Cannon, his long-standing relationship with Oasis (a band not known for long-lasting relationships) and the stories behind some of the band’s best-known record covers – http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-oasis-britpop-album-covers-10260594

October 20th –  1) The producers for the documentary on the rise-and-fall of the Tower Records chain (titled All Things Must Pass) has just announced that the film will go into wider release over the next few weeks (even hitting here in Portland on December 4th!), so if you’d like to find out when and where it will be playing in your area, click on over to their site at http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/theatrical-info/
The film premiered last week and has rec’d some very nice reviews. I’ll be wearing my bright yellow “Kickstarter Supporter” t-shirt when I see it – can’t wait. To see the trailer, visit http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/trailer/
Anyone who has spent time digging through bins there should get a kick out of reliving those moments in this film.

2) The more-painterly endeavors of Seymour, Indiana’s best-known export – musician John Mellencamp – are now on display in a new art show hosted by the the ACA Galleries in NYC that opened Oct. 22nd. Running there through December 19th, “The Isolation of Mister” will show that, while the young artist’s career as a painter was side-tracked by his career as a R&RHOF-inducted rock star, his ability to express himself on canvas was never diminished. I also think you’ll enjoy reading Isaac Kaplan’s recent interview with Mellencamp on the Artsy.com site, where he talks about his craft, how a visit by Bob Dylan to his art studio kept his painting career front-and-center in his life and why he doesn’t make these colorful/insightful images to make YOU happy – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rock-and-roll-legend-john-mellencamp-talks-painting
To learn more about his new gallery show, click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.acagalleries.com/artists/m/John-Mellencamp/

3) Artist Shepard Fairey has enjoyed success as an album cover artist (doing works for Tom Petty, The Black-Eyed Peas, Billy Idol and Led Zeppelin, among others), a poster artist (dozens of designs, including the acclaimed “Obama/Hope” design) and purveyor of graffiti and murals both legal and less-so, so capturing the essence of his work in a single book must have been quite the daunting task. However, as you’ll see when you thumb through his latest monotype – titled Covert To Overt – his motivations and influences over the years haven’t changed all that much, with a focus on “the subversive” and bringing meaningful ideas (AKA “propaganda”) to life through design. In this interview with Hugh Hart on the Fast Company/Create site, the pair talk about his career, his Obey Giant Industries business and how his “propaganda” is really there to start conversations on topics important to us all. http://www.fastcocreate.com/3051383/post-hope-poster-shepard-fairey-on-art-advertising-and-propaganda

October 19th – 1) While Nick Schager’s review on the Variety.com site of Laura Israel’s just-released documentary about famed art director and photographer Robert Frank (titled Don’t Blink) might not motivate you to rush out to see the film, it seems clear that the subject material – Frank’s impressive career and even more-interesting life – deserved the attention. Most of us will regard just two examples of his creative output – his book titled The Americans that documented his journey across mid-century America with photos that showed both the beauty and sadness of the country at the time, plus his cover for The Rolling Stones’ 1972 masterpiece Exile On Main Street – as a lifetime’s accomplishment, but he’s continued bringing us – on film, in pictures, etc. – fascinating and wonderful items that show the world – warts and all – as he sees it (and wants us to see it) – http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/dont-blink-robert-frank-review-1201612629/

2) If you were reading magazines, buying posters to decorate your dorm room or listening to Duran Duran in the late 1970s-early 1980s, you undoubtedly were familiar with the works of artist Patrick Nagel. His Art Deco-influenced paintings of seductive women (those eyes!) were a staple illustration found in Playboy and Rolling Stone and in ads for Intel, IBM and Budweiser and, although he’s been dead for over 30 years, his artwork is still popular with poster collectors and merchandising companies world-wide, as is exemplified in this article by Hayley Helms for the Transworld Business site in which we learn more about the recent deal to produce limited-edition products signed by skateboard/clothing manufacturer HUF and Nagel’s estate. According to the nicely-illustrated article, “HUF proudly partners with Patrick Nagel and his estate to release a collection of items highlighting the artist’s work and legacy. Consisting of reversible satin bomber jackets, fleece hoodies, skateboard decks, 6-panel hats, a blanket, pin set and tees, the HUF x Nagel Collaboration retails from $12-$190. More via the link at http://business.transworld.net/news/huf-and-patrick-nagel-join-forces-for-limited-edition-collaboration/

3) Yes, you heard it right – The Zombies have a new album out, and it features artwork by Terry Quirk, the artist responsible for the very-psychedelic designs featured on the band’s seminal 1968 release Odessey & Oracle. The new record, titled Still Got That Hunger, brings together original members Rod Argent and Colin Bunstone and the song-writing duo will re-team with original Zombies Chris White (who introduced Quirk to the band) and Hugh Grundy to perform Odessey & Oracle in its entirety on tour soon. We’re assuming that the band kept the title for the new record simple so as to avoid any further spelling mistakes going forward…Read more about the band and their ongoing efforts in Jordan Runtagh’s interview article on the VH-1 site via the link – http://www.vh1.com/news/212077/the-zombies-still-got-that-hunger-interview/

October 16th – 1) The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH recently launched an exhibit sure to delight fans of Graham Nash and the whole West Coast music-making scene. Titled “Graham Nash: Touching The Flame”, is a multi-media extravaganza with a twist – it’s focus is on all of the things (people, scenes, world politics, etc.) that helped shape Graham’s life and creative output, both as a musician and as an accomplished photographer (and inventor of advanced digital photo printing processes). In addition to photos, memorabilia and the like (per the show’s press kit – it will “showcase his interests in photography, collecting and other artistic endeavors. Among the items that will be featured in the exhibit are some rare pieces of Buddy Holly memorabilia and photos that Graham has collected” – there are several interactive elements to the show, including a station where you can sing harmonies with Mr. Nash (if only!). Read more about the exhibit and watch a video introduction hosted by Nash via the link – http://rockhall.com/exhibits/graham-nash-touching-the-flame-exhibit-rock-hall/

2) The folks at L-13 Gallery in the U.K., as part of a display at the Multiplied Contemporary Art Editions show hosted by Christie’s in South Kensington this weekend, are releasing a new set of prints that fans of iconic punk imagery are going to want to look at. Famed designer Jamie Reid has produced what he calls a “Republic Box Set” consisting of “documentary materials relating to the God Save the Queen artworks, all sourced from original materials held in the Jamie Reid Archive.” The set will be released in a signed and numbered edition of 113 (with 13 APs) boxes, each containing 11 prints (approx. 16.5″ x 11.8″) on 310 gsm photo gloss paper, with each one numbered and stamped on the back and housed in a silver clam-shell box with debossed covers. The publishers are so thoughtful that they’re also throwing in a set of black latex gloves for handling! The set is published by John Marchant Gallery in association with the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop. There was a limited-time special offer for the duration of the art fair: £195 (approx. $300, plus shipping), with the price going up on Monday the 19th to £250 (about $385, plus shipping). Details are available on the L-13 site – http://www.l-13.org/acatalog/L-13_Latest_Works.html

3) Grammy-winning album cover designer Fritz Klaetke (principal at Boston’s Visual Dialogue design firm) has used whatever spare time he could take from an already-busy schedule to work with his team to create a new store (currently a “pop-up”) that has called on all of their talents – “we created the concept, developed the branding, designed the merchandise, sourced local makers, curated the vintage items, developed the website, constructed the store, etc., etc…all on top of our “day jobs” running Visual Dialogue” – to offer customers a wide range of products made by local designers and artisans. Called “1630” (the year the city was founded), the products are “a treasure trove of antiques and collectibles. We’ve scoured the best vintage fairs and markets to bring you curated, one-of-a-kind home goods, jewelry, and artwork. Each of these unique objects tells a story–so you can bring a piece of history home”…Still working for clients in the music business, the team also just created the Lead Belly box set for their client Smithsonian Folkways. Best of luck, Fritz! To learn more about this latest effort, please visit http://1630boston.com/#proprietors

October 15th – 1) I’m not sure whether it is because I spent a number of years creating programming for young people or, more likely, I’m still a juvenile at heart, but I sure love them Minions…Because of happiness these pill-shaped characters bring to me every time I see them, I was even more happy to see them in this new application – featured characters in a series of heavy metal album cover recreations! If you click on over to Greg Kennelty’s article on the Metal Injection site, you’ll learn more about a DeviantArt page hosted by the “Croatian Crusader” where you’ll find his collection of covers for his imaginary “Iron Minion” band based on the well-known designs of seminal metal band Iron Maiden.
Number Of The Beast made me laugh out loud – what’s your favorite? http://www.metalinjection.net/around-the-interwebs/only-a-matter-of-time-iron-maiden-minions-mashed-up-album-covers
I can only assume that, somewhere on the interwebs, there’s a site where you’ll find famous punk covers featuring the Seven Dwarfs.

2) Speaking of Belles – there was a special presentation the week of October 20th at Help of Ojai’s Kent Hall (in Ojai, CA.) done as part of the monthly meeting of the Ojai Photo Club featuring musician and photographer Chris Jensen who, according to this article by Myrna on the Ventura County Star site, has produced portraits of everyone from “Belles and Brawn to Rockers and Troubadors”. Originally a drummer in local bands, Jensen went back to school in the mid-70s to earn his degree in graphic design and then, in the late-70s, opened a design/photography studio in Salt Lake City, soon taking on projects for a wide range of local clients. News of his talents spread, landing him gigs with subjects including Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart and, ultimately, moving to the LA area (actually, Ventura) to be closer to his client base. Jensen will be providing a retrospective of his career, so click on over to http://www.vcstar.com/ugc/yournews/from-belles-and-brawn-to-rockers-and-troubadors-chris-jensen-talks-about-portriture-at-ojai-photo-club_188823 to get the details.

3) Film-maker/obsessive record collector Eilon Paz has worked for the past several years on digging into the details of what makes people put together large collections of records/CDs and, as the result of that effort, he’s just released a new book titled Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, compiled by Paz and edited by Sheila Burgel, who’s own huge collection was also featured in the book. Writers Oscar Garza and Cameron Kell, writing for The Frame site, interviewed the two about their new tome and learned quite a lot about what motivates folks to invest the time, money and sagging floors in order to have their music close at hand. You’ll also be able to hear the interview via the audio file posted on the site – http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2015/10/06/44702/dust-grooves-one-on-one-with-the-world-s-most-obse/ 
One look at Questlove sitting amongst his collection explains quite a bit, don’t you think (“happy as a ____ in ____” – you fill in the blanks).

October 14th – 1) Need to clarify and update my posting yesterday on the death of John Berg – John died this past Sunday due to complications from pneumonia. Since then, I’ve received a number of notes from people that either/both worked with him and/or were mentored by him that expressed their sorrow about his passing and emphasized the long-term impact he had on their lives and careers.

With his permission and to exemplify the sense of loss being felt in the industry, I want to share a brief statement that accomplished designer Ron Coro sent me, along with a photo from back “in the glory days” – “The memories of working with John from 1966 on, are priceless for all of us album package designers that worked on the 10th floor at CBS Records in NYC at “Black Rock” building, as we called it, in the mid sixties…..I was hired by John right before I even graduated from The School of Visual Arts and was recommended to John Berg by Milton Glaser, my graphic design instructor…What a time it was, and it will never be repeated.”

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This photo (above) was taken in 1971 by David Gahr on the 10th floor of the CBS Building in John Bergs office. This is a year before I was promoted to Art Director, CBS Records, West Coast. Left to right: Ron Coro, John Berg and Richard Mantel…..”
Thanks for sharing this, Ron…

2) Here are reminders for two events that took place this week featuring two accomplished music industry image-makers:

a) On Thursday, Oct. 15th at Revolution Hall in Portland, OR, designer Paula Scher presented a talk sponsored by AIGA Portland titled “Identity Design Today… and Why the Blogosphere Should Shut Up!” (I’ll try not to take offense). According to the AIGA’s site, Ms. Scher “will share her views on the current state of design and social media. Sure to be engaging and thought-provoking, Scher’s talk is a rare opportunity to see one of America’s leading designers in a bold, no holds barred talk.” A principal at leading NYC design firm Pentagram, Scher’s been responsible for hundreds of record cover since she began her career at Atlantic Records in the 1970s, so if you’re wanting to hear more from one of the greats, here’s your chance – http://aigaportland.org/aiga_event/paula-scher/

b) Also that Thursday, photographer Jay Blakesberg was on hand at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles to launch a showing of his work, lead a lecture and present his latest book project titled Hippie Chick: A Tale Of Love, Devotion & Surrender. The lecture, titled “Chasing The Light: The Rock & Roll Photography of Jay Blakesberg” will include stories about his 35+ year career covering the Grateful Dead and a host of other rock music luminaries. He was on hand to sign copies of his new book as well, so if you’d like to learn from one of the music industry’s most-accomplished shooters, visit the following link – http://mrmusichead.com/event-book-signing-lecture-with-jay-blakesberg/

October 13th – 1) It is with great sadness that I must note the passing of one of the world’s most-prolific album cover art directors, former Columbia Records cover guru John Berg. He was 83 and had been suffering with Parkinson’s disease, according to his wife and creative partner, Durell Godfrey. Berg’s portfolio includes credits for over 5,000 (!!) covers, including memorable images for Barbra Streisand (Barbra Streisand Album), Bob Dylan (Blonde On Blonde and Greatest Hits), Jeff Beck (Blow By Blow), Bruce Springsteen (Greetings From Asbury Park and Born To Run) and 14 covers for Chicago (including the most-delicious one – Chicago X – done in chocolate!).
What was truly impressive about Berg’s work was his ability to find and collaborate with the most-talented photographers, designers and illustrators available, bringing the talents of people including Richard Avedon, Paul Davis, Milton Glaser, Jerry Schatzberg and many others to projects for hundreds of clients over the years.
Read more about John and his contribution to great rock imagery in Jon Blistein‘s article on the Rolling Stone magazine site – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-berg-album-art-director-for-springsteen-dylan-dead-at-83-20151013
My condolences to his family and friends – his efforts will not be forgotten.

2) There was an exhibition that ran through October 20th at the Kendal Museum (part of Kendal College) in Kendal, Cumbria, England that will be of interest to fans of both album cover art and comic books. Curated by artist Sean Phillips in anticipation of the upcoming Lakes Comic Book Festival, there are 60 covers on display featuring the work of well-known album cover artists including Richard Corben (Bat Out Of Hell for Meat Loaf), Guy Peellaert (Diamond Dogs for David Bowie), Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz), Robert Crumb (Cheap Thrills for Big Brother & The Holding Company) and many others (60 artists in total). According to Festival Director Julie Tait, “Our exhibitions program is intended to appeal to a broad range of tastes and interests and to demonstrate that there is more to comic artists and art than meets the eye,” Find out more about the exhibition on the museum’s site at http://www.kendalmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-and-events/phonographic-exhibition-part-of-the-comic-art-festival

3) Not sure exactly why I wouldn’t want to make Grace Jones mad at me (other than the feeling that I think she could snuff me out rather quickly), but fear of her wrath seemingly did not deter self-proclaimed musical genius Kanye West from “honoring” Ms. Jones’ earlier contributions to album cover imagery by recreating them – without her approval – in his own promotional imagery (featuring his then-girlfriend Amber) when he launched his web site several years ago. This did not escape Grace’s keen eye and, in Paper Magazine‘s Nowstalgia issue, she minces no words – “‘Kanye has been ripping off stuff from me and Jean-Paul Goude for a long time, so it was no surprise to me”.
You might recall that photographer Goude did work with the new Mrs. West a couple of years ago, recreating another famous image of his – of a model balancing a champagne glass on her rather-curvaceous posterior – substituting in Kim’s ledge-like butt, with the resulting photo breaking the Internet for a couple of days…More on this in Eric Tempesta’s article on The Daily Mail (UK) web site at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3260820/Supermodel-Grace-Jones-slams-Kanye-West-ripping-images-website-weighs-Kim-Kardashian-s-internet-breaking-Paper-magazine-cover.html

October 12th – 1) Over on the East Coast Radio site (East Coast of South Africa, that is), writer Bongani Mtolo presents what is called “The Hardest Album Cover Quiz You’ll Ever Take”. You’re presented with 10 partial album cover images and have to guess (multiple choice) which records they’re from. I got 9 out of 10 (missed #2 and lucked out on #3) and, quite honestly, I think that I’ve seen/taken “harder” quizzes on the subject in the past, but I’d like to hear how you all do – http://www.ecr.co.za/shows/bongani-mtolo-1/hardest-album-cover-quiz-youll-ever-take/

2) Famed Pop Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat had his own record label 30+ years ago (Tartown Records) and released a single on vinyl by Rammellzee and K-Rob called “Beat Bop” that featured a cover design by Basquiat. Quite rare (you can, on occasion, find original copies for $1K or more), the design is now featured on a fully-licensed, limited-edition (1000) record box that, I’m assuming, will be a “must-own” collectible for DJs world-wide.
The record’s artwork is featured on all of the boxes surfaces, both inside and outside, and the box holds 50 discs, with the price for this “box set” (as they call it) being a quite-reasonable $75, while supplies last. You can read about it in David Ireland’s article on Magnetic Magazine –
http://www.magneticmag.com/2015/10/the-jean-michel-basquiat-record-box-pure-dope-for-vinyl-djs-and-collectors/ 
and buy one for yourself (or as a gift) directly from the Get On Down store (with shipping starting later this month) – http://getondown.com/album.php?id=18014

October 9th – Two award show nomination summaries and a look at album art created by musicians:

1) The nominees for “Best Recording Package” for this year’s Latin Grammy Awards have been posted, and they are:

Blam! Blam! – on Coqueiro Verde Records
Julia Rocha, art director (Jonas Sá)

Este Instante – on Aluna Music
Natalia Ayala, Carlos Dussan Gómez & Juliana Jaramillo, art directors (Marta Gómez)

Noel Rosa, Preto E Branco – on Tenda Da Raposa
Anna Amendola, art director (Valéria Lobão)

Tajo Abierto – on Frantastic Records
Pablo González & Francisca Valenzuela, art directors (Francisca Valenzuela)

Veinte Años El Grito Después – on Universal Music Group/EMI
Laura Varsky, art director (Catupecu Machu)

The winners will be announced on November 19th – congratulations to all of the nominees!
http://www.latingrammy.com/en/nominees?genre=55

2) The Australian record industry announced the winner in the “Best Cover Art” category for the annual ARIA Awards. The technical award categories are awarded prior to the televised show on November 26th that will feature the principal award categories.

This year’s winner is Courtney Barnett for Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk! Records / Remote Control)

Ms. Barnett’s album, which went #10 on the Billboard Album Charts and #13 on the UK Album Charts, also received nominations in the following categories: Album Of The Year, Best Female Artist, Best Independent Release, Best Rock Album, Breakthrough Artist and the publicly voted categories for Best Australian Live Act and Best Video for the song, ‘Pedestrian At Best’ which was directed by Charlie Ford.

Other nominees in the Cover Art category included Daniel Johns, Aref and Peter Salmon-Lomas for Daniel Johns – Talk (Eleven / EMI); Timothy Lovett for Flight Facilities – Down To Earth (Future Classic); Bjenny Montero for Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again (EMI) and Nathan Johnson for Gang of Youths – The Positions (Verge / Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Get all of the details at http://www.ariaawards.com.au/News/2015/2015-ARIA-Awards-Connected-By-Telstra-Nominated-ar

3) Writing for the Gigwise site, Alexandra Pollard has put together a nice article that serves to show just how unfair life can be sometimes, with all of the talent genes installed into a small group of lucky recipients. It’s a review of album covers that were created by musicians, with the list of 10 featured in the article including cover images created by acts including Muse, The Stone Roses, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens (AKA Yusuf), John Lennon and several others. With a large percentage of musicians having gone to “art school” (although, some admit to going “just for the chicks”), it seems clear that they often times enjoy showing off their creative “chops” in other aspects of the recorded music business (and making Art Directors quite happy sometimes, I’m told)…http://www.gigwise.com/photos/103068/album-artwork-drawn-and-designed-by-bands-and-musicians-muse-joni

BONUS BIRTHDAY CONTENT – Very happy to be able to point you to a nice article on the Biography.com site written by a former FUSE TV colleague of mine – Laurie Ulster – that talks about the many creative inspirations and outlets for the late, great John Lennon, who would have been 75 years old yesterday had not some idiot with a gun (are you detecting a pattern, perhaps?) taken his life 35 years ago… Laurie also notes that there is a gallery show featuring Lennon’s artwork running currently (through the end of the month) at the AFA Gallery down on Greene Street in NYC where you can see several dozen examples of his talent with pen and ink (and watercolor) on paper. Nice article, Laurie! – http://www.biography.com/news/john-lennon-biography-facts-75th-birthday

October 8th – 1) New and classic works by master of the collage/album cover art great Winston Smith are featured alongside several other local artists in a new show that opened October 8th at the Robert Berman Gallery in San Francisco. “Paper Cuts” will treat collectors/visitors with a selection of works that, according to the gallery’s press release, will show “how paper can take on a strength and beauty in its abstract and narrative forms. In this exhibition, we observe how such a simple medium can be transformed into diverse ranges of forms.” Smith – well known for his work for Green Day, The Dead Kennedys and others – will be showing several of his hand-cut and often humorous masterpieces and, by the looks of the other works to be shown by the other participants, the entire show looks as though it will appeal to all of our creative instincts – more via the link at http://e6gallerysf.com/future

2) I continue to be impressed with the works of album cover artists all over the world, with the Internet bringing us the ability to see the results of cover art projects by designers (and for musical acts) that most of us weren’t aware of. One such example is the works that graphic designer Supichan Rojvanich has done for a number of top recording acts in Thailand. As you’ll read in the article by writer Pimchanok Phungbun Na Ayudhya (wow!) on the Bangkok Post web site, Thai acts have not – until recently – spent a great deal of energy/resources to create memorable album cover visuals, but with Rojvanich and others leading the way, clients from all aspects of the local music business – from rock and dance bands to a Buddhist prayer group – are now getting their first taste of successful “branding” (I can only imagine how decadent the record release parties must be) –
http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/music/716032/it-more-than-an-album-cover

3) With a party at the MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles recently, rap artist Rihanna showed fans and the media some of the interesting artwork by artist Roy Nachum that will be used to package her upcoming album, titled Anti. Based on the designs that were shown, which feature (according to Frazier Tharpe, reporting for the Complex/Style site) “a young girl with a crown superimposed over her face and poetry composed in braille (by poet Chloe Mitchell) covering the canvas…it was explained that it’s inspired by Rih’s first day of daycare.” Nachum seems to have a lot of fans in the music world – there’s a painting of his titled “The Clown” hanging in Jay-Z’s NYC office – and Tharpe helps us get to know the Jerusalem-born artist a bit better in the rest of his article, reachable via this link – http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/roy-nachum-rihanna-album-cover-artist

October 8th, part 2 – 1) “Pop Spots” author/locator of all things album cover Bob Egan recently hosted a video for Rolling Stone Magazine that featured photographer Daniel Kramer giving us a look into “the making of” the iconic shot featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home LP. The story helps to provide a lead-in to the release of the upcoming compilation, The Cutting Edge 1965–1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, which contains session recordings from the album. There will be two more similar videos that give album art/”making of” back-stories for two other Dylan recordings from the same time period – Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde – so stay tuned for more opportunities to get a peek behind the scenes during the production of some of Dylan’s most-compelling records – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-how-bob-dylans-iconic-bringing-it-all-back-home-cover-was-made-20150929

2) The work of long-time (former) Factory Records album art guru Peter Saville can be found on the most-recent release by seminal synth-rock band New Order. The band’s ninth studio record – titled Music Complete – is reviewed by Anwen Crawford in the “Pop Music” section of the 10/5 issue of New Yorker magazine. According to Crawford, “Saville’s designs for the band, using grids, color blocks, and stock photos, resemble advertising for a company that does not exist. Just as the members of New Order have tended to be subsumed by the group as a whole, the visual style creates a dislocation between the band and its audience.”
Someday, I’ll try and figure out just what “critic-speak” means in layman’s terms, but it is comforting to know that there is still an appreciation for the value of long-standing relationships between designers and their music-industry clients – http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/05/late-style

3) What starts out as a riff by a writer about a musical act’s rather-mundane approach to album cover art (embellishing a stock photo with some bling) turns in to a rather-detailed lament about how album art used to be an essential element in building bridges between musical acts and their fans and, at least for me, it’s refreshing to hear this from writers covering today’s “money/brand is everything” music business. While I don’t know anything about the author (“Yoh”, AKA Yotoshop AKA @Yoh31), I would invite all you (us) old-timers to read his/her article on the Complex Music/DJ Booth site and then share your own thoughts on the subject – http://www.djbooth.net/index/news/entry/2015-09-30-album-art-meme
Also – can someone help with a more-detailed definition of the word “meme” than I seem to be able to find?

October 7th – 1) Happy to announce the launch of a new retail site by award-winning (inc. 3 Grammy Awards) album cover designer Kosh, the guy responsible for at least ONE BILLION of your favorite album cover images (OK, I may have exaggerated a bit, but it’s a LOT of them). What’s even more impressive about the designer’s latest efforts is that they include a number of impressive re-interpretations and “mash-ups” of some of his better-known covers. I’m particularly taken by one titled Abbey Hotel, a work that combines aspects of both The Eagles’ Hotel California with The Beatles’ Abbey Road (in real life, traffic would have to stop until the Fab Four reached the other side of the cross-walk).
The new line of limited-edition prints were premiered at a recent display at the Delicious Vinyl Records store in Los Angeles, with Kosh’s designs for clients including Linda Ronstadt, ELO, John Lennon, Humble Pie, The Who and others nicely represented. If you are a fan of great album packaging, be sure to click on over to the new site and take a tour – http://www.koshdesign.com/ 
Via this link, you’ll also find several video interviews with the man behind the magic – http://www.koshdesign.com/about

2) Recently, in a special article on “The Cut” section of the New York Magazine site, photographer/lover-of-life Eve Babitz (the talent behind well-regarded photographs for Buffalo Springfield, Black Oak Arkansas and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel) gets a chance to share some of her early escapades as “A 70s It Girl”, friend and lover to some of the Los Angeles entertainment scenes most-important people (including Jim Morrison of The Doors). Some of you will recall Julian Wasser’s startling (at the time – 1963) photo of a naked Ms. Babitz sitting across from Marcel Duchamp while playing a game of chess in a gallery of the Pasadena Art Museum, but it was her talents as writer and photographer that helped her produce articles about her life and “the scene” that have continued to impress readers with their ability to bring us closer to a sphere of personalities that were beyond our purview… http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/09/sex-life-of-a-70s-it-girl.html

October 5th – 1) Happy to report on this nice review in the New York Times of the NYC premiere of Roddy Bogawa’s film about famed album cover design guru Storm Thorgerson. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/movies/review-taken-by-storm-about-the-mind-behind-a-design.html
You might recall my interview a few years back with Roddy (in 2 parts) while he was in the midst of making this film, during which he spoke about Storm & his partners at the design firm Hipgnosis, as well as his take on a wide range of music/art topics, so it was great to read about both the warm reception his film is getting and why Taken By Storm serves to remind both music/art fans and creators of album cover imagery that creativity is the expression of great ideas and not simply the application of algorithms and filters. I’d invite you to all to read the initial interview with this talented film-maker via the link – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2011/06/interview-with-roddy-bogawa-on-the-documentary-film-taken-by-storm.html

2) Baltimore, MD is the home of an intriguing museum – the American Visionary Art Museum, or AVAM – dedicated to the presentation of art created by self-taught individuals ” whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself”. They’ve been at this for 20 years now and, as part of their anniversary celebration (titled “The Big Hope Show”), they’re presenting the works of psychedelic rock bandleader Wayne Coyne (of The Flaming Lips), whose newest installation, titled “Kings Mouth”, is Coyne’s ultimate expression of a near-death experience he suffered while working as a cashier at a fast food restaurant years ago. Coyne also created the cover art for the band’s 2014 Beatles tribute record With A Little Help From My Fwends, and you can read more about this show (which is running until next September) and some of the other participating artists on the museum’s promo page at –
http://www.avam.org/exhibitions/big-hope-show.shtml

3) Designer Leif Podhasky has been quite busy lately, creating intriguing cover art designs for clients including Tame Impala, The Vines, Kells, Of Monsters & Men and others, but outside the music business, he’s hooked up with top Scotch Whisky distillery Ballantine’s to create a series of limited-edition bottles that “will be a must have for whisky and art connoisseurs alike,” according to Peter Moore, global brand director of Ballantine’s. The three special products will begin shipping world-wide later this month, but art fans can sign up now for a chance to win a set of limited-edition prints of the trio of designs featured on the packaging via a contest run by the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/competition/4534/Win-a-set-of-three-framed-artworks-from-Ballantine-s-Artist-Series Writing for The Spirits Business web site, Amy Hopkins gives us more of the details behind the artist and his inspirations for these colorful designs – http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2015/09/ballantines-unveils-artist-series-whisky-bottles/

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

Album Cover News Recap – July, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – May, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Having suffered through the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I have to apologize to all of you for the tardiness of this month’s recap. With that in mind, rather than bore you with a wordy introduction, I’m simply going to take you to the summary – suffice it to say that there was a lot happening in the space that would be of interest to album art fans everywhere…

May 1st – 1) There’s a new gallery in Austin, TX (AKA “SE Portland”) called the Modern Rocks Gallery (well, it’s been there a short while, but I just learned about it this week) and I wanted album art fans in that part of the country to know about it and a couple of shows – one current, one upcoming – that are/will be on display there. Running thru May 23rd was an exhibit called “The Smiths and Friends – Iconic musicians by Stephen Wright” that featured a nice collection of shots of the band by the acclaimed photographer. In addition to the images of Mr. Morrisey & Co., you’ll also find nice shots taken of Miles Davis, John Lydon, Madonna, New Order, Prince and Bono of U2. At the end of the month, a large collection of Nirvana photos taken by famed underwater photographer Kirk Weddle (of “Nevermind” fame) was put on display.

Along with rock photography, owner Steven Walker – the former guitarist for Modern English – displays and sells actual rocks, minerals and crystals (truly a rockin’ joint). To learn more about the current and upcoming events, visit the gallery’s events page via the link – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/events/

2) To follow-up a previous article on album cover photos found in the collection of the U.K.’s National Portrait Gallery, The Guardian’s Michael Hann has posted a list of other seminal rock portraits – found on album covers from the 1960s up to the present – that he feels ought to be added to the museum’s prestigious collection. Musical acts featured in the photos on the list include Patti Smith, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Sade, Bjork and many others. I’d be proud to include any/all of them in my personal collection and hope, one day, to see more of them on public display –  http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/apr/29/bjork-blondie-and-bruce-the-cover-portraits-that-deserve-to-hang-in-a-gallery

3) Another well-known seller of in-demand music imagery is Wolfgang’s Vault, the retailer which built its business based on offering music fans a chance to own something from the Bill Graham Archives. Now in business for over 12 years and having expanded its online presence to offer subscription and on-demand viewing of concert recordings, the company is working hard to continue to offer its customers unique opportunities to both watch and listen to their favorite classic acts in performance and then take home a souvenir from that show (or others), so it is interesting to get a chance to learn a bit more about the operation from their head of eCommerce (Grant Feichtmeir) in this recent interview article by Ken Sharp on the Goldmine Magazine site –  http://www.goldminemag.com/features/peek-inside-wolfgangs-vault

May 4th –  1) As part of the promo behind the release of his band’s new record titled My Waterfall, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James (am I the only one that automatically adds “and The Flames” whenever I hear his name?) has penned a feature article you’ll find on the Vanity Fair web site that lists his “Top 6” album covers of all time. Included in the very diverse list are records by Link Wray, Bob Dylan, The Mamas & The Papas, Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson, Curtis Mayfield and a record that’s often included on the many “WTF?” lists, the Louvin Brothers and their 1960 release Satan Is Real. You’ll find covers containing work by Gary Burden, Bob Cato & Reid Miles (for Dylan), David Lau & Scott Townsend (GSH) and one featuring Margaret Bourke-White’s flood victims photo that was featured on the cover of the 2/15/37 edition of LIFE Magazine. I’m sure that you’ll find Mr, James’ comments quite insightful, so click on over now to see and read more – http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/04/jim-james-my-morning-jacket-album-art-the-waterfall

2) Photos of the Grateful Dead lifted from the extensive portfolio created by famed cover shooter Peter Simon will be featured in two soon-to-be-published books on the band. Taken while on assignments from Time/Life and Newsweek, this will be the first time that several of the photos have been published, so with this being the 50th anniversary of the band, fans can now celebrate a little early by linking on over to Mr. Simon’s site to dig through an archive area he’s put together featuring scads of these photos –  https://productsandportfolio.petersimon.com/cgi-bin/store/imageFolio.cgi?direct=The_Grateful_Dead

Peter also announced that some of the photos will also be seen in a new documentary by Martin Scorsese – congratulations, Peter!

3) Now album art collectors will have a chance to support a new exhibition planned for later this Spring at The Hyde Collection Art Museum & Historic House located in Glen Falls, NY. In support of a new show featuring the works of Andy Warhol, the museum’s curators are working on a companion display they’re calling “Can You Dig It?”. As part of that show, and taking into account that Warhol had produced over 50 covers during his career, they’re looking to borrow album covers from collectors that will be put on display. Record covers from albums released between 1973 – 1987 are preferred. To read more of the details and to contact the museum if you have covers to lend, click on over to the press release as posted on the Poststar.com site –  http://poststar.com/print-specific/brief/hyde-seeking-album-covers/article_bcff5988-3272-5af7-abfc-a8f79a4c6d00.html

May 6th –  1) Nice story on the DIY Magazine site about how a relationship between a talented young art student (musician and, later on, video director) and the singer Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs led ultimately to that artist’s commission to produce the colorful artwork for the cover of the band’s debut record Fever To Tell. When young Cody Critcheloe – who now operates by the name SSION – first arrived in New York, hoping to tap into the music and art scene there, his arrival coincided with the beginning of the band’s uphill climb to rock stardom, and so after a chance meeting with Karen O during which he introduced her to his artistic talents, he was soon given the opportunity to help establish the band’s visual side through his efforts, the results of which are still impressive to this day. Read El Hunt’s interview with SSION about this important first project via the link – http://diymag.com/2015/04/30/ssion-on-art-rock-and-creating-the-artwork-for-yeah-yeah-yeahs-fever-to-tell

2) When nothing else will do…you gotta do what you gotta do. At least that was writer Albert Mudrian’s approach to securing one particular artist – Dan Seagrave, the man responsible for many a well-known metal album cover image – when he needed a new cover image for the updated version of his book about the origins of the Death Metal music scene titled Choosing Death: The Improbable History Of Death Metal & Grindcore. This commission produced a painting titled Origins Of Madness, and in this interview with the author conducted by J. Bennett for the Noisy.Vice site, Albert shares a bit of info of the process he went through to revise what was already considered “the definitive work” on the topic and the work it takes to keep his writing on the topic (seen both in his books and in Decibel magazine) compelling for an ever-growing audience. http://noisey.vice.com/en_au/blog/albert-mudrian-decibel-choosing-death-interview 

3) An iconic album cover image, created by Pacific Eye & Ear’s Joe Petagno in 1977 for Motorhead, is the basis of a newly-interpreted sculpture-turned-Halloween mask now being offered by the folks at Trick Or Treat Studios in Soquel, CA. Shipping later this summer, the new. officially-licensed “Warpig” mask was sculpted by Rick Fisher, a noted artist who has been creating popular masks since 1999 (including a very cool DEVO Booji Boy model). Motorhead fans have long-sported t-shirts based on the various versions of this figurehead since the late 70s, so it’s about time that they’re able to go full-throttle (like the Hellraisers that they are) into this year’s Holiday with a proper costume accessory. http://www.trickortreatstudios.com/motorhead_warpig_mask.html

The same company gives Alice Cooper fans a similar option, just in case you can’t make up your mind –  http://www.trickortreatstudios.com/alice_cooper_halloween_mask.html

4) When I saw this article, I wasn’t quite sure how/whether to report about it as, on its surface, it seems to cheapen the basis of the work that we all are fans of here at the ACHOF but, as it is that we now live in a society where “there’s an app for everything” and artists have been using computer-based tools to aid their efforts for some time now, this simply adds another tool to the repertoire of album art creators of varying degrees of talent, right?

As detailed in this article on High Point University’s web site, computer science/math major Nick Zayatz has released an application he calls “Album Pop” (available via the iTunes Store) that lets anyone looking to add album cover art to their recorded music to accomplish that feat “in three easy steps”.

As I was a participant in the era where you made interesting covers for your mix-tapes, I can somewhat appreciate that the young man has produced a tool allowing anyone to personalize their music products but, to me, it simply is another in a long list of products that have only served to industrialize and homogenize an important aspect (at least to fans of album art) of creating memorable music packaging. Your opinions on the topic would be greatly appreciated – http://www.highpoint.edu/blog/2015/04/new-app-created-by-hpu-junior-makes-it-easy-to-design-album-covers/

May 7th –  Two talented rock photographers “gettin’ their dues”…

1) The work of Art Kane, the late photographer who created the covers for albums including The Kids Are Alright by The Who, An American Prayer by Jim Morrison and Point Of Entry by Judas Priest, has found a home in a new book published by Reel Art Press. While his long career’s work was never organized and published in a retrospective monograph, Kane’s son Jonathan made sure that his archives were properly feted in this volume and, in this new photo collection assembled for display on the DailyMail.com site, fans are able to see examples from every aspect of Art’s career, including his work as a photo-journalist, fashion photographer and chronicler of the great changes the world was going through beginning in the early 1960s.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3066690/Photographer-lens-captured-iconic-rock-rollers-1960s-1970s-heydays-collects-greatest-shots-new-book-celebrates-eccentric-era-music-fashion.html

Visit the Reel Art Press site to read more about this important new book –  http://www.reelartpress.com/catalog/edition/71/art-kane

2) Originally a Kickstarter-backed film project but now backed by executive producer Eddie Vedder, film-maker Karen Whitehead’s new documentary Her Aim Is True  screened May 7th in San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts. The documentary’s subject is pioneering female rock photographer Jini Dellaccio who, before going on to fame for her photographs of “rock royalty” including the Rolling Stones, The Who and Neil Young, produced three album covers for the upstart mid-60s garage-rockers The Sonics (who, in spite of several break-ups along the way, are still touring today).

Writing for the SoundDiego site (a late-night weekend show on the NBC affiliate there), Hannah Lott-Schwartz has published an interview with the former BBC news producer in which she acquaints us with a shooter who used her unique window on the world – that of a middle-aged woman as editorial photographer working long before this was the norm – to introduce us to all the exciting talent young people were clamoring about at the time.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/blogs/sounddiego/Her-Aim-Is-True-The-Jini-Dellaccio-Story-302790421.html

May 8th –  1) As a follow-up to an earlier posting about an upcoming show in Austin, TX of the Nirvana-related works by photographer Kirk Weddle, writer Anneta Konstantinides has put together a nice photo article for the UK’s DailyMail.com site featuring a number of the alt-takes from the sessions that created the memorable cover. Baby in the pool, Nirvana members in the pool – even some shots of the band in the pool WITH THEIR INSTRUMENTS (personally, I liked my drum set too much to torture it in this way but, hey, it’s all done for the art)! Truly a glimpse back to happier times for all participants and fans – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3067679/Rare-photos-Nirvana-recreating-iconic-Nevermind-cover-sale.html

2) I was very pleased to read that George Kalinsky – the official photographer for Madison Square Garden (since 1966!) and the man responsible for countless instantly-recognizable photos of performers and performances at the famed NYC arena – is being inducted to the Madison Square Garden “Walk of Fame”. At the same ceremony, the Grateful Dead will also be inducted, in recognition for the 50+ concerts the band has given there since 1979. In addition to Garden-related imagery, Kalinsky has also produced a large collection of photos of celebrities from the entertainment and sports worlds and is the recipient of many photo/editorial industry awards. You can find a number of examples of George’s work, along with a bio and other information, on his web site at http://www.georgekalinsky.com/index.html

Congratulations, George!

3) The folks at St. Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham, U.K. have announced the availability of a few remaining copies of a very rare album art print – that of the cover for Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson’s 2004 solo record titled Gettin’ In Over My Head, done by Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame). The Beach Boys were always one of Sir Peter’s favorite bands, so he approached the production of this collage with great determination and joy. The final image is based on his interpretations of each of the songs featured on the album, with the title of each hand-written next to each unique image found in the collage. To see this and several other of Blake’s music-inspired images, click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/fine-art/sir-peter-blake-signed-limited-edition-album-cover-print-gettin-in-over-my-head.asp

May 11th –  1) There was a new auction May 15th that contained a number of interesting album cover-related items – from art proofs to alt takes to clothing and props found on well-known images – and so I thought that some of you might want to bop on over to the Julien’s Auction site to view these and other fascinating bits of music memorabilia that were sold to a host of lucky collectors. In their “Music Icons 2015” auctions, you were able to bid on the following:

a) A limited-edition print (one of 100) of a Michael Cooper photo taken of an alternate version of the Sgt. Pepper’s set – this one with Paul kneeling, Ringo holding a tuba and several historical icons whose images were axed from the final version. Starting bid on this item was $400, with the winning bid at $1250.

b) Several “working proofs” of production artwork for Beatles-related covers including “Meet The Beatles” (sold for $250), “A Hard Day’s Night” (sold for $375), McCartney & Wings’ “Band On The Run” (sold for $125) and Yoko Ono’s “Plastic Ono Band” (sold for $256). All had opening bids in the $100 – $200 range.

c) Album cover-worn items included gold lame costumes worn by members of Sha-Na-Na (these went unsold), a green hat worn by Alicia Keys on the cover for “Songs In A Minor” (sold for $3750) and a bright red suit worn by the late great John Entwhistle on the cover of his “Too Late The Hero” record (sold for $4688).

You’ll also find a number of signed album covers and photographs that were sold, so click on over to the auction’s summary site at  http://www.julienslive.com/view-auctions/catalog/id/153/?page=1&key=album+cover&cat=&xclosed=no to see everything that was available.

2) As those of you who might follow my writing on the topic of album covers as fine art may know, I’ve always worked hard to promote the notion that album cover artists (designers, photographers, etc.) have often been overlooked by the fine art establishment, primarily due to the perceived “commercial nature” of the works they create (not that fine artists ever work hard to sell their works as well, sometimes even to commercial clients – sheesh!). There are other times, though, when I’m somewhat glad that art critics and educators don’t spend too much time on this topic because, when they do, they tend to write in a prose that confuses me, using references that I’m not familiar with and heady metaphors that leave me with the same feeling I get after finishing a Slurpee (TM) too quickly….

Sometimes, though, art writers meet me half way and, as an example of this, I’d like to point you to a recent article in Juxtapoz Magazine by writer Carlo McCormick about the always-evolving work of a commercial artist (with several album cover credits) who has, over the past 15-20 years, made serious in-roads into the fine art world – the talented Ryan McGinness. While I admit that my eyes did glaze over once or twice during my reading of this article, both the author and the impressive photos of the artist’s work did leave me with a better understanding of how this artist has succeeded when so many others come up short – http://beyondthecover.juxtapoz.com/june-2015-ryan-mcginness

May 12th –  1) In support of the opening of a new John Lennon-centric exhibit at the Krab Jab Studios in Seattle, WA, two of the artists whose work is on display were on hand to meet fans – Tim Bruckner, the album cover artist/sculptor who has created imagery for Ringo, Parliament, the Average White Band and others, and photographer/former Lennon companion May Pang who, in addition to lots of shots of the late Beatle (as featured in her book on the subject titled Instamatic Karma) brought along a pair of Lennon-owned prescription sunglasses. There were several other intriguing Lennon-related sculptures on display, and the opening was attended by a host of celebs with ties to John and his family, including drummer Alan White (of YES and a former member of the Plastic Ono Band) and authors Charles Cross and Gillian G. Gaar. Shelley Germeaux, writing for The Examiner, was in attendance and has posted an article and photo gallery from last weekend’s event, viewable via the link –  http://www.examiner.com/article/may-pang-and-tim-bruckner-at-private-event-for-lennon-exhibit-seattle

2) Sometimes, the best way to provide others with a reference to your feelings about a subject is to reference a well-known album cover image (at least this works for me…). In this article and image gallery recently posted by writer Andy Morris on the Gigwise site, the author has selected 15 album covers that he feels best-represent the surprise and bewilderment he and his chums felt as the result of the recent elections in the U.K.. While some are often-referenced, others are a bit more unusual and, in all cases, a much-better option that a simple “WTF?” graphic – http://www.gigwise.com/photos/100348/election-result-2015-reaction-in-album-covers

3) You’ve got to give a lot of credit to a young person who is so dedicated to sharing his love of music and art that he’s willing to “bet the farm” on the opening of a new vinyl record store/art gallery. In this recent profile by Michelle Goodman in the Ironton (OH) Tribune, you’ll meet the owner of Portsmouth, Ohio’s Haskins House – Charlie Haskins – who opened the shop late last year as a tribute to the artistic roots of his family. In addition to the vast inventory of vinyl records, shoppers will find books on a wide range of music and art topics, posters, memorabilia and a selection of fine art created by various members of the Haskins family, including paintings done by his late father of his interpretations of the covers of records including Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones (complete with working zipper) and Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother. You can learn more about this shop and the people behind it via either via the story link at http://www.irontontribune.com/2015/05/07/no-place-like-haskins-house/ or via their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Haskins-House/184541774921400?fref=ts

May 13th –  1) Fans of surrealism and fantasy art have long-admired the works of the late, great H.R. Giger and will want to join the lines at the ticket windows for the upcoming screenings for a new documentary on the artist’s life and work that’s premiering this week. Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World is a film by Belinda Sallin that, according to the film’s distributor, Icarus Films, “shares the intimate last years of the artist’s life and reveals how deeply he resided within his own artistic visions. Behind the shuttered windows and ivy-covered walls of his residence in Zurich, Switzerland, DARK STAR brings viewers into Giger’s mysterious realm…While more-widely known for his amazing designs for the ALIEN films, album art fans will certainly remember his designs for ELP (Brain Salad Surgery), Debbie Harry (Koo Koo) and Danzig (How The Gods Kill), among several others.

A visit to the site brings you to several video clips, including the film’s trailer and segments in which you can see the artist at work and in one of his amazing creations – his “Secret Garden” (enter, if you dare!)

http://www.icarusfilms.com/new2015/dk.html

2) In a follow-up to last month’s article on illustrator Uwe De Witt’s comic hero-based remakes of album covers, I wanted to let you know that there was a show running at London’s Orbital Comics store (thru May 14th) called “Cover Versions” in which you found the works of 14 different comic book artist as they have re-imagined classic album covers. You’ll see superhero-influenced covers for records by The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Who and others and, in a fine example of album art-based philanthropy, if you like the art you see, you can buy prints of the images on the gallery’s site, with all proceeds going to the Brain Tumour Research charity. Alex Spencer gives us more of the details, along with all relevant links, in this article on the Comics Alliance web site –  http://comicsalliance.com/comic-artists-remix-classic-album-covers/

3) The influence of great album cover art runs deep, as is evidenced by the artwork featured in this article on the Catholic Herald web site. In coming up with “something fresh” in a design for a new recruitment poster for the Dominicans in Ireland, the design team uses both references to their own unique clothing and to the cover image for Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 smash album Born To Run. I suppose that a reference to this image makes more sense than if they’d chosen, say, one of the aforementioned Mr. Giger’s designs but, hey, “whatever floats your boat”.  http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/05/08/vocations-poster-inspired-by-bruce-springsteens-born-to-run/

May 14th –  1) A career-spanning exhibition of the works of long-time NME photographer Chalkie Davies is now on display at the National Museum Cardiff. Running through the 6th of September and featuring over 60 B&W images that were taken during the mid-late 1970s, the subjects of Chalkie’s photos include famous faces from The Clash, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, The Specials, Thin Lizzy and The Who. After leaving NME to start a new publication called The Face, he spent the next several years adding photos of David Gilmour, The Pretenders and Pete Townshend to his portrait/album cover portfolio. The museum has several related events that will take place during the show’s run, and you can read more about this presentation on the ArtDaily.org site via the link – http://artdaily.com/news/78441/Rock-and-Punk-era-brought-to-life-in-a-new-photography-exhibition-at-National-Museum-Cardiff

2) Now available for viewing on the 98 Bowery gallery site is a virtual exhibition curated by Marc H. Miller about what many consider to be the first full-fledged gallery show focused on punk art – that being a 1978 spectacle Miller put together (with Alice Denney) at the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington DC. Reaching deep into his personal archives, Marc has put together a really nice multi-part online catalog, re-introducing fans of the scene to many of the players that made this era so interesting and influential. I was particularly-impressed with the nicely-illustrated section he put up about Punk Magazine and what was going on at the time at NYC’s School of Visual Arts (Legs McNeil, John Holmstrom, photographer Roberta Bayley, etc.). There’s a lot of territory to cover, so why not get started on the site’s catalog page – enjoy the ride –  http://98bowery.com/punk-years/punk-art-catalogue.php

3) To update you on an item I reported on several weeks ago about the vandalism of the Darwin, CA-area Joshua Tree plant featured on the cover of U2’s album by the same name – here’s some feel good news! In a sign of true fandom, a guy that goes by the name of George G. moved himself out to the site of the tragedy and “performed surgery” on the damaged arm, bringing back to what seems to be “like new” condition. George shot video of the entire operation, a link to which you can find in Michelle Geslani’s article on the subject on the Consequence of Sound site – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/05/a-good-samaritan-repaired-u2s-joshua-tree/

I think that he was going to do it With Or Without You…

May 15th – In the meantime, here is the one thing I can point you to: there’s a new book out by two experienced rock photographers – Jason Obrotka and Paul Miles – in which they document a “year in the life” of their work behind the scenes at rock music events that took place at various venues in NYC. The two photo journalists wanted to be able to give fans a slightly-different perspective on what life is like for touring musicians in different genres and stages in their respective careers, and in Before I Hit The Stage, they’ve done just that, giving us the details of their encounters with acts including The Yardbirds, Cherie Currie from The Runaways, Dinosaur Jr., the Violent Femmes and many others.

Writing for the “Extra Mustard” section on the Sports Illustrated web site, Andy Gray interviews the two shooters and, in some bonus items, also asks a number of working musicians some for their take on several interesting sports-related topics.

http://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2015/04/24/rock-roll-photographer-jason-obrotka-backstage

May 18th –  1) Here’s a chance to visit with the very talented Stanley Mouse, the designer responsible for so many beloved rock and roll-related designs over the past 40+ years. In an article posted recently in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat – written by Michael Shapiro – you can get a better look at the amazing output of the guy responsible for album covers for Journey, Steve Miller and, most-notably, the Grateful Dead. He’s lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over 50 years, beginning his career designing posters for Chet Helms before branching out (along with his late partner, Alton Kelley) to create memorable imagery that, if you’ll check your t-shirt collection, you’ll most-probably be an owner of a copy or two. Tour thru the artist’s Sebastopol “Mouse-eum” via the link –  http://www.pressdemocrat.com/lifestyle/3864479-181/stanley-mouse-man-who-designed

2) To follow-up on last-week’s posting about the new film on the life and career of artist H.R. Giger, here’s a link to an interview with the film’s director, Belinda Sallin, done by Blastr.com’s Ernie Estrella. Giger allowed Sallin unprecedented access to his home and workplaces and that footage, combined with her many interviews with the artist himself, his friends, ex-wives and associated artists, serve to bring a complete and intimate view of a truly unique designer of an un-matched portfolio of influential fantasy images. The film continues its limited release in approx. 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada thru the end of June –  http://www.blastr.com/2015-5-15/belinda-sallin-capturing-life-and-art-hr-giger-her-documentary-dark-star-hr-gigers-world

May 19th – 1) In the May issue of Creative Review, Adrian Schaunessy gives us a review of a new book on the album cover work of the Hipgnosis design studio. Titled Technical Ecstasy: Hipgnosis Portraits, the book gives readers a detailed (and nicely-illustrated) look at the people that contributed to the studio’s impressive output – iconic works for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Sad Cafe, Muse, The Cranberries and many, many others. Although Storm Thorgerson died back in 2013, his work and that of his cohorts continues to inspire and amaze – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/may1/hipgnosis-portraits

2) You’ll learn a lot about designer/photographer Brian Griffin and his work on album covers for Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and others in this recent interview featured in Brett Helm’s “[Friday On The Turntable] Album Art & Design” article on the “Life On This Planet” site. As a special bonus feature, Brett has assembled a Spotify playlist that includes examples of music from all of the records mentioned in the interview feature – listen and learn, via the link – http://brethelm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/friday-on-turntable-album-art-design-3.html

3) Are you a budding music industry graphic artist/designer looking to build a portfolio of work published in a major music magazine? If you are, the folks at Relix Magazine are looking for an intern willing to give them 2-3 days per week in their Manhattan, NY offices. While it’s an upaid position (welcome to the media business, newbies!), interns will get to attend concerts, take home valuable swag and get the chance to hob-nob with the music industry mucky-mucks they’ll be trying to impress with their work. Follow the link to the article on Relix/Jamband‘s web site to learn more about how to take this important first step in your career as a music industry producer –  http://www.jambands.com/news/2015/05/18/relix-is-looking-for-graphic-design-interns Good luck!

May 20th –  1) Artist Stanley Donwood – known to many of you for his long list of impressive album covers for Radiohead and others – is subject of a large career retrospective show that opened May 21 at the “Semi-Permanent” art/design conference held in Sydney’s Eveleigh’s Carriageworks exhibition space. Running through June 6th, the show (titled “The Panic Room”) covered much of the huge, 64,000 square foot (!!) space. According to Jacqui Taffel’s article on the show recently posted on Australia’s “The Age” site, the space “will be painted and covered with his posters, screen and lino prints and large-scale prints of paintings, with more than 1000 pieces of Radiohead art work. In the middle is a towering red obelisk, a shrine to the pointy-toothed cartoon bear he first drew nearly 20 years ago for his daughter…”

Fans of “the Bear” will be in sheer bliss, I think. Get the rest of the details, along with some insights from the artist himself on the gargantuan task of setting up a show this big, via the link – http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/the-panic-room-radiohead-artist-stanley-donwood-steps-out-of-the-shadows-20150513-ggzgt7.html

2) In a follow-up to the recent posting about an upcoming album art show that will run alongside the Andy Warhol drawings exhibit that will open up at The Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, NY in late June, The Daily Gazette‘s Pop Culture writer, Jeff Wilkin, shares what I think was many a young man’s fantasy in the early 1970s – provided by the cover of Carly Simon’s No Secrets LP (with photo by Ed Caraeff – thanks again, Ed!) – and then moves on to discuss the many other covers that played some part in shaping his life during those formative years. Covers discussed include examples from acts including Black Sabbath, Blind Faith, Heart and, as I’m sure we all have at least one of these in our own collections, a cover by an fairly-unknown band – in this case, Tucky Buzzard. Share in Jeff’s recap via the link –  http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/wilkin/2015/may/16/hyde-exhibit-puts-fun-spin-70s-album-covers/

One of my favorite covers was the one featured on Bloodrock 3, released in the early 70s by TX-based rockers Bloodrock. Anyone else willing to add to the list?

May 21st –  1) Earlier this week, an auction held at London’s Royal Albert Hall (and arranged by The Print Bank) of 30 limited-edition photo prints, donated by the nice people at the Rockarchive Collection in the U.K., raised a bunch of money for several artist-selected charities. Included in the sale were prints by photographers including Jill Furmanovsky, Sheila Rock, Michael Putland and others, with the top money-getter of the evening being a shot of the late singer Amy Winehouse, which sold for £3000. An autographed photo of Led Zeppelin – signed by guitarist Jimmy Page – sold for £2000, with other shots fetching anywhere from £600 to £1600. Very nice to see that fans are willing to support the good works of these charities while, at the same time, adding great new prints to their respective collections. More details here on the Classic Rock web site – http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2015-05-17/led-zepellin-photo-ps2000-charity-auction

2) Beginning on May 25th, the work of celebrated album cover designer Brian Cannon and his team at Microdot are featured in an exhibition that coincides with the group’s 25th anniversary. Taking place at the circa 1887 Old Courtroom in the Old Courts on Crawford Street in Wigan (UK), the group’s studios will be open to the public for a week, with over 150 items on display including a number of autographed items, lyric sheets from Oasis, the Verve and Richard Ashcroft and, of course, designs the group has done for records by the aforementioned artists and others. Cannon and others will be on hand to answer questions, and a good time is guaranteed for all attendees. Learn more about the show’s hours and special events/lectures on the studio’s site at  http://microdotspeaks.co.uk/2015/05/08/microdot-the-exhibition/

May 23rd –  1) With the voter turn-out quite high in Ireland for their gay marriage referendum, I thought that this article would be of interest to album art fans who are also supporters of equal rights for all…This posting was put up recently on the Entertainment.ie site, with the authors using a number of classic album covers as the basis for their appeals for “yes” votes on today’s poll. It only makes sense, when you’re trying to grab peoples’ attention, that you use images that have a strong appeal, and what better to use than re-imagined covers originally created for The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, The Sex Pistols and several others. Nice work – take a look – http://entertainment.ie/life/Pics-Classic-album-covers-reimagined-in-support-of-Marriage-Equality/365195.htm

2) Flipping the coin over to the side where an album image has caused nothing but (well-deserved) embarrassment for one of the people appearing on the cover photo, here’s the story of an elected official in Canada whose past work as a model for a metal band based in Calgary called Gatekrashor has been revealed and has unleashed the fury of a not-too-happy electorate. It seems that, just a week after photos surfaced of NDP MLA Deborah Drever in which she’s seen with pot and making obscene gestures, a keen-eyed person posted the photo cover of Gatekrashor’s Fear of Attack, in which Ms. Drever is in a staged scene where she’s in the midst of being assaulted by a gang armed with a beer bottle. She’s apologized for her lack of taste in selecting modeling assignments, but calls for her resignation are growing louder by the day. Read more about this on the Globalnews.ca site, via the link – http://globalnews.ca/news/2001504/new-mla-in-facebook-controversy-apologizes-for-offensive-album-cover/

3) In our last story, Tim Cain, the Entertainment Editor for the Decatur, IL Herald-Review, spins a heart-warming tale of his love for album cover art – it’s the best way he knows of to decorate his walls to his taste and mood. Tim has also shown some artistic flair in the way he’s taken and modified some of his favorite covers so that they’re unique works of art – we’ve all done this in one way or another, right? Take a look at Tim’s article via the link

http://herald-review.com/blogs/tim_cain/art-in-unlikely-places/article_0a2f7314-fe50-11e4-83c4-cf276083cc29.html?mobile_touch=true

I once painted a large-scale recreation of a Roger Dean image on my basement wall, using house paint. Anyone care to share their own stories of cover-inspired home decorating?

May 26th – 1) In Kyle Grantham’s article on the Delaware Online site, you’ll get to learn a bit about the career of Joe del Tufo, which started off in graphic design and moved its way into photography when Joe decided that he could both save some production money and get the exact shots he wanted if he just took the time to learn how to use a camera! In the 17+ years since taking that responsibility on, del Tufo has become a very popular photographer, with a lot of editorial, advertising and album cover credits to his name (including covers for Marillion, Steve Hackett, The Pineapple Thief and others). Whenever a major act comes to play venues in the Philadelphia area, Joe’s on hand to document their performances, so you’ll find images of a wide range of major musical acts, including U2, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews and many more. Learn more about the multi-talented producer via the link –  http://www.delawareonline.com/story/firststatefocus/2015/05/15/fsf-del-tufo/27386579/

2) It’s hard to believe that Alternative Press is 30 years old (or, is it that I’M this old), but in this interview with the publication’s fearless leader, Mike Shea, you’ll get to learn about how he worked his tushy off to get the publication launched, noticed and, ultimately, respected for their fierce attention to the careers of many talented “alternative bands”. I remember working a bit with their crew when covering the annual Warped Tour concert series a number of years ago, and they were as dedicated to promoting the talents of great new bands as we were. I’m even more impressed that Mike and his crew have remained focused on this aspect of the music business when so many others have lost their focuses (or is that focusi?) and taken a more-generic route. The publication has always featured a strong list of contributing photographers, and the quality of that work continues to impress and bolster the publication’s reputation both in print and online. Mike spoke recently with reporter Curt Miller about his life’s work and passion, and you can find that article now on the KNAC.com site via the link – http://knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=15620

May 27th –  1) The details of the work done in 1972 by famed album cover design firm Pacific Eye & Ear for Alice Cooper’s classic School’s Out LP are highlighted in this recent article by writer Alan Siegel for The Concourse. Done during the days when outrageous (and impactful) package design was an important part of marketing a band known for its ability to drop the jaws of nearly every parent who found themselves digging through their kids’ record collections, the package featured a school desk carved with the names of band members which opened up to show the things found inside (including a switchblade knife). Band manager Shep Gordon took the design into overdrive by insisting that the record come wrapped in a pair of white (and, quite impressively, flammable) paper panties…Stroll down memory lane to get the rest of the sordid (and hilarious) details on one of the best-remembered album cover efforts, via the link –  http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/schools-out-forever-the-secret-history-of-alice-coop-1705441582

2) Artist Victor Stabin cemented his place in album cover lore with his work on the package for Unmasked by KISS, an album that celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. One of several albums by the band that would feature comic book-style artwork, the story behind the record included enough other memorable bits (34 others, in fact) that it motivated writer McPadden to publish an article on the VH-1 Classic site titled “Unmasking Unmasked: 35 Facts About The Classic KISS Album”. One interesting tidbit was that Stabin, an artist based in Brooklyn, NY, was also responsible for a portfolio of portraits of great American scientists that were used on a series of U.S. Postage stamps…33 other fascinating facts are available via the link – http://www.vh1.com/news/19326/kiss-unmasked-35-facts/

3) Finally, in a good example of “it helps to have famous parents but, without real talent, I wouldn’t have succeeded otherwise”, meet photographer Zack Whitford, an artist whose works are featured in a new gallery show that opened Friday, May 29th at the Hilton|Asmus Contemporary Art Gallery in Chicago (with an opening reception there beginning at 5:30PM local time). Currently living in LA, young Zack spent a lot of his childhood on the road with his father and his Dad’s band – Aerosmith – and took up photography as a hobby five years ago. Since then, his hobby has evolved into a full-time freelance gig and, ultimately, taking on the role as the band’s official photographer. His work has gone on to appear in a number of notable magazines, and this show will be his first full-bore gallery display. Glad to see that talent runs in the family – more details available via the link – http://www.hilton-asmus.com/zack-whitford-contrast.html

May 28th –  1) For many music acts these days, album covers are simply something the record label provides as part of their promotional efforts, but it’s clear here in this recent interview with Ceremony’s lead singer Ross Farrar (posted by Gabe Meline on the KQED site) that album art has been an integral part of his band’s holistic approach to building a relationship with their fans. As he describes each cover for the group’s releases over the past 10 or so years, you’ll see that they’ve tried hard – with the help of the artists and art directors they’ve worked with – to put a lot of themselves (and bits of the world they live in) into each cover. Really an interesting perspective and an opportunity to learn more about the relationship between music and art (I’m really impressed with the homage to early cover designers found on their most-recent release) – http://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2015/05/22/into-the-art-of-ceremony-talking-album-cover-design-with-ross-farrar/

2) In another nicely-documented example of the close relationships that are built sometimes between a musical act and the artist(s) chosen to create their record covers, here’s a recent article featuring Texas-based musician Bill Callahan and artist Paul Ryan, a painter from Australia who, in an effort to find just the right music for the soundtrack on a documentary film being produced about his work, swapped a license for one of his paintings – to be used on a record by Callahan – for some of the singer/songwriter’s most-inspiring tracks. To add some additional value to this “money-less” exchange of intellectual property, slides of Ryan’s works will be used in the projections that will appear behind the singer when he next performs at the famed Sydney Opera House. Read the details in Elissa Blake’s article now featured on the SMH.com.au web site –  http://m.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/bill-callahan-and-paul-ryans-creative-partnership-comes-to-vivid-sydney-stage-20150526-gh9kdo.html

3) Finally – it seems that fans of long-running San Francisco band The Residents have gone just a bit too far in their efforts to collect souvenirs from the band…earlier this month, someone stole (“intercepted”, in delivery-speak) a quite-valuable (and instantly-recognizable) “Eyeball in a Hat” mask, along with a rare photograph used on one of their early record covers. The items were in transit back to its owner after having been used in a museum exhibit when they were pilfered, and so anyone with info on these items – valued at over $120K together – is asked to call the San Francisco PD to aid them in their recovery efforts. To see the items and learn more about them, click on over to the KRON site – http://kron4.com/2015/05/23/100k-mask-20k-album-cover-stolen-in-intercepted-package/

May 29th –  1) If you find yourself in the LA area sometime between now and the middle of the Summer, be sure to leave yourself some time to tour through the “Rock & Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip” exhibition – featuring the billboard photos of Robert Landau – on display at the Skirball Cultural Center near the 405 on Sepulveda. One of two rock-oriented shows up now at the museum (the other is “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution”, running now through October 11), the show coincides with Landau’s excellent book on the same subject and offers large-scale photos of a number of memorable record promo billboards that were on display on the Strip from the late 60s thru the early 80s. Although just a young man at the time, Landau was keen enough to photo-document the short-lived-but-impressive displays that lined the street, distracting drivers with their sheer scale and impressive graphics. In Sam McManis’ recent article on the Sacramento Bee‘s web site, you’ll get a mini-tour of the show and, if you go to the museum’s site, you can watch several related videos, including one with artist Enrique Vidal, the man responsible for painting many a 60-foot canvas during this period.

http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/travel/sam-mcmanis/article21583839.html

http://www.skirball.org/exhibitions/rock-billboards

2) Photographer Eric Meola, the guy responsible for several memorable album cover shots for Bruce Springsteen and his band, is working to both commemorate Born To Run’s 40th anniversary and raise money for a favorite charity via the sale of a limited-edition (1,975 prints) commemorative poster featuring his fine photo work. All sales will benefit the WhyHunger organization, one launched 40 years ago by the late Harry Chapin and DJ Bill Ayers (originally known as World Hunger Year). What makes this poster (which sells for $50) even more special is that Meola turned to art director John Berg – a man responsible for hundreds of record covers during his time at Columbia Records – for his help in designing this fund-raising print. Jennifer Landes of the East Hampton (NY) Star interviews Meola in the linked article – http://easthamptonstar.com/Arts/2015521/Born-Run-Marking-40-Battling-Hunger

Here’s a link to the site where you can purchase one for yourself – http://www.backstreets.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=POSBTR40&Category_Code=001

Money well-spent, don’t you think?

3) Finally – Sometimes, timing is everything. Since artist H.R. Giger was already in the U.S. to pick up an Oscar Award for his design work on the film Alien, Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were able to grab him and convince him to work with them on the eerie and painfully-beautiful cover for Harry’s solo record titled Koo Koo. Also included in the article by Nick Gazin on the VICE site are several photos showing Giger’s magical make-up work on Ms. Harry in progress. I learned one thing I never knew – Giger’s idea for the uber-accupuncture design was inspired by the word “KOO”, as in “A-KOO-puncture”. One of the more-interesting story-behind-the-story articles I’ve seen in a while – enjoy! http://www.vice.com/read/blondies-chris-stein-recalls-working-with-hr-giger-309

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. As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. 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).