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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For March/April, 2018

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The month of March – in as far as album cover art-and-artist-related news goes – proceeded in just the opposite of the traditional “in like a lion, out like a lamb” theme in that it started out slowly but loaded up at the end with new info and articles on exhibitions, profiles, award shows, new books and prints and more on everyone’s favorite topic.

March was also a busy one for yours truly in that I was involved in judging a local/national album art competition, putting on a lecture about album art and artists featuring a display of prints from my own collection and, finally, working to produce all of the materials needed to launch the Kickstarter campaign for my new book project. I’m happy to report that everything went well, with an impressive range of talent on display in the Oak Park Art League’s Artifact 33.3 album art show, a nice turnout of album cover lovers at my March 22nd lecture and my overall happiness with the items that were produced to help me launch my fund-raiser, which looks to launch sometime the first week in April. If all goes according to plan, the project will run for 33 days and, if successful, it should provide me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards you’ve opted for) before the end of the Summer. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for anyone who is a fan of art and music – and that includes YOU – I do hope that you’ll take a look at the project site via the link I’ll include in a special announcement next week.

As I mentioned previously, the last 30 days has given us much to review  in the area of album art and artistry – particularly, in the category of exhibitions (see below) – and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world. Of particular note were the number of international exhibitions on display and/or announced for openings later this Spring, including shows in Scotland, Italy, England, Canada and several in the U.S…these displays approach the world of album covers/music packaging and memorabilia from a number of different angles, so it’s intriguing and exciting to see the passion for this sort of work on display in venues throughout the world.

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

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

a) We all know and love the highly-artistic album cover work of photographer Brian Griffin, so it’s with great pleasure that I can report that there’s a new show of more-recent works – titled Between Here & Now – that’s on display at La Banque Art Centre in Bethune, France – one that features a number of new works taken from his book SPUD (published by Gost Books) that was recently published after Brian’s 2017 artistic residence in that area of the country.

In that some of the bloodiest battles on the Western Front during the first World War were fought only a few miles away from Bethune, Brian was so moved by the area’s history that it inspired him to create images that, in his own inimitable way, illustrated the connection between the land and the “the blood and the bones and the limbs of all (that) became part of the soil.” Writer Eva Clifford provides us with an overview of the display – which is available for viewing now through the 15th of July – in her recent article on the British Journal of Photography’s site – http://www.bjp-online.com/2018/03/brian-griffins-spud-on-the-anomaly-of-potato-growing-in-ww1-battlefields/

Brian provides us with updates on his show via LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6382168208442560512

b) If you happened to be one of the nice people who were able to join me the evening of March 22nd at the Oak Park Art League’s gallery when I presented 25+ prints from my personal collection – and the stories behind how they were made and who made them – I’d like to say “thanks” and hope that you enjoyed your time that night. In addition to the initial selection of prints that were put up on display as part of the opening night ceremonies for the Artifact 33.3. exhibition on March 9th – cover images for records by Supertramp, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and many others – I brought along another group that included works by photographers Brian Griffin, George DuBose and Storm Thorgerson and designs/illustrations by Cal Schenkel, Jamie Reid, Mati Klarwein, R. Crumb, John Van Hamersveld and several others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Goldstein lecture at OPAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2+ hours later, we’d all had our fill and had shared stories about our own collections and experiences (Val Camilletti of Val’s Halla Records even shared the story of the weekend she spent as a Capital Records employee stripping banned cover photos from a certain Beatles record back in the 60s and helping launch the “Butcher Cover” collectibles market!).

As mentioned previously, after receiving dozens of submissions for their Artifact 33.3: National Exhibition of Record Cover Art original album art competition, the Oak Park Art League’s panel of judges – which included local treasure Val Camilletti (owner of Val’s Halla Records), long-time WXRT Program Director Norm Winer, Paul Natkin (one of Chicago’s most-notable rock photographers), me and musician/artist Jon Langford (one of the founders of The Mekons and the alt-country kings The Waco Brothers) – selected what it felt were the best 50 entries from local/outside artists proficient in many areas of design, painting and illustration and displayed the winning entries  in the OPAL gallery in Oak Park, IL beginning  Friday, March 9th.  . These remain on display, along with a number of other rock-themed works of art, until late April, so if you’d like to see them and learn more about the show and the winning entries, please visit their site at – https://www.oakparkartleague.org/artifact-33-3

c) In this month’s list of “there and gone” shows was one that I’d like to have seen – from Friday-Sunday March 23-25 at the Queen’s Park Railway Club in Glasgow, Scotland was a display of works of art and music, curated by artist Ross Sinclair, that featured the work of dozens of artists who also happen to be musicians/musicians who also excel in the visual arts. According to this article on The List (UK) web site by David Pollock, this display does a great job of illustrating a fact long-professed here at the ACHOF, that being that there seems to be something genetic in the make-up of many who participate in the worlds of art and music – something that drives them to experiment, and regularly produce great works, in areas of specialization outside the ones they regularly earn their livings in – https://www.list.co.uk/article/99693-artists-who-make-music-musicians-who-make-art/

I’ve seen these traits on display so often that I was, several years back, driven to produce an article on the topic, which you can find via the link here – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/musicians-that-also-design-album-covers-a-list-for-fans-of-music-and-art/  Suffice it to say that the trend continues…

d) We can always rely on the talented artist/photographer/gallery owner Guido Harari to present us with a comprehensive and entertaining group show each Spring, and his latest effort, which opened March 20th at his Wall of Sound gallery in Italy is no exception. Called Rock ‘N’ Roll Hearts, it features fine art photos from an impressive collective of shooters, many with dozens of examples of album cover photos in their portfolios, including Merry Cyr, Henry Diltz, Art Kane, Gered Mankowitz, Jim Marshall, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Masayoshi Sukita and many others, including Mr. Harari himself. You can find out more about who/what is on display (thru June 11th) on the gallery’s site at – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/rock–n–roll-hearts-e24

e) The Bowie archive-sanctioned, Victoria & Albert Museum organized David Bowie Is show has now moved on to what looks to be its final exhibition space – the Brooklyn Museum in New York – where the impressive display of costumes (over 60 of them), music, videos, photo and graphic imagery, Bowie’s own paintings and ephemera from his own collection – over 400 items in total – will be available for viewing by fans thru July 15thhttps://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/davidbowieis

The nice folks at CNET sent a crew to the museum and came back with a slew of images that allow those of us who don’t live in the area an opportunity to tour the items on display at the Museum in the comfort of our own homes – https://www.cnet.com/pictures/david-bowie-fans-you-cant-miss-this-space-oddity-of-a-show/  The show has set attendance records everywhere it’s been assembled, beginning with the V&A Museum in London in March, 2013 but, like all good things, it comes to an end this Summer, so if you’re in the area and are a fan of all things Bowie, be sure to tour before its gone.

f) With Mr. Bowie fresh in everyone’s minds, the fine people at the Morrison Hotel gallery in Los Angeles recently displayed (2/23 thru 3/23) a pretty impressive Bowie photo exhibition featuring work that highlighted a number of aspects of the artists 50-year career- whether in the studio, on stage and as an artist, actor and fashion icon – as seen by noteworthy photographers such as Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill, Neal Preston, Mick Rock, Masayoshi Sukita and a number of others.

https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/354U1j/BOWIE-Photography-Exhibition–Sale-Now-At-Our-Galleries-February-23—March-23

The gallery’s opening party was attended by a star-studded lineup of photographers and musicians, including shooters Henry Diltz, Ross Halfin and Jimmy Steinfeld and musicians from bands including Circle Jerks, The Cult and Billy Idol’s band, among others. The folks at Music Connection provided us with some photo coverage of the event – http://www.musicconnection.com/david-bowie-photography-exhibit/

g) A recent article found on the Art Daily site helps introduce us to a photo exhibition in Toronto that give us a close-up look at the city’s burgeoning R&B, rap and hip-hop music/cultural scenes. Readers are given a nice overview of a show called Everything Remains Raw: Photographing Toronto’s Hip Hop Culture from Analogue to Digital that’s on display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, which is serving (for the fifth time) as a venue for the YU-U-UGE Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival (the world’s largest such event, it is said).

According to the article, “The exhibition consists of three sections—Write Now: Intro to the Esoteric, Not Now but Right Now, and Emanate—highlighting the many aspects of hip hop culture including rhyming, breakdancing, graffiti, and DJing” and features the works of a collection of Toronto-based shooters working to capture the scene in the 1990s and early 2000s. You’ll find photos – including a number which have never been seen in public before – from the archives of photographers (many with album cover credits) including Craig Boyko (Kardinal Offishall), Michael Chambers (Divine Brown and Love & Sas), Stella Fakiyesi (Philosopher Kings), Demuth Flake, Patrick Nichols (Rupert Gayle and Dream Warriors), Sheinina Raj (Ghetto Concept and Laurance Tan) and Nabil Shash, and the exhibition will be up on display from now until October 21st. Read more by following these links: http://artdaily.com/news/102901/The-McMichael-presents-photographic-works-of-Toronto-s-hip-hop-culture and

http://mcmichael.com/event/everything-remains-raw-photographing-torontos-hip-hop-culture-from-analogue-to-digital/

While my exposure to the Canadian music scene harkens back to the late 1990s when I was involved with the MuchMusic  cable TV network there (partnering with them to bring MuchMusicUSA to American audiences), I have to admit that I knew little about the rap/hip-hop scenes there, so even looking through the McMichael’s web pages on this show was really informative.

h) It started off as an interesting hobby – taking rubbings from the gravestones of notable musicians – but it wasn’t until he’d run out of paper one day 10 years ago and decided to try using the paper sleeve from an old LP that St. Louis, MO-area resident John Wegrzyn hit on an interesting way to memorialize some of the world’s most-notable blues musicians. Now, in a display of his unique album cover-sized rubbings at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis called See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, you’ll find a fascinating selection of John’s works of art based on the carved memorials for a range of blues masters from back in the day to much more recently, including Willie Dixon, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Professor Longhair, Stevie Ray Vaughan and dozens more.

Writing for The Riverfront Times blog, Allison Babka takes us on a mini-tour of the show –https://www.riverfronttimes.com/musicblog/2018/03/16/belleville-mans-gravestone-art-exhibit-ensures-that-the-blues-will-never-die – and introduces us to a man with a passion for gravesites and graphite pencils. The show runs through May 19th, with more details available on the Museum’s site at https://www.nationalbluesmuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhbits/

i) Sneaking into this month’s summary on the last day of March was the announcement of the opening of an exhibition on display in the gallery of the Winchester Discovery Centre (in Winchester, Hampshire, UK) featuring a collection of the works for the stage, dance and film by famed illustrator Gerald Scarfe, well-known to album art fans as the talented man behind the visuals for Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

According to this recent article on the Art Daily site (http://artdaily.com/news/103607/Drawing-a-crowd–Gerald-Scarfe-Stage—Screen-exhibition-comes-to-Hampshire ) “Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen will feature more than 100 preliminary sketches, storyboards, photographs, ephemera, costumes, set pieces and animation cels” that catalog Scarfe’s contributions to productions from The Wall (1979) to the English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker (2002). Organized by London’s House of Illustration, one of the most-unique aspects of what’s on display are the collections of costumes and props that were used in various live/recorded productions and, of course, an impressive array of Scarfe’s work on The Wall along with the 1972 short film titled A Long Drawn Out Trip (“a stream-of-consciousness piece that reflected Scarfe’s perception of American culture”) that was seen by members of Pink Floyd and then lead to their ultimate collaboration on The Wall.

Specifics about the show – which runs now through June 27th – can be found on the Hampshire Cultural Trust’s site at http://www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/event/gerald-scarfe-stage-and-screen-exhibition

j) While its opening is still a couple of months away, I am excited to report the news of a new John/Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool in Liverpool, UK that will include a lot for those of us who’ve always appreciated that pair’s contributions to the world of music-related art. Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is one large part of the city’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as “European Capital of Culture” and will, according to the Museum’s PR, have visitors “taking a chronological journey… the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.”

On display during the shows run, which begins on May 18th and will stay up for nearly a year (through April 22nd, 2019), are many items of original art created by the pair (individually and together) such as Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple: Acorn Peace, War Is Over and others, along with a selection of hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including those to songs including “In My Life”, ”Give Peace a Chance”, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Woman”. There will also be a music room where visitors can listen to the couple’s music and review all of the album art that we remember and love. You can learn more about this tantalizing show on the museum’s web site at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/doublefantasy while those with a bit of patience for poorly spaced and punctuated overview articles can read more on one found recently on the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/news/UK/111842/John-and-Yoko-s-story-in-their-own-words-at-Museum-of-Liverpool

k) Noted album cover designers/authors Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz are teaming up with another accomplished (and Grammy-nominated) designer, Sylvia Reed to gather and curate record art show that will be put up at the One Space Art Gallery in NYC at a date TBD. According to the info I rec’d recently from Mr. Drate, the curators are asking designers everywhere to send in their best examples of well-designed record packaging for consideration, with entries due no later than June 1, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for this show.

The show will be called For The Record: The Vinyl Cover Show 2018 and will be the latest in a series of such shows the curators have staged over the years, including a well-received show that took place at The One Club back in 1995 called the “Special CD Packaging Show” (which featured over 100 examples of album art on display) and another show that was held in May, 2004 at the sadly-closed CBGB Gallery built in support of the release of their Rock Posters of the 90s books and which included 250+ posters sourced from 50 different designers, so it’s clear that this team has been working hard for years to share the talents of the artists working in the music business with their fans and collectors of these works.

More details about this show and the folks behind it can be found on their Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/spencer.drate/posts/10156195245043288

If you’d like to see all of the books that the dynamic duo of Drate and Salavetz have authored (21 and counting), here’s a handy link to their author’s page on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/author/spencerdrate

Of course, I’ll give you more info on this show as it becomes available. Designers, send in your best!

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) One of the music industry’s best-known and often-lauded album cover artists – Neville Brody – has spent the past seven years as Dean of the School of Communication at the U.K.’s Royal College of Art, but as you’ll read in this Design Week article by Aimee McLaughlin, he’ll be transitioning this coming September to a new role as a professor of visual communication – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-february-4-march-2018/neville-brody-to-step-down-from-role-at-rca/

In addition to the many album cover designs he’s credited with over the years, Mr. Brody is the author of one of the design industry’s best-selling books, The Graphic Language of Neville Brody (the second volume published in 1994), which sold over 100,000 copies to become one of the world’s best-selling books about graphic design. In 1989, Brody launched “Neville Brody Studios” and, with cohort Cornel Windlin (a talented graphic artist and typeface designer), the studio took on a number of commissions and successful collaborations with other respected design firms. First renaming the firm Research Studios in 1994 and, most-recently, Brody Associates (http://brody-associates.com/) , Neville and his team have worked on an impressive portfolio of projects for clients in many industries world-wide, including media companies such as the BBC, D&AD, The Guardian, MTV Europe, Paramount Studios, The Times (London) and Wallpaper*Magazine,  venues such as Parco (Japan), The Barbican (London) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) and retail product firms including Apple, Asics, Bentley, Bonfire Snowboarding, Chloe, Deutsche Bank, Dom Perignon, Homechoice, Microsoft, Nike, Salomon, Sony Playstation, YSL and many others. We wish him well as he soon moves on to the next phase of his career in academia.

b) When Public Enemy’s Chuck D teamed with rocket scientist/painter B.E. Johnson back in 1990 to come up with the soon-to-be-quite-memorable cover art for the group’s Fear of a Black Planet record, he’d hoped to drive home the point that that his Black Planet would be both large and cast a big shadow on planet Earth, but someone with Johnson’s special skills realized that it was important to show him how that should only be done in such a way that it’d survive as both a metaphor and a scientifically-correct image.

With a new group of products recently hitting the streets – clothing and accessories – from two hot design labels (Undercover and Supreme) that proudly display elements from the FOABP album artwork in their designs, the folks at the Hypebeast.com site turned to contributor Keith Estiler to turn to the artist to get an updated version of the “making of” story, which is now available on the site via this link – https://hypebeast.com/2018/3/fear-of-a-black-planet-artwork-undercover-supreme-be-johnson

There’s also a nice 90-second video available in which the acclaimed rapper shares a bit about the times and circumstances that compelled him and his music-making chums to produce that record and its visual counterparts – https://www.instagram.com/p/BgMJFN0Hh_X/?utm_source=ig_embed&action=save

c) Back in college, Chuck Sperry double-majored in Art and Journalism and fully anticipated working as a writer/journalist, but a gig as the school newspaper’s cartoonist and the advice/mentorship of a friend of his family (Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Peters) started him down another path (from Missouri to New York and then San Francisco, one that has lead him to be one of the most-prolific and admired artists working for clients in the music business. Over the years, his screen-printed posters for almost every major act (yes, all of them!) and for The Fillmore concert venue have made clients, fans and collectors very happy with their inspired artwork and quality printing, which also lead Chuck to expanding his design offerings to products including skateboards, concert merch and, as you might figure, several album covers, including ones for Jello Biafra, Social Unrest, Madness and several others.

While he’s presently working on an exhibition opening soon (Heaven of Many a Tangled Hue, at Spoke Art in San Francisco), the folks at Juxtapoz Magazine caught up with him to have him spill some of the details of his career up to this point, beginning with his early forays into the field, many of the influences he’s had (including Gilbert Shelton, William Morris and writer Mary Shelley, among others) and what art this highly-collected artist has in his own art collection.

Profile on rock poster/album cover artist Chuck Sperry in Juxtapoz Magazinehttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/collectibles/the-interweaving-worlds-of-chuck-sperry/

Details of new show at Spoke Gallery – https://spoke-art.com/blogs/news/coming-soon-to-sf-chuck-sperry-heaven-of-many-a-tangled-hue

d) Cover Our Tracks’s Loring Kemp was recently privileged to enjoy a conversation with goth/post-punk pioneer David J. Haskins (AKA “David J”), best-known as the bassist and lyricist for two seminal British bands – Bauhaus and, later, Love & Rockets. While we’ve all been impressed with his musical output, it was these bands’ (often dark) visuals that really helped them stand out from the many bands we enjoyed in the late 70s and 80s, so it is a great pleasure to read more as Loring and David take us all on an historical tour through the art that includes aspects of “Dada, noir and fantasy fiction” – a bit atypical for the timeframe, I think – enjoy this “Kick In The Eye” via the link – https://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2018/03/05/Kick-in-the-Eye-David-J-on-the-visual-art-of-Bauhaus-and-Love-and-Rockets

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) An auction to raise funds for the Benefit Shop Foundation in Mt. Kisco, NY will be taking place this coming April 18th that features large-format (6ft. square!) album cover artwork from noted artist Joe Taylor – http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/6071-choice-artworks-abound-at-benefit-shop-april-18

The Texas-born Taylor is perhaps best-known for the mega-scale promo billboards he created to promote new releases inside Tower Records stores in the 1970s and 1980s. What makes this particular auction item even more special is that, as the normal course of business, Taylor took the large masonite boards after they were used and painted them over with new artwork, so this huge re-creation of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe LP is a rare remnant of his work, indeed. According to the article, “When the music store closed, it reportedly offered artworks to a select group, including the woman who owned this painting for many years, hanging it in her L.A.-home before moving to a smaller home in New York City.” Taylor has also written a book, Art & Music, that shares the stories behind his billboard artwork.

Since leaving the art/advertising world a number of years ago, Taylor has spent his time as Owner/Operator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum – a museum that presents the Earth’s history from a Creationist perspective – in Crosbyton, TX (near Lubbock). He has also put up a display at the museum of the remaining album art paintings he retained ownership of – http://mtblanco.com/2016/03/joe-taylors-album-art/

I’m sure that the winning bidder will be the envy of all his/her/their friends…

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) April means Record Store Day month, and this year’s offerings are truly impressive. Now that the vinyl LP business has busted through the $1 billion sales mark again, musical acts and record labels are much more willing to put the extra effort and resources into these collectible offerings (yes, even the young ones are wanting to have and hold special physical goods). Rather than try to highlight what’s going to be made available, I’ll leave that up to the folks at Goldmine Magazine, who’ve put together a nice summary (with highlights) on their web site – http://www.goldminemag.com/news/record-store-day-releases-list-2018 and in a multi-page spread (pages 19-22) in the May 2018 edition of their print magazine.

This year’s Record Store Day Ambassadors at the Grammy Award winners Run The Jewels, and their special offering is a limited-edition metal box set titled The Stay Gold Collectors Jewel Box, a package that includes an etched 12” EP with custom art, a special turntable slipmat and that box – a handy place to store your most-precious vinyl LPs. Album cover fans will recall that RTJ and artist Timothy Saccenti were the winners of this year’s Best Art Vinyl competition….

If you’d like more info on the releases and Record Store Day (April 21), bop on over to the RSD site at http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases  I’m eagerly awaiting the release of a fully-restored – including 3D Lenticular cover – version of Their Satanic Majesties Request on splatter vinyl, available exclusively at an independent record dealer near you.

b) Genesis Publications has begun taking pre-orders on a new book about the recent (June, 2017) concert at Wembley Stadium in London by R&RHOF inductees ELO, done in cooperation with ELO lead/producer/keeper of the flame Jeff Lynne – http://www.genesis-publications.com/book/9781905662524/wembley-or-bust?

The book documents the production, staging and performance by the greatly-expanded (12 pc.) band, which presented the 60,000+ fans with an amazing video/musical/pyrotechnic display, with the star of the show (visually) being their world-famous flying saucer. In addition to the amazing photography and a full behind-the-scenes tour lead by Mr. Lynne, the limited-edition (1,500 total) packages will be signed by Jeff and, depending on the version purchased, will include other collectible items such as vinyl picture discs, custom slipcases/bindings and, in the Deluxe version (only 350 of these will be made), a specially-made ELO space ship cutout/assembly. Last I heard, sales were brisk, so be sure to visit the publisher’s site soon if you’d like to reserve a copy for yourself/your loved ones.

5) Other articles of interest –

a) This year’s Juno Awards were announced on March 25th at 8PM in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. If you’ll recall my earlier article on this award show, the nominees in the Album Artwork category were:

EVERYTHING NOW – Arcade Fire – Catherine Lepage & Simon Rivest (Art Directors); COCONUT CHRISTMAS – The Lost Fingers – Geneviève Lapointe (Art Director), Martin Tremblay (Photographer); MECHANICS OF DOMINION – Esmerine – Jean-Sébastien Denis (Art Director & Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (Designer);FREUDIAN – Daniel Caesar – Keavan Yazdani (Art Director & Photographer), Sean Brown (Designer), Eric Lachance (Illustrator) and STUBBORN PERSISTENT ILLUSIONS — Do Make Think Say – Marianne Collins (Art Director & Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (Designer), Steve Farmer (Photographer)

And the winners of this year’s Juno Award for Album Artwork were…the talented team of people – Marianne Collins (AD/Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (designer) and Steve Farmer (photographer) – who produced this year’s Juno Award-winning album cover art for Do Make Say Think’s album Stubborn Persistent Illusions. They were up against some pretty stiff “big name” competition this year, but it’s nice to see that great talent wins out even when it’s delivered from rural Nova Scotia! Our heartiest congratulations go out to the production team, the record label and the musical act, and you can read more about this winning team via the link – https://junoawards.ca/nomination/2018-album-artwork-marianne-collins-ian-ilavsky-steve-farmer/

More to come soon….like I said, there was a LOT of info to sort through this month!

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For November/December, 2017

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

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings to you all – did you survive your Thanksgiving holiday break and the extra tablets of antacid required to manage turkey-and-stuffing-induced stomach pains? Like many of you, I’m working on knocking off some of the extra poundage I took on due to overindulgence, but with the month of news we just had, it couldn’t distract me from my duty to keep you all informed as to what took place, making it, if you’ll pardon the pun, a bit more digestible…

And so, today, on this sunny-but-chilly early December day, 2017, I present to you this month’s summary, one I think you’ll all find something of interest in. The month of November showered us with articles I know you’ll want to read that reveal new information about those actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts – as found in exhibitions, via new books and products and featured in interviews in profiles and other related reporting – of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in my reviews of stories from around the world.

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Announcing the 2017 Inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

This latest class of honorees in the 6 major categories – as voted on by a world-wide panel of music, art and marketing experts in the area of album cover art & packaging – represents the “who’s who” of creative and production talent, with many recognized names from the fine art and design world.

Since officially launching the site in 2012, we’ve inducted five classes of Inductees based on the results from the group’s yearly surveys (the initial three classes focused on nominees who began their careers as album cover artists between the years 1960 – 1975, 1976 – 1990 and from 1991 – present, while the last two years’ voting looked at all producers active any time since 1960). Hundreds of additional biographies were added for consideration by the esteemed panel of writers, curators of galleries (retail and online) that focus on album cover imagery, art/design museum curators and music marketing experts.

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For October/November, 2017

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

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this post-Halloween sunny-but-crisp early November day, 2017. The month of October proved to be a VERY busy one with regards to articles you’ll want to read that reveal new information about those active in the world of album cover art and packaging and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts – as found in exhibitions, via new books and products and featured in interviews in profiles and other related reporting – of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in my reviews of stories from around the world.

Of course, nothing could be more important than the work going on right now to select the nominees and, after close consideration, voting on a new class of inductees, for the Album Cover Hall of Fame. Over 200 people are being considered for this year’s Class (2017), with the winning names revealed to an eagerly-awaiting public just prior to Thanksgiving (which takes place here in the U.S. this year on November 23rd), so watch this space closely as I’m sure you’ll want to know who “made the cut” this year…

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of December 2016

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

So, we’re done with 2016 – let us all heave a sigh of relief. What a year.

While I typically have a lot to say in these intros, I find myself somewhat shell-shocked and, therefore, at a loss for words, so I suppose that, rather than ramble on meaninglessly, I should simply relate what’s new and exciting in the world of album cover artistry. Whenever I’m in a funk, I trek on over to my favorite art museum and find something to inspire. Several days ago, my wife and I set out on a trip to the fabled Chicago Art Institute and, on the way, stopped at the impressive Chicago Cultural Center (a must-see for classic Chicago architecture fans) and, much to my surprise, found an excellent show of the works of Harlem-based abstract expressionist painter Norman Lewis on display (PROCESSION: The Art of Norman Lewis is on display until January 8th – https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/norman_lewis.html). Music – particularly, jazz – influenced a number of Lewis’ works (his brother Sol was a musician), and although he never did an album cover (at least, not to my knowing), it was uplifting to see such creativity and imagination on display that drew inspiration from the local music scene. And while Lewis didn’t garner the art world fame that many of his other WPA-era contemporaries did (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, etc.), I am glad to have been able to discover his talents at this point in my life – it made me smile again.

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Interview with Susan Archie, 2015 Grammy Award Winning Designer

Interview with Susan Archie, principal of World of anArchie, winner of the 2015 Grammy Award for “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” for her work on The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27), released by Third Man Records/Revenant Records.

Paramount, Third Man Records, Revenant Records, Susan Archie, Grammy Award, Box Set, Interview, Album Cover Hall of Fame, 2015, article, interview

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood & Jack White, art directors

With a thorough understanding of digital technologies being such a key driver to success in today’s music business, music fans often forget that the earliest recorded music came about as the result of an application of a new technology – i.e., those introduced by the early French and American inventors of the phonograph and the gramophone. While we take for granted the various advances in recording technology that have taken place since the late-1800s, without the energies applied – and risks taken by – music industry pioneers, there would be no archives of the performances given by the musical acts that have gone on to influence modern music and music engineering.

Like many an American industrial enterprise, the early U.S. recording business was also an attractive one to those individuals and companies looking to entice the public to buy their products, with some companies (Edison and Victor, for example) impressing consumers with the quality (sound and manufacturing) of their hardware (AKA record playing devices) and software (recorded content, in its many forms – first cylinders, then 78RPM discs, etc.) and others looking to simply “spend-a-little, make a lot” as production of devices and content quickly scaled up as the century turned.

In that second camp were the owners of the Wisconsin Chair Company who, around the start of World War 1,  launched a brand called Paramount to manufacture phonographs and, to provide a broad range of recorded content to play on those phonographs, operated Paramount Records as a way to produce what would turn out to be hundreds of ground-breaking recordings “on the cheap”. By the time Paramount ceased operations in 1932, it had compiled recordings of an impressive of performers spanning early jazz, blues, gospel, the Vaudeville and operatic stages and other popular musical styles. Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap – February, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Although the month was a short one, you really can’t say that it was at all lacking in interesting album cover-related news. There were three new and very-talented recipients in the “Packaging” categories for this year’s Grammy Awards, announced here on February 8th and, via a show launched two days prior, LA-area music and art fans were treated to the opening of a very-comprehensive display of album/rock art at the Forest Lawn Museum called “Revolutions 2”.

Early February also was the time when two more major exhibitions were launched – one in California and one in Rhode Island – that contained carefully-curated selections of rock and album cover art, with several others following both in the U.S. and U.K. (plus one in Dubai!). Of particular note is the show at the Barbican in London, where fans can see selections from the personal collections of artists associated with album art, including Andy Warhol, Martin Parr and Sir Peter Blake.

Continuing to be popular are articles focusing on album art themes, including psychedelic music and heavy metal imagery, as well as one that presented an list of almost-unbearable album covers for records where the music was just as bad. There were video interviews with designers and photographers that helped you learn more about their inspirations, work (and play) habits and the stories behind many of your favorite album covers (yes, some drugs were involved in several famous examples!). Album art made “the big time” (i.e., a feature on network TV) when CBS Sunday Morning profiled photographer Henry Diltz and he shared his stories about his life shooting covers for The Doors, James Taylor and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (how cool was that?).

A number of notable gallery shows opened for your viewing pleasure during the month, with the works of artists including Robert Williams, photographer Guy Webster and the many famous and soon-to-be famous friends of agent provocateur/gallerist Robert Fraser, while new books featuring the works of Aubrey Powell/Hipgnosis, Graham Nash, Kishin Shinoyama and Art Kane were released for purchase by fans of great album art and imagery.

Of course, 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 working hard to update those already there with new information and to add another 50-75 new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). I’ve got several interviews slated to be published this month, including one with one of this year’s Grammy winners and a U.K. based photographer who has published a series of very unusual and compelling prints featuring portraits of many of your favorite album cover photographers. In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were out shoveling snow (or gathering supplies for extended home stays – will Winter ever end?) or doing whatever it is that makes you happy and satisfied. As I’ve said many times, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics (don’t you agree?), so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

February 27th – 1) Happy to announce the posting of my latest “Featured Fan Collection” article, this one featuring items from the collection of avid record collector and curator of the “Jackets Required: 40 Years of Album Cover Design” exhibition (on display at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library through Mar. 27th, 2015) Robert Garzillo. Robert shares his opinions on the “Top 10” covers from his own collection, showing us his unique sense of both style and history in his selections. I also asked him to give us his take on the importance of album cover imagery in today’s music business and whether he thinks it helps reflect – or influence – trends in Pop Culture even now, and I think that you’ll appreciate what he shares with us – please feel free to share with anyone you know who might enjoy strolling through 40 years of great cover design – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/featured-fan-…/

2) The team at NPR Music have just published a video interview with album art producer extraordinaire Gary Burden in which he takes us all on a tour of his Laurel Canyon (CA) stomping grounds, home in the 60s & 70s to an amazing collection of music talent – Mamas & Papas, Joni Mitchell, CS&N and many others – who became both his friends and his clients. There’s nearly 15 minutes of details, and a chance to relive an important era in music/music art history – http://www.npr.org/…/02/25/388693…/gary-burden-on-world-cafe

3) Rapper Eminem’s boyhood home was featured on the cover of his 2013 Grammy-winning album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 but, since the record’s release, the home was demolished and, as fans feared, lost to history. However, since that time, there have been claims made by fans that pieces of this home – most-notably, the front door with the number 19946 (the home’s address was 19946 Dresden, in Detroit, MI) spray-painted on it – are now in the hands of a couple of fans who allegedly scavenged them from the site. Originally, the culprits were going to be charged with theft after they were discovered with the door but, in a surprising turn-around of events, the authorities are not going to press charges against a fan who’d purchased the relic from two other fans in Tampa, FL. The young fan hopes to either re-unite the door with its original owner, or donate it to a museum. More on this impressive piece of music memorabilia in Eric Lacy’s article on the MLive web site –http://www.mlive.com/…/…/eminem_fans_who_allegedly_took.html

February 26th – 1) Here’s a bit more detail about the “Revolutions 2” exhibition at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale that I’d reported on previously, graciously provided by San Gabriel Valley Tribune writer Michelle Mills. Michelle was able to talk with several of the participating artists whose works are included in the show, including Hugh Brown (IRS & Rhino Records) and Mike Salisbury (Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, more), as well as painter and sculptor Artis Lane. Read more in Michelle’s article, as seen on the San Bernardino Country Sun site – http://www.sbsun.com/…/revolutions-2-fetes-iconic-music-art…

2) In a show titled “That’s Entertainment!” now on display at The Empty Quarter gallery in Dubai, the works of photographers Helmut Newton, Frank Worth and Peter Sanders – who all earned fame for their photos of celebrities from all walks of life – are seen, with many images now available as fine art prints. Newton brought his subjects into equally-interesting, non-studio settings – villas, luxury vehicles, hotel lobbies – and contributed photos for albums by Van Halen, Scorpions and the Rolling Stones. Worth’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other mid-century stars are well-known by any fan of the era, while Sanders was on hand to capture the careers of everyone from Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix to T. Rex, Procol Harum and Mott The Hoople. Take a break from the mid-day sun and enjoy this show, on display now through March 16th –
http://www.theemptyquarter.com/index.php?p=exhibits_current

3) While the best-known Beatle-related album cover boo-boo has been the infamous “Butcher Cover”, WZLX reporter Alisha Jackson shows us that that wasn’t the only time that a Fab Four cover required last-minute replacing. It turns out that, in early 1970, the band was set to release a compilation record titled Beatles Again, and had printed all the labels as such. With the song “Hey Jude” gaining popularity, it was then decided to change the album’s name to Hey Jude, requiring a change in the album cover as well. Panic and mistakes ensued, with Apple Records exec Neil Aspinall relating his take on what then happened and, in his opinion, who was to blame. To read the stunning conclusion, click on over to the WZLX (Boston, MA) site – http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/…/the-beatles-hey-profanity-hey-j…/ You’ll also be able to find out more about another reported editing malfunction that left some Paul-mouthed profanity in the mix…

February 25th – 1) The LA-area is getting all the good album cover-related shows these days (yes, I’m jealous)…Running now through April 27th at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery in Hollywood is an exhibition featuring selections from the life’s work (so far) of artists, journalist and agent-provocateur Robert Williams, best-known to album art fans for the original “robot rapist” cover art for Guns ‘n’ Roses 1987 record titled Appetite For Destruction. “Slang Aesthetics! Robt. Williams” tracks his career from his role as art director for 60’s customizer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to his contributions to early underground magazines (Zap Comix) to his launching of the “alternative art” (AKA “lowbrow art”) magazine Juxtapoz, along with his works in painting, print-making and sculpture that were promoted to collectors and fans through shows at leading galleries in LA, NYC and abroad. LA Times writer Carolina A. Miranda gives us a look at the show and the talented man behind the art in her recent article on thelatimes.com web site – http://www.latimes.com/…/la-et-cam-lowbrow-master-robert-wi…

2) Manchester, U.K. born and educated designer/art director David James is the subject of a new profile in the series titled “The Creative Class” found on the Business Of Fashion site. Best known today as the creative head for the leading design magzaine AnOther, James’ work as an independent designer has also benefited advertising and celebrity clients including Prada (who he’s worked with for over 20 years), but album cover fans will remember his stylish work on covers for Boy George, Neneh Cherry and Soul II Soul. Bringing his sense of fashion – along with a roster of design/photography talent – from the music and entertainment worlds to the fashion world established his credentials as a “go to guy” when clients wanted a unique take for their new campaigns. Rebecca May Johnson’s profile of this multi-talented artist is available for viewing via the link http://www.businessoffashion.com/…/creative-class-david-jam…

February 24th – 1) In the 1960s, London-based art dealer Robert Fraser established himself as one of the most-progressive supporters of pop art, artists and the culture they helped develop. His gallery became one of the main gathering places for the artists, musicians and patrons of their efforts (much like Andy Warhol’s “Factory” in New York), and Fraser’s influence on the scene’s participants would be long-lasting. It was Fraser who paired The Beatles with, first, artist Peter Blake, who’d lead the project that produced the cover for their Sgt. Pepper’s LP, and then with Richard Hamilton to come up with the simple-yet-powerful design for the band’s “White Album”, and he went on to have an impact on the art and music scene up to his death from AIDS in 1986. To help fans of Pop Culture gain an appreciation of the man and legacy, he people at London’s Pace Gallery have just launched a seven-week exhibition (running now through March 28th) that puts on display works by the many artists he helped introduce to collectors through his efforts, including Warhol, Jim Dine, Keith Haring, J.M. Basquiat and several others. Writing for the Wall Street Journal‘s Feature Section, Liesl Schillinger gives us a detailed account of the man and the scene he helped both invent and grow, with his influences still acknowledged today – http://www.wsj.com/…/art-dealer-robert-frasers-swinging-lon…

2) For anyone who has spent time in the Ozark Mountains, you’ll appreciate photographer Jim Mayfield’s fixation on the beauty that can be found there – from the simple beauty of a local sky, or tree or local elder sitting on a porch with his favorite pipe. Album cover fans will recall his three cover photos for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, all featuring the scenery and the people of the place he’s called home for most of his 68 years. In this article by Juliana Goodwin in the Springfield News-Leader, readers will get the chance to learn more about the path that the graduate of the Art Center College of Design took to establish himself as one of the foremost documentarians of the regions history, resources, people and the natural beauty they enjoy –
http://www.news-leader.com/…/jim-mayfields-photog…/23509075/

February 23rd – 1) While it only makes sense that folks in the album cover creation business would also be art collectors themselves, it is a rare occasion when us fans are given the opportunity to take a look at these collections. Let’s then thank the curators at the Barbican Art Gallery in London for putting together the “Magnificent Obsessions” show – running now thru May 25th – which puts on display over 8,000 objects borrowed from the collections of artists including Andy Warhol, Martin Parr, Damien Hirst, Sir Peter Blake and many others. There are dolls, musket balls and elephant figurines from Sir Peter’s eclectic acquisitions, skulls and stuffed animals owned by Mr. Hirst, several of Mr. Warhol’s prized cookie jars and a wall of album covers owned by Mexico’s Dr. Lakra. NY Times International Art writer Farah Nayeri gives us the show’s details, along with interviews and commentary by the curator and some of the participants in her recent Times article –
http://www.nytimes.com/…/magnificent-obsessions-show-at-the…

2) Sir Peter Blake also appeared in an article by Simmy Richman in the U.K.’s Independent in which the writer tracks down one of the production team members for Blake’s probably best-known album cover work – i.e., the collage created for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record – to learn that there was quite a bit of chaos present on the set where all of those cut-outs, wax figures and other objects were assembled to create the iconic final image. Richman located (via Facebook) photographer Michael Collins’ assistant during the project – Nigel Hartnup, now living in France – who was able to share more details about his involvement and what happened to at least one of the cut-outs from the shoot (Sir Peter still owns the Marilyn Monroe figure). More details via the link – http://www.independent.co.uk/…/wed-like-to-take-you-home-wi…

February 20th – 1) One of the best-known and often-discussed album covers to date is the Peter Saville-designed image found on Joy Division‘s Unknown Pleasures album. The 1979 release was unusual for a number of reasons – most notably that it was the band’s debut studio album and the cover doesn’t mention the band at all – but the memorable cover image has been somewhat of a mystery that, finally and in great detail, is unveiled by Scientific American’s art director for info-graphics Jen Christiansen via the following link – http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/…/pop-culture-pulsar-o…/ 
The article digs deep, interviewing designer Saville, finding the origins of the design he adapted and, finally, interviewing the scientist that published the original figure as part of his astronomical research in the early 1970s. Very thorough and thought-provoking!

2) 2014 ACHOF Inductee Brian Roettinger is the subject in NY Times reporter J.C. Gabel’s recent interview during which the designer talks openly about the most-influential aspects of his life (his family’s impressive record collection and suburban surroundings, to start) and about his career path that has lead him from creating album covers and gig posters for LA-area punk/metal bands early in his career to his award-winning work for Jay-Z (Magna Carta Holy Grail), Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special and, soon, Florence & The Machine’s upcoming album titled How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Quite the trip –http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/…/brian-roettinger-art-…/

February 19th – It’s all about album cover photography today! Three stories for your enjoyment and education:

1) The work of famed photographer Art Kane is the subject of a new book – curated by his son and daughter-in-law – released by Reel Art Press. Titled Art Kane, the book includes over 200 photos taken from Kane’s long career as a photographer, art director (and, later on, playwright and videographer) for magazines (LIFE, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and others) and for clients in the advertising and music arenas. His shot of The Who – taken originally for a feature in LIFE and used later for the album cover for the band’s The Kids Are Alright LP – is considered one of the best-known (and often-imitated) images in modern rock history. You can learn more about the man and the new book in Eliza Berman’s recent article in Time Magazine – http://time.com/3689728/art-kane-photographs/

2) Singer, songwriter and major contributor to the improvement of digital photo printing Graham Nash has a new photo show running now through May 31 at the Mumm Fine Art Gallery in Napa, CA that includes a number of portraits of musical friends such as David Crosby and Joni Mitchell. Nash’s introduction to photography as a young man began with a disturbing incident, with Graham’s father presenting him with a new camera, only to be arrested shortly afterwards for stealing said camera. Rather than pointing the finger at the real thief, his father would go on to spend a year in jail for the crime…Bay Area NBC News reporter Joe Rosato, Jr. provides us with a video news piece about the man and his new photo show, via the link – http://www.nbcbayarea.com/…/Graham-Nash-Singer-Songwriter-P…

3) When photographer Kishin Shinoyama snapped a photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono sharing a kiss near the pond in NYC’s Central Park (which would be used as the cover for the couple’s last studio album Double Fantasy), little did he know that, just a few weeks later, Lennon would be dead. During that day in the park, Shinoyama shot over 800 photos, with many of them never released, and so it is of great joy to Lennon fans that the folks at Taschen have teamed up with the photographer and John’s widow Yoko to publish a limited-edition art book titled “Kishin Shinoyama. John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Double Fantasy”. The 174 page book is being offered to collectors in two versions – the $700 “Collector’s Edition” book, signed by both Ono and Shinoyama, is in a limited-editon of 1980 copies, while the two $1800 “Art Edition” models (in editions of 125 copies each) come with your choice of one of two signed photo prints. Rebecca Bengal of the New York Times provides us with an intro to this new book, which includes a link to the video promo trailer – http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/…/john-lennon-yoko-ono-…/

February 18th – 1) The readers of the popular R&B/Hip-Hop site The Boombox have spoken (via the site’s annual Fan Choice Awards poll) and have selected – by a large margin – the cover of artist Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out record as “Album Cover of the Year 2015”. With design and art direction done by Salt Lake City-based designer Chris Le and the team at C-LeGFX (who has done design and film work for a host of clients including Island/Def Jam, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Records, among others), the cover depicting Ms. Aiko apparently suspended between Earth and the Heavens proved very popular with the site’s readership, garnering over 58% of all votes (with YG’s My Krazy Life, getting the second-most number of votes, approx. 22% of the total). You can take a look at the results on the Boombox site via the link at – http://theboombox.com/jhene-aiko-souled-out-wins-album-cov…/

2) Accomplished album cover designer Paula Scher lectured to an auditorium full of lucky students as part of the Stuckerman School at Penn State University’s ongoing lecture series. A long-time principal at the NYC-based Pentagram design studio, Ms. Scher spent many years in the record business, working in the 1970s-80s as the creative director at Atlantic and CBS Records before going on to bring her talents to projects for clients including Bloomberg, Citibank, Comedy Central, The Public Theater, New York Times, Target, Tiffany,The American Museum of Natural History and many others. To find out more about this opportunity to meet one of the most-prolific graphic designers at work today, follow the link to the Penn State News site at http://news.psu.edu/…/graphic-designer-scher-lecture-penn-s…

3) In my ongoing effort to present the work of “mere commercial artists” to those in the fine art world establishment, one of the questions I’m presented with from time to time is whether applying your talents as a designer to music products is simply “selling out”. I’ve heard passionate claims by those on both sides of the issue and, while I’ve always been one to hope that the talented creatives that produce the packaging for our favorite musicians/music products earn enough money to keep themselves fed, happy and eager to continue to work in the music business, it is interesting to read and attempt to process opposing/mixed views, so it is with this in mind that I link you to a recent article by writer Paddy Johnson on the ArtNet site titled “Do Artist Branding and Hollywood Talent Agency Deals Kill an Artist’s Soul?”. Let me know what you think – http://news.artnet.com/…/do-artist-branding-and-hollywood-t…

February 17th – 1) In this recent interview article by Andy Butler on the Designboom site, Smiling Wolf designer director Simon Rhodes talks about his agency’s work (including album packaging for several music industry clients), his “Brian Eno”-style approach to creativity (via “lateral thinking”) and how his appreciation of record cover design as a teenager helped him truly understand the important role that he could play in working for clients in the music, art, industrial design and fine art worlds. I was particularly impressed with the work he showed for Elevator Studios – quite the branding package! http://www.designboom.com/…/interview-with-simon-rhodes-di…/

2) With revenues from the sale of music products – both physical and digital – losing steam, musical acts of all types have to look at other ways to both build closer relationships with their fans and make money via touring, licensing and merchandise sales. While many larger (i.e., more successful) acts can rely on their labels, agents, etc., to help them fully-explore these needs, most indie/small label acts have to invest the time and resources themselves, so any help they can get in doing this correctly is always welcome. Of course, one of the most-important items that need to be created are graphics-based (logos, cover art, related merch, stage designs, promo posters, etc.), so in the article written by the staffers at the ToneDeaf site, two of Australia’s top merchandising specialists – LPATM’s Brian “BT” Taranto and 24Hundred’s Duane Jackson – give readers a “Merchandising 101” course, adding important details such as understanding your fan base, focusing on quality and. most-importantly, remembering (as much as it hurts, sometimes) that THIS IS A BUSINESS! Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who is trying to earn a living in today’s tricky music business arena – http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/…/guide-creating-selling-best-mu…

February 16th – 1) Famed album cover designer and partner in the illustrious Hipgnosis studio Aubrey “Po” Powell is the subject of a recent “Flyodian Slip” radio show, which premiered  Feb.16 and ran through Feb. 22 in markets the show is broadcast in. Host Craig Bailey talks with Powell about his career producing covers for many great bands, talks about the release of his new book on the subject (titled Hipgnosis: Portraits and published by Thames & Hudson) and rooming with original Floyd singer/songwriter Syd Barrett. Transcripts from the show, along with streaming files, will be available on the show’s site at http://www.floydianslip.com/…/pink-floyd-designer-aubrey-p…/

2) Although Grammy-nominated album cover designer Xiao Qing-Yang didn’t take home this year’s trophy, the designer is a certified star in his native Taiwan, and the loss hasn’t slowed his career, as evidenced by his latest commission – creating the latest “Story Island – Round the World” in-flight meal service motif for Taiwan-based EVA Airlines. The award-winning designer will apply his talents to tablecloths, menus and other related items for the airline’s Premium and Business Class customers. Like a good album cover, Xiao’s designs help strengthen the relationship between producer and customer, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see his efforts represented on notable music packages going forward. More on the Travel Daily News Asia web site – http://www.traveldailynews.asia/…/eva-chooses-grammy-nomine…

3) Do bad music and bad art inevitably find each other? If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve purchased records that had great covers, only to find that the music packaged inside was not quite what you’d hoped for. Well, if you take a look at this video produced by Jimbo Stephens (as related to us by writer Ryan Kristobak on the Huffington Post site), there are many examples of absolutely horrible music getting the packaging it deserves – tasteless, offensive and/or featuring head-scratchingly poor production values. You’ve seen some of these examples in previous articles on bad cover design, but I haven’t seen several of them before and, necessarily, refuse to suffer alone…follow this link, if you are a glutton for punishment – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/worst-album-covers-_n_66147… Please note – there are some REALLY offensive images included in the clip, so be sure to keep sensitive eyeballs at bay.

February 13th – 1) As Idaho-based designer Rocky Davies was growing up in the 1980s, he found himself a fan of cartoons, comics, toys and video games and, surrounded by all of this input, decided early on to learn to draw so that he, too, could contribute to the art forms he loved. Graduating from BYU with a degree in illustration, he began his career as a freelance designer, but never forgot about his favorite characters from the 80s and recently decided to devote some time to developing a series of art images that place some of his favorite villains – including the Joker, Freddy and the Sta-Puf Marshmallow Man – front and center in album covers for many tunes from the era. “Sweet dreams are made of these” takes on a whole new (nightmarish) meaning – click here to see Rocky’s portfolio of these alt-covers – http://www.rockydavies.com/?p=1393

2) A music-focused bar in Cardiff, Wales wanted to create some visuals for an upcoming event that combined the venue’s love of music with their support for the annual Six Nations rugby tournament and, if you take a look at the article and illustrations found on the Wales Online site written by David Owens, you’ll find the results of their efforts – a series of “classic” album cover images where the original featured characters have been replaced with images of Welsh rugby stars. The Full Moon Bar is now the home of Leigh Halfpenny as the alien in Aladdin Sane, and Gethin Jenkins is now a really Bad man…see the slide show via the link – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/…/rock-met-rugby-welsh-stars-8…

3) Vinyl Connection‘s Bruce Jenkins gives us an in-depth look at the cover of Procol Harum’s 1974 release titled Exotic Birds and Fruit in the latest edition of the ongoing series he calls “Art On Your Sleeve”. Bruce digs in to a number of aspects of the band’s eighth album, with insights on the choice of art, the lighting and why he thinks the cover might feature birds that have been sedated. Always an interesting take on classic album cover design – enjoy – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/02/12/art-on-your-sleeve/

February 12th – 1) Wanted to point you to this article regarding the recent feature done for the CBS News “Sunday Morning” show on famed album cover photographer Henry Diltz, the many responsible for a number of truly memorable photos of acts including CSN&Y, The Doors, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and many others. Reporter Anthony Mason was taken to Diltz’s archive where he was shown a number of images that those of us “Boomers” will acknowledge having seen hundreds of times – the cover shot for JT’s Sweet Baby James LP, the photo of Misters Nash, Stills & Crosby seating on THAT couch in front of THAT house and, of course, the photo of The Doors standing in the window of the somewhat-decrepit Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles. Quite the afternoon, I think…You can watch the segment and view a nice slideshow of a number of Diltz’s photos on the new net’s site via the link at http://www.cbsnews.com/…/capturing-an-era-of-rock-nobility…/

2) While I don’t have a lot of personal experience or knowledge about album cover designers who work for clients in the Latin-music market, I did just run across an interview by a writer working for the NBC News Latino site (named Juan Castillo) with a very-prolific designer by the name of Ruben Cubillos that I thought I’d share. A former performer himself, Cubillos was always impressed with the album art he saw growing up in San Antonio – in particular, the covers and logo designs done for The Commodores – and committed to himself early on to the development of his artistic talents, hoping that he’d one day excel in the field. 150+ record covers later – including ones for musical acts including Ruben Ramos,Selena and Juan Gabriel, to name just a few – Castillo has achieved that goal and looks forward to continuing to bring his artistic sensibilities to his future efforts. More on this at http://www.nbcnews.com/…/latino-album-cover-artist-ruben-cu…

3) Looking to approach your record collection – and find new music, too – in an original and different way? How about searching by color? A site was launched by the design collective called Open Work that is called Predominant.ly and, using computer power to do what I can only imagine a computer can do, fans can search for their favorite records, old and new, by the colors featured in their cover art. Going to the home page, you’re presented with what looks like the color chart found in most image-processing programs. Simply move your cursor to the color you’re most-interested, click it and presto!, you’re given a list of albums where that color is featured predominantly. While I can’t tell you why it exists, it certainly seems to work well. This might be worth some extra looking in to…Read more in the Paste Magazine feature on this intriguing new site –
http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/predominantly-wants-you-to-c…

February 11th – 1) It’s not nice to fool Mother Mitchell – in a recent New York magazine interview article, recounted here by John R. Kennedy for Canada’s Global News site, singer Joni Mitchell explains that the reason why she agreed to appear in blackface on the cover of her 1977 album titled Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter was to “freak out” the photographer who with, according to Ms. Mitchell, she was locked in a psychological battle with that day. As the shoot went on, she would retreat to change into different costumes she’d prepared and, on her fourth change, returned to the set dressed as a black man, tricking the crew who wanted to know who this never-before-seen person was on the set. And even today, Joni still states that she has much in common with black men having, as she’s quoted, experienced what it’s like being one herself.
The interview also touches on many other topics, including her take on the possibility that Taylor Swift (whose music Joni’s never heard) might play Mitchell in a proposed biopic…more via the link – http://globalnews.ca/…/joni-mitchell-reflects-on-posing-in…/

2) As part of the DIY site’s “Hall of Fame:Inside The Artwork” series, writer El Hunt introduces us to photographer Ness Sherry, who gives us the back-story to the wintery B&W image shot for the cover of Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm. While I found the story quite interesting, the one thing that most-impressed me was the fact that, rather than the setting for the photo being some Easter-bloc country’s barren wasteland, it was actually photographed in Northampton, U.K.! This reminded me of a similar photo – the one taken by Brian Griffin and used on the cover of Depeche Mode’s A Broken Frame – which, rather than being the result of Brian’s trip to Italy or Russia to find a peasant woman working in a wheat field, was also a scene taken from alongside a highway in England…click on over to DIY Magazine’s site for more – http://diymag.com/…/inside-the-artwork-story-behind-silent-…

3) An author with a doctorate from the International Centre for Music Studies in the U.K., Elodie Roy brings readers a very insightful take on the relationship – a “visual enhancement”, as she calls it – between fans and active participants in today’s various musical cultures and the memorable photographs that have appeared on record albums. While, as a child, she was often frightened by the images she saw on popular albums (remember Peter Gabriel’s “melty face” cover – quite shocking, no?), she admits that, as she grew older, the images she found on retail music packaging actually drew her into the sonic and visual worlds created by each musical act. In a recent editorial she wrote for the PopMatters site, Roy goes on to give us a range of examples of images being used, throughout the history of retail music, to help establish a link between artist and fan (she also gives us a brief look at two new books that help add backup to her contentions). I always felt a strong connection to the art used to package my favorite music – now, there’s scientific proof that it exists! http://www.popmatters.com/…/190093-the-visual-enchantment-…/

February 10th – 1) For as long as rock music has been around, there has been a loyal group of fans of “psychedelia” – the music, the art and the spirituality often found in the art and music – and although it’s been called different things over time (“New Age”, “Transcendentalism”, etc.), one thing is certain – the artwork created by a short list of talented designer/illustrators continues to impress, amaze and occasionally confound viewers and fans of the genre.

In this article on the site for the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technology (IEET), you’ll meet – via text and video – one of the best known “visionary” artists working today, Alex Grey, who, in addition to fine art and illustrations seen in a variety of settings – has created album covers for bands including Tool, David Byrne, Beastie Boys and, with probably his best-known work (his painting Muscle System/Pregnant Woman) for Nirvana, featured on their In Utero album. In an article titled “Psychedelic Spirituality”, you’ll learn more about the artist, his inspirations and the “spiritual and practical uses of the Cannabis plant”. Free your mind and visit http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/grey20150128 for more.

2) I love it when the hometown paper heaps praise on “a local boy done good” (my quotes)…Ravenswood, WV native Don Pendleton and his design team won a Grammy Award this past Sunday (yes, there were other awards handed out to talent that wasn’t Beyonce on that date – sorry, Kanye) and the editors at the Herald-Dispatch proudly made the announcement to his neighbors. Pendleton won for his work on the packaging for Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt record, having been introduced to the band via bassist Jeff Ament, who was a fan of the artist’s work (having purchased examples for his own art collection back in 2009) and a fellow skateboarding aficionado. In addition to the cover art, Pendleton helped create a variety of items to help complete the package (stickers & artwork for each song) and promote the band’s tour and other promo appearances.
Read more of this hometown tribute via the link at http://www.herald-dispatch.com/…/Marshall-grad-Don-Pendleto…

3) It was my sad duty to have reported the death February 9th of Rex Ray, the talented San Francisco Bay-area artist who was responsible for a number of well-known album covers for musical acts including David Bowie, The Residents, Joe Satriani and Matmos, among others. Ray was an extraordinary collage artist and painter whose works are in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art and many others. For the past several years, his designs and unique art pieces have been featured in the Jonathan Adler design stores nationwide.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rex several years ago about his work on the cover image for David Bowie’s 2003 release titled Reality (see link, below) and found him to be a very nice guy with a simple approach to art – he just worked hard to create beauty from a variety of materials and, if you look at his portfolio of work, I think that you’ll agree that he accomplished that quite clearly. You can read more about Rex in this article by Sam Whiting on the SFGate web site – http://www.sfgate.com/…/Collage-artist-Rex-Ray-dies-6071830…

and, if you’d like to read my interview with him, follow this link –http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/…/2008/05/cover-story-int…

February 9th – 1) There’s a new show now on display at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library that will be of great interest to fans of great design and, more specifically, great album cover design. The show, titled “Jackets Required: 40 Years of Album Cover Design” was organized by librarian (and accomplished record collector) Robert Garzillo and includes 100 covers that appeared during the years 1940 – 1980 featuring the work of many ACHOF “Early Influencers”, including Alex Steinweiss, Saul Bass, Jim Flora, Josef Albers, Andy Warhol and others. The covers represent music released in a number of different genres and give the viewer a good sense of how album art both reflected the designs of the times and also helped take record packaging in new directions. I hope to have more about this show to share with you soon. In the meantime, you can read more about the exhibition – which runs now through March 27th – in Bill Van Siclen’s article in the Providence Journalhttp://www.providencejournal.com/…/20150208-risd-exhibit-al… or on the library’s site at http://library.risd.edu/exhibitions-current.html

2) The Napa Vallery Museum is now hosting a new show featuring works from the portfolio of photographer Guy Webster, the man responsible for many notable album cover images, including covers for The Rolling Stones, The Mamas & The Papas, The Turtles and many others. “Big Shots: The Photography of Guy Webster”, on display now through March 15th, the LA-based Webster was on hand in the 60s – 70s to capture images of rising stars in many aspects of the entertainment industry and, in this show, you’ll find a host of photos of stars including musicians Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Simon & Garfunkel (among others) as well as film/TV stars such as Jack Nicholson, Raquel Welsh and Natalie Wood. On March 12, Guy will be on-hand to do an Artist Talk about his career. I’ve seen videos of his presentations and would highly-recommend attending this talk to anyone in the area…More info on this can be found on the Museum’s site at http://napavalleymuseum.org/?page_id=3063

3) Found an article I thought you all might like about a metal music fan who is working hard – with varying degrees of success – to establish himself as a working photographer covering the genre in Southern California. In this article in the OC Weekly by Rachael Mattice, Adrian Mejia gives us the often-dirty details of what it takes to shoot memorable photographs of musical acts in the clubs and theaters they’re working, all while ducking the punches, kicks, thrown objects and flying bodies often found up in front of the stage during these events. His commitment to his craft has earned him the respect of both the venues he works in and the artists he photographs – now, if he can live long enough to build on to his career, I expect that we’ll be seeing more of his work as time goes on! More via the link at http://blogs.ocweekly.com/…/a_local_metal_photographer_give…

February 8th – And the winners of this year’s Grammy Awards in the packaging categories are:

1) For “Best Recording Package” – the team that produced the package for Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt (on Republic Records) – Jeff Ament, Don Pendleton, Joe Spix & Jerome Turner, art directors

2) For “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” – the team that produced the package for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27) on Third Man/Revenant Records – Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood & Jack White, art directors

3) For “Best Album Notes” – Ashley Kahn, for his work on Offering: Live At Temple University

Congratulations to all of the winners – to see the complete details of nominees and winners in this category, please click on over to the Grammy site at http://www.grammy.com/Nominees?genre=22

February 6th – 1) Opening today at the museum at Forest Lawn – “Revolutions 2 – The Art of Music”, featuring hundreds of examples of album cover and music-related fine art from an impressive line-up of designers, illustrators, photographers and other contributors to great cover art. On display now through August 2nd, you’ll find prints and original works by artists including Hugh Brown, Ernie Cefalu, Roger Dean, Joe Garnett, Rick Griffin, Kadir Nelson, Joe Petagno, Tom Recchion, Mike Salisbury, Alex Steinweiss, Drew Struzan, Guy Webster and many others. There will be several related events to this show, so please visit the Forest Lawn site at http://forestlawn.com/event/revolutions-2/ to learn more about this exciting event. I hope to have some pictures of the display for you soon, so stay tuned.

2) One of the artists whose works are included in the aforementioned exhibit at Forest Lawn is designer/art director Ernie Cefalu who, over the years, has been responsible for noted album covers for Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Iron Butterfly, Jesus Christ Superstar and many others. For her “Face To Face” series of artist interviews, Linda Woodyard McFadden interviewed Ernie about his role in one of the best-known designs in Rock & Roll history – i.e., the “Lips & Tongue” logo for The Rolling Stones. During this 14-minute video, Linda and Ernie take a look at the “birth” of this design via original sketches, comps and other fascinating pieces that went into “the making of” this iconic design –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eUQn4bJs64&feature=youtu.be

3) Here’s a link to an article in the Taipei Times about the two Taiwanese artists who are nominated for Best Recording Package for their impressive work on the Muddy Basin Ramblers’ Formosa Medicine Show record. Over the years, Taiwan-based artists have been nominated a half-dozen times for submissions in this category, but none has ever won. And while they’re up against some big-name competition (including records for Pearl Jam and the Pixies), last year’s winners were honored for their work for indie band Reckless Kelly, so there’s always a chance that these “underdogs” could win. I’m quite certain that both they (writer David Chen and graphic designer Andrew Wong) and their clients would be VERY happy with a win – http://www.taipeitimes.com/…/feat/arc…/2015/02/02/2003610619

February 5th – 1) Interesting post on the ArtNet site by Cait Munro about musician David Byrne and his affinity towards “outsider art”, shown quite nicely by his commission of one of the world’s most-prolific artists – the late Rev. Howard Finster – to create the cover for the Talking Heads Little Creatures album. Byrne has been collecting works in this genre since the 1980s and continues to visit shows looking for whatever’s new and exciting in the area. To read more about Byrne and his collection, click on over to the article at http://news.artnet.com/i…/david-byrne-on-outsider-art-238262 

If you’re interested in reading more about Finster and his “Paradise Garden” compound and museum in GA, I interviewed the curator – David Leonardis – several years ago and found out more about this fascinating gentleman and the work he did (and why he did it). http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/…/2007/09/cover-story-rem…

2) To help commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1, the city of Liverpool and the Tate Museum have hired legendary album cover designer Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s and Band Aid fame) to produce a customized design for one of the famed “Ferries Across The Mersey”. The ferry, called “The Snowdrop”, will be re-painted with a unique design called Everybody Razzle Dazzle, and will be launched along with a fully-coordinated schedule of educational programs for schools and opportunities for other local writers and artists to contribute to. Writing for the Liverpool Echo, Catherine Jones provides us with more details and a nice slide show of the artwork created by the now 82-year-old Sir Peter – http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/…/sir-peter-blake-give-merse…

February 4th – As promised, here is a link to the “Albers In Command” FB page – https://www.facebook.com/events/1414938145466313/ There, you’ll find photos of the show on display at The Ace Hotel in LA and get to see some of the actual covers Albers designed in the 1960s. Thanks again to the show’s curator, Nitzan Hermon, for giving us “the inside scoop” on this wonderful display of design talent.

February 3rd – 1) A number of years ago, while I still lived in the NYC area, my wife and I drove out to Long Island’s wine country to see an exhibit of rock & roll fine art that was set up in a barn on a winery’s estate. There, we found a number of album cover prints featuring The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many others. The show was put on by a company called “Rock Art Show” who, it turns out, worked with a local radio station to co-promote their activities. Just the other day, I saw an interview with Scott Segelbaum, who started the company back in 1991 and has expanded the collection to include concert photos, gold records and artwork by John Lennon and Ringo Starr (to name just a few). In the interview, he talks about what motivated him to start his business, how he selected what would be shown and how he works hand-in-hand with local radio stations nationwide to bring fans shows of great variety and quality – perfect for us collectors of album cover fine art and photography. Read this interview – conducted by Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media Research – on the company’s site at http://jacobsmediablog.com/…/radios-most-innovative-scott-…/

2) Its wonderful to see someone whose career began in the album art world now make strong showings in the “fine art world”. Ryan McGinness, a NYC-based artist, did his first album cover work while still an art school student (doing covers for Gerald Levert, Speed McQueen and Inner Circle in the mid-late 1990s), is the subject of a new show titled Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit now on display (through April 19th) at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Virginia Beach. In 2009, the museum commissioned Ryan to create a work of art for the museum’s collection, and the new show works to give viewers a look behind the scenes of the artist’s process as he created this 16-panel work. Read more about it on the museum’s web site – http://www.virginiamoca.org/ryan-mcginness-studio-visit

February 2nd – 1) My ongoing research has led me to the site of photographer Emilie Sandy, where I found info/imagerly on a project she did several years back that, if you haven’t seen it already, you should take the time to do so. Called “Deja Vu”, Sandy recruited a number of highly-regarded music industry photographers – Anton Corbijn, Bob Gruen, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz and many others – to work with her to “recreate” one of their best-known photos, and the results are really impressive. You’ll see well-known album cover shots for Elvis Costello, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash and many others redone to now feature their creators in the starring roles. Great idea, very well-executed. I will find out more and report back to you all with additional info as I get it – in the meantime, enjoy the show – http://emiliesandy.com/portrait/deja-vu/

2) With the credit for the album cover shot for one of the past year’s best-selling records – Grammy-nominated singer Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour – bringing her work to a much-larger audience, it seems that London-based photographer Stephanie Sian Smith still finds time to shoot beautiful images of her friends, the world around her and her cat Ron while taking care of the editorial and portrait needs of her ever-expanding list of clients. In this new video (sponsored by Nikon) on The Telegraph‘s site, you’ll get a chance to meet Ms. Smith and follow her while she works on a recent project – shooting portraits of young women with their cats (sounds like she’d have some experience on the subject, no?) –http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/stephanie-sian-smith-photograp…

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.

ACHOF Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Paul Wakefield

ACHOF Featured Artist Portfolio – Photographer Paul Wakefield

When I do research for the ACHOF site, it is inevitable that I come across things that side-track me from the searches I do in order to be able to give you as much information as I can about the album cover artists featured within our ever-expanding database. A few weeks back, I was looking for some information on a prog-rock illustrator (quite honestly, I can’t recall just who at the moment) when one link led me to a video on YouTube showing the band YES in concert, which then led me to a Jon Anderson video, and hearing the singer’s alto-tenor on that video tripped a wire in my head that reminded me that I hadn’t heard the song “So Long Ago, So Clear” that the group’s long-time vocalist had recorded with keyboard virtuoso Vangelis. The track appeared on the composer’s 1975 album titled Heaven And Hell which, to those of you with working long-term memories will recall, included music that was used as the theme music to the popular Cosmos: A Personal Voyage television series.

While reading the Wiki entry on the record, it reminded me that the album’s cover image – a pair of “angelic”, winged hands floating above a keyboard on top of a fiery background – was one that had always impressed me, and so I set about tracking down the artist(s) who’d created the fantastic cover with the hopes that he/she/they’d be able to share a bit more about how it was made. Some additional research brought me to Paul Wakefield, who confirmed that this work was, in fact, his. Of course, as it always seems in Album Coverland, the cover artist had also been responsible for a number of other just-as-impressive album packages, including two of my favorite Supertramp images – those for 1974’s hit record Crime of the Century and its also-popular 1975 follow-up LP, Crisis? What Crisis?. Based on his broad-based portfolio, I knew at that point that I’d want to work with Paul to show off more of his work and let our readers know more about the artist and what he’s been up to lately.

Although Paul hasn’t worked on album covers in a while, I had reached him right after he’d received a prestigious award for a new book of his landscape images (titled The Landscape), and so he’d been hit with a number of requests for interviews, but my query – obviously not knowing that he’d gone on to become a landscape photographer of some renown – seemed to intrigue him and a subsequent series of emails back and forth between my office and Paul’s studio in the UK allowed him to dig into his personal memory bank (and file archives) to unearth some very interesting details about the productions, and the people involved, that created a portfolio of classic album cover images.

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Album Cover News Recap – November, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – November, 2014

by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor – AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

November was another busy album cover news-related month, with our focus of course on the announcement in late November of the newest inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame. The Class of 2014 included talent that began their album cover-related careers after 1990, with the winners in each category providing wonderful imagery for clients in every genre of popular music. You can find the list of this year’s inductees on the ACHOF web site, so we hope you’ll take the time to review each individual inductee’s portfolio – you’ll most-certainly be impressed and on the lookout for new works by all of them.

The news featured information on  a number of new exhibitions and gallery shows, including a grand-opening presentation at John Van Hamersveld’s new gallery in San Pedro, CA, a new show featuring works by Mark Mothersbaugh (of DEVO fame) at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, CO and a huge music/design show at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. There were several significant auctions both here in the U.S. and in Europe, with several album cover-related items selling for multiple times their pre-auction estimates and serving to illustrate the importance and desirability (to fans and collectors) of record cover art. Continuing the momentum from the previous month, there were many new books released featuring design/photographic works (perfect for Holiday gift-giving), including tomes for fans of heavy metal album art, punk rock imagery and album cover illustration. Several interviews were featured, including one with a talented young South American artist who has drawn a lot of attention to his blog featuring animated versions of popular album covers, and the news showed its often-bizarre side with articles on album cover artists whose works have served as evidence in a murder trial, motivated others to risk their lives and, in the case of photographer Jean-Paul Goude, nearly “broken the internet” with his hugely-viral shot of someone named “Kim”, who bared her impressive butt on the cover of Paper Magazine.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed due to the distractions of the beginning of the Holiday season and/or everyday life (after all, even though you’re all busy, this doesn’t mean you have to go without those things most-important to you, right?). We’ll continue to work (nearly) every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site.

November 28th – 1) Famed album artist John Van Hamersveld and his team have just opened a new So. CA. studio/gallery located in downtown San Pedro and are ready for visitors! Taking over and renovating the 80-year-old Williams Book Store space, JVH will be offering customers prints, posters and an artist-curated selection of books – “and every one of them deserves to be read. Artist monographs, art history, biographies, photography, typography, poetry, music and the stories of our culture with an emphasis on the 1940’s though the 1970’s”, according to the man responsible for classic covers for The Beatles, Blondie, Grateful Dead, KISS and many others. 443 W. 6th Street, San Pedro, with more info available on the artist’s site at http://post-future.com/ Good luck, John & Alida – very cool!

2) Beginning Monday, December 1, Megadeth fans will have the chance to bid on a wide range of memorabilia at Backstage Auction’s upcoming auction, but what caught my attention was a collection of twelve large-scale acoustic display panels – featuring a dozen different album cover designs, beginning with 1985’s Killing Is My Business up thru 2009’s Endgame – that were used in guitarist Dave Mustaine’s personal studio, known to fans as “Vic’s Garage”. About 41″ square (framed), many of them are also signed by Dave M and/or band members, making them even more collectible. Bidding begins at $100 for unsigned items and $150 for signed prints, so these seem to be an affordable way to add something truly unique to your art collection. More on these on the Backstage site at http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/miscellaneous/at/0/63/

November 26th – Just had a chance to look at some of the items that will be up for sale in Heritage’s Entertainment & Music auction on December 6th and there are several impressive album cover-related items included in the collection:

1) Fans of rap artist Snoop Dogg will want to take a look at the original painting used for the album cover for his debut record, 1993’s “Doggystyle“, considered one of the most-important early rap recordings (and, certainly one of the most-popular, having sold over 5 million copies!). The “Snoopy-influenced” cartoon artwork is by artist Darryl Daniels – AKA “Joe Cool” – with airbrushing added by artist Christopher Burch. Bidding on this item starts at $10K – quite a bit of bling, but truly a unique and important work of art – http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/snoop-dogg-doggystyle-original-album-cover-art-by-joe-cool-1993/a/7096-89543.s?

2) Artist Lee Conklin’s instantly-recognizable pen and ink work was featured on dozens of posters for concerts in the San Francisco Bay area in the “Psychedelic Sixties”, but he’s probably best-known for his visually-morphing image of a lion that was used on the debut record by Santana. The design for the record was actually the second iteration of the idea, the first being used on a poster to promote a late-August 1968 concert at the Fillmore West featuring Steppenwolf, the Grateful Dead and their opening act, Santana. Carlos S. liked the poster image so much that he asked Conklin to come up with something similar for the cover of his band’s album. Now, fans can bid on a first-printing copy of the Fillmore poster featuring this image (high bid at this moment is $500), with a pre-auction estimate of at least $1,000. More on this item at http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/steppenwolf-santana-grateful-dead-fillmore-west-concert-poster-bg-134-bill-graham-1968-/a/7096-89615.s

3) I also saw a selection of original art by Rick Griffin – http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/rick-griffin-original-album-artwork-1980s-total-5-items-/a/7096-89586.s Not familiar with the musical acts featured but, as always, they’re really nice-looking images.

November 25th – 1) It was with much joy and fanfare that we announced the posting of the names of the Inductees into the Class of 2014 of the Album Cover Hall of Fame. You can view the list of honorees on our site at the following address:

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-nominee-inductee-menu-page/achof-class-of-2014-inductee-info-page/

This year’s class includes talent that received their first album cover credits anytime after 1990. Next year’s Class will be the first “open” voting, allowing nominees in all seven categories to have credits back to 1960, and we’ll also be opening up several of our categories to a public vote as well.

I’d like to thank our voting panel for their hard work and commitment to this effort – without you (and our loyal fans, “friends” and readers), our efforts to highlight the works of the music industry’s most-talented designers, photographers, illustrators, art directors (and the musicians and labels that support them) would not have the same impact and relevance.

Congratulations to all the winners on jobs well done!

2) On Wednesday, November 26th in London, you had the chance to bid on a large number (99) of photo prints from photographer Brian Griffin’s catalog. Brian’s work has been featured on covers for Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen and many others (inc. one of my personal favorites – his cover for Joe Jackson’s “Look Sharp!” album), so it was exciting to be given an opportunity to bid on selections from his impressive portfolio.

You can peruse his online catalog at http://issuu.com/briangriffinphotographer/docs/briangriffin-auction-aw/1

November 24th – British designer Sir Peter Blake – best known to album art fans for his work on the Sgt. Pepper’s album cover for The Beatles and his collage used as the cover for the “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” single back in the 80s – has created something new and exciting on behalf of small businesses across the U.K.. On December 6th, shop-keepers across the country will take part in a promotion (sponsored by American Express) called “Small Business Saturday”, and Sir Peter has created a promotional poster done in a style similar to Sgt. Pepper’s, but featuring images of 40 business owners from all walks of life. Titled “High Street Heroes”, the photo collage is the artist’s way of highlighting the importance of supporting local vendors who are often over-shadowed during the Holiday season by the higher-profile promotional efforts of larger retailers. Blake worked in a butcher shop when he was a youngster and feels that the importance of the ongoing success of local shops serves to maintain the character of the many small towns and villages that have been central to British character. Read more about this effort and see this new art piece in Claire Carter’s recent article on the Daily Mail site – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2842325/Beatles-album-cover-artist-reveals-High-Street-Heroes-collage-style-iconic-Sgt-Pepper-s-design.html

November 21st – 1) There have been several artists who’ve made their names in other areas and then been asked to create album covers (Jeff Koons, many fashion photographers, etc.), but few have been as involved in as many aspects of Pop Culture as artist Stephan Martiniere, the guy responsible for the other-worldly set designs for The Hunger Games and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as well as classic franchises including Where’s Waldo, Madeline and Myst. His latest creation -and first album cover – is the cover for the Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways record, featuring a composite of symbolic architecture from all over the U.S.. In this recent interview with Rolling Stone writer Nick Murray, Stephan gives us a look into his creative process and how he was able to bring his hyper-realistic design sensibilities to the table for this compelling music industry project. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/foo-fighters-sonic-highways-cover-20141119

2) A complete set of photographs taken during the album cover session for The Beatles’ Abbey Road record was auctioned off today for an impressive £180,000 (approx. $282,000) today in the sale of Photographs & Photobooks at Bloomsbury Auctions in London. The set of seven photos – six out-takes and the actual cover shot – was taken by the late photographer Iain Macmillan, with Beatle bassist Paul McCartney making the final selection for which image would ultimately grace the cover. The set was sold to “an overseas buyer” that made the winning bid over the phone. More details via the auction house’s web site at http://www.dreweatts.com/cms/pages/press-2014-11-21-2

November 20th – 1) An album cover image being used as evidence in a murder trial? Wowee. California-based rapper Tiny Doo is on trial for allegedly being part of a gang of people that went on a shooting spree, with the group being accused of nine area shootings in the last 18 months. As evidence in the trial, the prosecutor is pointing to the cover of Mr. Doo’s most-recent CD – titled “No Safety” – saying that the image (of a gun and bullets) supports their contention that he’s part of a gang and has benefited from his affiliation. His attorney thinks that this is a case of guilt-by-association. I believe that there are several rap albums that feature guns on the cover, so it will be interesting to see how the jury responds to this bit of “evidence”. More on this item in Greg Moscovitch’s article on the ToneDeaf web site – https://www.tonedeaf.com.au/426139/rapper-facing-lifetime-prison-sentence-releasing-album.htm

2) Album art fans might want to take a look at the details of the latest auction hosted by the Gotta Have Rock And Roll auction house…included in the mix are a couple of interesting photos – an out-take photo taken by Annie Leibovitz during the cover shoot for Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A and another out-take from the cover shoot for Blondie’s 1978 record Plastic Letters. Phillip Dixon was the photographer for that session, so I’m assuming it’s his work.

Motown fans will get a kick out of the opportunity to buy the original artwork for the Phillies Record November, 1963 release “A Christmas Gift For You” which, in 2003, was included on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list (#142). Musical acts on the record include Darlene Love, The Ronettes and The Crystals (this being Phil Spector’s record label). Finally, well-heeled Motown fans might choose to bid on a custom-made 2pc. pants-suit work by the late Michael Jackson on the cover of the Jackson 5’s 1973 record “G.I.T.:Get It Together“. Opening bid is $50,000, with a pre-auction estimate of $60-80K. Just in time for the Holidays!

The auction began on November 26th and runs through December 5th – details via the link – https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/catalog.aspx

November 19th – 1) Here’s another great example of “album art as fashion” (beyond your favorite t-shirt) – writing for the MTV web site, Marissa G. Muller talks to Reggie Thomas, founder of Kinship, who has released a line of bomber jackets that feature carefully-curated hip-hop album graphics. Thomas, who has managed hip-hop stars including Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes, has always felt that music and fashion went hand in hand, leading him to design these jackets – including one “for the ladies” that features 35 well-known album images of top female rap/hip-hop stars. You can appreciate the details when you see photos of these products – some performers sure have, wearing examples of these products in their music videos. More viewable via the link at http://www.mtv.com/news/1996440/kinship-interview/

2) Author Richard Balls has a new book out on the famed Stiff record label titled Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story and, in this recent interview for The Quietus web site, he gives fans the details on both his “10 Favorite Stiff Records” (inc. albums by Elvis Costello, The Damned, Ian Dury & The Blockheads and many others) and the photo session that produced the hilarious cover for the Damned Damned Damned album (featuring the work of the team of designer Barney Bubbles and photographer Peter Gravelle). Certainly, the antithesis of “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” – http://thequietus.com/articles/16610-be-stiff-the-stiff-records-story-book-extract

November 18th – 1) To note the release of Bryan Ferry’s latest solo release (titled Avonmore), NY Times writer Matt Diehl added a nice article to the Times blog/magazine about the memorable album cover art created for Ferry and Roxy Music. A graduate of the University of Newcastle (UK) and a student of noted designer Richard Hamilton (of Beatles “White Album” fame), Ferry spent the first part of his career as an art teacher, so it only made sense for him to take a hands-on approach to the art direction for many of his record-related projects. There were several other “regulars” involved in Ferry/Roxy Music projects, including Ferry’s former classmate, designer Nick deVille, photographer Karl Stoecker (who shot the covers for the first three Roxy Music albums) and photographer Eric Boman, who took the photo for the cover of what is perhaps the most-recognizable Roxy Music LP, 1974’s Country Life. You can read Diehl’s article at http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/bryan-ferry-avonmore/?_r=0 . On a related note, if you’d like to read more about the surprising number of accomplished musicians that also got their start as art school students, you can click on over to the ACHOF site to read an article I wrote a while back on the subject – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/musicians-that-also-design-album-covers-a-list-for-fans-of-music-and-art/

2) With all of the press Kim Kardashian has received regarding her most-recent attempt to crash the Internet with traffic flooding to see pictures of her quite-sizable butt, I just wanted to remind folks that the photograph in question was an update of a 1976 image shot by photographer Jean Paul Goude, the man responsible for the many wonderful photos of model/musician Grace Jones used on the covers of her albums, including Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing, Living My Life, Slave To The Rhythm and others. Writer Cedar Pasori provides us with a bit of background – along with some of the original imagery – in this recent article on the Complex.com web site – http://www.complex.com/style/2014/11/jean-paul-goode-paper-magazine-original-images While Kim K might not win any awards for originality, at least she works with the cream of the crop of the world’s photographers…

November 17th – New interview alert! He’s been getting so much press for his work, I just had to find out more about this nice man. Available for viewing now on the ACHOF site, my interview with animated album cover maven Juan Betancourt, live from his studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In this article, you’ll learn more about the artist, his techniques and what, for him, makes for an ideal candidate for an animated album cover. We also talk a bit about what he likes/dislikes about album art today and whether he thinks that animated album covers will be something that musical acts actually start to produce for themselves. We’ve included several examples from his archives, as well, so please click on over to this interview at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/interview-with-juan-betancourt-animated-album-covers/ when you get a chance. Please share with your friends and loved ones, too. Enjoy – Mike G

November 14th – 1) Opening this weekend at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC – “Making Music Modern: Design For Eye & Ear”, a year-long show digs into the museum’s extensive collections to help illustrate the ever-present connections between music and art (and the artists and musicians that collaborate to present their works to art/music fans). Curated by Juliet Kinchin and Luke Baker from the museum’s Dept. of Architecture and Design, the show includes many different items that demonstrate how great design has been used to promote, package and deliver music – posters, sheet music, theater design, music videos, musical instruments, consumer electronics and, of course, album cover and concert imagery. Included are works by photographer Richard Avedon, designers Saul Bass and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, architect Daniel Libeskind and many others. The show runs thru next November, so if anyone has the chance to walk through it, please send me your comments…more on this on the MOMA web site – http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1523

2) Over on the West Coast, the folks at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles hosted a fund-raising auction on Saturday evening, November 15th, on behalf of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music that included rare photographs by Bob Gruen, Dezo Hoffman, Mike McCartney, Allan Tannenbaum, Michael Ward and Robert Whitaker as well as signed prints, posters and vinyl records. In addition, famed illustrator Alan Aldridge – best known for his illustrations for The Beatles – was on hand for a “meet & greet”. You’ll be able to take a look at – and participate in – new auctions by this gallery when they’re posted online at the gallery’s Ebay site – www.ebay.com/usr/mrmusichead7

3) From Los Angeles, drive east on the 10 to Palm Springs and stop at artist Josh Agle’s gallery to be one of the first to see the collection of fine art prints produced by a collaboration between the late designer Richard Duardo, Germizm and the multi-talented musician/artist Boy George. Timed with the start of the latest Culture Club U.S. reunion tour, the “Boy George Pop Art Remix” series includes a number of limited-edition prints and related merchandise. Agle – also known to modern art collectors as “SHAG” – will be hosting this exhibition now through December 14th at his Shag, The Store gallery on Palm Canyon Drive, with more information available on his site at http://www.shagthestore.com/location.html

November 13th – There’s a new book out titled 50 Years of Illustration, written by Laurence Zeegen, who is dean of the School of Design at the London College of Communications. Beginning with those that began their careers in the 1960s, the book features the work of over 225 artists from all over the world and touches on their impact on advertising, promotion, marketing and Pop Culture in general. Of course, there are a number of people included in the book that were made famous for their work on well-known album packages, including Milton Glaser (Bob Dylan), Klaus Voorman (The Beatles), Shepard Fairey (Led Zeppelin), Martin Sharp (Cream), Gerald Scarfe (Pink Floyd), Mick Haggerty (Supertramp), Roger Dean (YES) and many others, so it will be interesting to see how the work of these and other talented individuals who’ve contributed greatly to the field of album art are put into perspective in Mr. Zeegen’s new publication. CNN writer Allyssia Alleyne provides some insight on the topic, along with a nice slideshow of examples from the book, in her recent article on the CNN World web site – http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/10/world/gallery/the-power-of-illustration/

November 12th – 1) I can’t say that I’ve ever had to report on an album cover-related story that involved a serious injury but, as they say, “never say never”…there was a report yesterday in the UK’s Daily Mail about the posting of a video of someone getting hit by a car in the pedestrian crossing made famous on the cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Road record. Thousands (millions?) of people have traversed that crossing safely (including yours truly), but on July 3, 2012, a solo visitor decided to make her way across in the middle of what seems to be regularly-moving traffic, leading to a rather-nasty result (both photos and a web cam video are available for viewing). Police pay particular attention to this stretch of road, as it seems that many visitors pay little heed for their own safety while trying to recreate the famous foursome’s trek across the zebra stripes. They also noted that, last year, someone lost control of a motorcycle zooming down the path as well. Not much is known about the injured pedestrian, other than she survived. More on this ultimate fan sacrifice in Corey Charlton’s article on the Daily Mail site – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2829888/Caught-CCTV-Horrifying-moment-woman-hit-car-Abbey-Road-zebra-crossing-famous-Beatles-album-cover.html

2) To follow up on last weekend’s music memorabilia auction by Julien’s, as reported here originally on November 5th…There were some bargains had on some items, while others sold for much more than their pre-auction estimates – here are some examples:

  1. Alton Kelley’s painting for Journey’s Departure LP, which had a pre-auction estimate of $2-4K, sold for $12,500 (plus auction fees);
  2. Kelley’s mixed media work used on the cover of Mickey Hart’s Rolling Thunder LP, with an estimated value of $8-10K, sold for a paltry $3,750 – someone got a bargain, it seems!;
  3. Three early photos of Madonna, taken by Edo Bertoglio and used on the cover of her first record, sold together for approx. $2,200, or about half the pre-auction estimates. On the flip side, a number of Madonna photos by Herb Ritts sold for 2-3X their estimates;
  4. An ensemble worn by Heart’s Ann Wilson on the cover of the band’s Greatest Hits Live record sold for $5,000 about 2.5X the auction estimate.
  5. The Diana Dors wax sculpture used on the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers record, expected to sell at a price between $50-70K, did not meet its auction estimate and was withdrawn.

The highest-priced item sold that night was a customized jacket worn by Madonna in the movie “Desperately Seeking Susan“. With a pre-auction estimate of $30-50K, the item was purchased for an astounding $257,000 (plus fees). Someone’s a big Madonna fan, that’s for sure. You can find the auction results on the Julien’s web site at http://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2014/icons-and-idols-rock/results.html

November 11th – 1) Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO fame has always been a trend-setter when it comes to design and Pop Culture, but fewer people are aware of his talents as a fine artist, designer and sculptor. A new exhibition – titled “Mark Mothersbaugh:Myopia” – at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, CO has launched that will provide fans with a great opportunity (between now and April, 2015) to see some great examples of his newest art pieces, along with select items from his portfolio. The works done by the Akron, OH-born musician/man of many talents have shown a number of influences, from 50s pop imagery, travel postcards (he’s created 30,000 designs of his own), 60’s underground comix and fun-house mirrors, while his sculptures are strange contraptions made from a wide range of objects (his “Mutatum” sculpture from 2012 was crafted to look like two rear ends from a Scion automobile, each going in the opposite direction!).

There’s a new book out by the same title that chronicles the artist’s 40+ year career in the arts, with more information on the show available on the MCA-Denver’s site at http://mcadenver.org/markmothersbaugh.php

2) Gallery 98 in New York’s Bowery district has just launched a new show and sale of a fascinating collection of hand-cut photographs that were crafted by artist/animator M. Henry Jones for a pre-music video animated film he produced for NYC-area based garage rockers The Fleshtones. Done for their song “Soul City”, the film was made in the late 1970s, before the advent of music television, computer-aided graphics, etc., so this art film served as an influence to those creative types just entering the world of digital production. There are 1700 item for sale, each a unique work of art. More information on the artist and his work is available on the Gallery 98 web site – http://gallery.98bowery.com/exhibition/soul-city-animation-hand-cut-photos/

November 10th – 1) The folks at Omega Auctions in the U.K. have put together a pretty interesting catalog of items for their upcoming “Music Entertainment Memorabilia and Vinyl Records auctions in the U.K. and Utrecht (part of the Utrecht Record & Memorabilia Fair that takes place this coming weekend). Included in the offerings are several items that might be of interest to album art fans, including:

  1. A selection of original drawings by Gerald Scarfe, done for the album cover/film for Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” (including “Copulating Flowers”, a very memorable sequence from the film);
  2. an original mixed-media work by artist/musician John Squire, done for the cover of his band’s (Stone Roses) 2004 release titled “Ten From Ten“;
  3. an original sketch of the Paul McCartney character from The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” film, crafted on the first day of production by illustrator Heinz Edelman, which features a coffee stain caused by the artist spilling some of his morning brew on the paper after a surprise visit by Paul M. and John L., and many more interesting lots (over 350) including posters, photographs, and other items of interest.

Bidding began Friday, November 14th. To see more on this auction – including links to the online catalogs and auction results data,  please visit the Omega Auction site – http://www.omegaauctions.co.uk/vinylrecords_music_entertainment_memorabilia_auctions.php

November 7th – 1) Writer Ramon Martos Garcia of the nicely-done blog about album covers from the metal music world (“And Justice For Art“) just published an article/interview that focused on the sometimes-satiric nature of metal album covers. He shows us examples of how a band like Stormtroopers of Death borrowed liberally from Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” to create the cover for their “Bigger Than The Devil” release, and how the band Lich King took the notion of a “homage” to extremes when they came up with the cover for their “Do-Over” record by recreating, with minor modifications, D.R.I.’s cover for “Crossover” (which, I’m told, was not well-received by D.R.I. and it’s fan base). Ramon tracked down Tom Martin to ask him about why he and the band chose to follow this path in this article just published on the Metal Underground site – http://www.metalunderground.com/interviews/details.cfm?newsid=107787

2) Talented cartoonist/illustrator Wayno has just announced that he’ll be launching a new Web comic on the GoComics site and, along with this new online series, he’ll be participating in an art show (along with artist Dave Klug) that will take place in early December at the Panza Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA. I met Wayno after seeing his artwork featured in the great box set by Rhino titled “Weird Tales of the Ramones“, along with his work for The Karl Hendricks Trio, Ralph Carney and the irreverent cover for “Jesus Christ Surferstar” (he’s also done work for Nickelodeon, National Geographic and cartoon portraits of major entertainment icons such as Johnny Cash, Grateful Dead and, my favorite, DEVO. The webcomic will launch in early December at http://gocomics.com/waynovision but, while you’re waiting, I hope you’ll check out Wayno’s site at http://www.wayno.com/index.html

November 6th – 1) Not sure what to make of this, but I’m sure that the results will be well-publicized….Artist Jeff Koons interviewed Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page at NYC’s 92nd St. Y and, after the panel was over, the two huddled and then shook hands on a deal that would have Koons create the cover art for a new JP record, slated for delivery sometime in 2015. Turns out that Mr. Koons is a huge Zep fan, so this is his chance to do something spectacular for his favorite guitarist. Koons’ most-recent album cover project was for Lady Gaga’s most-recent record, but I’m praying that he doesn’t do a sculpture of Mr. Page in the nude…More on this in Stephanie Green’s article on the HuffPo site – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-green/jimmy-page-and-jeff-koons_b_6101488.html?

2) While the ACHOF’s focus is on rock & roll album cover imagery, we must honor the talents of the people that pioneered album cover packaging and design, and one of the record labels that produced some of the most-influential covers – Blue Note Records, featuring the talents of Reid Miles, Frank Wolff and Paul Bacon, among others. Universal Music Group’s jazz consultant – Richard Havers – has just written a book on the subject titled Uncompromising Expression, and it is the first fully-illustrated tome published that covers the full-breadth of the label’s cover imagery. Released by UK publishing house Thames and Hudson, you’ll find ample evidence of the label’s holistic approach to its “brand” and its compelling combination of great talent, great music and superb cover design and photography. Universal will also be releasing a box set of records under the same title. Definitely worth a look, I’d think – more on this in writer Tom Banks’ article in DesignWeekhttp://www.designweek.co.uk/we-like/blue-note-records-uncompromising-expression/3039333.article

November 5th – 1) The careers of many well-known album cover designers got their starts at the UK’s Royal College of Arts, so it is exciting to see the school stage an exhibition highlighting the work of so many of their graduates who’ve gone on to greater fame in many aspects of the design/art world. Called GraphicsRCA: 50 Years & Beyond (on display in London from now until December 22nd), the show includes examples of the output of such luminaries as John Pasche (Rolling Stones and The Stranglers), Jonathan Barnbrook (David Bowie), Margaret Calvert (many UK road signs), Daniel Eatock (Big Brother logos) and many others. Along with students from Cal Arts, NYC’s School of Visual Arts and several others, it is fascinating to see the concentration of talent that has emerged from a select few schools that have produced a disproportionate amount of noted designers from amongst their graduates. Keep up the great work! More on this show in Joseph Charlton’s recent article in The Independent – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/david-bowie-album-covers-big-brother-and-rolling-stones-logos-50-years-of-rca-design-9836743.html

2) This weekend, Julien’s auction house in Los Angeles will be conducting a auction sale of a large cache of fascinating rock & roll related items, including several lots that feature original album cover art and photography. Featured in the auction are several photographs by Edo Bertoglio taken for Madonna’s first record cover (originally to be titled Lucky Star, released simply as Madonna in 1983); a selection of original paintings by Alton Kelly, including his covers for Journey’s Departure and Mickey Hart’s Rolling Thunder; an artist’s proof print of the front/back covers for John Lennon’s Imagine LP; a selection of clothing items worn by Ann and Nancy Wilson on the covers for several Heart records; and – most notably – one of the original wax busts used on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s LP – one of sex symbol Diana Dors, who you’ll find standing next to George Harrison on the famous cover (auction estimate – $50K – $70K). To go directly to a pre-sorted list of album art-related items featuring in the auction (bidding began at 10AM PST on Friday, November 7th), click on this link – http://www.julienslive.com/view-auctions/catalog/id/134/?page=1&key=%22album+cover%22&cat&xclosed=no&items=50

To see several videos shot by LA’s KTLA news crews that show many of the other items that will be put up for sale, follow the link to the KTLA web site – http://ktla.com/2014/11/03/juliens-auctions-icons-idols-rock-n-roll/

November 3rd – Here’s some info on a new book and photography exhibition that should be of interest to album cover fans:

1) Soul Jazz Books has just released a 400-page, LP-sized book titled DISCO: AN ENCYCLOPEDIC GUIDE TO THE COVER ART OF DISCO (presented by DISCO PATRICK and PATRICK VOGT) that contains thousands of images of disco album designs (covering a period from the mid-70s to the mid-90s) as well as interviews with a number of disco impresarios of the day. According to the publisher, among the many musical acts featured are Bohannon, James Brown, Jocelyn Brown, Cerrone, Dennis Coffey, Donna Summer, Chic, Fatback Band, Gino Soccio, Giorgio Moroder, Gloria Gaynor, Grace Jones, Isaac Hayes, Kool and the Gang, DC LaRue, Loleatta Holloway, MFSB, Ohio Players, Salsoul Orchestra and The Trammps. While I’m told that there’s not much info on the artists that created these memorable images (sigh…), the book should be quite the trip down memory lane for Boomers with fond memories of bell bottoms and Qiana shirts (unbuttoned to the navel, of course). http://www.souljazzrecords.co.uk/releases/?id=39773

2) Punk-era photographer extraordinaire Edward Colver has just launched a new exhibition of his photos titled Idle Worship: The Photography of Edward Colver, on display now at the Lethal Amounts store/gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. In addition to the cover images he shot for Bad Religion, Circle Jerks and Black Flag, Colver’s collection includes many shots used in books, films and other publications that documented the many famous and infamous players who made the scene so compelling (and bothersome to those who didn’t quite “get it”). There’s a selection of prints available for purchase, as well as copies of Colver’s book Blight At The End Of The Funnel, so if you’re in the area, be sure to take in the show. A writer for the Punknews.org site recently paid a visit to the exhibition and met the photographer as well – here’s a link to the author’s review of the experience – http://www.punknews.org/review/12970/edward-colver-idle-worship-the-photography-of-edward-colver-exhibit

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 – October, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – October, 2014

by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor – AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

While the endless onslaught of mid-term election-centric items has certainly over-flowed most of our respective inboxes, the number of album cover-related news stories continues to impress and enthrall lovers of album imagery.

The news featured details of a number of new exhibitions, including shows at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Paul Simon), galleries in Brooklyn (NY), Los Angeles, Madison (WI) and elsewhere. Many new books featuring design/photography collections were released (just in time for the Holiday buying season, no doubt), including tomes by Norman Seeff, Danny Clinch, Guy Webster and two members of Fleetwood Mac – Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood. The Australian and New Zealand recording industry groups handed out awards for album art excellence, and there were not one but two fascinating efforts revealed where artists worked to bring some of our favorite album covers to life via some impressive animation work (album art continues to inspire creatives world-wide to show us their best work). Along a similar track, one UK-based design firm showed us some very imaginative re-interpretations of classic album art, working to show us “the rest of the story” (see the October 27 entry for more details). Other worthy items include a passel of interviews and your Curator’s personal review of a nice bottle of Pink Floyd-inspired cabernet.

Voting has started on this year’s class for the Album Cover Hall of Fame, with nominations posted on October 20th. In preparation for this year’s ACHOF voting efforts, many new biographies have been added to the site this past month to both aid the efforts of  our voting panel and expand the knowledge of our fans.  This year’s nominees in the seven categories began their careers sometime during the period from 1990 – present, with the list of inductees published on November 24th, so stay tuned for further developments.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed due to the distractions of everyday life (after all, even though you’re all busy, this doesn’t mean you have to go without those things most-important to you, right?). We’re working every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site.

October 31 – 1) A must-view for fans of album cover art and Adobe After-Effects software, a new video by director Vanya Heymann brings a number of your favorite record covers to life in a truly astounding fashion. Some of you will recall Heymann’s previous work, taking Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” track and delivering it in a multi-channel, synch’d fashion, with every “channel” on his TV showing various people, in various settings, singing the song. In today’s example, you’ll find an interesting troupe of musicians – from Lou Reed to Madonna to Prince and ABBA (among many others) – beat-boxing to a musical track by artist Roy Kafri. I’m set to interview Vanya about this effort – I really just want to know how he managed to get Carole King’s cat to jump off that window sill! Watch this – you’ll be glad you did –http://petapixel.com/2014/10/25/famous-album-cover-photos-come-life-creative-music-video/

2) The daughter of “Sunshine Superman” Donovan has entered the fashion world with a line of high-quality t-shirts featuring album artwork from a variety of popular musical acts. Astrella’s “Musical T’s” collection features both original album cover art along with “re-interpretations” of some better-known works by artists including Miguel Paredes. You’ll find designs from acts including Elton John, Ray Charles, Cyndi Lauper, the Neon Trees, Ravi Shankar and many others, and there’s an exciting “extra” included with your purchase – a download of music by the act featured on your new T-shirt! There are new designs coming out this Fall, so click on over to the site and see if there’s something there to help you stand out in a crowd – http://astrellainc.com/

3) Album art fans in the Pittsburgh, PA area should head on over to the Most-Wanted Fine Art Gallery sometime before the 30th of November to browse through a new exhibition there featuring the talents of area native Mozelle Thompson, who art directed and illustrated album packages for an impressive line-up of talent in musical genres including jazz, country, stage, film, folk and early rock. Working as a freelance illustrator, according to the article by Nick Keppler in the Pittsburgh City Paper, “From 1953 to 1969, Thompson designed book covers, children’s books, posters of Broadway shows and at least 100 album covers, for discs by artists including Lightnin’ Hopkins, Cab Calloway, Hank Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Elvis Presley.” The exhibition is built around the collection of local DJ J.Malls, who sought out records featuring this “forgotten” artist’s work after discovering a drawing of Thompson’s on an album of speeches by the late Dr. Martin Luther King.
http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/an-exhibit-showcases-classic-album-covers-by-a-forgotten-local-artist/Content?oid=1787449

October 30 – 1) There’s a new exhibit on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland that will be of great interest to fans of Paul Simon. Titled “Paul Simon: Words & Music”, the display includes a large cache of Simon-related memorabilia, including (of course) a number of examples of his album cover imagery (great photography, progressive graphics). What’s cool about the exhibit is that there are a number of aspects of it that are narrated by Paul Simon himself (culled from a number of interviews about the subjects at hand). Among the dozens of historical items are hand-written lyrics, photographs, cover images from classic Simon and Simon & Garfunkel LPs including Bookends, Graceland, Bridge Over Troubled Water, etc., as well as personal correspondence between Paul and Art G. (including a letter from one to the other written at “sleep-away camp”!). The displays are in the Hall’s Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibition Space – more info at https://rockhall.com/exhibits/paul-simon-words-and-music-exhibit-rock-hall/

2) As part of a promotion for their new release titled Run The Jewels 2, Mass Appeal recording artists Run The Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike) have also launched a world-wide “street art initiative” where they’ve invited artists from many different countries to put up their own interpretations of the group’s album imagery (based on designs by artist Nicholas Gazin). The response has been strong, with over 30 artists riffing on the basic design elements – two opposing hands, with one pointing like a gun and the other holding chains – on walls from Melbourne, Australia to Berlin, Germany to Bejing, China. The variations on the theme are quite impressive – take a look for yourself on the Tumblr built in support of this effort –
http://tagthejewels.tumblr.com/about

October 29 – 1) To add some additional info to one of the stories posted yesterday (the one about the Pink Floyd DSOTM-related wine), writer Anna Horan just posted an interview with one of the principal designers for that memorable album cover – Aubrey Powell – on the Noisey web site. Promoting the recently-published (and soon to be released in the U.S.) book on the impressive output by the Hipgnosis design firm (titled Hipgnosis Portraits), Powell talks about “the salad days” of album cover design, when great art and experimentation – along with building an instantly-recognizable design ID for their clients – was the motivating factor behind all of their work. Their portfolio of images for Led Zeppelin, 10cc, The Doors, T. Rex, Peter Gabriel and many others is recognized by designers and fans as one of the most-influential of the entire rock art era, so why not take a read and learn more about “Po” and his mates via the link – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/a-chat-with-aubrey-po-powell-one-of-the-guys-behind-the-dark-side-of-the-moon-cover-design

PS – I tried the Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet last night with a spaghetti, peppers and sweet Italian chicken sausage dinner, and it proved to be quite good!

2) With all of the Halloween-related activities on everyone’s docket these days, it only makes sense to inform you about a recent article by writer Andrea Shea’s (on WBUR’s “The Artery” site) about Cambridge (MA)-area author Peter Bebergal’s new book titled “Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll.” Some of the research for his book involved pouring over classic rock music for themes, lyrics and, as you might have noticed yourselves at some point during your youth, album images that might have indicated some either obvious or perceived connections between the music and the supernatural. According to Shea, “that ‘occult imagination’ conjures everything from Ouiji boards to Christian and Jewish symbolism to LSD trips to alternative spiritual practices. Bebergal says it ultimately helped rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath save rock from sounding too poppy, sappy and mainstream.” So, this Halloween, why not turn down the lights, fire up some candles, open a bottle of Dark Side of the Moon wine (!!) and dig deep into the imagery found on your favorite albums – you know that something spooky has got to be buried in that artwork, right?
http://artery.wbur.org/2014/10/24/occult-saved-rock-and-roll-peter-bebergal

October 28 – 1) Nice article on the ArtSlant site titled “10 Iconic Punk Record Sleeves”, written by Thomas Howells. While punk art was easily dismissed by the traditional art world, several artists and photographers whose work was featured on significant records in this musical genre have since achieved a greater degree of fame, so it is good to see examples of work by artists who lovers of great album art will know on sight, but might not know any details about. While the article doesn’t delve into who produced the work on display (rather, they’re referenced by their impact on fans of punk music/culture), I’m happy to see examples by talented artists including Mad Marc Rude (Misfits, The Offspring, L.A. Guns and others) and another “featured player” – i.e., the cartoon nerd found on many Descendents covers – done by Jeff Atkinson. See the whole selection via the link at http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/41165

2) So, I was shopping at World Market this morning and came across a display of wines by the Ukiah, California-based producer named Wines That Rock Vineyards and, like the hopeless collector I am, found myself taking home a bottle of their 2012 “The Dark Side of the Moon” Cabernet Sauvignon (see photos, below). When a label tells you that “Pink Floyd’s Epic Masterpiece was the inspiration for this Cabernet…” and that purchasers should “fill your glass, turn up the volume, and enjoy the taste of The Dark Side of The Moon“, who am I not to give it a try. Of course, the bottle features both the front and back-cover images, created by the talented team at Hipgnosis, and for those of you looking for a complete DSOTM wine experience, you can purchase a special “#1 Fan Gift Pack” that consists of two bottles of wine, a Wines That Rock cork puller, bottle stopper and DSOTM baseball cap. Other wines in the series have been inspired by The Police, Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones, but I’ll let you know more about the wine after dinner tonight…To read a summary about the classic Floyd record on the Wines That Rock site, click on the link – http://www.winesthatrock.com/Sound-And-Vision/Dark-Side-of-the-Moon

October 27 – 1) I always knew that we weren’t getting to see “the bigger picture” when it came to our favorite album cover images, but the fine folks at the Aptitude design firm in the U.K. are looking to fix all that via the work they now have on display on their web site. If you always wanted to know why that Nirvana baby was swimming so fast or where exactly Michael Jackson was standing on his Off The Wall cover, Gary and his team are happy to oblige by showing us the whole scene. There’s a bit of a write up on this in Johnny Firecloud’s article on the Crave Online site –http://www.craveonline.com/music/articles/779191-the-bigger-picture-behind-iconic-album-covers – or you can go to Aptitude’s site to see the latest in the series – http://www.aptitude.co.uk/blog/album-covers/ I always felt that there was something behind Adele’s unprecedented success – now I know what she had to sell to achieve it!

2) Writing for the U.K.’s Independent, author Norman Rosenthal’s interview with the uber-successful pop artist Jeff Koons does provide me with a bit more insight into his work done for Lady Gaga’s last album cover (the one before Tony Bennett), but it does little to explain to me why his works continue to command such incredible prices (how many Picassos can you buy for $25M?). And now he tells me that I shouldn’t laugh when I see his work? I’m not laughing at him – I’m impressed with the quality of construction of his pieces – rather, I’m laughing at the thought that folks have placed such a high value on it. The highest-priced album art originals (I think that you can buy Roger Dean’s original painting for YESSONGS for $500K at the San Francisco Art Exchange) sell for 98% less than a balloon dog by Mr. Koons – is that right? Read this article and let me know if I’m just a jealous guy – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/jeff-koons-interview-artist-on-making-lady-gagas-album-cover-and-the-empowerment-of-art-9816034.html

October 24 – 1) There’s a new Color of Sound show launching today at the Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn (916 Bedford Ave.) featuring jazz, hip-hop and martial arts-inspired artwork, brought to you by the folks at Shaolin Jazz. Shaolin Jazz shows are built around the paintings, photographs, posters and other items of a visual nature that have been part of the group’s numerous events, competitions andeducational efforts. Always lots of talent on display and well worth your time to visit – more details on their site at
http://gmoney77.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/color-of-sound/

2) There was a show worth viewing at the Morrison Hotel Gallery at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles between October 24th and November 7th – the photo show that accompanies the release of photographer Danny Clinch’s new book titled Still Moving. There was a great selection of shots that feature subjects including Bruce Springsteen (who Clinch first met while working as an assistant for another esteemed photographer, Annie Leibovitz), Neil Young, Tupac Shakur and many others. The stories behind these photos make the book even more compelling – more on this in this recent article on the LAist web site – http://laist.com/2014/10/22/danny_clinchs_still_moving.php

3) Speaking of Neil Young – to help draw attention to his new album , titled Storytone, that will be released in early November, and a newly-published book titled Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars, Mr. Young will be exhibiting creations of a visual kind in a show of his prints and watercolors that will be staged at the Robert Berman Gallery in Los Angeles beginning November 3rd. The show is titled “Special Deluxe” and will include the painting that is featured on the album cover of his new record, along with other watercolors and prints he’s done. The exhibit will kick off with a reception on Nov. 3rd, with the artist in attendance, and the show will be up until the end of the month. To learn more, visit the gallery’s site at –http://www.robertbermangallery.com/exhibitions/neil-young-special-deluxe#2

October 23 – 1) Those of you with keen scientific minds will get a kick out of my correspondence with the editor of the American Mensa Society’s newsletter about their ongoing “bracket challenge” to determine the Best Album Cover Art. I want to thank Chip Taulbee for his detailed response, giving us a look behind the curtain as to how really intelligent people approach the analysis of purely subjective topics. Please share with your album art-loving friends, and be sure to add your votes to this year’s challenge (final results will be published in January – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/a-scientific-approach-to-determining-the-best-in-album-cover-art/

2) Considered one of Ireland’s modern Renaissance men, designer/musician Steve Averil’s career has produced an impressive amount of fine art and music. Music fans will know and appreciate his work as one of the Radiators From Space, while album art fans will recognize his work as an art director for clients including Elvis Costello and U2 (who he’s guided on ALL of their records, set designs and merchandise). In this article (and video) produced by Tony Clayton-Lea for the Irish Times site, Averil provides fans with a lot of insight into his 40+ year career in the music business, including the time he realized that forgoing the music side of his career to focus 100% on design would be “quite liberating”…
http://www.irishtimes.com/…/steve-averill-s-life-in-irish-r…

3) Finally – RIP photographer Alfred Wertheimer, best-known for his early portraits of the up-and-coming star Elvis Presley, who died this past Sunday in his NYC home at the age of 85. Always loved the intimacy of Wertheimer’s work – more on his legacy in this article on the Huffington Post site by the AP’s Linda Deutch – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/alfred-wertheimer-dead_n_60…

October 22 – Two bits of info for fans of classic prog album art:

1) The folks at Storm Studios – the studio formerly helmed by the late Storm Thorgerson, responsible for many iconic album covers including Dark Side of the Moon, Peter Gabriel’s “melty” cover Led Zep’s Houses of the Holy and now run by several of his former design mates – are stretching their creativity in new directions, taking some of their works and bringing them into the 3rd dimension! According to their latest press release – “We are working with Coriander and Prof. Martin Richardson at De Montfort University, to create an eye-popping ‘3D’ lenticular print..our first lenticular image is a rendering of the cover we made for Steve Miller’s ‘Bingo!'” This lenticular (ala the cool covers done in the past for Captain Beyond and “Satanic Majesty’s..” for the Rolling Stones), along with two super-large-format (50″ x 60″!!) prints, were on display last week as part of the Multiplied Art Fair hosted by Christie’s in the Brompton Road, which ran concurrently with the Frieze art fair. More on this and other Storm Studios “Big Prints” via the link – http://www.stormsight.co.uk/bigbingo.html

2) On a related topic – While my art world spies usually keep me on top of all things album cover-related, this one slipped by, so I’m sorry for the lateness of the reporting. Prog Magazine/Team Rock – organizers of the prestigious Prog music awards show – this year added a special award named in honor of the late, great Storm Thorgeson, aptly called the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award and given to the designer/team responsible for the best album packaging in the genre. This year’s recipient is designer Mark Wilkinson, the designer of the package for A Feast of Consequences by Fish. In the linked video of the ceremonies held in late September, Fish and Mark W. accept the award together, with the musician giving great kudos to both the designer and the entire notion of how important the visuals are in marketing music today. Congratulations to Mr. Wilkinson on his award for a job very well-done. http://www.teamrock.com/videos/2014-09-24/watch-fish-picking-up-the-grand-design-award

October 21 – 1) Of course, when you’re born with a name like Mick Rock, it seems certain that your career path is pre-ordained (I knew a guy who’s last name was Doctor, and I’m pretty certain he went on to be one). With a recent show in NYC in support of his new book (titled “Exposed“) just ending, writer Matthew Kassel of the New York Observer caught up with the renowned photographer (creator of album covers for Queen, Lou Reed and the Ramones, among others) to ask him about some of the relationships he’s developed over the past 40+ years in the business and, unfortunately, joining the long list of journalists who’ve asked Mick “what’s your favorite photo?” (his least-favorite question). Read more via the link at http://observer.com/2014/10/mick-rock-looks-back-on-five-decades-of-music-photography/

2) Christopher Krovatin, writing for Vice’s “Noisey” music site, makes a strong argument to music producers about the importance of their investment in good album cover art. Responding to another blogger’s reaction to the album art featured on one band’s latest release – in which he said that, due to the “fact” that album art has been miniaturized to the point where it has no impact – Christopher goes on to remind that blogger and his readers that a musical act’s visuals are still greatly important for several well-considered reasons. I’m certainly happy to read such an argument coming from a contributor to a “trendy” music site as it serves to show that, even these days, the most-successful musical acts understand that it takes more than just a hit single to build and maintain a long-term relationship with fans (and that one of the most-important ways is via art, photography and video content). Nice job, Christopher! http://noisey.vice.com/blog/we-should-all-be-able-to-judge-an-album-by-its-cover

October 20 – Very pleased to announce the nominees for this year’s class of inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame. Based on the preliminary voting done by our panel of experts from around the world, you’ll find that each of the nominees in the seven categories that are voted upon brings an extensive portfolio of great work and are certainly worth consideration. The focus of this year’s voting is on people whose first credits for album cover work began after 1990.

Click here to visit the Nominee Info page on the ACHOF site – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-nominee-intro-page/achof-class-of-2014-nominee-intro-page/

Voting began in early November to select this year’s inductees, with the winners announced on November 25. More to come, so stay tuned.

October 16 – more interesting info on album cover photographers:

1) Former Annie Leibovitz intern – and now photo industry heavyweight – Danny Clinch is releasing a new book of his work that looks like it will be a must for fans of rock ‘n’ roll imagery. Titled Still Moving – and featuring a intro by Clinch fan Bruce Springsteen, the book provides an insightful look into Danny’s career and the relationships he’s built throughout the years he’s been active with a wide range of musical acts including the Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam, Afghan Whigs, Bjork, Tupac Shakur and many others. Writing for the PopMatters site, author Sachyn Mital’s article about Clinch provides fans with an up-close-and-personal interview with one of today’s most-prolific shooters (photos, videos, etc.) in the pop music genre – http://www.popmatters.com/feature/186417-an-interview-with-danny-clinch-still-moving/

2) Having just produced the cover shot for Carrie Underwood‘s new record, you’d think that Nashville-based photographer Jeremy Cowart would be able to rest his laurels on his country music clientele – but you’d be wrong! His talents have exposed him to music producers all over the country, so he’s been able to extend his client base to include acts including Sting, Rob Thomas and Britney Spears. His rapid rise to industry prominence is truly an interesting one, so it is good to have been able to read this recent article on him posted by writer Lauren Drell on the Mashable site – http://mashable.com/2014/10/12/jeremy-cowart-okdothis/

3) Pleased to report the results for the winner in the Best Album Cover category in this year’s Vodaphone New Zealand Music Awards. The honor went to designer Anna Taylor for her work on Liam Finn’s record titled The Nihilist. Other nominees included Henrietta Harris (for Grayson Gilmour’s Infinite Life!) and Robert Wallace (for LADI6’s Automatic). The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards events are produced annually by Recorded Music New Zealand Limited, the organization responsible for music industry representation, advocacy and licensing for recording artists and their labels in New Zealand.
Congratulations to the nominees and to the winner for a job well-done – more info at
http://www.nzmusicawards.co.nz/award-category/best-album-cover-2014/

October 15 – 1) The world’s smartest people choose the world’s best album covers! Each year, the Mensa Society organizes a “bracket challenge”, inviting members and other interested parties to select “best ofs” in various areas of interest (past challenges have included heroes, inventions and toys). This year, the group decided to throw their focus to determining, in a totally subjective, slightly-scientific and non-definitive way, which modern-era album cover is “the best”. I contacted the organization to find out more about their methodology and will send out a follow-up posting once I get back the info I asked for but, in the meantime, if you’d like to see the 64 record covers – organized into “Madness-style” brackets of 16 in each of four categories – and add your vote, please visit their site at http://us.mensa.org/play/bracket-challenge/ Voting began this week and will advance one round each week, with the final tallies and winner announced in the group’s January 2015 newsletter. May the “best” cover win!!

2) The Flaming Lips released their re-make of the classic Beatles album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (featuring a supporting cast including My Morning Jacket, Moby, Miley Cyrus and many others) at the end of October and the album cover for the record features the psychedelic stylings of artist Oliver Hibert. Originally from Seattle, Hibert went on to become a sensation as a young artist, with his first gallery show at the age of 16 and subsequent commissions from the likes of MTV, Disney, Nike and the BBC (he did the colorful cover for the 2013 release by Wooden Shjips titled “Back To Land” as well). Looking at the cover art, I see influences from The Fool design collective, famous for their work on covers for The Hollies, Incredible String Band and, coincidentally, created the original designs for the Sgt. Peppers record, which were later rejected by the band, replacing them with the now-famous collage by Peter Blake. More on this record and the updated groovy cover design in Dean Van Nguyen’s article on the NME’s news site – http://www.nme.com/news/the-flaming-lips/80325

October 14 – Three stories for fans of fine rock ‘n’ roll photography:

1) The estate of the late famed rock photographer Jim Marshall announced the release of a new book – titled The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution – featuring over 200 never-before-seen shots from his archives. The production team dug through over 100K (!!) images to select the ones that they thought would best-represent the man and his ongoing impact on the world of photo-journalism. In addition to shots of well-known rock music icons, you’ll find many photos that provide you with insights into what was happening in the world – protests against the war, civil rights marches, etc. – as they put it, not only will you see photos of Hendrix, but you’ll also see images of the world he lived in. You can read more about it in Freda Kahen-Kashi’s article on the ABC News site and the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange hosted a gallery show to coincide with the books release October 18th, with the mayor of SF launching the festivities by naming that day “Jim Marshall Day”.
http://abcnews.go.com/News/famed-rock-and-roll-photographer-jim-marshalls-newly-released-photos/blogEntry?id=26172130
or
http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400109

2) The Morrison Hotel Galleries in SOHO/NYC and at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, CA are currently showing a selection limited-edition prints of of self-portrait photos taken by rock goddess Stevie Nicks. Titled “The Self Portrait Collection”, the show includes 24 different images, including one titled “24 Karat Gold” which is used on the cover of Stevie’s 2014 record of the same name. The large format prints (30″ x 35″ up to 60″ x 70″) are all hand-signed by the artist and are priced from $2,500 to $10,000. The shows were on display at the CA gallery until 10/21 and at the NYC gallery until 10/31. For more info on the prints, visit the gallery’s site at https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/photographer/default.aspx?photographerID=164

3) Lastly but not leastly (!!), fans of photographer Norman Seeff, the talent responsible for hundreds of your favorite album covers for musical acts ranging from Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones to Ray Charles and KISS should book a flight to the Madison, WI area to visit a new exhibition featuring Seeff’s work that is on display at the art gallery at Promega’s BioPharmaceutical Technology Center in Fitchburg, on display until Jan. 2, 2015 there. Working with a collector/consultant by the name of Daniel Swadener, who became enamored with Seeff’s work after purchasing a print at a Tempe, AZ estate sale (and who, incidentally, curates four art shows per year at Promega’s gallery), the display – part of a show called “The Power and the Passion to Create,” includes 30 works from Seeff’s impressive archives. You can read more about this in Doug Moe’s column on the Wisconsin State Journal site at http://host.madison.com/news/local/columnists/doug-moe/doug-moe-norman-seeff-s-power-and-passion/article_5143556f-800e-5cea-8f3f-23d687969888.html

October 13 – I read with great interest the recent article in the LA Times about a new music release – titled You Are What You Listen To,  released on 10/14 on Atlantic Records – by friend of ACHOF Gary Calamar and, as I’m always curious as to what inspires the images found on record covers, I sent Gary an email to get a bit more detail about this work. If you’re not familiar with Gary’s name, you’ve definitely heard his work – here’s a bit of background…Gary is a DJ at KCRW and a five-time Grammy Nominated TV/Film Music Supervisor who has produced the memorable soundtracks for a number of popular shows including Dexter, Entourage, House, Six Feet Under, True Blood and Weeds. He’s also the co-author of the critically-acclaimed book about record store culture – past and present – titled Record Store Days. In addition, he has a very impressive collection of music-related art and memorabilia, which is how I first made his acquaintance…

To give ACHOF readers an inside scoop, I asked Gary to give me a little info about “the making of” the cover image for his new EP, and here’s what he told me: “Hi Mike, good to hear from you. Yes, this is all very exciting! There actually is a bit of a story on the EP cover. It is an homage to an ad campaign for John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges album. I always loved this campaign for its “listen to” slogan and the graphic design. My designer, John Girgus, put my cover together. The photo of me is by Stephanie Hernstadt, taken in the KCRW Music Library.”

Lennon’s original Walls And Bridges record, released in 1974, featured design/art direction by Roy Kohara and, in addition to a number of hand-drawn elements done by John himself, it featured photographs by Bob Gruen. The promo photos that inspired Gary’s designs were also featured prominently in the picture book that accompanied the recording in which the photos were “sliced and diced” and re-arranged into several interesting (if not a bit silly) collages.

If you’d like to learn more about Gary, his work and his music (and to listen to some samples of music from his new release), please click on over to his site at http://garycalamar.com/ To read August Brown’s article on the subject in the LA Times, here’s the link – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-gary-calamar-20141010-story.html

October 10 – 1) In the first of two mosaic-related stories, the Latin Grammy folks released the artwork for this year’s program and related items and it features the impressive work of Roy Feinson, an artist who has worked hard to create this intricate mosaic from photos taken at previous Latin Grammy events. You may recall Roy’s previous work for the Recording Academy, who selected him to create the artwork for the group’s 50th Anniversary several years ago. Since then, he’s improved his software to be able to trim photos to the precise sizes needed to create the proper color/shading effects needed for his finished pieces, so this new work is one you’ll need to look carefully at in order to fully-appreciate what he’s done. There’s an interview (by Bruce Britt) with the artist up now on the up on the Latin Grammy site where he goes into detail about his process – well worth the read – http://www.latingrammy.com/en/news/roy-feinson-lights-a-cultural-fuse-with-15th-latin-grammy-art

2) Rocker Melissa Etheridge was on Good Morning America this week, happy to share the story of the making of the mosaic for the cover for her new record, simply titled This Is M.E., which was based on images sent to her by her fans. She’s also featured on the cover of this month’s AARP Magazine (along with Sheryl Crow, in an article about “Boomers That Rock”), so there’s plenty for ME fans to be happy about this month – you can watch the video on the Brightshop Marketing site at http://brightshopmarketing.com/melissa-etheridge-discusses-her-mosaic-album-cover-on-gma/

3) While fellow Fleetwood Mac member John McVie has been the better-known fine artist in the group (he shot the photo used on the cover of the band’s Bare Trees record back in the early 70s), drummer Mick Fleetwood has been developing his own photographic style – hand-embellishing photos he has taken during his world travels to create unique works of art – and now he’s putting them on display in a gallery show at the Liss Gallery in Yorkville (Toronto), Canada. He was on hand for a private reception there on October 17 in advance of the close of the show at the end of that month. To find out more about this show and Fleetwood’s feelings about both his art and his music, read Laura Kane’s article on the Calgary Herald‘s web site at http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/story.html?id=10267261

October 9 – 1) While the “resurgence” in the sales of vinyl records hasn’t exactly brought the revenues for the recorded music industry back to its pre-digital heights, it certainly has given album cover artists the larger-format canvas that they most-liked to work on. In an article by journalist John Meagher in Ireland’s Independent, he muses about a number of album images that, for him, represented “best-ofs” in their various categories – best merger of art & music, best depiction of glam rock, best mix of fashion and heartache, and several others. Read the rest of his list of “the best album artwork of all time” via the link – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/the-list-the-best-album-artwork-of-all-time-30627489.html

2) In an article posted by Ocsuro on the Metal Underground site, the writer has given readers a list of album covers that, whether intentional or not, have strikingly-similar designs. Titled “Look-Alike Metal Album Covers (Part 2)”, the author works to provide a bit of background for both the original image and the “copycat”, showing that all art tends to rely on influences from the past. For example, the covers for both Savatage’s Fight For The Rock and Status Quo’s In The Army Now (both from 1986), as well as earlier records by Uriah Heep and Electric Flag, were the artists’ takes on the famous raising the flag at Iwo Jima photo from WW2. More on this and other examples can be found via the link at http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=106763

October 8 – 1) While I don’t quite get the motivations of a site dedicated to items of a “green” nature (helping folks save the planet), it seems clear that there are album art lovers of all stripes who are happy to share their appreciation of the art form by crafting articles like the following one – “15 Awesome Album Covers Starring Animals”, posted by Jaimi Dolmage on the One Green Planet site. Included are classics such as Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, The Fat Of The Land by Prodigy and Weezer’s Raditude along with a dozen others from musical acts across the industry spectrum. Can you think of others that belong on this list? I’ll start with a couple – Zappa’s Ruben & The Jets and Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES…Your turn – http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/awesome-album-covers-starring-animals/

2) Writer Scott Sterling has posted an article on the Radio.com site in which he’s documented “10 Album Covers You Can Actually Visit”, carrying on the tradition of sites that have identified the actual places depicted on album cover designs. While the Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti (NYC) and Pink Floyd Animals (Battlesea Power Station) examples have been seen before, there were a number of examples shown that haven’t received as much publicity, so it makes for an interesting read for those wanting to either learn more about scenes they’ve seen-but-never-identified or, with a little time and money applied, plan a world tour to visit each of the places featured. Pack your bags, grab a camera and help add to the list – http://radio.com/2014/10/03/10-album-covers-real-life-pink-floyd-blake-shelton-eminem/

October 7 – 1) The Australian Recording Industry Association has announced the nominees for this years ARIA Award for Best Cover Art –http://www.ariaawards.com.au/nominees/2014/Artisan-Awards/Best-Cover-Art– and the folks at the Faster/Louder site are asking out loud – “Are these really the best album covers of 2014?” While I might agree that a couple of the nominees feature designs that are pretty mundane, there are a few that show some imagination and technical prowess. Take a look, cast your mental votes, and then check back here in late November for the announcement of the big winner…http://m.fasterlouder.com.au/news/40748/Are-these-really-the-best-album-covers-of-2014

2) Leave it to our chums at Music Times to come up with another interesting album cover list – in today’s feature, they present to you “14 Album Covers Featuring Just The Lead Singer”. Included in the list are acts such as Black Sabbath, Public Image Ltd. (always happy to see Mr. Lydon’s smiling face) and The Cure, as well as some bands I’m a little less-familiar with (Tennis, anyone?). I’m a little confused about how records were selected – for example, Iggy Pop and Marilyn Manson, while they are in front of bands, the bands are mostly about them, right? Why not include Bowie, Gary Numan, Morrissey, Rod Stewart, Elton John, etc.? In any case, I’d like to see them add The Doors and Iron Maiden to the list (what do you mean – Eddie’s NOT the lead singer?)….
http://www.musictimes.com/articles/11029/20140929/14-album-covers-with-just-the-lead-singer-the-cure-black-sabbath-and-more.htm

October 4 – 1) I’d seen this artist’s work a few months back and forgot (!!) to report about it, but after getting a link to the site from my chums at ToneDeaf.com about a slide show they just ran of samples of this art, I must do the right thing and share it with all of you. While I’m trying to get hold of this person to learn more about him/her and what the motivation was behind these animations, I think that you’ll enjoy seeing a number of your favorite record covers brought to life. And man, this person works fast – there’s already an animation for the upcoming Pink Floyd record’s cover, which is due out in several weeks! There are over 25 examples up on “JBETCOM’s” Tumblr, which you can reach via the link – http://jbetcom.tumblr.com/

2) The folks at Courvoisier have, for some reason, put together an article bringing you a selection of notable album art and information about “the making of” the covers included in the series. The artist/musician collaborations on display run the gamut from the obvious (Sgt. Pepper’s, Dark Side of the Moon, Purple Rain, etc.) to several lesser-known-but-still-impressive images, including covers from acts including The Prodigy, Bjork, The Arctic Monkeys and many others. While I’m still scratching my head about why a cognac company has invested in this article (maybe a larger-than-normal number of “Ladies Men” have said that they were interested in the topic?), I can only say that I’m glad that they have given us such a nicely-done article to read while sipping. More at the following link –
http://courvoisier.com/our-journey/artists-stories-behind-favorite-album-covers/?

3) Finally, album cover photographer Guy Webster has just published a new book of his portraits of many of our favorite screen and music stars titled Big Shots: Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons, and the editors at PARADE magazine were given a preview of some of the images included from which they assembled a nice slide show – http://parade.condenast.com/326707/iraphael/8-stunning-portraits-of-rock-icons-and-hollywood-legends/ You’ll remember Guy’s work for artists such as The Mamas & The Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, The Turtles and others – enjoy this sampling of some of his other well-known subjects.

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.