Tag Archives: award

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.

As mentioned previously, this year’s Class allowed for the consideration of any talent not previously inducted into the ACHOF. The people under consideration this year are people who BEGAN their careers in the field at any time during the period the ACHOF focuses its attention on (1960 – present). As you can figure, this was a very long list, but after a research, nominating and voting process that began in September and ended in mid-November with our final vote, the ACHOF Voting Panel has selected a list of individuals and companies that very clearly represent the best examples of a large number of talented men, women and teams who’ve cumulatively created and published a huge portfolio of memorable album cover images and record packages.

Through the ongoing efforts of those who support of this Hall of Fame, our goal continues to be to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact in the ongoing development and advancement of rock and roll album cover-related art direction, illustration, photography and package design, as well as the record labels and musical acts who’ve supported great work in the field. Based on each inductee’s body of work in the field, we feel that their talents have exemplified the best possible efforts made to package and promote their clients’ recorded music, and so we’re privileged to have been able to include them in this year’s poll and, ultimately, our lists of honorees.

I’d also like to note that this year’s voting was rather unique in that two individuals – Art Director/Designer Craig Butler and Art Director/Illustrator Geoff Halpin – were inducted in two categories (how multi-talented of them!). Also, we had a tie in the “Musical Acts with a long-standing commitment to great Album Cover imagery” category, with Earth, Wind & Fire and R.E.M. both getting the same number of votes, so we’re pleased to add both to our list of inductees this year.

We’ve divided the Inductees into their respective categories so that our readers can get to know each winner individually and within their group of peers. Below, you’ll find a summary of the winners in each category:

Album Cover Photographer InducteesRichard E. Aaron, George DuBose, Ross Halfin, Don Hunstein, and Trevor Key

Album Cover Illustrator Inductees (inc. those specializing in logos and typography) – Geoff Halpin, David Juniper, Victor Moscoso, Shusei Nagoka and John Pasche

Album Cover Designer InducteesCraig Butler, David Costa, Hugh Gilmour, Carl Glover and Geoff Halpin

Album Cover Art Director InducteesGary Burden, Craig Butler, Art Chantry, Gail Marowitz and Tony Wright

Inducted Record LabelsMerge, Polydor/Polygram and Stax/Volt

Inducted Musical Acts with a long-standing commitment to great Album Cover imagery – The Clash, Earth Wind & Fire (Tie), Genesis and R.E.M. (Tie)

A more-detailed document that includes samples of each Inductees album cover credits, along with links to their respective web sites, can be found on the ACHOF site at
https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-nominee-inductee-menu-page/achof-class-of-2017-inductee-intro-page/

Qualified individuals become eligible for induction 5 years after the publication of their first record album, CD, DVD or digital album cover image. Please note that some names will be seen in more than one category, as it is that certain individuals serve in more than one role in a project. Inductees are listed alphabetically.

Going forward, the Voting Panel – currently consisting of over 75 experts in the fields of packaging design, illustration, photography and music product marketing – will continue the process each year (beginning again in Summer 2018 to nominate the next class of Inductees representing those whose works were published any time during the period of 1960 – present) by selecting nominees in each of the featured categories for consideration by both that voting body and those nominees that receive the most total votes in their respective categories will be inducted. Panel members discussed the possibility of opening some aspect of next year’s voting to the public – we’ll notify fans and the press once any decisions have been made regarding this effort.

To see a list of all of the current inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame, please visit – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-nominee-inductee-menu-page/achof-inductee-list-main-page/

Thanks again to all of the members of the Voting Panel who participated this year – this couldn’t be done without your continued support.

Advertisements

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…

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) As a follow-up to the article I posted last month about Malcolm Garrett and the Design Manchester show he organized (which included a panel on his work along with a special exhibition devoted to displaying the results of a Buzzcocks Orgasm Addict-related challenge he posed to scores of artists – i.e., according to the info posted by writer Aimee McLaughlin in her review on the Design Week site, “to ‘fuck up’ his original artwork and create “reframed” versions of the record sleeve. Designers that have taken part include established names such as Craig Oldham and Michael C Place, along with young and up-and-coming talent”
Another favorite display at the show was another one focused on Garrett’s entire portfolio of work for the Buzzcocks called Fizzing At The Terminals. While the show ended its run on October 22nd, you can get a decent feel for what was on display at https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/16-22-october-2017/design-manchester-2017-favourite-exhibitions/

b) Another follow-up to a previously-reported item – you’ll recall that photographer and gallery owner Guido Harari has been working with fellow shooter Frank Stefanko to help publish and promote his new limited-edition book (Bruce Springsteen: Further Up The Road, set to be published on November 1st) and related art prints. Well, the two talented artists have also announced a tour and exhibition that will have stops both in the U.S. – November 1st at the Morrison Hotel Gallery at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles, then on to Morrison Hotel’s gallery in the SoHo area of New York City for an opening on November 9th – and in Italy at Harari’s Wall Of Sound Gallery in Alba, where they’ll be for an afternoon (3PM local time) opening on Saturday, November 18th.

According to Guido’s promo emails, the show at his gallery will be the only one in Europe in 2017, but there will be several other scheduled book signings and Q&A/presentations, including one later in the day (5:30PM local time) on November 18th at the nearby Coro della Maddalena, via Vittorio Emanuele 19 (as part of the “In Poetica” festival) followed by a similar event the next day at 6PM at the Circolo dei Lettori, via Bogino 9, in Turin, Italy, (produced in collaboration with Libreria Luxemburg).
More details at http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/bruce-springsteen/

c) Artist Roger Dean and his chums at the U.K.’s Trading Boundaries gallery have announced the launching of a new exhibition that fans of Dean’s mind-bending imagery will most-certainly enjoy. According to the gallery, the “2017 Breaking Cover Exhibition”, which premieres at 7PM on Friday, November 3rd at the beautiful Sheffield Arms development (Sheffield Green – Nr Fletching – TN22 3RB), “This will be a wonderful opportunity to see a number of new paintings never before exhibited, and an amazing collection of Fine Art Watercolours and Sketches that are rarely shown in public.”

Making the evening extra-special – besides having the chance to meet one of the album art world’s most-respected artists – will be the official launch of a new limited-edition print of Dean’s 1973 artwork for Badger (with its winter motif just perfect for this time of year!). More info on this event and its setting can be found via these links – https://therogerdeangallery.smugmug.com/Exhibition-Dates and https://www.tradingboundaries.com/pages/roger-dean-gallery. As a bonus, there’s a short video on the second page in which Dean talks about his first commercial assignment as a designer (doing the interiors for the famed Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London) and then his first album art commission for a band called The Gun in 1967 (you might recall their hit song “Race With The Devil”).

Last-minute update – Just announced, Prog Rock fans – get ready for a great opportunity to meet Mr. Dean and one of his most-famous clients – guitarist Steve Hackett – at a special event that will be held at Trading Boundaries on November 18th. Per their announcement – “we are excited to announce a world first… an evening with Roger Dean in conversation with guitarist Steve Hackett discussing the creative process. This is a rare opportunity to witness two legends of both music and art coming together for an evening where anything could happen!” Choose between tickets just for the conversation or, for just a few pounds more, enjoy a special 2-course dinner along with the presentation – ticket info at – https://www.tradingboundaries.com/collections/tickets/products/steve-hackett-roger-dean?

d) While not exactly an album art-specific show, the people who are putting on the upcoming Making Vinyl trade show in Detroit are folks with a lot of history in the area, and the fact that they’re both featuring a number of album packaging experts on panels and the re-launch of the ALEX Awards, which includes prizes for album cover-related projects, leads me to share the details of the show with you this month.

Keynote and panel speakers include a number of names well-known to folks like you who are paying keen attention to developments in the music-related art world, including Jack White (musician and owner of Third Man Records), Jack Stoughton (President of Stoughton Printing), Gail Marowitz (Grammy-winning album art director), Jennifer Freund (CEO of Dorado Packaging), Craig Braun (famed album art director and host of this year’s Alex Awards show), 344 Design’s Stefan Bucher and many others. The Alex Award presentation ceremonies will take place on Monday, November 6th at 7PM local time at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. With hundreds of designs submitted for review this year, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top – of course, the information will be announced here on the ACHOF site as it’s made available.

Basic show info and a line-up of events can be found at https://makingvinyl.com/ , while specific info on the Alex Awards has been posted here – https://makingvinyl.com/alex-awards/

e) The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live recently launched a new show that presents an impressive collection of exhibits that present a career retrospective of the seminal LA punk/rockabilly band X and its trend-setting members – Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake. With a career that began back in 1977 (with their first, Ray Manzarek-produced album Los Angeles released in 1980) and, after break-ups and reunions, still tours on occasion today, the band both represented and influenced the local music scene via both their music/lyrics and visuals – in fact, Cervenka was such an accomplished mixed-media artist that the Santa Monica Museum of Art assembled a solo exhibition of her work (titled America The Beautiful) back in 2005.

According to the Museum, the show (which will be on display until next March) will put on display original instruments and gear played by the band, original concert flyers, photographs, clothing and personal items, handwritten lyrics from Exene and John Doe and a collection of Exene’s photographs and artwork. They’ll also be showing the 1986 documentary film X: The Unheard Music, which includes a number of interviews as well as studio and live performance footage.

More info on this show is available at http://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/current-exhibits/x

I seem to remember that the burning X cover on the band’s debut LP Los Angeles was credited to “J. Ruby Productions” – so very punk, no?

f) The David Bowie Is exhibition continues on its successful world tour with a stop at the Brooklyn Art Museum in NY early next year (opening March 2nd and running through July 5th). This slightly-premature article by Andrew Chow for the New York Times was posted in mid-October on the paper’s web site, so if you’re looking to take a special trip into the city and need something special to build it around, here’s a nice intro to the show about everyone’s favorite musician/actor/art collector – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/arts/design/david-bowie-exhibition-brooklyn-museum.html

g) If you hurry on over to the Lucy Bell Gallery (on Normans Road, in St Leonards on Sea) before November 4th, you’ll still be able to catch what sounds like a really-intriguing exhibition of “rare and iconic” photos of Pink Floyd. Working with the auite-accomplished rock photographer – and owner of the Rockarchive gallery – Jill Furmanovsky and her crew, this show (titled Shine On) includes the works of a number of respected music-industry shooters, including Tony Collins, Colin Prime, Storm Thorgerson, Andrew Whittuck and, of course, Ms. Furmanovsky herself.

According to the gallery’s press release, the show will include images from the “band’s earliest photo shoots in Ruskin Park & Hampstead, to the recording studio at Abbey Road and on the road during the Dark Side of The Moon Tour.. the exhibition includes these and other classic images that capture Pink Floyd’s energy and unique, eclectic style both on and off stage.” Also on display will be several of the late, great Mr. Thorgerson’s alternative takes on album cover art for the band.

https://www.lucy-bell.com/exhibition/pink-floyd

g) While the 12th annual Best Art Vinyl Awards won’t be handed out until after the New Year, it requires the public’s vote to determine the winner and, in order to allow the public to see examples of the nominated covers up close, a show is being staged at The Civic in Barnsley (U.K.) beginning on the 11th of November called “12 Years On 12 Inches” that not only allows attendees that opportunity, but also to participate in several related events, including a “make your own record cover-based linocut workshop”!

With the Barnsley show curated by Jason White, the show will also be duplicated in two other European cities starting with the letter “B” – Bologna and Budapest – thus allowing album art fans from all over the Continent the chance to review the works and then go online to cast their votes for their favorites. Mr. White is also going to be staging a related display at the multi-media event center that will be called “Best Art Vinyl Barnsley” and will show off the album packaging talents of local musical acts and album art producers.

To read more about these exciting happenings, visit – http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/events/best-art-vinyl-barnsley and http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/events/best-art-vinyl-12-years-on-12-inches

For more information on how to participate in the album art workshop on Saturday, November 11th, please click on over to – http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/events/record-cover-lino-cut-workshop

This isn’t the first album cover show staged at The Civic. After a re-development project was finished in early 2009, an album art show called “Gatefold to Download” drew large crowds to the new space, with contributors to the show including Malcolm Garrett (Buzzcocks, Duran Duran, etc.), Mark Farrow (Pet Shop Boys, Spiritualized, etc.) and Rob O’Connor/Stylorouge (Blur, George Michael and others).

h) In late October in Lagos, Nigeria, a career-spanning show built around the 26 album covers designer/illustrator Lemi Ghariokwu crafted for Afro-Beat superstar and human rights activist Fela Kuti before Kuti’s untimely death in 1997 was staged, with Lemi on hand to speak to attendees about his art and his friendship with the beloved and mystical entertainer (when you get a million people showing up at your funeral, I think you can say that you were “beloved”. Lemi was the principal artist for Polygram in Africa for 11 years, also creating stunning packages for stars including Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba and Bob Marley.

You can read more about the man, his art, his friend Fela and more on the 360nobs.com web site – https://www.360nobs.com/2017/10/lemi-gharioku-temple-management-presents-afro-artbeat-exhibition/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) It’s nice to have friends in the business…As is so often the case, many musicians have had advanced training in design and the other visual arts, so when the popular band The National wanted to prepare a host of goodies to go along with the release of their latest record (Sleep Well Beast), they turned to friends to help them conceive and then produce not only “the regular stuff” (i.e., album art, t-shirts, posters, etc.) but also a host of other goodies and promotional materials – including billboards and video shorts – that would bear the record’s logo, color scheme and other design cues. Turns out that the band’s bassist, Scott Devendorf, had worked for the noted NYC design firm Pentagram, and so a collaboration with one of that firm’s partners – designer Luke Heyman – was bound to create something unique and impressive.

Via this link, you can take a look at the results of this partnership via this nice article by contributor Gunseli Yalcinkaya on the Dezeen.com site –
https://www.dezeen.com/2017/09/08/pentagram-designs-corporate-visual-identity-national-sleep-well-beast-album-cover/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) John Lennon’s personal copy of a prototype – complete with Lennon-drawn artwork on the back – of the infamous The Beatles Yesterday And Today “Butcher Cover” is just one of the several album art-related items up for bid as part of the Heritage Auction house’s November 11th Entertainment Auction – https://entertainment.ha.com/c/auction-home.zx?saleNo=7164&ic=breadcrumb-entertainment-071515-interior

In addition to that rarity (which, incidentally, had an opening asking bid of $100,000), there’s an alternative shot – a 12” x 15” B&W, fully-autographed print – taken by photographer Robert Whitaker in late 1964 from the album cover photo session for The Beatles ’65 (opening bid of $10,000). There are several other album cover-related items being offered, including one item that brought back memories. Remember, back in the 70s, the popular custom of taking a gatefold album cover and lining it with aluminum foil for use as a cheat towards a quick sun tan (i.e., those of you who weren’t using the same cover to separate the sticks and seeds from your favorite smoking materials)? Well, Elvis Presley selected his favorite Seals & Crofts LP – Summer Breeze – from his collection to make his own reflector, and for a starting bid of $750, you can works towards making it your own!
Happy bidding, everyone!

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Noted design authority Steven Heller and writer Greg D’Onofrio have just published a new book on mid-century design masters, including some that worked in the album art field, such as Saul Bass Robert Brownjohn, Neil Fujuita, Reid Miles and the man credited as “the father of the album cover”, Alex Steinweiss (all members of the ACHOF list of “Original Influencers”)

Titled The Moderns: Midcentury American Graphic Design, the 336-page, profusely-illustrated book introduces the reader to the people that created and molded “modern” graphic design beginning in the middle part of the 20th century, bringing their unique takes to designs for print publications, advertising and other forms of promotion, typography and packaging of products of all types. According to the publisher’s (Abrams Books) web site, the book “is the first comprehensive survey of this phenomenon that shaped our visual environment, presenting the work and lives of sixty-three graphic designers. Some were émigrés (including five Bauhaus students and faculty) who brought the gospel of Modernism to America from its sources in Europe. Others were homegrown talents who encountered Modernism in schools and offices at home and abroad. Together, they formed a multigenerational community, learning from one another and forging their individual practices through rigorous engagement with the esthetics of the movement.”

See who’s included – https://themodernsbook.com/ and, to read a review offered up by Theo Inglis on The Creative Review (UK) site, click on over to – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/making-moderns-midcentury-american-graphic-design/

b) Photographer Brian Griffin’s long-awaited music industry career-covering book, titled POP, was finally (and gratefully) released on October 26th, with a special release party and exhibition of over 30 of Brian’s best-loved images being staged both at, and to coincide with, the 2017 Soundedit Festival (for music producers and sound designers) that ran from the 26th through the 29th in Lodz, Poland.

Brian’s been a long-time supporter of this festival (in fact, in 2014, he presented John Cale with the event’s “Man With The Golden Ear” award) and is excited to be able to begin delivery of this book, which features essays by acclaimed music writers Terry Rawlings and Paul Gorman and comes to life after a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. Limited to 1000 copies, the 392 pages contain many of Brian’s best-known album cover images for acts including Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop and many others. Learn more about the book via the publisher’s web site at http://gostbooks.com/books/69/pop

…with those of us unable to make it to the event being able to read nicely-illustrated articles about the book via these links – https://genesisimaging.co.uk/brian-griffin-pop-book-launch-exhibition-soundedit-2017/

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/the-stories-behind-brian-griffins-portraits-of-seventies-and-eighties-rock-stars

http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/15624052.The_Look_of_Love__Brian_Griffin_on_shooting_the_stars_of_1980s_Pop/

c) Speaking of crowd-funded art projects, there’s a new endeavor on Kickstarter that’s looking for support that I thought you might want to learn more about as it includes opportunities not only to receive a specially-produced collection of music as a reward but also to take home one of several very-unique works of art by famed designer Cey Adams. The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop & Rap is, according to the site, “a landmark collection of music, stunning visuals, and powerful stories collected in a 300-page book and 9 CDs.”

With packaging designed by Adams, the founding Creative Director of Def Jam Records, it’s certain to be an eye-and-ear-pleasing package, with special promo items including a limited-edition (one of just 5) fine art print of an alternate album cover from Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, signed and numbered by artists B.E. Johnson and Adams, as well and PE’s Chuck D himself (at the $5000 level). Already sold out (at the $1500 support level) was a prize package (5 total were made) that included a pair of Adidas sneakers that had been hand-painted (no two alike!) by Adams. The goal is to raise $250,000 before the Nov. 16th cut-off date for funding. As of this date, over 1300 supporters have pledged over $165K, so they look to be on their way to a successful funding effort.

Reserve yours today at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/smithsonian/smithsonian-anthology-of-hip-hop-and-rap

Here’s a recent ArtDaily article on this project as well – http://artdaily.com/news/99623/Smithsonian-launches-drive-for-major-hip-hop-anthology

d) Also in late October, I received an email with a reminder that there was to be a big book launch party in London for author/historian/all-around nice person Jennifer Otter Bickerdike’s new book (previously described in my news feed) titled Why Vinyl Matters. It all took place at the Rough Trade East record shop in Brick Lane, with Jen bringing some friends along to liven up the launch party, including Julia Ruzicka of Future of the Left and Terry Hall of The Specials and Fun Boy Three. A great time was had by all, and you can take a look at what’s inside Jen’s new book via the following link – https://www.roughtrade.com/us/books/why-vinyl-matters

e) My alert feed brought two items on the Absolute Sound site regarding album cover art books to my attention – one we’ve covered (Art Record Covers by Francesco Spaminato and Julius Wiedemann, published by Taschen – read my March, 2017 interview with Mr. Wiedemann on the ACHOF site at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/interview-with-taschens-julius-wiedemann-about-his-newest-book-art-record-covers/ ) and one we have not, Visual Vinyl, produced by Heerlen, Netherland’s Schunk Museum and published this past May by Verlag Kettler (and ACC Publishing here in North America), that documents the 2015-16 show at the Museum curated by Harry Prenger built around the collection of vinyl record fan and design guru Jan Van Toorn (AKA “JvT”).

According to the museum’s promotional materials, Visual Vinyl was “a major exhibition devoted to record cover art. This unique collection of LPs, singles and other vinyl rarities will be exhibited at SCHUNCK* from November 2015 onwards. The records form part of the collection of vinyl aficionado and collector, Jan van Toorn, and have never been on public display before…Records and sleeves spanning four decades, with designs representing the work of over a thousand visual artists (with or without the collaboration of “pop” musicians) will be on show.”

This exhibition included many examples of album covers and packages that were created by well known names from the fine art world, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Salvador Dali, Damien Hirst, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Mark Ryden, Raymond Pettibon and Jeff Koons, among others.
http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/where-art-meets-music/
http://schunck.nl/agenda/visual-vinyl/

f) LA-based photographer Afshin Shahidi has released a new book titled Prince: A Private View, created after plowing through his portfolio of exclusive photographs of the late rock star – shot in his home, studio and on stage – with many of the pictures never seen before their inclusion in this book. Shahidi is credited for his work on the covers/packages of Prince records including One Nite Alone…Live!, Live At The Aladdin Las Vegas, Planet Earth, Musicology and 3121 (and has shot covers and/or directed music videos for acts including Nas, Rob Thomas, Herb Alpert, The Afghan Whigs and Bare Naked Ladies), but it was his long-standing relationship with Prince that enabled him to capture the musician in a host of intimate and candid photos.

According to Shahidi, as he explained to the folks at ABC News in a feature they recently produced on Afshin and his book, “The album covers for me … are what I was most proud of,” Shahidi said. “I still, to this day, when I see the album cover, I think, ‘Wow … I took that picture.’ Makes me really happy.” “For me, each time I was with Prince, I was still, like, ‘Wow, I’m standing here with Prince!’”

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/princes-private-photographer-shares-images-late-singer/story?id=50651065

Writing for The Source site, J. Quinones provides us with a bit more detail about the book and the relationship that it was built upon – http://thesource.com/2017/10/24/414889/, and the photographer also adds to the conversation via a special site that’s been set up to let fans review the book and its contents – https://princeaprivateview.com/

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Every once in a while, we’re all given the opportunity to show off just how much we know about famous album cover art and the musical acts that support it, so I was eager to test my chops on NME’s most-recent album cover quiz – one that’s differentiated from many others by the fact that they’re showing “less popular” bits of these covers’ overall image. Well, I got 17 out of 30, which is shameful, but I admit that I don’t know a lot about some of the newer international acts included in the survey. I can only hope and assume that many of you will do much better than this old(ish) man.
http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/album-detail-quiz-2146415

One bone to pick with the quiz’s creators – I do really wish that they would have showed the entire album cover when the answer was revealed – how am I supposed to have learned anything from this exercise (beside that I was wrong nearly half the time)? Turn it into a “teachable moment” next time, people…

b) So while we’re carefully perusing covers from now on for “the less popular bits”, will we also be on the lookout for all of the hidden messages and clues that are built in to the works of art? Purple Clover’s Kevin Hayes will be, that’s for sure, as he seems to see things where others might not. Recently, he posted an article that presents 14 album covers in which he asserts there’s more than meets the eye, such as Paul McCartney’s hand-lettered message of love to his wife Linda found on the cover of his 1971 solo release Ram, the multiple faces and a hula skirt that are found in artist Lee Conklin’s “Lion” drawing done for Santana’s 1969 debut album and, one of my favorites, Mouse & Kelley’s really hard-to-see “We Are Acid” sub-text found in the lettering for the Grateful Dead’s 1969 release titled Aoxomoxoa.
Bring your Visine and take the tour at – http://www.purpleclover.com/entertainment/8048-album-covers-hidden-message/

c) Not one but two detailed “making of” articles about Rolling Stones album covers hit the web recently, with staffers from the UK’s Far Out Magazine site digging deep to provide the straight poop about how the cover for the band’s The Satanic Majesties Request (which offered us a 3-D “lenticular” image shot by Sgt. Pepper’s photographer Michael Cooper) – http://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-cover-uncovered-their-satanic-majesties-request-the-rolling-stones/ , while over on the LA Weekly site, writer Matt Wake interviews two of the most-respected album cover contributors of all time – designer John Van Hamersveld and photographer Norman Seeff – about what it took to produce the highly-detailed gatefold cover for Exile On Main Street, which also included a back cover shot taken in downtown Los Angeles (on Main Street, of course) by famed photographer Robert Frank.
http://www.laweekly.com/music/how-the-rolling-stones-exile-on-main-st-was-finished-in-los-angeles-at-sunset-sound-8594714

d) Appearing this month to provide the keynote address at this year’s Society for News Design (SND) conference in London will be a designer who’s left lasting impressions on all aspects of the graphic design business – designer, creative director, typographer and currently the Dean of the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art (UK), Neville Brody. Album art fans will instantly recall Brody’s work on album covers for the Stiff Records label and others – The Slits – Return of the Giant Slits; Cabaret Voltaire – Red Mecca, 2X45, Johnny YesNo and The Original Sound of Sheffield 83/87; 23 Skidoo – Seven Songs, The Culling is Coming, Urban Gamelan and Just Like Everybody; Depeche Mode – Singles Box, Vol. 1 and Throbbing Gristle’s Five Albums, among others.

His impressive bio includes stints as the art director for magazines such as The Face and Arena, with his more recent work managed via his role as the principal of his design firm brody associates including 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. Fans of print newspapers will most-likely know Brody from the fact that he developed Times Modern for The Times of London newspaper, the first new font for the publication since Times New Roman was introduced in 1932.

Brody’s keynote takes place on November 3rd, with more information about the conference and its related displays and events available at – https://www.snd.org/2017/10/neville-brody-is-keynote-speaker-at-snd-london-2017/

e) The licensing world continues to show the love to The Beatles (just goes to show you – spend a little bit up front on great art for your music products and it could reward you over and over) as you’ll read in this recent Business Insider “Insider Picks” feature about the new socks sets from Swedish socks company Happy Socks bearing some of the artwork used in the making of the band’s 1968 animated psychedelic film Yellow Submarine. http://www.businessinsider.com/happy-socks-the-beatles-yellow-submarine-collection-2017-10/#happy-socks-x-the-beatles-collector-box-set-1

For only $84 for the set (slightly cheaper on Amazon.com), fans of the Fab Four who must own everything ever made featuring likenesses of the band can satiate that hunger and own a customized, LP-sized/shaped box containing six pairs of “limited-edition”, colorfully-decorated, Pepperland-themed socks. While, for $14 per pair, you can purchase four of the six total designs – blue Glove, “monsters”, Pepperland and Chief Blue Meanie/Jeremy – buying the set of six gets you an Apple pair and a Yellow Submarine pair as well, with the box thrown in for free (such a deal!).
https://www.happysocks.com/us/thebeatles/

The company also has assembled a line of socks and boxer shorts featuring designs that came from a collaboration with electronic music star/record producer Steve Aoki… https://www.happysocks.com/us/steveaoki/

f) Having recently watched a new animated Halloween TV special built around Michael Jackson-related music, imagery and unique world view (titled Michael Jackson’s Halloween – not sure if it’ll become a classic, but we’ll see…), it’s clear that the Jackson estate is eager to continue to push into uncharted production territory, as is evidenced by the new Michael Jackson SCREAM AR “augmented reality package” included as part of his recently-released compilation by the same name. A joint-production of Jackson’s team along with Sony and Shazam, customers will be treated to a unique experience when they use the music discover app’s camera feature to unlock hidden content when its pointed at the poster included in the package. Read more about it in Gil Kaufman’s coverage of the product on the Billboard Magazine web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7981733/michael-jackson-scream-compilation-augmented-reality

Personally, I’m going to be happy waiting for the chance to see the Michael Jackson ONE show in Las Vegas someday – no devices (other than my eyes and ears) required.

g) Finally, I wanted to give you an update on “Flying Pigs In Front Of Trump Tower in Chicago” project I reported on a while back. While the installation had been scheduled to be up before the end of the Summer, the organizers ran into a snag or two and, while it has delayed our chance to enjoy some Pink Floyd-inspired (and Roger Waters-approved) shenanigans here in the Windy City, it is giving the organizers some time to raise some additional funds that they’d need to do this properly – https://archpaper.com/2017/07/trump-sign-flying-pigs-delayed/

The inflatable pig icon that was used by Hipgnosis in their efforts to fly one over the Battersea Power Station to create something special for the cover shot for Animals has reappeared many times since its 1977 premiere, at concerts for both Pink Floyd and Roger Waters as well as in the background in several movies, Danny Boyle’s 2012 film shot for the Olympics and even an episode of The Simpsons, so this particular use is not without precedent and would certainly make my day…

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

All text and images included in this article are Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

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

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

 

 

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2014

by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor – AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed while enjoying your late-Summer vacations, getting the kids back to school, etc.. We’re working every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site.

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 26

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

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

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

September 25 –

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

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

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

September 24 –

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

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

September 23 –

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

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

September 22 –

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

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

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

September 19 –

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17 –

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

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

September 16 –

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

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

September 15

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

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

September 12

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

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

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

September 11 –

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

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

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

September 10 –

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

September 9 –

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

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

September 8 –

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

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – August, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – August, 2014

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

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

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed while on vacation (that’s “holiday” for fans outside the U.S.) this Summer, continuing our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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