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

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

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

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

This month’s summary, which comes on the heels of the release of my annual recap of the “Best of” and “Worst of” album cover design in the year 2016 (some of which also sparked some hope that great talents continue to ply their trades on behalf of musician/label clients), will impress you with the fact that  creative people continue to do what comes naturally and that other people with related businesses and interests (galleries, publishers, curators, etc.) continue to do what they do to share what they do with the rest of us. The people that make our favorite album imagery are still working hard to regularly contribute to the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.

Please share this info with everyone you know who might be a fan of great album cover art and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

a) David Bowie by Duffy exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London starting January 6th (running thru February 5th) – David Bowie, who would have turned 70 this year had he not left this mortal coil a year ago, was an often-photographed subject, but only a few photographers have produced images of the ever-changing artist that would be considered “iconic” – one of them being the late Brian Duffy, perhaps best-known for his photos used on the covers of classic Bowie records including Aladdin Sane, Lodger, Scary Monsters and others. In a recent article on the Music Week site by writer Ben Homewood, you’ll learn of an upcoming exhibition being staged at the Proud Gallery in London titled Bowie By Duffy which will, according to the Gallery’s PR, be “a celebration of the dynamic relationship between two of the century’s greatest artistic innovators. This exhibition of original prints signed by the late Brian Duffy is a moving insight into the minds of two exceptional creatives in partnership between 1972 – 1980. Duffy’s iconic images emphasize the longevity of Bowie’s distinctive persona and offer a poignant retrospective to one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times…”

Homewood tells us that this show will coincide with another significant Bowie-related event – a concert that will be staged at the O2 Brixton Academy venue that’s called “Celebrating David Bowie” and will feature a large cast of Bowie band alumni including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew and many others.

http://www.musicweek.com/talent/read/a-new-david-bowie-photography-exhibition-set-to-open-in-london-in-2017/066603

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

b) As the city of Sunderland works to impress in order to earn the title of the “UK City of Culture” in 2021, what better way to get the attention of the city’s elders and other taste-makers than by staging a 40th anniversary celebration of all things Punk? Titled Punk 1976-78, this exhibition at the Sunderland Museum, Library & Winter Garden kicked off with a music filled opening party on December 2nd, after which visitors were able to tour the show which includes a number of important punk-era items from the archives of the British Library such as “Original posters, gig tickets and flyers from the clubs that would become synonymous with the scene are displayed alongside original record sleeves, many of which have never been on public display before. Highlights also include John Peel’s personal copy of the Undertones’ single, Teenage Kicks and original t-shirts from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique on the Kings Road…”

The show was curated by a number of notables from both the British Library and Liverpool John Moores University, so you can be sure that you’ll find a wide range of things to see covering the music, fashion, politics and pop culture aspects of this norm-altering era. Read more in the local papers at: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/our-region/sunderland/anarchy-in-sunderland-punk-exhibition-opens-at-city-museum-1-8272527 and click on over to the museum’s web site to learn more about attending – http://www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/punk-1976-78

c) December 9th marked the launch of the most-recent staging – now, at the C/O Gallery in Berlin, Germany – of an album art exhibition that features 500+ of the most-impactful record covers produced over the past 50+ years. You’ll recall that, back in September, I’d reported on this comprehensive exhibition – titled Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover – that was most-recently on display in Budapest, Hungary and was built around the images included in an album art book (published by the French photo collective known as Aperture) that features the works of many esteemed record cover artists, including David Bailey, Anton Corbijn, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Jean-Paul Goude, Brian Griffin, Danny Lyon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Martin Parr, Irving Penn, Cindy Sherman, Pennie Smith, Andy Warhol, Albert Watson and many, many others.

According to the gallery’s press, “… Total Records presents both classic and lesser-known album covers, and traces the musical and photographic history of the twentieth century through the sometimes surprising album cover collaborations that have emerged between artists” (i.e. musicians and the people they’ve collaborated with on their album art projects). To introduce us to this new staging of this travelling exhibit, the team at Deutsche Welle (AKA “DW”, Germany’s international news network) has recently posted an article on the DW.com site that you can reach via the link at http://dw.com/en/how-art-made-album-covers-iconic/a-36703281

If you can’t attend the show in Germany during its run (now through April 23rd, 2017), it will be available to album art fans in the Rotterdam, Netherlands area when it moves to the Kunsthal Rotterdam for several months later next Spring.

More info on the Berlin show can also be found on the gallery’s site (in English) at http://www.co-berlin.org/en/total-records

d) Running now through the end of January at the 70 South Gallery in Morristown, NJ is a show featuring the photo work of one Roberto Rabanne, a man who over the years has had the pleasure of capturing stars from the music, entertainment and fashion worlds such as Lady Gaga, Prince, Springsteen and Hendrix for use in record and publishing projects and, as you’ll see when you visit the Gallery and its web site, many less-traditional venues. Part of a larger show called “Revolutionary Reflections”, Rabanne’s collection is being show under the title Photoplasticity: Fashioning The Image When Music Meets Fashion and includes images of all of the aforementioned celebrities and many others (Jerry Garcia, Madonna, Bob Marley and many more), along with those of top fashion models that were taken for top magazines such as Marie Claire, Rolling Stone, Spin, Vogue and Woman, among others.

Meet the photographer and get more info on this exciting new gallery show via the link – http://www.70southgallery.com/revolutionary-reflections/

e) December 11th was the final day that visitors were able to tour the “Coming On Home Exhibition 2016” show of recent works by noted album artist Roger Dean that was on display at the beautiful Trading Boundaries gallery complex located in Sussex, U.K.. What made this show so unique is that, in addition to examples of some of his best-known work for YES, Asia, Uriah Heep and others, you were able to see the paintings Dean created that were used on the cover of the recent release by former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett titled Premonitions – wonderful examples of classic Roger Dean fantastic imagery. For more information on this show and some of the upcoming musical events taking place at Trading Boundaries, follow the link – http://www.tradingboundaries.com/pages/roger-dean-gallery

f) Creative Review reporter Rick Poynor takes us on an illustrated tour through the You Say You Want A Revolution? Records And Rebels 1966-70 exhibition at the V&A Museum now through February 26th of 2017 – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/decade-disruption-vas-say-want-revolution-records-rebels-1966-70/

The curators have identified seven different revolutions that were taking place during the five years covered in the exhibition – revolutions in Youth Identity, in “the Head” (i.e., drug culture), in “the Street” (political/social protest), in Consumerism, in Living (as part of a community, or in participating in one of the many music festivals held during that period), in Communicating (spreading “the word” pre-personal computer/social media) and the on-going efforts in the areas of environmentalism, neo-liberalism, etc. – and so they used these as the basis of their groupings. Far out, man!

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-records-and-rebels-1966-70

g) Alongside the recent release of their new blues-based record Blue & Lonesome, the Rolling Stones have brought a large selection of items featured in their tremendously-successful Exhibitionism show in London to a new venue in New York city and opened this display recently to fans at the Industria event space in the West Village, available for viewing from now until March 12th. Billed as the largest show of Stones memorabilia (costumes, instruments, artwork, etc. – along with a detailed re-creation of an apartment several of the band members lived together in early on in their careers) ever assembled, USA Today’s Patrick Ryan recently toured the space and shares his take on the impressive, career-spanning show in this article (complete with large photo gallery) posted on the paper’s site – http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2016/11/11/rolling-stones-exhibitionism/93586032/

Ryan was particularly impressed with some of the album art on display, which included original production elements and finished prints of the images found on records such as Sticky Fingers, Some Girls, Love You Live, Undercover, the GRRR greatest-hits recording and others, along with various iterations of the iconic Lips & Tongue logo. You can learn more about what’s on display on the show’s site – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/exhibition/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) British photographer Pennie Smith’s photo of Clash bassist Paul Simonon has become one of rock music’s best-known images, with the shot combined with designer Ray Lowry’s typography (that aimed to re-create the energy found on Elvis Presley’s debut recording) to produce an album cover that is always in everyone’s “Top 10” of all time listings. And although Smith was an experienced photographer working for a top music publication (NME), she wasn’t totally prepared for Simonon’s guitar-smashing expression of his unhappiness at the moment and, therefore, found herself snapping a photo that turned out to be a bit out-of-focus and, in her mind at the time, not quite fit for public consumption.

In this recent interview on the topic posted on the TeamRock.com site, you can read more about Smith’s recollections of the event, including an act of self-preservation that ended up creating a cover photo for the ages – http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-12-04/the-story-behind-the-clashs-london-calling-album-artwork

b) I’m told that there was a nice interview with noted photographer Jill Furmanovsky – who also runs the RockArchive Gallery and agency – in a recent posting on the Financial Times site, but as I’m not a subscriber, I can’t tell you much about it! If you are lucky enough to be a FT subscriber, here’s the link – https://www.ft.com/content/69583b9c-b109-11e6-a37c-f4a01f1b0fa1 – please let us know what you found, OK?

c) – It is my sad duty to inform you that another well-known album cover contributor – photographer Richard E. Aaron – has died at the age of 67. He is perhaps best-known to album cover fans for the photo he took that was used on the cover of one of the best-selling live albums of all time – Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive – his prodigious output has been seen in thousands of magazines, books and web sites over the years.

I had the pleasure of meeting with him several times and sold a number of his fine art prints when I had my gallery – he was always eager to find something special in his huge archive that’d make my customers happy.

There’s a detailed obituary that will give you more of the details of his storied career on the Billboard web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/obituary/7624386/richard-e-aaron-photographer-frampton-comes-alive-dead

and if you’d like to read the interview I did with him a number of years ago about “the making of” the Frampton Comes Alive photo, I’d invite you to visit my archive at http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/04/cover_story_fra.html

Those who’d like to take a stroll through Richard’s online archives can do so via this link – http://www.rockpix.com/  There, you’ll find hundreds of memorable photos, including one of my favorites of Bruce Springsteen (http://www.rockpix.com/infamous-fifty-plus-classic-rock-photos/bruce-springsteen.html) and an awesome shot of the recently-departed piano great Dave Brubeck (http://www.rockpix.com/infamous-fifty-plus-classic-rock-photos/dave-brubeck.html).

He will be missed.

d) Back in 2003, aspiring photographer Nabil Elderkin was looking to find out more about a rapper whose mixtape he’d heard and was thoroughly impressed by. He Googled “Kanye West” only to find that the domain was available for sale. He snapped it up, hoping to be able to track Mr. West down at some point, and when West’s label came knocking to negotiate for the rights to the domain, what transpired next was the foot-in-the-door moment for a photographer whose career has gone on to include album cover, publicity and other photo work for West and many others, including Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Bon Iver and many more top acts. After expanding his horizons into directing music videos and TV commercials, Elderkin is now looking to break into the feature film business, with details on these efforts, as well as stories of his early and ongoing successes, now found in a recent profile written by Rob LeDonne for The Guardian (U.K.) web site – https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/nov/09/nabil-elderkin-collaborator-kanye-west-weeknd-bon-iver

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) I was originally going to pass on reporting about something, even though I was aware of a special sale of important rock-era artworks had been announced to collectors (yes, I’m one of “those people” too) because the gallery that had sent the email – the San Francisco Art Exchange – had stated that we weren’t supposed to share the info on the sale except directly with friends/acquaintances with the means to be able to purchase one of the works (i.e., no press, no social media, etc.). As a reporter, it is hard having news quarantined, but I always respect these requests as I was once both a marketer and a gallery owner and fully understand the need sometimes to manage the flow of information so that only “legit” buyers are in contact regarding the sale of valuable works of art.

Imagine my surprise then the next day when I saw this article on the ArtDaily.com web site – http://artdaily.com/news/92632/Original-paintings-from-Pink-Floyd-s-The-Wall-on-view-at-San-Francisco-Art-Exchange in which some of the details about this sale were in fact made public. And while I won’t tell you exactly what’s going on in deference to the original request, I will simply say that, if you’re a fan of Pink Floyd and want to add something unique to your music-related art collection, you should read this article and then get hold of one of the nice people at SFAE to learn more.

b) While I didn’t find a lot to report about re: album art-related items to be featured in Bonham’s December 15th Entertainment Memorabilia auction in London, one item that did catch my eye was a set of 10 ceramic tiles that spell out the words “Abbey Road” – a set quite similar to the ones used to illustrate the back cover of The Beatles 1969 recording of the same name. While it can’t be verified that these were in fact the tiles that Iain MacMillan photographed for use on the cover, they were taken from a now-demolished wall nearby, so you can always present them to your friends with a shrug and a “well, they COULD be…” statement, right? Pre-auction estimates for this item were in the $10 – 13K range, with more info available at http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23527/lot/83/

 Auction update – A set of 10 ceramic tiles that spell out the words “Abbey Road” – a set quite similar to the ones used to illustrate the back cover of The Beatles 1969 recording of the same name – that was featured in this week’s Entertainment Memorabilia auction at Bonham’s London facility did not find a buyer. ? Pre-auction estimates for this item were in the $10 – 13K range, and while this unique item did not find a new home, the auction did succeed in selling some other great items, including

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23527/lot/83/

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) It’s been recently reported that music journalist/fine art photographer and rock photo collector Raj Prem is in discussions to have a new, career-spanning book published next year. Over the years, Prem has worked with a number of leading galleries, including San Francisco Art Exchange, the Atlas and Snap galleries in London and several others, to curate rock photo shows that feature the works of many of the industry’s best-known shooters and, along the way, he’s put together a personal collection that would make any die-hard music/art fan quite envious. With a fan’s obsession for gathering mementos from important milestones along rock music’s 60+ year timeline, when you see a Prem-curated display, you’ll find many of the most-iconic images alongside examples of timeless memorabilia, so it will be interesting to see what will be included in this upcoming tome. You can read more about Prem and his career in this recently-published posting on the SAT Press Releases site – http://satprnews.com/2016/12/12/raj-prem-reveals-plans-to-publish-new-book-on-his-career-in-music-photography/ and stay tuned here for more information about the book’s availability as it becomes public.

b) Well-known to anyone who follows the Bay Area music scene, photographer Bob Minkin has been a staple on the scene for many years, contributing his photos of all of the key players in the area to magazines, newspapers, web sites and, of course, record company clients. As you might figure, Bob has amassed a large archive of photos of acts over the past 40 years, including shots of the Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Moonalice, Dark Star Orchestra and many, many others, some of which were included in Bob’s 2014 book titled Live Dead: The Grateful Dead Photographed By Bob Minkin. That book proved to be so popular that it inspired Bob to revisit his archive once again, this time to focus on images of the performances that have taken place at venues in Marin County, Minkin’s home turf. The results of this deep archive dive will soon be shared in a new book that Bob is hoping to produce and ship in 2017.

According to Mr. Minkin (per his new Kickstarter project page), “THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED — a one-of-a-kind 200+ page coffee table book of photography — will feature hundreds of never-before-seen images from my archives, including live performance shots, intimate backstage, off-stage and at home photographs of our favorite players, including Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and close to 100 musicians/bands will be featured!” Supporters can opt for the book in one of two formats (“Standard” or a limited-edition “Collector’s” edition) and choose to upgrade their purchase to include one of the hundreds of photos that will be included in the book (quite the deal!). Find out more via the link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/915441459/the-music-never-stopped-epic-live-music-photos-by

Update – Just an update to the article above regarding photographer Bob Minkin’s Kickstarter project in support of a new photo book (to be titled “The Music Never Stopped” and featuring hundreds of great shots of the creme-de-la-creme of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene) – Mr. Minkin has sent out a new email in which he tells us that he’s adjusted the amount he’s hoping to raise upward to the $25-30K range, and is offering to sweeten the pot by giving supporters an opportunity to get something special. Here’s how Bob put it in today’s email – ” I need to keep this campaign growing as the book will cost $25,000-$30,000 to produce… Therefore, if I reach $25,000 in funding, everyone who has contributed $50 and above will be entered into a drawing to win a 11 x 14 signed photograph of a Grateful Dead photo I’ve taken.”

Today’s the last day to pledge your support for this project (which has raised a bit over $25K, so I think that supporters will be in for that drawing), so I hope that you’ll take a look and support one of the music business’ nicest (and most talented) guys by clicking on over https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/915441459/the-music-never-stopped-epic-live-music-photos-by

c) You might recall my reporting about photographer Elliott Landy’s own book project last year built around his collection of photos of The Band (The Band Photographs, 1968-1969), a publication that included an impressive selection of shots Landy took of his chums at work, at leisure and in the middle of some beautiful country scenery. As Landy selected the 300 photos that would be included from the over 12,000 he had in his archive of that band at the time, he produced proof pages of pairs of these shots – truly-important by-products of the time-consuming process of assembling such a book. People who saw these proofs commented that Elliott should preserve them as historical documents, but as he’s such a giving person, he’s decided (after keeping one set for himself) to share these nearly one-of-a-kind images (produced with the same care and inks as his fine art photo prints) with fans, putting them up for sale, while they last.

Priced at $575 (a real bargain for a Landy print!), there are about 450 of these double-image prints available directly from Mr. Landy on his site – http://elliottlandy.com/nearly-one-of-a-kind-proof-prints-from-the-band-photographs-book/

I can’t think of a better gift for fans of The Band, can you?

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Album cover artists, like most other talented people, are often solicited to “do something special” for the Holidays, and such is the case with graphic artist Don Pendleton, well-known for his Grammy-winning work on Pearl Jam’s 2013 record Lightning Bolt, who donated his time and creative energies to create a poster for a recent concert benefitting the local (Bloomington, IL) Toys for Tots efforts. When a major sponsor from the previous year’s event pulled out, local promoters, musicians and others banded together to make sure that the show took place and worked to replace the $15,000 deficit, guaranteeing that the neediest kids still will be getting something memorable this Holiday season.

Read more about it on the Pantagraph news site (you’ll need to click thru some impediments to get there – sorry) – http://www.pantagraph.com/blogs/craft-from-pearl-jam-to-toys-for-tots/article_73487330-0ec9-5265-b8ef-7071fb144434.html

b) Designer/record label co-owner Peter Saville’s contributions to the world of album art imagery are many, with his Factory Records label releasing albums by bands such as Pulp, OMD, Roxy Music and New Order/Joy Division (among many others) encased in packages that set a new standard in post-modern design (how many of us still proudly wear our Unknown Pleasures t-shirts as a sign of new wave appreciation?). The label’s Manchester club, called the Hacienda and built inside a vacated yacht showroom, was a venue that allowed Saville to apply his design expertise in a grander scale (working alongside designer Ben Kelly), with the club’s floor done up in the warning stripe motif used often on the label’s recordings as well.

Since then, Saville has worked on a number of projects around the Manchester area, including designing ones for the Welcome area and entrance doors of the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry, a design that is now being used as the basis of a new series of glassware now being sold by the Museum. You’ll find three examples of Saville’s new glassware for sale in the museum’s gift shop, including this nice jar – https://www.sciencemuseumshop.co.uk/museum_gifts/peter-saville/msi_peter_saville_gas_jar.htm

Wallpaper Magazine’s site has posted an article on the topic, including insights from Peter, by Kasia Maciejowski that you can read via this link – http://www.wallpaper.com/design/peter-saville

The museum has also put together a nice overview of the role Factory Records played in the development of both Manchester’s music scene and its emergence as a hotbed of style and design – http://msimanchester.org.uk/en/collection/stories/factory-records

c) Finally, as we are at the tail end of the Holiday season and the giving and receiving gifts of a questionable nature is part of the yearly ordeal, I just had to share this article posted recently on the Society of Rock web site in which you’ll be shown a collection of Christmas sweaters that have been decorated with album cover/logo-based artwork.

Whether this is good or not is in the eye of the giver/recipient, but you’ll most-certainly be the center of attention at any post-Holiday party if you walk in wearing one of these colorful creations – http://societyofrock.com/7-ugly-rock-christmas-sweaters-guaranteed-to-make-you-an-office-party-hit-this-season/

Links are provided in the article to the vendors offering these items, so if you’re wondering what to do with one of those Visa or AMEX gift cards you received from someone, now’s your chance to add one of these to your rock & roll clothing collection.

d) Video game fans have always enjoyed these things called “Easter eggs”, which are special, hidden items – images, sounds, videos, animations, extra powers, etc. – that developers have chosen to include in their products that avid game players are always on the hunt for (there are special newsletters and blogs devoted to the topic, too). Those of us who have been paying close attention to music-related artwork over the years know that, from time to time, album cover artists have hidden objects on their miniature canvases that, over time, have become just as memorable as the images themselves. Famed illustrator Al Hirschfeld included several instances of his daughter Nina’s name in his cover art for Aerosmith’s Draw The Line album (in fact, there are always Ninas hidden somewhere in a Hirschfeld illustration), but as you’ll discover in this recent article on the Radio X web site, there have been a number of well-known records released that include hidden imagery and messaging, including albums from Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Beastie Boys and others.

http://www.radiox.co.uk/features/revealed-secret-hidden-messages-album-cover/

One of this year’s Grammy-nominated records – David Bowie’s final record Black Star, featuring artwork done by Jonathan Barnbrook, includes several hidden treasures, so the trend continues to this day.

e) Another Grammy-nominated recording package – that being for Trey Anastasio’s Paper Wheels Deluxe Limited Edition release, featuring art by Varnish Studio’s Matt Taylor – also showcases artwork that includes secretly-coded text strings that were built with a cipher created in the 1850s for use by British intelligence services at the time (and through the end of World War II). As you might figure, today’s young technologists quickly figured things out, with the results shared with inquiring minds in this article by Andy Kahn that I found which was published last year on the Jambase site – http://www.jambase.com/article/cracking-the-code-trey-anastasio-band-paper-wheels-artwork

It is work like this that makes me feel secure that, regardless of how some might be working to limit free speech, there will always be technologists and artists working together to deliver important messages…

f) com writer Fidel Martinez presents us with a summary of seven hip-hop/rap album covers that, compared with the rest of the imagery used to promote recorded music in these genres, are “tougher than the rest”. While some acts have decided to use their covers to establish their “street cred”, others have worked to put the conditions of their neighbors and neighborhoods on display for the rest of us to take in and appreciate how these conditions have shaped their music.

The article includes examples of powerfully-rendered images that have been used in the packaging of recordings by Tupac, N.W.A., DMX, Geto Boys and others. Some are hard to look at, but all are impactful in their own ways.

http://uproxx.com/realtalk/hip-hop-album-covers-tougher-than-the-rest/4/

g) Life as a music industry photographer is a life of luxury and never-ending partying with the coolest people on the planet, right? As much as we’d like to think so, a recent article by Mark Butler on the com site that features anecdotes from two U.K.-based photographers – Euan Robertson and Anthony Longstaff – gives readers a lesson in the realities of earning a living in this fashion. Yes, you do get to be in the presence of music industry royalty (at least for a few songs), but you also have to deal with over-zealous security personnel, rowdy fans and clients often more-interested in “fast and cheap” than “reliable and high-quality”. You’d also be correct in assuming that their subjects aren’t always accommodating with their time and attention…another music-industry fantasy, nicely deflated, can be found via the link at https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/music/life-as-a-music-photographer/

h) Artist Derek Riggs – best-known in the album art world for creating Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” mascot (first seen on their self-titled 1980 recording) – shares the story about “the making of” one of the better-known Eddie-based album covers, that being his artwork for 1982’s The Number of the Beast in which our hero is pictured accompanying The Devil as he makes a fiery swing through the neighborhood…the prolific staffers at com share this story in an article found recently on their site – http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-09-16/the-story-behind-iron-maiden-s-the-number-of-the-beast-album-artwork

i) Album art has long been used by musical acts to promote their feelings regarding the issues of the day (think System of a Down’s Toxicity or Ice Cube’s Death Certificate), but for a Boomer like me, my heart just leapt when I saw one Chicago-based design group’s proposal to use a quartet of strategically-placed golden flying pigs (ala Pink Floyd’s Animals) to block street views of the huge logo found on the river-side of the Trump Tower Chicago building located in the Windy City. Symbolism runs two ways in this story, as Trump Tower was built on a parcel created after tearing down the original building that used to house one of Chicago’s premier newspapers, the Sun Times. Make of it what you will – more info and photos can be found in Matthew Messner’s recent article on The Architect’s Newspaper site – https://archpaper.com/2016/12/trump-chicago-gold-pigs/

If you’d like to watch a short time-lapse video of the demolition of the Sun Times headquarters and the phoenix-like rising of the new Trump building that was created by a local photographer, hop on over to YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnEGFHRW3js

j) ACHOF News Flash – The nominees for awards in the Packaging Category in the upcoming 59th Annual Grammy Awards have been announced, with the lists for each category including both some familiar names and others getting recognition by the Recording Academy for the first time.

In the “Best Recording Package” category, art directors for records put out by acts including Bon Iver, David Bowie, Parquet Courts, Reckless Kelly, and Rihanna will duke it out for top honors, while in the “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition” category include works done for a broad range of talent – from the late singer Edith Piaf to Paul McCartney, Trey Anastasio to the 1975 and J. Views, who crowd-sourced most everything for his nominated project.

You can get the details on the Grammy Awards site via the link at http://www.grammy.com/nominees?genre=22

with the winners being announced the weekend leading up to the Sunday, February 12, 2017 live telecast.

Of course, you’ll learn more about the nominees and eventual winners here, so stay tuned for further updates.

Congratulations go out to all of the talented people who’ve been nominated – great work, folks!

k) The 2016 ARIA Awards (Australia’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards) in the “Artisan Categories” – including “Best Cover Art” – were announced in late November, and while it seems to have taken a while for the info to arrive here in the U.S. (must have been sent by steamship), I would be remiss if I didn’t publicize the names of the nominees and the winner in the category – Best Cover Art: Karen Lynch for Bernard Fanning – Civil Dusk (Dew Process/Universal); Kristen Doyle for Delta Goodrem – Wings of the Wild (Sony Music Australia); Jonathan Zawada for Flume – Skin (Future Classic); Jack Vanzet for RÜFÜS – Bloom (Sweat It Out / Sony Music Australia) and Lost Art for The Avalanches – Wildflower (Modular / EMI)

And the winner was…Jonathan Zawada for his design for Flume’s record Skin.

http://www.ariaawards.com.au/nominees/2016/Artisan-Awards/Best-Cover-Art

and you can find out more about the winning art director/artist on his web site at http://www.zawada.com.au/

l) At the end of every year, the writers working for art/music/design publications of every size put themselves in a position that I will most-certainly never put himself in – i.e., having to name the “best” and “worst” album cover designs of the previous 12 months and then, somehow, justifying those choices to my readers. This year, it’s become quite clear that expressing opinions on what’s “best” or “worst” in any pursuit can prove to be a dangerous enterprise, with some of those decisions accepted with great gusto while others mercilessly berating the choices that they might disagree with. Now that it is that time of year again, I have completed this basic research and am simply ready to offer you his summary of what these (some of them) esteemed music and art critics have presented as their “best of” and “worst of” selections regarding the album covers and packaging that helps deliver – both online and in physical form – music from your favorite artists.

As I have noted in my previous summaries, “each year, music and art critics work to provide readers and viewers with their ‘Top 10/20/50′ lists in a variety of categories (by musical genre, by who most-effected pop culture, by who “raised the bar”, by who revealed the most of their inner souls or their outer skin, etc.). Many of these same publications and sites also attempt to arrive at – by their design standards and/or knowledge of the relationships between musicians, their record labels/distributors and the people they hire to create a new graphical representation of their latest music releases – which records came with the best (or worst) associated album covers.” The past several years, I found smaller and smaller numbers (but no-less-passionate) of publications and sites who were eager to proffer their opinions on the “state of the art” in album cover design, so while there was less data to take into account (particularly in the “Worst” category), it is no less interesting to read what critics have to say on the subject.

Today’s summary – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/album-cover-hall-of-fame-year-end-summary-of-best-and-worst-album-cover-art-lists-2016/

is presented simply, with links to the sites that have presented their own takes on “what’s good/bad” in album cover design these days. As for myself, I was impressed with several examples of close collaborations between the designers and musical acts that invested in projects that pushed the boundaries of how “album art” is defined. Taking into account the prevalence of both digital deliver platforms and hybrid physical/digital products at retail (i.e., those that have add-ons that are experienced via a computer/smartphone), I can say with a high degree of certainty that next year’s lists will continue to put highly-imaginative works on display for us all to take in, appreciate and discuss at great length. As always, please be sure to share your takes on which of these lists perhaps best-or-least-represented your feelings on the topic by leaving a comment for us – thanks, and here’s wishing all of you the “Best Of” Peace, Level-headedness and Prosperity during the New Year 2017!

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

All text Copyright 2016/2017 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.

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

Album Cover News Recap – June 2014

Album Cover News Recap – June, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations to all the winners – enjoy your new purchases!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope everyone got all that they wished for!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why not pour some sugar on your album art collection?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 3rd

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

Album Art / Photography Nominees

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Packaging Nominees

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations to the Winners on a job well-done!

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

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

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

Interview with Glen Wexler – Heaven and Earth Dig album cover

Today’s Interview Topic – the making of the album cover artwork for Heaven & Earth’s Dig, a 2013 release on Quarto Valley Records.

Glen Wexler, photographer, album cover, Heaven and Earth, Dig, interview, ACHOF, Mike Goldstein, article, photograph, album art, record sleeve, Boston, Led Zeppelin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always been fascinated by the work of art historians and scientists who’ve developed and deployed technologies that have allowed them to look beneath the surface of centuries-old paintings to find either earlier versions of those same works or, in the case of 2007 investigation of a Renaissance portrait of a young woman that, after digitally peeling back the layers of oil paints, a work that turned out to be an undiscovered (and incredibly-valuable) masterpiece by Leonardo daVinci (watch this episode of Nova on PBS for the complete story – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/mystery-masterpiece.html). The results of efforts taken by forensic scientists have produced results that, in some cases, have flown in the face of the assumptions and determinations made by art experts (as exemplified by the aforementioned daVinci and a similar episode featuring a work supposedly by Jackson Pollock), while in others, we’ve been able to gain a better understanding of the processes followed by great artists as they experimented with ideas prior to the execution of a masterwork.

As it’s my goal as a journalist (and fan of album cover art) to present you with stories about “the making of” popular album cover images via the interviews I do with the creative talent behind them, I always try and get a better understanding of just how a great image came to life. In many cases, it’s certain that most good album cover artists are constantly building upon what they’ve learned via the execution of previous cover art commissions. In today’s example – the cover for Heaven & Earth’s Dig, done by designer/photographer Glen Wexler – it seems clear that the work he produced for his client comes as the result of a concept whose time had come, simply being the perfect time for the application of ideas he’d developed over several years and preceding projects.

Being as it is that the band’s music is, in itself, a more up-to-date iteration of classic “arena rock” from a long-ago era (rebuilt using vintage instrumental layers and modern production techniques), I think that you’ll find Glen’s approach to the creation of this album package – the cover, along with the stylish imagery featured on the LP sleeve, booklet, etc. – has followed that of the time-honored traditions used by past masters, with the results just as impressive. In today’s interview, we hear about this project’s details from “the master” himself, as well as his take on how/whether today’s album cover art is done in such a way as it will stand “the test of time”….

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