Posted May 27, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Last November (2021) I’d received a comment on the ACHOF site that read as follows – “My partner and I love album covers so much that we have written 2 books about it: Designed for Hi-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America (2017) and Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance (2021), both published by MIT Press. We range far and wide in the Designed for Dancing book and feature many rock n roll albums from the 1950s and 1960s. We tried to identity photographers, illustrators, and designers, and celebrate album cover art”. Now, considering that most of the submissions to the comments section are either complaints about things I’ve left out of a description or that I hadn’t praised or panned with sufficient vigor (or are spam links to CBD product sites), you must admit that this comment deserved some degree of follow-up, so I contacted the writer – Jonathan Schroeder, William A. Kern Professor in Communications, Rochester Institute of Technology – to learn more about them and their interest in album cover design.
I’m not a critic. In my mind, to be a critic, you need to know a lot about a topic and, to make your criticisms more believable, you should also have some first-hand experience and/or expertise in the creation of some things similar to what you might be expressing your opinions about. While the word “critic” is first defined (on dictionary.com) as “a person who judges, evaluates, or criticizes” (with the definition then expanded to “a person who judges, evaluates, or analyzes literary or artistic works, dramatic or musical performances, or the like, especially for a newspaper or magazine”), it’s the third definition that’s given – “a person who tends too readily to make captious, trivial, or harsh judgments” or a “faultfinder” that seems to better-define many of today’s professional critics in the arts and, for that reason, I’ve stayed away from really ever saying anything critical about the work of the people I cover on the ACHOF site.
Of course, it can be said that I do make value judgements when deciding what to include on the site or in my monthly news postings, and I really can’t argue with that. Editors and writers are critics by default, since we’re choosing to present a story (or a character in that story) from our own unique viewpoints, but I’d like to think that I’m presenting people and their stories in such a way that you as the readers are given enough basic information so that you then can make up your minds as to whether a story has been worth your time and/or has left you with some sense of satisfaction having learned something new and exciting (even when the subjects might have been well-covered previously). I’ve made one example of this – any article I find in which has been headlined something along the lines of “the Top 10” or “the 25 best album covers of all time – a running joke in my writing over the years, as I’m sure some of you have noticed. Yes, people are entitled to their opinions but, in most cases, scant thought or evidence of any specific method of how these “best” things are determined is ever presented and so, in those cases, I’ll either present them to you with a short-but-snarky intro or, perhaps more often lately, I’ll leave them for you to stumble across in some other fashion.
Posted onMarch 1, 2021|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for March 2021
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for March 2021
Posted March 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Hello again from Chicagoland, where we’ve finally seemed to throw off the worst of Winter and can stop referring to where we live as “the frozen tundra”. While my wife and I are still avoiding having to go out for anything other than food, we have been able to take some walks around the neighborhood and, even better for our senses, our birds (cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches and the occasional woodpecker or two) have returned to our feeder. It’s calming to see that the parts of nature that Man hasn’t yet totally mucked up are still out there and free to travel and interact to their heart’s content. Maybe some day we’ll figure out how to do that as well.
Posted onOctober 30, 2020|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for November, 2020
Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary – November, 2020
Posted October 30th, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
I realize that, for most of you, this summary is coming at a time of great emotional disturbance, having to deal with both an ongoing pandemic (and what it’s done to our “regular” lives) and an election here in the U.S. that will provide us all with a window into what America might look like going forward and so, keeping that in mind, I’m going to keep things really simple this month (quite honestly, I don’t currently have the mental bandwidth to do much more).
The nominating and voting process for this year’s class of inductees into the ACHOF has begun in earnest and, with any luck, I’ll be able to announce the list of top vote-getters just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday here, or around the 20th of November (the 23rd the absolute latest). Two other album cover-related award competitions – the Best Art Vinyl awards in the U.K. and the Making Vinyl Awards here in the U.S. – are also in-process and so it’ll be interesting to see who’s determined to be providing the most visual excitement in the recorded music business when all the votes are tallied…
Posted onOctober 1, 2020|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary for October, 2020
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – October, 2020
Posted October 1st, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Well, while I can’t say that I know how you’re all feeling these days, I’m quite certain that some of you are in the same shape I’m in – mentally exhausted, greatly disappointed by the greed, hate and hypocrisy put on display by many of our leaders (and the people that support them) and, frankly, wondering what our short-and-long-term futures might be. Try as I might to distract myself from the daily news cycle (and, how about that first Presidential debate?), it’s nearly impossible to avoid learning about the biggest stories (R.I.P. RBG) and then trying to keep myself focused on providing my readers the information they’ve (i.e., you’ve) come to rely on me for, so I must apologize for the somewhat-truncated list of things to read and enjoy that I’m presenting you today. I will reward you a bit later (either late this week or early next) with my long-promised interview with talented artist Faheem Majeed and, with any luck, I’m also going to launch the nominating/voting process for this year’s class of nominees and inductees (our 9th!) into the Album Cover Hall of Fame. My attention span seems just sufficient enough to have been able to gather basic info on nearly 100 more possible nominees, so the voting panel will have a heaping helping of new names to consider in this year’s effort.
Posted onJuly 31, 2020|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary for August, 2020
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – August, 2020
Posted August 1, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
As Summer 2020 marches on, the political season’s kicking into high gear and many things work to occupy our minds (perhaps to distraction) while the year progresses, my wife and I have continued to stay vigilant, quarantined and busy reading, watching 1990s BBC crime mystery series and, as you may have seen, doing more research and writing, as is evidenced by the publication of my most-recent ACHOF interview, this one with accomplished designer, illustrator and musician John Kehe, with a focus on his work in the early-mid 1970s for the Electric Light Orchestra.
I’ve continued to work to add new bios to the ACHOF site (tracking down some info from several great talents who I’ve finally been able to add to our database) and soon hope to add some new themed searches to the site that will let you dig more deeply and easily into the ACHOF archives for more stories, interviews and news about your favorite album cover makers. I’ve also found more examples of artists who’ve decided to lend their “brands” – logos, album art, etc. – to efforts to provide personal protective equipment to their fans (now, if they could only convince some of them to actually wear these masks!) and also raise money for COVID-related support efforts, so I hope you’ll take a look at those articles and respond accordingly.
In the meantime, I’ve put together a sampling of album art/artist-related articles and remain grateful to those of you who’ve decided to spend some of your free time on the ACHOF site, sifting through the archives of content available for your there so, in keeping with my ongoing commitment to the monthly delivery of short-but-sweet summaries of album cover artist and art-related news, interviews, sales and more, here’s my latest summary:
ACHOF’s Interview with Bert Dijkstra and Dick Van Dijk about their Vinylize! exhibition and book project
Posted May, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Back in April, 2017, I reported on a show that was being staged in Amsterdam as part of the world-wide Record Store Day festivities which each year, if you’ve gone to take a look, put a lot of talent on display including, I think you’ll agree, a lot of fine work on the packaging, with colored vinyl, limited-edition releases and a ton of related merch showcasing the output of designers, photographers, illustrators and the like in close collaboration with the musician and label clients. At the time, I’d referred you to an article in Creative Boom by Katy Cowan (http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/vinylize-paper-crafters-nearly-normal-celebrate-record-store-days-10th-anniversary-with-kraftwerk-tribute/), where you were shown an example of the extra degrees of creativity in the RSD-related work of the “masters of paper craft” – Nearly Normal – as they joined forces with Amsterdam-based record retailer Concerto to produce some quite-special items for an exhibit that was on display in the store through that May called Vinylize! What’s Vinylize!, you might ask? Well, according to the store’s site, “at the invitation of the Amsterdam Shop Around, about 50 artists used their favorite record sleeve as a canvas. The artwork of various artists such as Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and Blondie (to name a few) got a “VINYLIZE! makeover”, resulting in completely new and unique artwork.” In the case of the one-off cover created by Nearly Normal’s Jaime Kiss, the inspiration was Kraftwerk’s 1981 hit Computer World, and not only did the agency produce a cut paper-based cover homage, they also took it further by creating a series of fine art prints for collectors and producing an animated (8-bit style) music video for the song based on that artwork.”
Posted onMarch 4, 2020|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – Early March, 2020
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – March, 2020
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Hello once again from Chicagoland. As we’re working our way towards pushing Winter away and replacing it with the warmer breezes and greener trees of Spring, I’m hoping that you’re all doing well and looking to be inspired by the latest news about your favorite album cover artists (and related stories of their work). I hope that you all have had a chance to read my Featured Artist’s Portfolio/interview article featuring art director/illustrator Larry Vigon (if not, you really should – https://wp.me/p15kTT-IZ ) and, as I mentioned in last month’s summary, I’m about 75% done with another interview article featuring none other than this year’s Grammy Award winner in the Box Set/Limited Edition category, Masaki Koike that I know you’ll like (he won for his work on the very-impressive Rhino package commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock festival), but now as it is once-again approaching mid-month, I thought it wise to provide you with a bit more to read as there’s been a nice supply of articles and news stories popping up all over the Web. So, check that you have fresh batteries in your mouse, and let’s get going….
Posted onDecember 27, 2019|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame Special-Edition News Release – Holidays, 2019-2020
Album Cover Hall of Fame Special-Edition News Release – Holidays, 2019-2020
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
In wishing you all a peaceful, joyful and prosperous New Year 2020, I must also live up to my commitment to delivering you the latest and greatest album cover artist/art-related news, so while it’s not quite as robust as my typical news summary (an update will come in early January), here’s my little gift to you and any lover of album art you’d care to share it with:
Posted onJuly 5, 2019|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – Independence Day Weekend, July, 2019
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update – Independence Day Weekend, July, 2019
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Hope that all of you here in the U.S. are enjoying your 4th of July holiday break – BBQ-ing, fireworks, trips to the beach, sun burns, little kids spilling sand on your blanket while their parents are checking their Facebook feeds, etc. – oh such fun! We had great weather (i.e., no rain) here in Chicagoland and were lucky enough to enjoy two nice fireworks displays, so with my ears still ringing and bursts of color burned into my corneas, here is a quickie, much-streamlined run-down of all of the album cover artist/art-related news I think might be worth your time investigating: