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

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of October, 2017. When I signed off with you 30 days ago, never did I think that I’d be sending out my next news summary on the heels of not one but three more catastrophic weather events (Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the Mexico City-area earthquake) and that millions of people in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean would be in such need of the basic necessities of life…then, this would be followed up in a 9/28 article by the Washington Post that detailed the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that stated that, now, a majority of Americans admit that “climate change contributed to the severity of the recent hurricanes” (as opposed to the results of the same poll, taken a dozen years ago, which showed that most Americans “dismissed the role of global warming and said such severe weather events just happen from time to time”).

Ya think?

For now, you can make a difference in the lives of people who were affected by these natural disasters with some guidance from the Center For Disaster Philanthropy, an organization whose partner charities have gotten together to “transform the field of disaster philanthropy to increase donor effectiveness throughout the lifecycle of disasters through our educational, fund opportunities and strategic guidance.“ Very helpful and informative – http://disasterphilanthropy.org/

While I firmly believe that Mother Nature will one day – sooner rather than later – rid her planet of all us pesky and self-absorbed critters in a very theatrical fashion, I can only hope that, for the time being, this doesn’t prevent some of us from enjoying (and respecting) the beauty of the natural world and how it continues to inspire creative-types to do interesting work. The month of September proved to be a VERY busy one for folks reporting on happenings in the world of album cover art/artists, and in the summary and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in the daily news cycle, featuring fascinating and interesting stories on a wide range of related topics.

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

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

a) Highly-respected British photographer Martin Parr – who has given us memorable photos for musical acts including Salad (Drink Me), The Saw Doctors (Songs From Sun Street), Madness (Wonderful) and several others – has an interesting show up at Blackwell Hall (in the Weston Library) on the campus of Oxford University (UK) that puts on display the results of a multi-year commission he was given there several years ago to photograph the place and its interesting array of people. The university press has also released a book – simply titled Oxford by Martin Parr – to accompany the show, which is on display now through the 22nd of October, with Diane Smyth, writing for the British Journal of Photography, providing us with an introduction at http://www.bjp-online.com/2017/09/shooting-the-establishment-martin-parrs-oxford/

More details about the show can be found on the Photo Oxford 2017 web site – http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson/whats-on/upcoming-events/2017/sep/martin-parr-oxford

While info on the book – co-authored with noted journalist Simon Winchester – can be found on the Oxford University Press site at https://global.oup.com/academic/product/oxford-9780198724414?cc=us&lang=en&

b) I’ve received a bit more information about the November 1 opening of the Spencer Drate/Judith Salavetz/Sylvia Reed-curated record art show that will be on display at the One Art Space Gallery on Warren Street in New York City…There will be an opening reception on Wednesday, November 1st from 7PM – 9PM EST at the gallery (there’s nothing up yet on this event, but if you go to the gallery’s “Upcoming Events” page (http://oneartspace.com/upcoming-events/) soon, I’m sure you’ll find out more.

As I’ve previously noted, the exhibition is called “FOR THE RECORD: THE VINYL RECORD COVER SHOW” and, according to the show’s producers, it will be “the first Vinyl Record Cover Show integrating the history of 12″ and 45 record covers together with a selection of some of the best designed 12″ and 45RPM record covers from the past to the present.” It will run through November 30th.

The award-winning team of Mr. Drate and Ms. Salavetz have been creating memorable promo and packaging imagery for music industry clients for many years now, with examples of their work including Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Album, Glorious Results of A Misspent Youth and Good Music; Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi; The Ramones – It’s Alive, Road To Ruin and End Of The Century; Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation; Talking Heads – Fear Of Music; The Searchers – The Searchers; Billy Squier – Don’t Say No; Lou Reed – New York and Magic And Loss; Buster Poindexter – Buster’s Spanish Rocketship; Marshall Tucker Band – Walk Outside The Lines; The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Hot Number and Powerful Stuff; Bobby Brown – King Of Stage; The Beach Boys – Summer In Paradise; Dee Dee King – Standing In The Spotlight and many others, so you can rest assured that there will be much to look at on display.

They’re also the authors of several books on the topic of rock music-related imagery, including Rock Art: CDs, Albums & Posters, published in 1994; SWAG: Rock Posters Of The 90s (with a forward by designer Art Chantry, published in 2003) and its follow up titled SWAG 2: Rock Posters Of The 90s And Beyond (2005); as well as 45 RPM, the first visual history book on 7″ record sleeve design and Five Hundred 45s (2010).

c) Launched on Saturday, September 16th with an opening reception was Eastern Projects Gallery’s new group exhibition of some of the best examples of Southern California art and design, produced by a group of five artists known as “The California Locos”. While, as the press release indicates, “for the last five decades, each LOCO has created their own distinct and recognized style, built out of the kaleidoscope that is the West Coast experience”, for this show the group (which includes Chaz Bojórquez, Dave Tourjé, John Van Hamersveld, Norton Wisdom and Gary Wong) has opened their arms to embrace works added by several more heralded designers/artists from the area such as Mister Cartoon, Shepard Fairey, Estevan Oriol, RETNA, SLICK and Robert Williams, and with a number of these participants sporting a nice portfolio of album cover images in addition to their work in the Graffiti, Hot Rod, Skate, Surf and Tattoo arenas, the entire display will be truly entertaining for all attendees.

Several brand-new works, including a low-rider automobile created by Mister Cartoon, a hot rod by Dave Tourje and more, will help make this event all the more intriguing.

The show runs through October 28th,, with more information available at – http://www.californialocos.com/event.html
EASTERN PROJECTS GALLERY – 900 North Broadway #1090, Los Angeles, CA 90012 – http://www.easternprojectsgallery.com/

d) More dates and venues have been announced for the upcoming Best Art Vinyl 2017 album art awards show. With this celebration of great record cover packages and the talented designers, photographers and artists in other specialties that create them – staged by the fine people at Artvinyl.com – now in its 12th year, the show’s producers have delivered on their promise to allow more public access to displays of the 50 shortlisted record covers (nominated by experts in the arts and music marketing) and, ultimately, the winner of this year’s competition, with shows now slated for the following places and dates:

The Vinyl Café London – November 13th 2017 – April 30th 2018; The Civic Barnsley – November 10th 2017 – January 30th 2018; Mono Art & Design Budapest – November 16th 2017 – January 30th 2018; Semm music Store Bologna – November 20th 2017 – April 30th 2018; The Hari Hotel London – January 9th 2018 – March 30th 2018 and High End Society Munich 2018 in May 2018

Exhibiting alongside the examples of the nominated artworks will be the winning covers from the previous 12 years. Voting for this year’s nominees will commence on November 10th, with votes placed online at http://www.artvinyl.com/lp-records-displayed-as-artwork-prize/
Be sure to visit starting November 10th to place your votes, with the winners announced in a ceremony next January. More details to follow here…

e) Always-controversial artist Richard Prince has recently launched a solo exhibition of new works that are on display at both locations of Berlin’s Galerie Max Hetzler that should be of interest to anyone who’s been following his 40+ year career during which he’s often pushed the limits of art world norms, particularly when it comes to the term “appropriation” in that he’s often times “borrowed” other peoples’ images to spin them to his own liking.

In this show, titled “Super Group”, Prince has created a series of visuals for a make-believe musical acts seemingly already at the top in terms of both fame and fortune, with these works being assembled from (according to the gallery’s press) “actual or scanned and printed record sleeves, stapled and glued onto the surface as well as photos, posters, magazine covers, some even contain real bras along with images of such (perhaps hinting at a two person rock band called Black Bra that Prince once was part of). Paint and oil stick are seemingly rapidly applied, covering parts of the collaged surface and canvas while leaving others empty so that the underlying plane stays visible, creating an impression of depth through overlapping layers.” What’s also notable is that, for these new works, he’s appropriated from his own earlier works, with figures and other items from an earlier series of work (called “Hippie Drawings”) showing up in many places.

Earlier this year, the 68-year-old, New York-based photographer and painter became embroiled in another lawsuit when another photographer challenged Prince’s “fair use” claim for another “borrowed” image. Album art fans will remember his art and photos found on records released by Hole, Air, Sonic Youth, Robbie Robertson and others. With more information about this new show shared by Artnet’s Kate Brown in an article titled “Richard Prince, Rock Star? The Artist Indulges His Inner Musician With Trippy New Album-Cover Paintings”, fans can learn the latest about this always-fascinating artist/provocateur – https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/richard-prince-exhibition-max-hetzler-1096808? , while gallery information can be found on their site (in English) at http://maxhetzler.com/exhibitions/richard-prince-super-group-2017/press-en/

f) When photographer Trevor Key died of a brain tumor at the age of 48 in 1995, he left behind a portfolio of images for clients like Phil Collins (Face Value, Hello I Must Be Going!, …But Seriously and Both Sides Now), New Order (Fine Time and Technique), Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells and Hergest Ridge), OMD (Organisation), the Sex Pistols (The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle), Ultravox (Rage In Eden) and many more both done alongside of Art Director Peter Saville for Factory Records and for others.

While he spent his career in London, he grew up and attended school in the northern city of Hull, the U.K.’s 2017 city of culture and home to the Hull School of Art and Design, which is hosting a show of Key’s photo from now through October 18th, after which it will be on display in various venues within the city.

Here’s a link to some recent BBC coverage of the event – http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-humber-41331715 along with a link to a video on the Hull 2017 site where noted editors, designers, art directors and Key’s former assistant (photographer Toby McFarlan) discuss Key’s work and its ongoing influence in the world of music photography – https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/events/trevor-keys-top-40/

g) Two shows that ended their runs in September include Rob Tufnell’s tribute to the late, great designer Barney Bubbles (“Optics and Semantics”) – http://www.robtufnell.com/Exhibitions/Barney%20Bubbles/index.html which included examples of the talented artist’s album art, posters, videos and furniture, while back on September 18th – the 47th anniversary of the death of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix, but on that day I found a link to a recent interview with famed photographer Karl Ferris – responsible for the memorable photos found on the first three Jimi Hendrix Experience covers – http://ib3tv.com/lautor-de-les-portades-historiques-de-jimmy-hendrix-exposa-a-lhotel-pacha-deivissa.html regarding his recent gallery show (which closed on September 17th) at the Hotel Pacha on the island of Ibiza, where Karl has lived for many years and the place where he met his early collaborators, the Dutch design duo of Marijke Koger and Simon Posthuma AKA “The Fool”.

Although the interviewer’s audio track of Karl’s interview is in Catalan, you can still here bits of his statements and answers in English. In either case, it’s nice to see him looking so well and surrounded by so many great examples of his best-known photographs, including those for Hendrix.

h) Although the Summer has ended, it was a big one for exhibitions focused on the 50 anniversary of the emergence of Hippie counter-culture, with all its trappings, which has been labeled the “Summer of Love”, with one in particular, “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll” at San Francisco’s deYoung Museum (according to information in this recent article on the Art Daily site) setting attendance records, with over 25,000 visitors during “its final week before closing on August 20. Over its 19-week run, almost 270,000 visitors from around the world came to the de Young to relive the Summer of Love, making the exhibition the highest attended since Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis debuted at the de Young in 2013. – http://artdaily.com/news/98712/-The-Summer-of-Love-Experience–Art–Fashion–and-Rock—Roll–closes-with-record-attendance-numbers#.WbhDd7pFyM8

i) Also just received an announcement (with details forthcoming) about a Michael Jackson art show (to be titled “Michael Jackson: On The Wall”) at National Portrait Gallery in London next year (which would have been the singer’s 60th birthday), with some initial details in this article on The Guardian (UK) site – https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/20/michael-jacksons-impact-on-art-explored-in-national-portrait-gallery-show

I’m sure it’ll be a thriller, and I hope to beat it on over there to rock with you at the show. I’ll not stop til I’ve had enough unless, of course, it’s bad… 😉

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Photographer Danny Hastings, whose portfolio of images reads like a who’s who of major hip-hop music originators – Big Pun, KRS-One, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and many others – is the subject of a nicely-detailed profile and interview on the Remezcla site (a top lifestyle site for Latino Millennials) by reporter Matthew Ruiz that also includes info on recent show in LA – http://remezcla.com/features/music/danny-hastings-profile/

b) Goldmine Magazine’s chief editor Patrick Prince shares an interview with Pink Floyd artist Gerald Scarfe from his house in Chelsea, London that was featured on a recent Goldmine Magazine podcast about the original works (paintings and storyboards) from The Wall that are on sale at the San Francisco Art Exchange – http://www.goldminemag.com/podcast/pink-floyd-artist-gerald-scarfe-carlos-santana-band-jackyl-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-7

Scarfe had originally met Roger Waters after the PF bassist/songwriter had seen an earlier (1971)hand-drawn animated film produced by Scarfe about his impressions on America titled Long Drawn-Out Trip: Sketches From Los Angeles on TV and thought that he’d be the right person to help him realize his visions for Waters’ record/film/concert masterpiece.

c) In the early 1990s, there was a rather well-known photo taken of the late Kurt Cobain wearing a t-shirt featuring the album cover art from Austin, TX-based musician/artist Daniel Johnston’ Hi How Are You? record (featuring a strange, frog-ish creature named “Jeremiah, The Innocent”), after which the self-taught artist gained cult status internationally.

While battles with mental illness made it difficult for Johnston’s career to take off in any significant fashion, he has remained a person of great interest to those impressed with his strange abilities (as shown in the 2005 documentary The Devil And Daniel Johnston, by Jeff Feuerzeig. Health issues have recently forced Daniel to curb his touring, so he’s just embarked on what’s been announced as his final tour, with a schedule posted for the 8 shows (plus one in Austin, date TBD) – http://austin.culturemap.com/news/arts/09-18-17-hi-how-are-you-daniel-johnston-final-tour/#slide=0

d) Fans of the strange-but-wonderful cartoons of artist Edward Steed’s that are often found in the New Yorker Magazine will want to read this recent interview by Min Chen on the Surface Magazine web site about the almost “Where’s Waldo-like” work he created for the cover of singer/songwriter Father John Misty’s just-released record called Pure Comedyhttp://www.surfacemag.com/articles/edward-steed-talks-pure-comedy-album-illustrations/ According to Steed, his inspiration for the detailed artwork was pretty straight-forward – “I was just trying to make something that’s good for people to look at while listening to the record. I just drew the type of album cover I would want if I made an album, which I never will.” Job well done, sir!

e) The photo team of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott are known for their creative force, and lately they’ve been known specifically for Taylor Swift’s album art. Take the link to read a nice profile of them and their work and their collaborations – including on the controversial cover for her upcoming release (Nov. 10th) called reputation – with the immensely-popular Ms. Swift on the Fans Of Taylor Taylor Swift fan site written by contributor Kara Johnson – https://fansoftaylor.com/2017/09/16/photographers-mert-and-marcus-discuss-collaborating-with-taylor-swift/

f) Fans of great monster/horror art (hey, that’s me!) mourn the passing of a great one…On September 14th, 2017, the legendary artist/illustrator Basil Gogos died, leaving behind a legacy of illustrations for magazines, books and, as you might figure, album covers for acts including Electric Frankenstein, The Misfits and, most-notably, rocker Rob Zombie. He’s probably best-known for the scores of covers he did, beginning in 1960, for monster fan magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Creepy and MonsterScene (his takes on The Creature from the Black Lagoon were, to me, his most-impressive works).

A coffee table book which included a retrospective of many of his best works, titled Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos, was published by Vanguard Productions in 2005 and, the next year, Gogos received the “Best Book” award as well as being named to the “Monster Kid Hall of Fame” at the Rondo Hutton Classic Horror Awards gathering for his exceptional contributions to classic horror. In 2008, he won both “Best Cover” and “Artist of the Year” award from the same organization.

The Horror News Network presents us with his obiturary – http://www.horrornewsnetwork.net/rest-peace-basil-gogos-dead-78/ while over on the Rob Zombie site (Gogos did the memorable image on the Hellbilly Deluxe album cover), you’ll find another tribute to this impressive talent, now gone… https://robzombie.com/tag/basil-gogos/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) From the PR Newswire, here’s a story about an auction of a highly-desireable set of Markus Klinko photos taken for the cover of Houston, TX native Beyonce’s debut solo album, 2003’s Dangerously in Love – “ that was held in early September and intended to help raise money for Red Cross efforts to provide relief for victims of the recent weather disasters in Houston and along the Gulf Coast – “Award-winning, international fashion and celebrity photographer Markus Klinko and Texas-based Modern Rocks Gallery today announced the launch of “Dangerously in Love with Houston: Modern Rocks Gallery / Markus Klinko Auction,” an online auction of signed, first worldwide edition Beyoncé photographs with proceeds benefiting the Red Cross and its Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. “

It continues – “The online auction will feature three 16″ X 20″ photographs …signed by Markus Klinko. Fujifilm supports the auction with printing and mounting, while Broncolor will donate shipping of the photographs to auction winners. All money raised from the auctions will go to the Red Cross Houston and Gulf Coast relief efforts.

Bidding opened at $2500 for the set, with the auction currently online (hosted by 32Auctions.com), reached via the button at https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/hurricane-relief
https://www.facebook.com/ModernRocksGallery

b ) Michael Spencer-Jones Oasis album art goes on sale with special event – while the gallery is still working with the photographer on just the right date to do this (was originally scheduled for October 6th), they have put up some preliminary information on the book and some of the prints that will be made available for sale as well. https://www.thearchivistsgallery.com/blogs/exhibitions/save-the-date-supersonic-the-oasis-photographs-book-signing-event-with-michael-spencer-jones-october-6th-2017?

I’d last reported on Spencer-Jones’ work back in 2014 when I’d done a profile on one of his collaborators, designer/photographer Brian Cannon, so it’s nice to see that the art world’s interest in these great photos (which became even more-popular as the records, such as Whatever, Definitely Maybe, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, Be Here Now, Don’t Look Back In Anger and Wonderwall, all became huge international hits. Spencer-Jones has also created notable cover shots for bands including Suede (Stay Together, Singles and So Young), The Verve (A Storm In Heaven, Urban Hymns and A Northern Soul), New Fast Automatic Daffodils (Bong and Body Exit Mind) and Lyres (On Fire), among others. More specifics as they’re released…

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

a) Heralded Scottish photographer Harry Benson CBE has had a very busy schedule the past couple of years, first as the star of the successful documentary film Harry Benson: Shoot First, then receiving a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center of Photography, shooting a portrait of U.S. President Donald Trump – he’s the only photographer who has taken portraits of the past twelve (!!) U.S. Presidents, beginning with Eisenhower – and now, working with the folks at PowerHouse Books, releasing what’s being called his “unparalleled magnum opus” – a 300-page career retrospective titled Harry Benson: Persons of Interest (Portraits That Defined An Era), with ’s new book hitting the shelves soon, with pre-orders now being accepted at – http://www.powerhousebooks.com/books/harry-benson-persons-of-interest/

According to the publisher’s news release, “Harry traveled to America with the Beatles in 1964 and never looked back. Under contract to LIFE Magazine for 30 years, Harry has photographed for major magazines including Time, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, French Vogue, Quest, Paris Match, Forbes, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, People, and The London Sunday Times Magazine…With subjects ranging from Queen Elizabeth to Amy Winehouse, from Frank Sinatra to Brad Pitt, from Greta Garbo to Kate Moss, from Winston Churchill to Hilary Clinton, and Donald Trump, Benson explores and delights our public fascination with his images of the lives of the rich, powerful, and famous. “

b) While designer/artist Jamie Reid might be best-known to album art fans for the work that helped promote punk icons the Sex Pistols to international stardom in the late 1970s (and, later on, artists such as Billy Childish, Jo Fletcher and Afro Celt Sound System), lately Reid has continued to produce artwork that brings his anti-establishment sensibilities to highlight the absurdities in today’s world of political and corporate chicanery, but he’s also produced artwork for a project called Eight-Fold Year, during which he’s released a new work of art every day based on the Druid concept of the year being divided into eight “essential” parts (solstices, equinoxes and four other critical seasonal dates).

To bring the entire portfolio of these works to fans around the world, Reid has just released a new paperback book (also titled Eight-Fold Year) where all 365 of the images (paintings and photographs) can be enjoyed all in one place. To provide an introduction and explain things to us laypeople, Reid enlisted the help of Philip Carr-Comm, Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, to write such texts.

More information on this book and project can be found on his web site at http://www.eightfoldyear.org/, while you can keep up-to-date on Reid’s latest efforts on his web site at http://www.jamiereid.org/

c) While not specifically a book about album cover art, a new book just out by author Kent Hartman titled Goodnight, L.A.: The Rise and Fall of Classic Rock – The Untold Story from Inside the Legendary Recording Studios that focuses on the often outrageous (self-indulgent, narcissistic, etc. – I’m sure we can all think of appropriate adjectives) behaviors and bacchanalia that took place inside these workplaces during the making of some of your favorite record albums. With the writer tapping the memories of two key people – producer Keith Olsen and session guitarist Waddy Wachtel – you’ll learn a bit more about the amount of hand-holding, ego-boosting and appetite-feeding it often took to get some of the most-iconic tracks put on to tape.

They also included stories by some of the others who were tasked to help produce, package and promote these products, such as ACHOF Inductee (John) Kosh, who recalls the heart-warming story of having to wait three days for a certain rocker to show up for a photo shoot, only to decide at that point that he’d changed his mind about the album cover concept and then suggested a “we’re not REALLY going to do this” idea as an alternative. Read more about this new tome in reporter Bob Ruggiero’s intro to the book on the Houston Press site -. http://www.houstonpress.com/music/cocaine-and-control-boards-la-classic-rock-in-the-70s-9780972

d) If you’re looking for a gift for your favorite Prog Rock fan (besides another record/CD or a certificate for the aforementioned mocha latte), you can now pre-order one of the 600 limited-edition copies of author Jerry Ewing’s new book on the topic titled Wonderous Stories: A Journey Through The Landscape of Progressive Rock. According to the publisher’s PR, the book will guide the reader through the genre’s history, “from the origins of the genre, through the glory years of the late 60s and 70s, to its contemporary resurgence led by, amongst others, Steven Wilson and Opeth. The book is introduced with a foreword written by Steve Hackett.”

The book’s “Deluxe Edition” was designed by famed album cover artist Carl Glover, the guy responsible for a number of memorable covers for acts including Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, The Pretty Things, Porcupine Tree, Blackfield and an entire series for Prog Rock stalwarts Marillion. The clothbound book’s 160 pages include over 450 images, including band photos, press images and, of course, album covers. The book includes a COA signed by both Glover and the author and also includes an 8” x 10” art print – a nice package for the quite-reasonable asking price of £50.00.

Pre-orders are now being accepted on The Flood Gallery’s web site – https://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/wondrous-stories-a-journey-through-the-landscape-of-progressive-rock/products/wondrous-stories-a-journey-through-the-landscape-of-progressive-rock?
with deliveries beginning in early December.

5) Other articles of interest –

Quick note – nominations and voting begins soon for this year’s class of inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame in the areas of design, photography, illustration and other related fields. Eager to see who are the top vote-getters this year – lots of talented people still yet to be inducted, so watch this space…

a) Research led me to a site, created by a mysterious and unknown artist simply called “Admin”, where you’ll find a collection of hand-made drawings of album covers along with a short story about the record. It’s called, in a straight-forward fashion, “Hand Drawn Album Covers”. Is it good? You be the judge. It is certainly inspired… http://www.handdrawnalbumcovers.com/

b) While some look at fans of Prog Rock as being people just as contemptuous as “mocha-sipping, Birkenstock wearing, Prius-driving Lefties”, I am proud to say that I’ve long been a fan of the genre – both the music and the art – and so I’m very pleased to be able to share two Prog-related stories – one being about the nominees – and the eventual winner – in the “Album Cover of the Year” category of the 2017 Progressive Music Awards festivities and the other (to be found back in Section 4 about New Books) being that a new book that looks to provide an in-depth historical review of “Prog Rock” (by Prog Magazine editor Jerry Ewing) which will be published in time for Holiday gift-giving.

To begin, here are the nominees for this year’s Progressive Music Awards’ “Album Cover of the Year” (musical act/album title):

Ayreon – The Source; Big Big Train – Grimspound; Heather Findlay – I Am Snow; King Crimson – Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind; Kylver – The Island; Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand; Opeth – Sorceress; Robert Reed – Sanctuary II; Tim Bowness – Lost In The Ghost Light and Wolf People – Ruins

The winner was announced at ceremonies on September 14th, with artists whose works are featured on these nominated covers including well-known creatives such as Ben Singleton, Alan Brown, Travis Smith, Jarrod Gosling and Luke Insect, so was most-interesting to see who fans eventually selected as this year’s top artist.

First, you can take a look at the nominated works via the link at http://2017.prog.awards.teamrock.com/vote/album-cover

AND THE WINNER WAS – from the previously-noted list of talented nominees, a winner was chosen in the “Album Cover of the Year” category, and that winner is the team responsible for the creation of the cover for Tim Bowness’ album Lost In The Ghost Light (credited to the multi-talented designer/musician Jarrod Goslling).

Here’s a link to the list of all of the winners in last week’s award ceremonies – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/steve-hackett-progressive-music-awards/
as well as a link to the musician’s site – http://timbowness.co.uk/lost-in-the-ghost-light/ Digging around a bit, I also found a video interview with designer Jarrod Gosling about his work on the previous Bowness LP – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fekq273l4yo
Congratulations to the winner and all of the nominees for jobs well done – the fans are all very happy!

c) Filed under “way too cool for school” – those of you who thought that album covers created with “special effects”, such as the “3-D” and “lenticular” covers found on records such as 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties Request by the Rolling Stones, The Holy Land by Johnny Cash in 1969 and 1971’s Captain Beyond (with artwork by Pacific Eye & Ear artist Joe Garnett) will be pleased and/or surprised to know that the inspiration to display moving images on record packages remains, carried on by various musical acts/labels and, lucky for us, collected by collector DJ Food and shared via a regular column on The Vinyl Factory web site.

They kicked things off not too long ago with this nicely-illustrated (including some cool animated GIFs) article – https://thevinylfactory.com/features/freaky-formats-moire-effect/ in which you’ll find other examples of mind-bending album cover designs from around for musical acts in many different genres.
Looking forward to seeing more as time goes on…

BTW – on a related note – I wanted to share a link I found to a music video released by the Rolling Stones which uses artwork appropriated (there’s that word again!) from on the cover art from Satanic Majesties..http://yespleaseproductions.com/portfolio/rolling-stones-2000-light-years-from-home-official-lyric-video/ A very good example of recycling…

d) While I’m happy to note that the sales of vinyl records continue to grow (my most-recent purchase was a special-edition 2-LP package of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boy’s Smile that came with a nice bonus photo booklet) as both us oldsters and our younger brethren preserve the format with our pennies and dollars, there are still occasional stories like the two that follow that provide us with the sad details about record stores closing both here and abroad, with each venue’s closing also taking with it the sale of related album art items (SAD!, as one Tweeter often puts it) –

1) Author has an idea on how to turn a store’s closing into something of a time capsule for retail record store fans – https://www.athensmessenger.com/blogs/guest_columnists/an-ode-to-hoffa-s-music/article_b8dfeb82-0e43-554c-847a-bfb79939bcf3.html

2) “Seeing the art of music” article by Kerry-Ann Augustin for the New Straits Times (Malaysia) – https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/sunday-vibes/2017/09/280707/seeing-art-music
We’ll keep the fire burning…

e) Some of you might recall a story I reported on a year ago about a trio of enterprising entrepreneurs, including noted album cover designer Lawrence Azerrad and his chums at Ozma Records to embark on a Kickstarter-based project that would produce, for us mortals, a special 40th anniversary, special-edition package based on the “Voyager Golden Record” that astronomer Carl Sagan, along with a team that included writers Timothy Ferris and Ann Druyan, artists Jon Lomberg and Linda Salzman Sagan and astronomer/SETI pioneer Frank Drake (who served as the technical director), assembled for the 1977 satellite launch in order to present “strange new civilizations” with evidence of our intelligence (this was, luckily for us, before we had recordings from this past year’s elections).

Well, I just recently got my own personal copy of this box set, which included and three translucent gold, heavyweight vinyl LPs in black ink and gold foil jackets, a hardback full-color book, a 12″ x 12″ lithograph of the Voyager Golden Record cover diagram printed in gold metallic ink, a digital download card that includes all audio from the Voyager Golden Record inMP3 and FLAC formats, an enamel pin of the Golden Record diagram and a custom turntable mat featuring NASA/JPL-Caltech’s heliocentric view of the Voyager spacecraft’s trajectories across the solar system (not bad for $98!), and all I can say is “WOW”.

And now that it’s been released and the second Voyager space craft is about to sail out of our solar system, I wanted to share a link to a follow-up article and interview with David Pescovitz found on the CNN.com site discussing the release of the special record package – http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/04/opinions/pescovitz-opinion/index.html

If so inclined, you can also listen to a BBC interview (on Soundcloud) that the folks from the record label posted last year with the original designer of the Golden Record – Jon Lomberg – which can be found via this link – https://soundcloud.com/user-482195982/interview-with-jon-lomberg?

f) A team of writers/contributors to Universal Music Group (UK)’s UDiscoverMusic.com site recently published one of those articles that undertakes the silly task of naming “the 25 most-iconic album covers” and, as my regular readers know, I typically HATE these lists. However, in this case, the group at least took some time to explain why each of the covers (all the usual suspects) was included and, to their credit, did NOT limit the list only to covers featured on their own labels.

Someday, I’ll have to learn what it is that motivates people to do articles like these but, until I’m ready to look into this further, I’ll just share the link and hope you’ll add your comments
https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/25-iconic-album-covers/

with some added info on designers – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/iconic-album-cover-designers/

Late in September, the group’s Martin Chilton hit the web with another album art-related posting – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/album-packaging-amplified-music/

g) While we’re on the topic of articles that seem to annoy me a lot…while I appreciate the sentiment, here’s a link to an article posted recently on the Ultimate Guitar site by contributor “David89Zemun” (from Belgrade, Serbia, who plays a modified Gibson Les Paul BFG and is a big Black Sabbath fan) titled “Stories Behind Album Covers – It Was Never Just About The Music…” in which he provides us with a nice selection of album covers – from artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Red Hot Chili Peppers – and then a very brief tidbit about the cover art, so when he tells us in his intro that “we will be getting into some of the most interesting stories behind album covers”, I’m not sure if he means now or later.

You won’t learn much, but it is nice to see young people from all over the world go out on a limb and do a little digging into their favorite album art – https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/articles/features/stories_behind_album_covers-67281

h) The phrase “sex and drugs and rock & roll” has often been brought to life via the choices made by musical acts/record labels/art directors to focus on the “sex” part to illustrate and sell their record packages. As you might figure, this didn’t sit well with many folks because, as you might have guessed, it was usually (99.3% of the time, according to my casual observations) women who were objectified on many covers and, later on, in music videos. Does this continue on these days? You betcha!

As you’ll read in reporter Sahsa Geffen’s article on the Vulture.com site, there has been a slight subversion of this ongoing practice, evidenced by the fact that some of the creators of this sexy imagery are, in fact, women, with the two newer acts she’s focused on – St. Vincent and Torres – both assuming “the role of objectifier and objectified at the same time. They confound the power that borders the history of the genre in which they work, not as an act of empowerment but as a gesture of sublime confusion. “
http://www.vulture.com/2017/09/st-vincent-and-torres-are-subverting-rock-archetypes.html
Kudos are given to Christopher Guest for his attempts to point out the “do what you gotta do” approach to selling records in his great mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap…will things ever change? In today’s climate? I don’t think so….

i) In a recently-published series of articles on the Christie’s site about five London-area collectors and their assemblages, one of the featured collectors is designer/author Toby Mott, whose collection of punk-era ephemera and graphics served as the basis for the book he released last year (reported on in the Nov. 2016 News Summary) and includes original examples of album art by Jamie Reid and others. Of course, he can also look back proudly at his own album cover work – as part of the successful 1980s design firm and artist’s collective called the Grey Organization – for Tommy Boy Records and acts including De La Soul and Information Society – http://www.christies.com/features/5-London-collectors-and-their-collections-8553-1.aspx?

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

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

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Interview with Taschen’s Julius Wiedemann about his newest book – Art Record Covers

Interview with Taschen’s Julius Wiedemann about his newest book –  Art Record Covers

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

March 8, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last month, I reported on the latest effort by the prolific album cover art book editor and author Julius Wiedemann of the famed Taschen publishing house, who had recently announced the details of a new book just released in the U.K. (with buyers in the U.S. having to wait patiently until later in February to get theirs) titled Art Record Covers that, according to the press announcement, “showcases an alphabetized collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. Highlighting the relationship between image-making and music production, the anthology presents 500 covers and records by visual artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha and many more.”

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

While some of you may recall that I’ve been working on a book based on the interviews I’ve done over the years with many of the best-known album art creators (due out later this year, I’m hoping), I am the first to admit that, as I’m not a trained art historian, I have always lobbied for the inclusion of album cover art/artists in the bigger ongoing discussion about the relationship between music and the visual arts, so it is inspiring to read books written by educators that further that conversation. Based on what I’d read and seen on this new book, I knew that I’d need to work to get a more-detailed look at the book and its contents, and the always-interesting Mr. Wiedemann was kind enough to work with me on a special feature for the ACHOF that I’m presenting to you today.

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Interview with Isle of Man PO’s Paul Ford on The Islands and Bridges Stamp Set by Roger Dean

Interview with Paul Ford, Stamps & Coins Coordinator, Isle of Man Post Office (UK) about the Islands & Bridges stamp set by Roger Dean

 

Roger Dean Islands and Bridges

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

This past August, I reported on an art show that was taking place on the Isle of Man built around the works of artist Roger Dean.  With a portfolio that includes not only album cover imagery but (both alone and working with his talented brother Martyn) stage designs, architecture, calendars and a wide variety of merchandise, Dean’s fantastic work continues to impress fans with its ability to transport you to places beyond the imagination. He has worked in many different media, creating designs and illustrations for commercial and fine art customers, including several  architectural designs he’s done of dream-like living spaces and furnishings.

In addition to this show – titled Islands & Bridges – that ran through mid-November at the Manx Museum – a National Heritage organization on the U.K.’s Isle of Man – Dean’s works served as the basis for a collection of postage stamps produced by the Isle’s Postal Service, an organization that has gained a world-wide following of collectors who have been impressed with their previous series of collectibles, including specially-commissioned stamps featuring quintessential U.K. and Isle of Man subjects such as the works of the Aardman animation studio (Morph, Wallace & Gromit and Shaun The Sheep), artist Matt Sewell’s illustrations of birds and, of course, the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races.

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Album Cover News Recap for March, 2016

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

It’s April Fool’s Day 2016 and, while you’d think that this day would be celebrated as a national holiday, what with most of us here in the U.S. being bombarded with news of the mystery theater performances being given by those actors in our electoral process. However, back in the music/art world (the real world?), news about the people that produce the art and product packaging for our favorite musical acts continues to be published on a regular basis,  with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, lectures, book/art releases and other such activities we reported on during the past month. Regular readers of our news feed have enjoyed stories on the many interviews, features, artist profiles, new gallery/museum shows and other similar items that took place in March, but for those who weren’t able to check in every day, I’ll spend a few moments now to give you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be your responsibility to visit our site to complete your viewing   of these items of interest by reading and (re)viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interview articles this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including designers Cedric Hervet (Daft Punk), and Stefan Sagmeister, who maintains an ever-expanding Instagram account featuring examples of fine album design; sculptor David Altmejd, photographers Dennis Morris, Gered Mankowitz, Phil Nicholls and a group who attempt to explain how best to hire a rock photographer; collage creator Clay Rossner and music producer Ben Vaughan, who custom-crafted a Spotify playlist to accompany a museum show on Pop Art.

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Album Cover News Recap for October, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2015

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

It’s October 2015 and we’ve been rewarded for our having withstood a wild Summer with an amazing “SuperMoon” display recently. Some of the larger local fires are now under control, but the album art world continues to burn up the news wires, with September stories featuring a steady stream of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feeds. In the following paragraphs, I’ll try and provide you with some highlights and updates, but it’ll be up to you at that point to complete your review of this impressive list sure to please album art fans everywhere.

There were interviews galore  – in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including principals from the FUEL Design Group, photographers Mick Rock, Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Bob Gruen, Sir Peter Blake discussing his new Dazzle art mash-up app and a group of designers who share their favorite Rolling Stones covers and how they’ve influenced their own works.

In the fine art book category, artists and their publishers enticed us with new releases, with monographs featuring the works of Mick Rock (photos of early-stage David Bowie & Friends), Ringo Starr (with a new book of Beatles photos), Jazz Record greats, Brian Griffin (taking on a very thought-provoking subject) and punk/grunge-era designer Art Chantry, who warns prospective design students about the dangers of working in the music business.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during September, with museum curators and gallery owners around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll find the details about current and just-completed exhibits such as Mick Rock’s photos of David Bowie at the Taschen Gallery in LA, Baron Wolman’s photos on display in a Louisville, KY distillery, David McClister’s photos at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, an upcoming display in Hoboken, NJ to commemorate the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra, Michael Miller’s display of West Coast Hip-Hop/Rap icons in Orange County, CA, Robert Knight & Maryanne Bilham’s photos in Las Vegas, Henry Diltz & Pattie Boyd’s multi-city photo show, Michael McCartney’s photos in Liverpool (where else?), a collection of photos of Bruce Springsteen up at Monmouth College and a show of Albert Watson’s fascinating collection of shots taken with a Polaroid camera.

Other stories included Rachael Stevens’ monthly record sleeve overview in the Creative Review, several “making of” articles by James Stafford and others (Pantera, The Offspring and Machine Gun Kelley), the release of a turntable/vinyl/book package for young record collectors, a look at an audiophile turntable featuring Queen graphics, Eric Arthurs video presentations of the “Worst Album Covers Ever”, a display of NFL football logos re-imagined as album covers, auctions with art by Andy Warhol, Lee Conklin, Klaus Voorman and the London Features photo syndicate and a teacher who styles his classroom and course materials around the art and music of Kanye West. Of course, I don’t have room to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that with all of the distractions caused by global politics, celebrity clothing mishaps and clients that never seem to pay their invoices on time might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I continue to say (every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

September 30th – End-of-the-month mish-mash of items for you:

1) In a new “And Justice For Art” posting by Ramon Martos Garcia on the MetalUnderground.com site, you’ll learn more about what must be the ultimate commitment to album cover art – having full-color covers tattooed across your back! In the nicely-illustrated article, you’ll find fans of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, KISS and others proudly displaying their cover art recreations. Whether they insisted on pixel-perfect duplications or allowed themselves some creative freedom and added/modified the originals to be more to their own tastes, you must admit that these fans have paid tribute to their favorite groups in a way that few other fans would dare – http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=116741

Have any of you gone down this same path?

2) The promo team at the Girls Rock Camp organization has come up with a unique way to raise funds for their efforts – selling prints of re-creations of classic album covers starring some of their own campers. The “Record Remake Project” page shows nicely-rendered images of their takes on record covers originally produced for musical acts including David Bowie, U2, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar and several others. My hands-down favorite is their take on Blondie’s Parallel Lines record – little “Debbie Harry” is just so cute! Photo credits are given to Carli Davidson, Melanie Aron, Holly Andres, and Shelby Duncan and print prices begin at $50, with the proceeds go towards the group’s ongoing mentoring efforts –

http://www.girlsrockcampfoundation.org/store/

3) Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery in Louisville, KY has put together a wonderful rock photo show now running as part of the Louisville Photo Biennial. Launched last Friday (and running through November 27th),  “The Art of Rock: Transcending Sound” features a nice selection of photos by the talented Baron Wolman, along with prints produced by several local photographers. The exhibit was curated by Mary Yates, who collaborated with local photo gallery owner Paul Paletti and several others to procure all of the images now on display in the distillery’s 2nd floor gallery. More info on this show is available in this article by Sara Havens on the Insider Louisville site – http://insiderlouisville.com/lifestyle_culture/copper-kings-joins-louisville-photo-biennial-art-rock-transcending-sound/

BONUS CONTENT – Fans of graphic imagery from the 1990s will get a kick out of this new music video produced by top branding agency Pentagram’s London office for Jesse Hackett’s first single titled “The Dump Run”. Hackett had found a discarded electronic keyboard near a dumpster which inspired him with both its retro sound stylings and the graphics used on its case and keyboard. The Pentagram team took a decidedly early Flash-animation approach to the video, fitting the overall attitude of the cut quite nicely. It caught the attention of the folks over at Fast Company, who introduce it to us via this recent article – http://www.fastcodesign.com/3051400/pentagrams-new-music-video-is-an-ode-to-90s-graphic-design

Oh how I miss those days of Macromedia Director/Shockwave on an Amiga…

September 29th –  1) This past weekend, at the DiMattio Gallery in Rechnitz Hall at New Jersey’s Monmouth University, a new photo show debuted featuring an intriguing collection of photographs of NJ music legend Bruce Springsteen shot by photographers Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Barry Schneier, Pamela Springsteen and Frank Stefanko. Curated by the Grammy Museum, the 45 photos on display work to show The Boss at all stages of his 40+ year career in music-making, from shots of his famed May, 1974 show in Harvard Square thru photos taken for his most-recent release titled High Hopes. To provide a more-intimate experiece for visitors, there are video interviews (produced by the Grammy Museum) of each of the photographers talking about their experiences working with Springsteen. The show, titled Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey, runs through December 22nd, with more info available on the gallery’s site at http://www.monmouth.edu/templates/EventDetail.aspx?id=40802203509

2) Multiple award-winning photographer Albert Watson, the man responsible for a long list of great album cover images over the past 40+ years (you’ll recall his covers for Carly Simon, Sade, P.M. Dawn, L.L. Cool J and many others), is the subject of a new show that focuses on a select grouping derived from over 100,000 Polaroid photos he’s taken of a huge range of subjects. On display now through October 24th at the Christophe Guye Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland, ‘Roids! shows Watson’s process as he first used the inexpensive instant camera to help him set up shots he’d envisioned to later using scanning technology to take the medium’s unique image qualities to an even-higher level via a series of large-format prints he’s created. You can read more about the man and this show via this recent article in L’Oeil de la Photographie magazine – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/09/21/exhibition/29726/zurich-roids-by-albert-watson-at-christophe-guye-gallery
Of course, I’m hoping that the show’s title is a clever play on words and not one of those situations where the English gets lost in translation…

3) “Why did the Dalek cross the road”, you ask? You’ll have to talk to the Doctor who, in this case, is Doctor Who. It seems that the good Doctor and his BBC compadres have stimulated a lot of conversation with their re-creation of the often-imitated Abbey Road album cover, with this one featuring the Doctor, Clara Oswald and two of the show’s mechanical stars. With Clara in Paul M’s position in the image (barefoot, of course), does this mean bad things for her character? Conspiracy theorists have piped in with scores of explanations, so feel free to add one of your own after you’ve seen the image on Jonathan Holmes‘ article on the Radio Times site – http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-09-19/doctor-who-does-the-beatles–but-does-this-picture-prove-clara-oswald-will-die
Actress Jenna Coleman (Clara) announced that she’ll be leaving the show, so things are looking grim, wouldn’t you agree?

September 28th – Two interesting auctions and a thought-provoking interview:

1) Fans of psychedelic album art have always cherished illustrator Lee Conklin’s pen and ink “lion” cover for Santana’s debut record, so it’s fun to see a large collection of his poster work up for bidding on the Psychedelic Art Exchange as part of their larger anniversary auction, running now through 9PM EST on October 8th. You’ll see examples of Conklin’s work for Filmore Auditorium gigs by bands including Cream, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly and many others – each one a mind-blowing psychedelic masterpiece. Happy bidding!

http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com/catalog.aspx?auctionid=52&searchvalue=conklin&searchby=3

2) As part of their September 29th Rock & Pop auction, the folks at Sotheby’s in London offered a Lot (#105) that included the 58 albums designed by Pop artist Andy Warhol between 1949 – 1987. Two of the examples included in this rare collection – 1967’s Velvet Underground & Nico and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers from 1971 – are signed by the artist. The lot also included a hand-pulled silkscreen print, nine books, some 7″ single covers and an example of the last cover Warhol was working on (one for MTV’s High Priority album) when he died in 1987 (the design was completed by his studio staff). The pre-auction estimate ranged from $46,700 to $78,000, and fans of Warhol art can still get a closer look via the electronic catalog (“turn” to page 82) – http://www.sothebys.com/pdf/2015/L15414/index.html

Update – the lot detailed above did not sell at this auction, but another lot that featured the contract that The Beatles signed with their manager Brian Epstein did sell for approx. $554,000, a bit above its pre-auction estimate.

3) Designers Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell teamed to launch the FUEL design group in 1991 and, since then, have established a sterling reputation for their work for clients in the book publishing, TV/print advertising, music and film worlds but, as you’ll read in Andy Butler’s recent illustrated interview with the pair on the Designboom site, you can trace the earliest inspirations back to – guess where – album cover design. They met at design school (Central St. Martin’s college in the U.K.) in the late 1980s and first worked together to produce a magazine titled FUEL as “a vehicle to express ourselves in content and form, a means of reaching a broad audience, not just within graphic design”. I think that you’ll agree that they’ve done a good job of maintaining that approach to doing great work, with their motto being “bad taste is designing with good taste in mind”. Perfect.

http://www.designboom.com/design/fuel-design-group-interview-09-20-2015/ 

September 25th – 1) Major branding alert! The very British rock band Queen has teamed up with very British turntable (what’s that? they ask) manufacturer Rega to create a very unique hardware/content package that is available to collectors and audiophiles as of today (in the U.K.; early October for U.S. customers). The “Queen By Rega” turntable ($650 list), according to the manufacturer, is “a brand new limited edition official turntable to coincide with the release of the re-mastered coloured vinyl multi disc box set.” The design of this unique custom deck includes reproductions of classic Queen logos, including the Freddie Mercury-designed “Queen’s Crest” logos on the platter and the lid bridge. It’s available only thru authorized Rega dealers (not online – more details at http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Queen-Studio-Collection/Queen-by-Rega-Turntable/4REF056O071), while the “Studio Collection Vinyl Box Set”, which contains remastered versions of all 15 studio albums on 180 gram vinyl and a beautifully-illustrated 108-page book, is selling for $445. http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Music/Queen-The-Studio-Collection-Coloured-Vinyl-Box-Set/4O1C032M071    Oh, won’t you take me home tonight?

2) One of the highlights of the 4th annual Beatles Festival – held for the first time this year on September 26th in the Strawberry Fields near the junction of the 605 and 60 Freeways near Southern California’s San Gabriel River – was a 3pm (PST) interview featuring the designer of the band’s Magical Mystery Tour album, artist John Van Hamersveld. JVH was there to talk about his designs and also had autographed MMT covers for sale (along with his books on design). The fest also had other art and memorabilia installations, including several 10-foot tall recreations of classic Beatles album art. More on this at the event’s web site – http://www.beatlestributefest.com/schedule.html

3) The works of celebrated photographer David McClister are the subject of a display launched recently in conjunction with the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, TN and hosted by one of the music industry’s best-known intimate music venues, The Bluebird Cafe, a place quite familiar to fans of the hit ABC TV series Nashville. The 32 photo prints on display will include shots of many of the best-known artists who’ve recorded and played in this music capitol such as Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant, Ryan Adams (whose debut solo LP featured a cover shot by McClister) and many others. The show will be up for several months, and in Dylan Aycock‘s article on The Tennessean web site, you’ll get to meet the man whose 15+ years of photo imagery has made him a respected local asset – http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2015/09/19/americana-photography-exhibit-opening-bluebird-cafe/72471354/ More details also available at the venue’s site –
http://bluebirdcafe.com/viewArticle.cfm?id=158

BONUS  CONTENT – You all know photographer Bob Gruen‘s work – his photos of John Lennon, KISS, The Raspberries and many others are icons in the album cover world – but were you aware that he traveled with The Sex Pistols while they were on their “farewell” tour here in the U.S.? There to witness the break-up of the influential band, Bob’s photos (and the stories behind them) are the subject of a short video titled “Bob Gruen: On The Road With The Sex Pistols” just posted on the Artdaily.org site – http://artdaily.com/?date=09/24/2015#video Hear how Bob lucked in to getting the last seat on the tour bus and what he witnessed while the band worked hard to antagonize audiences all through the South – classic!

September 24th – 1) The folks at Backstage Auctions staged a new auction the weekend of September 24th that enticed collectors of rock/album art imagery. London-based photo agency London Features amassed a huge collection of rock ‘n’ roll photos starting in the 1960s and over 20,000 of these images will be put up for sale – many with full rights of ownership – in an auction of 425 assorted lots. I found 2 lots that album art fans might want to pay special attention to: Lot 1044 contains a selection of photos, slides and negatives of the members of the band Blind Faith taken by Bob Seidemann in 1969 and includes one photo that was used both as the back cover photo on the package with the controversial cover (i.e., the one with the naked young girl holding the shiny airship) and as the “alternative” front cover for markets too upset by the official cover – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1044-blind-faith-1969-lot-of-29-bw-candid-posed-negatives-/ai/0/22656/

while Lot 1135 is a collection of 108 photo negatives of Beggar’s Banquet-era Rolling Stones taken by 10 different shooters and included is an alt version of the cover image taken during that record’s photo shoot – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1135-the-rolling-stones-1964—1968-lot-of-108-bw-candid-outtake-negatives-with-full-rights/ai/0/22747/

The auction ends on October 4th – All it takes is money (and a winning bid) – best of luck!

2) A recent article by Kim Goggins on the Muskoka Region (Canada) site highlights the career of long-time rock photographer John Rowlands, who staged a fund-raising show/lecture about his work and career on the evening of September 25th at the Gravenhurst Opera House. The two-part fundraiser (another similar event was held on the 26th as well) is for a four-year-old local boy named Mason Anderson who has cerebral palsy. Anderson needs to travel to the U.S. for an operation called a “Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy” that the Ontario government won’t fund. Fundraising efforts since February 2015 have raised about $90,000 towards the $100,000-plus surgery. Event attendees will get to see many examples of Rowlands’ images of popular musicians, from mid-1960s Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga and Iggy Azalea. The show and silent auction began at 6:30pm local time, with more details via the link at http://m.muskokaregion.com/news-story/5914534-rock-n-roll-photographer-will-share-his-stories

3) Classic design is ALWAYS classic design, as is evidenced by Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s realization that the recent issue of Billboard Magazine he was featured on “looks like a Clash album cover”, referring to the cover created by the late designer Ray Lowry (featuring Pennie Smith’s iconic photograph) in 1979 for the band’s 1980 release London Calling. Music geek Fallon should also know that Lowry’s 35-year-old design actually paid homage to the original design featured on Elvis Presley’s debut record, and again in 1995 for Mick Jones’/Big Audio Dynamite’s release P-Funk. Joe Lynch gives us the details on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6700453/jimmy-fallon-billboard-cover-clash-album-tonight-show

Sept. 23rd – Three “making ofs” and an opportunity for YOU to become a rich and famous album cover designer…

1) While I spend most of my time researching and writing about “classic” album cover artists and their art, I do, on occasion, run across a new work of art that inspires me to learn more about the folks behind it and share that with you. This is the case today as I ask you to click on over to Troy Smith’s article on the Cleveland.com site about Tyler Nikkel’s fascinating cover image for Machine Gun Kelley’s upcoming new album titled General Admission (due out October 16th). Nikkel, who is a graphic designer based in Kansas, had been sending the rapper samples of his “fan art” via social media that ultimately convinced MGK to commission him for this new work. The two collaborated on a design that has a bit of a classic Roger Dean-style feel to it and including a lot of specific and hidden references to the architecture and culture of the city of Cleveland as well as to each of the songs on the new record. Nice job, I think – http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/09/the_story_behind_machine_gun_k.html

2) Writer James Stafford provides us with two new “Cover Stories” – over on the Loudwire.com site, you’ll learn more about Dean Kerr’s work (and re-work) on the cover shot for Pantera’s 1994 record Far Beyond Driven featuring an image that would prove popular both to the band’s fans and those who might spend a lot of time in the Hand Tools aisle at the local Home Depot. Interestingly enough, the original art Kerr produced made him a pain in the ass at the record label, while his fix simply gave them a headache – http://loudwire.com/cover-stories-pantera-far-beyond-driven/ Over on the Diffuser.fm site, Stafford gives us the details behind album cover and poster designer Frank Kozik’s illustration for the mega-selling 1998 record Americana by The Offspring. You want to know why there’s a little kid with a leg brace swinging while holding a huge bug? Click on over for a most-enlightening answer – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-the-offspring-americana/ Just don’t hate me when you’re done.

3) The headline reads “Young Thug Wants YOU To Design His Slime Season Mixtape Cover“, and while there’s no official release date announced yet, nor is there much incentive provided in the accompanying article’s details (posted by Trevor Smith on the Hot New Hip Hop site), once can only assume that all of your hard work will be rewarded with a lifetime work contract and a huge percentage of the profits made via your design (isn’t that always the case, designers?) – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/young-thug-wants-you-to-design-his-slime-season-mixtape-cover-news.17619.html

Sept. 21st –  1) Here’s a nice profile article on a Denver-based design agency called The Made Shop that grew from a way for a husband and wife creative team to share their love for design and music (and make some extra money on the side) to a full-time gig that lets them explore many different production and delivery methods while making memorable imagery for their clients. Now in business for over 12 years, Marke & Kimberly Johnson have created some wonderful album art for musical acts including The Fray and Son Lux (their cover for the band’s We Are Rising record features 28 exploding colored smoke bombs) while taking on projects for clients in the film, TV and print publishing worlds, with more behind the scenes details revealed in Rachael Steven‘s recent article on the Creative Review site – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/september/handcrafted-designs-from-denver-studio-the-made-shop-2/

2) More album art inspiration is on display in this rather-cool new exhibition at the Wolveschildren Art Space in Ballarat, VIC, Australia titled “Cover Versions” that features re-interpretations of a number of well-known album covers by more than a dozen local illustrators. While most designers and artists rely on digital tools to create album cover imagery these days, the works on display in this show have been created via “a range of mediums from pen, brush, ink, paint, sculpture and digital”. The exhibit is up until October 10th, with more details available in Dellaram Vreeland’s article on The Courier site – http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3353553/interpreting-record-covers/

You can see more pix of the show on the Art Space’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wolveschildren

3) Some of you may have seen these videos in the past, but I just recently discovered 3 short videos made by Eric Arthur that bring viewers dozens and dozens of horrible album covers, synchronized to classical music scores. Eric is a musician who plays piano in New Orleans-style blues band Bucucrasu & The Slimline Shufflers and has also established himself as an expert in Bad Album Art (you know it when you see it), so if you’re looking to test your tolerance (you can always close your eyes and just enjoy the score), start with Part One of his Worst Album Covers Ever video series and build calluses on your brain from there – http://ericarthur.co.uk/bad-lp-covers/

Sept. 18th –  1) Would like to see you all visit Bruce Jenkins‘ Vinyl Connection site to read a couple of his recent postings having to do with album covers featuring hands. It seems that a number of art-obsessed genres – Prog, Metal, New Age, Jazz, etc. – use images of hands as a central design theme. Many seem to show hands palms up in an effort to invite you in to the recording (or, in some cases, as a way to show us what’s growing in their palms), and most are done close-up, perhaps to allow the palm readers in the audience to determine the length of the models’ Life and Love lines… In any case, Bruce found enough examples (22) to bring us two detailed articles – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/01/10-handy-album-covers/ and http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/15/12-more-handy-album-covers/ with the second collection containing what is my favorite example, that being the cover of Jerry Garcia’s Studio Sessions record (classic Garcia humor)…

2) The Entertainment & Musical Memorabilia Signature Auction hosted by Heritage Auction house recently showcased examples of classic graphic design – including a set of Richard Avedon psychedelic Beatles posters done for Stern magazine in 1968 (you’ll know them when you see them) – and something really unique done by artist/musician/part-time Beatle Klaus Voorman, that being a 1990’s reworking of his iconic cover art for the band’s Revolver LP. Voorman takes an original Revolver LP cover, lays a 12″ x 12″ piece of acetate on top of it, and then paints on new graphics that depict the band in their colorful Sgt. Pepper regalia. It’s an impressive work, and one that, in my estimation, will sell well-above the $2500 opening bid (no reserve, though!).
http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/klaus-voormann-original-beatles-artwork-sgt-revolver-germany-1990s-/a/7149-89117.s?ic4=GalleryView-Thumbnail-071515

Update – the Voorman artwork sold for $3250, while the Avedon prints sold for $4000 for the set…

3) Rock photography fans in the NYC area  were given the chance to hoof it on over to the “Photoville” pop-up photo show through Sunday the 20th to see some amazing shots on display from a number of the music industry’s best-known photographers, on display in a gallery made up of dozens of re-purposed shipping containers! The show – set up in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 Uplands area – was not limited solely to rock photography, but those with a keen eye will find works on display by Danny Clinch, Roberta Bayley, Janette Beckman (who also curated this part of the exhibit), Jill Furmanovsky, Barrie Wentzel and others. Writing for the Noisey Music By Vice site, Kim Taylor Bennett shares some examples of items you’ll see at the show and offers up some nice quotes from Ms. Beckman about several of her personal favorites. http://noisey.vice.com/blog/photoville-2015
Sept. 17th – 1) Well, Ringo’s not the only one with a new book and photo exhibition (see Sept. 16th entry)! Photographer Mick Rock spent a lot of time in the early 1970s with David Bowie who, at that time so early in his career, was enjoying an impressive creative and productive run, releasing several albums, going out on successful tours and even producing a record for Lou Reed (Transformer, which featured a great cover photo also by Mr. Rock). Mick amassed an amazing portfolio of Bowie photos during that period which now serve as the basis for a new book titled The Rise of David Bowie: 1972-1973, just published by Taschen Books. While Rock went on to produce memorable photos and video of many of the rising stars of the era – Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Queen and others – it was his work featuring Bowie that established his bona fides in the music industry. In this article by Drew Millard for the Vice.com site, you’ll learn more about the book and the stories that make it all the more impressive as a chronicle of a very exciting time in pop music – http://www.vice.com/read/mick-rock-documented-ziggy-stardusts-takeover-of-the-universe-taschen-909

In support of this new book, Taschen has put together a very impressive exhibit of photos from the book which is now on display at their gallery on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles (until October 11th). TItled “Mick Rock: Shooting for Stardust -The Rise of David Bowie & Co.”, the display will most-certainly tease collectors into thumbing through the 310-page, $700 limited-edition book (signed by both Rock and Bowie) of which only 1972 copies will be printed. Of those 1972 copies, 200 will be offered as “Art Editions” that will include one of two signed pigment prints. More details on the book are available at
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/03136/facts.mick_rock_the_rise_of_david_bowie_19721973.htm
While more info on the show – including a very nice photo gallery – can be found via the following link –
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/company/blog/661.mick_rock_shooting_for_stardust.htm

Bonus content – 5 years ago – Rock collaborated with director Barney Clay to create a short film based on footage (and other tidbits) Rock had in his archives from the video shoot of Bowie’s wonderful music video for the song “Life On Mars”. Done on behalf of the Creator’s Project creative collective, the resulting film is only shown in galleries and museums (per Bowie’s request), but you’ll enjoy learning more about “the making of” this film and seeing the joy on Mr. Rock’s face when he sees a sample of the work in progress (you’ll also like seeing an interview shot in the now-defunct Mars Bar…
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/barney-clay-gives-mick-rocks-david-bowie-footage-a-new-life

2) Even rabid sports fans can’t help but enjoy this one – a designer in Holland named Maans D. has used his graphic design talents to offer us his take on logos from professional football teams here in the U.S., recreated as album cover art. To makr the start of the season (Go Bears?), five of them are highlighted by writer Jason Alsher in this article on The Cheat Sheet site – http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/nfl-5-team-logos-redesigned-as-vinyl-album-covers.html/?a=viewall
and, if you’re so intrigued, you can see the balance of the designer’s efforts on his Behance site – https://www.behance.net/gallery/22799719/NFL-Vinyl-Collection
I think that you’ll agree that the logo for the Washington Redskins is a bit more palatable than the team’s current offering (I would love to resurrect the Senators name, but they might never agree to play another game).

Sept. 16th – New book, exhibition and auction items from one of the best-known rockers of all time – Ringo Starr

By now, many of you will have heard about the once-in-a-lifetime auction that will be taking place at Julien’s Auctions at the end of November featuring items from the personal collection of drummer Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara. When most of us “down-size”, it means selling off our old sofas, framed art we don’t like any longer, etc., but when Ringo & Co. work to reduce their possessions, you can only imagine what’s going to be on offer! You can start to fantasize by reading the press release about the auction – which will include some amazing items for album art fans, including Ringo’s personal copy of “the butcher cover”, White Album serial number 1, a Peter Blake “Love Me Do” painting and several of Ringo’s own works – http://www.juliensauctions.com/press/2015/ringo-starr-barbara-bach.html

At the same time, there is an extraordinary photo collection on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London that features photos Ringo had collected over the years and which had been stored away until he found them while digging through his storage not too long ago. A selection of his favorite shots has been assembled into a new book titled Photograph By Ringo Starr, with the first limited-edition copies (produced by Genesis Publishing) selling off in record time (see a gallery of images from the book via this link – http://www.genesis-publications.com/photograph-by-ringo-starr-the-signed-limited-edition/default.htm). On September 21st, a new open-edition of the book – which includes Ringo’s original 15,000+ word manuscript – was released at a price of £35.00, with orders being taken now on the NPG web site – http://www.npg.org.uk/shop/shop-list.php?showProductDetails=8665

Writing for The Guardian, art correspondent Mark Brown gives us a look at “the making of” this new book, which features a cover photo Starr took of himself in a mirror (an early “selfie”, it seems) – http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/09/ringo-photos-beatles-national-portrait-gallery-launch-book-exhibition
One tantalizing thought – Ringo is asking the surviving Beatle family members to dig through their own homes for photo books as he’s pretty certain that his other 3 band-mates would have similar troves of photos waiting to see the light of day….

Sept. 15th – 1) Joaquim Paolo and Julius Wiedemann have just published a new, multi-lingual edition of their well-regarded Jazz Covers book, originally released (in super-deluxe editions) in 2012 but now made more-accessible and affordable! As you all know, many great designers, photographers and illustrators have displayed their talents for lovers of music in many genres, but I think that the closest ties are between innovations and trends shared between designs for jazz and rock/pop music, which is why you’ll find so many practitioners of album cover design doing great work for clients in both genres. The new hardcover – all 672 pages of it – is available now for less than $20 from booksellers everywhere, or direct from the publisher at http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/45452/facts.jazz_covers.htm where you will find a nicely-illustrated intro to the book as well.

2) You can never get them started too young….Seattle-based record retailer/publisher Light In The Attic has teamed up with Jack White’s Third Man Records to release a “starter package” for young vinyl collectors – titled This Record Belongs To______ – that includes both a ready-to-run record player package and a specially-produced LP featuring music for kids by a host of top musicians – Carole King, Shel Silverstein, Harry Nilsson, Nina Simone and Kermit The Frog, to name several – as well as a custom cover and a story book by acclaimed artist Jess Rotter. The package retails for $95 complete, so with the Holidays not too far off in the future, click on over to http://lightintheattic.net/releases/1822-this-record-belongs-to__________ to take a look and pre-order this item (shipping in early November).

3) In another enviable example of an artist following his heart to settle in a place that gives him the best of everything he’s looking for, here’s an article about top rock photographer Steve Emberton‘s gradual (30+ year) transition from a U.S.-based shooter busy with hundreds of music industry assignments – having photographed many of the top 70s-80s acts both in the States and the U.K. – to a new life photographing his surroundings in the tranquil coastal town of Amble in England. You’ve seen his work – memorable photos of Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and album cover shots for acts including The Tubes, Lurkers and Gilbert O’Sullivan, among others – so it is intriguing to learn more about what motivated a guy used to the swingin’ scene in London to venture out to find a new life in Northumberland. Read the details in Barbara Hodgson‘s recent article on the Chronicle Live site – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/america-amble-how-rock-roll-10014482

Sept. 15th #2 –  1) I wrote recently about Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd‘s photo show (curated by Mr. Diltz’s gallery, Morrison Hotel) and was intrigued to see a new show, which launched September 18th at the Hilton|Asmus Foto Gallery in Chicago that combines their work with that of another high-quality shooter – Carintha West – with the results called “Visions of a Magic Time”. Rock photo fans in Chicago had the opportunity to meet all three players at a reception that Friday from 5:30pm – 9pm local time and chat with them as they took visitors through their respective collections. The show will be up until the end of October, with more details provided by writer Thomas Connors in Michigan Avenue magazine – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/visions-of-a-magic-time—michigan-avenue-magazine.html

2) Always the trend-setter, famed Pop artist (and Sgt. Pepper’s cover art creator) Sir Peter Blake has fully-embraced the tools of the digital age in creating and promoting his latest works, as is evidenced by the art “mash-up” app featuring his imagery that’s detailed in this BBC News article by entertainment/arts writer Kev Geoghegan. Using what’s called the Dazzle It application, users can remix and re-imagine some of Sir Peter’s works to create something unique and personal. The article includes an interview with the always-creative designer about how technology has been both an influence and a tool throughout his career – read and learn from a true master of the media – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-34151804

3) We work hard to promote as many of the music industry award shows that honor album cover design, so here’s a new posting about the winner – musical act Enter-Tribal for their Hitting The Trail record – in the “Best Album Cover Design” of this year’s Indigenous Music Awards held last week in Winnipeg, Canada. Other nominees included:
BEATRICE DEER – Fox
BLACKSTONE – Kaskite Asiniy
FLORENT VOLLANT – Puamuna
HELLNBACK – #FOE=Family Over Everything

To read about all of the winners in the rest of the categories, click on the link to this article on the CBC News site – http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/indigenous-music-awards-1.3224505

Congratulations to the winners!

Sept. 11th – 1) Yes, we all agree that the album cover images for the rock band Iron Maiden are typically quite spooky, but can we agree on which version is the most terrifying display of Eddie we’ve seen? In this recent article on the topic by John Hugar on the Uproxx.com site – done to commemorate the recent release of the group’s 16th studio album, this one titled The Book of Souls, with artwork by British illustrator Mark Wilkinson, who has also created covers for Judas Priest, Marillion and Fish (along with two earlier IM records) – you’ll find the author’s take on each record’s cover, from least-scary (1998’s Virtual XI) to number-one-most scary (not gonna tell you).
http://uproxx.com/music/2015/09/iron-maiden-book-of-souls-album-covers-ranked/
While I strongly disagree with the #1 choice (shoulda been swapped with #3, IMHO), I am (as always) duly impressed with the 35-year run that this character has enjoyed – now THAT’s “iconic”.

2) Famed rock photographer Brian Griffin’s new book of photos he’s taken of the pathways (i.e., train tracks) that lead to the various Nazi death camps in WW2-era Poland has been released and, rightly so, for the haunting quality of each image, been met with much critical acclaim. Titled Himmelstrasse (“Heaven Street” – a term the Nazis used with sick irony), Griffin’s book was released last week with a gallery show at The Photographer’s Gallery in London, which was followed with an appearance and signing during NYC’s Art Book Fair the next week. The book was inspired by Brian’s train trips in Poland, journeys that lead him to learn more about the rail system’s disturbing history…More on this in Jonathan Bell‘s recent article on the Wallpaper.com site – http://www.wallpaper.com/lifestyle/road-to-hell-a-new-book-by-brian-griffin-reveals-polands-dark-rail-networks

3) Folks in the Hoboken, NJ area now have the opportunity to immerse themselves into all things Frank Sinatra by visiting the Hoboken Historical Museum’s special exhibition – curated by the Grammy Museum and Sinatra’s family – that marks the 100th anniversary of late crooner’s birthday (this coming December 12th). “Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Voice, and the Fans,” is a must-visit for serious fans of Old Blue Eyes, as it features (according to the museum’s site) ” interactive displays and videos, period-appropriate listening stations, and cherished fan photographs and artifacts to illustrate the singer/actor’s formative years in Hoboken, highlights from his remarkable 60-year career, and memories from legions of fans. The exhibit will be accompanied by packed schedule of singers, films and authors, and a big birthday bash on Dec. 12, 2015.” Be sure to use the last vestiges of the “Summer Wind” and rub shoulders with other “Strangers In The Night” – “I’m Going Out of My Head” that it’s 3000 miles away.. https://www.hobokenmuseum.org/exhibitions/main-gallery/current-exhibition 

Sept. 10th – 1) Now this I like – Phil Collins is re-releasing re-mastered versions of his solo catalog and, in the process, replacing the original Trevor Key close-up photos with those taken more-recently (i.e., 30+ years later). The new records are part of his “Take A Look At Me Now” campaign, with the first two releases (Face Value and Both Sides) due out in November. Michael Roffman gives us the details on the Consequence of Sound site – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/09/phil-collins-is-reissuing-his-solo-catalogue-and-remaking-each-album-cover/

The extreme close-up approach to album cover imagery is one that has been used many times throughout rock record history. In fact, there’s even an entire AMIRIGHT site page titled “Face Close-Up Themed Album Covers“, where you’ll find examples from pop (Adele, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, etc.), hard rock (Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, KISS, etc.) and most other genres. Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Joe Cocker and several others showed their faces in great detail in multiple albums while, in some cases (you’ll see what I mean), it might have been wise to use a little make-up – http://www.amiright.com/album-cover-themes/face-close-ups/

My favorite – Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life

Yours?

2) Rock photographer Michael Miller has given us memorable cover photos for a wide range of musical acts, from Stan Getz to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Soul Asylum and over 50 rap/hip-hop acts, so it is not surprising to find his work featured in a new gallery show that focuses on the portfolio he produced of scenes and people related to the West Coast hip-hop scene of the 1990s. Writing for the OC Weekly, reporter Aimee Murillo gives us a look at this exhibition – titled “Love West Coast” – now on display (thru October 10th) at the DAX Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA that includes candid portraits of major music players including Tupac, Easy-E, N.W.A., Coolio and many others. Miller shares the stories behind several of his photo shoots, with pictures taken in areas and under circumstances that had the photographer more than a bit worried about his health, never knowing whether the residents of the neighborhoods they decided to stop in would appreciate the attention or exposure… for more info on the show, please visit – http://blogs.ocweekly.com/heardmentality/2015/09/mike_millers_and_west_coast_hip_hop_at_dax_gallery.php

3) It’s always nice when your alma mater’s college paper runs a story about one of your achievements, so photographer Eric Poppleton should be extra-proud of the coverage he received in Daniel Grady and Dara Metcalfe‘s recent article in The Ball State Daily about the now-famous photo he took that was featured on the cover of the now-even-more-famous N.W.A. record Straight Outta Compton. In the story, you’ll learn more about Eric, his mentor at Ball State (Muncie, Indiana) who encouraged him to consider a career in photography and how a kid from a very white part of the country ended up on his back in LA, looking up at a group of armed and fairly-menacing black men…read the details via the link at http://www.ballstatedaily.com/article/2015/09/straight-outta-muncie

Sept. 9th – 1) Rock art comes in all shapes, sizes and via many different forms of inspiration…Recently, artist Scott McPherson – who works using the moniker “Sink Shower” – was asked to apply his talents to help decorate a record store in Los Angeles called Vacation Vinyl. While on the surface that might not sound very interesting, Sink Shower’s best-known for a logo he designed for his own death-metal band, which he paints over and over again (with slight variations) to create a final image. What started as an art project back in Kansas has now taken on much larger proportions, with reporter J. Bennett working to help us understand the artist’s motivation and plans for the future in this article on the Noisy/Vice site – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/sink-shower

2) Way over on the other side of the country (Palm Beach, FL), the curators at the Holden Luntz Gallery have put together a show called “Let The Good Times Roll” that features 40 photos – dating from 1905 to 2010 – chosen to give show viewers an extended summer vacation, illustrating “the good life” in its many forms. Included in the show is a grouping of photos taken by famed rock photographer Norman Seeff (who has done well-known covers for Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones and many others) and featuring an image of young lovers Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe taken in NYC in 1969. Jan Sjostrum shares the details (and a photo gallery) with us in her coverage for The Palm Beach Daily News – http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/local/lifes-joyous-moments-on-view-at-holden-luntz-galle/nnSnX/

3) J.D. Cronise, front man for Austin, TX-based hard rockers The Sword, was so impressed with a gallery show by artist Jetter Green that he decided right then that he’d want to commission Green to do the art for the band’s next album. Knowing that “a good album cover always compliments a good record”, the pair worked together to produce the image that is now featured on High Country, just released on Razor & Tie Records. Read more about this successful collaboration in Scott Munro‘s article for Classic Rock (you’ll also find a podcast there with an interview with Cronise about “the making of” this new album) – http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2015-08-25/the-sword-praise-high-country-artwork

Sept. 8th – 1) Showing how art can both reflect and help better a lifestyle, this recent story by Andrew Edwards in the Long Beach Press-Telegram brings us news about artist Joe Cool (AKA Darryl Daniel, cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg and the guy that created the cover art for Dogg’s huge-selling Doggystyle album) and the unveiling of a new work of his (titled “Safe Refuge”) that he hopes will move those with substance abuse issues to consider – as he has – avoiding a life that’s been harmed by addiction. Today, after 12 years of sobriety, Joe Cool has teamed with local drug rehab organizations to bring both his art and his story to audiences that will hopefully appreciate both – http://www.presstelegram.com/arts-and-entertainment/20150827/doggystyle-artist-joe-cool-of-long-beach-has-new-art-and-new-lifestyle

2) Detroit, MI-based musician and album cover artist Niagara – having enjoyed some recent success for her stylish cover for Kid Rock’s latest record – has just released the artwork that will be used on a poster to promote the upcoming “Dally in the Alley” music/art event taking place this weekend in the city’s “Cass Corridor” neighborhood (former home of Creem Magazine and where The White Stripes played their first gig). Done in the instantly-recognizable “Niagara Style”, the poster’s subject asks you whether you’d like “to Dally in the Alley” and, as is usually the case when you see Niagara’s artwork, you find yourself wondering whether this would be safe to do (not because it is in Detroit – rather, because her femme fatales always look as though they might want to kill you rather than bother with you much longer!)…Read more in Lee DeVito’s feature on the Detroit Metro Times site – http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2015/08/28/niagara-designed-this-years-dally-in-the-alley-poster

3) Lastly, a slightly-belated R.I.P. message to fans of Sympathy For The Record illustrator “The Pizz”, who died recently at the young age of 57. Stephen Pizzuro has long been a well-loved and respected “lowbrow” artist, producing posters, fine art prints, Rat Fink comics and album covers for recording acts including Bad Religion, The Creamers, Ron Asheton’s Empty Set and others and his work has been featured in many rock poster books. I once had the pleasure of paging through his own book Atavistic Avatar and seeing his work on display at the La Luz De Jesus gallery in LA a number of years ago, so I will most certainly miss seeing any new output from someone who always brought a bit of outlandishness – and a ton of talent – to his work. Read David Peskovitz’s tribute on the Boing Boing site – https://boingboing.net/2015/09/01/lowbrow-artist-the-pizz-rip.html

Sept. 7th – 1) You might recall a recent posting about next year’s Rolling Stones-themed extravaganza at the Saatchi Gallery in London – 50 years of memorable iconography, including lips, tongues, steel wheels, goats heads, etc.. In anticipation of that show, which will be touring the world after its premiere in the U.K., The Drum‘s Thomas O’Neill recently posted his interviews with several leaders in the design world – including record cover designers Stefan Sagmeister, Carin Goldberg, Caroline Robert and Tom Genower – and asked them to note which examples of the Stones’ album art have had the most influence on their own careers. You’ll read stories about Exile, Sticky Fingers, Beggar’s Banquet and even a life-size poster of Brian Jones – http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/08/28/stone-cold-classics-unconventional-iconography-rolling-stones

2) Here’s an interesting example of album art inspiring an even more creative approach to teaching today’s media-obsessed youth – 4th grade teacher Adrian Perez has decorated his Mendota, CA classroom with artwork from Kanye West album covers (including the amazingly-popular Murakami teddy bear found on the rapper’s hit 2007 record Graduation) and used these images and the titles of West tracks as the bases for a number of his classes – “Math Monsters”, “Touch The Sky With ELA”, etc. – and to highlight the progress of his kids throughout the year (“I’m Amazing”, “Power Readers” and others). On the whole, parents seemed to be encouraged, but I’d like to see whether his students’ overall performance (in areas besides rhyming) improves via this unique teaching method…More on this in Eliza Murphy’s article on the ABC News web site – http://abcnews.go.com/beta/Entertainment/teachers-kanye-west-themed-classroom-welcomes-students-good/story?id=33391494

3) It’s been 10 years since the release of Wolfmother’s self-titled debut album, which initially caused a bit of a stir in the loins of certain record retailers who objected to the record’s use of a beautiful-but-bare-bosomed Frank Frazetta painting (titled “The Sea Witch”) on the cover (in addition to several other examples of the fantasy artist’s work for covers of some of the popular record’s singles). Well, the band is re-releasing the record later this month (Sept. 25th) in a special collector’s edition that will include more music (demos, live performances. etc.) and will be available – original artwork in tact – on 180-gram vinyl. If you’re a fan of this band and/or style of artwork, I’d strongly suggest clicking on over to this recent article by Mike “DJ” Pizzo on the Medium/Cuepoint site – quite the eyeful, I must say! https://medium.com/cuepoint/wolfmother-10-years-deep-5f7235d9b1c6

Sept. 4th – Three new shows for you to visit…
1) If you’re headed to Las Vegas any time soon, be sure to stop by the Delano Hotel to see Robert Knight and Maryanne Bilham‘s excellent new photo show there. In the new show, titled “Defiantly Inspired”, you’ll find portraits of many of your favorite rock artists – both classic and “up-and-coming” – including Santana, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Slash, LORDE and many others. They’ve also recorded “making of” descriptions for the images on display that you can listen to live via a downloadable app (how totally modern!). The show runs through the end of the month, and you can read more about it in this feature on the Vegas News site – http://www.vegasnews.com/140574/delano-las-vegas-unveils-rock-n-roll-photography-exhibit-defiantly-inspired-featuring-local-artists.html

2) When you’re done with your trip to Vegas, head a few hours West to see the premiere of a travelling exhibit curated by the Morrison Hotel Gallery featuring selections from the extensive portfolios of rock photographers Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd. The show’s called “Behind The Lens”, and both photographers were on hand to kick off the tour September 10th at Largo on La Cienega in Los Angeles. Both of these photographers were integral parts of the scenes they shot – Diltz as a member of the Modern Folk Quartet (and a Laurel Canyon resident) and Boyd as a top fashion model and muse/wife to both Georege Harrison and Eric Clapton – so their portraits have always benefited from this intimacy with their subjects. Writing for Goldmine MagazineChris M. Junior had the chance to interview both of them just before they left for their tour (which also had stops in Nashville, Chicago, NYC and the final one in Falls River, MA on Sept. 23rd), so click on over to learn more – http://www.goldminemag.com/article/diltz-boyd-behind-lens-tour?

3) The works of Paul McCartney’s younger brother Michael – a talented song-writer, musician and photographer himself – are at the center of a new photography exhibition that opened in early September in (where else?) Liverpool, England in a new gallery in the never-before-opened catacombs under St, George’s Hall. Titled “McCartney Luvs St. George’s Hall”, the show is built around a collection of 60 photos McCartney has taken of this beloved local landmark. McCartney’s photos of rock and entertainment royalty have been shown in exhibitions all over the world (including several in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery) and published in magazines, newspapers, etc. – even meeting the Queen herself during her Majesty’s historic visit to the Liverpool Museum when the city celebrated being a Cultural Capital a few years back. The show runs through October 18th, with details and more available via this article on the Broadway World site – http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwart/article/New-Photography-Exhibition-by-Mike-McCartney-to-Open-at-St-Georges-Hall-20150619

Sept. 3rdArt Chantry at Powell’s Books, Portland, OR – Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 7:30pm 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Don’t call Art Chantry an “artist” – he’s a “graphic designer” and, although he’s quite adamant about the fact that most of the practitioners working in graphic design today are uninspired and simply willing to do anything for their corporate clients just so that they can put the billable hours on their timesheets, the thing that seems to bother him the most is that they are his unworthy competition. And you know, after watching the presentation he made before a good-sized crowd at Powell’s Books here in downtown Portland, OR last Monday night, I find myself agreeing with him, on the most part.

Art was in town to promote the release of his latest book on the field of graphic design titled Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History Of 20th Century Graphic Design (published by Feral House books, with a cover design by Crap Hound’s Sean Tejaratchi and John Hubbard) and, as someone with an album cover credit list that includes images for Soundgarden, The Rev. Horton Heat, Presidents of the U.S.A, Pigeonhed, Pussy Galore, Love Battery, The Beatles (yup, look it up) and many, many others, I knew that I had to be there to meet the man who, as 4X Art Director for the influential Seattle/Portland-area newspaper The Rocket (now deceased) and the foremost proponent of the “when you have no budget, you can do about anything, by hand and with salvaged materials” approach to memorable design, is most-credited for the U.S. punk and grunge-era aesthetic of the past 40 years.

Using his trusty Kodak Carousel 750H slide projector (via a 12-foot wired “clicker”), Chantry took the audience through a career retrospective that began with his first punk rock poster for a Bellingham, WA appearance of Penelope Houston’s The Avengers, which also turned out to be the first poster Art did that was torn off of most of the telephone poles in the area by folks who were less-than-happy with the print’s appearance. It was then that, according to the artist, “I learned that ugly can be a tool in controlling the viewer’s responses and emotions”. He used his early seat-of-the-pants experience to its next logical application as the art director for start-up Seattle-area entertainment rag called The Rocket, with that publication earning national attention for bringing a great sense of design and market-perfect editorial to readers looking for the news delivered to them in a language (visual and verbal) that was theirs alone.

A music review column called “Sub Pop” (written by Bruce Pavitt) was added to The Rocket in 1983 and, a few years later when Pavitt launched a new record label by the same name, he asked Chantry to provide the necessary graphics to package their new music products. Chantry recalled that one of the things that annoyed him the most about providing sleeve designs for his music industry clients was that the inside of the CD – the booklet, the insert graphics and the images printed on the CD itself – were usually very boring (and often obscured by the damage suffered by cracks and smudges in the jewel case), so he spent as much time as he could making sure that the insides would be as compelling as the cover images. Examples of this for clients including the Mono Men, Love Battery, Pigeonhed, The Thrown Ups and others helped those of us in attendance get a good idea of how important this effort really was.

Chantry did spend a lot of time presenting his case as to why working for music industry and other corporate clients has gone from a reliable source of pride and income to something that he’s telling up-and-coming graphic designers to strongly consider before choosing to work in this field. As he put it, “These days, everyone in America speaks and understands graphic design. We agree to the basic rules – the color green means “go”, red means “stop”, etc. – so the only way I can change someone’s mind about what those standard symbols mean is to f*ck with their mind. I work this way so that I can compete with and beat out a kid who just bought a computer and some software 2 weeks ago – they can’t do what I do on their computer”, meaning that great ideas don’t happen simply when someone takes a photograph and hits the “optimize” button.

Acknowledging that he realizes that he’s started something that, to the uneducated, can (on the surface, without the humor or the insight) be replicated by almost anyone with the tools, he admitted that “what I was doing worked too damn well and just about put me out of business”. These days, he realizes that he’s often being hired to “create an Art Chantry” – i.e., one that looks like what he’s done before, with his name on it – and while he might need to resort to accepting commissions like those to pay the bills, this is not where a famous designer should be at this point in his career. He also wants people to know that 20th Century design has been influenced by many talented and experimental designers, many who have gone uncredited and unacknowledged for years, so it is with this sense of purpose (and a desire to sell some books) that he’s published this new book.

I hope that you’ll find a copy (I’m going through mine right now) and take the time to learn what Chantry’s wanting us to know. As someone who is also working now on a new book that, when published, looks to bring music/art fans closer to the sources of their favorite album cover images, it was really quite the treat to be able to meet and learn from one of the greats.

You’ll find his book via the link – http://feralhouse.com/art-chantry-speaks/

Thanks again to Powell’s Books for hosting this (and so many other) author appearances! http://www.powells.com/calendar/

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

Album Cover News Recap – July, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – June, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

With Summer coming here  to the Pacific Northwest with an unseasonable blast of heat and drought conditions to the East and South of us, many album art fans I know are looking for ways to spend quality time indoors, so what better way to beat the heat than by joining like-minded individuals from all over the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe in search of the latest news about album art and the artists that create it. To that end, there were a number of interesting headlines we at the ACHOF posted throughout the month of June, with an impressive number of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feed. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, with the rest following in greater detail.

Having survived one of the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I’m glad to report that all’s well with yours truly on that front and, once again, I have say “thanks” to you all for your patience and continued support during that ordeal. And now, on with the report…

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get to know a bit more about several of their favorite cover image producers including  the always-controversial Stephen Sagmeister, photographer M. Sukita, designer Don Clark and Portland’s own Carson Ellis, as well as my own interview with one of the punk music scene’s most-influential shooters, Edward Colver. This interview came after years of attempts to organize a “Featured Artist Portfolio” item with the elusive Mr. Colver, so I’m proud to be able to finally share this with you.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, publishers were busy promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos from artists including photographer Jay Blakesberg, illustrator James Marsh and, in a follow-up to my report a couple of months back about Ramon “Oscuro” Martos’s newest book titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Cover, there’s a report on a new documentary film short based on the book created for fans of the fantastic art often found gracing the covers of heavy metal music records.

June proved to be a busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with curators and gallery owners in several locations around the world displaying collections that included the works of  photographers Anton Corbijn, Richard E. Aaron and the late Ken Regan, Beatles animator Ron Campbell and Sgt. Pepper’s designer Jann Haworth, along with several retailers who are promoting the limited-edition re-releases of a group of LPs by the Rolling Stones and a group show in Ohio featuring several well-known shooters that covered various aspects of the local/national music scenes. Finally, in Chicago and on the West Coast, fans of the Grateful Dead will find several shows celebrating the band’s 50th anniversary (and their “final” tour).

Other stories included profile features on artist/surf music icon Dean Torrance and the enigmatic MC Escher, user-generated content built around their photos of the current state of the places where famous album cover photos were taken and a soon-to-be-released documentary on the career of famed photographer Brian Griffin. News continued with features on a Cleveland-based artisan who crafts working guitars out of wood and album covers and how one Portland, OR tourist magnet – Voodoo Doughnuts – crafted their own Sgt. Pepper‘s-like collage for an ad in a local paper promoting the shop’s 12th anniversary celebration.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. While I was slowed in my quest to update those already there with new information and to add another 50 or so new ones before taking a break to work on my book project (more to come on this later), that should in no means delay you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends and/or days when it’s beautiful outside) 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).

June 30th – As fans are getting ready to enjoy several “farewell” performances in Chicago this weekend, here are some Grateful Dead-related stories for you:

1) If you’re in Chicago (perhaps one of the 200,000 people who purchased tickets for the shows being played at Soldier Field), why not hop across the street to the Field Museum to see the special exhibition they’re running built out of items on loan from the Grateful Dead archive at UC Santa Cruz. The show’s called “All The Years Combine: Deadhead Treasures from the Grateful Dead Archive and GDTS Too” and was co-curated by UCSC archivist Nicholas Meriwether, who’ll also be contributing his writing skills to the group’s 50th anniversary box set that will be shipping later this year (80 discs for $700). For more information on this special showing, along with the shows Mr. Meriwether has planned for his own gallery back in California to commemorate The Dead’s golden anniversary, read Scott Rappaport’s recent article in the University’s newsletter via the link at http://news.ucsc.edu/2015/06/dead-archive-farewell.html

2) Two galleries – one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles – are also running special Dead-related shows featuring art and photography by many of the artists known for their work for (and featuring) the band. In the Bay area, the San Francisco Art Exchange has posted a collection of 19 images (with more to come ASAP) showing the band and the local scene throughout their career, with shots by photographers including Robert Altman, Jim Marshall, Graham Nash, Ken Regan, Bob Seidemann and Baron Wolman and including portraits, concert photos and others sure to warm the hearts of Dead Heads everywhere.

http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400115&start=0

Down the coast in LA, the Mr. Musichead gallery is hosting a show called Truckin’: Celebrating 50 Years of The Grateful Dead, where you’ll find photos and artwork by, Arnaud Azoulay Jay Blakesberg, Adrian Boot, Jack Morefield, Peter Simon, Leni Sinclair, and Baron Wolman. This display is available for viewing from now until July 9th. http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13701

June 29th – Stories about 2 Southern California-based album cover artists:

1) Famed cover and poster artist John Van Hamersveld has provided the citizens of, and visitors to, the town of Hermosa Beach, CA with something wonderful to look at – a new mural depicting the history of surfing/surfboards, delivered in a style that only the creator of both the Endless Summer and Magical Mystery Tour  promo images could have done. Unveiled to viewers this past weekend, the mural pays homage to JVH’s fascination with both psychedelic art and the early 19th Century paintings by Japanese master Hokusai. More info on the project is provided by Stephen Carr on The Daily Breeze site – http://photos.dailybreeze.com/2015/06/photos-mural-by-artist-john-van-hamersveld-unveiled-in-hermosa-beach/#1

2) While most music fans are aware of Dean Torrance’s musical output as part of pioneering surf music duo Jan & Dean, fewer know about his equally-impressive graphic arts talents, shown over the years in the many album covers he produced. After the musical act was forced to sideline its work after Jan’s terrible auto accident in 1966, Torrance used the visual arts training he received while at USC and started a design company, producing imagery for music industry clients including the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, Harry Nilsson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, earning four Grammy Award nominations for his work along the way and winning one in 1972 for the cover for Pollution’s self-titled LP. Today, at age 75, he’s still working at his design firm located – where else – in Orange County, CA’s “Surf City”, Huntington Beach, and you can read more about what else he’s up to these days in David Ferrell’s recent article on the Orange County Register web site at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/torrence-667695-city-surf.html

P.S. – R.I.P. Chris Squire – one heckofa bassist – you’ll be missed.

June 26th –  1) I’ve been muddling this over for a couple of weeks now and, since I can’t seem to come to any conclusions with regards to who is right and who is wrong, I thought that I’d just post this and see what my readers think. A couple of weeks back, designer Stefan Sagmeister was speaking at a conference and pronounced that – I’ll paraphrase as best I can – album cover designs are inherently better/more meaningful than those for movies, going as far as to pronounce that one rather-well-known theatrical poster (i.e., the one for the original Star Wars film) “is ultimately a piece of shit”.

As you may know, many designers/illustrators/art directors working today apply their talents to projects in both fields, as well as for clients in the book and magazine publishing worlds, theatrical design, etc., so while I think that Sagmeister’s comments might be true in some cases, I don’t see how, for example, Drew Struzan’s posters for the Indiana Jones film series are any less-impressive than his album covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.

Rather than stoke the flames of a confrontation, I would be more than happy to moderate a discussion between these and other album cover/film poster art professionals and other experts in the field (as well as knowledgeable fans) on the topic or, more simply, just ask “can’t we all just get along?” Read the coverage on this, along with a recent interview with Mr. Sagmeister conducted by Dan Howarth for Dezeen.com – http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/16/stefan-sagmeister-interview-graphic-design-star-wars-poster-album-record-covers/

2) Just who was responsible for the ideas that led to the creation of the originally-banned-but-now-iconic cover art for Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols? There have been several participants who’ve claimed that the inspiration was all theirs, so it was wonderful to read this recent posting by Diffuser.fm’s James Stafford in which he provides “the facts” presented by the two principal protagonists – designer Jamie Reid and punk impresario, the late Malcolm McLaren. As some of you may recall, both the cover’s design and content led to some quite-contentious responses from critics, industry execs and, in the case of the use of the word “bollocks” – which has several meanings in British English – the local constabulary, who arrested a record store owner for indecency when he displayed the promotional items for the new record in his shop’s windows…While we may never know “the rest of the story”, it does provide us with a lot to ponder and enjoy (particularly, the music, samples of which are linked in to the story) – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-never-mind-the-bollocks-heres-the-sex-pistols/

June 25th – 1) Good things come to those that wait – At long last, I’m happy to announce the publication of the latest Album Cover Hall of Fame “Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio” article, with this one bringing you samples from the impressive portfolio of one of the best-known photographers that covered the punk music scene in the U.S., Edward Colver. Perhaps most-remembered for his photos of bands in the emerging Southern California punk club scene, Colver shares some of the stories behind “the making of” cover shots for musical acts including Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, TSOL and other acts – including one eye-catching image that was used on rapper Ice Cube’s Greatest Hits compilation. This article would never have been completed without the ongoing help of publicist Kate Gammell and ACHOF friend Robert Bostrom, so I’d like to thank them both for their ongoing support and patience during the nearly five years (!!) that it took to complete this.
And now, without any further delay, here’s the link – enjoy, and please share with your friends.
https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/achof-featured-artist-portfolio-photographer-edward-colver/

2) Special Southern California music scene bonus item – very few bands have had as powerful a logo/band icon as the one called the “Fiend Skull” associated with another early punk band The Misfits, so it was great to read the details of one of their most-recent shows and the band’s ongoing efforts to provide their fans with new and exciting band merchandise. While Jerry Only is the sole “classic line-up” member left (with Glenn Danzig and Only still duking it out over who has the rights to what), the skull logo motif has been updated to better-represent the current players while still giving fans what they love and respect. The current concerts revolve around playing complete albums, so the t-shirts sold at the event include both custom imagery and unique set lists. I only hope that these new shirts were damaged appropriately while worn in the very-active mosh pits found at each show. More on this in Will Theisens recent article in (where else) The Orange County Register – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/misfits-667563-night-album.html

June 24th – Three for the photography lovers in the audience:

1) In preparation for the Photographs, Icons & Style auction Christie’s is holding on June 30th, they’ve published an article on one of the photographers whose works will be offered that day, that being Stéphane Sednaoui, a fellow well-known to album cover fans for his color-infused fantasy shot of Bjork found on the cover of her 1995 album Post, as well as his photo and video work for many other music industry clients, including Madonna, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Garbage. Some of his video work was on display as part of the recent Bjork exhibition at MoMA in NYC, while his photos are included in the “Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” show running currently (through August 3rd) at the Grand Palais in Paris. More info on his artist and his works are available via the link – http://www.christies.com/features/Iconic-photographs-of-Bjork-Big-time-sensuality-6248-1.aspx

Follow-up – on June 30th, the two Stephane Sednaoui photos of Bjork sold at prices in the mid-range of their estimates – the color photo from the cover of Post had a pre-auction estimate of €20 – 30,000     and sold for €25,000 ($28,047); while the black & white photo he took while shooting for her Big Time Sensuality record (not the cover)  had a pre-auction estimate of €8 – 12,000 and sold for €10,000 ($11,219). The auction, which featured images from photo greats including Richard Avedon, Nobuyoshi Araki, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, among many others, enjoyed total sales of 1,720,475 euros for the 62 lots offered. 

2) Give the fans what they want! Dutch artist/photographer/film-maker Anton Corbijn’s much-lauded “1-2-3-4” show at the Hague Museum of Photography has been extended through August 16th, giving more fans world-wide an opportunity to see this prodigious album cover-maker’s work for subjects including U2, Nick Cave, The Slits, Nirvana and many others. Although he finds himself spending most of his time these days shooting and editing critically-acclaimed films (you’ll recall his work for the Ian Curtis bio-pic Control and The American, starring George Clooney), we’re glad that he found the time to select over 350 works from his archives for this impressive show. Rebecca Bengal gives us the good news in her recent posting in the Art and Culture section on the Vogue magazine site –http://www.vogue.com/13275138/anton-corbijn-exhibition-hague-museum-of-photography/

3) Photographer Jay Blakesberg has over 250 album package credits to his name, but his recently-released book titled Guitars That Jam has him delivering portraits of a very-specific type – images of guitars being played by their well-known owners. Inspired by fan feedback he received when he included several guitar/guitarist shots in his last book, Blakesberg felt that a book of these images would resonate with both fans and musicians, as there are many stories to be shared about the relationships between axe-slingers and their instruments (think B.B. King and Lucille, Clapton with his black & white Fender Stratocaster, etc.).Glide Magazine’s Joe Raniere interviews Mr. Blakesberg about his new book (which features an intro by Warren Hayes) in this article –
http://www.glidemagazine.com/137973/photographer-jay-blakesberg-captures-beloved-axes-guitars-jam-interview/

June 23rd – 1) Money and Fame are, most times, powerful incentives for artists to work on projects that they might not have done normally but, in the case of artist and “master of illusion” MC Escher – as the stories are retold in this nice article by Steven Poole on The Guardian web site – it was all about the respect he did or did not receive from fans, clients and the fine art world in general. While he did license his work for use on album covers for Clannad, Michael Brecker and Mott The Hoople, he turned down more requests than he accepted, including opportunities to work with Mick Jagger and film-maker Stanley Kubrick. Of course, as is often the case with great artists, his work was often appropriated without his knowledge, and it was only after his death in 1972 that Escher achieved the degree of success and respect (in the form of exhibitions and books on his work), so if you’d like to read more about the life and times of a true artistic visionary, please click on over to this story –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/20/the-impossible-world-of-mc-escher

2) Over the weekend, I discovered a new book that fans of music, art and fashion should certainly seek out. Written by author and Goth fan Natasha Scharf (and published late in 2014 by Backbeat Books, part of Hal Leonard Publishing), The Art of Gothic: Music + Fashion + Alt Culture is a very nicely-illustrated 224-page tome that explores the genre since it’s “launch” in the late 1970s and all of the various sub-genres – some quite dark, while others are simply fascinating – that have combined to make modern Gothic imagery one that continues to amaze and impress fans world-wide. You’ll find a lot of info on the many artists that produce album cover art for musical acts in the genre, including Alan Forbes, Andy Vella/Parched Art, HR Giger and multi-talented musician/artists including Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. I found a video trailer on YouTube featuring the author and her book, so fans of “the dark side” of the music/entertainment business can meet her and understand her motivations behind this new publication –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTzHkPQD9Jw

3) Lastly – I found a recent article on a site called Hit The Floor, written by Josh Pratt, titled “WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE BEST ALBUM ARTWORK OF 2015 SO FAR!” and clicked on over expecting to learn more about this survey and the artwork featured within. Alas, when I got there, what I found was a slide show featuring 33 recent cover images, but the selections were not accompanied by any explanation of why they were “the best”. No information was included besides the album’s name and the name of the musical act, and so I wondered what qualified the author to be able to make such a claim. Clicking on his bio, I found that he is a career military man living in North Carolina and, apparently, with no background at all in music or art. While I certainly believe that “citizen journalism” can be a benefit to us all – many bloggers and writers have impressive backgrounds in the subject area they write about, or at least a lot of passion for the subject – it is articles like this that make me wonder how/when (if ever) it will be possible to filter content in ways that allow us to keep informed via written articles that contain useful information. Am I being too hard on this guy, or ?? Your opinions would be appreciated.
http://www.hitthefloor.com/features/we-take-a-look-at-the-best-album-artwork-of-2015-so-far/

June 22nd – 1) Fans of all things rock and roll should have a good time tomorrow (june 23rd) at theExperience Music Project’s 15th anniversary bash at the museum’s HQ in Seattle, WA. I’ve been to the museum many times and am always impressed with their exhibitions, their permanent collection and the digital library and archive they’ve created. Of course, there are always many album cover-related items on display, and in their new Hendrix-centered display titled Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad 1966-1970, you’ll find many examples of original artwork, photography and personal items from the final stages of Jimi’s career. The museum offered free admission (and birthday cupcakes!) to attendees all day June 23rd – click on over to the EMP’s site for the details –
http://www.empmuseum.org/calendar/events/15th-birthday-bash.aspx

2) When both the label’s founder and its art director share a love of the memorable album art created by classic British indie labels 4AD and Factory Records, you can assume that they’ll bring that passion for great art to their own offerings and, as you’ll see in this recent article by Silas Valentino on The Village Voice web site, the head honchos at Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones Records have done just that. 135 records later, shades of Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver are evident in the label’s artwork for their own acts such as The Hunt, Jenny Hval, Zola Jesus and many others. You’ll learn a lot more about the ongoing influence that art has on the label’s approach to offering fans something unique and interesting in this nice interview article, available via the link – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/adoptions-and-adaptations-the-distinctive-design-of-sacred-bones-records-7255864

3) Storm Thorgerson’s artistic vision, Bob Dowling’s photographic talent and an impressive album cover budget combined to deliver fans one of Pink Floyd’s most-memorable album covers, that being the one found on 1987’s A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Never before had over 700 hospital beds been arranged so nicely on a beach, so it was with great interest that I enjoyed the recent reading of this informative article on the topic by Matt Dolloff for the WZLX web site. I hope you’ll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into this project as well –http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/2015/06/15/pink-floyd-momentary-lapse-of-reason-album-cover-photo-shoot/

June 19th –  1) Jann Haworth – the talented pop artist who teamed up with designer Sir Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper to bring us the timeless artwork for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album – is the subject of a new exhibition opening tonight in her adopted home town of Salt Lake City, UT. Ms. Haworth has lived in the area for over 15 years and even re-imagined the SPLHCB artwork in a mural she painted in downtown SLC, so this new show – titled “Round Trip” – serves to showcase her work and the influences of the places she’s lived throughout her career. The show can be seen at the Modern West Fine Art Gallery through July 16th, with an opening reception tonight (June 19) beginning at 6PM local time. More on this show in Kelsey Schwab’s article on the Deseret News web site –http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630624/Local-exhibit-to-feature-work-of-pop-artist-behind-Sgt-Pepper7s-album-cover.html?pg=all

2) Also opening the weekend of June 19th was a new gallery show featuring the works of famed rock photographer Richard E. Aaron, a guy who many of you will know for his album covers for Kool & The Gang, Ray Charles, the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton (Aaron’s shot of the heart-throb in concert graces the cover of one of the most-successful double albums of all time – Frampton Comes Alive!). Called “Rock On Paper”, the show includes well over 200 of his best-known images, including many you’ve seen in magazines, books and other media outlets. Running through August 1st at the Fathom Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles (Aaron’s home town), the exhibit offers attendees a very small sampling of Richard’s archive – over 45,000 shots of the millions he’s taken have been published – no wonder why he was voted one of the Top 10 Music Photographers by Modern Photography magazine! Read more, see more (including a list of the shots that will be on display) on the Monsters And Critics web site –
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/rock-superstars-from-a-to-z-dazzle-the-eye-in-richard-e-aaron-exhibit-opening-in-l-a/

3) Adobe – no stranger to visual imagery, as most of the world’s photographers, graphic artists, illustrators, etc., use their products to create and catalog their works – is celebrating their 25th anniversary and, as part of their festivities, recently published a list of the 25 most-influential young artists in the world. A young (18) artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin was included on the list, giving him his second big win in the past year – the first being his commission from rock act Pink Floyd to create the album cover for their most-recent release, The Endless River. Fans of Eldin and his work will also soon get to see more of his creations when he “takes over” the Adobe Photoshop Instagram account for a couple of weeks and displays his portfolio on that popular platform. You can learn a bit more about this story via writer Enas El Masry’s recent posting on the Egyptian Streetsweb site – http://egyptianstreets.com/2015/06/17/egyptian-teenager-selected-among-the-best-25-visual-artists-worldwide/

June 18th – 1) Always happy to promote the album cover-related efforts of local (Portland, OR) talent, so today I’d like to point you to a recent interview/article on the talented author/illustrator/graphic designer Carson Ellis and her most-recent artistic endeavors, including a new children’s book and album packaging for her hubby Colin Meloy’s band, The Decemberists. While she’s illustrated books for other children’s book authors (Lemony Snicket and Florence Parry Heide, for example), the recently-published “Home” is her first as both author and illustrator. In Jeff Baker’s recent posting on The Oregonian‘s “Oregon Live” site, you’ll read more about Ellis, her work, her relationship with her musical husband and their recent move from Portland to a farm outside the city –http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2015/06/carson_ellis_finds_home_with_n.html

2) In order to provide a broader range of content than their budgets might allow, many publications have turned to “citizen journalists” for their help in gathering items for inclusion in their stories. In a new example posted recently on The Guardian(UK’s) site, you’ll find a number of photos of places that have served as the backgrounds for a host of well-known album covers such as a railing in NYC’s Greenwich Village used on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush to a back alley behind the original CBGB’s club used for the Ramones’ Rocket To Russia to a Liverpool pub used on Ringo Starr’s Sentimental Journey and an alley behind the band’s recording studio used on the cover of the debut album by The Clash. Leave it to the fans to find out the truth, I always say… http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/jun/09/albums-sleeve-art-locations-readers-pictures?

3) In a quick follow-up to yesterday’s bit (posted June 17th) on the Lackey Rd. Guitars (featuring graphics supplied by some of your favorite classic rock record covers), I found a Flickr page that shows many more examples of these instruments – gotta love theLayla and Woodstock poster-based examples –https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlackey/sets/72157644738690191/

June 17th –  Two new examples of album cover-inspired creativity:

1) Based in Cleveland, OH (home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and a pretty good basketball team) is a fellow by the name of David Lackey and David, a retired teacher, has started a small business making electric guitars out of cigar boxes and, most-interestingly, classic album cover-topped solid wood bases. Yes, musicians looking for something different to play can now hit the stage playing 12″ square custom guitars based on their favorite albums, or select one from a list of classics including Abbey Road, Cheap Thrills, Led Zeppelin’s Mothership or several Grateful Dead LPs.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/187553366/custom-order-album-cover-electric-guitar?ref=shop_home_active_2 
Hoping to learn a little more about these but, in the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about David and his hand-crafted LP axes, please visit his site.

2) Often times, when fine artists are looking for easily-identifiable examples of Pop Culture on which to base their newer works, they turn to well-known album covers to serve as those bases. In a new example of such a project, Jeremy Hallock of the Dallas Observer introduces us to an art exhibition featuring the work of Amarillo, TX-based artist Jon Revett, whose new show titled The Glacier Project (which ran thru June 18th) was on display at The Safe Room gallery at the Texas Theater and offered viewers his attempt to combine Pop visuals with the spiritual graphical elements often found in Islamic art. Interestingly, each 12″ square “tile” in the finished work is available for sale at $20 each, so the “glacier” will “melt” a bit each time a tile is sold! Read more about the artist and this fascinating display via the link – http://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/the-glacier-project-is-melting-at-the-texas-theatre-7297442

June 16th –  3 items for fans of album cover photography:

1) With the much-lauded “David Bowie Is” exhibition moving soon to the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, writer Annemarie Kiely just posted an interview in her column for Vogue Living with long-time Bowie photographer Masayoshi Sukita about his new Bowie photo show at the Mossgreen Gallery in Melbourne. Best-known for his cover photo for Bowie’s Heroes LP, Sukita shares more details about that photo session, his relationships with Bowie and buddy Iggy Pop and touring Kyoto with Bowie doing the driving.
The show is on display at the gallery through July 30th, with the “David Bowie Is” exhibition launching July 1 and running thru the end of November. Click the link to learn more –http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+living/arts/david+bowies+photographer+on+forty+years+of+collaboration,36960

2) After photographer Ken Regan passed away in late 2012, his daughter Suzanne uncovered a trove of unpublished photos in his archives that served to document “the turbulent 1960s”. Working with the folks at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street in NYC, a new show based on a selection from these shots – titled “Ken Regan – A Decade Of Uncovered Images” is now on display (thru July 3rd). While album cover fans will best remember Regan’s work via his images for Bob Dylan (Desire, Greatest Hits Vol. 3). The Alpha Band and others, Ken worked as a photo-journalist covering major news and cultural events, so in addition to his photos of celebrities from TV, film and publishing arenas, you’ll find shots of the Apollo 11 astronauts on parade, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. You can find out more about this show in Leslie Feffer’s recent posting on theExaminer.com site – http://www.examiner.com/article/exhibit-of-ken-regan-photos-debuts-today-at-morrison-hotel-gallery

3) Last week, photographer Bud Lee died at the age of 74, 12 years after suffering a paralyzing stroke. During his career, the photo-journalist made a regular habit of catching celebrities from all walks of life in their natural settings, with his candid photos of subjects including Al Green, Clint Eastwood and Mick Jagger finding their way into articles in major publications and books world-wide. His photos of ZZ Top were used in two recent covers for the band – 2012’s Original Album Series and 2013’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970 – 1990. A service in Lee’s memory will be held July 11 at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, FL, the place he called home after moving there in the 1970s. More on Lee and his career can be found in Dave Nicholson’s article on the Tampa Tribune site – http://tbo.com/plant-city/photographer-whose-shots-included-both-famous-and-ordinary-folk-dies-at-74-20150611/

June 15th – 1) In this month’s edition of Rachael Steven’s “Record Sleeves of the Monthfeature on the Creative Review site, you’ll find the stories behind a number of nice new cover images, including those for musical acts such as Everything Everything (illustrated by Andrew Archer), Of Monsters And Men (abstract logo design by Leif Podhajsky) and Tame Impala, with a somewhat-psychedelic cover image by Kentucky artist Robert Beatty. As always, Rachael includes some covers for international (meaning “not easily found in the U.S.”!) artists as well, so there are always some unusual and intriguing things to see and learn about. To read the entire, nicely-illustrated article, just follow the link –http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/june/record-sleeves-june

2) Writing for DIY Magazine, Sammy Maine recently posted an interview article with Seattle-based graphic powerhouse Don Clark in which he recounts his work for the cover of Brand New’s second major release, 2003’s Deja Entendu. Clark’s astronaut has become the basis of many a fan’s tattoo collection and was a fine example of a musical act’s trust in the talents and imaginations of the Invisible Creature team. Click on over to http://diymag.com/2015/06/01/inside-the-artwork-the-story-behind-brand-news-deja-entendu for “the rest of the story”.

3) Lastly but not leastly, fans of Talk Talk cover artist James Marsh can now pre-order a copy of a new edition of his previously-sold-out art book Spirit of Talk Talk. Due out this October, the paperback version will be updated to include 24 pages of additional content, including interviews with several of the band’s best-known cohorts. Founding band member Simon Brenner will be autographing a small number of copies for early orderers, so click on over to the Spirit of Talk Talk site and reserve yours today – http://www.spiritoftalktalk.com/ You may recall that I interviewed James a couple years back about the body of his work, so if you’d like to re-introduce yourself to his work, here’s the link to that interview –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/

June 12th –  1) What Time does to Anarchy….Virgin Money, a financial services company in the U.K., is now offering its customers a chance to get credit cards featuring memorable images from record covers for the Sex Pistols! Jamie Reid’s timeless design for Never Mind The Bollocks…(wait, isn’t “Bollocks” a bit of profanity?) can be had on your new Master Card, with the alternative being the artwork used on the single for the very un-capitalist tune “Anarchy in the U.K.”, complete with a safety-pinned Union Jack. I guess that those of us in the U.S. will have to wait until someone releases a Billion Dollar Babies credit card – no fair! Read and see more on this item in this article by the Daily Mail‘s Sam Dunn –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3116191/Artwork-Sex-Pistols-album-feature-new-plastic-offer-Virgin-Money.html

2) While I’m always curious as to how a writer determines exactly what criteria must be met to be included in a “Most Controversial Album Cover” article (typically, nudity, followed by religious symbolism and “kids doing the darndest things”), it certainly must be said that album covers over the years have stimulated a lot of conversation about how best to create a memorable image, so while you might find some of the covers included in Lex Campbells list found on the Triple M radio web site (Australia) more quaint than disturbing (these days), each example certainly did get folks talking when they hit the retail shelves in their day – http://www.triplem.com.au/sydney/music/news/2015/6/list-10-most-controversial-album-covers-of-all-time/

3) One final Rolling Stones re-release-related item – timed to coincide with both the re-release of the Sticky Fingers record and the band’s upcoming concert at Heinz Field, curators at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA have put together a special exhibition featuring production materials and correspondence related to the making of the famous album cover image – cover photos (front and back), inside sleeve shots (“the underwear”) and letters announcing the record’s Grammy nomination in 1972 for “Best Record Cover”. Writing for the Trib Live site, Bob Karlovitz gives us the details of this ongoing display –http://triblive.com/aande/music/8540066-74/warhol-album-cover#axzz3csNEzIi8

June 11th –  1) Very pleased to announce that film-maker Michael Prince has completed his documentary on the life and talents of photographer Brian Griffin, well-known to fans of album cover art for his memorable covers for acts including Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and many others. The Surreal Lives of Brian Griffin will be hitting the festival circuit in the UK soon, with Mr. Prince working hard to find distribution both in and outside the U.K. soon.
In the meantime, he’s put up a nice promo trailer on the Vimeo site, which I invite you all to watch via the link at https://vimeo.com/124393480
Please share this with anyone you know who is interested in learning more about this talented individual (as well as any fan of fine art photography).

2) With soccer/football/futball dominating the headlines these days, here’s a link to a story about how one Argentinian sports blog is working to highlight what appears to be fan-made apparel that appeals to two passions at once – love of soccer and love of music – by featuring graphics derived from great album art and band logos. As noted in this article on the MLS Soccer site, a blog called LaCasaca has gathered examples of jerseys featuring imagery from Queen, The Beatles, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica and several others. While I’m assuming that these examples are mostly wishful thinking, I’m also hoping that some deep-pocketed clothing manufacturer is paying attention and will work to bring us something similar soon. In the meantime, enjoy –http://www.mlssoccer.com/sideline/news/article/2015/06/10/rock-and-roll-soccer-jerseys-are-here-stay-check-out-latest-crossover-kits-s

3) To follow-up a recent posting about the new line of special-edition vinyl LPs and limited-edition art prints based on several re-releases by the Rolling Stones, there was a special event taking place on Thursday, June 18th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that was built around these new items. On hand to introduce the line was Sirius/XM Radio host Chris Carter (Chris Carter’s British Invasion), so if you’re anywhere near the Sunset Blvd gallery, be sure to stop on in to take a look at these new items, published by Time Life’s Spotlight Gallery division. Preview these items on the gallery’s site at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13708

June 10th – 1) While I know that many well-known album cover artists have applied their talents to clients in both the record and film industries (for example, Drew Struzan did film posters for Star Wars and Indiana Jones after creating covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath), I was impressed to see this recent article by Ria Misra on the IO9 site featuring the talents of one her column’s contributors – who goes by the name of “poorfishy” – who posted his/her mash-ups of classic record and film imagery. You’ll find examples of Duran Duran, The Beatles and the soundtrack for the movie Grease re-interpreted using characters from Star Wars, Dr. Who and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others.
Creative inspiration comes from many sources, but only a few dare to turn it into something worth sharing – well done, poorfishy!
http://io9.com/classic-movie-posters-redrawn-as-vintage-album-covers-1709277184

2) In another example of “you never know what might be worth saving (until you auction it off 50 years later)”, art collectors will enjoy reading the details of the recent luck of a Ms. Jinty Stephenson, a classmate of now-famed designer/artist Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame) who so loved a painting done by her fellow student that she purchased it – paying a total of £30 in ten weekly installments – and is now auctioning it off, with the item expecting to sell for about ten thousand times more than what she paid for it (i.e., approx. £350,000, or a half-million dollars).
It was one of 40 lots up for auction by Christie’s in their June 25th Modern British & Irish Art sale, so I’ll be sure to report back on just how much Ms. Stephenson’s cash account has grown post-sale. In the meantime, you can read more about this in writer Hannah Furness’ article on the Telegraph UK site – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/11655389/Best-investment-I-ever-made-Painting-bought-for-30-to-sell-for-350000.html

Follow-up – Well, our congratulations go out to Ms. Stephenson who, as the beneficiary of some spirited bidding, found her painting sold for NEARLY TWICE the pre-auction estimate – £662,500, or $1,038,800! The entire auction consisted of 32 lots and, with bidders from 18 countries participating, the total take on the evening’s sales was nearly $30 million.

June 9th – 1) To follow-up yesterday’s Rolling Stones-related article that touched on the upcoming re-releases of some quintessential Stones LPs, fans looking for something rare and collectible will have their wishes answered with the announcement of the availability of some special-edition versions of these recordings, made even more enticing by the inclusion of limited-edition album cover art prints. In the article by Nick DeRiso on the Ultimate Classic Rock site, you’ll learn more about the details of what’s available (12×5, Let It Bleed and Get Yer YaYa’s Out!), all done in clear vinyl and packaged with framed litho art prints that feature in addition to the expertly-done artwork found on the records, reproductions of the signatures of the band members.
The art prints were published by long-time album art producer Denny Somach and were done in a partnership between Somach, ABKCO Records and Time Life. The 2500 copies are priced (quite reasonably, I think) at $199.99, so if you’d like one, run don’t walk (or, quite simply, click on over) to the article to find all links as well as a nice video of DJ Chris Carter (host of the long-running “Breakfast With The Beatles” show) unveiling his own copy of the package –http://ultimateclassicrock.com/rolling-stones-clear-vinyl-litho/

2) Speaking of The Beatles – appearing at last weekend’s stop in Orlando, FL of the traveling Art Rock Show was famed designer and animator Ron Campbell, one of the people most-responsible for the memorable psychedelic imagery of both the Yellow Submarine full-length feature and the Saturday Beatles Morning Cartoon series that kept kids and their parents glued to their TV screens in the late 1960s. The 75-year-old artist’s appearance was a rare treat for fans, with the well-attended meet-and-greet a great chance to both hear from the accomplished animator (who worked on many other shows, including Rugrats and Ghostbusters), get an autograph and even take home a limited-edition print or two from the series produced by the artist.
Read the nicely-illustrated coverage of this event by Caitlin Dineen of the Orlando Sentinel on the paper’s site at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orange/os-ron-campbell-beatles-cartoon-animator-20150606-story.html

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Wasn’t I surprised when paging thru last week’s edition of the local Portland alternative paper (The Portland Mercury) when I came upon an ad from huge tourist magnet/donut shop Voodoo Doughnuts that thanked locals for their ongoing support and marked their 12th anniversary with their own re-interpretation of Sir Peter Blake’s often-replicated cover design for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP (see picture at top of this posting). The shop is famous for putting just about anything on a donut (bacon maple is a big seller, as is one in the shape of a voodoo doll), so the collage certainly is representative of the artistic approach to high-calorie snack foods that keeps people filling pink boxes with them every hour of every day… See attached picture and, if tempted, visit their site to learn more –http://voodoodoughnut.com/doughnuts.php

June 6th –  1) Much has been said and written about Sir Peter Blake’s Grammy Award-winning design for the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s by The Beatles, but have you ever wondered just who were all of the people featured in that grouping? Some are quite obvious – two sets of Beatles, Edgar Allen Poe, W.C. Fields and Bob Dylan, to mention a few – but, for example, who are the two 19th Century-looking dudes on the left-hand side of the next-to-last row of figures? Let’s thanks the folks at Ultimate Classic Rock and Diffuser.FM for a detailed slide show containing all of the missing information regarding the “who’s who” of this memorable assemblage – click here and your questions will finally be answered – http://diffuser.fm/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-cover-art/

2) I’ve written before about photographer Eilon Paz’s book titled Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, a tome that tries to explain that strange-but-wonderful connection some folks have with the physical aspects of collecting music on vinyl or CD. In his book, the author discusses how the apparent “value” of music has been diminished by the almost unlimited amount of it you can listen to digitally (i.e., via streams, downloads, etc.). Compare this with the value that a record collector attaches to his/her vinyl or CD collection – those items being things that the collector has decided to invest in for posterity’s sake and, at the same time, helping support the careers of his/her favorite musical acts. In this recent article by Kate Beaudoin on the Mic.com site, Kate works with Paz to select and highlight seven of the collectors/collections featured in the book, letting each subject explain and demonstrate why it is that they prefer – for a variety of reasons – to build and maintain their collections of their favorite music. Very insightful… http://mic.com/articles/120134/7-stunning-images-prove-just-how-much-we-lose-with-digital-music

June 5th –  1) The works of several Ohio-based rock photographers are now on display (through the end of August) in a new show at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in Youngstown, OH titled “Rock Gods: The Art of Rock ’n’ Roll Photography”. The 100+ photos on display were shot by photographers who’ve covered the local music scene for the past 40+ years and include Cleveland-based Janet Macoska and two Youngstown, OH-based creatives, Tony Nicholas (photographer) and Chris Yambar, a graphic artist who has “re-imagined” some of Macoska’s photos and created new works of art. Visitors to this show will recognize Janet’s work as part of the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, along with being seen in most major music publications. You’ll also be able to take home prints of the images on display (priced from $30 – $2500) – great souvenirs of a wonderful exhibition. Read all the details in Guy D’Astolfo’s article on the subject found on the Vindy.com web site – http://www.vindy.com/news/2015/may/28/rock-gods-show-at-tyler-center/

2) Album covers from all over the world continue to intrigue music and art fans worldwide, so it is nice to be able to show examples of pop music packaging from place that your Curator hasn’t had much exposure to, such as the collection of Welsh language rock album covers that will be on display at the Galeri Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales beginning this weekend. The exhibition features 40 specially-selected examples and is part of the 2015 Inc Festival taking place. If you’re heading out to take part in the annual celebration there this weekend, here’s a link to an article recently posted on The Daily Post UK web site –http://www.dailypost.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/galeri-caernarfon-hosts-exhibition-iconic-9381265
Perhaps someone can tell me more about the musical acts and artists/photographers whose works are featured in this show – to be honest with you, I’ve been somewhat thwarted in my efforts to determine who’s who from the descriptions provided 🙂

June 3rd – Every once in a while, an item comes up for bid at auction that gives collectors an opportunity to add something unique and beautiful to their album art-related collections, and today I’m reporting on one such opportunity.

You may recall seeing artist Mila Furstova’s wonderful collage that was produced for the cover of Coldplay’s Ghost Stories record, and it proved to be such a popular image that the artist has gone ahead and created a limited-edition series of mixed-media collages that re-create the original wing-shaped image.

Made with two etchings placed on top of a painted background, the nearly 40″ square works are made even more-collectible by the fact that they’re each signed by the artist and the four members of Coldplay. The Bonham’s auction house had one of these prints (there were 25 total in the edition) included in their new Entertainment Memorabilia auction that accepted final bids on June 24th. The pre-auction estimate on this print is approx. $4600, with a percentage of the final price being donated to the Kids Company charity. You can take a look at this nice print via the link –http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22444/lot/251/

Follow-up – while there was a good turnout for the aforementioned auction, the Furstova Coldplay collage went unsold. A happy Coldplay fan, however, did go home with the guitar that Chris Martin used during the recording of their Parachutes record, with the somewhat-battered acoustic selling for $29,462, or nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!

June 2nd – 1) Friday, June 5th was BBC Radio’s “BBC Music Day” and, in support of this event, a number of the network’s on-air personalities have worked together to re-create examples of much-loved album cover imagery, including covers originally featured on records for acts including Oasis, The Smiths and Lisa Stansfield. The participants really seemed to have enjoyed themselves in this work, and the results are pretty impressive, I must say. Seriously, who wouldn’t love to “play” Morrissey or Liam Gallagher for a few minutes? Read and see more about these nice promo images in this article by Emma Flanagan on the Manchester Evening News site –http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-manchester-album-covers—9350395

2) You may recall an article posted not long ago about a new book by author Ramon Oscuro Martos about the amazing range of album cover images found in the hard/heavy metal rock genres, so it was great to see this new short-form video – produced by the author and film maker Randy Salo – in which Martos provides the narration and briefly discusses why he thinks that the artwork in these genres is unique and an important part of the overall connection between bands and their fans. I haven’t yet seen the book in the flesh, so it was also nice to see how well-produced and illustrated And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers is. It certainly has given me some additional inspiration for when I begin serious work on my own book….To read more about this new docu and to watch it yourself, head on over to the Metal Underground site –http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=113772

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 – March, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame.com’s Album Cover News Recap – March, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Ah, Spring’s in the air (and, at least out our way, the air’s quite warm and flower-scented) and, around the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe, album art and artists were making headlines throughout the month of March. Our news feed was chock-full of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items, some of which I’ll highlight now (with the rest, in greater detail, following the intro paragraphs).

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get into the heads and hearts of talented cover image producers including  Stanley Donwood, Gary Panter and Tony Hung, along with my own interview with photographer Emilie Sandy on her Deja Vu portraits featuring famous photographers striking poses made famous in their own album cover images.

Purveyors of fine art books were busy promoting their new releases, with packages on the Rolling Stones, John & Yoko, Linda McCartney’s portfolio of portraits and on Paul Weller/Jam/Style Council, as well as photographer Tim Mantoani’s book featuring photos of other famous photographers posing with their favorite photos (telling us the stories behind them), among others.

Exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery included the works of Don Adkins, George DuBose, Chris Bilheimer, Kevin Cummins and Cey Adams. The Bjork show at NYC’s MOMA garnered a lot of press attention, while the travelling David Bowie show moved on to Paris and a collection of Herb Ritts’ photos were put on display at the R&RHOF in Cleveland, Ohio. We were happy to provide cover art fans an in-depth look at the cover art show hosted at Inasmuch Gallery in Oklahoma City, OK.

Other stories included a look at the artwork of Ben Wilkerson Tousley and the Pen & Pixel team, and there were two stories on 3-D cover art – one on works by Rick Valentin and a second on Nick Relph’s Hot Chip custom covers (over 400 flavors!).  News continued with  the announcement of the nominees for this year’s IMA Awards for album cover art/packaging and number of “best ofs”, “best so far”, and Top 10s (already?), plus news of the sale of a house featured on a Pink Floyd cover and the destruction, by a local terrorist, of an iconic U2 album cover cactus. Finally, there was info on how the sale of album art can saves lives – in this case, that of Robert Freeman, whose family held an auction to raise funds for his health care.

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 and/or features slated to be published in April, including one with Susan Archie (one of this year’s Grammy winners). In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were having to pay attention to Life’s distractions or, hopefully, you were out doing whatever it is that makes your days happy. As I’ve said many times (even last month!), 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 (including April’s Record Store 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).

March 31st – 1) The nominees for the record packaging-related categories for the 14th annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) have been posted, and it looks to be quite the international cast of designers, artists and photographers. Here are the details in both categories:

In the Album Art/Photography category, the nominees are
– Dan Seagrave, for Incite’s Up In Hell;
– Eleanor Crane, for Patrick Joseph’s Moon King;
– Ivo Cordeiro (photograph) & Rodrigo Lameiras / WhiteLab (post-production), for Melech Mechaya’s Strange People (Back Panel Card);
– Monica Bruyn/Rabidt Graphix, for Kathryn McKee’s Sang Chaud;
– Stevhen Koji Baianu, for The Dolomites’ Japan Years: Vol 1

In the Album Packaging category, the nominees are
– Chia-Wei Lai/David Lai Workshop, for  I don’t mind drifting alone with the wave by Frandé;
– Pei-Shih Wu & TotalBrand+TotalDesign Co., for Dream Lotus Symphony Orchestra & Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir’s Prajna: The Great Wisdom;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Chau Wakin & Zhang De Chun’s Jiang Hu | The Rhapsody;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Song Zu Ying’s The Epic of Love;
– Sergej Bulić/ART’S visual & process communications for Sudar Percussion & Matej Mestrovic’s Eat Suite (Album Can Packaging)

According to the group’s press release, “The eclectic mix of established and rising talent nominated in The 14th IMAs were culled from thousands of submissions that were released during the program’s eligibility period, between June, 2013 thru December, 2014. Winners will be determined by a panel of influential artist and industry judges as well as numerous talent buyers from high profile showcase platforms and performance venues throughout the world…In addition to the Winners selected by the Artist & Industry judges, music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 31, 2015 to vote for their favorite Nominees at The Vox Pop Jukebox, the fan-determined portion of The IMAs.

To see the full list of IMA Nominees in all categories, visit their site at http://www.independentmusicawards.com/…/14th-annual-indepe…/

2) Not sure if everyone has seen the postage stamp designs available in the Music Icons series from the US Postal Service, but my order arrived in the mail yesterday and I thought that I’d share some of the info on the people who designed these products, as a couple of them have a number of album cover art credits as well.

Released on a regular basis since 2013, the series now includes stamps featuring the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix (Greg Breeding/Journey Group was the Art Director and the trippy illustration was done by Rudy Gutierrez, the guy responsible for the cover for Santana’s Shaman LP); Ray Charles (Ethel Kessler was the AD, Yves Carriere supplied the photo and design was by 3X Grammy nominee Neal Ashby, well-known for his covers for Thievery Corporation and many others); Janis Joplin (photo by David Gahr and AD by Antonio Alcala); Johnny Cash (another Greg Breeding creation based on Frank Bez’s 1963 photo of the Man in Black) and Tejano music legend Lydia Mendoza, with art by a team including Antonio Alcala, Neal Ashby and his business partner Patrick Donohue.

While not quite the perfect product for album cover lovers (the UK still has us beat on that effort with their earlier series of stamps based on great British album cover designs), it is still nice to see music-related artwork priced for everyone to own (only 49 cents!).
http://uspsstamps.com/stamps/series/music-icons

March 30th – 1) While not exactly album COVER art, here’s a fine example of creative album art. I’d seen Daniel Edlen‘s work a few years back when i had my gallery, but it looks as though he’s really upped his game as evidenced by this new article by Benjamin Starr on his Visual News site…Album covers are integrated into each presentation of Elden’s artwork, which is painted directly on to each vinyl record. In this illustrated article, you’ll see examples of his portraits of Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa and many others.  http://www.visualnews.com/…/portraits-of-musicians-on-old-…/

2) Artist Stanley Donwood, best-known for his intriguing album cover work for Radiohead, is the subject of a new interview with The Independent‘s Matilda Battersby in which he relays “the true story” of how he first re-kindled his relationship with his former Exeter classmate Thom Yorke, which ultimately led to their creative collaboration to produce the band’s cover imagery over the past 20+ years. The story includes references to busking and fire-breathing, so be sure to wear protective clothing while you read this interesting historical retelling – http://www.independent.co.uk/…/from-radiohead-to-jg-ballard…

3) Creative cover imagery continues to be on display in the world of rap/hip-hop music, with the use of illustration drawing a lot of attention to the artists that are creating fine covers for acts including Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson, Killer Mike, Big Pooh and many others. Writing for XXL, Sidney Madden has put together a collection of some of the most-recent examples, for your review. Note to Sidney – thanks for the slideshow, but it would have been nice to know who did the work..just saying… http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2015/…/animated-rap-album-covers/

March 27th – 1) A show opened March 27th at the House of Vans gallery in London is the “Heated Words: Initial Research” exhibition that, according to its PR, “is an immersive mixed media primer that serves as introduction to an ongoing investigation in to the life and times of a forgotten typeface.” What that means in plain-speak is that the show will focus on how and why a particular font named Fraktur became the default typeface for hundreds of hip-hop album covers. Photographer George DuBose – whose photos and notes are included in the show – traces its first uses back to a project he did for rapper Biz Markie but, as you’ll see on the show’s site, the use exploded from there…more details via the show’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/812614378804007

2) Following up yesterday’s post about Phil Hartman and his work – you’ll recall that Phil was a regular on Pee Wee’s Playhouse, which featured wild and crazy set designs by Gary Panter. Last night, to highlight his works featured in the Myopia exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Denver, Panter participated in a discussion (part of the museum’s “Who Made The 80s” lecture series) about his work with Paul Ruebens (AKA Pee Wee) and other iconoclasts, such as The Germs, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Frank Zappa. Writing for Westword, Bree Davies has posted an interview with the guy responsible for keeping us young and childish even as adults – http://www.westword.com/…/gary-panter-has-designed-everythi…

3) The work of Don Adkins, the photographer possibly best-known for his cover shot for the Bitch record titled Be My Slave that was just too-S&M-ish for Tipper Gore in the early 80s (leading her to rally for album labeling, to save our super-sensitive eyeballs from her definition of “questionable content”), is the subject of an otherwise easy-to-view exhibition up that began Sunday, March 29th at the Frame & Art Department in Hermosa Beach, CA. Adkins, who has worked primarily as a tour photographer, will be showing portraits he’s taken of musical acts including Motley Crue, Poison, Billy Joel, Heart, Peter Gabriel and Glen Campbell, taken during his 2011 farewell tour. The show runs through Sunday, April 12, with an artist’s reception Saturday, April 4th from 6-9pm at the gallery. More on this show via Michael Hixon’s article on The Beach Reporter site –
http://tbrnews.com/…/article_bb4cce10-d279-11e4-ae85-974576…

March 26th – 1) Quite the coincidence…just as I was beginning to research and write some more bios for the ACHOF site (I’m in the G’s at this point in time), along comes some additional information on someone that most of us know via his career as a comedian (and who did a dead-on Bill Clinton impersonation) but who actually had established himself beforehand as a graphic artist, illustrator and album cover art director – the late, great Phil Hartman. Writing for Fast Company magazine, John Brownlee has posted a very nice retrospective of some of Hartman’s better-known covers for clients such as America, Firesign Theater, Poco and Steely Dan. Hartman has over 40 cover credits, but we’re all happy that he had the opportunity to stretch his wings and show us his acting chops before we lost him – follow the link for more – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/8-album-covers-designed-by-le…

2) Musician Paul Weller has teamed up with photographer Lawrence Watson and Genesis Publishing to release a new, 300+ page limited-edition book featuring over 800 photos of Weller’s solo career, along with an exclusive vinyl record. Since his rise to fame as a member of The Jam and The Style Council, Weller has released 11 studio albums, five live albums, 39 singles and three EPs, nearly all of which feature Watson’s photography – the two having met back in 1988 after Watson had shot the cover photo for The Style Council’s Confessions of a Pop Group record. For more info on the book – titled Into Tomorrow – and its availability, please visit (but hurry – Weller’s last photo book sold out very quickly!) –
http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/…/paul-wellers-later-career…

3) The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover has inspired yet another fascinating new product! Designer Wilmer Murillo has teamed up with a Taiwanese maker of on-demand, 3-D toys to create a set of “designer figures” that let collectors re-create the Fab Four’s famous walk across the street in front of EMI’s Abbey Road studios. Murillo’s interpretations of J, P, G & R remind me of the Sgt. Pepper‘s-inspired Japanese action figures that came out in the 90’s (I think via Kidrobot – does anyone remember?). Anyway, if you can read Chinese, you can hop on the ZecZec.com site (a Taiwanese crowd-funding site ala Kickstarter) and reserve a set of these for yourself or any Beatle fan –
http://blog.wilmermurillo.com/…/the-bitoy-design-collaborat…

March 25th – 1) Fans of advanced technologies will enjoy Hugh Hart’s Fast Company article on musician/tech-head Rick Valentin‘s approach to creating album cover imagery for the new record release by Thoughts Detecting Machine. Using a modified 3-D printer and software that let’s him grab wave forms from his music, he’s come up with a way to let him add customized graphics to the record’s packaging so that each record purchased is encased in a unique work of art. Rick attributes his inspiration for the basic theme of his cover to Peter Saville’s classic cover for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures but, you’ll have to admit, this is one application of modern technology that raises the bar and gives producers of physical music products a way to attract new fans and buyers. More on this, with video and photo illustrations, is available via the link – http://www.fastcocreate.com/…/diy-musician-translates-audio…

2) With SXSW wrapped up, visitors to Austin, TX can still see an exhibition of album cover designer Chris Bilheimer‘s Polaroid photo collection on display at the Bearded Lady Screen Printing location there. What you’ll find are nicely-laid-out groupings of Bilheimer’s shots of friends and associates you’ll know, including members of R.E.M., Green Day and celebrities from film and TV, along with photos he took from 1995 through 2008 of everyday things and places that interested him. The show’s up until April 11, and you can read/see more about it in Kevin Curtin’s article on the Austin Chronicle site – http://www.austinchronicle.com/…/playback-sxsw-news-and-si…/

3) Artist Ben Wilkerson Tousley has been quite in demand lately, completing commissions for book covers, film/TV graphics and the like, but it is his work in the field of album cover art that is the focus of Jason Lamphier’s article on the Out.com site. His work is done in a variety of styles and materials – from collages to ultra-clean embossed vinyl covers – and, based on the positive reaction to his efforts – his list of indie music clients should grow nicely over time (he’s only 28 years old – I see quite the future ahead of him if he maintains this level of creativity). Take a look at a collection of his work, and read the stories behind each of the pictured creations, via the link at http://www.out.com/…/album-designs-benjamin-wilkerson-tousl…

March 24th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review site, Mark Sinclair gives us an interview with art director Tony Hung about his work on the album cover for the first new recording by Blur in 12 years. Titled The Magic Whip, the cover features imagery based on Hung’s interpretation of Damon Albarn’s collection of photos and souvenirs he brought home from a trip to Hong Kong, where the band recorded music for the new album (set to be released in late April). The custom neon created for the cover is very nicely photographed by Nick Wilson, and regular buyers of LPs from Asian countries will get a kick out of the “obi-strip” included on the package. Read the entire illustrated interview via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/blur-the-magic-whip-neon-…

2) Fans of Pink Floyd’s album covers converged recently to bid on a garden cottage in Dungeness, U.K. that was featured on the Hipgnosis-designed cover of the band’s 1981 compilation album titled A Collection of Great Dance Songs and, when the smoke cleared after the auctioneer’s gavel came down, a lucky bidder purchased the somewhat ramshackle building for £215,000 (approx. $319,000) – £55,000 above the pre-auction estimate. Quite the souvenir, I have to say. I’m curious as to whether the new owners will be putting on rope harnesses to dance in front of their new home…Read the gory details – complete with photos of the property in its current condition – in Sam Lennon’s article on the Kent Online site – http://www.kentonline.co.uk/…/news/wish-you-were-here-33929/

3) In one more example of album artists “gettin’ no respect”, MXDWN.com writer Carlett Spike relays the story about the outcome of a long, drawn-out lawsuit between rock band Tool and the graphic artist that created the album cover for their 10,000 Days album. Turns out that a friend of guitarist Adam Jones had been hired to create the cover and, for some reason, was not credited for the work. He sued to correct this and the band then hired an insurance company to defend them against such inconveniences. The insurance company soon sued the band as well for “technicalities”, the band counter-sued and, 8 years later, an exciting conclusion was reached…No spoiler here, read the details for yourself –
http://music.mxdwn.com/…/tool-wins-lawsuit-over-album-cove…/

March 23rd – 1) To raise money for the ongoing care of the ailing photo great Robert Freeman, his family archive has released a new, limited-edition print of one of Freeman’s best-known photos – his 1965 photo titled “John Lennon with Panda”. According to The Daily Mail‘s Bianca London, Freeman’s son Dean has said that his 78-year-old father – a proud and eccentric individual – has refused all offers of aid and support from his family, forcing them to take this step in order to make sure that resources are in place to maintain the quality and dignity of life that this man – the one credited for shooting album cover shots for the first 5 Beatles albums – so richly deserves. The monies raised from this effort will also be used to maintain the elder Freeman’s archives, which contain memorable images of many important and influential people of the era – Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Ringo Starr, and others – some of whom were featured in the first Pirelli annual calendar, another of Freeman’s noteworthy accomplishments. For more info and links to the archives, click on over to the article at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Iconic-John-Lennon-snap-shot-f…

2) Writing for PASTE Magazine, Chris Kissel has posted an article in which he summarizes his take on “The Five Best Album Covers of 2015 (So Far)” and provides in-depth looks at, and the stories behind, these impressive examples of album cover artistry. Included in the list are covers from musical acts such as Purity Ring, Father John Misty, THEEsatisfaction, Moon Duo and Radical Dads – all very different and all the result of a young artist’s/illustrator’s take how best to represent the latest musical output from their music industry clients. Something for every lover of album cover art – http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/the-stories-behind-the-five-…
Looks like a good start to the year in album artwork, wouldn’t you agree?

March 20th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review, Rachael Steven just posted her list of “Record Sleeves of the Month“, and the examples she’s included really do show off the wide range of creativity still being shown by those working in the music packaging field. With Record Store Day rapidly approaching (mid-April), some acts are going all out to do something different and, therefore, memorable and sale-able. I’m particularly impressed with designer/photographer Alexander Brown’s simple-yet-elegant white vinyl box for Amon Tobin’s new release titled Dark Jovian, as well as Ghostpoet’s new cover for their record Shedding Skin that is based on hi-res photos of skin cell biopsies (!!). See/read more via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/record-sleeves-of-the-mon…

2) Famed album cover artist Nick Egan was kind enough to share some of the details of a multi-media show & sale taking place in Los Angeles tonight, including some pix of some of his new (non-cover) prints (see the collage accompanying this posting). The exhibition is called “Steal Music/Buy Art” and, in addition to live performances and video/film screenings, there’s an art show with prints and posters from top area designers and photographers, including Egan, Edward Colver, Greg Jacobs and many more. The show kicked off last night, so head on over to the Angel City Brewery on Alameda in Downtown LA tonight to take part in the party there – Lina Lecaro provides more of the details in this LA Weekly article – http://www.laweekly.com/…/party-pick-of-the-week-steal-musi…

3) Finally, Diffuser.FM‘s Chris Kissel poses an interesting question – “How is an album like a bottle of wine?” and, referencing a recent AdWeek interview with rocker Maynard James Keenan (who also owns a winery) where Keenan regretted losing control of his music in the digital world – happy that you can’t download his wine (!!) – Kissel suggests that one of the most-important advantages of a physical product is the large-scale presentation of the album cover art. Just as great wines are the result of a successful collaboration between grape growers and wine-makers, memorable album packages are the result of talented musicians pairing with graphic artists/art directors to produce a sleeve or package that makes fans happy with their purchase and provides some additional emotional connection between musical acts and their fans – something that is hard to do with a thumbnail image on your phone, he suggests. Read his entire essay, and then post your own thoughts when you get the chance – http://diffuser.fm/how-is-an-album-like-a-bottle-of-wine/

March 19th – 1) The talents of the Houston, TX-based design/marketing firm Pen & Pixel are on display in a new article on the Hot New Hip Hop (HNHH) site titled “The 10 Greatest Pen & Pixel Album Covers”, written by Angus Walker. Any fan of the genre will immediately recognize the firm’s classic design elements – diamond-encrusted 3-D fonts, bold use of color and graphic elements that look like they’re ripped from the most explosive scenes from any of today’s bad guys vs. good guys high-intensity action films (cars, guns, money, jewelry and buff-and-beautiful protagonists). Since the 1990s, they’ve done work for labels including No Limit, Cash Money, Suave House and other well-known deep South music producers and have since expanded their services to include music and video production, web design and marketing and logo/branding work. Each cover shown nearly leaps off the page, so test your reflexes and take a look at some top-rated efforts from this successful album cover design firm – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/the-10-greatest-pen-and-pixel-a…

2) Classic album art, like classic rock music, continues to inspire today’s new recording acts, so it is wonderful to see a musical act’s efforts to honor one of David Bowie’s best-known cover scenes – Bowie as “Ziggy Stardust”, standing beneath a light in an alley, as he’s found on 1972’s Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust… – in a stunning recreation of the scene that’s used on the cover of their own album. In Barry Leighton’s article on the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald site, you’ll meet musician Ben Goddard, who is a member of a Malmesbury band called The Long Players and, working with photographer Jon Sneddon, found an ideal place on St. Dennis Lane to substitute for the original Heddon St., London, location and prepared it for use in this effort. I think that you’ll agree that the participants have done a truly amazing job – even more amazing in that it was done to promote the band’s March 15th local concert during which they played the entire Bowie record from start to finish! See the results via the link – http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/…/11856706.Malmesbury_mu…/

3) Finally (for today), more Bjork-related coverage, this time provided by Juxtapoz Magazine in their nicely-illustrated coverage of the show currently running in NYC’s Museum of Modern Art that provides a career-spanning retrospective of her work as a creative artist in the fields of music and visuals. Included in the article is an interview with the show’s curator and many of her daring (in so many ways) album cover images. Whatever you may think of this artist’s music (I’m still not sure I like it), the attention she pays to the graphics and videos that accompany her work is simply mind-boggling. Enjoy the show, via the link – http://beyondthecover.juxtapoz.com/april-2015-bjork

March 18th – As a follow-up to my recent posting about an album art show -titled “Tailored Jackets”, taking place now through the end of the month at Oklahoma City Community College’s Inasmuch Foundation Gallery, I got in touch with the show’s organizer, Scott Tigert, to see if I could get my hands on some additional info/imagery to share with you. Not only did Scott come through with additional photos, he was also kind enough to provide me with the details about how the show was conceived and sourced, as well as with samples of the information he and the exhibition show team researched and presented to the show’s visitors. I have organized the items he’s submitted into a new variation on our “Featured Fan Collection” themed articles, presented to you today as an “ACHOF Exhibition Tour”…Hope you’ll take a moment to take a virtual tour through the show and then share this with your friends as well. I’d like to thank Scott and all the nice folks at the school and the gallery who worked so hard to put this very informative and entertaining show together – looking forward to the third installment (please let us know if there’s going to be one, of course).

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/achof-exhibit…/

March 17th – 1) A host of new works featuring images that have inspired the world view of Def Jam Records album cover artist Cey Adams are included in a new exhibition running now at the Rush Arts Gallery in NYC’s Chelsea area. Titled “Trusted Brands”, you’ll find his interpretations of brands and logos which, like album covers, have informed popular culture. Like some of the covers he’s credited for creating – including those for acts including LL Cool J, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys – Adams feels that there are many logos that may have simply been marketing tools when they were created but have now become part and parcel of our collective consciousnesses. You can read and see more about this show, which ran through March 28th, in writer Roger Clark’s article and video report, both found on the NY1 web site at http://www.ny1.com/…/artist-of-iconic-def-jam-album-covers-…

2) The creative collaborations of talented designers often produce works that are more-impressive than the sum of their parts, so its not at all surprising to see that the efforts of the team of architect Bjarke Ingels and designer Stefan Sagmeister – well known in album cover art circles for his work on designs for Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne and the Talkiing Heads, among others – have been so impressive that they’re now the subject of a new (and now sold out!) book by art publisher Taschen. Titled Hot To Cold, the book shows and tells the story of how the two met (several years ago at a TED Talk), discovered that they were “kindred spirits” and determined then to team up to build great spaces. The book accompanies an exhibition running now through August at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, and for a look at the duo’s book-signing at Taschen’s store in Soho, NYC, you can simply click on the link to reporter Laura Feinstein’s article on the GOOD Magazine site – http://magazine.good.is/art…/bjarke-ingels-stefan-sagmeister

March 16th – 1) When rapper Kendrick Lamar decided that he wanted to feature an album cover image of an oppressed people banding together to take their government back, he tapped a photographer who, besides shooting album cover images for scores of international jazz/classical artists, has published a series of portraits of Senegalese wrestlers who’ve banded together to publicize and improve their bleak existences. Denis Rouvre‘s Lamb served as a follow-up to another series of portraits he took of people pushed to the brinks of their ability to endure hardship – survivors of the tsunami in Japan – and this new project seems to be tailor-made for his abilities – more on the cover and the photographer is included in writer Matthew Trammell’s recent article on The Fader site – http://www.thefader.com/…/meet-the-french-photographer-behi…

2) To follow-up the previous week’s article regarding the non-scientific-but-interesting selection of the “Top 10” album covers in Portland, OR’s music history, the folks at Plywerks (makers of the new Vinny series of album cover frames) have posted a series of photos capturing the kick-off event for their products and presenting the winners of the voting that night –http://www.plywerk.com/blog/2015/03/top-pdx-records/
Here are the Top 4 records – #1 is Menomena’s 2007 record Friend & Foe; #2 is Paul Revere & The Raiders’ 1963 release Sande’; #3 is Over The Edge, the 1983 release by Oregon punk rockers Wipers and at #4 – fans of Portlandia rejoice – Sleater-Kinney’s 1999 album The Hot Rock. Congratulations to the winners for covers well done.

March 13th – 1) Album art/rock photo fans that attended the Art Basel show in Hong Kong in March were fortunate to have been able to stop by the Taschen Publishing booth to take a look at (and, perhaps, buy) one of the two recent releases that feature, respectively, photos of John Lennon & Yoko Ono (in Kishin Shinoyama‘s John & Yoko, Double Fantasy) and the Rolling Stones in the 500-page, “Sumo-sized” book titled The Rolling Stones. Both books are available in limited-edition/signed offerings that include signed photo prints (“Collector’s” editions). While several of these editions have already sold out, others remain (priced anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the photo print included), so this is a great opportunity to “kick the tires” before purchasing one of these great books – more info on this on the Artsy site – https://www.artsy.net/…/editorial-taschen-brings-john-yoko-…

2) Allison Meier’s article on the Hyperallergic site about artist Victor Moscoso‘s new gallery show running now (thru April 25th) at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Manhattan brings you inside the gallery to see the artist’s full-range of psychedelic works, including his drawings/paintings for Zap! Comix, a wide range of gig posters for nearly every major band playing in the Bay area and, of interest to ACHOF fans, his album cover work for Steve Miller, Jerry Garcia, Sopwith Camel and Herbie Hancock. Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings 1967 – 1982 helps illustrate Victor’s role as one of the most-significant creative artists of his era, along with Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Clay Wilson and others that contributed to the burgeoning San Francisco art scene, so if you can’t see the show in-person, take a moment to enjoy Allison’s preview via the link –http://hyperallergic.com/…/strange-days-in-victor-moscosos…/

March 12th – 1) Here’s another example of a photographer shooting portraits of other photographers…As the professional photo industry was moving from film to digital, one photographer – Tim Mantoani – felt that it was important to take advantage – perhaps one last time – of the availability of large-format film and thought that it’d be interesting to ask his fellow shooters to participate in a project where he’d photograph them with their “favorite” or best-known images. Since 2006, he’s taken over 150 portraits and collected anecdotes for each and, just recently, has released a book called Behind Photographs, where you’ll find album cover artists including Jim Marshall, Bob Gruen and MarK Seliger talking about their favorite shots of (respectively) the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, as well as that of many others who’ve shot some very well-known images in the areas of sports, politics, celebrity and US/World history. 14 of these stories are featured in an article by Christian Storm on the Business Insider site, reachable via the link – http://www.businessinsider.com/portraits-stories-14-iconic-…

2) Artist/Art Director Mario Hugo has worked long and hard to achieve success in the competitive graphic arts arena and, along the way, knew that there were a number of good (or great) works produced that, for one reason or another, were not approved for use by his clients. He also knew that that was certainly the case for most other creatives in his field so, recently, he contacted some of them and asked them to contribute examples of good-but-rejected designs to a new blog he launched called Recently Rejected. Some of the works submitted were those done for music industry clients and, in Carey Dunne’s recent article for the Fast Company site, you’ll get some insight into the projects that, although they produced some memorable imagery, just didn’t ring the client’s bell – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/12-rejected-designs-that-show…

March 11th – Another photography-oriented “three-fur”… 1) When the ACHOF was launched, the voting panel chose a group of “early influencers” to honor – those selected being folks who had contributed to the acknowledgement of album cover imagery as an art form. While he was not included in the original selection as it is that our focus is on rock and pop music-oriented album covers, most-certainly some were left out and, with today’s posting, I hope to correct that to some extent. Although Chuck Stewart has always been labeled as a “jazz photographer”, with hundreds of credits for cover shots for jazz greats including Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and scores of others, his reputation brought him many other early rock and pop cover commissions, shooting covers for James Brown, Bo Diddley, Mary Wells, George Benson, Tito Puente and “the chairman” (and label owner) Frank Sinatra. Writing for Newsweek (and recording a video interview you’ll find there as well), reporter Jared T. Miller interviewed this photo great in his Teaneck, NJ home, which you can enjoy as well via the link – http://www.newsweek.com/through-chuck-stewarts-lens-history…

2) Album cover work provided the jumping off point for another talented shooter who has successfully branched out in to both fashion photography and video direction – in this case, for UK-based creative Jason Arber. In a recent interview with Chris Gampat for The Phoblographer web site, you’ll trace the path from record cover designer – with credits on packages for artists including Mike Hughes, Janet Jackson, Oasis and The Pandemonium, among others – to his career as a web designer, art/culture magazine publisher and now creative lead for his own photo/video studio called Phantom Limb. You’ll find the liberally illustrated article via the link at http://www.thephoblographer.com/…/jason-arber-creative-fas…/

3) Well, it is time again for a new Tumblr photoblog where iconic album cover images are re-imagined by a designer, in this case being a designer who is also in love with cats. Begun in 2012 by Alfra Martini with a cover featuring “David Meowie & Bing Catsby”, The Kitten Covers blog has added a large number of images that all feature a kittenish twist on a well-known image. You’ll find covers for The Clash, Queen, N.W.A., Heart and, my personal favorite (what’s yours? please share) Unknown Whiskers by the Purr Division (!!) – The Cat Channel‘s Cari Jorgenson provides an introduction via the link – http://www.catchannel.com/…/cats-recreate-classic-album-cov…
Wonder if they’ll have a selection of Litter Box Sets soon 😉

March 10th – 1) The David Bowie travelling exhibition (“David Bowie Is”) has been setting records at every stop during its run (currently, in Paris, France), with many of the items on display from Bowie’s official archives, which are quite extensive and, based on the info provided in this Jemma Buckley article in The Daily Mail, will soon include a set of lifelike masks depicting Mr. Bowie at various stages during his career. Originally, the life masks were made of Bowie’s face as part of his participation in the making of the movie “The Man Who Fell To Earth” and these props were discovered in storage and given to UK-based artist Mark Wardel, who proceeded to replicate and then decorate them to depict Bowie as he looked, for example, on the cover of his Aladdin Sane LP. Bowie was so impressed that he bought an entire set, which will now be part of his collection. Read more, and see some examples of these impressive masks, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Aladdin-Vain-Bowie-snaps-entir…

2) The late Linda McCartney’s photos and designs were found on many popular album covers (and illustrating scores of magazine articles) while she was active as a photographer from the late 1960s up to her untimely death in 1998. You’ll find her work on records such as her hubby’s McCartney, Ram, Venus and Mars (and others), as well as discs for Jimi Hendrix, Pretenders and Neil Young and, in a new book published by Taschen called Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs. The book includes a treasure trove of images of the photographers friends and acquaintances, including The Beatles (surprise!), the Rolling Stones, actors Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw and many of her family doing what comes naturally when you’re some of the most-visible celebrities in the world. Writing for the Daily Mail site MailOnline, Caroline Howe gives us an illustrated preview, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Candid-camera-photographs-Love…

March 9th – 1) On Thursday night, March 5th, I was happy to have been able to attend the launch of the new “Vinny” line of album cover art frames and accessories at the Madehere PDX store. These items are made by Plywerk, a Portland (OR)-based company that produces a full line of handmade products – picture frames, record crates and works of art fused to their “restoration juniper” wood backings – and is currently hosting a CrowdSupply.com project to allow fans to purchase these new products prior to their retail release. The record stand is available for $44, the 12″ square frame is $59 and you can visit their site for more info. As part of their launch, the company turned to Portland Mercury art/music writer Ned Lannamann to help select the “Top 10 Portland Album Cover of All Time”, and the list features covers for PDX-based bands old and new, including The Dandy Warhols, The Thermals, Dead Moon, Lifesavas, Sleater-Kinney, Paul Revere & The Raiders and several others. Review the selections – http://www.portlandmercury.com/…/the-top-10-portland-album-… and see the results of final voting on the Plywerks.com site.

2) One of the best-known photographers who worked in the fields of fashion, celebrity and album cover imagery – the late Herb Ritts – is the subject of a new exhibition that launched Friday the 13th of March at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. In “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits”, you’ll find over 30 shots of some of the best-known musical acts of their era – David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Cher, Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak, k.d. lang, Madonna, Prince,Tina Turner and many others – along with video interviews, alt shots and other portraits from his years providing editorial and advertising imagery for magazines including Interview, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Visitors are also able to take their own photos in front of backdrops taken by Ritts – more on this in Jeff Niesel’s article on the topic on the Cleveland Scene site at http://www.clevescene.com/…/rock-hall-to-open-new-photo-exh…

March 6th – 1) Album art fans in the nation’s center are being treated to a new exhibition titled “Tailored Jackets – 2nd Fitting” featuring a collection of 59 signed album covers representing 80 years of album artistry. The grouping is owned by Scott Tigert, a Cultural Programs assistant at Oklahoma City Community College at 7777 S. May Ave. and was on display at the Inasmuch Gallery of the Visual and Performing Arts Center from March 6th through March 27th. Attendees were able to enter a drawing for a 1923 poster featuring pop star (at the time) Bessie Smith – more details about the show are available via the link – http://www.occc.edu/cp/currentgallery.html

2) How are your Catalan language skills? While it might help fully-understand this news report about the opening of the Johnson Gallery in Barcelona (mentioned in the previous day’s news posting), viewers will most-certainly get a good sense of the joy folks in attendance felt with the show and the appearance of one of the featured photographers, George DuBose, who (in English, thankfully) gives us a little info on some of his photos that are included in the show, including album cover shots he took of The Ramones and B-52s. Enjoy reporter Victor Jonama’s report as found on the BTV web site – http://www.btv.cat/…/johnson-gallery-una-galeria-dedicada-…/

3) The art world has suffered much in terms of vandals destroying history but, rather than revisiting the atrocities that have taken place in Iraq, we’re treated to one closer to home. The iconic Joshua Tree that was featured on the cover of U2‘s 1987 album of the same name was toppled a number of years ago, but fans still take regular pilgrimages to the spot and, this year, one of them arrived shortly after someone had taken a saw to the tree in order to take home a large souvenir from it…what’s next – IEDs near Abbey Road Studios? The pathetic details are found on The Daily Mail (UK) web site, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/U2-fan-pilgrimaged-band-s-Josh…

4) Just posted a new interview with photographer Emilie Sandy about her “Deja Vu” photo series, which features new portraits of well-known music industry photographers posed as if they were the subjects in some of their best-known shots. You’ll learn a bit more about how she organized these sessions and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business – Anton Corbijn, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz, Robert Whitaker and many others – as they recreated their famous portraits of artists such as Miles Davis, Elvis Costello, John Lennon and others. Liberally illustrated, you’ll find this article posted at the following link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/interview-wit…/

March 5th – Limited only by your imaginations…. 1) Winnipeg Jets goal-tender Ondrej Pavelec is such a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen that he goes all-out to integrate all things Boss into his daily routine. For most of us, that would mean playing Springsteen tunes while wearing a concert t-shirt, but for the 27-year-old Czech native, the best way to maintain a high level of Bruce-on-the-brain was to have his protective helmet/mask decorated with images taken from the covers of his favorite records. On the custom-painted gear, you’ll find snippets lifted from Born In The USA, The River, Magic and Born To Run. The work was done by Swedish artist Dave Gunnarson, whose “DaveArt” business has provided airbrush art for many NHL players. More on this in Bobby Olivier’s recent article on the NJ.com site – http://www.nj.com/…/springsteens_albums_commemorated_on_nhl…

2) Artist Eisen Bernardo attracted a lot of attention recently with his “Mag+Art” project, where he combined cover images from magazines with famous works of art to create new works of Pop Art. His next logical step was to go all Christian Marclay on us and combine album covers with masterworks, which he has done quite nicely in a series that focuses on the covers of Taylor Swift albums. Titled “Album+Art Tribute To Taylor Swift”, you’ll find the singer’s covers blended in to works by Dutch, German, French and Italian masters. While the jury’s out as to whether her music lasts as long as the influence of these painters, it’s obvious that she has a great fan in this artist based in the Philippines – https://www.behance.net/…/…/AlbumArt-Tribute-to-Taylor-Swift

March 4th – 1) The works of photographer George DuBose – well-known to album art fans for his many cover shots for artists in Punk (Ramones, Misfits), New Wave (B-52s, Go-Go’s, others) and early Rap/Hip-Hop (Biz Markie, Notorious B.I.G., more) – were included in the kick-off show for a new rock-n-roll photo gallery that opened on March 5th in Barcelona, Spain. The Johnson Gallery (named after blues legend Robert Johnson) is the brainchild of fan/collector/entrepreneur Philippe Delecluse, who’ll be offering a slate of images from George and other respected rock photographers including Mick Rock, Adrian Boot and Curtis Knapp. When the gallery opens its doors, visitors were able to view over 50 images and listen to a concert given by Johnny & The Blues Workers. Since the gallery’s site is still under construction, here are the important details in case you’re in the area and want to join Philippe and his team in the post-grand-opening festivities – Gallery Johnson, Pg. Rector Oliveras, 4, 08009 Barcelona. (C. Arago between Roger de Llúria and Bruc). Open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 16 to 8:00 p.m. Email: galeriajohnson@gmail.com

More info: galeriajohnson.com (coming soon). To preview some of George’s works that will be available thru the gallery, please visit his website at http://www.george-dubose.com/

2) Well, the first reviews of Bjork’s new show at MOMA in NYC are in and, well, at least this particular reviewer wasn’t all that impressed…Long an artist that has stretched the limits of normalcy in the visuals that accompany her music (her album covers and music videos all being great examples of her willingness to experiment), the museum’s show is segmented into displays built around each of her eight studio albums, with costumes, props, photographs and other items included that should assist fans in getting a better look behind the scenes of the pop mistresses artistic endeavors. In his review for the ArtNet News site (http://news.artnet.com/…/ladies-and-gentlemen-the-bjork-sho…), Ben Davis shares his frustration with everything from the displays to the audio guide that accompanies the show (it “doesn’t actually guide you”). If any of you have seen the show and can provide your own details and opinions, please share them here.

March 3rd – 1) Possibly the best-known photographer who covered the rock music scene in Manchester, UK beginning in the late 1970s, Kevin Cummins is now the subject of a new exhibition now on display at the Lucy Bell Fine Art gallery on Norman Road in East Sussex, UK, from now until April 10th. The show’s titled “Disclosure” and includes over 50 images Cummins took of the players that made up the “Madchester” music scene, including Joy Division, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Morrissey, The Smiths, Stone Roses and Manic Street Preachers, along with other members of rock royalty – including the Rolling Stones and David Bowie – who he’d shoot portraits of and album covers for later in his career. Read more about the artist and this show in this article on the Art Daily site at http://artdaily.com/…/Exhibition-at-Lucy-Bell-Fine-Art-feat…

2) Anyone who cruised Sunset Boulevard and the surrounding areas will recall the many billboards you’d have seen promoting the latest releases by major music acts, and it was welcoming to see Robert Landau‘s book on the subject when it was published a couple years back. One of the best-known designers to have contributed to these mega-sized works of art was John Van Hamersveld (whose Exile On Main Street billboards for the Rolling Stones became quite famous for their mind-blowing imagery), and now that he’s got a gallery of his own in San Pedro, he’s brought together a number of photos of those works – along with Mr. Landau – and hosted an event on March 5th during which visitors were treated to a special presentation about these billboards, followed by a book-signing and the release of several limited-edition prints. For details about the event, please visit the Post-Future Art site at http://www.post-future.com/williams/williams.html

3) Just a reminder to all Bowie art fans – the “David Bowie Is” exhibition is now on display at the Philharmonie de Paris from now until the end of May. The show was a HUGE success in London so, with its emphasis on design, fashion and art, I’m predicting a respectable turn-out during the exhibition’s run in France. There will be a number of design and music-related events that will take place at various times while the show is on display, so if you’d like to learn more, please visit the show’s site at
http://davidbowieis.philharmoniedeparis.fr/en
This palace to the arts is easy to reach via the Paris Metro (Line 5, Porte de Pantin station), and the building by Jean Nouvel is a wonder in itself…

March 2nd – 1) With all the excitement and controversy regarding that white/gold/blue/black dress, it only makes sense that a music industry writer with a keen eye for color would put together an article wondering what the similar process of over-saturating colors might have done to some of our favorite record covers. Let’s thank Music Times writer Ryan Brook for this in-depth look at what our ability/inability to see certain colors – in this case, blue – differently under different lighting conditions might have done to our appreciation of records from Nirvana, Weezer, The Eagles, John Coltrane and several others. http://www.musictimes.com/…/blue-dress-viral-light-sensatio…

I just hope that this is all over soon.

2) I continue to be impressed with the imagination shown by music marketers with regards to coming up with new ways to differentiate their clients’ packaging…Here’s an example of a band that hooked up with an “on demand’ printing company to create a unique album cover for each and every physical copy produced! As you’ll see in this article by the staff at HUH., designer Nick Relph prepared a basic style guide for Hot Chip’s upcoming release (to be titled Why Make Sense?) and, when orders start to come in, a cover printed in one of over 500 colors will be used, along with similar-but-slightly-different graphics, when the record is finally put into its sleeve. I hope to find out more about this process but, in the meantime, you can view an animation that shows some of the many options available when you place your order – http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk/…/every-physical-copy-of-hot-c…

3) At least once a year, an article is written about the occasional use of nastier-than-normal album art to help package and promote new music. This year’s article is presented to us by Gavin Edwards, writing for Rolling Stone Magazine, and includes 20 records that, in their own special way, were considered “naughty” by both the press and record retailers, many of whom would not sell the records until they’d been veiled somehow. Not sure exactly what prompted this year’s offering – maybe the $500M box office so far for 50 Shades of Greyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/…/as-nasty-as-they-wanna-be-the…

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 – January, 2015

Album Cover News Recap – January, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

The new year brings an ongoing stream of news in the world of Album Cover Art and Artists, with winners selected in the annual Best Art Vinyl voting and the day drawing near (Feb. 8th, to be exact) when we’ll find out who has been honored with this year’s Grammy Awards in the Packaging Categories. Nominees were also announced for “best album cover” in several other award shows world-wide, with those winners to be announced at various times over the next several months (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

While a few sites/publications were a little slow in releasing the results of the “Best Of” and “Worst Of” lists for the previous year, Time and Talent marches on, with January being another busy album cover news-related month. Continuing to be popular are articles focusing on album art themes, including covers featuring food as the subject and the desolate landscapes often featuring on Alternative Rock/Grunge sleeves, along with another article on truly “bad” or “disturbing” covers (you know them when you see them, don’t you?). A number of new shows and exhibitions launched during the month featuring the works of artists and photographers from all areas of the art world, including famed Bauhaus/Yale designer Josef Albers, multi-media artist Christian Marclay, folk artist and self-proclaimed rock superstar “Mingering Mike”, Japanese “emoge” artist Tatsuya Shingyouji and modern classicist Kehinde Wiley, along with photographers Baron Wolman, Jason DeBord and Mark Weiss, among many others.

There were also examples of artists from other disciplines re-imagining album cover images as if they were done by European Modernists or by your best friend’s Mom on an Etch-A-Sketch (!!).  There were new books released featuring the work by a variety of accomplished artists for bands big (e.g., the Rolling Stones) and small, along with many interviews with creatives making their mark in the music/art world. Of note are two interviews with people that are well-known for their musical talents – Paul Simonon of The Clash and Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs – who are now happy to show us their talents in the visual arts and talk about the relationships between the two disciplines.

Of course, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site – I’m 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’m working on lining up some new interviews with some very talented men and women who make at least part of their living in the world of album cover art but, in the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were out shoveling snow, watching your favorite teams win/lose 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.

January 30 – 1) Noisey/Vice writer Tony Rettman has posted a nice interview with Hardcore art star Sean Taggart in which he chronicles his rise from late 70s metal fan thru early 80s NYC punker to album cover illustrator for the genre’s top acts, including Agnostic Front, Crumbsuckers, Twitching Tongues, Cro-Mags and many others. Taggart’s art is intricately-detailed…the type of art that draws you in to look for all of the things you didn’t see the first five times you looked at it (depending a lot, of course, on your state of inebriation at the time). Rettman’s got a book out on the subject, so he’s good at digging deep into the mind of this talented artist – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/sean-taggart-interview

2) Writing for the Metro UK site, author Caroline Westbrook shares a collection of album cover images that seem to have truly disturbed her and, based on the covers included in her list of “album cover nightmares you can never unsee”, a lot of her fears for her sanity are quite well-founded. There are several covers that tend to make lists like this one, but the author does work hard to cross multiple genres and include examples from both obscure genres/labels and those meant to shock as well. Glad to see both 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be (the first officially-designated “obscene” cover) and the soundtrack for “karatist preacher” Mike Crain on the list – is there anything missing, you think?

http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/30/joyce-dick-black-and-2-live-crew-15-album-cover-nightmares-you-can-never-unsee-5043162/

3) As a follow-up to my recent headline about the new “Albers In Command” show that launches in Los Angeles this weekend, I would like to point you to some additional info and commentary on the subject that has been posted by the exhibit’s curators. You’ll find some additional details on the label Albers was commissioned by, particularly Enoch Light, whose releases on the Command Records label were engineered to highlight the advantages of a high-quality sound system…learn more via the following link – https://medium.com/vvvvvv-studio/albers-in-command-b3184edd7746

January 29 – 1) Album cover artist Shepard Fairey, whose work under the OBEY Giant moniker has provided him with a well-documented place in the history of “subversive” artwork, was seen in a cameo role in a recent episode of IFC’s Portlandia tv show playing, as you might guess, a clerk in an art store here that specializes in “shocking art supplies” – smashed TV sets, baby dolls in various poses, upside-down American flags and other basic needs for use by any serious producer of “scandalous” artwork. ArtNet News writer Eileen Kinsella was kind enough to post a link to their exclusive preview of Mr. Fairey’s work alongside Fred and Carrie – pretty cute, I think – http://news.artnet.com/art-world/take-an-exclusive-look-at-shepard-faireys-portlandia-cameo-219411

2) Artist Christian Marclay, whose “Sleevage-style” works combining sections of well-known album covers to create something new and fun (you might even say “shocking”) are just one example of his career-long efforts to combine music and art, will be the subject of a new solo exhibition that launched the weekend of Jan. 30 at the White Cube Bermondsey gallery in London. In addition to many new examples of his multi-media work, the gallery will play host to an ongoing series of events and performances, including a program this weekend by the London Sinfonietta. Of particular note for fans of the LP-making process, vinyl record manufacturer The Vinyl Factory and art printing house Coriander Studio will be installing and operating a full-bore record plant, showing visitors the entire production process of making and packaging an album. More info on the gallery’ site – http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/christian_marclay_bermondsey_2015/

January 28 – Two new photo shows and a chance to see an original classic cover painting:

1) From now through May 10, 2015, the Reading (PA) Public Museum is host to a show built around shots from the amazing photo archive of Baron Wolman, the photographer credited with being one of the first – and most-recognized – photo-journalists in the modern Rock era. Titled “Backstage Pass: Baron Wolman and The Early Years of Rolling Stone“, the show (according to the Museum’s web site) “…allows guests to explore how photographers and editors of Rolling Stone guided the creation of the “rockstar” persona, from concert, to cover, to icon. Immortalized by writers, filmmakers, and musicians from Stephen King to Dr. Hook, the cover of Rolling Stone magazine has embodied generations of popular culture.” Wolman’s photos also appeared on a number of record covers for artists including Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry, Booker T. & The MGs, Tony Bennett and many others, so if you find yourself om the road from Philly to Harrisburg and are looking for an interesting side trip, be sure to stop and see this fine show, curated by Ben Ahlvers of the Lawrence (KS) Art Center – http://www.readingpublicmuseum.org/museum/exhibits/exhibitions/backstagepass.php

2) Over 40 photos from the collection of Pattie Boyd will be on display for six weeks – beginning with an RSVP-only reception on Saturday, February 14th – in a show at the San Francisco Art Exchange titled “Like A Rainbow; Love & Inspiration – Photographs by Pattie Boyd”. While most rock fans know of Ms. Boyd’s history as the muse/wife for George Harrison and Eric Clapton, for years collectors have been impressed with her photos taken from her life as a chronicler of, and active participant in, rock and roll history. To make the show even more intriguing, the gallery will have, on display for the first time in the U.S., the painting used for the cover artwork on Clapton’s epic Layla album (how cool is that?). To see a selection of the photos that will be on display, and to learn more about SFAE’s show, click on the link – http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400114

January 27 – Two design-oriented articles for your reading pleasure:

1) Was doing some cover-related research and followed a link to a site that I thought you might enjoy. Many album cover artists are also commissioned to produce the entire graphics package for their clients, bringing their design sense to merchandise, set design and, more commonly, gig/tour posters. So intrigued was he with the variety of styles found on such posters that one designer – Mike Joyce of NYC’s Stereotype Design studio – has developed quite the sideline – that being, recreating punk, rock, new wave and indie show posters in his own style, with the text in each design set in the lowercase Berthold Akzidenz-Grotesk Medium (not Helvetica) typeface. On his site, you’ll find (and are able to buy) prints of designs for hundreds of shows that took place at a myriad of venues over a 30+ year period. A fascinating display (although I personally would have like to have seen some of the original poster images, just as points of comparison). In any case, it’s another great example of one artist’s creativity being influenced by years of great music industry design – http://www.swissted.com/

2) Keeping in the European Modernist mindset…long after former Bauhaus (the design school shut down by the Nazis in the early 1930s and not the British goth band lead by Peter Murphy) instructor Josef Albers came to the U.S. to teach at Yale’s department of design (leaving to work independently in 1958), he was hired by “lounge music” label Command Records to create several album covers. Working alongside label owners Enoch Light and George Schwager, Albers brought his minimalist design sensibilities to bear and created covers that still impress. A collection of these covers was found by studio VVVVVV creative director Nitzan Hermon and are the basis of a new exhibition launching on January 31st at the Ace Hotel gallery in Los Angeles. Titled Albers In Command, the display is all the more special as it represents almost all of Albers’ commercial work (aside for a book cover done in 1934). At 2pm on the 31st, Hermon will lead a presentation – complete with music samples and prints from designers commissioned specifically for this event – that will certainly be a must-see for die-hard fans of album cover design. For more information, please read writer Steven Heller’s intro to the display on The Atlantic web site – http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/01/when-bauhaus-met-lounge-music/384711/ or click on this link to the gallery’s events page for details and directions – http://www.acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/albers-command

January 26 – 1) Paste Magazine‘s food editor Sara Bir started off our week with a selection of 24 food-themed album covers. Some – such as The Who’s The Who Sell Out, Warhol’s banana cover for The Velvets and Whipped Cream & Other Delights for Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass – are well-known “classics”, but you’ll find many lesser-known examples from all genres of music. I’m glad that she included one of the Ohio Players’ honey-based covers and it has piqued my research genes to find others. Does Judas Priest’s Rock-A-Rolla (reimagining the Coke logo) count? Slideshow is available via the link – http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/01/hungry-sounds-album-covers-featuring-food.html

2) The Smithsonian’s American Art Museum will be launching a new exhibition at the end of February to display a collection of album covers for records that never were, created by an artist in the late 60s – early 70s who went by the name “Mingering Mike”. TItled “Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits”, the show is possible only due to the fact that the covers were discovered by a record collector at a flea market several years ago after having been somehow lost to the original artist. On February 27th, there will be a panel discussion featuring Mingering Mike (who’ll appear in costume) along with the collector who found him – sometimes, when you don’t find exactly what you want, it just makes sense to make it on your own, I guess… http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2015/mingering_mike/

January 23 – 1) Throughout album cover art history, there have been many examples of stylistic themes that have dominated certain periods of design – think about how many covers in the mid-late 1960s sported “psychedelic” colors and typestyles and the covers for records by early rap stars that featured band members standing in a semi-circle and looking down menacingly at the photographer…Catching us up on a trend that started 30 years ago and that still seems to be a popular theme even today, the editors for the music pages on the Death & Taxes site take us on a stroll through “The Grunge Forest”, showing us examples of barren landscapes that have been included in both album cover and music video imagery. You’ll enjoy revisiting these images from acts including U2, David Sylvian, Live, Nirvana and many others – http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/233546/enter-the-grunge-forest/ Hope that your local greenery is in better shape than the examples you’ll find here…

2) In his ongoing effort to establish himself as the supreme talent in both the music and art worlds, Kanye West has worked hard to bring his own imprint on album cover design via the work of his DONDA agency. To catalog the string of artistic designs generated for DONDA clients – for both singles and albums – HotNewHipHop writer Chris Tart has assembled a portfolio of the agency’s works and provided them to us in a nice slideshow featuring covers for acts including Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, ASAP Rocky, John Legend, Mr. West and others. Each image includes a brief description of the relationships that exist between Yeezus and his client base. http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/a-complete-list-of-kanye-west-s-donda-designed-music-artwork-news.13645.html?gallery-24783-photo-0

January 22 – 1) In another fascinating display of both creative artistry and someone with way too much time on her hands, Philly-based artist Alli Katz shows us what can be done with both in this display of classic album art done on an Etch-A-Sketch. In the slide show featured in Fast Company writer John Paul Titlow’s recent article on the subject, you’ll find faithfully-reproduced covers of records by The Beatles, David Bowie, Springsteen, Sonic Youth and several others. I’m particularly impressed with her version of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours LP – what say you? http://www.fastcocreate.com/3040876/these-classic-album-covers-were-drawn-on-an-etch-a-sketch

2) Just downloaded a free guide published by DiscMakers called “The Musician’s Guide To Vinyl” and thought that I might share the link with those of you who might be interested in learning a bit more about both “the making of” vinyl records and things you should consider – including an impactful album cover design – if you’re setting out to release your own music in this format. While they didn’t spend a lot of time on the subject of album cover design, I did visit their site afterwards and found a lot more info, along with a number of good case studies, on the topic, published by their in-house design team. Warning – you will have to provide contact info in order to download the guide, but it’s a small price to pay for the info you’ll get (I think) – http://www.discmakers.com/request/musicians-guide-to-vinyl.asp?

January 21 – 1) Former President Bush is not the only one who is eager to show off his painting skills (?) later in life…In this article on the ArtDaily site, you’ll learn more about a new exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London featuring the works of Clash bassist Paul Simonon. The show is titled “Wot No Bike” and puts on display a series of oil paintings the former Byam Shaw School of Art student recently completed. An avid biker, the images are representative of Simonon’s own motorcycle-related effects – jackets, gloves, boots, etc. – and, according to the artist’s site, “the paintings are as much self-portraits as they are still lifes. By rendering possessions that he uses on an almost every day basis, Simonon transmutes Wot no Bike into a visual diary in paint.” The show runs now through the 6th of February – http://artdaily.com/news/75884/Paul-Simonon-presents-a-series-of-new-paintings-at-London-s-Institute-of-Contemporary-Arts

2) The French Canadian music arts organization known as the APCM has released the list of nominees for its annual Trille Or awards, with five records, featuring the works of four design professionals, nominated for “Best Album Cover” (“Meilleure pochette”, in French):

Christian Pelletier, for Alter Ego by Le Paysagiste;

David Langis, Hannah Ford for Le Scone à soir by Le Scone;

Guy Dutrisac for Perles et paraboles by YAO;

Marc Girouard for Papillon by Gabrielle Goulet, and

Christian Pelletier for Silence Radio by En bref

The winners will be announced and awards handed out at the gala ceremony set for May 7th. Que le meilleur concepteur gagner! To read about the rest of the nominees, please visit the APCM site at http://www.apcm.ca/apcm-gala-des-prix-trille-or/nouvelles/pleins-feux-sur-les-artistes-en-lice-pour-le-gala-des-prix and don’t forget your French dictionary!

January 20 – 1) To coincide with the release of a new series of limited-edition silkscreen prints of over 40 of his best-known images (currently on display in an exhibition at the Art629 Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ), the editors at New Jersey Stage magazine have published an interview they did with photographer Bob Gruen during which they touched on a number of topics, including his experiences shooting rock royalty including John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Debbie Harry, Bob Dylan, The Ramones, etc., his feelings about the demise of many famous rock venues and his take on the benefits/drawbacks of allowing fans to bring their camera-equipped phones to concerts. There are also links to a couple of video interviews with Gruen in the article allowing us to see/hear him expand on some of the topics included in the interview. The show runs from now until February 28th, with Mr. Gruen on hand to sign copies of his latest photo book – See Hear Yoko – February 8th. http://www.njartsmag.com/new-jersey-stage-january-2015/0595784001421535801/p7

2) I was doing some research when I ran across a recent posting by Richard Butler – frontman of The Psychedelic Furs and an accomplished visual artist – during which he attempts to define the differences between “art” and “design”. He promotes three distinct differences, with design appearing to be a much more practical pursuit, and then includes a link to a video of Rex Ray – the man responsible for both a wide range of beautiful products found in the Jonathan Adler retail stores and distinctive album cover designs for David Bowie, The Residents and many others – in which Mr. Ray explains how he manages to keep his careers in both design and fine art separate-but-equally fun and challenging. Butler’s site and blog are consistently interesting reads – http://www.richardbutlerstudio.com/?p=37

January 19 – 1) The latest installment in writer Abigail Radnor’s ongoing series in The Guardian that she calls “That’s Me In The Picture”, the author tracks down and interviews the world’s best-known album cover naked baby swimming in a pool, Spencer Elden. Taken when he was just 4 months old, Spencer’s parents shared a mutual friend with photographer Kirk Weddle and responded positively when asked if they wanted to earn a quick $200 by throwing their newborn into a pool, with the resulting photo creating album cover history. He’s gotten over the fact that millions of people world-wide have seen his little penis over the past 24 years, but he’s still amazed that people claim to recognize him from time to time when he’s out in public…Ms. Radnor’s series focuses on people who’ve appeared in famous photos, with this latest posting available via the link –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jan/16/thats-me-picture-spencer-elden-nirvana-nevermind

2) In reading the personal histories of many visual artists who work in the music business, one theme you’ll find over and over again is that a percentage of these creative individuals took up design or photography as a way to attach themselves to the music world since they had little or no musical skills themselves (all of us wannabe rock stars who gave up the pursuit of a career as a musician can most-certainly relate, right?). In a recent article about die-hard music fan-turned-photographer Jason DeBord – whose work is featured in a new show staged at the Monterey County Weekly’s new venue called the Press Club Gallery – tells about his journey from fan-with-a-camera to a photo pro whose images have appeared in galleries and museum shows alongside album cover photo greats including Ethan Russell and Tom O’Neal. There’s also a companion piece in which he shares the details of the times he’s met some of the industry’s best-known performers. This article proves that “stick-to-it-ievness” can a passion for what you do can certainly pay off in the long run…http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/news/cover/a-fan-turned-photographer-stocks-the-press-club-s-first/article_74f376f4-9c4a-11e4-bd63-af4988af8a4f.html?mode=jqm

January 16 – 1) With John Kerry in the news a lot these days, this seemed timely –  on Jan. 21, Mr. Kerry presented the US State Dept’s Medal of Arts to the artist Kehinde Wiley, the talented painter who is best-known to album cover art fans for the painting he created for Santigold’s hit 2012 record Master Of My Make Believe. I had the pleasure of seeing a showing of some of Wiley’s work at the Brooklyn Art Museum several years back and, since then, his stylish portraits of African-American subjects set in classic European settings have garnered a great deal of attention in the fine art world. Beginning in late February, The Brooklyn Museum will be launching a major exhibition of Wiley’s work titled “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic”, giving fans old and new an opportunity to fully-appreciate the scope of this artist’s talents. More on this in Sarah Cascone’s article on the artnet News site – http://news.artnet.com/art-world/john-kerry-will-present-the-state-department-medal-of-arts-to-kehinde-wiley-220370

I found a very nice video on YouTube detailing “the making of” the Santigold cover – well worth the watch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQvCwOxY3jQ

2) Launched on Jan. 16 at the MPLS Photo Center in Minneapolis, MN is a new exhibition featuring the works of a number of photographers who work in the rock music arena. Titled (I think) “The World of Rock & Roll Photography”, the show is an opportunity to see a nice collection of images taken by photographers both local and national in scope, and the Center is also hosting a juried exhibition where shooters of all stripes can submit their best shots for review by a group of established rock photographers including Paul Natkin, who has produced an impressive portfolio of portraits of well-known musicians over the years and whose work is also included in the show. The collection is on display from now until March 1st, with more info available via the link – http://www.mplsphotocenter.com/exhibits/current-exhibits.php

January 15 – 1) Vinyl record recycler/designer Jeff Davis at Vinylux has come up with a VERY cool new device – an amplifier for your guitar and/or mobile device made out of recycled vinyl records! Called the “Vinyltone”, each unit is hand-made and is built around state-of-the-art technology. Power is provided by a 9-V battery, with separate controls for volume and gain. You can attach your smartphone via an 1/8″ to 1/4″ plug adaptor (not included) and, if you’d like a floor-standing version, simply attach your practice amp to any standard camera tripod. Jeff’s company also makes bowls, picture frames, notebooks and more from recycled records and album covers, so it is nice to see him continuing to innovate to bring music fans these wonderful items. The retail price of the Vinyltone is $150 (check his site for availability), and you can find out more about the company on the Vinylux web site – http://vinylux.net/

2) Many (if not most) album cover designers have also produced graphics and imagery for their clients’ promo posters and, as you’ll learn in Roger McNamee’s recent posting on the Relix.com site, their status as “the unsung heroes” in the music and fine art businesses is just as confounding. Rather than wallow in frustration, McNamee created a consortium of artists to produce great art for his musical group’s ( Moonalice ) performances and, since 2007, has been able to offer fans over 750 different posters at affordable prices. Soon, he’ll be taking it one step further as he’s just received funding to create what will be called the Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco later this year. At the center, artists will be able to produce silkscreens, lithos and other styles of poster and then display them in an attached gallery space (yes, I’m jealous!). I hope to learn more about these efforts and report back to you soon but, in the meantime, read Roger’s posting to learn more – http://www.relix.com/articles/detail/my_page_roger_mcnamee_preserving_poster_art

January 14 – Hip-Hop site Boom Box is staging its second annual reader poll for the “Album Cover Of The Year” (2015), and this year’s nominees represent quite a collection of talent and progressive art. Included in the poll are several covers that topped most of the 2014 year-end polls, including LP1 by FKAtwigs, Run The Jewels 2 and And Then You Shoot Your Cousin by The Roots, as well as entries by YG, Wu-Tang Clan and many others. The poll is open to all and they’ll be tallying all votes entered before 10AM EST on February 16, so please take a look at the entries and add your votes. Of course, you’ll find the results here on the ACHOF site as soon as they’re announced – http://theboombox.com/album-cover-of-the-year-2015-the-boombox-fan-choice-awards/

January 13 – 1) While the recorded music business in the U.S. was centered in the NYC area, talent was enlisted from all over the country to contribute to the designs used to package and promote music products, with the state of California home to a large contingent of designers, illustrators and photographers. In the new book Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936–1986 (titled this way due to the constant changes in the state brought about by its environment and population and how those changes inspired and shaped design there) published this week in the U.K. by Thames & Hudson, you’ll find a collection of promo imagery for music, film and other events done by artists who have contributed greatly to album cover/concert poster art – John Van Hamersveld, Gene Howard and Earl Newman, among others. Writing for The Guardian, Corrine Jones provides and introduction and a nice selection of examples from the book – http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2015/jan/10/the-best-californian-graphic-designs-1936-1986-in-pictures

Knowing that Ernie Cefalu, Nick Egan, Drew Struzan, Kosh and others based in CA are continuing to contribute to the state’s impressive portfolio of examples of great design, I’m hoping that someone will do a follow-up book, taking us from 1987 to present…

2) Artist Tatsuya Shingyouji, best known for his contributions to the anime-style pornographic video game industry (AKA “emoge”) so popular in Japan, has just published a new collection of re-interpretations of classic rock album covers, updated to include characters done in the time-honored, “Speed Racer”-style cartoon look. The mash-up of classic scenes, poses and colors with the voluptuous, wide-eyed characters found in Shingyouji’s art are truly compelling – sometimes funny, always fascinating – and another example of classic album packaging continuing to inspire artists world-wide to take things “to a whole, nother level”. Scott Green’s article on the Cruncyroll site is illustrated with several great examples, including covers for Queen, Prince, Pink Floyd, ELP and more – enjoy – http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2015/01/11/classic-era-artist-illustrates-another-set-of-madoka-magica-classic-album-cover-parodies

January 12 – 1) The tradition of fine album cover art continues to be carried on by a number of talented and motivated artists – this statement is certainly backed up by several of the impressive examples included in Rachael Steven’s latest installment in the “Record Sleeves of the Month” section of the Creative Review site. Many different approaches to intriguing music packaging are on display – fine photography, illustration and design – with several examples of quality die-cutting that adds even greater dimension to the images presented. I particularly like the design of the box set package that holds one version of The Decemberists recently-released new album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World. For $69.98, buyers get (in addition to an autographed copy of the music on vinyl) several limited-edition prints done by the album cover designer (Carson Ellis), embroidered patches and a 14″ x 20″ “Masonic” satin banner. Read Ms. Steven’s rundown of the latest and greatest via the link at http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/december/record-sleeves-of-the-month and take a look at the special Decemberists fan package at http://www.myplaydirect.com/the-decemberists/deluxe-autographed-box-set-digital-album/details/33256560?feature-name=pre-order&feature=33227180

2) While there have been a number of musical acts that have shown a talent for the graphic arts as well, I find myself particularly impressed with the paintings of John Mellencamp and, apparently, my feelings are not unique in that there have been several exhibitions of his works over the years, the most-recent on having opened on January 11 at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA. Titled “American Dreams: Paintings By John Mellancamp, the exhibit features a large collection of his mixed-media and oil paintings and will be on display until April 12th of this year. Mellencamp decided early on in his artistic career that he’d focus on his music but, after years of training in the visual arts, I’m for one quite happy that he has since taken the time to explore, quite nicely, his painterly side as well. Additional details here on the Art Daily site – http://artdaily.com/news/75626/-American-Dreams–Paintings-by-John-Mellencamp–opens-at-the-Morris-Museum-of-Art

January 9 – 1) I am always impressed to find artists that have been motivated to re-imagine classic album cover art in new and exciting ways, so it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the work of Brazilian artist (and creative director at the Ópera Comunicação agency in Sao Paolo) Rafa Melandi, who has redone a series of well-known heavy metal album covers to present them as if they’d been created by 1950s’- 60s jazz record cover designers. You’ll find new versions of records such as Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Judas Priest’s British Steel and many others. Rafa’s tribute to the early greats in album cover design can be found on his Behance site at https://www.behance.net/gallery/22172745/Metazz-Metal-Album-Covers-Redesigned

Looking forward to new additions as they’re released.

2) Using Google’s Street View utility, Metro writer Stephen Marr has located the original settings for a number of well-known album covers and has set up a gallery of them with the ability to slide left-to-right (and back) to see the “before and after” versions – i.e., the actual locations and then the view given to us on the record cover. He’s scouted locations in the U.S. and U.K. to bring us the current views of well-known cover photos for Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Oasis, Pink Floyd, The Streets and several others. You’ll find that many spots still look remarkably the same, while others have gone through, let’s say, some “modernization”, but it’s cool to see them nonetheless. Click on over to http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/02/guess-the-classic-album-covers-from-these-google-street-view-snaps-5006837/ to find your favorites.

January 8 – Two items for fans of rock (music) photography:

1) Here’s an nice example of a well-known album cover photographer using his works to better the world – Mark Weiss, best-known for his photos of rock music icons including Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister and many others in the “heavier” end of the spectrum, is auctioning off a number of his photo prints to raise money for two humanitarian organizations – Light Of Day (which works on helping those afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease) and Lunch Break, a NJ-based organization that provides assistance to those who have difficulty affording food. In the last two years, Mark’s efforts have raised over $30,000 for these organizations, and his current auction on Charitybuzz.com looks to continue his efforts. You can read more about Mark and his charitable efforts (and find a link to take you to see what’s available in his latest fund-raising auction) in this article by John Pfeiffer on The Aquarian Weekly web site – http://www.theaquarian.com/2015/01/07/light-of-day-winterfest-2015-world-renowned-rock-photographer-mark-weiss-auctions-off/

2) Over in “Rock City” – i.e., Cleveland, OH – the work of local photographer Walter Novak is the subject of a new exhibition at the Cleveland Rock Gallery on Waterloo Road, presented by Space:Rock Gallery, titled “Walter Novak – He’s Back”. Included in the show are over 50 photographs of both locally-and-internationally known music acts – including The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Van Halen, Soundgarden and many more – taken during the Czech-born shooter’s career providing imagery to both local and national publications. Read Cleveland Plain Dealer writer John Petrovic’s article on the show and the talent behind it via the link – http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/01/cleveland_photographer_walter.html

January 7 – Follow-up on two previously-mentioned items:

1) The crew behind the new Taschen Gallery in LA have generated a lot of publicity both for their gallery and the book/collection behind their opening exhibition, titled “It’s Just A Shot Away: The Rolling Stones In Photographs” and featuring over 100 images of the Rolling Stones taken over the years (including several album cover photos, such as David Bailey’s memorable shot of Mr. Jagger for Goats Head Soup) by a number of talented shooters including Bailey, Gered Mankowitz, Terry Richardson and Ethan Russell, among others. The show runs through the end of the month, but if you’re unable to make it to the gallery during its run, the editorial staff on the Artsy site have put together a nice illustrated article for you – https://artsy.net/post/editorial-taschen-offers-the-rolling-stones-visual-greatest?

2) Last April, I wrote about the work of a mysterious visual artist by the name of “Harvezt” who maintains a Flickr site featuring artwork he’s created that works to show famous album covers as if the viewer is now looking at these scenes from behind. The collection has now expanded to include over 30 such scenes, allowing viewers to see covers including Nirvana’s Nevermind, Iron Maiden’s Killers, Bowie’s Aladdin Sane and many others from an entirely different perspective. Who knew that there was an actual image of the “Stairway To Heaven”? Paste Magazine’s Jeff Pearson gives us an update in today’s posting – you’re sure to find something new and controversial there (I still can’t find this guy – any clues?)…http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/01/the-dark-side-of-album-art-series-by-artist-harvez.html

January 6 – 1) The winners of the 2014 Best Art Vinyl album cover competition have been announced, with the top 3 spots going to 1) Royal Blood’s Royal Blood (design by Richard Welland and illustration by Dan Hillier), 2) FKA twigs’ LP1 (artwork by Jesse Kanda) and 3) Future Islands’ Singles (design by Matt de Jong and artwork by Beth Hoeckel). In its tenth year of popular polling, voters from all over the world selected covers from major and indie labels, with several of the top vote-getters having appeared on a number of year-end “Best Of” lists, while other lesser-known works obviously impressing fans of music art with their ingenuity and beauty. You can take a look at the whole list on the Art Vinyl site at http://www.bestartvinyl.com/previous-winners/2014.html and, for a more in-depth look, read Angus Montgomery’s overview in this article on the Design Week web site – http://www.designweek.co.uk/3039593.article

Congratulations to the winners!

2) Scottish photographer David Boni, known world-wide for his controversial photograph featured on the cover of The Stranglers’ 2012 album Giants, is garnering a lot of attention these days with a new exhibition of photos of six women who are coming up with interesting and cathartic methods (via the destruction of objects meant to represent whatever trauma they may have experienced) of dealing with the most-traumatic experiences in their lives. Titled “Behind The Social Media Mask” and produced in conjunction with the anonymous social media site Pencourage.com, the show will launch in London and travel to other venues in the U.K., letting viewers experience the powerful images themselves and, perhaps, help them deal with their own demons in an artistic way. More on this in this article on the Herald Scotland site – http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/shocking-new-exhibition-by-controversial-photographer-illuminating-dark-corners-of-ou.26176054

January 5 – 1) Just heard from Emily at Hypergallery in the U.K. (nice to hear from you, Emily!) – for fans of album cover art, it is a business dedicated to exhibiting and publishing high-quality art prints from an impressive list of album cover designers and photographer and definitely worth a visit. In any case, I clicked on over to their site and found a very nice interview they published recently with Marc Bessant (an album cover designer and head of design for Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios) in which he gives us a run-down of his favorite album cover designs (and why they rank so highly with him). His love for cover design spans a number of decades and genres, making this a very interesting and insightful Monday morning read – http://hypergallery.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/whats-your-favourite-record-sleeve-of.html

2) Writing for Goldmine Magazine, Susan Sliwicki just posted an informative article about one of the album cover art world’s most-intriguing packages – that being the one for The Beatles’ Yesterday & Today which, in addition to the two well-known covers (those being known as “the Butcher Cover” and “the Trunk Cover”), were also recorded in several different formats which, of course, collectors must all have. Add those to the various digital versions and their respective packages and, I’m estimating, you can spend the better part of a year digging through (and the better part of your savings buying). To get a better understanding of the details before beginning any quest to own one of everything, click on over to this article – http://www.goldminemag.com/article/variations-beatles-yesterday-and-today-lp-cause-collecting-confusion?

January 2 – Here are a couple of new stories to kick off the year (my summary of album cover news for the month of December will be posted later today):

1) The folks at the VH-1 site have put together a nice compilation/slideshow of their choices for the best (or, as they put it, “most important”) music magazine covers for 2014. As you might figure, most of the photographers that produced these impactful images have many album cover credits as well (unfortunately, for most, album cover work doesn’t pay all of their bills!) – you’ll find the work of Steven Klein, Miller Mobley, Tom Medvedich and other noted industry shooters on pix of artists including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Dr. Dre (who’d have thought that the last two would ever be mentioned in the same sentence?). To see the list, click on over to Chris Rosa’s article – http://www.vh1.com/music/tuner/2015-01-02/2014-magazine-covers/

2) Not sure if everyone has seen the article on the “interactive” album package produced for DJ Qbert’s new record Extraterrestria (I’d seen a posting in early January) but, after doing a bit of research, I thought that I’d continue promoting it a bit as I think that it’s another fine example of how smart music marketers can come up with unique products to help separate their products from the thousands released and promoted each year. Combine novel technology, a tech-savvy audience and a limited-edition/”cool factor” off the charts and you have a winning package that fans (and non-fans) will clamor for. Hope to see more of these as time goes on – in the meantime, congratulations to all involved (Algoriddim for their DJ app and Novalia for their impressive technology, as well as the musical act for their bravery and promo smarts). See more on the Fact Magazine site – http://www.factmag.com/2014/12/31/dj-qberts-new-album-sleeve-doubles-as-a-dj-controller/

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.