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Album Cover Artist and Art News Summary and Preview for August/September, 2017

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of September, 2017. Since we last spoke, there’s been both a major astronomical event (the 8/21 total solar eclipse) and a major – i.e., catastrophic – meteorological event (Hurricane Harvey) along with a very disturbing display in Virginia of how some folks here in the U.S. just can’t seem to bring themselves to fully share the advantages and opportunities afforded to us here so, when you look at how those events have impacted people in very real ways, I have to ask myself why I’m spending my time reporting on album art/artist-related news versus focusing my efforts on activities that might somehow change/improve the world and the lives of folks just trying to enjoy the little time we’re given here on Earth.

I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t.

I know that art and music can combine to make our lives better in so many ways, and I also know how much I appreciate the talents of the people who work to bring these bits of joy and beauty to us, so in spite of the fact that my writing and reporting will most-probably disappear into the Ether over time, the positive notes and responses I get from my readers continue to provide me with some incentive to continue on in this overall-trivial-but-sometimes-rewarding effort. However, if you want to REALLY do something that will help your fellow man in need in the best possible way, I would invite you to do as I’ve done and click on over to the American Red Cross site, where you can send a donation in support of those most in need right now – https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

I’m hoping that you were able to read the article I posted in mid-August about my visit to the Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution exhibition currently running at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, IL because, as you’ll see below, I’m adding some additional info and photos on the Baron Wolman photo event that took place there recently as well. I also had the chance to tour the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism extravaganza here right before it closed and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing an amazing collection of Stones-related memorabilia and artwork (e.g., comps, alt takes and bits and pieces from “the making of” album covers including Exile On Main Street, Tattoo You and many others – very cool).

This month I also received the exciting news that the ALEX Awards show (named for the Godfather of album packaging and design, the late Alex Steinweiss) – a packaging industry awards show that’s been on hiatus for a number of years now – is being resurrected and will become part of a new show/symposium dedicated to all things vinyl record called “Making Vinyl” set for early November (Nov. 6-7) at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, MI. Album cover creators will have the chance to submit examples of their recent work to a panel of esteemed judges (including well-respected designers and other music industry notables such as Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Stefan Bucher, Gail Marowitz, Sean Mosher Smith, Sylvia Reed and Julian Alexander) for their review beginning September 1st and I’ll be posting more information very soon, so keep your eyes peeled…Online submission forms can be found at http://makingvinyl.com/alex-awards/

With regards to my book project, I am happy to be able to report that I have been able to gather some great new content from several new sources, including the highly-lauded design and writing team of Spencer Drate and Juditz Salavetz and a guy responsible for creating the what many consider to be “the templates” for in-your-face rap music album cover art, Shawn Brauch of Pen & Pixel fame. Of course, this only means that the project is getting even bigger/more time-consuming, so I’ll just leave it at that for now and will let you all know when things move forward on the design/publishing front…

For now, I’m just happy to be able to deliver the details of what’s going on in the lives and careers of the designers, artists, photographers and others who continue to produce great visuals for clients in the music business along with previews of what’s going to be on display and available for sale at your favorite gallery or museum next month. In the summary and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts of your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) 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)Earlier in August, I had the chance to tour the “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution” event at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, IL, with my full coverage (loaded with photos) posted on the ACHOF site at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/achof-exhibition-tour-bill-graham-and-the-rock-roll-revolution/  As part of the ongoing series of events and other activities that the museum is putting on in support of their show, on Thursday, August 17th, they staged a special event that, as both a fan of rock and roll photography and a regular reader of Rolling Stone Magazine over the past 50 years (!!), was truly a special opportunity and something I just had to attend – a presentation by Baron Wolman, the magazine’s first photographer and a man who has captured scores of photos that have helped illustrate Rock’s “golden ages”.

The evening’s opening discussion was lead by Jason Marck, a local radio personality, who provided the photographer’s introduction and an occasional question during Wolman’s hour-long slide presentation. Even though Baron was suffering a bit from a sore throat caused by the after-effects of recent throat surgery, it did little to curb his enthusiasm to share some of the stories behind a nice selection of his best-known photographs and more info on his own personal story, including his early career as a photographer in the military (BTW, the first photo he sold was of the Berlin Wall while stationed in Germany) and, after returning to the States and landing in the San Francisco Bay area, his introductions to both Jann Wenner at the fledgling Rolling Stone publication and rock impresario Bill Graham, the man who provided Wolman with nearly un-fettered access to his venues and the acts that played there (including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Bob Dylan & The Band, Santana and, of course, the Grateful Dead).

With influences including the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, it was Wolman’s own keen eye and keen interest in all of the goings on behind the scenes of the events and personalities he covered (his fascination with 1960s-era “groupies” was shared later in a critically-acclaimed photo book of his on the subject) that keeps music/art fans yearning to add selections from Wolman’s fine art print portfolio to their own collections. There were number of those fans in the audience that night, and they streamed out after the final Q&A session to both meet the photographer at the book-signing table and, perhaps, grab a photo or two with their hero. The museum was offering those in attendance the opportunity to take home, as a bonus for joining/extending their memberships, a specially-created book featuring items from the Graham exhibition and I’m quite certain that a number of those books went home with their new owners featuring the signature of the man of the hour, the talented Mr. Wolman.

Just as a reminder, the Bill Graham exhibition is on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum through November 12th, with more information available via the link – https://www.ilholocaustmuseum.org/billgraham/

b) Are YOU Experienced? Until you’ve seen the trippy photos taken by Karl Ferris for the cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experience record by that name up close and personal, you can’t really say that you are. Remember friends, this was way before computer-aided design and graphics, so in order to achieve the psychedelic final image, analog tools – fish eye lenses, infra-red film, etc. – had to be masterfully employed and, as you were able to see at two recent shows at the Morrison Hotel Galleries in NYC and Los Angeles (8/23 in NYC, 8/24 in LA), those now-50-year-old pix still grab you and blow your mind.

Karl also shot the photos used on the covers for two more Hendrix records – AXIS: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland (replacing the image found on the UK version that Jimi really despised) and Hendrix once told Karl that he did with his camera what Jimi tried to do with his guitar, so how’s that for evidence of a good client relationship?

The photos featured in the Karl Ferris Psychedelic Experience were part of a larger show celebrating 50 years of mind-expanding imagery, including fine art works by Gered Mankowitz, Amalie Rothschild, Henry Diltz and several others –
https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/5BfROu/Celebrating-iARE-YOU-EXPERIENCEDi

I also found a 2nd article, on Art Daily site, that gives readers a bit more of the background of these shows – http://artdaily.com/news/98318/Morrison-Hotel-Gallery-celebrates-the-era-of-psychedelia-with-an-exhibition-and-sale

The full show is up in the NYC gallery through September 6th, so if you’re in the area and have some ‘shrooms handy, experience the whole thing before it disappears in a puff of pink smoke…

c) Also on display from now through September 7th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles is a 30th anniversary exhibition of images taken by photographer Chris Cuffaro – well-known to album cover fans for his contributions to the packaging of records by acts including Bad English, Suicidal Tendencies, Bush, Nick Cave and many others – taken during the making of a music video for a single by a band called Martini Ranch that was directed by the not-yet-quite-so-popular film-maker James Cameron.

Martini Ranch was a short-lived, semi-serious side project built around the talents of several musicians (including some members of bands such as DEVO, Frank Zappa’s band and film composer Mark Isham), and some people from the movie business, including the late actor Bill Paxton, who’d go on to star in a number of popular films. They released one album – 1988’s Holy Cow, which featured quirky cover art by the acclaimed artist Lou Beach – and to make the video for the song “Reach”, the group brought in a bunch of friendlies from the music and film world, including Judge Reinhold, Paul Reiser and Cameron’s soon-to-be-wife, fellow director Kathryn Bigelow.

Given free rein to shoot the entire cast and crew while this video was being made, you’ll get to see a lot of people having a lot of fun for two days out at the Veluzat Motion Picture Ranch in Saugus, California.
https://www.mrmusichead.com/events/2017/8/30/chris-cuffaro-greatest-hits-martini-ranch

d) With the voting for this year’s Best Art Vinyl Awards almost upon us (beginning in November, with the winners announced next January), in anticipation of the presentation of this year’s nominees and subsequent voting, the folks behind this annual event will be staging presentations of recent winners and nominees in three locations in Europe (is the U.K. still “Europe” – please explain) all starting with the letter “B” – Barnsley (UK), Bologna (Italy) and Budapest (Hungary) later this year. Best Art Vinyl: 12 Years on 12 Inches will put the works of many talented album cover artists on display, including last year’s winner – illustrator/designer Matthew Cooper’s cover for The Last Shadow Puppets’ long-awaited 2nd album Everything You’ve Come to Expect.
The writers at Digital Arts Online provide us with a preview of the upcoming displays and voting –
http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/illustration/best-album-art-2017-nominees-past-winners-of-best-art-vinyl-awards-be-exhibited/

e) Now on display at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly, the EMP) in Seattle is a photo exhibition of 65 images selected by British shooter Mick Rock from the over 5000 he took of David Bowie from March 1972 to November of 1973 as he morphed into his Ziggy Stardust personality and helped establish the bona fides of the “glam rock” movement. Gillian G. Gaar’s coverage of the show, as featured in Goldmine Magazinehttp://www.goldminemag.com/articles/photographer-mick-rock-exhibits-bowie – provides us with a good intro to this long-lasting relationship between rock star and his friend/artist Rock, with more info on the details of the show available on the MOPOP site at https://www.mopop.org/exhibits/current-exhibits/bowie-by-mick-rock/
Later on in this summary, in Section 5, you’ll also find a related article about the premiere of the documentary film about Rock…

f) Genesis Publication’s Genesis House Gallery will be hosting a very special reception on September 9th featuring famed Beatles designer/bassist Klaus Voorman as they honor the release of his brand new collage created to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band’s seminal record, Revolver.
According to the gallery’s press release, “We will have an installation of Klaus’s latest work, the Revolver 50 collage series, alongside his earlier Hamburg Days prints and other artworks. The occasion also marks 50 years since Klaus won the Grammy Award for the Revolver album design, so we will be joined by some special guests to celebrate this achievement, and hope you will be able to join us.” I’d love to, of course, but there’s some water in the way…
http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-the-collage-series-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm?

g) Now I know that I’m getting old – 40 years, really? Yes, friends, it’s been 40 years since we first had our terminals fizzed by Manchester-area punkers The Buzzcocks and our eyes burned to cinders by Malcolm Garrett’s subversive designs for the band (remember the cover for the single “Orgasm Addict” with the iron-headed reclining nude?). Garrett went on to design memorable covers for musical acts including Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, Duran Duran and many others, and has shared his love of design with clients (via his in-demand agency, IMAGES & Co.) and students of design via his participation in industry events, showcases and committees such as the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Committee, the Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) Executive Committee, the i-Design interactive media conference held at the London Design Festival and as co-curator of the annual Design Manchester festival.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of the first designs for the influential band, Garrett will be leading a presentation/discussion at this year’s Design Manchester event, described here on the festival’s web site – http://designmcr.com/events/fizzing-at-the-terminals-malcolm-garretts-buzzcocks-designs-1977-2017 and, if you’re in the area, something I’d invite you to sign up for…

What really makes me wonder is that you can buy t-shirt with these early and then-controversial designs at Wal-Mart now…OMG!

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) While artist Sir Peter Blake, one of the UK’s best-known talents, might be most-recognized for his work on the cover for what’s often considered one of the best album covers ever created – the collage found on the package for 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles – it doesn’t take a lot of work to see that that cover was just one of a huge portfolio of images he’s created over the 85 years he’s been on the planet. His paintings and other works have long been considered amongst the very best in the fine art world but, as you’ll see in this nicely-written profile by Abigail Cain found recently on the Artsy.com site, interviews and conversations about and with the artist inevitably hearken back to his work for The Beatles.
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-beatles-helped-british-artist-perfect-work-pop-art

Today’s young artists have, fortunately, taken the time to look at and learn from Blake’s long list of important works of art, so he seems content to know that he’ll be remembered not just for the work that he and his team (artist Jann Haworth and photographer Michael Cooper) were given the amazingly meager sum of £200 (not including flowers and wax/cutout figures) to create…

b) Writing for VICE, Clara Mokri interviews photographer Brad Elterman as he looks back on his career as a young rock photographer via the discovery and purchase (thanks, eBay!) of a trove of long-lost photos taken early on in his career. Parlaying the sale of his candid shots of David Bowie to Creem Magazine back in the early 1970s into a career that’s brought us scores of great photos of rockers such as Joan Jett, Peter Frampton, Talking Heads, KISS, The Who (and shots that have been included in packages for AC/DC. Alice Cooper and the Eagles) and others, Brad shares the story about how his archive was lost-then-found and the emotions he feels taking a long look at his work all these years later.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/zmepp8/this-teen-took-candid-photos-of-the-70s-biggest-rock-stars

c) You all know Ron Pownall’s work – covers for albums by Ted Nugent, Boston, Aerosmith, Molly Hatchet and dozens more – but how often do you get a chance to take a tour through an accomplished photographer’s studio? Luckily, reporter Emily Cassell was able to snag such a tour, sharing it with us on the Scout Somerville (MA) website – http://scoutsomerville.com/ron-pownall/

Beginning his photo career as a young shooter for the Chicago Tribune newspaper in the late 1960s, he went from covering protests of the Vietnam War to concert events at local venues and, when he relocated from the Windy City to Boston in the early 1970s, his abilities brought him assignments to document the visits of bands including Boston, Queen and others and it was “off to the races”…

d) On NZ’s Stuff Entertainment site, Mike Alexander delivers a profile of Barry Beswick and his Indium Design company, perhaps best-known for his dozens of covers (the last 37 of them, as a matter of fact) created for the seemingly-never-ending series of top hits packages known as “Now That’s What I Call Music.”
https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/95241857/now-thats-what-i-call-album-artwork
Now, that’s what you call a GREAT commission!

e) Parlaying his love of music – exemplified by his collection of bootleg recordings – and his desire to improve the visuals usually associated with those illicit products into a career as an illustrator for the Trademark of Quality label and then, later on for legit label Rhino Records (where he designed their mascot/logo), cartoonist William Stout would then go on to greater fame as a designer of movie posters, film and TV productions and, more recently, a series of music-related books/graphic novels.
And he had me at Little Annie Fanny
Fans should take the time to read Joshua Stone’s profile of the prolific and talented illustrator in a recent issue of Bleeding Coolhttps://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/07/22/william-stout-career-envy/

f) As he’s going to be a speaker at the upcoming 2017 AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, MN (October 12-14), the folks behind the event have just posted an interview with artist Michael Cina, someone who is no stranger to us album art fans as he’s credited with dozens of designs for Pop, Rock and Electronic acts including Jacaszek, Matrixxman, Shigeto, Arthur Beatrice and many others – http://designconference.aiga.org/#!/article/michael-cina-discusses-his-career-journey

As both a freelancer and, since 2010, the principal at Cina Associates, Michael has done work – design, art direction, typography and web work – for a who’s who of happy clients including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Disney, Fox Sports, RedBull and many others.

Looking through the list of speakers lined up for this conference, I also wanted you to know that two other well-regarded album art designers – Pentagram’s Paula Scher and Draplin Design Co’s Aaron Draplin (go, Portland!) – will be on hand to share their innermost thoughts and feelings about design with an audience thirsting for their knowledge…

3) Sales/Auctions –

Nothing exciting to report at this point….

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

a) Rock N Roll Cultural Historian and Fandom Expert Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike (@JenOtterBickerd) has a new book out (September 1st in the UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Vinyl-Matters-Manifesto-Musicians/dp/185149863X) that looks to be required reading for anyone who is a lover of recorded music delivered on vinyl records (an ever-growing population of you, it seems!) and it includes, as I’ve heard from Jen, a fair amount of content that should be of interest specifically to us album art fans as well.

The book’s titled Why Vinyl Matters: A Manifesto From Musicians and Fans and, according to the accompanying press info, it is “a bold declaration of love for pre-digital music technology – part history, part future forecasting, part nostalgia and all celebration. A collection of more than 25 interviews, all illustrated with photos, sidebars, quotes, album covers, outtakes and much more” and includes discussions with musicians Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Henry Rollins (Black Flag and his own band), Mike Ness (Social Distortion), Steve Hackett (Genesis) and many others, along with several with top album cover designers including Peter Saville, Steve Park and Alison Fielding.

An academic, writer and historian now based in the U.K. and who has written several other books on the topics of music and Pop Culture (Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture (2016), The Secular Religion of Fandom: Pop Culture Pilgrim (2015) and 2014’s Fandom, Image and Authenticity (Pop Music, Culture and Identity), Jennifer “remains enthralled by vinyl, and has embarked on a journey to share her passion – and the passion of like-minded stars – with the world.”

Bonus Content – I asked Jen if she’d be willing to share some quotes from the album cover artists with me (and you) and she was kind enough to provide the following:
“I have Peter Saville and Steve Park. Peter has done TONS AND TONS of covers and Steve is most famous for Prince’s Graffiti Bridge (he was Prince’s creative director for years, and a super cool dude too)! Oh, and Alison Fielding, who does all of the creative for Beggars Banquet! “

Just as a teaser, here’s a quote she sent from her interview with Peter Saville – “There is no problem associated with a record cover other than the principle artist liking it. It doesn’t matter: what is on a record cover does not matter. Unlike any other form of packaging or communication. Nobody has NOT bought a record they wanted because they did not like the cover. They may sometimes be influenced to buy a record that they are indecisive about because they like the cover. But if there is a song, a track – something you like – you have never not bought it because of the cover. So, therefore, it does not really matter. But one thing does matter. The principle artist. Because if Bryan, Brett, Madonna, George is not happy – then the release is delayed. And it has got to happen quickly. It is always late. It is always left to the last minute; there are always last minute changes… It always goes to the wire. And at the 11th hour, management, record companies, cave in and say, ‘You know, we don’t fucking care. Just get it approved.’ And the person it has to be approved by is the principle ego. That is how it works.”

b) Back in June/July, I told you about a show featuring photographer Markus Klinko’s beautiful shots of the late David Bowie (“Bowie Unseen”, on display as part of the HeadOn Photo Festival in Sydney, Australia), but I’m now happy to report that those of us stranded here in the U.S. now have a place to find (and buy) many of the same photos featured in that exhibition – Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX. If you follow the link – https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/markus-klinko-photographer – you’ll get a chance to see what’s available, including Klinko’s cover shots for Heathen – the record where Bowie works with Klinko to craft a photo where the subject (Bowie) is quite obviously blind.

c) Going back a bit – i.e., to the beginning – of Mr. Bowie’s career, you’ll learn that it was Gerald Fearnley, brother of Dek Fearnley (one of Bowie’s bandmates at the time), who shot the cover photo used for Bowie’s debut album in 1967 (David Bowie). Digging into that archive, Mr. Fearnley has now put together a new book of those photos also titled Bowie Unseen (?), published by ACC Editions – https://www.accpublishinggroup.com/uk/store/pv/9781851498642/bowie-unseen/gerald-fearnley/

After capturing the eye of the folks at CNN Style, you can now see a bit more about this new book and what’s included – http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/31/arts/unseen-david-bowie-portraits/index.html

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Flying saucer-leaning music lovers will have a lot to celebrate soon when, on Friday, September 29th, a very special 40th anniversary vinyl picture disc package (featuring Kosh’s original artwork) of ELO’s 2-LP set Out of The Blue is being released by Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings. Two LPs = four different designs, and, for the approx. $35 they’ll pay, customers will also receive the music in digital download form – https://www.legacyrecordings.com/2017/07/27/legacy-recordings-release-first-time-ever-picture-disc-edition-elos-blue/

Pre-orders now being accepted – https://store-us.jefflynneselo.com/products/out-of-the-blue-picture-disc-2lp

Believe me now, sweet is the night – even if I’m standing in the rain in the summer and lightning – that this package arrives on my doorstep…

b) Later on in this month’s summary, you’ll read my rant about “best of/worst of” lists (I don’t particularly like them) but, from time to time, someone will come up with a novel take on the topic and, although it disturbs me to my very core, I’ll pass it on to you, my readers. Recently, Dan Caffrey and the staffers of the Consequence of Sound site put their heads together to come up with a somewhat different approach to a “Top 50” listing – the 50 “most outrageous” album covers ever made –
https://consequenceofsound.net/2017/07/the-50-most-outrageous-album-covers/

According to the article, rather than focusing on the good or the bad, the writers “simplified the criteria: It should be something that makes you scratch your head and say, ‘Huh?’” The article also begins with a warning – “Some of these you won’t be able to ‘unsee,’ so proceed with caution” and, after paging through several of them (starting off with Queen’s disturbing cover for The Miracle in which the band members’ faces are grafted together to make one quite-large head), it’s probably a warning well-heeded (although some of the selections are merely from the psychedelic era and, therefore, just images you can trip on)…

c) Lots of Bowie and Mick Rock this issue, no? Take an interesting and iconoclastic photographer/partier and introduce him to several rock & rollers eager to test out their new-found fame and wealth (and mix in examples of said photographer’s famous imagery and voila!, you have the beginnings of an interesting documentary film. Now available for viewing is the new Mick Rock bio-pic – Shot! – and The Guardian (UK)’s film reviewer Leslie Felperin provides us with a first look at it – https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/21/shot-the-psycho-spiritual-mantra-of-rock-review-mick-rock-photography

d) I’m very happy to have been able to tour through Takashi Murakami’s latest show (The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, on now through September 24th at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago) because, while I might not be Kanye’s biggest fan, I do appreciate his selection of Murakami as his album cover artist back in 2008 for his Graduation record and it was fun to see the original cover art included in the show.

In a recent posting on the Uproxx.com site, reporter Corbin Reiff shared a scoop that hints at the possibility that another Kanye friend/collaborator – Kid Kudi – might be looking for a Murakami-designed cover for his new project.
love fest – http://uproxx.com/realtalk/kanye-west-graduation-bear-kid-cudi-japan-new-album-speculation/

e) Any serious student of the album cover arts knows and appreciates the impact that the team from the Hipgnosis design studio has had since they began applying their talents to packages for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Black Sabbath and scores of others since the late 1960s. And while I might not be so willing as to declare all great album art as either being “before Hipgnosis” or “after Hipgnosis” (let’s see – Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, Disraeli Gears, Are You Experienced?, etc. all came before…) as writer Nick DeRiso has stated in an article called “32 Weird Facts About Hipgnosis’ Most Famous Rock Album Covers,” I do want to reward the guy for doing a bit of research and then presenting these fun facts in a highly-entertaining fashion. Did YOU know that the cover for Pink Floyd’s Saucer Full of Secrets was made with 13 layers of imagery (pre-Photoshop, mind you) and that this cover project was only the second time in EMI’s history that they allowed the work to be contributed by an outside agency (the first being Peter Blake’s work for the aforementioned Sgt. Pepper’s cover)? Well, neither did I – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/hipgnosis-album-covers/

f) Haters gotta hate hate hate – While some of us worry that album cover design is often over-looked and under-appreciated in today’s fast-paced, digitally-distributed world, when you’re a mega-star like Taylor Swift and you tease your fanbase with album art for your upcoming release (titled Reputation) that reminds some people of that decoupage project you did at Summer Camp in 7th grade, you have to expect that some folks aren’t going to respond positively (as detailed recently in Brian Koerber’s article on the Mashable site) – http://mashable.com/2017/08/23/taylor-swift-album-cover-graphic-design/
Perhaps she should call up her buddy Kanye and get a meeting with Murakami?

g) With the national pastime for “connected” folks seemingly now being freely telling the world just how much you hate someone/something, it only makes sense that some writers feel that it is their duty to share their until-now-repressed feelings with their readership, so why not highlight what are, according to reporter Joseph Earp on the Tonedeaf.com site, the “worst album covers of all time”?

Why do people do these articles? While no one was killed in the making of these images, it seems as though they did upset his little tummy.
http://tonedeaf.com.au/7-worst-album-covers-of-all-time/

Stop with the “worst of all time” lists, everyone, OK?

Bonus – With Pen & Pixel’s design for Big Bear’s Doin’ Thangs leading the list (with the author commenting “it is without a doubt one of the most hideous things I have seen in the last few years”), I felt that I should get designer Shawn Brauch’s take on this award. Based on his reply, this is obviously not the first time he’s been dissed by the press but, like any controversial artist, he takes it in stride – “Mike – Oh that one is RICH! LOL! Got to love the artwork, even when it’s criticized, they still love to hate it. The great thing is, when the ‘critics’ start to take a long detailed look at the craftsmanship…they always applaud that aspect…what more can we say? LOL! I’ve read past posts about have God-awful the artwork was, in the same sentence touting the number of records sold with the same artwork…like there is no correlation between the two. I’m laughing my A** off!”

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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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of April 2017

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL, 2017

Happy May 1st to you all. While the weather here in the Chicago area has certainly swung towards Springtime (a day spent in the gardens at the nearby Baha’i Temple found the magnolias and spring flowers in full bloom), it hasn’t quite “stuck the landing”, but I’ve gone ahead and planted basil on my balcony and can vouch for the fact that there are trees with leaves on them as I look out my office window as I write this month’s summary and continue to work on my book.

Speaking of which – I’ve scripted my presentations for my upcoming crowd-funding project and, with any luck, will have something for you to look at quite soon. As I mentioned before, I’m mostly focused on deciding what to/not to include in this first collection (that’s been the toughest part, because I want to share everyone’s stories), but it looks like this will be a 400+ page book, so fans will most certainly find things in it relating to many of their favorite album cover creators. I also finished my inventory of the premiums (art prints, mostly) that will be used to incentivize you to support me at various funding levels, so I do hope you’ll take a look at my offering once it’s up and running. More to come, for sure.

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of February, 2017

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUary, 2017

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. It’s “awards season”, what with the Grammy Awards, BAFTAs, Writer’s Guild and Independent Spirit Awards and, to end the month with a bang,  the Oscars (followed, in a few months, by another flurry including the Billboard, Tony and BET Awards shows). I don’t know about you, but I’m growing a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of these shows and am somewhat confused as regards their relevance beyond the steady stream of production-related income enjoyed by the folks that stage them…Of course, people should be proud of what they do and want to praise the best examples of work within their respective fields of artistic endeavor, but I find it somewhat sad that some of the most-talented people – those working behinds the scenes, with their credits listed well-down from the top (you know, the part that’s sped through at an impossible-to-read pace during on-screen credit rolls) – are only mentioned in passing or, as we saw during the Oscar telecast, relegated to their own sparsely-attended and covered award ceremonies. Trust me, I understand why this is the case. I mean, who wouldn’t rather see a popular musician’s acceptance speech than hear from the recording engineer or the music video director (or the team that created the group’s logo and album cover), so that’s what sponsors and fans expect to see during an award show telecast. I guess that we fans of cover art can only take solace in the fact that you’ll probably see many more people wearing Dark Side of the Moon t-shirts than clothing emblazoned with a photo of Katy Perry thanking her fans, the label, her manager and her accountant for their support…

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of January, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF january, 2017

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. The other night, I went to my first local Grammy chapter event – something dubbed a “member celebration” (due to the fact that there are scores of Grammy nominees living in the area) and held in a ballroom at a local landmark – the Chicago Athletic Club on Michigan Ave. Having moved here from Portland and having participated on occasion in local events sponsored there by the Pacific NW chapter (based in Seattle, about 3 hours away), it was great to see an event so well-attended and easy-to-get-to at the same time. The highlight for me that evening was a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir, a group of young people from all over the city who, when assembled and lead by a talented director, lifted spirits with an impressive set. It would also be inspiring to be able to work with both this and other local professional organizations to promote the talents of people that contribute great designs to the music industry, so wish me luck in my efforts.

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Album Cover Art And Artist News Summary For The Month Of September, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER ART AND ARTIST NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2016

It’s the beginning of October, 2016, with the Fall season in full force here in Chicago – leaves changing colors, the humidity taking a back seat to crisp evening temps and, for those of us new (again) to the area, the famously-frigid Winter weather looming in front of us, with only the thoughts of a hot deep-dish pizza making the prospects tolerable. If you’re either a hearty soul or someone living in warmer climes, I hope that all you’re thinking about right now is a) “how will I survive this Election season?” (don’t forget to VOTE!) and b) “what the heck is going on in the album art/artist world these day, to which I’d like to propose that you now spend a few minutes catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find summarized in both my weekly and monthly recaps.

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Album Cover News Summary for July, 2016

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s the first day of August, 2016. What’s new, you might ask. Well, assuming that you’re not outdoors (too much sun) or aren’t taking shelter from freak storms (or from the gusts of hot air emanating from your TV sets these days), I’m thinking that you’re enjoying the summer overall and are sharing your love of whatever drives your passions with your friends and family. All of us lovers of album cover imagery are a bit of a family, wouldn’t you agree (albeit a sometimes-dysfunctional one, with yours truly as your “arty” Uncle Mike (and NOT your Wicked Uncle Ernie – apologies to all un-wicked Ernies).

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the new and much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to impress us fans, critics and other observers of the art form with their collective output, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics:

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

a) While the extremely-well-attended Ramones-centered art/memorabilia show at the Queens Museum may have closed this past weekend (July 31st), the kind folks at local public TV network WLIW/Channel 13 have posted a 7 minute video presentation on their Metrofocus web site – http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2016/07/ramones-exhibit-rocks-queens/ – that includes a brief tour through the show, where you’ll see photos by George DuBose, Roberta Bayley and others (including various iterations of Arturo Vega’s iconic presidential seal-like logo for the band) along with interviews with Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh, Johnny’s widow Linda, the band’s former tour manager Monte Melnick and the exhibition’s curator, Marc Miller, a fellow with a long history of producing punk-based art/music shows. Hey ho, if you can’t go, watch the video…

b) Up for a brief run (mid-July through July 30th) at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery on the campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY was an album art show featuring over 1000 record covers on loan from local collectors and the archives of the school’s own radio station (WUSB).

ON THE RECORD: ALBUM COVER ART was presented in conjunction with the Stony Brook Film Festival at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, a venue that has also hosted performances by many of the musical acts (including local talent such as Bob Dylan, Blue Oyster Cult, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Reed and others) whose record albums are on display in this show.

One of the people that curated the exhibition – Karen Levitov, the gallery’s Director – was kind enough to share some additional background info, exhibit details and some photos of the display with me, which I’ll now share with you – “Last summer we had a Vintage Film Poster show during the Film Festival that got a terrific response, so we wanted something just as fun and appealing this summer. Our campus radio station, WUSB 90.1 FM was relocating and packing up its vinyl archive, so we decided to collaborate with them to put this show together. The gallery has a playlist of songs from the albums in the gallery and a documentary video on album cover art…We have over 1000 albums:  811 album covers on the walls and in display cases, plus over 200 playable vinyl records in our listening lounge and children’s area.

Album cover artists represented in the show include famous graphic designers, photographers and artists including Andy Warhol, Shusei Nagaoka, Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, Brian Duffy, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley, Banksy and many more. Rare and unique albums include The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today with the original cover known as the “butcher cover”; The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request (with its 3D cover); John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgins nude cover and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers cover by Andy Warhol  – with a real zipper!”

The festivities were kicked off with a special Q&A session with one of the founding members of Blue Oyster Cult, drummer Albert Bouchard, so if you missed the show, you can still learn more about it on the gallery’s site at http://zuccairegallery.stonybrook.edu/2016/07/on-the-record-album-cover-art/   

c) London’s Somerset House gallery is hosting an exhibition of art – both well-known and newly-created just for this show – inspired by the films of director Stanley Kubrick (from now until August 24th, sponsored by Canon). Included in the show’s display catalog are several works and work-related materials produced by airbrush artist Philip Castle, creator of memorable imagery for album covers and promotional efforts for artists including David Bowie, Pulp, Sir Paul McCartney, Metronomy and The Cars (see the item in Section 2, below, regarding a profile on the artist and his work). More info on the show is available online at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/daydreaming-with-stanley-kubrick

d) In late 1950s – early 1960s London, three upstart young photographers – Brian Duffy, David Bailey and Terence Donovan – were on hand to both document and participate first hand in the rapidly-modernizing changes in the fashion and entertainment scenes. In addition to capturing memorable portraits of stars who arose from within the scene – actors, designers, artists and musicians (you’ll recall Duffy’s shots of David Bowie, including the famous cover for his Aladdin Sane LP, along with Bailey’s psychedelic cover image for the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup), it was arguably Donovan who presented the broadest portfolio of artistically-crafted photos (and, later on, videos), including some that served to help launch the careers of his subjects.

While Bailey and Duffy have had a number of books and museum/gallery shows chronicling their careers, it wasn’t until now that Donovan’s contributions have been given the honor of a major retrospective. Now running at the Photographers’ Gallery in London is a show presented in association with camera manufacturer Ricoh (running through September 25th) titled Terence Donovan: Speed of Light that will include, in addition to a stunning collection of photos, a nice collection of related materials, including contact sheets, notes, diaries, sketchbooks and many previously-unseen items.

The Telegraph‘s Robin Muir gives us a preview of the show, along with some background on the photographer whose subjects have included everyone from Twiggy to Yassir Arafat.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/photography/what-to-see/terence-donovan-the-man-who-launched-a-thousand-stars/

Find out more about the show at the gallery’s site – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/terence-donovan-speed-of-light-2

On a related note, being published immediately after this show closes is a new book of Donovan’s most-beautiful portraits titled, quite appropriately, Terence Donovan Portraits. The book’s authored by Philippe Garner, a Director and International Head of Photographs and of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design at the Christie’s  auction house. Released this month in Europe (and due to hit the streets in the U.S. on September 27th), the 176-page book is being published by Damiani, with more details available on the company’s web site – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

e) Just a reminder that the “Fine Art of Rock” exhibition – featuring the album cover works of Ernie Cefalu, Joe Garnett, Ingrid Haenke, Drew Struzan and the other talented artists that made up the roster of famed album art design studio Pacific Eye & Ear – launched in July at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum for a run that will continue there through November 20th. On display will be original illustrations, paintings and working materials created for records by bands including Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, The Doors, Aerosmith, Grand Funk Railroad and many others. There’s a nice preview article by writer Bob Mehr that’s been posted on The Commercial Appeal: Memphis that also includes comments by Ernie – http://www.commercialappeal.com/entertainment/music/features/the-fine-art-of-rock-pays-tribute-to-album-cover-images-at-memphis-rock-n-soul-museum-376179b5-0e8b–386706541.html and for more info about the venue, click on over to their web site at http://memphisrocknsoul.org/

On a related note – The folks at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum recently alerted me about a selection of photos posted on the Facebook page of classic rock aficionado John Gable taken during his visit to the Fine Art of Rock exhibition currently on display at the museum, so if you’d like to take a brief tour of some of the notable album art on display there, click on over to John’s gallery at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206818128717266&set=pcb.10206818132277355&type=3&theater

f) Designer/blogger extraordinaire Simon Robinson recently posted an article on his ST33 site that introduces readers to a new exhibition which launched on the 14th of July that includes a display of over 500 album covers created for musical acts of the Jewish faith – in a wide variety of musical styles – that is currently on display at the Jewish Museum in London, UK. According to the museum’s site, the show – titled “Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl” (gotta love the name, no?) celebrates “the history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, music producers and songwriters.”

In addition to being able to view examples of early phonographs and gramophone (which, by the way, was invented and patented, along with the first phonograph record, in 1887 by Emil Berliner, a German-Jewish immigrant to the USA), visitors can track the growth of recorded music through the 20th Century to the present, “from Jewish folk music to Yiddish theatre songs, from Broadway musicals to rock‘n’roll via the rebels of punk and psychedelic rock. Hear personal stories from artists, musicians and collectors. Explore the art of the record sleeve and enjoy a display of 500 records including iconic sleeves from Amy Winehouse, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, and Barbara Streisand.” The show runs through October 16th.

Read Simon’s intro to this interesting, historic display on his site at https://st33.wordpress.com/

More info on the show is also available on the museum’s site at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/jukebox

g) Billboard Magazine contributor Gail Mitchell just posted an intro article about the newest exhibition that just launched at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that should be a treat for Beatles fans. This show, curated by the Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits, has been entertaining audiences all across the US since it opened up in NYC in 2014 (setting attendance records wherever it stopped), has now “come home” to the LA-based museum and will be appearing there through September 5th.

According to the museum’s press, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” brings us back to the early ‘60s when rock & roll was re-energized–some say saved–by four lads from Liverpool. The exhibit covers the period from early 1964 through mid-1966—the years Beatlemania ran rampant in America. During this time the band affected nearly every aspect of pop culture, including fashion, art, advertising, media, and, of course, music. On display are many Beatles-related pop culture artifacts from the period, as well as correspondence, instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, interactive displays, and an oral history booth in which visitors can leave their own impressions of The Beatles. Screenings and a series of talks reveal the continuing impact of the Beatles.”

Based on the show’s description and photos, there will be a lot of items on display that will be of interest to record art fans. Related events include one that vinyl lovers will have enjoyed – a specially-produced “Record Theater” event on July 18th which featured the music from the band’s 1966 release Revolver – the record featuring Klaus Voorman’s fantastic psychedelic ink drawing on the cover.

To read Gail’s article online, click on over to the Billboard site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7431018/beatles-exhibit-grammy-museum

and, for more information on the show and all the related screenings, discussions and events, visit the museum site at

http://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhibits/ladies-and-gentlementhe-beatles

h) As part of the kick off festivities surrounding the “Chunk of Punk” photo exhibition which launched July 8th at the High Street Gallery at the Uncorked Wine Bar in Akron, OH (featuring the works of Jill Furmanovsky, album cover contributor extra-ordinaire), the Akron Art Museum hosted a special talk about the local rock music scene that featured both Ms. Furmanovsky and local music legend Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Chunk of Punk was part of Punk Week in Akron, which celebrates the genre via a series of events including concerts, film screenings and related displays of artistry. More on this event can be found on the Museum’s web site at

https://akronartmuseum.org/calendar/artist-talk-jill-furmanovsky-with-chrissie-hynde/10486

Up-to-the-minute updates of this exhibitions can be found on the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/22HighStreetGallery/

i) The Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA has a new group photography show running now through September 13th that they’re calling Music To Our Ears and which features a fine collection of photographs – portraits, concert photography, etc. – by a dozen respected shooters including Charlie Sawyer, Roger Farrington, Marc Lacatell, Rowland Scherman and others, as well as shots from Ron Pownall, the man responsible for album package shots for a number of renowned musical acts including Joe Perry, Rick Derringer, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rainbow and many others.

According to the gallery’s site, the exhibition will also include “some music posters courtesy of our friends at the International Poster Gallery and some new guitars by Booches Custom Guitars.”

Prior to the launching of this event, Pownall was interviewed by Jody Feinberg for the Abington Wicked Local web site – http://abington.wickedlocal.com/entertainment/20160610/rock-n-roll-photography-on-display-at-cohasset-arts-event    There, you’ll learn about highlights from Ron’s career, including a photo taken in 1976 capturing the then 19-year-old Charlie Baker – now the Governor of Massachusetts – at an Aerosmith concert in Providence…

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) 20 years ago, a young photographer named Jonathan Mannion was hired by Rocafella Records to shoot a photo for the cover of the debut record (titled Reasonable Doubt) by a rapper named Shawn Carter who was looking for someone who’d present him to new audiences as someone who’d already established himself as the best in his profession. Shawn Carter went on to become music mogul Jay-Z and, as part of the festivities held to celebrate the record’s 20th anniversary, Mannion’s intimate photos from that session were presented in a “pop-up” exhibition called, quite reasonably, “PROPHECY”. A total of 22 images were shown at the private event – Vibe‘s Josias Valdez was on the guest list, talked to Mannion about how everything came together then and what’s next in this nicely-crafted illustrated interview – http://www.vibe.com/2016/07/jonathan-mannion-interview/

Just received an email from Mr. Mannion in which he details some of the latest things he’s been working on, including album covers for 2 Chains (College Grove), Dj Khaled (Major Key) and Gucci Mane (GUWOP). He’s also just teamed with  retailer PINTRILL to release a series of pins based on album art images Mannion’s done for Jay-Z, including some that celebrate the anniversary of their working together on Reasonable Doubthttp://www.pintrill.com/products/mannion-pin-pack?variant=21301575300

b) Houston-based artist Kevin Peterson received a call from someone on April Fool’s Day saying that they wanted to use a painting of his on the upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers’ record The Getaway. Of course he thought it was a joke…that was, until he was assured that front man Anthony Keidis had seen the work – an ultra-realistic painting titled “Coalition II” of a young girl strolling down a graffiti-marked street along with a bear, a raccoon, a fox and a black bird – and felt that it would perfectly-represent (according to Patrick Flanary’s interview with Peterson recently posted on the Billboard.com web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7408793/red-hot-chili-peppers-album-cover-choice) “the strength that it takes growing up in the world today, those traumas that it takes to get through it, and to survive and thrive.” Like Keidis, Peterson is a recovering drug user himself who found a new beginning in the Arts, so there’s some poetic justice in how the two found each other for this project.

c) After meeting artist Andy Warhol in the late 1950s while he worked as a waiter in a NYC restaurant (to supplement his starving artist career at the time), the two formed a tight bond that ultimately led to both a romantic and creative relationship that would last 10 years and out of which would spring “The Factory”, a place where strange and wonderful things took place. That person – Billy Name (originally, William Linich, Jr. ), one of the last few of the original cast of characters who called The Factory home, died recently at the age of 76.

While he spent the rest of his life post-Factory as a poet, Name’s photographs were included on the famous packaging for The Velvet Underground and Nico (the band’s  Warhol-produced debut album, as well as their self-titled third record, where he’s also a character who knows right from wrong (“…But, Billy said, both those words are dead”) in the group’s  song from that record called “That’s the Story of My Life”.

You can read Name’s obituary in The Guardian via the link – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/18/billy-name-andy-warhol-factory-photographer-dies-76

d) Man Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James – best-known for his 2015 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings – is featured in a recent interview with Jason Parham on TheFader.com site in which he recounts his earlier career as Creative Director (and album art producer) for top-selling Jamaican musician/recording artist Sean Paul. The two attended the same college in Jamaica before meeting professionally via Sean Paul’s manager in 1999 (while James worked as an independent writer/designer for commercial clients) to collaborate on the musician’s Stage One record. In the interview, you’ll learn more about James’ influences (Bjork and Pen & Pixel – quite the range!) and some additional details on several of the other covers he created for his famed fellow alum –

http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/12/sean-paul-album-covers-marlon-james

e) See item in Section 4 about a recent interview in The Guardian with acclaimed artist/musician Klaus Voorman’s regarding his just-released graphic novel about his time with The Beatles.

f) Interesting profile of artist Philip Castle in a recent posting on The Guardian‘s site by reporter Jonathan Jones. Album art fans will recall Castle’s contribution to the cover art featuring Brian Duffy’s memorable photo of David Bowie found on the Aladdin Sane LP (Castle created the silver teardrop found on Bowie’s shoulder, while film poster fans will recall his campy artwork crafted for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. While both of those efforts earned Castle many fans in the entertainment world, it was his artwork for Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 futuristic crime masterpiece A Clockwork Orange – now included in a show at London’s Somerset House gallery called “Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick” – that cemented his place in Pop Culture history. Kubrick’s very hands-on, detail-oriented work ethic had him send Castle art and sculptures used in the film for use in his prep for the poster work (leaving him with great souvenirs!), and Castle would go on to work with Kubrick again on the art for his celebrated war feature Full Metal Jacket. Read all the details via the link at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/07/stanley-kubrick-and-me-designing-clockwork-orange-poster

For some additional insight into this artist and, in particular, his album cover artwork, you might also want to spend a few minutes watching this 2011 video interview with London-based photographer Steve Mepsted posted on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbEAb2HoLVc

g) Another “local boy done good” feature was recently posted on the Somerset Live (UK) site that reminds us of the great talent of fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, who recently licensed one of his works for use on the cover of the latest compilation record by the Rolling Stones (Another Time, Another Place II). Matthews’ art has been featured on scores of books, posters and a number of album covers, including those for Asia, Hawkwind, Barclay James Harvest, Nazareth, The Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep and Rick Wakeman, but in this case, it was an image he’d done 40+ years ago while working for the famed Big O poster house – one that had caught the eyes of the Stones’ production team and, miraculously, ended up being used – without Matthews’ consent – on a U.S. tour poster for the band that the new record’s publisher requested be used on the recent release – this time, with credit and, I’m assuming, some compensation. Good work always wins out in the end…

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/8203-paulton-artist-designsthe-rolling-stones-album-cover/story-29453182-detail/story.html

h) When two collaborators in music both hold degrees from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, you’d have to think that they’d be looking for just the right images to grace the covers of their records and, in the case of the band Quilt and co-founding members Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski, you’d be right! For the cover of their 2016 release Plaza, after they came upon an image of a 1992 illustration by the late artist Ken Price (who also provided the cover art for The Paperhead’s 2014 release titled Africa Avenue) and realized that the artwork would be perfect for their upcoming record, they contacted the artist’s estate (managed by his son Jackson), made an impassioned plea for a license, and were rewarded with the permission they sought.

In Katherine Turman’s recent article for The Village Voice, you’ll meet these two talented young people and learn more about their ongoing efforts to “stitch together music and visual art”, much to the pleasure of their fans – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/perfect-cover-for-their-latest-album-quilt-stitch-together-music-and-visual-art-8768833

i) The works of legendary hip-hop photo specialist Ernie Paniccioli were featured recently in a rather-cool new project launched in Edmonton, Canada called the “Knowledge is Pow Wow” (which according to the project’s site, “will explore religious pluralism and social justice through inclusive conversation and creative expression …young adults from Edmonton’s downtown communities will hear from leaders representing Indigenous, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faiths and culture.”). Paniccioli, a Cree Native American who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, got his start in photography in the streets of his neighborhood, capturing images of the graffiti culture that reigned in the 1970s. His images got him a lot of attention, particularly from the artists in the emerging hip-hop/rap music scenes there and he was asked by a number of the soon-to-be-stars of the time – Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and many others – to provide them with shots for their album packages and promotions.

For an interview with Ernie done prior to the exhibition that was posted recently on the CBC News web site, click on over to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/famed-cree-hip-hop-photographer-s-work-on-display-in-edmonton-1.3652907

j) One of the design groups most-responsible for the over-the-top, bling-filled covers found on many of the rap genre’s best-known acts of the 1990s – 2000s was a Houston-based firm called Pen & Pixel, founded by two brothers (Aaron and Shaun Brauch) and whose work was featured on three-quarters of a billion albums, including 38 gold and 12 platinum-selling discs. The firm grew quickly and expanded their client list to include mainstream musical acts including Cher, Destiny’s Child, Lyle Lovett, Chris Rock and ZZ Top only to become victims of the many changes that rocked the music business, with the brothers leaving to start other careers – Aaron as a serial entrepreneur and business development consultant while Shaun continued on as an executive/creative director for several creative services companies.

New York Times contributor Will Stephenson recently posted a “Letter Of Recommendation” article that chronicles the firm’s rise and fall and how their designs established – at least for a while – the design guide for the proper proportions of cars, jewelry, money and scantily-clad women that should appear on any self-respecting rapper’s latest release.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-pen-pixel.html?

k) Not sure how I missed this when it aired a couple of months back, but Rene Montagne of NPR Radio’s “Morning Edition” did a very nice interview with one of the best-known artists to work in the Bay Area since the mid-1960s – that being, Wes Wilson, the guy credited with crafting the trippy, balloon-y fonts that became a mainstay of gig poster designs from that era (he’s also applied his talents to album art of the day, most-notably on the cover for Cream’s Disraeli Gears LP). Samples of Wilson’s posters were included in the grand re-opening exhibitions staged when the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art threw open its doors after a major renovation and there are more examples of his work in the museum’s permanent collection – https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Wes_Wilson

Listen to Wilson as he recalls how and why he got into the field, what motivated and shaped his work and how he hoped that his works would show, during the time when the war in Vietnam was raging, that “things are going to get better”. http://www.npr.org/2016/05/13/477900499/psychedelic-font-how-wes-wilson-turned-hippie-era-turmoil-into-art?

l) One of the most-impressive gallery collections of rock music-related fine art prints I’ve had the pleasure of seeing was on display at the San Francisco Art Exchange and, during my last visit, I had the pleasure of meeting the staff there, including the co-owner, Theron Kabrich. For those who haven’t seen the gallery’s collection (available online on their site at www.sfae.com), you’ll find editioned prints by many of the masters of album cover imagery, including designers Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson and photographers Joel Brodsky, Elliott Landy, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock and others – usually presented in collections that will appeal to lovers of the imagery of rock’s foremost musical acts.

In his most-recent “Art Dealer Show” audio interview/podcast, art world veteran Danny Stern (who got his first gallery job at SFAE) talks to his mentor Kabrich about his start in the business – having transitioned from a career in the fields of psychology and mental health to his career in the art world after, according to his site bio ” he had traveled throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Nepal and India, collecting art and objects along the way. This set a new chapter in motion from a career in clinical psychology to one as a fine art dealer.” Today, along with his co-owner Jim Hartley, Kabrich presents his gallery’s clients with fine examples of the works of the people that have produced many of the world’s best-known images from the world of Popular Culture, so it’s a rare opportunity to be able to listen to him discuss a whole range of topics with his learned cohort.

The 67-minute-long podcast is available via streaming/download, etc. – http://artdealer.show/004-theron-kabrich/

m) Ask six designers about their favorite/most-inspirational album cover designs and, of course, you get six completely-different stories, but in this recent article on The Guardian (UK) site built around interviews by Kathryn Bromwich, Imogen Carter and Katie Forster, I was particularly-intrigued by the appearance of several “classic” record covers in the answers proffered by some of these young-but-talented design pros. Included in the list of influential designs are covers by bands such as Sparks (their 1975 record Indiscreet is a favorite of Bedwyr Williams), The Human League (Inspiration, their 1979 record which profoundly impressed Julie Verhoeven) and Pink Floyd, whose 1969 record Ummagumma suggests the compositions of the Dutch Masters to Alice Anderson.

Always interesting to learn more about what goes on in the heads of today’s most-creative designers, I think…

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jun/26/art-on-your-sleeve-artists-album-covers-juergen-teller-lynette-yiadom-boakye

n) Orange County, CA has produced a staggering number of talented people who’ve left their marks on the entertainment business – Steve Martin, Bob Deal (AKA Mick Mars) of Motley Crew and Gwen Stefani are just a few we can mention – but few have contributed as influential and long-lasting an item as the logo design created by Westminster High School graduate Gerard Huerta – that being the AC/DC lettering and logo that has graced the covers, sleeves, t-shirts, tattoos, posters and other memorabilia purchased by millions of fans since its introduction in 1976. Huerta began his career at CBS Records in New York designing album covers and creating letterforms for Boston (see the article on this cover later on in this posting), AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Stephen Stills and Foreigner. He started Gerard Huerta Design in 1976 and has been drawing custom letters and logos ever since.

OC Register staff writer Peter Larsen recently posted a profile on the ever-busy artist at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/huerta-720158-westminster-lettering.html

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerard several years back about his work on that iconic logo and so I invite you to take a gander at that article on my old archive site –

http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/07/cover-story—a.html

o) Record covers have always reflected the fashions of the day, so leave it to the writers from Vogue Magazine to track down and interview a person that many of us classic album art fans know, but only from the waist down to his knees! Of course, I’m talking about Corey Grant Tippin – make-up artist, model, actor and Andy Warhol muse/chum, whose mid-section was featured prominently on the un-zippable album cover created for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers record, released in 1971.

In this article by Laird Borrelli-Persson that serves to introduce the relationship between Tippin and famed 70s illustrator Antonio Lopez (whose works are the subject of a new show on display at the new El Museo del Barrio “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion”), the interviewer questions Tippin about Lopez, his career as an in-demand make-up artist and working with Warhol and the team that created the acclaimed and controversial record cover –

http://www.vogue.com/13448063/corey-grant-tippin-interview-antonio-lopez-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers/

p) Writer Vikki Tobak’s new interview series for the Mass Appeal web site launches with an interview with one of the best-known photographers who has covered emerging music scenes over the past several decades – Janette Beckman. Ms. Beckman’s credits in the album art world include cover shots for The Police (Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Every Breath You Take: The Singles); Squeeze (Six Of One); Gang Starr (No More Mr. Nice Guy); Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (On The Strength) and Salt-n-Pepa’s A Salt With A Deadly Pepa and Push It, among others, as well as the subject of this recent interview – an iconic image taken of British rapper Slick Rick during a Def Jam press shoot in NYC for The Great Adventures of Slick Rick album in 1989.

The interview dives into “the making of” this and other shots from her career and provides camera nerds with the details of the equipment she employed to make the magic happen – http://massappeal.com/contact-high-the-stories-behind-hip-hops-most-iconic-photographs/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) St. Paul’s Gallery, one of the premiere publishers/galleries that specialize in album cover art prints, just informed me of a sale they’re running in conjunction of the recent opening of the world-traveling “Bowie Is” exhibition at the MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna – in Spain (see http://davidbowieis.it/en/ for more details). From now until this Friday, August 5th, the nice people at St. Paul’s are offering a 10% discount (via the promo code LIDNI231 entered at check-out) on any of the fine Bowie-related art prints they have available, including prints (some of which have copies also on display as part of the Bowie Is show, organized by the V&A Museum) by acclaimed artists/photographers such as John Rowlands, Celia Philo & Philip Castle, Terry Pastor and others. Some of the prints were co-signed by Mr. Bowie prior to his sad death this past January, making them all the more collectible. To see the entire offering (prints, limited-edition books, posters, sculpture, etc.), follow the link to the gallery’s site – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=264&numRecordPosition=1

b) The team at Gotta Have It Rock & Roll auction house have just released a summary of the prices paid for items that were included their recently-held auction, with bidding closed on Saturday, July 30th. Fans of unique, album art-related items will find several examples of items that found new homes with collectors who participated in the “Rock and Pop Culture Auction – July 2016” event, including several groups of photos of the late artist formerly known as Prince (each of the three sets sold for a mere $100) and an abstract painting done by singer Alanis Morissette, which sold for $5363, well above the $4000 top pre-auction estimate.

Collectors seemed to be holding on tight to their purses/wallets as many items went unsold, including a set of photo proofs/negatives done for records by Steven Van Zant, artwork for Journey’s Time 3 box set (autographed by singer Steve Perry), a pair of photos offered up by the estate of Herb Worthington that were used on covers for Fleetwood Mac and Lita Ford (although, a Worthington-owned RIAA Platinum LP plaque for Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna did sell for $587, near the top of the estimated value range) and an art board featuring a 16 x 20″ Neal Preston photo shot for the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Live 75 – 85 record album. If you’d like to see more of the results, click on over to https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   Congratulations to all who found something nice to add to their personal collections.

c) Lovers of the artwork of the late Rick Griffin were in for a treat this past month with the announcement of a special auction of his works hosted by the Psychedelic Art Exchange. Griffin, who created the now-famous artwork for the cover of the Grateful Dead’s trippy 1969 album AOXOMOXOA, along with covers for musical acts including Kerry Livgren, Cold Blood, MAN, The Packards, Darrell Mansfield and others, was also a celebrated poster artist, creating hundreds of designs for acts playing at Bay-area venues. In the late 1960s, Griffin teamed up with several other celebrated local artists, including Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson to start an agency specializing in psychedelic posters called Berkeley Bonaparte and, in the list of over 100 posters that were included in this auction, you’d have found wonderful examples of this work, along with images he created for his other loves, such as surfing, comic books and religion.

Take a look at what curator Glen Trosch has put together for you to look at in this month’s new auction and, if you’re so inclined, add to your collections, via the link – http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) There’s a new Klaus Voorman book (a graphic novel) that tells the story of his relationship with The Beatles beginning with his first encounter with the group in 1960 in a Hamburg, Germany bar. Birth of an Icon: Revolver 50 includes the story about his Grammy-winning illustrations done for the cover of Revolver for The Beatles. In a recent interview with Robin Stummer for The Guardian web site, Voorman shares some of his recollections (“I created the Revolver cover. It was on the third floor of a house, in a little attic apartment, it was in the kitchen. Parliament Hill, Hampstead. I was staying there. I went back there recently, the building is exactly the same.”) which remain quite vivid even after all these years.

Trained as both a graphic artist and a musician, Voormann and his girlfriend, the photographer Astrid Kirchherr, met the band early in their career (the Pete Best/Stu Sutcliffe days) and inspired their looks at the time (black clothes, leathers and low-cut bangs). Astrid spent hours shooting the band (some of her best-known shots were used on the album packages for the band and several solo LPs, including George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music and John Lennon’s Signature Box compilation). Voormann went on to spend much of the 60s and 70s alternating stints on the pop and rock circuit, playing bass with Manfred Mann, George Harrison and John Lennon – including on Lennon’s Imagine – with his work in graphic design and fine art. Did covers for the Bee Gees (Bee Gees 1st and Idea, more for Beatles-related projects (inc. 1995’s Anthology compilation and Ringo’s Ringo), his own 2009 solo album A Sideman’s Journey (featuring guest appearances by former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Yusuf Islam, Jim Keltner, Joe Walsh and others) and, more recently, a quite-Revolver-like illustration for the cover of Japanese rockers Glay’s 2014 release titled Music Life.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/23/beatles-revolver-cover-klaus-voormann

Book info on Voorman’s site (set for an early August release) – http://www.voormann.com/shop/birth_of_an_icon_revolver_50

b) The works of one of the “Early Influencers” of record album artwork – artist David Stone Martin – have always intrigued fans of album art with their simple-yet-compelling lines and colors – just ask any fan of the many (over 400!) covers he created for records by acts including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and others who appeared on the several labels headed by the great jazz promoter Norman Granz (Asch, Clef and others) during the 1940s-50s. While some of the covers have been available previously as fine art prints, there’s a new, much-larger collection that’s being offered at the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX that comes from publisher Audioframe as the result of their pain-staking efforts to restore vintage plates and recreate the excitement of the original designs. Each print is hand-numbered and is stamped by DSM’s archive. There are 4 sizes available, in editions from 200 for the 14″ square prints, offered at $380, to just 25 prints in the huge 44″ square versions, priced at $1995. To see the entire collection, visit the Modern Rocks site at http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/buy-david-stone-martin-prints/

c) Tom Sheehan’s photos have been featured on hundreds of album covers and packages throughout the years (inc. those for the Flamin’ Groovies, Ian Dury, Aztec Camera, The Charlatans UK and others), but it is his photos of Robert Smith and his mates in The Cure – taken beginning in 1982 while he worked as the principal photographer for Melody Maker magazine – that are probably his best-known works, so it’s exciting to see a hand-picked selection of them taken over a 23-year period (thru 2005) compiled and offered in a soon-to-be-published new book. In Between Days. The Cure in photographs 1982 – 2005 is scheduled to be released this coming November in two beautiful editions – the Deluxe (2500 copies) and the Super Deluxe (just 700 copies) – each with 240 pages of photos and text, with the Super Deluxe version including a signed COA, a deluxe slipcover and an envelope containing three 5×7″ photos, suitable for framing. The Price for the Deluxe version is £48.00, while the Super Deluxe is available for £70.00, with pre-orders now being accepted on The Flood Gallery’s site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/the-cure-in-between-days?

d) The late Nirvana guitarist/songwriter Kurt Cobain showed a love for the visual arts by contributing album images for his band’s In Utero and Incesticide records, some of which will be on display as part of the recently-announced touring show of his art, organized by his family and Jampol Artist Management – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/kurt-cobain-art-exhibition-522386. Kurt’s visual arts genes live on in the artwork now being produced by his only child, the now 23-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, who has begun offering prints of her humorous-but-slightly-macabre artwork via the Depop online art store (https://www.depop.com/en-us/space_witch666). Ranging in price from $150 to $400 per print, the nine different images include, according to this recent article on the ArtNet site by Sarah Cascone, several works that were included in her first series released back in 2010 and illustrate that the young Ms. Cobain shares some of her Dad’s slightly-strange, dark humor…learn more via the link – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/frances-bean-cobain-art-for-sale-355262

e) Another reason to have braved the crowds at last month’s Comic-Con in San Diego is presented in this article by Ethan Anderton on the Slashfilm.com site about two sets of limited-edition items – one set of special-edition vinyl recordings and another set of related album cover art prints – featuring your favorite characters from one of last year’s most-successful animated films – Pixar Animation’s Inside Out. While supplies lasted at the show, festival goers were able to purchase 7″ vinyl copies of music taken from Michael Giacchino’s score for the film (not previously released on vinyl) that will be produced by specialty supplier Mondo in small batches (2500 copies in each) that feature both colored discs and artwork focused on one of the movie’s main characters (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Riley). Also at the show, the first group of limited-edition (200 each out of 420 total per image) 18″ x 24″ prints of the albums’ different covers (done by the Toronto, Canada-based Phantom City Creative team, the same group that produced the stunning album art for Mondo’s soundtrack album for the Hannibal film soundtrack) were offered up by the folks at Cyclops Print Works, with the rest being made available by the publisher after the show.

To see all of the aforementioned art that’s available, link on over to the Slashfilm article now – http://www.slashfilm.com/inside-out-vinyl/

Visit the Cyclops Print Works site to get your own copy of one or more of these new collectibles – https://www.cyclopsprintworks.com/

You’ll find another Mondo-based article down in Section 5 that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well…

f) Please see the article in Section 1 of this recap about the new book coming out featuring portrait photos by the great Terence Donovan – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

g) Photographer Drew Carolan, well-known for his compelling album cover photos featuring musical acts including Ziggy Marley, Eric B. & Rakim, Living Colour and many others, shared with me some information about a book he’s going to release this fall that should be of great interest to fans of the early 80s music scene as it transitioned from punk to the more hardcore styles. Over a two year period – from 1983 to 1985 – Drew set up shop near famed rock club CBGBs in the Bowery section of New York City to document – in an effort called the “Matinee Project” – the people who participated in the scene and attended the hardcore/metalcore events that were held nearby. Partnering with Radio Raheem Records (home of bands including Agnostic Front, Charred Remains, The Androids and other hardcore stalwarts), the deluxe hardcover book – titled Matinee: All Ages – On The Bowery NYC 1983 – 1985 is sure to please fans and those interested in seeing shots from this most-fascinating musical/pop culture era. Several years ago, Carolan created a video that highlights the time he spent creating this series which should serve as a great intro to his project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jN46nf0nl0

To sign up for updates on the availability of this book, please visit http://www.radioraheemrecords.com/matineebook

h) While not easily falling in to this category’s basics (i.e., new prints, books and other arty collectibles), this item is of enough import that I felt it should be mentioned as it does involve collectibles of another type – i.e., postage stamps. On July 7th, the U.K.’s Royal Mail released a series of stamps that feature images connected to one of the nation’s best-known treasures, that being the rock band Pink Floyd. The collection of 10 different images gracing the new stamps include several of the band’s iconic album covers including early releases such as The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals, up to the group’s final 2014 release The Endless River. Four additional stamps feature photos of the band performing live on tour, including shots from concerts at London’s UFO Club in 1966, the Dark Side of the Moon tour in 1973, 1981’s The Wall tour and 1994’s The Division Bell tour.

Besides the stamps, there are a number of related items that are being promoted by the mail service, including souvenir sheets and presentation packs, framed collections, two cover collections, including one commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of group founder Syd Barrett and a special numbered limited-edition item called a “Moon Maxi Sheet” that presents 10 of the Dark Side of the Moon stamps on top of a 9 x 7 replica of the renowned prismatic cover art.

As you might imagine, there has been a fair amount of coverage about this new collection, so if you’d like to learn more, click on over to this article on the BBC site – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-36382247

or another example on the Belfast Telegraph site at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/music/news/pink-floyd-stamps-to-feature-innovative-album-covers-34747737.html

To see and buy these new items, pop on over to the Royal Mail site at http://www.royalmail.com/pinkfloydstamps

i) Comic book publisher Storm Entertainment has released a new comic novel that presents the life and times of the late artist Prince. Titled Tribute: Prince and penned by writer Michael L. Frizell, the comic book features artwork by Ernesto Lovera and Vincenzo Sansone. Lovera has previous credits doing artwork for tribute comics on other famous subjects, including Britain’s Royal Family, pin-up model Bettie Page and an earlier (2013) book on Prince titled Fame, while Sansone has done work on books about John Wayne and Pope Francis. Writer Frizell’s past comic book work covers famous figures in popular culture, politics and music, including books on Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Nancy Reagan, Bono, Miley Cyrus, The Osbournes, Jerry Garcia and Amy Winehouse. Over the years, Storm Entertainment, formerly known as Blue Water Comics, has released a number of tribute comic book biographies, including ones on David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and many others.

Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Althea Legaspi provides us with additional details and comments from the creators of this 24-page tribute to another artist who has left this planet way too soon –  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tribute-prince-new-comic-book-released-20160609#

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Some of you might recall a posting some time back about a new “Floating Record” turntable I’d bought via a Kickstarter project in support of a Chicago company called Grammovox. As a Grammovox owner/supporter, I’ve been the recipient of a regular email newsletter in which they share info on new products (including a retro-style Bluetooth speaker) and on vinyl record products that, when mounted to be played on the vertically-oriented turntable, look extra cool – picture discs, colored vinyl and, in the case I’m sharing with you today, a series of records made by an artist named Curtis Godino that are filled with various liquids. Very lava-lamp visuals, you’d have to figure. Two notable commissions for Godino include “blood-filled” records for clients including Waxwork Records’ Friday The 13th soundtrack and Mondo’s soundtrack for the blood-drenched film ALIENS.

Grammovox staffers recently interviewed the Brooklyn, NY-based artist about the wide range of liquid disc projects – for both musical and fine art clients – for their blog titled The Reverb, which you can reach via the link at https://www.gramovox.com/blogs/posts/interview-with-curtis-godino?

b) Today’s second story about record releases with interesting delivery options shows us a new album titled Ecume on the AntiVJ label by Belgian record producer Thomas Vaquie’, who collaborated with the appropriately-named (for an album package designer) artist Yannick Jacquet (!!) to create a sleeve made of concrete cast resin that’s been inscribed with 3D representations of the waveforms of some of the album’s music. Writing for the Stoneyroads.com dance music web site, Joseph Smith gives us an overview of the limited-edition (25 sets) offering – priced at €90 (not including shipping!) – http://stoneyroads.com/2016/07/artist-creates-concrete-record-sleeve-for-album

c) Levi’s 505C jeans – whether you know it or not – have been featured on two of rock’s most-iconic album covers – Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones and the debut record by NY punk legends Ramones, and with retro styling having a bit of a comeback, the clothing company has decided to re-issue this series in order to fulfill the desires of punkers and Factory-wannabes of all ages to dress as their heroes did.

http://www.gq.com/story/levis-505c-new-style-archives-denim-jeans

d) R.I.P. cartoonist and illustrator Jack Davis, one of the founding editors of Mad Magazine, who died Wednesday at the age of 91. Over his long career, Davis gave us memorable images for a variety of book, magazine and commercial advertising clients (e.g., he designed the original bug that screamed “RAID!” on the bug spray commercials), but besides his great cartoons for Mad, I remember him best for his poster for the 1963 film (then DVD) It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World and his album cover for Johnny Cash’s 1966 record Everybody Loves A Nut.

His colleagues at Mad posted a tribute to him that gives you a nice retrospective of his career – http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2016/07/27/mad-remembers-jack-davis-artist

Truly a great – sad to see him go.

e) Being that we find ourselves – both here in the U.S. and abroad – in the midst of a fair amount of political news-making (elections, party overthrows, military coups, etc.), we’d be disappointed if somebody didn’t use the opportunity to create a series of album cover-influenced images featuring a selection of those folks making the headlines. Well, no reason to be disappointed – the team of reporter Graeme Demianyk and picture editor Tahira Mirza of the U.K. edition of the Huffington Post have crafted a selection of 10 covers that insert politicians including former PM David Cameron, past London mayor Boris Johnson and ex-Labour Party leader Ed Miliband into familiar album art scenes from musical acts including the Beach Boys, Sting, Johnny Cash and Madonna, among others. The creators’ reasoning for this work was stated quite simply – “Sometimes politicians look like they’d rather have been in a band. We’ve tried to make it happen”. I wonder if any of the politicians featured in the grouping would have rather been in the theater? I could definitely see Nigel Farage playing Aaron Burr on a poster for Hamilton http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/album-covers-politicians_uk_57754d63e4b0b9c0dc08ce37

f) They keep trying to get away with this crap…blame it on the “if it’s on the Internet, it must be free” approach to art/photo license management…Photographer Glen Craig, whose portraits and performance photos of many of rock music’s best-known acts (Rolling Stones, James Brown, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and many, many others) have been seen in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and books over the years and, along the way, he’s had special relationships with many of the musical acts he’s taken photos of. Blues guitarist B.B. King was one of those acts, with Craig’s photos of the “King of the Blues” gracing the covers and inside pages of top music magazines of the day including Cashbox, Hullaballoo, Guitar Player, Downbeat and others, so you know that it was a pretty well-known fact that the two were connected.

This seems to have escaped the fact of those responsible for putting together the cover art for several more-recent Universal Music releases of performances by Mr. King, including 2012’s Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr. B.B. King, whose cover shot is one from Mr. Craig’s archives and was not licensed for this use. Not too happy to have found this out by happenstance, Mr. Craig recently sued the label and Mr. King’s estate to recoup royalties he should have earned from a proper license, with the details of the lawsuit and its outcome still pending. The folks on the TMZ.com site recently posted a startling expose of this atrocity, which you can review via the link at http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/11/b-b-king-universal-music-sued-album-photos/   (right next to the link to the article titled “Gigi Hadid’s HUGE Breasts Spill Out…WOW!). Love them TMZers, don’t you?

g) And I thought that I held grudges for too-long a time…It seems that, back in 2013, a spat was ignited between singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens and Jehnny Beth of the UK-based punk band The Savages after Stevens posted a critique of the typography that The Savages used on their Silence Yourself debut record. While the band didn’t respond at the time (Stevens did say that he liked the music), Jehnny showed us that the wound remained deeply ingrained in her psyche when she asked the radio jock she was being interviewed by to not play a Stevens song during the show because “…he wrote a quite funny blog post about how much he hated our album cover.” Stereogum’s James Rettig gives us the details in this recent posting – http://www.stereogum.com/1886227/savages-jehnny-beth-responds-to-sufjan-stevens-critique-of-their-album-cover/news/ All I can say, in the vernacular common for an earlier time, is “take a lude, dude”…

h) If you have a story or personal recollection about the late artist/illustrator Richard Amsel (well known for his film poster and album cover work), the guy that is making a documentary film about the artist is looking for your help. As part of his effort to gather materials for his film, Adam McDaniel was at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con gathering, camera in hand, ready to capture your stories for posterity. In particular, he was looking for other artists who might have worked with Amsel sometime during his career, so if you missed each other during your trip to this huge pop culture extravaganza and have a story you’d like to share, please contact Adam via email at cinemalad5@aol.com. For more information on this film project, please visit their site at http://cinemalad5.wix.com/richardamselmovie

i) While not an article on album cover art per se, I did discover an article about a new book that’ll be hitting the shelves later this year that covers and highlights the work of people – illustrators, graphic designers and industrial designers who, according to a quote from the book’s author,” in many ways, have been left out of design history.” Sound familiar?

The new book, titled The Art of Atari, was written by Tim Lapetino, executive director of the Museum of Video Game Art (playmova.org) and, according to writer Colin Campbell’s recent article for the Polygon web site, “celebrates the packaging and games that were part and parcel of the late-1970s and early-1980s era of console gaming.” Reading through this article, there were many parallels between the perceived roles that designers played in this burgeoning industry – creating eye-catching packaging, marketing materials, advertising, etc. – while in the shadows of the “stars” of the genre (i.e., the video game programmers) with their counterparts in the music business, who typically are the record label execs, band managers and the musical acts themselves that I am pleased to find out that there are others like me (and you, my readers) who have realized just how important it is to provide greater visibility and praise for the “unsung heroes” of these entertainment areas.  I hope to reach out to Tim to find out more about his work and his new online museum but, in the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at this preview – http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/7/4/12083190/inside-the-art-of-atari

j) In the annals of rock music album art history, few band logos/images have been more memorable than Boston’s Spaceship Guitar, the Roger Huyssen-produced illustration (featuring Gerard Huerta’s lettering) which was found on the cover of the band’s 1976 debut record and which went on to sell over 25 million copies world-wide, becoming the second best-selling debut record of all time.

This year, for their 40th Anniversary tour, the group asked the folks at Seattle-based design/animation shop Straightface Studios to expand upon that original design to create an impressive 3-D animation that provides the backdrop to the band’s live concert production. The two-month project produced thousands of hi-res frames used to create the video, with the awe-inspiring results available for viewing as part of writer Kurt Schlosser’s recent article on the Geek Wire site – http://www.geekwire.com/2016/boston-concert-seattle-straightface/

I have more than a feeling that you’ll like what you see (sorry, I just had to do it).

k) We’re often inspired by the images we find on the covers of our favorite record albums, but this is the first time that I’ve read an article where a noted design/innovation consultant has been able to extract the DNA from classic album cover art and apply it to the exploration of how effective teams of people work together to innovate in the workplace (wow – I haven’t written a sentence like that since leaving the Corporate world 10 years ago, and it still stings a bit…).

In this recent article in the Huffington Post by Geoff Tuff (who heads up the Doblin group within Deloitte) titled “Innovation Lessons from the Dark Side“, the author describes how, after deep deliberation, the Hipgnosis-designed cover art for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon presented to him “a reflection on how innovation teams can serve as a prism to play two essential roles for their business: dispersion and re-composition.” By “dispersion”, Tuff means feeding a core business in on one side of a prism and having it come out – through the application of a number of innovative ideas – refracted into a myriad of colorful results. “Re-composition” hopes that truly-capable teams are able to look at the many different ways innovation takes place in the “outside world” and then focus on what’s best for their own efforts going forward.

We’ve all noticed that the titles of the songs on the album – “Time”, “Us & Them”, “Money” and others – all relate quite clearly to

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoff-tuff/innovation-lessons-from-t_b_10364740.html

l) The things some artists will do in order to achieve just the “right” look for their album cover photo! While I typically will not send my readers to gossip sites, this recent article on the Perez Hilton site includes a video of heart-throb Nick Jonas standing still while a sheet of glass is broken over his head, with the results captured via high-speed photography and used on the cover of his latest release titled Last Year Was Complicated. Photography by Yu Tsai, with design and art direction by Kyle Goen (AKA Kyledidthis), the guy responsible for recent album covers for pop artists including Babyface, Ariana Grande, Kid CuDi and Erykah Badu. I’m impressed that Kyle was able to convince the musician (and his management) that this was the best way to produce this image – it harkens back to the days (prior to computer graphics) when art directors had to use their imaginations and available resources to create images like this one…

http://perezhilton.com/2016-06-08-nick-jonas-album-cover-art-last-year-was-complicated-broken-glass-head#

m) Attention all album packaging designers – it’s that time of year again to submit your entries to the annual A Design Awards international design competition. If you’re unfamiliar with these awards, here’s a little more of an intro as provided by the organization’s PR folks – “The A’ Design Award & Competition has been established to promote and recognize the best design works in all countries and in all creative disciplines. The primary aim of the A’ Design Award & Competition is to create a global awareness and understanding for good design practices and principles by highlighting the best designs in all countries and in all industrial fields. The ultimate aim of the A’ Design Awards is to push designers, companies and brands worldwide to create superior products and projects that benefit the society.

The A’ Design Award & Competition has a philanthropic goal to advance society by pushing the frontiers of science, design, creativity and technology forward by creating incentives for innovators to come up with better ideas. The A’ Design Competition aims to create incentives that ignite and reward creativity, original ideas and concept generation in all industrial sectors.”

To those of you who work for clients in the music/entertainment industries, there’s an award category called “GRAPHICS AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN AWARD” that focuses on marketing/promo design – posters, flyers, logos, consumer/trade ads, etc. – with more details on that category available via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/graphicsandadvertisingdesign.html

Packaging designers can find out the details of submissions in the “PACKAGING DESIGN” award category via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/packagingdesign.html

Regular submissions will be accepted until September 15th, with the actual judging/award announcements coming out next April, so watch this space for any updates and for information on the winners in these categories. Best of luck to all who enter!

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (usually on Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month (after the move to our new home near Chicago!) with another summary for you.

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved.

Album Cover News Summary For June, 2016

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

It’s the day after Independence Day, 2016 and I’m hoping that most of you were out with friends and family picnicking, boating, sitting in your back yards or on your porches and soaking in the sun and fresh air, wherever you might have been. Of course, this is simply my excuse for being a bit late with last month’s album cover news summary but, hey, we all need a break from time to time, staying off of our web sites, phones, tablets and other devices and simply enjoying each other’s company and conversation, don’t you agree?

To celebrate the day, album cover artist-style, I’d like to point you to a new limited-edition poster release from the famed graphic artist John Van Hamersveld that perfectly illustrates the glory of our Statue of Liberty – http://www.post-future.com/store/pgs/aclu.html    Makes you proud to live in a free country, no? Hope we can all work together to keep it that way for everyone…

In this month’s summary – the second following my new “less talk, more info” format (which I hope that you’re enjoying) – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to impress fans, critics and others in the press, so there continues to be an ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics:

Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap For February, 2016

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

It’s early March 2016, and what a month we’ve just had, what with the Superbowl, the Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards, the Portland International Film Festival (gotta plug the local events, right?) and the ongoing media circus surrounding (and feeding) the upcoming  2016 election season. While there has been plenty to distract us from fully-engaging in the things we’re most passionate about, the album art world has continued to deliver a lot for us to see and learn about, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, lectures, award shows and other such activities we reported on during the last 29 days. Even with a short month, our news feed has been chock-full of stories on the many interviews, features, artist profiles, new gallery/museum shows and other similar items of interest, I’ll now spend just a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be your responsibility to visit our site to complete your ingestion of these items of interest by reading and (re)viewing these items at your leisure… Continue reading

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 – 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.