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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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ACHOF Exhibition Tour – Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution

Album Cover Hall of Fame Exhibition Tour – Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution (July 16 thru November 12, 2017 at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, IL)

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Now that I live in a city that has a long history of design innovation, it’s a challenge not to be pulled in a million different directions when I hear about exhibitions being staged at the various venues found here. To manage that, I have several alerts set that inform me of anything album art-related that might be on display, but I have to admit that I came to learn about the local staging of a travelling show that’s been drawing crowds for the past two years a bit late (i.e., just a few days before its launch) and it was only due to the attentiveness of the venue’s media person that I was able to learn more and then tour the show right after its launch late last month. People before computers, I always say…

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

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of August, 2017. I’m hoping that you’ve been able to enjoy some of the sunny Summer weather, wherever you are, and that part of your free time was spent visiting your favorite gallery or museum to see what’s on display there (and to take advantage of the air conditioning typically found there). As for me, I recently had the chance to tour two shows right here in Chicagoland that contained strong album art components (Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, which debuted on July 16th at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism extravaganza, which concluded its run at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall B on July 30th) and I’ll be posting summaries – complete with photos – of those visits in the next week or so, so keep your eyes peeled…

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Interview With Designer James Faulkner – Public Image Ltd’s 9 Album Cover

Interview with James Faulkner – Public Image Ltd’s 9 album cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Interview Topic – the making of the album cover artwork for Public Image Ltd’s 9, a 1989 release on the Virgin Records label

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

When a team is assembled to create an album cover/package, a lot of talent can be brought to the table. In larger-scale endeavors – like the ones you’d often see for big-name acts, backed by significant budgets – a team might include an art director, a designer, a photographer and/or an illustrator (sometimes, both, particularly if there were logos and lettering to be done) and, as the folks tasked with these parts of a project would often find (and want to take advantage of), new techniques, materials and tools would be brought to bear. In the 80s and 90s, as computer-aided design was integrated into a products development and production, sometimes the tools that were “state of the art” at the time were found to be challenging to use, which would either slow down and frustrate some of the players or be seen as an opportunity to experiment and come up with something never before seen. Things like the budget, the production schedule and other distractions might force folks to knuckle down and get creative or, as might be the case in the production of the cover for PiL’s 1989 release simply titled 9 (which stood for the fact that it was the band’s ninth record), to frustrate the art director and leave him with less-than-fond memories of the process and, as a result, of the people who were there to apply their skills to the project via these new technologies.

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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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Excerpts from Pierre et Gilles feature by Andrew Dineley for Classic Pop

Issue 28 – Classic Pop Magazine with Pierre et Gilles feature by Andrew Dineley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added by Mike Goldstein on March 31, 2017

In my ongoing effort to support album cover art fans wherever they may be, it’s been my recent pleasure to introduce you to the writing talents of Andrew Dineley, the Liverpool, UK-based proprietor of the SoftOctopus Design studio and regular contributor of album art-and-artist-related articles to the popular Classic Pop magazine and web site. As hard as I try to locate and promote the talents of people working in the album cover art space, I know that, due to my being located in middle-America, USA, I’m not always able to discover work done by people working for clients in other countries, so it was with great joy that I received Andrew’s friend request and link to a video he recently put together that showcases some of his latest contributions to the magazine – https://vimeo.com/205032038 and, if you’d like to see more of his own commercial work, check out his firm’s web site at http://www.softoctopus.co.uk/

Andrew was also kind enough to share some excerpts from a feature on the talented French design team of Pierre et Gilles he wrote and published recently in issue #28 of the U.K.’s Classic Pop magazine. Partners in work and in life for over 40 years, the duo has collaborated – and partied hard with – celebrities and those looking to the pair to create memorable images that might launch them into celebrityhood. Along the way, they’ve used their talents in painting (Gilles Blanchard) and photography (Pierre Commoy) to produce unique covers for records by artists including Erasure, The Creatures and Marilyn Manson as well as French acts such as Mathmatiques Moderne and Amanda Lear, so I hope that you enjoy this tidbit and will turn to the magazine soon for the full meal.

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

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

March 8, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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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 December 2016

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

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

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

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Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Year-End Summary of Best and Worst Album Cover Art listings 2016

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Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Year-End Summary of “Best (and Worst) Album Cover Art” listings for the year 2016

by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

December 30, 2016 – Chicago, IL, USA

With “The Media” taking a beating this year (some deserved, but mostly a diversion), I thought that it’d be important for this journalist to demonstrate that not ALL reporting is misleading or factless, and what better way than to share a summary of all of the articles I could find on the topic of “Best” and “Worst” album cover art featured on records released during the past year. As I’ve said in previous summaries on the topic, the focus of the ACHOF site remains on the people who create these works (rather than on the works themselves), so it is important for me to be able to share this editorial content with you as a way to illustrate that there is still a lot of work – both good and bad – being done in this aspect of the recorded music business.

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