Tag Archives: Elton John

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.

In this month’s summary, you’ll find a robust offering of stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business. You’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works are quite busy – as I’ve been, too, gathering these stories so that I can share the fascinating details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. There continues to be an impressive number of items about album cover art/artists in the daily news cycle, adding stories of great interest and fascination to the month’s recap of the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find on a wide range of related topics.

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) Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1942 and raised in Penicuik, Midlothian, a town SW of the city, Albert Watson’s technical training in the arts took place first at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (up the East Coast, in Dundee) where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design and then at the Royal College of Art in London, where his focus was on film and television. Born blind in one eye, he nevertheless enrolled in photography classes as well and, in 1970, moved to Los Angeles, where his wife had accepted a teaching job and he began his search for work as a photographer. Within a year’s time, he’d sold a couple of images to Max Factor and drew attention to his talents behind the lens.

Watson opened his own photo studio in L.A. in 1974 and travelled between the coasts frequently on fashion magazine assignments for clients including GQ, Mademoiselle and Harper’s Bazaar magazines, where his 1973 portrait of film director Alfred Hitchcock launched his career as one of the most sought-after celebrity portaitists. A portrait of an Indian Chief he’d taken was selected for use on the cover of Chicago folk band Mason Proffit’s 1974 double LP compilation titled Come And Gone and won him the Grammy Award for “Best Album Cover” the next year. In 1976, he landed a gig at Vogue magazine, which brought him to NYC to stay.

Since that time, Watson’s photos have been featured on several hundred covers for Vogue and its international editions. His celebrity photos have appeared in Arena, Esquire, Interview, Max, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Stern, Time, Vibe and others, while his list of clients in the advertising world includes companies such as Acura, Armani, Chanel, Clairol, Escada, Estee Lauder, Gap, Lancome, Levis, L’Oreal, Max Factor, Revlon, Sony Music, Toyota and many more. Some of the other album covers he’s shot include such memorable images for records including Jay-Z’s The Blueprints 2: The Gift and the Curse, Love Deluxe, Lovers Rock and Greatest Hits for Sade, Carly Simon – The Best of Carly Simon, Keep The Faith for Faith Evans,  Michael Jackson’s Invincible and LL Cool J’s All The World: Greatest Hits, among others. He found more work in the entertainment world producing photos for dozens of films/film promo posters, including The DaVinci Code, Flashdance, Kill Bill, Memoirs of a Geisha and others and further applied his film and TV production training by directing more than 650 TV commercials.  Additionally, Watson has served as the official Royal Photographer for Prince Andrew’s wedding to Sarah Ferguson and for His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco.

In addition to his busy commercial schedule, Albert has spent much of his “free” time working on projects based on his travels around the world. These images, along with his portraits of celebrities from all aspects of the entertainment, sports and political worlds, have been featured in a number of  museum and gallery shows, including exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, the Museum of Modern Art in Milan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography in New York City and others and are included in the permanent collections at the NPG and the Met. A new show featuring 29 photos that span his entire portfolio – landscapes, celebrity portraits, fashion photography, etc. – and titled Albert Watson: KAOS has just opened at Opiom Gallery, in Opio, France (just off the D7 East of Grasse), and will be on view through June 10, 2017. This grouping had its first showing last year at the St. Moritz Art Masters in Switzerland and, later this year, art book publisher Taschen will be releasing a special collector’s edition of a book by the same name.

Crave online contributor Miss Rosen gives up an overview of the show on their web site at http://www.craveonline.com/art/1248555-photographer-albert-watson-is-the-master-of-kaos-and-beauty#/slide/1    while more information on this show, along with directions to the venue, can be found on the gallery’s web site at http://opiomgallery.com/en/expositions/presentation/39/albert-watson-kaos

b) This year marks the 50th anniversary of a celebrated time and place in American music/art/pop culture history, that being of the “Summer of Love” in the San Francisco Bay area. This was the epicenter in the U.S. of rebellion against “The Man” and all of the conservatism he stood for, and so it only with a bit of irony that an industry was quickly built around the art, music and other lifestyle accouterments needed to fully participate in the festivities taking place in SF’s parks and the Haight-Ashbury district.

From now until August 20th at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate park, visitors can tour an exhibit called The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock and Roll that celebrates all of the groovy, trippy and far-out elements that defined the psychedelic scene in mid-1967. You’ll find hundreds of examples of the music (Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, etc.), clothing and, of course, artwork – even a recreation of a fully-stocked poster store (Mouse, Kelley, Conklin, Moscoso, Crumb, etc., doing work for Fillmore, Family Dog, etc.) and, as you’ll note by reading Sara Wood’s recently-posted article on the topic, even those who thought they’d find the whole thing a bit too twee (bummer, bummer) were swept up a bit in the gaiety on display – http://www.ebar.com/arts/art_article.php?sec=general&article=412

More information on the shows location and hours can be found at https://deyoung.famsf.org/summer-love-art-fashion-and-rock-roll , while a rather nicely-done online presentation that includes  a special section about psychedelic posters can be toured via this link – http://digitalstories.famsf.org/summer-of-love#posters

BONUS #1 – while you’re in the general vicinity, those of you with a more-educational interest in mid-60s counterculture might also want to catch the BART to go and visit the Hippie Modernism show at the Berkeley Art Museum.  According to the show’s promo materials, the exhibition “demonstrates how the counterculture, once dismissed as a social and aesthetic anomaly, introduced ideas and techniques that have profoundly shaped contemporary life, including ecological awareness, social justice, and open communication.”

Wow, man. I think I’m just going to trip out on the pretty pictures…

https://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/events/hippie-modernism-the-struggle-for-utopia-1

BONUS #2 – The ongoing struggle between the Boomer Generation’s desire to play up the importance of the Bay Area’s “Summary of Love” fifty years ago (!!) and its impact on popular culture versus the whining of “enough already” by reporters from younger generations is prominently on display in this new article by two KQED reporters about the current show on the subject at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. While Emma and Sarah might be distressed by what they feel “is the kind of programming every San Francisco institution is apparently required to produce by law (AKA a strong promotion from the city’s tourism bureau) during the summer of 2017,” they later find themselves admitting that one aspect of the show – the display of over 150 posters and handbills done by noted psychedelic-era artists such as Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, Lee Conklin, Victor Moscoso and others, as well as a demonstration area showing how these screen-prints and lithographs are created – are something of interest and make the tour worth your while…

While nostalgia might be overplayed these days, the simple fact that people of all ages are enthralled even today by the artwork created by the aforementioned artists and their compatriots (along with the album covers they created for bands including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Journey and many others) should quash any inference that these works are less than worthy examples of fine art for the ages. Look and learn, kiddies.

https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2017/04/12/de-young-summer-of-love-50th-anniversary/

c) All the way over on the other side of the country, rock photography fans in and around the Philadelphia, PA area can bop on over to take a look at a new show built around the amazing portfolio of noted rock photographer Bob Gruen, the man responsible for an impressive number of images we all know and love. On display now through May 26th at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, “Rockers” puts on display many of the highlights of Gruen’s 40+ year career during which he has captured many of the top acts in the music world, gaining world-wide recognition for his works featuring artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Muddy Waters, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Madonna, Kiss & Alice Cooper.

As chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine in the 1970s, Bob specialized in candid, behind the scenes photo features. He toured extensively with the emerging punk and new wave bands including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Patti Smith Group and Blondie. This seminal body of work reflects a profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists, with perhaps his best-known buddy, the late John Lennon, serving as the model in one of Bob’s most-famous shots, that being the one Lennon wearing a “New York City” t-shirt, captured in 1974.

PhillyVoice.com writer Sinead Cummings provides us with a brief intro to the show at http://www.phillyvoice.com/bob-gruen-photo-exhibit-gives-intimate-look-at-rock-n-roll-icons/ while more information on the exhibition, including info about upcoming activities related to the show such as an artist’s interview and book signing on May 3rd, can be found on the gallery’s site at http://drexel.edu/pearlsteingallery/exhibitions-events/exhibition-archive/2017/April/Bob%20Gruen%20ROCKERS/

d) While much of the world outside of NYC knows the creative output of Alan Vega for the now-iconic eagle logo he created for the Ramones (yes, you’ve got that t-shirt) he was also, in fact, a trend-setting musician, one-half of the avant electro-punk duo and Max’s Kansas City/CBGBs regulars known as Suicide. Balancing a music career – one that began in the early 70s (in-your-face punk before there was a “punk”) before moving on to solo work and collaborations with other acts including Ric Ocasek, Al Jourgenson of Ministry and Alex Chilton (among others) – with visual output that included well-regarded gallery shows that featured his “insult paintings”, sculptures and other works, Vega died in 2016 at the age of 78.

Film-maker and Vega family friend Paul Tschinkel spent the last year since’s Vega’s death working on a documentary film featuring interviews with Alan and his family and performance footage from several different periods during Vega’s career and, for those of you who were in the NYC area on April 14th, I hope that you had the opportunity to watch a screening of Alan Vega: An Artist’s Story during a “Howl! Happening” at the Howl! Arts Gallery on East 1st St. Gallery 98’s Mark H. Miller was on hand to MC and several luminaries, including Vega’s wife and son and musician Martin Rev (his partner in Suicide), were there to share in the evening’s festivities with all in attendance. More info can be found at  http://gallery.98bowery.com/news/alan-vega-of-suicide-video-tribute-screens-friday/ and also on the gallery’s site – https://www.howlarts.org/event/paul-tschinkel-alan-vega-an-artists-story/

e) Photographer/curator/gallery owner Guido Harari’s Wall of Sound Spring Group show featuring photos by David Burnett, Merri Cyr, Henry Diltz, Jim Marshall, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Masayoshi Sukita and many others opened Sunday, the 16th of April at the gallery in Alba, Italy (SE of Turin, NW of Genoa). Titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Hearts and running through June 11th, the show will put on display dozens of well-known album art images, artist portraits and more, with some shown in public for the first time.

In celebration of both the launch of the new season of Mick Rock’s Ovation TV series (On The Record with Mick Rock) and the just-released documentary on Mr. Rock’s career as an in-demand rock photographer (titled SHOT! and produced by VICE Films and Straight Up Films), there will be an expanded selection of photos from this acclaimed shooter on display in this new show.

More info can be found on the gallery’s site – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/rock–n–roll-hearts-e21

f) Just a quick reminder to all the Chicago-area rock art, fashion, memorabilia and music fans (as my childhood friend Bozo the Clown used to say – “Hey, that’s me!”) – the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism travelling show is now running at Chicago’s Navy Pier – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/

A quick trip through the show’s online picture gallery shows many examples of the wide range of creative album covers that have graced the band’s recordings over the course of their 50+ career – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/image-gallery/

g) 83-year-old Michael Mendel’s family fled Nazi Germany (through Holland, then to Cuba before coming to the U.S. and the New York area in 1938) when he was only 4 years old.

More recently, he used his talents as a painter (which he picked up on late in life) to create a series of black & white and hand-colored images that track some of the key moments of his life and flight to escape persecution to come to America (watch this short YouTube video, where you’ll find the artist taking you through some samples of that work – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr2E2zVL72g), where he went on to become an in-demand art director (first for Columbia Records, then on to Epic, Paramount and others) who worked on hundreds of record covers, including ones for Tommy James, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Curtis Mayfield, Van McKoy, Roy Orbison, Small Faces, The Stylistics and many others.

He retired from the music business in the late 1980s and switched his focus to producing watercolor paintings, so it is with great pleasure that I’m able to share an article by Bronx Times reporter Patrick Rocchio that introduces us to a show that was running at the Riverdale Senior Center  through the month of April in which a large selection of Mendel’s album artwork was on display – http://www.bxtimes.com/stories/2017/13/13-mendel-2017-03-31-bx.html   His son David is also promoting his “Just For The Record” show on his Instagram account (pretty cool Dad, no?) – http://www.imgsta.com/media/raisedonradio/BSP0cFDhMhw

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Of the musical acts that were recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pearl Jam has always worked almost as hard on their visuals – their album covers, merchandise and concert posters – as they have on their music, and one of the reasons why they’re consistently coming up with “just the right” designs could be that they’ve worked with the same design firm – Seattle’s Ames Bros – for almost their entire career. The firms ties to the band go one degree further than most in that one of the two principals – designer Barry Ament – is a sibling of Pearl Jam’s bassist, Jeff Ament, and the two have shared inspirations and ideas (along with Barry’s partner Coby Schultz and the rest of band’s members, who all participate in design development) ever since they were kids.

In this recent video profile served up on Seattle’s 12News/ABC website (with reporting done by reporter Jake Wittenberg), viewers are given a brief tour of the agency’s studio and archives, where you’ll see a number of both well-known and unique designs created for the band over the past 20+ years. The duo are quite humbled by the fact that their #1 client has now been enshrined into the R&RHOF – “It’s been fun,” said Barry. “The guys have a lot to be proud of right now.”

http://www.12newsnow.com/entertainment/music/pearl-jam-artists-excited-about-hall-of-fame/429885541

b) As we’ve just passed the one year anniversary of the unfortunate death of Prince, it was nice to see the folks at CNN change their focus a bit away from the antics in Washington, DC and offer up a 2-minute package (from Stephanie Elam) featuring photographer Allen Beaulieu, the man that brought us the memorable photos found on the covers of several of the Purple One’s early hit records (Prince, Dirty Mind and Controversy). In this interview, Allen gives us a teensy bit of background on the hows and whys for each cover image but, to me at least, the most-moving part of the interview centered on the fact that he wished that he’d stayed closer to the late musician, not knowing that a big hug received during photography during the 1999 tour would be his last.

The relationships between the photographer and his subject can grow deep –

http://www.cnn.com/videos/entertainment/2017/04/21/prince-photographer-memories-elam-pkg.cnn

c) The recent Record Store Day festivities put a lot of talent on display including, I think you’ll agree, a lot of fine work on the packaging, with colored vinyl, limited-edition releases and a ton of related merch showcasing the output of designers, photographers, illustrators and the like in close collaboration with the musician and label clients. However, in this recent Creative Boom article by Katy Cowan, you’ll find an added degree of creativity in the RSD-related work of the “masters of paper craft” Nearly Normal as they joined forces with Amsterdam-based record retailer Concerto to produce some quite-special items for an exhibit that will be on display in the store through May 19th called Vinylize!

According to the store’s site, “at the invitation of the Amsterdam Shop Around, about 50 artists used their favorite record sleeve as a canvas. The artwork of various artists such as Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and Blondie (to name a few) got a “VINYLIZE makeover”, resulting in a completely new and unique Artwork.” In the case of the one-off cover created by Nearly Normal’s Jaime Kiss, the inspiration was Kraftwerk’s 1981 hit Computer World, and not only did the agency produce a cut paper-based cover homage, they also took it further by creating a series of fine art prints for collectors and producing an animated (8-bit style) music video for the song based on that artwork. Learn more about the project and see what true love hath inspired –

http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/vinylize-paper-crafters-nearly-normal-celebrate-record-store-days-10th-anniversary-with-kraftwerk-tribute/

d) For some clients, image is everything, and in the competitive world of mid-1990s Gangsta Rap records, the more you could extol just how bad-ass you were, the better your credibility was with your target audience. In a recent Instagram posting (that was reported in Peter A. Berry’s article on the XXL.com web site, photographer Chi Modu shares the tale of “the making of” the quite-nasty images for the packaging of Mobb Deep’s 1996 record Hell on Earth.

Using the gangster movie Scarface for its thematic clues, Modu tells us that, in an effort to re-create a scene where Tony Montana had dumped drugs and cash on a large marble table to display the spoils of his efforts, the production crew had scouted a location inside a monastery in NYC and rented the space while not exactly sharing the details of what they’d be doing with the property owner. As you might figure, much hilarity ensued – http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2017/04/chi-modu-story-shooting-mobb-deep-hell-on-earth-cover

The folks at XXL followed this article up with one later in the month about Modu’s 1993 portrait of a young Snoop Dogg standing near a road sign on California Highway 187 (better known to locals as the section of Venice Blvd. that runs from Venice to Culver City) that’s now being used as the cover for Snoop’s soon-to-be-released new record titled Neva Left.

http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2017/04/snoop-doggs-new-album-cover-neva-left-chi-modu-photo/

e) Fans of album art with a creative streak are always working on ways to impress us with their talents and appreciation of great covers of the rock ‘n’ roll era. Sometimes, they’ll take well-known covers and manipulate them using today’s graphic design tools – mostly on computer – which produces many of the animated gifs, parodies and old-cover-with-new-characters items that pop up here in the ACHOF news feed from time to time. Rarely, however, do amateur artists go “old school” and, when they do, it’s wonderful to see what they’ve been able to create using just the basics – paints, a pencil or, in this case, a camera, some construction paper and a glass prism.

At the following link, the editors of the PetaPixel site have posted an interview with Mason Maxwell, member of the Reddit ITAP (“I Took A Picture”) group and a guy with a Nikon 5100 who decided to take this on – i.e., re-creating the memorable cover graphic for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – while listening to the record several times for motivation.

https://petapixel.com/2017/03/30/photographer-recreates-dark-side-moon-album-cover-camera/

Check out Mason’s Reddit page via this link https://www.reddit.com/r/itookapicture/comments/627mny/itap_recreation_of_the_dark_side_of_the_moon/

f) What does an artist do with his or her day? Dennis Morris, the man responsible for some of rock’s best-known album cover portraits, including you’ve-seen-them works for an impressively-broad range of acts including Bob Marley, Public Image Ltd and Marianne Faithful (among many others), works to answer that query as he takes us on a video tour of a “typical” day as an in-demand celebrity photographer.

Morris, whose desire to become a photographer began at an early age (he began shooting photographs at the age of 8 and started his professional career began at the age of 11 when he sold some shots he’d taken of a political demonstration to the Daily Mirror newspaper), makes sure that his camera is never far from hand and continues to photograph popular figures in all walks of life, with his shots featured in publications such as GQ, People, Rolling Stone, the Sunday Times, Time, V magazine and Vogue, among many others.

This video is part of a series on BBC4 called What Do Artists Do All Day? which, over the course of its run, has also done features on two more album art-related subjects – graphic artist/designer Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s and Live Aid fame) and photographer Albert Watson, whose album cover credits include shots for Carly Simon, John Denver, Sade and LL Cool J, among many others…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rjr1d/episodes/guide

g) I really need to check my Google Alerts more often – sorry about the delay in reporting this, but noted artist Alan Aldridge died several weeks ago in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 73. Anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to Pop Culture visuals over the past 50 years has seen numerous examples of Aldridge’s work, having designed logos for the House of Blues and the Hard Rock Cafes, illustrated dozens of book covers (with a focus on science fiction titles) and, for music lovers, created an impressive portfolio of album covers, including memorable examples such as Goodbye for Cream, Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy for Elton John, A Quick One for The Who and Wonderwall Music for former Beatle George Harrison. Beatles fans will also remember Alan’s art direction and illustrations for one of the most-popular lyrics books ever published, that being The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics.

Born June, 1943 in London, UK, Aldridge’s first design job was as an illustrator for The Sunday Times Magazine. In early 1965, he was hired by Penguin Book’s editor Tony Godwin to become their art director and, for the next two years, he designed a number of well-received book covers, with a focus on science fiction titles. In 1968, he launched his own graphic design firm (called INK) and, going forward, his unique, psychedelic illustrative style was applied to a wide range of projects, with Aldridge credited for creating memorable designs/illustrations for clients including Falcon Motorcycles, Heineken, Lucky Brand, MAC cosmetics, Samson, Paul Smith, Virgin Atlantic and many others.

Sarah Dawood’s obituary for the late artist can be found on the Design Week site at https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/20-26-february-2017/remembering-alan-aldridge-revolutionary-graphic-designer-swinging-sixties/

h) Continuing on with the bad news, another famous contributor to the album cover art scene – photographer Don Hunstein – died recently at the age of 88 following a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Hunstein grew up in St. Louis, MO and attended Washington University, graduating in 1950 with a degree in English. After college he enlisted in the US Air Force and was stationed in Fairford, England and assigned a desk job. It was this assignment that allowed him to travel around Europe. He began photographing casually, taking pictures to send home to his family, and then with the help of a Leica M3 purchased in the PX and inspired by a book of renowned street photographer Henri Cartier Bresson’s work, his hobby began to take him on a lifelong path. Transferring to a base near London, he joined a local camera club and took evening classes at London’s Central School of Art and Design, becoming influenced by the artists and designers whom he met there. He returned to the States in 1954, ending up in New York City, where he eventually landed an apprenticeship in a commercial photography studio. There he honed his photography skills by mastering large format cameras and lighting.

He soon met and was mentored by Deborah Ishlon, who worked in the publicity department at Columbia Records. She offered him a job helping her run the photo library there and supplying prints to the press. As he began to take his own photos for the company, they recognized his talent, and he gradually worked his way into the position of Director of Photography for CBS/Columbia Records. As staff photographer during Columbia’s heyday as a major rock, jazz and classical music label, Don was there to witness – and photograph – a number of iconic moments in the early history of rock music.

Over the course of his career at CBS, he shot over 200 LP and CD covers and documented the recording of many of the great albums in music history, producing instantly-recognizable portraits of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis and many others. Notable examples of his album cover work  include Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan; Blood Sweat & Tears – More Than Ever; Al Kooper – You Never Know Who Your Friends Are…; Cryan’ Shames – Scratch The Sky; Johnny Cash – Love and Bridge Over Troubled Water for Simon & Garfunkel .

You can find more about the man and his life via the following obituary articles – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/don-hunstein-freewheelin-bob-dylan-photographer-dead-w473676  by Daniel Kreps for Rolling Stone Magazine and Richard Sandomir’s portrait in the New York Timeshttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/arts/music/don-hunstein-dead-photographer-of-music-stars.html

i) Now, on to articles about the living (!!) – My wife just started a new job here in Chicago and, while meeting some of the nice people around her office, one mentioned that her grandson was in a band and had done the album art for their records, so she forwarded me a link and, after reading it and taking a look at the work that’d been done, thought that you might enjoy it as well. Twin Peaks is a popular local “garage/pop/punk” band (with psychedelic tendencies) that’s been together since 2010 and has released three albums along the way, including 2016’s Down In Heaven, which features artwork done by the band’s guitarist and vocalist Clay Frankel.

At first glance, you might think that the covers were done by another well-known indie artist/musician, Daniel Johnston, best-known to design fans for the “Hi, How Are You (The Unfinished Album)” t-shirt sported by Kurt Cobain in an often-seen photo of the late rocker, and Frankel, in this 2016 interview by Lucy Bourton for the ItsNiceThat.com site, admits to Johnston’s influence in his colorful-yet-slightly-disturbing approach to his artwork (“I really sucked at everything I tried”, he’s quoted. “Picasso my ass. But it didn’t matter. It was fun”). Working on his art during the band’s down-time (which, by the looks of their upcoming tour schedule, on the road for shows in the U.S., Canada and Europe over the next several months with White Mystery), he’s also supplied his artwork for the music video for the group’s latest single, “Holding Roses”. You can read the entire interview via the link – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/clay-frankel-twin-peaks-070916 and learn more about the band and its ongoing activities at http://twinpeaksdudes.com/, where you’ll also be able to watch the music video just mentioned.

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) You might recall that, several weeks ago, I reported on a series of stamps released by the Isle of Man postal service that were based on the artwork of the great album art designer Roger Dean, with the collection also including some new works Dean created expressly for this commission. The artwork was on display to the public in several exhibitions in late 2016 and was returned to the Sayle Gallery in the town of Douglas on the Isle of Man, where a number of original works, along with production elements such as sketches and production proofs, were then offered to collectors in the area.

Since then, according to this article by LC on the IsleofMan.com site, four of the works, including Pathways at Night (from the YES Progeny album set) and two studies created for the cover of Moody Blues bassist John Lodge’s 1977 LP Natural Avenue were purchased by fans and collectors and have found happy homes on the Isle. Now THAT’s supporting local industry – http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/82330/roger-dean-paintings-acquired-by-isle-of-man-collectors

b) The special fund-raising photography auction held several days ago that featured a number of highly-collectible works donated by Mr. John from his personal collection of many the industry’s best-known photographers resulted in the raising of over $3.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. As I reported a short while back, the 120+ works included images produced by artists including Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe and others, with the big bucks being shelled out for several wonderful Ansel Adams prints, including $559K for Clearing Winter Storm, $439K for Aspens, Northern New Mexico (1958) and $112K for a color print titled Church, Sunset, Rear, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, c. 1948.

A 1978 Robert Mapplethorpe photo of Blondie’s Debbie Harry fetched over $32K, beating out a 1980 photo of the same subject by Andy Warhol, which was purchased for a mere $18,750. You can tour through all of the auction’s results – a mini-exhibition of some of the world’s best photography – via the link to the Christie’s site – http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intsaleid=26921

c) In early April, the team at Gotta Have Rock & Roll released the details of what was going to be on offer in their “Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction April 2017”, and a quick look through the huge (1400+ item) catalog revealed prints by Ringo Starr, a selection of Beatles-related production artwork (including a negative taken from the “Hey Jude” photo session), a Stevie Nicks painting from the late Nicks/Fleetwood Mac cover artist Herb Worthington’s personal art collection and a custom-painted canvas stage backdrop used by the Ramones over 2 years of touring (opening bid of $10K).

The actual auction took place on April 29th, so if you’d like to take a look at what was sold in the two main categories of interest here at the ACHOF, you can click on over to these two pre-sorted pages – https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   and https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Photographs-110.html

where you’ll find that one of the Ringo prints sold for it’s opening bid ($1000), the Stevie Nicks painting went unsold (not a lot of buyers in this category, for some reason), while the Ramones canvas stage backdrop was won with a final price paid of $13,000. The Hey Jude photo also went unsold, but a negative of the band from the Sgt. Pepper’s photo shoot did find a new home, won with a $200 bid.

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Back in February, I’d reported on the amazing success of a book from the Genesis Publishing house (REVOLVER 50: THE GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION ) that celebrated artist Klaus Voorman’s trend-setting (and Grammy Award-winning) work on the cover for the Revolver LP by The Beatles, released 50 years ago (all of the 500 copies printed of the Deluxe and Collector’s editions sold out in 12 days!). Well, with Voorman still quite active and still quite creative, the team has put together a new product – a series of fine art prints/collages, based on an updated Revolver design and individually-embellished by Voorman, making each one unique – and are now taking orders for one of the 250 of these prints that will be made.

According to Voorman, this new print will serve to illustrate how he’s reflected on his original design over the years – “I had an idea of doing a collage again so people could get an original in their hands… It’s a different version of the cover… right in the middle of creating it.” On top of a new pen-and-ink-based print, Voorman will lay on other printed elements – pens, tubes of paint, etc. – that represent the artist’s craft of making a collage. “A pair of scissors lying there, a knife or a pencil or a brush, all of these things you actually use when you are at the table working on a piece.”

To help you get a look at the artist and his take on this new work, the folks at Genesis have also posted a video – https://vimeo.com/213979087 – while if you want to see more of the works being offered and, if then so inspired, place an order for one for your very own, click on over to the publisher’s site –http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-the-collage-series-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm

b) Several years ago, when I was still running my art gallery, I had the pleasure of selling a line of limited-edition sculptures made by a company called KnuckleBonz. While there have always been rock music-related figurines available – vinyl dolls, bobble heads, etc. – the products that the team at KnuckleBonz were producing were definitely several notches above the norm (and priced accordingly). Over the years, they’ve created hand-painted models of illustrious rock and rollers such as Ozzy, Dio, Rush, Lemmy and several others. On the bookcase behind my desk stands one of my favorites – Keith Emerson, standing in front of a rack of synthesizer (mine’s wearing a miniature baseball cap I found!) and, in another room, Jimi Hendrix stands, captured in mid-solo.

I haven’t reported on these folks for a while, as my focus remains on album art-related items, but a recent press release from the company about several new items has broken the curse, and I’m happy to tell you that two upcoming releases might be of interest to album art fans looking for “something a little different”. The first item is a new statue of Alice Cooper (titled “Alice Cooper II (Snake)”) which shows the world’s best-known shock-rocker posed with his pet python in one hand, microphone in the other, and standing on top of a base that replicates the colors and textures of one of Cooper’s best-known records, 1973’s Billion Dollar Babies (with original artwork done by the talented team at Pacific Eye & Ear). The second item is a new work that continues on the company’s recognition of album art iconography, begun early on with their sculpture of Rush’s “Starman”, with the upcoming release of a statue based on Motorhead’s mascot Warpig, AKA Snaggletooth, The Bastard, The Iron Boar, etc.. When fantasy artist Joe Petagno’s first iteration of the character was used on the band’s  self-titled 1977 debut recording, little did we know that, now 40 years later, that character would rank up there in the pantheon of iconic rock logo/images, along with band IDs such as the Lips & Tongue for the Rolling Stones, the Flying Eagle logo for the Ramones and the Misfits’ Skull Fiend, but your attendance at any metal music concert would certainly support that assertion.

In any case, this meticulously-crafted bust, complete with image-appropriate scrap heap base with chains and skulls, would certainly make a great gift for the metalhead on your gift-shopping list. See these two items, along with the other just announced, officially-licensed sculptures of Syd Barrett, Lemmy Kilmeister and an alt Alice Cooper model (in strait-jacket) by visiting the KnuckleBonz site at https://knucklebonz.com/shop/

c) 40 years after “God Save The Queen” became one of the most-recognized punk-era images, artist Jamie Reid is back with two new prints – one, an update to his classic Swastika Eyes and the other making clear his take on the new “American Royal Family”. These new works will be released to hungry fans as part of the Cultural Traffic counter-culture print and publications fair that will take place in NYC beginning on May 7th and where, according to the folks at L-13 (a Clerkenwell, London-based ” creative platform, spiritual home and technical epicenter for a small group of artists that founder Steve Lowe has found himself working with – both in collaborative venture and by way of support for the individual artists” – i.e., the people who’ll be printing and publishing these new works), “40 years after Jamie Reid first put Swastikas on the eyes of the Queen and stuck a safety pin through her mouth, he now turns his iconoclastic attention to the United States of America using elements from the original Swastika Eyes collage…All profits from the sale of the print will be used to publish a bound version of Eight Fold Year: a book of the Druidic calendar by Jamie Reid.”

I want one, I want one (but I won’t tell you which one – YOU guess). You can take a look at the new prints and, if so motivated, place a pre-order via one or both of the following links:

http://l-13.org/product/jamie-reid-swastika-eyes-queen/

http://l-13.org/product/jamie-reid-swastika-eyes-trump/

d) More Mick Rock-related news – Back in 2013, photographer Mick Rock and his buddy Lou Reed were working on a book for Genesis Publishing that based on Rock’s deep archive of photos and film of the seminal NYC rocker/trendsetter. Unfortunately (in so many ways), Reed died while the book was first released and, out of respect for the family, further sales were put on hold. As this November is the 45th anniversary of the release of the ground-breaking (and, certainly, career-breaking) Transformer LP, the family and Mr. Rock have agreed to celebrate the legacy by re-starting sales of both the book and a special series of fine art prints.

While the ultra-deluxe version of the book completely sold out during the initial offering, there are still copies that will be made available this Fall from the quite-nice, Mick Rock-signed Transformer Limited Edition (2000 total copies) version, which comes complete with a specially-produced 7″ picture disc and an updated photo/essay booklet. Priced quite reasonably at £295.00, pre-orders are now being accepted at  http://www.genesis-publications.com/transformer-by-lou-reed-and-mick-rock/

Photo collectors now also have a chance to own one of the six framed photo prints in Rock’s “Transformer Series“. While they were working together on the book, Reed and Rock chose these previously-unreleased images to offer to collectors, with the selected photos of “personal and historical significance… the Transformer Series reveals Lou the performer, the New Yorker, the artist and the friend.”

The limited edition, 20″ x 30″ signed and estate-stamped giclee’ portraits are being sold for £1900.00, plus shipping. Orders are being accepted at http://www.genesis-publications.com/transformer-loureed-mickrock/default.htm

I’m particularly fond of two of the prints, one called “Transformer” that’s a contact sheet-style image of the July 14, 1972 Transformer photo shoot, while the one called “Make Up” is done in the same way (make up and lighting) that the album cover image was created – quite striking.

Bonus – here’s a link to a recent posting on the Entertainment Weekly site in which Rock gives us some background info on the shooting of the Transformer album cover. It’s also where you can watch the preview for the aforementioned Shot! documentary – http://ew.com/music/2017/04/07/mick-rock-lou-reed-transformer/

e) According to photographer Jimmy Steinfeldt’s site bio, Jimmy “is a self-taught photographer who has only to squint through the lens for inspiration.” Citing photographer Richard Avedon and cinematographer Karl Freund among his strongest influences, Jimmy’s talents have brought him from his first gigs as a shooter at local concerts – his 1986 shots of Madonna for Rolling Stone kicked his career into high gear- to a 30+ year career (which has included a 2007 honor as Photographer of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards), during which he’s produced portraits of everyone from Bob Dylan and Miles Davis to John Denver, Willie Nelson and Dee Dee Ramone. His album cover credits include work for Denver, Davis and Ramone and, after adding in shots for Paul Westerberg, Matt Sorum and Dishwalla, among others, you’ll not be a bit surprised to find that, from time to time, he’s been able to tap into his portfolio to produce very-desirable photo books for collectors as well.

Steinfeldt’s newest book – Rock ‘N’ Roll Lens Volume II – has just come to market and, according to the press, it includes “fifty of his best black and white photographs, as well as commentary attributed to the stories behind them from his celebrity friends. Contributors include Lou Gossett Jr., Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Clem Burke of Blondie, Slim Jim of the Stray Cats, Apollonia of Purple Rain, and more.”

Read more on the artist and his work in this Music Desk article on the Broadway World site – http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/Acclaimed-Photographer-Jimmy-Steinfeldt-Releases-Second-Volume-of-Book-Rock-N-Roll-Lens-20170310 . You can order the book on the artist’s site at http://www.jimmysteinfeldt.com/book.html

5) Other articles of interest –

a) There’s been a fair amount written about this being the 50th anniversary of the release of what many consider to be the record with the “best” album cover ever made – that being The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album. Whether or not you think it’s the ultimate album cover, no one can deny that it has been incredibly inspirational, particularly to those musical acts and album cover artists who’ve chosen to make parodies (or are they homages?) of the record’s cover over the years.

In an effort to show us the wide range of styles and subjects that have been used to create these other works (including several newer ones from the man who lead the effort to create the original – Sir Peter Blake – the staff at the Ultimate Classic Rock site have put together a slide show of over 40 (42, to be exact) of these covers, including ones fairly well-known, such as the cover for We’re Only In It For The Money by Frank Zappa & The Mothers (one of my favorite t-shirts), to Eric Idle and The Rutles Sgt. Rutter’s Darts Club Band (featuring the classic Rutles tune “Cheese and Onions”) to covers by The Muppets, The Simpsons and MAD Magazine. I’m really quite shocked that this isn’t a must-do project idea for any self-respecting art school curriculum.

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-sgt-pepper-cover-art-tributes/

b) When musician Damon Albairn and illustrator/animator Jamie Hewlett first teamed up years ago to create their very modern animated rock band (sorry Cartoon Beatles) Gorillaz, the music world didn’t know quite what to make of them. Where could “the guy from Blur” and the comic book illustrator who brought us Tank Girl take its audience? Fans of animation understood right away – when you live in AnimationLand, you can go anywhere, do anything or be anyone, and so over the years, they’ve taken us on a musical journey – via music videos, live shows, web sites and other multi-media extravaganzas with some impressive special guests – through a world inhabited by denizens both natural and supernatural.

Now, after 7 years without a new Gorillaz record (and corresponding trips through their imaginations), the band’s creators have returned with a new record that will be backed by a tour featuring new art and animations and, in an interesting tie-in to the release of that new album titled Humanz, a travelling haunted house much like the one created for the first music video from the record for a song called “Saturnz Barz”. In the various rooms of this house where the band’s members are living are all the appropriately-spooky items, including a copy of the mind-boggling triptych by the 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch titled The Garden of Earthly Delights, a work perfectly matched to the record’s supernatural references. Artsy writer Abigail Cain takes us on a tour of the rest of this homage to all things extraordinary, something fans of the band’s work have grown to expect and appreciate over the years. With this new effort, the creators behind this band reward us amply.

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-gorillaz-haunted-house-full-art

c) On April 2nd, the Canadian music industry handed out its annual Juno Award for “Recording Package of the Year” to the team of Jonathan Shedletzky (art director), Isis Essery (graphic designer) and illustrator Jeff Lemire for the wonderful packaging they put together for Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie’s 2016 solo record titled Secret Path. Downie also collaborated with cartoonist Lemire on a graphic novel to accompany this record and the entire team worked together to produce a broad series of items, including 10 posters built around the lyrics of each of the songs on the record.

AD Shedletzky has been a marketing and label manager for Arts & Crafts since 2013, while Essery’s portfolio includes award-winning work in design, film and photography. Cartoon fans know Lemire’s work from his contributions to Marvel titles such as Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight and Old Man Logan along with many other books, graphic novels and commercial jobs.

Congratulations to this winning team as well as to the others nominated in this category. Read more on them all via the link below – http://junoawards.ca/nomination/recording-package-of-the-year-jonathan-shedletzky-art-director-isis-essery-designer-jeff-lemaire-illustrator/

d) Speaking of the Juno Awards – As a way to bring more fan fun to the table during awards season, the folks running the Ottawa, Canada Wellington West Business Improvement Area’s promo activities recently teamed up with a designer named Jamie McLennan (co-owner of Character Creative) on a project that long-time fans of “Sleevefacing” will recognize and appreciate.

Since this year’s Juno Awards took place in the country’s capital city, music was in the air and inspired the creative Mr. McLennan to come up with a way to help the local businesses increase their visibility with the area’s residents by involving them in a creative enterprise like the one (labeled “Vinyl Faces”) they devised – using  themselves as either the main image, or part of the background, in an album cover. Even the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, agreed to participate and proudly stood behind a record  cover of the late great Leonard Cohen. Writing recently for Ottawa-area local paper the Kitchissippi Times, Bradley Turcotte gives us more of the details – https://kitchissippi.com/2017/03/30/vinyl-faces-ottawa-junos/ , while a gallery of submissions can be viewed via the link – http://wellingtonwestvinylfaces.ca/

e) Several weeks ago, I reported on a special-edition Rolls Royce motorcar that was designed by The Who’s Roger Daltry and was based somewhat on the Mike McInnerney cover art for the band’s seminal Tommy Well, it turns out that that was only PART of the story and, in fact, there is an entire series of bespoke automobiles that are being offered to well-heeled collectors by the renowned British manufacturer this year. Reading through Dave Abrahams’ article on the topic for South Africa’s Independent Media, I now see that there are custom designs for The House of Rolls that were done in concert with Ray Davies of the Kinks, producer Gilles Martin (in a tribute to his father, Sir George Martin), singer Dame Shirley Bassey (who, to commemorate the three James Bond movie theme songs she delivered – ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘Moonraker’ and ‘Goldfinger’- had the panel between the rear seats embroidered with a diamond, with the tread plates and Spirit of Ecstasy hood statuette finished in gold), Status Quo’s Francis Rossi and Rolling Stones guitarist (and much-collected fine artist) Ron Wood, whose artwork for his 2010 solo record I Gotta See has been woven into the embroidery placed on the panel between the rear seats. When only the most-custom will do – http://www.iol.co.za/motoring/latest-launches/rock-n-rolls-musicians-design-bespoke-wraiths-8416274

f) On occasion, it gets a bit messy in the world of rock music-related imagery. While many artists – in these days of “if I found it on the Internet, it must be free” copyright management – try to be vigilant about protecting their copyrights, there is this sometimes well-defined and sometimes less so doctrine called “Fair Use” that raises its ugly head, sending art creators and re-creators to court to figure out who-can-use-what-when and whether certain uses cross over the fair use line into infringement. In this recently-published article by Eileen Kinsella for the ArtNet News site, you can read about an example of just what lengths parties in copyright-related disagreements will go to both protect their rights as copyright holders and their rights as artists who believe that they’re free to use an image to create something derivative-but-unique. In this case, in what looks to be an interesting turn-around, the Andy Warhol Foundation is pre-emptively suing photographer Lynn Goldsmith for her assertion that, without her permission, a 1981 photo she took of the late rocker Prince served as the basis for a series of prints released by Warhol. The Foundation says that they’re suing in order “protect the works and legacy of Andy Warhol.”

Wowee. This is one to watch, for sure – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/warhol-foundation-strikes-first-photographer-complains-copyright-922025

UPDATE – In a follow-up to last month’s story regarding the battle between photographer Lynne Goldsmith and the Andy Warhol Foundation – although she’s yet to be served with the papers looking to stop her from pursuing any remedies for the use of her photo of Prince in an early-80s print made by artist Warhol, she’s not just going to let the other side win the battle taking place in the media. Read the latest salvos in Eileen Kinsella’s update on the Artnet.com site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/prince-photographer-fires-back-warhol-foundation-copyright-suit-923759?

g) When a band chooses to name an album Heartworms, inquiring minds want to ask where the inspiration came from. Interviews with the guy who essentially IS The Shins – singer/songwriter James Mercer – seem to indicate that he’s now feeling the weight and unease of ultimately being responsible for the band’s success so, perhaps, he’s feeling that anxiety crawl through him in a fashion similar to the way the foot-long worms invade your pets’ lungs, heart and blood vessels… In any case, when Mercer turned to artist Jacob Escobedo (of Cartoon Network design fame) to help him with an appropriate cover for the new record, Escobedo – a fan of Japanese artwork featuring the spooky creatures called Yokai (seen quite a bit as the nemeses in anime) – came up with the image for the package when “after hearing the album, I had this vision of worms overtaking a lush garden, pouring out of a dead heart.” Escobedo’s no stranger to those following creative types in the music/album art world, having produced memorable images for The Shins and other clients including My Morning Jacket, Danger Mouse, Christian Rich and Cartoon Network’s own Adult Swim Singles

Billboard.com writer Zack Ruskin talks to the pair about this effort in his recent posting – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7728836/the-shins-heartworms-cover-inspiration-japanese-yokai-art

h) According to the sentiment expressed in a recent article by John Meagher for Ireland’s The Independent, “the creative minds behind band photos and album artwork are the music industry’s unsung heroes” – a tenet yours truly has stated on several (thousand) occasions since I began writing on the topic oh-so-many years ago. Citing examples of many musical acts who’ve collaborated with visual image makers – Anton Corbijn with U2 and Depeche Mode, Peter Saville for acts on the Factory Records label and Jean-Paul Goude for Grace Jones are featured in this list – the author goes on to state that, while you can pay to work with the best, great album art can also be made on more-meager budgets, as evidenced in this year’s short list of records nominated for Ireland’s recently awarded Choice Music Prize awards – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/magical-union-of-sound-and-vision-35539435.html

Staying on the same basic topic, an article posted by contributing writer Satish Reginald for New York University’s NYUNews.com site (https://www.nyunews.com/2017/04/06/the-paradigm-shifts-of-album-artwork/)also looks to explore the importance of packaging music in sleeves that help bring consumers to look at a new record but, as I’ve found in many similar articles over the years, the author gives readers more questions than answers and, if you take away what I did from the article, falls back on the often-stated notion (often stated by young people, that is) that the digital delivery of music to teeny-tiny screens has dramatically-reduced the value/importance of good album art.

While I completely understand that sales of physical recorded music products have tanked since the introduction of electronically-delivered music, recent upticks in the sales of vinyl, band merchandise, etc., continues to illustrate the basic “analog” nature of the human animal. Given time to explore, discover and then own physical music recordings, people of all ages are, in increasing numbers, realizing that it requires a certain level of dedication to that search for great music (and the art that accompanies it) if you really want to find something that resonates. This is, of course, a simple way for me to remind you that although this year’s Record Store Day (April 22) is now behind us, you can still visit your local record retailer to take a look at all of the special items created to celebrate the day. You can see the latest offerings on the special RSD promo site – http://www.recordstoreday.com/

Hope you’ll take the time to find something you’ll love today and going forward. It’s there – you just have to dig a little.

i) Spoofing album cover images has always been the source of fun for artists, other musicians and fans of both, but of course it took creative types with web sites and Tumblr accounts to take the practice to the edge (and, often, over). Recently, I saw an article by Louise McCreesh on the Digital Spy site that dives a bit into the phenomenon, with a focus on a Tumblr called Cover For Me that challenges participants to recreate album cover images using available materials in 10 minutes or less.

http://www.digitalspy.com/music/news/a823847/people-recreating-album-covers-10-minutes-or-less/

As you might figure, some of the records chosen are quite obscure and some of the results are less-than-impressive but, in some instances, people show us flashes of brilliance. After you read the article, I’d invite you to visit the blog site and scroll down the submissions because, right before your very eyes, you’ll see some examples that’ll surely make you smile –  https://coverforme.tumblr.com/

My favorites are the ones done for records by Prodigy (fun with aluminum foil), DMX (fun with body paint) and FKA Twigs (fun with…whatever). Yours?

j ) As it seems that this week’s summary shows off my Chicago Pride, I’d like to end it by pointing you to an article on the Downers Grove (IL)-based Suburban Life site featuring a guy from Wheaton (also down in that direction) who has invented another way to frame your favorite album covers (and comic books, too) so that they can be displayed on the walls of your abode. According to the article, Bill Zeuch is on target to sell a million dollars of these things this year (and, at less than $10 each, that’s a lot of units), so click on over to find out what all the excitement’s about (and to watch Bill demo his product with slightly less enthusiasm than the typical TV pitch-person) – http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2017/03/15/wheaton-man-puts-comic-books-album-covers-in-new-light/amyd340/

Get more details on the company’s web site – http://www.comicmount.com/AlbumMount-AM001.htm

SPECIAL NOTE IN SUPPORT OF THE ARTS – I have always worked to make sure that my reporting was focused on the facts and not so much an expression of my own tastes, keeping my editorial comments mostly of the humorous variety. With today’s news regarding the new Administration’s proposed gutting of Arts and Humanities program funding from the federal budget, I find it necessary to appeal to everyone who understands the importance of these programs to both a well-rounded education for our kids and the livelihoods of those who use government grants to further their efforts to produce great art, music and writing for all of us and ask you to make sure to contact your local/state/federal representatives to implore them to maintain these investments in our country’s future.

Unless, of course, the plan is to hire all of these artists to paint the border wall and have musicians and poets perform on stages set up along the way but, somehow, I don’t think so…

To read more about what’s been proposed and how it will affect the targeted programs and the products they produce, click over to writer Caroline Elbaor’s recap on the Artnet site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/trump-proposes-eliminating-national-endowment-arts-893744

The arts advocacy group Americans For The Arts recently posted an informative article on the topic that should be a must-read by anyone looking to better-understand the basics of what these organizations do (i.e., the NEA, the NEH, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Americorps, among others) so you can come to your own conclusions regarding whether/how much public money should be reserved for their ongoing operations.

http://www.americansforthearts.org/by-program/reports-and-data/legislation-policy/legislative-issue-center/national-endowment-for-the-arts-funding-for-arts-agencies

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

All text Copyright 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.

Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the month of November, 2016

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

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

 

By Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s early December, 2016, and WOW! has a lot happened since we last communicated. Of course, the results of the U.S. elections early in the month have either demoralized or energized half the population here, with only the news of the Chicago Cubs breaking their 108-year World Series drought bringing everyone together in peace and harmony, if only for a short while…With all of the uncertainty remaining as to what’s in store for us here, you’d think that there’d have been a brief slow-down in the output of news relating to the art and music scenes but, no, creative people continue to do what comes naturally and, therefore, other people with related businesses and interests (galleries, publishers, collectors, etc.) continue to do what they do to share what they do with the rest of us. As you’ll find in this most-recent summary of news from the world of album cover artists and the wonderful products they’re creating for us fans and collectors of the genre, I believe that we’ll all find enough inspiration to see us through whatever comes our way.

This month’s summary, which includes the results of both our own activities here at the ACHOF and those of other experts in the world of music-related design, art and photography, will still provide you with sufficient proof that the people that make our favorite album imagery are working hard to contribute quite regularly to the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

Special Note – In case you missed the mid-November announcement of the people who were inducted into the Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, you can click on over to the special intro page on the ACHOF site where you’ll find the details. This year’s list of inductees in each of the six major categories will impress you with their range of talents and depth and breadth of their respective portfolios, so why not take a moment to review the details at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2016-inductee-intro-page/

Very exciting to see names such as Roberta Bayley, Brian Griffin, Dave McKean, Stan Evenson, Paul Whitehead, Laura Lipuma-Nash, Jeri & John Heiden, Vaughan Oliver and Roland Young included in this year’s list, but each inductee’s impressive list of accomplishments has served to entertain and impress us all, so let’s give them all a hand and kudos for jobs well done.

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

Once again, congratulations to all of this year’s inductees, and thanks for the contributions you’ve made to the careers of many of the music industry’s best-known and admired musical acts (and their fans, too).

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

a) Not exactly sure if this counts as an “exhibition” in the normal sense of the word…no, I have to say that it is not “normal”, but it will certainly be an exhibition, and a very punk one at that. On Saturday, November 26th, Joseph Corre, the son of two punk-era icons – designer Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, the creator/manager of the Sex Pistols and himself the man behind the Agent Provocateur lingerie line – celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of the Pistol’s record “Anarchy In The U.K.” by setting fire to a collection of punk-era memorabilia worth an estimated £5 million ($6.2 million) somewhere in Camden, U.K. and invites other like-minded individuals to add their trinkets to the bonfire.

Corre believes that this was the best way to draw attention to the degree that Britain has commercialized what was supposed to be the most anti-commercial movement, particularly as the country has spent all of 2016 staging some very commercial (and government-sponsored) celebrations of “the birth of punk’s” 40th anniversary. Whether you agree or disagree with the degree and style being put on display by this protest, you must admit that it serves as a wake-up call to those of us overtaken by complacency lately. As you’ll read in Hili Perlson’s article on the Artnet.com site – https://news.artnet.com/people/punk-memorabilia-to-burn-450458?

Joseph believes that “the most dangerous thing is that they have stopped fighting for what they believe in. They have given up the chase. We need to explode all the shit once more.”

UPDATE – To bring new meaning to the Holiday tradition of roasting things on open fires, punk scion/fashion industry heavyweight Joe Corre kept true to his word and, this past Saturday, set ablaze a valuable collection of punk memorabilia to protest the over-commercialization of all things and punk things in particular (“Come celebrate Punk’s 40th Anniversary”, the headlines read). In this just-posted BBC video of the event (held, quite appropriately, on a barge in the Thames River, ala a stunt staged by the Sex Pistols 40 years ago), you’ll watch as Corre briefly introduces the stunt and then uses a flaming torch to set ablaze items including clothing, posters, etc.. “Punk was never meant to be nostalgic”, he stated. No punks were harmed in the making of this video.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38120496

b) The Albany Institute of History & Art recently launched an exhibition featuring the work of rock photographer Patrick Harbron that will be of great interest to fans of classic rock imagery. The show, titled “Rock & Roll Icons: Photographs by Patrick Harbron” (and runs through February12, 2017) is built around the portfolio of the photo-journalist and portrait artist who has contributed his talents to album packages for acts including Black Sabbath, George Carlin, Bruce Cockburn, The Nylons, Rush, Triumph and everyone’s favorite Canadian talk show hosts, Bob & Doug McKenzie (The Great White North– “Take Off, You Hosers!”). In addition to a fine selection of photos, the show adds other items from Harbron’s personal memorabilia collection, including posters, magazines and tour souvenirs.

Read more about the show and the talent behind it via Michael Hallisey’s recent article on the topic on the web site of local (Albany, NY-area) news service “The Spotlight” – http://www.spotlightnews.com/thespot/2016/11/10/harbron-photos-of-rock-icons-at-the-albany-institute-of-history-art/ and then on the Gallery’s own site – http://www.albanyinstitute.org/rock-and-roll-icons.html

c) In November, the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor (Long Island), NY gave its customers a chance to see photographer Eric Meola’s display of a collection of previously-unseen photos taken during the June, 1975 shoot for one of Bruce Springsteen’s best-known album cover images – that for his mega-hit record Born To Run. Meola, who went on to become one of the world’s busiest shooters, has spent his time more-recently travelling around the country to photograph tornados (I guess that standing next to the late Clarence Clemons while he played his sax wasn’t loud enough for him!) and other scenes off the beaten path, but it was his photos of the emerging superstar taken to help package his then Magnum Opus that established the Long Island, NY resident as one of rock’s go-to photographers.

The Gallery in Sag Harbor was not too far from the place where Eric and his family have called their home for many years. An intro article about the show and the man whose photos are featured in this exhibition can be found on the Dan’s Papers site – http://www.danspapers.com/2016/11/eric-meolas-born-to-run-shares-unseen-bruce-springsteen-photographs/

More info about the show and the gallery can be found on their site at http://www.tullaboothgallery.com/index.shtml

d) Blondie founder/photographer Chris Stein’s photo show at the Gallerie Agnes MonPlaisir in Paris (“Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk”) closed after the weekend of November 13th, but if you’re in the area and are a fan of Stein’s band, his band mates (inc. singer Debbie Harry) and his amazing photos of other mega-stars of the era – Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, Andy Warhol and others, shot in classic venues including CBGBs and Warhol’s Factory in NYC or the Beverly Hills Hotel out West, be sure take a look a pix from the event on the gallery’s site – http://www.agnesmonplaisir.com/en/9-cs.html

e) In support of a new show now on display at the Society of Illustrators’ Gallery in NYC called “Drawn To The Music” – in which a slate of illustrators have created unique works of art based on lines from their favorite songs – the gallery held an Opening Reception during which visitors had the chance to see these wonderful examples of the way “music influences art influences music”. Illustrators have always played an important part in the world of music product packaging and promotion – from mega-works such as Klaus Voorman’s cover for Revolverfor The Beatles, Lee Conklin’s trick-of-the-eye “Lion” pen drawing found on Santana’s debut record and Al Hirschfeld’s one-of-a-kind portraits found on Aerosmith’s Draw The Lineto the lettering and background images found on countless other albums – so it’s fascinating to see how today’s illustrators use their talents to visualize  famous song lyrics…Society of Illustrators “Drawn To The Music” show – https://www.societyillustrators.org/exhibits/drawn-music

f) Ron English “Popaganda” pop-up art show at The Wood Shoppe ” (a “‘bodega’ of cannabis-themed pop art and images”) was on display in NYC through November 8th – see interview in Section 2, below, to read more about this influential and prolific artist…

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Rarely do you get a chance to see an album cover as it is being made and, in this amazing example of having a video camera on hand in the right place at the right time, fans of the band Radiohead can actually watch long-time band album artist Stanley Donwood paint the cover while the band is recording the record in the studio next door! Clicking on over to Gil Kaufman’s recent article on the comsite, you’ll be able to launch a video, taken late last year, where you can act as a “fly on the wall” in Donwood’s studio (in France) as he works while you hear singer Thom Yorke recording vocals to a track on their most-recent record – A Moon Shaped Pool– in the background.

I often ask album artists if they’re given the chance to hear the music before they begin work on a project (usually “yes”, often “no”) but here, in this case, inspiration comes right through the walls!

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7580291/radiohead-artist-stanley-donwood-a-moon-shaped-pool-video

b) 36 years ago (1980), U2 released their first record, simply titled Boy. In Europe, the record featured the photo of a very young, shirtless boy on the cover and, although the boy in question turned out to be the young son of one of Bono’s friends, record distributors in more-puritanical countries (yes, that means the U.S.) were “unhappy” with the image and demanded an alternative, which was put together by photographer/designer Sandy Porter and used up until 2008, when re-issues were able to use the original photo.

In this recent article by U2Songs.com contributors Aaron J. Sams and Don Morgan, you’ll read an interview they did with Porter about that project and how he created the new image as one of the first projects he worked on after his 1979 graduation from London’s Royal College of Art (rather an auspicious start to a career, wouldn’t you say?). Working with little time, no budget and not much in terms of source materials (sounds familiar, doesn’t it, fellow producers?), Porter and Island Records designer Bruno Tiley collaborated on what would turn out to be an important early image for a band set on super-stardom. What you’ll like about this article is that Porter dug into his archives to provide several fascinating images of works-in-progress and some of the alternative designs that were proposed prior to the final one being selected – fascinating, I think you’ll agree – http://www.u2songs.com/news/coverboy

c) New to the Modern Vinyl site and podcast is a feature built around album cover artist interviews conducted by artist Michael Paul Escanuelas titled “Missing Artwork”. The first interview posted is with artist Dewey Saunders about the very psychedelic cover image he created for Oxnard, CA-based recording artist Anderson.Paak’s 2016 release titled Malibu. Saunders has created several other trippy collages for other Paak records and has produced nice work for clients such as Traffic Skateboards and the Red Bull Music Academy, so this interview provides fans of album art/illustration a unique peek behind the scenes of an artist hard at work for his clients and their fans – http://modern-vinyl.com/2016/11/01/missing-artwork-s01e01-dewey-saunders-anderson-paak/

Interviewer Escanuelas’ own site shows a nice music packaging portfolio as well – http://cargocollective.com/michaelpaul

d) Boy, does this man know his pixels! Artist David Larkham, long an icon to fans of album cover artwork due to his memorable work for Elton John, Three Dog Night, Leo Sayer, Ambrosia and many others, continues to impress us with his newer works, such as the fine art portraits he’s created using a fascinating pixel-based technique he’s perfected. David just sent me a link to a video he’s created that shows him producing his latest work, a portrait that introduces us to the winner of the recent presidential election in the U.S. (well, at least in a parallel universe, thus giving us the title for the 3-minute “making of” film he’s produced that features the music of Late Show with Steven Colbert‘s house band, Jon Batiste & Stay Human).

Thanks, David, for sharing this and for your continued great work – https://youtu.be/F98rYAaUZ9A

e) When he’s not conducting and performing as part of the ensemble that provides the music for the Broadway production of the Disney musical “Aladdin“, Andy Grobengieser uses his artistic talents in a rather unusual -yet-impressive fashion – he creates Lego versions of some of his favorite album covers, musical acts, classic rock instrumentation and other Broadway productions. He’s rightly proud of his work and, as you’ll read in Stan Polanski’s article for the Effingham (IL) Daily Newsservice, he’s hoping that large numbers (at least 10,000) of people like his work enough to vote on the Lego site so that the company will consider adding Andy’s creations to their line of available project kits.

You’ll get a kick out of his cover recreations for bands including Boston, ELO and Journey (I was particularly fond of his Jeff Lynne Lego figure) along with his takes on electronic instruments (including the Moog synthesizer) and everyone’s favorite album art prism image. Read the EDN article first at http://www.effinghamdailynews.com/news/local_news/altamont-native-proves-legos-aren-t-just-for-kids/article_5010419f-e163-5df1-ba37-2fa78a3a2cc1.html and then click on over to Andy’s site at http://www.grobiebrix.com/ to see his full line of creations.

f) Over on the Thump/Vice site, writer Ali Gitlow treats us to profiles of ten graphic designers who have excelled at creating visuals for many of today’s most-successful electronic music artists – people who are often not well-represented in the mainstream music press but who have legions of fans in clubs all over the world. While early electronic musicians – Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Synergy and others – used album cover imagery to raise the visibility of their recorded music products in the days before the Internet, today’s designers are tasked with creating graphics for their clients’ many touch points with their fans – set designs, web sites, merchandise, videos and more – and so to learn more about these talented (young) creatives and see their work is quite the treat.

You’ll meet designers based in the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., Europe and Russia, each with their own unique take on how best to create just the right imagery for their popular clientele – https://thump.vice.com/en_us/article/graphic-designers-electronic-music-list

g) I had the opportunity last year to see a small gallery show that featured photographer Jerry Uelsmann’s fascinating (and, sometimes, disturbing) photo-montages, so when I saw this recent article on the Music Universe site about the composition that rocker Bon Jovi has included on the cover of their most-recent record – This House Is Not For Sale– I knew that I had to share it with you. Considered one of the pioneers in digital photo manipulation, Uelsmann was a professor at the University of Florida and has displayed his works in exhibitions and galleries all over the world. In addition, over 20 books have been published that include his work, so it is with particular pride that Floridian and Music Universewriter Buddy Iahn lauds the artist’s latest commission – http://themusicuniverse.com/bon-jovi-album-cover-is-work-of-florida-artist/

To see what Uelsmann is doing these days – and to see many more examples of his work (for which he won a Lucie Award For Achievement in Fine Art Photography in 2015) – I’d invite you to visit his web site at http://www.uelsmann.net/

h) The writing staff at teamrock.com recently posted an article on their site in which they talk to noted cover designer Aubrey Powell (of Hipgnosis fame) about “the making of” one of Pink Floyd’s best-known cover images – that for the band’s 1975 release titled Wish You Were Here, an image which showcased a handshake between two nicely-dressed men, one of whom happened to be on fire. According to the article, executives at the group’s label at the time (Harvest/Columbia) didn’t appreciate the liberal use of symbolism (no one likes “getting burned” by their partners), and so it’s interesting to hear from Powell about how the team managed to include a number of unusual elements in the record’s packaging, including their use of a black plastic wrapping which concealed the provocative cover…

http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-10-21/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-album-artwork-interview

i) World-renowned pop artist Ron English – who has a very nice portfolio of album cover images to his name, including work for The Dandy Warhols, Slash and Korn, among others – has used his talents to help illustrate just how crass, manipulative (but, ultimately, influential) ads for consumer products can be at times, so with his unique eye and mind set brought to task, we now have a chance to see how he thinks the world might look one year after the world has decriminalized cannabis products in a new show now on display in NYC. Writer Ben Adams, in a recent article for Merry Jane magazine, shares an interview he did recently with English about the new show during which he shares his take on the world of advertising, consumerism, info on some of his newer works and how album covers and posters can still be valuable additions to the arsenal of products that musical acts can enable to engage and communicate with their fans – https://www.merryjane.com/culture/ron-english-popaganda-popaganja-art-show-interview

j) Photography has always been an important part of how rap and hip-hop artists have both shared their creative visions with us and used those images to project whatever aspects of their personalities and life styles – whether real or imagined – the so chose to share, but the identities of many of the photographers who’ve been there to document these personalities and participate in their projects remain somewhat hidden. Artsy writer Demie Kim helps lift that veil of secrecy a bit with a new article featuring profiles on a dozen of the most-prolific shooters working in that genre since its earliest days, including Chi Modu, Michael Miller, Lisa Leone, Ricky Flores and Jonathan Mannion, among others – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-12-photographers-who-captured-hip-hop-from-old-school-to-the-90s

k) Jonathan Mannion shows up again in another recent posting on Hip-Hop album cover photography, this time in an article on the Bella Naija info/entertainment portal about a new show of his photos of artists including Jay-Z, Nikki Minaj, Drake and others in Lagos, Nigeria organized as part of Cognac-maker Hennessy’s art and music series called “Hennessy Artistry”. Learn more about the show, titled “Beyond The Music” with Jonathan Mannion – via the link at https://www.bellanaija.com/2016/10/hennessy-nigeria-presents-jonathan-mannion-the-legend-behind-hip-hop-album-covers/

https://www.hennessy.com/en-int/music/hennessy-artistry

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Now with all the ads for “Pre-Holiday Black Friday Extravaganza Super Sales” bombarding us, it’s nice to find an opportunity to find a unique product (or several) on offer from one of today’s better-known rock photographers. Ami Barwell’s portfolio of projects for acts including Motorhead, Foo Fighters, Iggy Pop, R.E.M., Paul Weller and The White Stripes (among many others) has given us fans many great portraits of our favorite musicians, so it’s great to see that she’s now going to offer several of her better-known images on a line of t-shirts that are available via her Etsy site – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ByAmiBarwell

Barwell’s photos have also graced the covers of music released by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Interpol, Bang Bang and The Cribs, so now you have a chance to add works by an accomplished shooter to your collection for a song (they make great gifts, too).

b) The Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction house’s soon-to-end Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction and, for fans of album art, there are several items you might want to take a look at. There are photos – both for the actual album covers and alt takes shot during the same sessions – as well as artwork, printer’s proofs and other related production items for albums by The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Little Feat, Lita Ford, Journey, Stevie Nicks, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zant. Of course, memorabilia collectors will also find 800+ items including costumes, instruments used on stage, lyric sheets, posters, gold record awards and much more, so hop on over to the company’s site to take a look and get ready for the final auction action that takes place December 2nd.

Take a look and, if you’re lucky, bring home a new addition to your collection this holiday season.

All album cover-related items –  http://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/catalog.aspx

Original Artwork – http://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html

c) Some pretty impressive sales results were posted during Heritage Auction’s Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction (as described in detail in earlier postings) which took place Saturday, November 12th in Dallas, TX both online and in person at their facilities. Examples of the items sold include:

– a “first state” mono Beatles “Butcher Cover” (the recalled cover to the band’s Yesterday & Today record) sold for $42,500, while a stereo version realized $8,125;

– a set of 12 color photos (including the negatives) taken on the set of The Beatles’ in performance for the film Hard Days Night was snapped up for $9,000;

– a promo stand-up for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers LP – featuring Mick Jagger – was sold for $3, 000;

– a 1976 EMI promo poster for the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The UK” was picked up by some lucky collector for $1,875

There were loads of other interesting items that found new homes, so if you’d like to scour through the listings, feel free to click on over to – http://www.ha.com/7154

d) Remember that auction at Sotheby’s in London I told you about recently that was built around portions of the late David Bowie’s personal art collection? Well, they held the first segment (one of two) yesterday (Nov. 10th) and – well, let’s put it this way…rich people still have money to spend! For the 49 lots offered for sale – which included works by Warhol, Basquiat, Duchamp and others – the auction house raised over $30 million, well over twice the pre-auction estimates. Then on Friday the 11th, they held the auction for the remaining lots (with a focus on a collection of works of the “eccentric” Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Milan-based Memphis group) which, until now, looked to bring in another $3-5 million to the estate’s coffers. I had thought that it’d go a bit beyond that (wouldn’t you agree) but, in reality, the entire collection raised just under 1.4 million GB pounds, or approx. $1.75 million You can read more about that night’s details on the comsite in reporter Colin Gleadell’s summary of events, via the link – https://news.artnet.com/market/744056-744056? Two key items from the collection – Bowie’s Giacomo/Castiglioni record player and a lipstick-red “Valentine” typewriter – sold for big money, with the stereo going for £257,000 and the typewriter fetching £47,500.

There had been opportunities to look through examples of the items that were put up for auction during shows that have been staged in venues in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, New York and London over the past year, but collectors at the London event had the unique opportunity to preview the entirety of what was be put up for sale (over 400 items!) at the Sotheby’s location in London, with an overview to this display provided to us by Artsy‘s Lorena Munoz-Alonso in this recent posting on their site – https://news.artnet.com/market/memphis-bowie-collector-sale-sothebys-london-730169?

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Photographer Michael Zagaris has taken some of the best-known photo portraits of rock’s royalty – the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed & The Velvet Underground, Eric Clapton, Blondie, The Clash and so many others who found their way to the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970’s – and since he approached his subjects as a fan (rather than a paid shooter) most of the time, he was able to capture them in ways that more formal photo sessions would not have been able to. It also produced a large archive of unused photos which, until now, have mostly remained unseen, but Zagaris and the folks at Reel Art Press have worked hard to rectify that situation and recently released an anthology of his work called TOTAL EXCESS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL ZAGARIS.

The books 272 pages include hundreds of shots of stars in performance, behind the scenes and just mugging for the camera, capturing many of them early on in their careers. Fans of the ever-changing popular music scenes of the 70s and 80s will find a lot to love here. Zagaris, who started his career as a law student working for Robert Kennedy, took up photography to help him recover from the shock of Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 and soon after began covering the awe-inspiring local music/cultural scenes, which The Guardian‘s Charlotte DeFazio provides more details about in her recent profile on the man behind the camera – https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/nov/07/rock-photographer-michael-zagaris-the-who-rolling-stones

Read more about the book on the publisher’s web site at http://www.reelartpress.com/catalog/edition/91/total-excess-photographs-by-michael-zagaris

b) While the late Swiss artist H.R. Giger may perhaps be better-known to the art world for his contributions to the movie business – after all, he did come up with the Oscar-winning surreal designs for James Cameron’s 1979 and 1986 sci-fi classics Alienand Aliens(who can forget the uber-scary Xenomorph creature and the doomed cargo ship?) – music fans have always been most-impressed with Giger’s fantastic cover images for classic rock records including Emerson Lake & Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery and Debbie Harry’s solo effort titled Koo Koo.

To honor the painter/sculptor/set designer’s amazing portfolio of work, the folks at Taschen Books have just released a new book for collectors (simply titled H.R. Giger) that includes 400 “SUMO-sized” (15″ x 20″) pages that detail his paintings, sculptures, record covers and designs for films, the stage and his own unique take on architecture and design. The limited-release tome has been produced in an edition of only 1000 copies and includes scholarly essays, a number of multi-page spreads, examples of the artist’s own writings and much more. Priced at $900 per copy, the book is available now via Taschen’s web site – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/art/all/06390/facts.hr_giger.htm where you will also find details on the two additional “Art Editions” of the book that are also available – a $2000 edition of 100 pieces that is signed by Carmen Giger (the artist’s second wife and director of the Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland) and is packaged with Untitled, “a ready-to-hang relief cast from an original polyester sculpture created by Giger in 1964” and a 100-piece package priced at $3000 which adds a copy of a 1965 photogravure titled Gebärmaschine (Second state).

Make this book your lucky star…”You…lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky…”

c) Publisher United Editions has released a new limited edition compendium of designs made for punk and post-punk record releases called Action Time Vision: Punk & Post-Punk 7″ Record Sleeves which, according to the publisher, “is a celebration of DIY graphics… all have an urgency and an exhilarating disregard for design conventions that makes them exceptional. They are all clarion calls for independence and freedom from pop industry norms.” Examples of these works were in the collections of Unit Edition’s founder Tony Brook and scholar Russ Bestley, and the book also includes interviews with luminaries and experts in the field, an example of which is designer Malcolm Garrett, whose covers for the Buzzcocks, Simple Minds, Duran Duran and others helped usher in the use of computers and other DIY tools to create memorable images for music industry clients going forward. Creative Reviewwriter Mark Sinclair caught up with Garrett to discuss both his role in the development of this still-impactful aesthetic and, in particular, how his collaborations with the Buzzcocks moved him along the path to a new visual language for the punk era – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/action-time-vision-malcolm-garrett-buzzcocks/

You can take a closer look at the book on the publisher’s web site at https://uniteditions.com/

d) Wilfred Limonious might not be well-known to rock music fans here in the U.S., but to fans of album art – particularly to fans of Jamaican dancehall music – his illustrations are legendary and continue to influence many in the world’s design community. To document his work, author and Edmonton (AB, Canada) library technician Christopher Bateman undertook a lengthy world-wide search (including multiple trips to Jamaica) to collect hundreds of examples of work and the details behind them, ultimately publishing the results in a new 272 page hardcover book (published by One Love Books) titledIn Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred LimoniousEdmonton Journal reporter Fish Griwkowsky talked to Bateman just prior to his book launch event this week and shared the details in an article –  http://edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/books/edmonton-author-pays-tribute-to-legendary-jamaican-artist-limonious

e) Continuing on my reporting of new punk-era-themed books coming to market (you’ll recall my earlier report on United Editions’ new book on punk/post-punk 7″ single sleeves), I found a recent report on the Creative Review(U.K.) site about publisher Phaidon’s recent book built around the archives of collector/punk era historian (and one of the designers who founded the London-based artist collective called the Grey Organisation) Toby Mott called Oh So Pretty – Punk in Print 1976-80 that I want to point you to. With a collection of over 1000 items to select from (posters, flyers, ‘zines, album covers, etc.), the book’s 512 pages include over 500 photos/illustrations that, according to the publisher, reflect “a DIY spirit and instantly recognizable aesthetic that was as raw and strident and irrepressible as the music. As disposable as the items in this book once were, together they tell a story about music, history, class, and art, and document a seismic shift in society and visual culture.”

Read more about the book in Mark Sinclair’s article at Punk book – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/oh-pretty-punk-print-1976-80/

and you’ll find additional details on the Phaidon site at http://www.phaidon.com/store/fashion-culture/oh-so-pretty-punk-in-print-1976-1980-9780714872759/

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Voting has begun for this year’s “Best Art Vinyl” competition, staged by frame-maker and lover of all records packaged in 12″ square sleeves, the U.K.’s Art Vinyl. Visitors to the site (http://www.artvinyl.com/LP-records-displayed-as-artwork-prize/) can view the 50 nominated album cover images and then select three to put your support behind during the voting period which lasts from now until early January, with the results being posted on January 5th.

Fans in Italy and the U.K. also can look at the covers in person at two exhibits currently on display – one at the Semm Music Store in Bologna, Italy and the other at London’s Vinyl Cafe (Kings Cross), with the winners being announced in an event at the Hari Hotel in the Belgravia section of London on January 5th.

The team at the Creative Review site have put together a nice overview of the competition for your perusal prior to voting – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/art-vinyls-record-sleeves-year-2016/

and then, when you’re ready, you can head on over to the voting page to add your input – http://www.artvinyl.com/best-record-cover-design-competition/

May the best designs win – stay tuned for more details.

b) Film-maker Adam McDaniel has launched his fund-raising campaign on the IndieGogo site for the film he’s working on about the career of the late great illustrator Richard Amsel.

One perk available to supporters provides a double-dose of album art talent – Art Director Mike Salisbury, who worked with Amsel on promo art/materials for films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Dark Crystal (and who, like Amsel, also created an impressive collection of album cover images), has donated two signed copies of his now-out-of-print book An Art Director Confesses: I Sold Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll to the campaign, each available to collectors in return for a $150 donation.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/amsel-illustrator-of-the-lost-art-movie#/

c) Boulder, Colorado-based specialty vinyl publisher/record club Vinyl Me Please has impressed collectors with their dedication to special packaging, delivering music by both established (Beck, Black Sabbath, Fugees, Weezer and others) and “emerging” (The Books, Nils Frahm, Glass Animals, etc.) in packages that include colored vinyl, unique album imagery, posters, stickers, etc. – a much more-fulfilling retail packages for fans of the acts featured each month.

Another Vice-related site called The Creator’s Project recently posted an article written by Beckett Mufson about how VMP artists have reworked ten classic album images to create something new and exciting for the club’s subscribers. The new covers for Sabbath’s Paranoid and Beck’s Odelay certainly are eye-catching, but it’s up to you to decide which ones best-represent the music packaged inside…

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/10-classic-album-covers-get-modern-illustration

d) The Beatles’  Sgt. Pepper’s record features what is perhaps (if you believe the polls – is that a wise thing to do these days?) the best-known and loved album cover image in rock music history. The assemblage created by Sir Peter Blake, Jann Haworth, Michael Cooper and art director Robert Fraser featured life-size cardboard cut-outs, wax figures and other props, with the band and many famous/infamous people included in the mix. Over the years, this image has been spoofed, recreated and bastardized for a variety of different purposes, so it is not surprising to see another like the one featured in this ITV News article. However, this one – created by Twitter user christhebarker – is particularly poignant as it includes images of the many celebrities – including musicians such as David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen (talk about up-to-the-minute) and others well-known around the world (it even includes a bright red “Make America Great Again” cap in the foreground).

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-11-11/touching-tribute-to-celebrities-lost-in-2016-using-sergeant-pepper-album-cover/

To see the larger version posted on the artist’s site, follow this link – http://www2.b3ta.com/host/creative/4270/1478856455/2016lc.jpg

Bonus content – If you’re like me, you thought that 2016 was a pretty horrible year overall (for a variety of reasons). If you’d like to tell the year to “Kiss Off” in a slightly more vulgar fashion, here’s a link to a video that comedian/social commentator John Oliver created that features appropriate send-offs supplied by celebrities and us “normal” (i.e., depressed) people, too – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ6WPo-oW5Q

e) I’m very excited to be able to share some preliminary details with you regarding designer Lawrence Azerrad’s newest project with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) that, based on my first read, should be of interest to anyone actively involved in the design community (either as an artist/illustrator, branding/marketing executive, packaging designer, etc.) and, in particular, those who focus on the intersection of the worlds of art/design and music.

Boing Boing‘s David Peskovitz recently posted an intro article on the project –https://boingboing.net/2016/11/04/design-and-the-future-of-the-m.html in which Azerrad relates why he believes that, in today’s much-more-passive music world, people are missing out on many of the aspects – particularly the visual ones – that used to draw fans closer to the musical acts they admired, so he hopes that, with this initiative, designers can work to re-establish these ties. This also has the nice side-effect of keeping more of those working in the visual communications field employed and busy with music industry-related projects… Read more about the project in an aptly-titled article (“The Design + Music Industries are BFFs—They Just Don’t Know it Yet”) you’ll find on the AIGA site – https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/the-vital-links-between-the-design-music-industries-how-can-they-enhance-one-another/

I’ll be sure to share more as I learn more about this exciting new initiative.

f) You’ve seen examples of “sleeve-facing” before here in our news summary, but this is the first time I’ve seen one brought to life and, in this case, it was done in support of the efforts of a classic rock radio station, so it’s all the more appealing (at least to me). If you click on over to this article by David Kiefaber on AdWeek’s “Adfreak” feature page, you’ll find more info and a link to a video created by Vancouver (Canada) ad group Spring for their client, local classic rock station Rock 101to promote it’s morning oldies show where staffers lip-synch to song clips from the Rolling Stones, Bowie, Loverboy and others all while having a portion of their faces/bodies covered by a classic album cover image.

Nicely done, and proving, once again, the long-lasting connection between time-honored music and the sleeves they’re packaged in – http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/radio-station-made-fun-clever-use-album-covers-ad-its-morning-show-174094

g) While singer/actor Jarrod Spector has garnered a good reputation for his own musicality via his featured roles in the Broadway musical hits Jersey Boys and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, if given the opportunity to star in a new musical featuring the songs of his own favorite musical act, without hesitation he’d star in one – if it existed – that was based on the music of Bruce Springsteen. Raised in the Philadelphia, PA area, Spector has been a fan of The Boss and his music for as long as he can remember, and so when Playbill Magazine photographer Monica Simoes approached him to work on re-creating several of Springsteen’s best-known album covers, he was only too happy to oblige (in fact, he includes his own version of “Born To Run” in his cabaret act). Playbill writer Mark Ezovski talks to Jarrod about his career and Bruce fandom in this article – complete with photos and performance video – for the Playbill web site –  http://www.playbill.com/article/exclusive-jarrod-spector-covers-bruce-springsteen-and-recreates-iconic-album-covers

R.I.P. I’d like to note the passing of Al Brodax this past week at the age of 90. For those of us growing up in the 1960’s, Mr. Brodax delivered a couple of examples of what would turn out to be very-influential cartoon animation while at King Features Syndicate – the Saturday Morning Cartoon Beatles series (beginning in 1965) and then, in 1968, working with a meager budget and very little help from the band, produced a psychedelic film (directed by George Dunning, art-directed by Hanz Edelmann and featuring art/animation by a large crew that included Ron Campbell, Paul Driessen, Dianne Jackson and Heavy Metal director Gerald Potterton, among others) for the ages – Yellow Submarine.  You can read Brodax’s William Grimes-penned obit in the NY Times via the link – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/movies/al-brodax-who-steered-the-beatles-yellow-submarine-to-the-screen-dies-at-90.html?

He’s a REAL Nowhere Man, now, but will forever hold a place in this young (now old) Beatles fan’s heart.

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

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Interview with David Larkham – Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album cover

Interview with David Larkham – The making of the album cover artwork for Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

David Larkham, Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, album cover, album cover art, record sleeve, Ian Beck, interview, Mike Goldstein, Album Cover Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Mike Goldstein, curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

April 18, 2014

Like great music, great art always stands the test of time.

Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road came as the result of several short-but-very-productive song-writing/recording efforts by Elton, Bernie Taupin, his bandmates and his producer and, although the record received rather lukewarm reviews from some critics at the time, it went on to be Elton’s best-selling studio recording, from which emerged his much-beloved show opening sequence (“Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”), three huge hit singles (“Bennie & The Jets”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” and the title cut) and a song (“Candle In The Wind”) – originally written in honor of Marilyn Monroe and re-written in 1997 as a tribute to the passing of Princess Diana – that then became the second best-selling single of all time. His seventh studio record, it was undeniably the record that launched Mr. John into the Pop music stratosphere.  So much for the critics and their ability to appreciate a work’s overall importance in both the portfolio of an influential artist and the ongoing development of the Pop music genre.

No such difficulty exists when considering the enduring impact of David Larkham‘s designs for Elton John throughout the years. The original package for this double album – and its 3-panel design – was also, in itself, quite unique and memorable. With that much album real estate to fill, it was an extraordinary feat accomplished by the album cover team who delivered six panels of impressive design, illustration, photography and typography, featuring individual illustrations for each song included on the record as well as the lyrics which, at least for me, made the listening experience all the more enjoyable (and dependent on having the album cover close at hand).

David Larkham, Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, album cover, album cover art, record sleeve, Ian Beck, interview, Mike Goldstein, Album Cover Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 40th Anniversary Set

Late 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘s release and, in March, 2014, an imposing 40th anniversary “super deluxe re-release” package was produced containing five discs (two of which were of a particularly well-performed 1973 concert played in London’s Hammersmith Odeon and another containing covers of GYBR songs by a number of current musical faves) and a DVD of a documentary titled Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other Things. The set also included a 100-page illustrated hardback book of rare photos, memorabilia and articles containing interviews with Elton John and Bernie Taupin. I caught up with Mr. Larkham in late February of this year and have worked with him since to bring ACHOF fans an updated, behind-the-scenes look at how this remarkable album package was conceived and assembled by a team of highly-talented artists, working with a client who was about to become the biggest pop star in the world….

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