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Album Cover News Summary For August, 2016

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

It’s the beginning of September, 2016, with Labor Day upon us, marking the “official” end of this year’s Summer season. If you’re done packing your kids off to school and find yourself with a little extra “me-time” during the day, I’d like to propose that you spend a little time catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find nicely-summarized in my weekly and monthly recaps.

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format I launched several months back – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to make news with their ongoing contributions to the field of album art/packaging, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

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

a) Launching September 1st at the San Pedro (CA) First Thursday Art Walk is an exhibition at the huZ Gallery featuring a selection of the photo portraits taken over the past 40+ years by photographer Peter Figen, a man who has produced stunning promo images of top talent including George Harrison, Bonnie Raitt, Doc Watson, Townes Van Zandt along with album package photos for David Grisman, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Hillman, Carl Verheyen and many others. With a career that was jump-started while shooting at an early 1970s Hot Rise show in California and being spotted by the art director for Frets Magazine, who asked him to submit his shots after the show, Figen has used his passion for folk/roots music to create confidence in his abilities as a photographer in his well-known subjects, with the results now on display during this gallery show. Writer Kathy Leonardo posted this profile on the artist recently on the Huffington Post site – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-leonardo-/music-and-photography-sha_b_11298832.html – while those interested in seeing and learning more about this new print collection can click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.huzgalleries.com/ . The gallery has also teased visitors with the fact that they’ll also be unveiling several new photo prints of a ready-to-be-discovered young musician named Elvis Presley taken by an Air Force photographer during a performance in Lubbock, TX in 1955…

b) Running now through September 10th at the Gabba Gallery on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood is a show featuring over 80 real and not-so-real album cover works created by a whole host of well-known and soon-to-be-well-known artists that’s called Cratedigger: The Lost Art of Album Cover Art. According to the gallery’s press, the exhibition “celebrates one of the twentieth century’s most influential art forms – the record sleeve cover. Curated by (gallery owner and accomplished artist in his own right) Jason Ostro, the exhibition showcases the work of 85 local and international artists. Each artist has imagined a cover design for a real or fictional album. Just like classic record covers, every piece in the show is 12” x 12”…

The gallery also shows music-related works by artists including Joey Feldman, Jules Muck and photographer Jeff Kravitz, so there will surely be a lot to take in during your visit. More info on the album art show is available on the gallery’s site – http://www.gabbagallery.com/cratedigger

c) Photographer Gerald Fearnley cemented his place in rock and roll album art history with the shot he provided for the cover of David Bowie’s debut record, but the folks at the Snap Gallery in London didn’t stop with just that image when they organized a show built around a recently-unearth cache of ’66 – ’67-era photos of the soon-to-be-recognized creative force that was Mr. Bowie. Fearnley was introduced early on to Bowie through his brother, bassist Derek Fearnley, who played in Bowie’s early backing band The Buzz, and used that access to arrange for a series of photo shoots that produced what looks to be a fascinating collection for fans of the era’s music and fashion. You can read an intro on the show – which runs through September 24th – via Tom Pinnock’s quicky posting on the Uncut site – http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/david-bowie-exhibition-feature-unpublished-photographs-86903 and get further details directly from the Gallery via this link – https://www.snapgalleries.com/exhibitions/bowie-photographs-by-gerald-fearnley/

d) The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, TX is where you’ll find a major collection of photos of rock’s best-known female stars taken by shooter (that takes on a new meaning in TX, no?) Anastasia Pantsios, an artist who’s been busy taking great photos for rock music clients including AC/DC, Journey, Eric Clapton, Michael Stanley and many others over the past 40+ years. Titled ” “Girls on Film, 40 Years of Women in Rock”, the show was originally organized several years ago and has been updated to include both some of Pantsios’s earliest works (e.g., Grace Slick with Jefferson Airplane in 1969, Deborah Harry in Blondie and mid-70s Patti Smith) and later examples including Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado and Shirley Manson of Garbage. While no longer working with clients in the music business (what, you want to get PAID to do your work?), Anastasia can look back proudly on her contributions to several Cleveland, OH-area publications including The Plain Dealer (where she also contributed as a writer) and alt weeklies including The Free Times and Cleveland Scene. More info on this show, running now through September 11th, via this article on the LubbockOnline.com site – http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2016-07-30/kerns-buddy-holly-center-displays-photo-exhibit-influential-women-rock#

e) What a combination – a prime collection of wonderful paintings and prints of worlds beyond our own put on display in a museum located on a mystical island! From now until the 19th of November, visitors to the Manx Museum – a National Heritage organization on the U.K.’s Isle of Man – can tour a collection of works by the impressively-talented Roger Dean, best-known to album cover art fans for his contributions to the visuals for bands including YES, Uriah Heep, Asia, Osibisa and many others.

With a portfolio that includes not only album cover imagery but (both alone and working with his talented brother Martyn) stage designs, architecture, calendars and a wide variety of merchandise, Dean’s work continues to impress and astound fans with its ability to take you to the farthest reaches of your imagination. You’ll find works in many media, including several models of designs he’s done for living spaces you can only dream you’d be able to live in. An article on the Isle of Man web site provides an intro – http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/80357/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean  while additional details are available on the museum’s site – http://www.manxnationalheritage.im/whats-on/detail/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean/

f) Since the time of the Woodstock Festival at the end of the 1960s, the exhibition of fine art with music has gone hand in hand, with everyone from poster/merch designers, painters, fabric artists and many other disciplines plying their wares and providing the visual backdrop for attendees at these festivals. One of the latest examples of this was on display recently during the Panorama festival held on Randall’s Island in New York City (as seen via the AFP-penned article that appeared on the ArtDaily.com site – http://artdaily.com/news/88984/For-New-York-s-new-festival–an-immersion-in-art).

Organized by the same team that puts on the popular Coachella festival (i.e., Goldenvoice), the festival features an area called The Lab which, according to the promoters, is an “interactive experience which features installations that combine technology, artistry, and design, created exclusively by New York-based artists for display only at PANORAMA.” Inside The Lab is “The Dome”, which is a huge dome that accommodates up to 400 people at a time and provides a 3D Virtual Reality display using music, animation and other forms of “immersive media”. The works of 11 studios combined to make this experience a fun and fascinating one, providing festival-goers with a place to take a break from the performances by acts including the Alabama Shakes, Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem and the act which has produced a number of very interesting album covers the past couple of years, FKA Twigs.

g) Friend of ACHOF Emily Smeaton of the UK’s Hypergallery was kind enough to share the details of an upcoming event that should be of great interest to anyone interested in both seeing a superb collection of album art prints and hearing from two of the most-respected designers in the field. Beginning on September 26th in lovely Henly-On-Thames outside of London, our chums at Hypergallery will host a pop-up exhibition called “The Art of the Album Cover” that will feature ” prints by Literary Festival speakers, from the days when all music was vinyl, and album covers became an art form of their own.” On the last day of the event – Sunday, October 2nd, at 5pm local time, in the Town Hall venue – two of rock music’s design greats – Aubrey (Po) Powell, the co-founder of the celebrated design studio Hipgnosis (best known for their covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel/Genesis and many others, and author of a book on his studio’s work titled Hipgnosis Portraits) will be joined by Richard Evans (who, in addition to his many well-known album art credits both with the team at Hipgnosis and on his own, was author of The Art of the Album Cover book) where, according to Emily’s note, “the two artists will be sharing anecdotes from the time they spent at the epicenter of the rock and roll tornado of the late 1960s and 1970s.” After the event, Hypergallery will host a book signing and exhibition of the authors’ design work in their print room, just across from the Town Hall. You’ll be able to meet the authors, have a drink or two and view the great collection of works that will be on hand.

Advanced tickets for the event are now on sale via the link – http://tiny.cc/hlf_artofthealbum  and you can visit the gallery’s site at https://www.hypergallery.com/event_hlf/  for more details. Of course, I will work to get hold of any photos, transcripts or videos that emerge from this event, so stay tuned. I am, of course, immediately jealous of anyone who’ll be able to attend this event…

h) Having just celebrated his 75th birthday (Happy Birthday, John!), graphic design superstar John Van Hamersveld marked the occasion with the launch of a new exhibition (running now thru October 16th, at the Manhattan Beach Art Center in Manhattan Beach, CA) titled Contemporary Post Future! The Dichotomy of Design and Art – John Van Hamersveld which, according to the gallery’s PR, ” presents past and present artworks where John Van Hamersveld explores the connection between art, design and commerce.” The centerpiece of the display is a 47-panel modular black and creme-colored collage/mural JVH created that surrounds the building with his talents. Inside, two galleries showcase a number of examples of both his commercial design work and his striking and imaginative fine art designs, so if you’re in the area or need a destination for an art-filled excursion, I’d suggest a trip on over to see this show, with details available via the link at http://www.citymb.info/city-officials/parks-and-recreation/cultural-arts/exhibition/creative-arts-center-exhibitions#ad-image-1

i) Just as a tease, the folks at the V&A Museum in the U.K. just announced that they’re going to stage a new exhibition beginning in May 13th, 2017 built around the imagery of one of Britain’s most-valuable exports – that being the rock band Pink Floyd. According to the press (as exemplified in this BBC Entertainment & Arts section article recently published – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-372284960 ) the show – to be titled “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains” – promises to offer “an immersive, multi-sensory and theatrical journey through Pink Floyd’s extraordinary world which will chronicle the music, iconic visuals and staging of the band, from the underground psychedelic scene in 1960s London to the present day”. With over 350 examples of Floyd-related visual imagery, including a whole host of album cover artwork created over the years by Storm, Po and the team at Hipgnosis, there will certainly be a lot to take in. Advance tickets are now on sale on the Museum’s website at https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/pink-floyd

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) When a long-time fan of a musical act – in this case, South Carolina-based artist Dave Beard – has the opportunity to provide design services for that act – in this case, the Beach Boys – great joy ensues, as is evidenced by this recent article by Andrew Stark for the Fort Mill Times (as shared with the HeraldOnline.com site). The article tracks Beard’s path from fan to fanzine editor/designer to Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) design cohort to a 2014 commission by the Beach Boys to create what Beach Boy Mike Love called “In the 54 years of touring and (a) multitude of concerts and concert programs, the new Beach Boys’ 2015 Official Tour Program is far and away the best I’ve ever seen.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to learn more about this story? Don’t worry, baby – here’s the link – http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article91728932.html

b) Fine artist Filipe Molina has been showing his works in top-notch galleries throughout his career, but when he was contacted by the folks at Capitol Records in 2014 to come up with artwork for the Counting Crow’s then-upcoming record titled Going Under Wonderland, he saw it as an opportunity to be able to share his work with potentially millions of the band’s fans and proposed that he create a unique work for each song on the album, greatly multiplying the “collection” each record’s owner would acquire. He then went on to create a really nicely-done multi-media light show that the band used during their 2015 World Tour. As I’m working on adding Molina’s bio to the ACHOF site, Felipe shared a link to a 25 minute video on YouTube that gives you an overview to the artist and the wonderful images he created for this record package – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz-Gj33Kg0g

To see more of the artist’s works, you can also visit his website at http://www.molinaart.com. Once there, you’ll find more about some of his other projects, including a “Wine Art Music” project (inc. custom labels for proprietary blends released by Standing Sun Winery) and The Outlaw Roadshows (indie rock music festival staged in Nashville and NYC) where Felipe both exhibits his artwork and is one of the event’s five producers.

c) Fascinating article by writer Anna Buksowicz for the British Journal of Photography on art director Samuel Burgess-Johnson that focuses on his most-recent work for the latest record by The 1975, with neon signs placed in unusual locations that are used to illustrate each of the album’s 10 song titles. It’s certainly a testament to the value of a proper budget for stunning album cover work, but I wonder if they paid whoever was hired to come up with the record’s title by the word – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.

Burgess-Johnson also spends a fair amount of time sharing his feelings about what makes for a good album cover and why it’s still an important part of any new record release, so if you’d like to read more of the insights of one of the busier art directors working in the music business these days, click on over to http://www.bjp-online.com/2016/08/how-samuel-burgess-johnson-snapshots-music-through-art-direction/

d) I’ve written previously about the mega-exhibition (“Exhibitionism“) currently in London featuring a heaping helping of Rolling Stones art, photography, music and memorabilia, but fans of notable album cover imagery are in for a treat if you bop on over to this interview article posted on the Clash Music site featuring the wonderfully-talented photographer Gered Mankowitz, someone with several shots included in the show, including his cover photo for Between The Buttons and a portrait of the band’s metronome, drummer Charlie Watts.

While the interview provides an in-depth look at Gered’s relationship with the band, their management/record label and then touches on his other well-known subjects, including Jimi Hendrix (the iconic “Smoking” shot) and newer acts such as Oasis, Mankowitz does go on record with the lament that the first album package image he took of the band – the artsy alleyway shot used on their Out of Our Heads record back in 1965 – was NOT included in the show. “This will be the last time” (or, based on the total control the band has over its image, maybe not)….  http://www.clashmusic.com/features/gered-mankowitz-shooting-the-stones

e) While most album artist profile articles are cobbled together by writers (such as yours truly) asking the subject questions about themselves and their work, today I’d like to point you to one that presents an artist profile that’s been provided by one of the (late) artist’s better-known clients, by whom I mean guitarist Steve Miller, sharing his recollections of working with the famed art director/photographer Storm Thorgerson. One of Storm’s last record cover commissions was for Miller’s 2010 release titled Bingo, with the photo impressing Austin Chronicle writer Raoul Hernandez so greatly that he tracked down Mr. Miller to get his take on the collaboration with Thorgerson that produced such a memorable image.

Armed with a list of what he needed (logo, cover and a new take on a “Space Cowboy” image) and a rather nice budget for these elements, Miller got all he wanted and more and was left with what I’m sure you’ll agree was a long-lasting impression of what it was like to work with a talent such as Storm, even late in his career and having faced a stroke and cancer as obstacles. Really quite the talent…

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/music/2016-07-29/adult-play-storm-thorgerson-by-steve-miller/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) The folks at the WA-based Visual Gallery have announced a sale on a select grouping of limited-edition album art prints that I thought you might want to check out. You’ll find promo pricing on prints including Cream’s Disraeli Gears (a Martin Sharp masterpiece), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, a Charlie Watts-signed Bridges To Babylon print and others. They’re also offering some nice deals on posters by Ioannis, Bob Masse and others, so click on over to see what’s on sale before it’s too late – http://www.visualgallery.com/

b) Works by the late artist Frank Frazetta have fed the fantasies of many a young science fiction/adventure fan as well as musical acts including Molly Hatchett, Nazareth, Yngwie Malmsteen and Wolfmother (who chose to use Frazetta paintings on the covers of several of their record albums), so it was interesting and exciting to see that one of the artist’s best-known paintings – titled At The Earth’s Core and used on the cover of the 1978 paperback release for famed writer Edgar Rice Burrough’s first Pellucidar novel – sell for over a million dollars during a recent Heritage Auction event in Dallas, TX (the actual selling price was $1.075 million, the most ever paid for a Frazetta work). You can click on over to this recent article on the Fine Books & Collections Magazine site in which the details are shared about both this impressive purchase, along with other big-ticket illustration art items that found new homes post-auction – https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/press/2016/08/world-record-for-frank-frazettas-painting-used-as-paperback-cover-art.phtml

c) Kanye West‘s design company – DONDA Design – pulled out all of the stops when they created an animatronic sculpture featuring 12 of the era’s most-recognized celebrities lying naked in a large bed, a prop then used in one of the musician’s latest music videos. Now, Mr. West has entrusted the Los Angeles-based gallery Blum & Poe to find a collector who’d be willing to spend $4 million to take the sculpture – complete with platform bed, bed linens and batteries – home for their very own. Made from silicon (a substance most-widely used for other purposes in today’s entertainment business), the work shows life-like models of Pop Culture icons such as Taylor Swift, Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Bill Cosby and others all asleep, lying alongside West and two of his family members – wife Kim and Caitlyn Jenner. The gallery held a brief showing recently and is actively seeking a buyer among its contact list of well-heeled collectors and museums, so we’ll keep an eye out to see if/when/where it lands. For more details on the work, you can read NY Times writer Adam Popescu’s late-breaking story via the link – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/01/arts/design/gallery-hopes-to-sell-kanye-wests-famous-sculpture-for-4-million.html? or see more on the gallery’s site at http://www.blumandpoe.com/exhibitions/kanye-west

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) If you were impressed with the 50+ “variant covers” that Marvel produced last year which were creatively-reworked versions of well-known examples of hip-hop album cover art, you’ll be happy to read the details of a new series scheduled for this year, with the details provided to us in an article by Fuse‘s Zach Dione. Characters who’ll be featured in the first of this new series include Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Mosaic, built around designs originally found on records by King Mez, Infinite Mind War and Earl Sweatshirt. Keep ’em coming, folks!

http://www.fuse.tv/2016/07/marvel-hip-hop-variant-comic-book-covers-second-wave

b) While I’ve been working hard gathering and organizing the materials for my own book, I look on with great envy as author Ramon Martos Garcia shares the details of his latest release – a thoroughly-revised edition of his critically-acclaimed book on Heavy Metal album art/artists that’s titled And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers (Vol.2). The book, in a signed, limited-edition release (only 270 copies will be produced), is now available for pre-order ($39.99 plus shipping), with shipping set to commence next week.

According to the author, ” This new revised edition has many, many changes—some of them more significant than others, but equally important. Although the new book has the same number of pages (264) and a similar layout, I added a few new images that weren’t available at the time I published the first edition and exchanged some artworks for similar ones with much better quality.

Some parts of the text have also changed, in some cases dramatically. It’s not something you will notice at first sight, but once you go deeper, there are things that are unequivocally different. There are also new comments or interviews with bands and artists I interviewed after the first edition came out. Also, the color reproduction is richer and closer to how the original artworks look like. It took a lot of time and effort.”

If you, like me, are a fan of the many styles of art found on your favorite metal music recordings and you haven’t seen this book before, I’d suggest visiting the publisher’s site now to see more and order your own copy. Here is the pre-order link – http://andjusticeforart.bigcartel.com/product/and-justice-for-art-stories-about-heavy-metal-album-covers

c) The folks at UK print publisher The Flood Gallery recently emailed with some info and imagery about the latest in their series of releases featuring album cover fine art prints of designer/photographer Carl Glover‘s cover images for Marillion’s 2006 LP titled Marbles. In addition to the provocative cover shot, prints of the equally mind-bending graphics that were featured on the record label, CD and inner sleeve are also being offered, with collectors able to preview and purchase any/all of these memorable works via the link – http://www.thefloodgallery.com/search?q=marillion Fans can also check out the prints available for two more Glover-produced Marillion covers – Somewhere Else and Radiation – the latter image being a crafty combination of two photos taken 14 years apart!

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Writing for the DJ Booth site, writer Yoh has put together an interesting look at album cover designs that don’t show the musical acts on the cover. Its an interesting thing to see young writers looking at this as if it were something unusual, considering the number of covers that have been produced over the years that didn’t show the acts or, as evidenced very early on, were hesitant to show the acts for a variety of reasons (e.g., not showing black artists for fear of losing sales to predominantly white audiences or, in the case of some early American acts looking to hop on the British Rock invasion, adopting English names and clothing styles).

In the hip-hop world, where it tends to be important to look tough/rich/street-smart/etc., fans will typically find their favorite musical acts pictured prominently on the cover, so it seems that usually only the well-establish artists (Kanye, Jay-Z, etc.) are the ones willing to take a chance and show off their graphic design inspirations. Here’s hoping for more…  http://djbooth.net/news/entry/2016-07-22-album-covers-no-face

b) For an article posted recently on the Austin Chronicle‘s web site titled “Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler”, several of the publication’s writers were asked to pick their favorite illustrated album covers and album cover artists and let readers know why they feel these examples were stand-outs in their field. The people and images selected represent a very broad range of talent, including artists such as Roger Dean (YES, Uriah Heep, Asia, etc.), H.R. Giger (best-known for ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery, Debbie Harry’s cheek-pierced Koo Koo and the monsters in the Alien films) and Daniel Johnston, among others with works created for musical acts including Pink Floyd, Ramones, Miles Davis, The Beatles and Chance The Rapper. Whether you’re a fan of the hyper-realistic artwork of Mati Klarwein or the trippy, comic-inspired R. Crumb cover created for Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, you’ll find a hand-drawn example you’re sure to appreciate.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2016-07-29/adult-audio-coloring-book-sampler/

c) Washington Post columnist John Kelly recently posted a profile of Ken Orth, a retired urban planner/Beatles fan extraordinaire who travels the Beatles-related gatherings circuit putting on display selections from his 2000+ item collection of spoofs of Beatles record covers. Orth has been collecting these works of art since the early 1980s, and included in his collection are examples of well-known parody covers such as Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ We’re Only In It For The Money (a satirical take on the collage found on the Sgt Pepper’s LP) alongside lesser-known items such as Floyd Domino’s take on the Abbey Road street crossing scene, re-staged using four toddlers in diapers.

The entire parody sub-set of album art collecting is an interesting one, with a number of collectors doing a great amount of researching and Ebay purchasing in order to find prime examples of imagery inspired by classic album art. Ken’s working on gathering the nitty-gritty information on every original Beatles album cover so, with any luck, I hope to be able to share some of that with you when its made available. In the meantime, click on over to https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/beatles-album-parody-art-he-loves-it-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-/2016/08/09/b90e66fc-5dcb-11e6-8e45-477372e89d78_story.html  to read more about Ken and his most-interesting of album art collections.

Related content – if you’re really wanting to see a broad selection of parody covers – including hundreds of examples of “re-imagined” covers inspired by designs for the packages of records from the soundtrack for The Sound of Music to The Who’s Live At Leeds, you must pick up a copy of the 2011 book compiled and written by Jan Bellekens and ACHOF chum Simon Robinson titled Covered. The gall of some musical acts is truly mind-blowing (and, most-often, quite hilarious) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/095614392X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?

d) Leave it to the writing team on the Ultimate Classic Rock site to treat us to album art-related stories with a twist (or, in this case, with a piss). Author Nick Deriso recounts the story told by photographer Ethan Russell about “the making of” the cover image for one of The Who’s best-remembered records – 1971’s Who’s Next – which, you’ll recall, features a shot of the band having seemingly just relieving themselves on a concrete tower found along the motorway in Sheffield. In fact, only one of the stains resulted from a much-needed pit stop, with the others craftily created by the photographer, so if you’d like to get to the bottom of this story, click on over and the truth will be revealed – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/whos-next-album-cover/

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

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

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Album Cover News Recap – April 2014

Album Cover News Recap – April, 2014

April was a particularly busy month with regards to album cover related news. Highlights of this past month’s coverage include information and interviews with award-winning designers, several new books on rock and album cover photography, details on the latest gallery shows both in the U.S. and overseas, new Featured Fan Collections and Featured Artist Portfolios and, uncharacteristically, even some scandal and intrigue! There’s always something new to see in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site

April 30 – Nice interview (by writer Bill Jones on the Digital Trends site) with photographer Robert Knight about how he’s managed to become the “shooter of choice” for a number of musical acts (Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few) while their fame and careers grew. Robert has some good advice for photographers hoping to build their portfolios of “memorable photos” (hint – it’s not as simple as saying “I’ll just go photograph the Rolling Stones”).http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/robert-knight-grooms-next-generation-of-concert-photographers/

April 29 – 1) Running thorugh May 4 at the Brook Gallery in Budleigh Salterton (UK) is a show featuring the works of Storm Studios – Storm Thorgerson, Peter Curzon, Dan Abbott and Rupert Truman. In a recent interview on the Western Morning News site, photographer Truman shares some of the details on how this creative team produced many of their best-known images and, if you’re a fan of Storm’s work, you can’t help but be impressed about how these scenes were created. Rather than relying on computer-generated effects, if they wanted a 12-foot diameter disc partially buried in the sand for a shot (as they did for Steve Miller’s Big Discs), they built it actual size. For more details and info about the show, please visit http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Creating-art-record/story-21017570-detail/story.html

2) Many of you will recall musician Andrew W.K.‘s rather-bloody album cover for his “I Get Wet” album…well, building on the image’s popularity, Andrew’s merch team has released a new design for a t-shirt, now featuring the always-entertaining mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. Definitely worth a look – it’s bloody hysterical! Party hard – http://andrewwk.com/news/rob-ford-party-hard-t-shirt

April 28 – 1) I have to admit that I’ve never explored this angle – it seems that, for nearly 10 years, there’s been an ongoing discussion on the Prog Archives site about album covers featuring main characters that are bald. It turns out that there are quite a few – who knew (or, who cares)? It was fun paging thru the covers – everything from Gryphon to Kansas to Pink Floyd’s Metal Heads is included – http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=98034&PN=1

2) If you haven’t picked up the May 2014 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine – as part of their year-long 20th anniversary, they’re focusing on what they call “pivotal figures in contemporary art” and, as part of that effort, there’s a nice interview article with master collage artist/agent provocateur Winston Smith, known for his album covers for The Dead Kennedys, Green Day and many others. Always great to see folks whose works I admire included in these features – http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/on-sale-now-may-2014-with-alexis-ross-nick-cave-chris-johanson-winston-smith-and-more

April 25 – 1) To honor Rob Stringer for winning a recent Music Week award, David Bowie presented him with a custom-crafted re-creation of his classic Heroes album cover image, done “Daft Punk style”. I hope that this comes out as a print/poster – it’s quite stunning! As reported on the SPIN magazine web site –http://www.spin.com/articles/david-bowie-daft-punk-heroes-art/

2) Fans of all things vinyl-record related might want to consider a visit to the new exhibition at the Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art now through July 27th. Titled “Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records” and curated by the museum’s Senior Curator Rene de Guzman, this comprehensive display “explores the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records” and includes sections where visitors can see – and listen to – some of the impressive collections of a number of vinyl record aficionados. There’s also a nice album cover-related section, along with a film on the subject. I’m hoping to get some additional info/images on this show for you soon but, in the meantime, you can visit the museum’s site at http://museumca.org/exhibit/vinyl-sound-and-culture-records for more info. Let me know if you go!

3) I’ve just finished Graham Nash‘s book Wild Tales and while it gave me some insight into the complicated relationships between Nash and his band mates (and the women he loved), I just saw this article on the Never Mind The Bus Pass site (part of their “Classic Album Covers” series) about the cover for a related band – The Byrds – and it just made me wonder even more about the whole Laurel-Canyon-very-talented-ego-driven aspects of that part of the late 60s-early 70s music business. The degrees that they seemed to be willing to go to just to give what my grandmother called a “zetz” to their friendly competition are quite impressive – read the whole story via the link and let me know what you think – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/happiness/classic-album-covers-the-notorious-byrd-brothers-the-byrds/

April 24 – In our ongoing effort to point fans of album cover art to places where they can find out more about it and the people that make it, I’d like to point you all to a site I found yesterday – Jive Time Records “Album Cover Galleries”http://jivetimerecords.com/blog/category/album-cover-galleries/ – This site is managed by the folks at Jive Time Records in Seattle, WA, a well-established used vinyl store located there. They’ve curated a number of themed album art galleries, including ones dedicated to psychedelic design, vintage designs, exercise records, artistically-defaced record jackets and covers featuring fruit and vegetables! I’ve added this link to the ACHOF Resources site as well. Enjoy!

April 23 – 1) Album cover art seems to inspire the most-creative people to bring things to another level…in this case, a London-based makeup artist/musician named Natalie Sharp has applied her skills to re-create 8 album covers – on her face! While she says that these records aren’t necessarily her favorites, she was inspired by them and, while I’m not sure I’d go outside looking like this, the results would certainly be head-turning. My favorite one is the Talking Heads cover – how about you? More on this in John Doran’s article on The Quietus web site – http://thequietus.com/articles/15044-lone-taxidermist-fact-paint-record-store-day

2) While I usually don’t report on anything of a sensational nature (there are plenty of outlets for that these days), I was rather taken-aback by the news about the accusations made against photographer Terry Richardson. As reported in the NY Daily News, model Emma Appleton has accused him of having offered her free photo services in exchange for sexual favors. He denies it, she stands by it, and Vogue magazine has gone on record saying that they won’t work with him in the future. Of course, this was all done over Twitter…The celebrity art and photo world is surely a world apart, except when it’s not. More on this via the link – http://www.nydailynews.com/terry-richardson-denies-propositioning-model-sex-article-1.1763389

April 22 – 1) Wax Poetics contributor Seb Carayol curated an exhibition that was on display thru April 24 at Sonos Studio in LA highlighting the accomplishments of the artists and musicians who’ve promoted “Jamaican Sound System Culture”, with a focus on the colorful album cover art by a trio of illustrators – Beth Lesser, Wilfred Limonious, and Pekka Vuorinen. If you’re not familiar with the genre, the album covers are a great introduction. In the accompanying article, musician ChrisBateman talks about his love for the covers featured on these little-seen albums and, in particular, the work of Limonious, who died 15 years ago after illustrating over 150 records (Bateman has a book out later this year on the subject) – http://www.waxpoetics.com/blog/guest-blog/illustrator-wilfred-limonious-drew-150-iconic-dancehall-lp-covers?email=limonious 

2) Fans of the Verve record label will have something to cheer about when author Richard Haver’s book on the label, titled VERVE: The Sound of America (published by Thames & Hudson) hits the shelves soon. Norman Granz’s label was one of the leaders in album cover design, and the book features a number of great examples. Steven Heller of the New York Times gives you a preview in his “Visuals” section –http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/03/28/books/review/28visuals-2.html

April 21 – 1) The 700+ entries for this year’s Secret 7″ event are up and available for viewing via the link. This year’s participating artists were given songs by a number of popular musical acts (including Black Sabbath and Lorde!) and came up with an amazing selection of customized covers. You can buy these works, but you won’t know who created them until you get one. Participating artists include Storm Studios (7 entries), Dan Tobin Smith, Ian Wright, Plasticgod, Richard Evans, Stanley Donwood and many others. Proceeds go to the War Child charity, so the money’s going to a great (and needed) cause –http://www.secret-7.com/gallery/

2) LA-based artist Young & Sick, who gave us the nice album cover art for Foster The People’s Torches record, shows another side of his creativity with the release of his new, self-titled debut record. AKA Nick Van Hofwegen, Y&S has also done covers for Robin Thicke and Maroon 5. To learn more about his own music and inspirations, please read this article by Brian Austin on The DePauw/WGRE site – http://www.thedepauw.com/mobile/features/foster-the-people-cover-artist-tries-out-the-music-industry-1.3162032

April 18 – 1) New interview alert! Last month marked the release of the 40th anniversary edition of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, so it is with great pleasure that I’m announcing the publishing of my latest interview, featuring none other than the designer for that great record package, David Larkham. David has worked as Mr. John’s designer for 40 years and has a long list of credits for other acts including Queen, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Van Morrison and many others. This is a must-read for fans of album cover design, so please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in the topic – enjoy! https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/interview-with-david-larkham-elton-johns-goodbye-yellow-brick-road-album-cover/

2) Last night, I watched another BBC documentary (!!) called “Prog Rock Britannia” that aired a couple of years back and, if you’re a fan of YES, Procol Harum, The Nice, Soft Machine, Jethro Tull, ELP, etc., AND if you’d like to watch a discussion about the importance of album cover imagery as it relates to the genre, I’d invite you to click on this link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8De_YroimA

At about 42:45 (until 46:20), you will find the likes of Carl Palmer, Rick Wakeman and Mike Rutherford discussing the topic and, as a special treat, there’s a bit with artist Roger Dean that shows early comps of the YES logo (a classic!) and a scale model of one of his homes! As they flip thru some of his designs, it becomes quite clear to the viewer that the visual style of Avatar must have been derived from that film’s creators’ exposure to Dean’s images (and I’d say that in court, too!)…

April 17Record Store Day 2014 (which took place April 19th) included a list of specially-produced records that were made available. While the special day is past,  I’d suggest a visit to your local record emporium. Many of these will be limited-edition items, such as Christian Death’s “Edward Colver Edition” that comes packaged with a selection of the famed photographer’s photos of the band; Jerry Garcia’s Garcia, with this first solo album featuring Bob Seidemann’s awesome cover image; Sub Pop/KEXP’s special edition of the “Mudhoney On Top” recording done to celebrate both the band and the label’s 25th anniversary, recorded on the roof of the Seattle Space Needle (and with a very 50’s jazz-inspired record cover) and, in case you were waiting, a picture disc version of Sky Ferreira’s album in the nude, Night Time, My Time. To read the full list, please visit – http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases

April 16 – 1) As a follow-up to the item I ran a short while back about photos of the places featured on a number of well-known album covers, here’s a piece in The Gothamist about a NYC photo, taken in the 1930s, that was used on Van Morrison’s 1993 record Too Long In Exile. The photographer was Berenice Abbot, lauded chronicler of New York City –http://gothamist.com/2014/04/10/the_1930s_nyc_photo_that_served_as.php

2) Here’s another fine example (featured in an article on the Death & Taxes site) of the “fun with Photoshop” talent on display on the Web…in this example, a fellow by the name of Lance Underwood has created a blog called QT Albums, where you’ll find Lance’s recreations of well-known album covers for artists such as Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Dr. Dre where the main characters have been replaced with images of his very cute kids. I’m particularly fond of his reworking of What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye – what’s your favorite? http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/218835/dad-adorably-remakes-classic-album-covers-with-his-sons/

April 15 – Found an article about a show that I wish I had the chance to see in person, so I’m hoping that album cover art fans in New Zealand will let me know if/when they’ve visited this exhibition and what they thought of what they found there. The show I’m talking about is called the “Bleeding Vinyl Covers Exhibition” currently on display at Creative Tauranga (now thru May 6th, before moving over to the Lightwave Gallery in Mount Monganui for an extended run there). In this show, a number of artists have re-interpreted well-known album covers, and there’s an interesting interview with one of the artists – James Stanbridge – about his vision for a Moby Dick-based cover for Led Zeppelin. As always, it is fascinating to see just how younger artists are drawn to the notion of the record cover as an important element of Pop art – here are the details as given by writer Rosalie Crawford on the SunLive.com site –http://www.sunlive.co.nz/blogs/6301-reinterpreting-led-zeppelin.html

If you’d like to see more on the gallery site – click here – http://www.creativetauranga.org.nz/gallery/exhibition/bleeding-vinyl-cover-exhibition.html

April 14 – 1) A selection of former Life Magazine photographer Richard Busch‘s photos of music celebs including Hendrix, Clapton, Ike & Tina Turner and many others are in an exhibition titled “It’s Only Rock and Roll” currently on display at the gallery at 8 Chains North Winery in VA (now thru June 8). Busch was a busy photographer in the NYC area in the late 1960s, but he’s since moved to an old dairy farm near Washington, DC and now focuses his talents on pottery. Here’s an overview of the exhibition as it was featured on the LoudenTimes web site –http://www.loudountimes.com/news/article/wine_and_art_its_only_rock_and_roll_at_8_chains_north898

2) What do rock stars do during their free time while out on the road? Well, if you’re The Kills’ Alison Mossheart, you paint and, over time, put together an impressive portfolio of work. As she explains in a recent article in the NY Times T Magazine, her work went on public display for the first time (thru April 26th) as part of a group show at Art NowNY. The art on display reflects her feelings at the time they’re done, so there’s quite the array of emotions depicted in her work. If you’d like to see more of her work, follow the link – http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/on-view-the-kills-alison-mosshart-reveals-her-artistic-side/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

April 11 – 1) In the first of two articles published this week highlighting efforts to recreate the past, writer Laura Mitchell (of The Express) interviews photographer Mick Rock about his recent efforts to update some of his classic compositions using images of today’s top talent. You’ll see his re-do of classic shots of Queen and Debbie Harry featuring Danielle Parente and her band and there’s a video interview with Mr. Rock as well –http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/468470/Debbie-Harris-Queen-David-Bowie-Photographer-Mick-Rock-recreates-icon-Seventies-images

2) The UK’s Chronicle dug deep into their photo galleries to grab a selection of their iconic black and white images of rock/pop stars – Mick Jagger, Bill Haley, Lindisfarne, Eric Burden, AC/DC and others – and had an expert colorize them. The accompanying photo gallery allows you to toggle back and forth between color/non-color images and, in a nod to one of the many ways traditional publications are now “monetizing” their IP assets, fine art prints of these new images are also for sale – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/iconic-images-rock-stars-north-6935880

3) Finally, in the “please be sure to let your staff know to be careful about NOT throwing anything nice out when cleaning up after an auction” category, this story (on the ArtDaily site) about the Hong Kong police’s efforts to find a painting that was auctioned off for $3.7 million but, somehow, ended up (they hope) in a local landfill after being added to a pile of trash gathered by the cleaning staff of the Grand Hyatt Hotel there. While not really having anything to do with album cover art, I just thought that it should serve as a reminder to art collectors to be sure and pick up their winnings BEFORE leaving the auction (sheesh!) – http://artdaily.com/news/69334/Hong-Kong-police-search-landfill-for–3-7-million-painting-dumped-by-cleaners-at-Grand-Hyatt-hotel#.U0g6RvldUrU

April 10 – Well, I finally took the time to watch the BBC’s 2013 special called “When Albums Ruled The World” in its entirety and, naturally, I was pleased to see the inclusion of a number of interviews with album cover artists (Roger Dean, Aubrey Powell) and musicians (Grace Slick, Noel Gallagher, Rick Wakeman) with a keen appreciation for the importance of album art. At the 49:00 mark, there’s a nice overview of Pedro Bell’s covers for Parliament/Funkadelic, and that flows right into a segment where Aubrey Powell talks about Hipgnosis and their work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Record producer Tony Parsons said it best – “The record collection WAS the art collection of the ordinary man” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em4kpy1YuNQ

April 9 – Here’s another article by Fuse’s Joe Lynch that introduces a video by LA hair band Steel Panther in which they discuss all of the rejected album cover image ideas of the ones they considered while developing their latest album, titled All You Can Eat. All of the concepts were based on classic works of art by DaVinci, Vermeer, Botticelli, etc., with DaVinci winning out at the end, with the cover a parody of his “Last Supper”. Keen-eyed viewers will also note another parody design – based on a well-known Van Halen cover – featured on band member Michael Starr’s t-shirt. I have to admit – I thought that band’s like this had disappeared (I mean, there’s a guy in the band named Lexxi Foxx – “Lexxi rhymes with Sexy!”) but, nonetheless, I do like a good parody album cover – http://www.fuse.tv/videos/2014/04/steel-panther-album-covers

April 8 – Here are a couple of interesting articles giving you some alternative ways to enjoy your favorite album covers –

1) My old chums at Fuse have posted an article by Joe Lynch that highlights a Flickr site run by someone named Harvezt who has created a number of images that give us his/her take on how famous albums covers might look if you were able to see them from another angle. You’ll get to see the Nirvana baby in the pool – from behind – along with alt shots of covers by Public Enemy, The Beatles, Metallica and others. Truly fascinating, and I hope to track down the mysterious Harvezt to find out more – http://www.fuse.tv/2014/04/beatles-nirvana-reverse-album-covers

UPDATE – after what seemed to be days of searching, I’ve given up trying to find out who Harvezt is – he/she has cleverly hidden him/her self. If anyone has been able to locate this person, please let me know! MG

2) Halley Docherty from the U.K.’s The Guardian has used Google Street to bring us to the locations where a number of well-known record covers were photographed. Via this article, you’ll be taken on a trip around the world to see the locations where covers for Oasis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others were shot. Now, if someone wants to make it their life’s work to actually go to these places to confirm this work, I’d be happy to provide them a forum for regular updates on their travels –http://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2014/apr/07/classic-album-covers-in-google-street-view-in-pictures

April 4 – 1) Nice overview on the Tonedeaf site of artist Andy Warhol’s album cover artwork in an article called “Before He Was Famous, Andy Warhol Designed Album Covers”. In fact, Warhol got his start as a commercial artist working for RCA Records and, later, Blue Note Records, designing dozens of album, sometimes working with ACHOF “early influencer” inductee Reid Miles. Enjoy the slide show of 15 of his earliest covers –http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/slideshows/394373/before-he-was-famous-andy-warhol-designed-album-covers.htm#1

2) The Library of Congress is adding some 25 new recordings to its list of albums to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. U2’s The Joshua Tree (with cover photo by Anton Corbijn) and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel (cover photo by Eve Babitz) will be included, along with the single “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival, featured on their LP Willy & The Poor Boys, with cover art by Basul Parik. The AP’s Brett Zongker gives us all the details in his recent story on the Dayton Daily News site – http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ap/entertainment/u2-linda-ronstadt-among-25-albums-to-be-preserved/nfQTR/

3) Finally, while I was doing some research the other day, I found another site that offers a selection of the stories behind some of your favorite album covers. The UK-based site is called Never Mind The Bus Pass and is geared toward the Boomer crowd, but the record sleeves chronicled include selections from the 60s thru today. Hope to get hold of these folks soon to find out more about their work. In the meantime, here’s a link to their “Classic Album Cover” story archives – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/category/happiness-archive/classic-album-covers/

April 3 – Some of you may recall an article I’d written a couple of months back about Pozzie Mazerati’s “Red Arrow” campaign, which came about as a result of a posting I had done on the Musicpage.com web site looking to feature the personal album cover art collections of folks in the music business. In the same category, I recently received a note from another musician about the sources for the artwork he used on the covers of his own recordings and so I thought that I’d once again expand the definition of what I was looking to include in this site’s “Featured Fan Collections” section to show you the works used by this artist to create the eye-catching covers for his albums. Ladies and Gentlemen – meet “The Insanitizers” – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-conrad-swartz-the-insanitizers/

April 2 – It’s exhibition-mania! 1) At the Brook Gallery in Devon, UK – Opening on April 4th and running for the next month is a Storm Studios show, featuring the works of the late Storm Thorgerson and his cohorts. Photographer Rupert Truman will be on hand to kick off the exhibition of works for Pink Floyd, 10cc, Muse, Steve Miller and many others – http://www.brookgallery.co.uk/category.php?catid=126

2) April 4th was also the launch day for a screening of a new film about artist Robert Williams, creator of one of my favorite album covers (Appetite for Destruction for Guns n Roses) and the subject of “Mr. Bitchin”, which is being shown as part of the Society of Illustrators Film Series at the Beatrice Theater in NYC. The artist will be at the event and will take part in a panel interview with director/producer Nancye Ferguson and art writer/editor of Paper Magazine Carlo McCormick – http://www.societyillustrators.org/Film.aspx?id=11297

3) If you’re anywhere in the NYC area, I’d suggest renting a car and driving up to the museum at the Bethel Woods Center for The Arts for their re-opening and their new exhibit titled “America Meets The Beatles”. In addition to a impressive display of Beatles-related art and memorabilia from the Rod Mandeville Collection, there will be an appearance by famed TIME Magazine photographer Bill Eppridge, who will be on hand to show and talk about his photos of the Fab Four’s first visit to the U.S. and their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (“Close your eyes, and I’ll kiss you…”).  http://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/bwevents/eventdetail.aspx?id=460