Interview with Annie Stoll and Meghan Foley on the making of the Grammy-winning package for Weird Al Yankovic’s Squeeze Box box set
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Posted July 28, 2021
For the past several years, I’ve served on the judging panel for the revitalized Making Vinyl Awards competition and, as part of that effort, I’ve had the chance to review hundreds of different entries in the various categories up for MVA consideration – a truly eyeball-testing experience. While I must admit that, after a while, I found myself glossing over a number of the entries (corrected, luckily, by coming back to the viewings after much rest and a commitment to limiting each session to about an hour’s time), there were a number of entries – particularly, in the box set-related categories – that were so ingeniously done that I knew that they’d be hits with both the other judges and the buying public. Back in early 2019, one of those nominees was a package put together by Sony Music built around the 40+ year output of the seemingly never-aging musical satirist “Weird Al” Yankovic and called, quite appropriately due to the accordion-focused nature of many of Weird Al’s performances, Squeeze Box.
Frank Harkins, Mike Goldstein and Dave Bett, clockwise from upper left.
Published July 23, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
The packaging of retail (i.e., physical) recorded music products is an expression of the relationship – often, a delicate balance – between a musical act, his/her/their record label, the creative/production teams commissioned for the projects and, of course, the music-buying public. Each brings a certain set of expectations to every project and expects those desires to be appreciated and respected if the resulting products are to ultimately please each constituency:
the musicians want to make sure that their new musical efforts aren’t reduced to secondary importance or that their fans aren’t left wondering “what the #%!* were they thinking?”
label execs will want to know that their investments in packaging and related marketing will eventually pay off via increased product sales.
the design and pre-production personnel working on the project (whether in-house and/or freelance talent), along with the printing/manufacturing companies tasked to bring designs to life as finished products, all want to deliver work they can be proud of and that makes their various client(s) happy and
consumers of recorded music products want to feel that their purchases are moneys well-spent and, as a benefit, are left feeling that their favorite musical acts have delivered “something special” to them as their loyal fans.
Posted onJune 1, 2021|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for June 2021
Posted June 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Greetings to you all from Chicagoland and welcome to this month’s edition of the ACHOF News Update and Summary. Is everyone beginning to emerge from your self-imposed exiles (hopefully, fully-vaccinated and doing all you can to stay safe and healthy)? I am happy to announce that the hummingbirds have returned to my balcony, my herbs and flowers have been planted and, with any luck, Spring will stick around long enough for my wife and I to get out and enjoy it.
Another sign of Spring’s arrival is my yearly announcement that I’ve been able to speak with one of this year’s Grammy winners in the Packaging Category – designer Lawrence Azerrad, the winner (along with his collaborator, Chicago’s own Jeff Tweedy) of this year’s Grammy Award for “Best Box/Special Limited-Edition Package” for the work done on Wilco’s Ode To Joy set – and have just posted this interview on the site for your reading pleasure.
Posted onMay 28, 2021|Comments Off on Interview with Lawrence Azerrad about his Grammy Award-winning vinyl package for Wilco’s Ode To Joy
By Mike Goldstein, Album Cover Hall of Fame.com
Posted May 28, 2021 – It’s called “Album Cover Art”, so what I take from that name is that it is something created by artists (artisans?) who create the products we see by hand, using their innate talents and abilities to deliver something unique and appealing (and, in the case of product packaging, something that sells and makes the people that buy these products happy with their purchases). In the case of box sets and limited-edition “special” packages, it’s all the more important that the artists/artisans working on those products “get it right”, as the products are typically more expensive, as collectibles are expected to be, so the value proposition (OMG – I’m back in Marketing!) has to appeal to fans who are being asked to spend (often, many) hundreds of dollars on a product that there may only be a few hundred copies made. Additionally, the designers of these products have to be sure that their client(s) is/are ultimately happy, since the packages are typically the latest/best expressions of their music or, even more often lately, career retrospectives that are attempting to put the totality of the featured musical acts’ musical and lyrical (and, in most cases, visual) output out in a comprehensive package. To do that well, there must be an effective collaboration between the design teams and their clients, with the best examples of those successful collaborations garnering positive critical/fan reviews and, in special cases, special recognition from their industry peers, such as the Grammy Awards that were handed out earlier this year to musician Jeff Tweedy and designer/art director Lawrence Azerrad for Wilco’s Ode To Joy limited-edition set that they produced and released in late 2019 on the dBpm label.
Posted onMarch 31, 2021|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for April 2021
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for April 2021
Posted right around April 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Spring Greetings to you all from Chicagoland. The weather has become rather consistently pleasant, allowing us to venture outside the house a bit, even sitting on outside patios at some of the local eating establishments (what a treat!). We’re still waiting for our turn at the local COVID vaccine center but, with any luck, we’ll get our shots in the next month or so and, if the rest of our fellow countrymen continue to do the right thing and help build our herd immunity, we might all be able to get out a bit more later this Spring/Summer. I’m not counting on everyone doing the right thing on behalf of the rest of the local citizenry – the loonies continue to proudly flout their warped notions of what “freedom” really means – so it’ll be quite some time before I think we’re “back to normal”, but let’s hope for the best.
Posted onMarch 14, 2021|Comments Off on ACHOF Breaking News – Here Are The Winners of the 2020 Grammy Awards for Packaging
ACHOF Breaking News – Here Are The Winners of the 2020 Grammy Awards for Packaging
Posted 3/14/21 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
2020 Grammy Awards special update – Having been delayed until today due to precautions taken because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grammy Awards in the Packaging category were presented during the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony® that took place today beginning at 12:00 p.m. PT (3:00 p.m. EST) and streamed live internationally via GRAMMY.com. Preceding the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® telecast tonight, the Premiere Ceremony have been hosted by current three-time nominee Jhené Aiko and feature a number of performances by current GRAMMY nominees.
And now, here are the details of the winners in each of the three Packaging categories:
Posted onMarch 9, 2021|Comments Off on ACHOF Breaking Grammy Week News Update for March 9, 2021
ACHOF Breaking Grammy Week News Update for March 9, 2021
by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
SPECIAL UPDATE 3/9/21 – MUSICARES EVENT) Just prior to the airing of the 63rdGrammy Awards show, the Recording Academy’s MusiCares charity is presenting a special fund/awareness-raising event – the “Music On A Mission” virtual concert that’ll be streamed this coming March 12th at 8PM EST (5PM PST) – will help this organization’s efforts to continue to support those in the music community who’ve been most-impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (musicians, production personnel, venue owners, etc.). The charitable arm of the Recording Academy (AKA “the Grammy folks”) has put together a star-studded special event that will include performances (both new and from their archives) and special guest appearances by top acts such as Jhené Aiko, HAIM, H.E.R., John Legend Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Usher, with 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales benefitting MusiCares’ work supporting those in the music community hardest hit by the pandemic.
Posted onMarch 1, 2021|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for March 2021
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for March 2021
Posted March 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Hello again from Chicagoland, where we’ve finally seemed to throw off the worst of Winter and can stop referring to where we live as “the frozen tundra”. While my wife and I are still avoiding having to go out for anything other than food, we have been able to take some walks around the neighborhood and, even better for our senses, our birds (cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches and the occasional woodpecker or two) have returned to our feeder. It’s calming to see that the parts of nature that Man hasn’t yet totally mucked up are still out there and free to travel and interact to their heart’s content. Maybe some day we’ll figure out how to do that as well.
Posted onJanuary 29, 2021|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for February 2021
Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary for February, 2021
Posted January 29, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
This past month, I think we’ll all agree, was one that made all the world stop and wonder what the future might hold for us in so many aspects of our lives. Will democracy survive? Will justice be served? When will I be able to get a shot of the vaccine? Why won’t some of my neighbors – for their benefit and mine – wear a f#%king mask? With so many important questions to consider, it makes me wonder why it is that I remain committed to delivering a steady stream of news about what’s happening in the world of album cover art, design and photography…Perhaps its merely a way to distract both myself and my readers from spending 100% of our time wondering whether sane and qualified people will quickly step up to deliver us all from the clutches of this now-year-old pandemic or, maybe more so, simply my way of pointing out that, with the proper attention and resources paid, the arts – and the people involved in them – can do wonders to keep us all sane and paying attention to what’s important beyond what’s being delivered to us – at 130db and in bright red 50-point type – via the many places we source our news and entertainment.
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for January 2021
Posted January 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
We’ve reached the end of what has to have been one of the saddest and most-frustrating years most of us have ever lived through and yet, for those of us who have survived, I have to think that we’re all feeling somewhat grateful for having done so and are looking forward to seeing the end of this pandemic and, with any luck, a move towards a sense of “normalcy” in many aspects of our lives.
It’s the beginning of Winter here in the Chicago area and, just last night, we saw our first significant snowstorm. The weather, plus the threat of COVID, will keep me and my wife inside most of the time (except for our weekly trips to the grocery stores) and trying to support our local restaurants, who now can’t offer anything but take-out. I hope that we’re all doing what we can to keep these local vendors alive, and I’d like to add that we should all do more to support the local service organizations that are working miracles to keep those less fortunate than us sheltered, fed and in good health and spirits.
In the spirit of keeping things in perspective and understanding that you all have a lot on your plates these days, this month’s summary will be as brief and to the point as I can make it. Much work is still being done in the world of music industry-related visual design and production and so it’s my honor and pleasure to continue to report on – and promote – this work and the people who do it. So, let’s go…