Tag Archives: Grammy Awards

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

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

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

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

Continue reading

Advertisements

Album Cover News Summary For June, 2016

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for May, 2016

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

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

It’s the first day of June, 2016 and perhaps you’re just noticing and saying to yourself  “you know, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a monthly summary on the Album Cover Hall of Fame site”. Well, in truth, it has been a while – yours truly was away from the office for a period of a couple of weeks in late April/early May and, unbelievably for an American, I chose NOT to work through my trip and, instead, chose to relax (“how dare you!”). At the same time, I decided to modify both the form and frequency of my album cover news summaries, the result of which you’ve seen the past few weeks and hope that you’ve enjoyed. Rather than daily missives, you’re getting a summary once a week (on Fridays, with the occasional timely updates inserted as needed), with each week’s news broken into several categories (the human mind loves to categorize, so I’m just giving you a head start in that effort). With this month’s summary, I am going to introduce a format chance that more closely follows the weekly updates, with news stories divided up into those same categories, making it easier for you to focus on the topics that might be more interesting to you than others. I am hoping that these changes increase your enjoyment of the monthly summaries – of course, if you have any concerns or suggestions, I do hope that you’ll contact me (curator@albumcoverhalloffame.com) and let me know how I might better deliver the ongoing supply of album art/artist-related content I’m dedicated to providing you on an ongoing basis.

So much has happened since we last chatted – even with the media circus that dominates our daily news feeds (#1 – “It hurts when I watch this.” #2 – “So don’t watch this!”), the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to draw interest from fans and the press, so there’s been an ongoing stream of articles, interviews and the like on a wide range of related topics:

Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap For February, 2016

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

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

Album Cover News Recap for January, 2016

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

It’s early February 2016 and, while we here in the Pacific NW continue to endure a mostly-dreary Winter season (sun lamps are hot sellers here), we must consider ourselves lucky considering the bashing that many other areas of the country have been getting. And, while the circus sideshow we call “politics” continues to grab much of our attention these days, your Curator (hey, that’s me!) has been fortunate enough to tour art exhibitions in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and here in Portland, where the 2016 Print Fair was held this past weekend at the Portland Art Museum – lots of great art was seen and appreciated – yes, there is an art world beyond Album Cover-land!

My travels did, of course, slightly reduce the number of days I was able to share the latest album art-related news with you (and, even with a Leap Day added, this will occur again naturally in February), but the steady stream of album art-related news remained unabated, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, profiles, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the impressive number  of exciting and inspiring articles you found in our news feed, I’ll now spend just a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure… Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’S Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

It’s early January 2016 here in the Pacific NW and, I don’t know about you all, but I could surely use some sunshine, having been treated to the first extended stretches of Winter weather, making for great skiing in the nearby mountains while creating a ghost-like pallor on our skin. On the plus side, we (i.e., the city of Portland, OR) were recently rated #1 best food city in a major East Coast publication, so life here’s not all that bad.

Our collective recuperations from the past Holiday season and the Winter blahs have done little to stem the tide of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the endless sources of excitement and inspiration found in our news feed, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including designers Vaughan Oliver, Sir Peter Blake, Brian Cannon and others and photographers Gary Heery and Anton Corbijn who, most interestingly, is taking a leave from the music industry to focus on topics of his own interest. Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for October, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – November 2, 2015

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s early November, 2015 and we’re heading into the late Fall season here in the Pacific NW – great hiking and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather, with wonderful colors found all around, including in the many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 or so days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and three new films adding to the pure joy found in our news feeds, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to complete your review of this list by reading/viewing these items at your own pace…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including artist of the macabre Jeff Gaither, art directors Mike Salisbury, Kosh and David Larkham, illustrators Shepard Fairey and Tony Quick (for the NEW Zombies LP) and singer/songwriter/painter John Mellencamp.

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer/collector Raj Prem, the aforementioned Shepard Fairey, photographer Jay Blakesberg (a book titled Hippie Chicks) and videographer/vinly lover Eilon Paz, who brings his Dust And Grooves series from video to print.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during October, with shows in museums and galleries around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as the show at Hilton|Asmus in Chicago featuring photos by Henry Diltz, Carinthia West and Pattie Boyd, Neal Preston’s recent display at the LDI convention, the “Hippie Modernism” show at the Walker Art Center, a show of Michael Cooper photos in London, Graham Nash’s new display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Winston Smith’s collage show in San Francisco, musician/artist Wayne Coyne’s display in Baltimore and a show featuring “make believe” album art in New Haven, CT.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the now-open voting for Art Vinyl’s yearly “Best Art Vinyl” awards, album art created by working musicians, a clothing license deal that will produce gear featuring 80’s style/art icon Patrick Nagel’s artwork,  a scientific study into whether album cover art influences the reviews by music critics and three films – Roddy Bogawa’s look into the life and career of the late Storm Thorgerson called Taken By Storm (covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and many others), one about photographer Robert Frank (Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones) and Colin Hanks & Co’s loving tribute to the life and death of that former temple of all things vinyl – Tower Records – titled All Things Must Pass. As it typically the case, I don’t have the time/space to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

We’re going into the annual voting season for the ACHOF and, as part of that effort, I’ve added  several new biographies to the Artist Bios section on the ACHOF site during the month. With our next class set to be inducted before the Holidays this year, I’m working to include as many as possible for consideration in this effort. With all of the year-end distractions soon upon us , I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on recent news you may have missed but,  as I repeat (incessantly, I know) every month, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

October 31st – not posted, but added today as a bonus – Bay-area photographer Jim Jocoy has dug deep into his archives and found a collection of late 1970s shots of a “who’s who” in the then-thriving punk music scene (previously publishing some of them in a book titled We’re Desperate: The Punk Rock Photography of Jim Jocoy) and now, in this recent article by Miss Rosen on the Crave Online site, sharing even more of them, including images of Patti Smith, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, Exene Cervenka of X and many other stars of the era. His observation that “Punk is an ephemeral thing. The Rolling Stones are still rolling along, and the Ramones are all gone”, while stating the obvious, certainly underlines the fact that so much of this creative energy has “left the club”… http://www.craveonline.com/art/909159-girls-film-70s-punk-legends-photographs-jim-jocoy#/slide/1

October 30th – 1) Perfectly-timed for a Halloween-weekend item was this just-released feature/interview with artist Jeff Gaither. Fans of album art will recognize his work for metal/hard rock bands including Testament, Pantera, The Misfits, Guns-n-Roses, The Undead and many others (over 200 credits!) but, as you’ll see when you read Kevin Gibson’s article on the LEO Weekly (Louisville, KY) site, the inspirations for the sometimes over-the-top ghoulishness of his imagery come from a fascination of all things serial killer (he even owns a piece of notorious murderer Ed Gein’s tombstone). When you’re done with the article, I’d also suggest a visit to Jeff’s site, where you can learn more about his past, including his five-year stint working for Mr. Rat Fink himself, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth – http://www.leoweekly.com/2015/10/serial-killer-culture-jeff-gaithers-dark-obsession-inspires-his-art-and-fandom/
Site link – www.jeffgaither.com

2) The folks at the Hilton|Asmus Gallery in Chicago have decided to extend the time that their popular photo show based around the photography of Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Carinthia West will be up…Visions Of A Magic Time:Iconic Photographs Of The Music & Culture Of The 60s And 70s will be available for viewing now through December 20th. They also sent over a link to a recent episode of the popular “A Drink With…” web series (sponsored by Virgin Hotels and hosted by Hilary Sawchuck) in which Ms. Sawchuck hoists a margarita or two with the three aforementioned photographers while they talk about the behind-the-scenes details of many of their best-known images and Ms. Boyd (the former muse of rockers George Harrison and Eric Clapton) talks a bit about the ups and downs of being in love…

http://virginhotels.com/2015/10/09/a-drink-with-pattie-boyd-carinthia-west-henry-diltz/

Exhibition info – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/exhibition-schedule.html

October 29th – 1) Album art fans in the New Haven, CT area were treated to an exhibit featuring 67 works of art depicting album covers for “make believe bands” called “Sound + Vision: A Visual Playlist” that ran at the Gallery at the Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., until Oct. 31. This portion of the city-wide “Open Studios” effort showed how local artists would approach projects designed to best-introduce fans to an act’s new music (“you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”), with some of the participants reaching back into the area’s musical history (e.g., a visit by The Doors in 1967 during which Jim Morrison was arrested for various acts of debauchery) to provide the bases for the visual imagery. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 31, there was a closing party with album sales, auction results, and a live broadcast on local radio station WPKN, so if you would like to learn more, read Brian Slattery‘s article on the topic on the New Haven Independent site –http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/sound_vision/

2) Music journalist, photographer, collector and curator Raj Prem has just announced that he’s working on a book chronicling both his own career as a rock photojournalist and working alongside other leading rock shooters – including Michael Cooper, Iain Macmillan, Robert Freeman, Jerry Schatzberg and many others – to curate gallery/museum shows of their works. He’s staged over 100 shows during the last 20 years, so the book will most-certainly include an interesting mix of behind-the-scenes story-telling, interviews and anecdotes. I hope to get hold of the nice man ASAP to see if I can find out more about when he anticipates he’ll release his newest tome but, in the meantime, you can learn more about the man and his plans on his website via the link – http://rajpremnews.com/2015/10/raj-prem-to-publish-new-book-about-his-career-in-music-photography/

October 28th – 1) Ever wonder what your favorite album covers would have looked like translated (literally) into proper French? Me neither – but now that I see them, I’m glad that London-based creative Thomas Olivier has taken the time to provide them to us! I’m particularly amused by several of them, including the newly-revised covers for The Who (“Les Qui”), Talking Heads (“Tetes Parlantes”) and James Brown’s “Sois Sur Ton Bon Pied“. See the rest in this recent article by Ana Leorne on the FourOhFive (is that L’Interstate 405?) site –http://www.thefourohfive.com/culture/article/here-are-some-of-the-world-s-most-famous-record-covers-in-french-144 

2) Influential graphic designer/photographer Mike Salisbury has had his hand in so many well-known images – including album covers for Ike & Tina Turner, George Harrison, James Taylor and Michael Jackson, among others, along with notable design elements for over 300 films (the Jurassic Park logo, for example) – that he most-certainly can claim to have had a notable effect on what Pop Culture “looks like”, but in this recent interview/profile of the artist by Mary Reinholz for The Argonaut site, readers will learn about aspects of his career that will both impress you and leave you wondering (Pop Culture being birthed by the CIA? He says he’s got the proof). I’m eagerly anticipating the release of his series on the topic titled “Mr. Pop Culture” but, in the meantime you can learn more via the link – http://argonautnews.com/mad-dog-sees/
I’d also invite you to view a short video that shows a number of the portraits he’s taken of celebrities from all aspects of Pop Culture via this link –https://youtu.be/l8bg6e3becc

October 27th – 1) In the third installment in his series for Rolling Stone Magazine, Bob Egan talks to photographer Jerry Schatzberg about “the making of” the cover image for Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde (you know, the “fuzzy cover”!). One interesting thing you’ll learn when you read Bob’s article is that while many tried to attribute the slightly-out-of-focus nature of the image to an attempt to appeal to recreational drug users, the real reason Jerry gives is that it was February, they were outside and it was COLD! Schatzberg is also responsible for a number of other well-known album cover images, including photos for Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Cher, The Rascals and my personal favorite, the wonderful Beatle-esque spoof created for Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ We’re Only In It For The Moneyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-dylan-photographer-explain-blurry-blonde-on-blonde-cover-20151027

2) Fans of the fantastic art of Roger Dean have another week to view the exhibition currently on display at the Trading Boundaries Gallery in Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK titled Roger Dean:Somewhere Near Here. You’ll find original paintings, watercolors, sketches and other samples of the artist’s work on display, including art he’s done for YES, Steve Hackett’s Premonitions and more, including items related to the art he produced for the epic 14 CD box set recently released by YES called Progeny (with each disc sporting a unique Dean image). You can also sign up to attend a November 1st workshop with Dean where he’ll discuss his efforts for clients in the music, film and video game worlds – a chance to learn from “the master” of Prog Rock design – more info on the show (which ends its run November 3rd) on the gallery’s site at http://www.tradingboundaries.com/roger-dean/

3) Regular readers will recall an article a while back about the major travelling show being produced by the Rolling Stones that will feature over 50 years of band-related art and artifacts, set to launch next Spring at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Titled The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism, the show ” will use nine rooms amounting to over 1,750 square meters of the gallery, with each room its own distinctly designed environment. Guitarist Ronnie Wood said: ‘Let’s gather things together and let people have an experience in a well designed space’” Tickets are now on sale for the show’s first run from April thru September 2016, with the folks from the DIY Magazine site providing us with a bit more info in this recent post on their site – http://diymag.com/2015/10/21/a-look-inside-the-rolling-stones-exhibitionism

October 26th –  1) According to the research scientists at Lixar, album cover imagery has very little influence on whether a record will receive a good or bad review from critics. The company was commissioned by the Halifax Music Explosion to study this question and, as part of the process, used complicated software to study 1000 record cover images, calculate what makes them similar or unique to others, and then determine if patterns arose that would then be reflected in whether a record was well-regarded (or not). As you’ll read in Remo Zaccagna’s article on The Chronicle Herald (Canada) web site, the results showed that cover art had a <3% chance of effecting the outcome of a review. I’m going to follow up with the players in this study to see if they have any notion as to whether album art influenced consumer buying decisions – I think that most of us would say “yes” (at least on purchases made in the pre-digital-download time frame). More to come – in the meantime, click on over to learn more –http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1318508-music-not-art-influences-critics-lixar-study-concludes

2) While businesses of all types today use data visualization tools to help translate sophisticated data sets into something that mere mortals can understand, did you know that one of the best-known album covers of all time – Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, with design/art by Peter Saville) was based on a stacked plot diagram made during scientific study of pulsars nearly 50 years ago? You did? What a show-off 🙂 In a recent article by Jen Christiansen for Scientific American, you’ll more (and I mean, a LOT more) about these studies and the science that lead up to the image that was originally included in a PhD research paper published in 1970 by radio astronomer Harold Craft. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/sa-visual/pop-culture-pulsar-the-science-behind-joy-division-s-unknown-pleasures-album-cover/

3) Digging through the shelves of my local public library this past weekend lead me to find two books on album art that I wasn’t familiar with previously – Coast To Coast Album Covers: Classic Record Art from New York To LA by authors Graham Marsh and Glyn Callingham was published in 2011 by Collins & Brown (UK) and shows the earlier works of many rock/Pop album cover designers for a number of jazz/popular music labels in the 1950s-60s, while DIY Album Art: Paper Bags And Office Supplies (by J. Namdev Hardisty) focuses on the often hand-made covers created by indie/punk labels beginning in the 1990s. Even the book’s cover looks hand-made, featuring litho art on thick cardboard. You’ll find more details on this page on the ACHOF site –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-page-intro-and-links-to-album-cover-books-and-sites/

October 23rd –  1) Visitors to the Live Design International Trade Show in Las Vegas that weekend had the chance to tour an exhibition of the work of photographer Neal Preston, the man responsible for a host of well-known album cover images, including those for acts including Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Heart, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper and many others. Sponsored by stage lighting company Lightpower, “In the Eye of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hurricane” will showcase Preston’s covers, concert photos and portraits, with the photographer on hand all weekend to talk about his work, making this an even more-exciting opportunity. Read more about this show in this intro article on the Live Design Online site –
http://livedesignonline.com/ldi/ldi-and-act-lighting-present-eye-rock-n-roll-hurricane

2) The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN has a new exhibit that presents – through examples of art (including images created by several of the better-known poster/album artists of the era), design, architecture and other popular culture artifacts – how the counter-culture of the late 1960s – early 1970s impressed itself on all aspects of life at the time. Beginning October 24th and running there through Feb. 28th of next year, “Hippie Modernism; The Struggle For Utopia” puts on display ” a broad range of art forms and artifacts of the era” and “features experimental furniture, alternative living structures, immersive and participatory media environments, alternative publishing and ephemera, and experimental film. Bringing into dramatic relief the limits of Western society’s progress, the exhibition explores one of the most vibrant and inventive periods of the not-too-distant past, one that still resonates within culture today.” The show is curated by Andrew Blauvelt, with more info available on the museum’s site at http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2015/hippie-modernism-struggle-utopia.

3) Is using samples/stock items to create music and/or album art a new form of creativity or simply a way for the less-talented to quickly craft a new work? This seems to be the focus of a new article by Caitlin Lopilato on the Complex.com site titled “Is Using Stock Imagery As Album Art Cheating?” and, based on the comments she’s collected from a number of established designers – including Jonathan Mannion, HK and Kalen Hollomon – the discussion about what makes art of any type “original” remains one that will be batted back and forth for a long time. Sparked by the recent admission that the covers for two of rapper Future’s latest releases were made from stock photography, the author reaches her own conclusion that “the Internet is cutting them out of the equation, and their creative voices are being muffled by the temptation of copying and pasting.” What’s your take on the subject? Read more at http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/hip-hop-album-art-stock-images

Bonus content: Famed cover artist David Larkham shared this link to an interview he participated in with one of his clients (retailer J.J. Hapgood) that, to me, nicely illustrates the “international-ness” of design – a U.K. artist creating compelling imagery for a client he’d originally met in California 30+ years ago who now runs a store/eatery in Peru (O.K., Peru, Vermont!). Larkham, who has done covers for top musical acts including Elton John, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, shares the details of how he developed the modern ID/graphics for an historical business in this article on their site – http://jjhapgood.com/general/legend-artist-behind-j-j-hapgood-logo-ties-sir-paul-mccartney-j-j-hapgood-run-deep/

October 22nd – 1) A group of photographs taken by photographer Michael Cooper of the Rolling Stones visiting sites including Stonehenge, Los Angeles and Joshua Tree are the basis of an exhibition titled “Courting The Stones: Photographs by Michael Cooper” which opened at London’s Proud Galleries Friday, October 16th and will be running there through November 22nd. Cooper – well known for his album cover photo work on both Their Satanic Majesties Request for the Stones and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for The Beatles – was part of the band’s “inner circle”, allowing him to catch band-members in a variety of intimate moments spent with friends (such as the late Gram Parsons), lovers and the people they’d meet in their travels around the world. Read more about the show in this nicely-illustrated article by Tim Chester on the Mashable site – http://mashable.com/2015/10/14/rolling-stones-exhibition-london/

2) The editorial staff at the World Religion News site has come up with a somewhat-unusual (and specific) “best of” album cover art list that looks back over the years for the Top 5 “Most Badass Christian Rock” covers. In the list, you’ll find bands that, in spite of their religion-focused lyrics (and band member lifestyles), these rockers, such as Trouble, Petra and Stryper, understood that hard rock fans had expectations of the inclusion of certain standard elements in their album art – powerful robots/slayers of evil, turbochargers and skulls (representing the evil about to be slayed) – and went to great lengths to provide them (in the most-respectable way possible, of course). Not much else info-wise was provided, but let the images speak for themselves – http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/christianity/christian-band-album-covers

3) The music industry awards for talent based in Canada’s provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador – known as the MusicNL Awards – were handed out this past week, with designer Jud Haynes given kudos for “Graphic Artist Of The Year” based on his cover for Chris Hadfield’s Space Sessions: Songs From A Tin Can (on Warner Music). The awards were distributed at a banquet in the ballroom at the Delta Hotel this past weekend, with the top award winner being Fortunate Ones who picked up awards for Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Folk/Roots Recording of the Year and the top prize, the FACTOR Album of the Year. Designer Haynes has a long list of clients in the music business and, as a former musician, also books bands for local venues. More on the award show on the CBC web site – http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/fortunate-ones-the-once-kat-mclevey-big-winners-at-musicnl-awards-1.3277065
while you can learn more about the award-winning designer on his own site at http://www.judhaynes.com/

October 21st –  1) The video for Part 2 of Bob Egan’s presentation about “the making of” the album art for three quintessential records from Bob Dylan’s catalog – this one focused on Highway 61 Revisited – has been posted as part of an article on the Rolling Stone magazine site. Daniel Kramer’s well-known photo showing Dylan sitting on the steps of the apartment building that his manager (Albert Grossman) lived in – wearing a Triumph motorcycle t-shirt, with Ray Bans in hand – is one well-known by fans, so it is interesting to learn more about the location and the process by which Kramer coaxed this image from Dylan who, at least to me, didn’t seem all too happy about having his photo taken that day…http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/go-behind-the-scenes-of-bob-dylans-highway-61-revisited-album-cover-20151013

2) On the first day of November, the team at Art Vinyl in the U.K. launches its annual survey of the best in album cover art 2015. This year’s judging will be a bit different than what’s been done in the past in that they’re inviting the winners of the previous years’ voting (with voting having started back in 2005) to help select the 50 nominees whose works will also be put on display in five public venues (in Scotland, Italy, Norway, Hungary and England) for fans to review. Last year, over 16,000 participants cast their vote for their favorite covers, selecting the cover for #1-selling U.K. rock duo Royal Blood‘s eponymous record (featuring a Victorian etching-inspired work called “Falls” by artist Dan Hillier) as the best of 2014. To learn more about the upcoming survey and previous winners, please visit the Art Vinyl web site at http://www.artvinyl.com/best-art-vinyl/ Very eager to see who is nominated for this year’s survey – lots of good work done the past 12 months…

3) Original founder/lead singer for Oasis Liam Gallagher has a store in Manchester called Pretty Green that features his clothing line by the same name, and now he’s bringing fans/shoppers an opportunity to see an album cover photo show featuring works – including his many album cover shots for Oasis – by designer/photographer Brian Cannon. Brian’s also done covers for Ash, Suede, Super Furry Animals, The Verve and other well-known music industry clients, so it only makes sense that Gallagher would work with Cannon to shoot photos of his new clothing line as well. In this article by Emily Heward on the Manchester Evening News site, you’ll learn more about Cannon, his long-standing relationship with Oasis (a band not known for long-lasting relationships) and the stories behind some of the band’s best-known record covers – http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-oasis-britpop-album-covers-10260594

October 20th –  1) The producers for the documentary on the rise-and-fall of the Tower Records chain (titled All Things Must Pass) has just announced that the film will go into wider release over the next few weeks (even hitting here in Portland on December 4th!), so if you’d like to find out when and where it will be playing in your area, click on over to their site at http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/theatrical-info/
The film premiered last week and has rec’d some very nice reviews. I’ll be wearing my bright yellow “Kickstarter Supporter” t-shirt when I see it – can’t wait. To see the trailer, visit http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/trailer/
Anyone who has spent time digging through bins there should get a kick out of reliving those moments in this film.

2) The more-painterly endeavors of Seymour, Indiana’s best-known export – musician John Mellencamp – are now on display in a new art show hosted by the the ACA Galleries in NYC that opened Oct. 22nd. Running there through December 19th, “The Isolation of Mister” will show that, while the young artist’s career as a painter was side-tracked by his career as a R&RHOF-inducted rock star, his ability to express himself on canvas was never diminished. I also think you’ll enjoy reading Isaac Kaplan’s recent interview with Mellencamp on the Artsy.com site, where he talks about his craft, how a visit by Bob Dylan to his art studio kept his painting career front-and-center in his life and why he doesn’t make these colorful/insightful images to make YOU happy – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rock-and-roll-legend-john-mellencamp-talks-painting
To learn more about his new gallery show, click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.acagalleries.com/artists/m/John-Mellencamp/

3) Artist Shepard Fairey has enjoyed success as an album cover artist (doing works for Tom Petty, The Black-Eyed Peas, Billy Idol and Led Zeppelin, among others), a poster artist (dozens of designs, including the acclaimed “Obama/Hope” design) and purveyor of graffiti and murals both legal and less-so, so capturing the essence of his work in a single book must have been quite the daunting task. However, as you’ll see when you thumb through his latest monotype – titled Covert To Overt – his motivations and influences over the years haven’t changed all that much, with a focus on “the subversive” and bringing meaningful ideas (AKA “propaganda”) to life through design. In this interview with Hugh Hart on the Fast Company/Create site, the pair talk about his career, his Obey Giant Industries business and how his “propaganda” is really there to start conversations on topics important to us all. http://www.fastcocreate.com/3051383/post-hope-poster-shepard-fairey-on-art-advertising-and-propaganda

October 19th – 1) While Nick Schager’s review on the Variety.com site of Laura Israel’s just-released documentary about famed art director and photographer Robert Frank (titled Don’t Blink) might not motivate you to rush out to see the film, it seems clear that the subject material – Frank’s impressive career and even more-interesting life – deserved the attention. Most of us will regard just two examples of his creative output – his book titled The Americans that documented his journey across mid-century America with photos that showed both the beauty and sadness of the country at the time, plus his cover for The Rolling Stones’ 1972 masterpiece Exile On Main Street – as a lifetime’s accomplishment, but he’s continued bringing us – on film, in pictures, etc. – fascinating and wonderful items that show the world – warts and all – as he sees it (and wants us to see it) – http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/dont-blink-robert-frank-review-1201612629/

2) If you were reading magazines, buying posters to decorate your dorm room or listening to Duran Duran in the late 1970s-early 1980s, you undoubtedly were familiar with the works of artist Patrick Nagel. His Art Deco-influenced paintings of seductive women (those eyes!) were a staple illustration found in Playboy and Rolling Stone and in ads for Intel, IBM and Budweiser and, although he’s been dead for over 30 years, his artwork is still popular with poster collectors and merchandising companies world-wide, as is exemplified in this article by Hayley Helms for the Transworld Business site in which we learn more about the recent deal to produce limited-edition products signed by skateboard/clothing manufacturer HUF and Nagel’s estate. According to the nicely-illustrated article, “HUF proudly partners with Patrick Nagel and his estate to release a collection of items highlighting the artist’s work and legacy. Consisting of reversible satin bomber jackets, fleece hoodies, skateboard decks, 6-panel hats, a blanket, pin set and tees, the HUF x Nagel Collaboration retails from $12-$190. More via the link at http://business.transworld.net/news/huf-and-patrick-nagel-join-forces-for-limited-edition-collaboration/

3) Yes, you heard it right – The Zombies have a new album out, and it features artwork by Terry Quirk, the artist responsible for the very-psychedelic designs featured on the band’s seminal 1968 release Odessey & Oracle. The new record, titled Still Got That Hunger, brings together original members Rod Argent and Colin Bunstone and the song-writing duo will re-team with original Zombies Chris White (who introduced Quirk to the band) and Hugh Grundy to perform Odessey & Oracle in its entirety on tour soon. We’re assuming that the band kept the title for the new record simple so as to avoid any further spelling mistakes going forward…Read more about the band and their ongoing efforts in Jordan Runtagh’s interview article on the VH-1 site via the link – http://www.vh1.com/news/212077/the-zombies-still-got-that-hunger-interview/

October 16th – 1) The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH recently launched an exhibit sure to delight fans of Graham Nash and the whole West Coast music-making scene. Titled “Graham Nash: Touching The Flame”, is a multi-media extravaganza with a twist – it’s focus is on all of the things (people, scenes, world politics, etc.) that helped shape Graham’s life and creative output, both as a musician and as an accomplished photographer (and inventor of advanced digital photo printing processes). In addition to photos, memorabilia and the like (per the show’s press kit – it will “showcase his interests in photography, collecting and other artistic endeavors. Among the items that will be featured in the exhibit are some rare pieces of Buddy Holly memorabilia and photos that Graham has collected” – there are several interactive elements to the show, including a station where you can sing harmonies with Mr. Nash (if only!). Read more about the exhibit and watch a video introduction hosted by Nash via the link – http://rockhall.com/exhibits/graham-nash-touching-the-flame-exhibit-rock-hall/

2) The folks at L-13 Gallery in the U.K., as part of a display at the Multiplied Contemporary Art Editions show hosted by Christie’s in South Kensington this weekend, are releasing a new set of prints that fans of iconic punk imagery are going to want to look at. Famed designer Jamie Reid has produced what he calls a “Republic Box Set” consisting of “documentary materials relating to the God Save the Queen artworks, all sourced from original materials held in the Jamie Reid Archive.” The set will be released in a signed and numbered edition of 113 (with 13 APs) boxes, each containing 11 prints (approx. 16.5″ x 11.8″) on 310 gsm photo gloss paper, with each one numbered and stamped on the back and housed in a silver clam-shell box with debossed covers. The publishers are so thoughtful that they’re also throwing in a set of black latex gloves for handling! The set is published by John Marchant Gallery in association with the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop. There was a limited-time special offer for the duration of the art fair: £195 (approx. $300, plus shipping), with the price going up on Monday the 19th to £250 (about $385, plus shipping). Details are available on the L-13 site – http://www.l-13.org/acatalog/L-13_Latest_Works.html

3) Grammy-winning album cover designer Fritz Klaetke (principal at Boston’s Visual Dialogue design firm) has used whatever spare time he could take from an already-busy schedule to work with his team to create a new store (currently a “pop-up”) that has called on all of their talents – “we created the concept, developed the branding, designed the merchandise, sourced local makers, curated the vintage items, developed the website, constructed the store, etc., etc…all on top of our “day jobs” running Visual Dialogue” – to offer customers a wide range of products made by local designers and artisans. Called “1630” (the year the city was founded), the products are “a treasure trove of antiques and collectibles. We’ve scoured the best vintage fairs and markets to bring you curated, one-of-a-kind home goods, jewelry, and artwork. Each of these unique objects tells a story–so you can bring a piece of history home”…Still working for clients in the music business, the team also just created the Lead Belly box set for their client Smithsonian Folkways. Best of luck, Fritz! To learn more about this latest effort, please visit http://1630boston.com/#proprietors

October 15th – 1) I’m not sure whether it is because I spent a number of years creating programming for young people or, more likely, I’m still a juvenile at heart, but I sure love them Minions…Because of happiness these pill-shaped characters bring to me every time I see them, I was even more happy to see them in this new application – featured characters in a series of heavy metal album cover recreations! If you click on over to Greg Kennelty’s article on the Metal Injection site, you’ll learn more about a DeviantArt page hosted by the “Croatian Crusader” where you’ll find his collection of covers for his imaginary “Iron Minion” band based on the well-known designs of seminal metal band Iron Maiden.
Number Of The Beast made me laugh out loud – what’s your favorite? http://www.metalinjection.net/around-the-interwebs/only-a-matter-of-time-iron-maiden-minions-mashed-up-album-covers
I can only assume that, somewhere on the interwebs, there’s a site where you’ll find famous punk covers featuring the Seven Dwarfs.

2) Speaking of Belles – there was a special presentation the week of October 20th at Help of Ojai’s Kent Hall (in Ojai, CA.) done as part of the monthly meeting of the Ojai Photo Club featuring musician and photographer Chris Jensen who, according to this article by Myrna on the Ventura County Star site, has produced portraits of everyone from “Belles and Brawn to Rockers and Troubadors”. Originally a drummer in local bands, Jensen went back to school in the mid-70s to earn his degree in graphic design and then, in the late-70s, opened a design/photography studio in Salt Lake City, soon taking on projects for a wide range of local clients. News of his talents spread, landing him gigs with subjects including Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart and, ultimately, moving to the LA area (actually, Ventura) to be closer to his client base. Jensen will be providing a retrospective of his career, so click on over to http://www.vcstar.com/ugc/yournews/from-belles-and-brawn-to-rockers-and-troubadors-chris-jensen-talks-about-portriture-at-ojai-photo-club_188823 to get the details.

3) Film-maker/obsessive record collector Eilon Paz has worked for the past several years on digging into the details of what makes people put together large collections of records/CDs and, as the result of that effort, he’s just released a new book titled Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, compiled by Paz and edited by Sheila Burgel, who’s own huge collection was also featured in the book. Writers Oscar Garza and Cameron Kell, writing for The Frame site, interviewed the two about their new tome and learned quite a lot about what motivates folks to invest the time, money and sagging floors in order to have their music close at hand. You’ll also be able to hear the interview via the audio file posted on the site – http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2015/10/06/44702/dust-grooves-one-on-one-with-the-world-s-most-obse/ 
One look at Questlove sitting amongst his collection explains quite a bit, don’t you think (“happy as a ____ in ____” – you fill in the blanks).

October 14th – 1) Need to clarify and update my posting yesterday on the death of John Berg – John died this past Sunday due to complications from pneumonia. Since then, I’ve received a number of notes from people that either/both worked with him and/or were mentored by him that expressed their sorrow about his passing and emphasized the long-term impact he had on their lives and careers.

With his permission and to exemplify the sense of loss being felt in the industry, I want to share a brief statement that accomplished designer Ron Coro sent me, along with a photo from back “in the glory days” – “The memories of working with John from 1966 on, are priceless for all of us album package designers that worked on the 10th floor at CBS Records in NYC at “Black Rock” building, as we called it, in the mid sixties…..I was hired by John right before I even graduated from The School of Visual Arts and was recommended to John Berg by Milton Glaser, my graphic design instructor…What a time it was, and it will never be repeated.”

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This photo (above) was taken in 1971 by David Gahr on the 10th floor of the CBS Building in John Bergs office. This is a year before I was promoted to Art Director, CBS Records, West Coast. Left to right: Ron Coro, John Berg and Richard Mantel…..”
Thanks for sharing this, Ron…

2) Here are reminders for two events that took place this week featuring two accomplished music industry image-makers:

a) On Thursday, Oct. 15th at Revolution Hall in Portland, OR, designer Paula Scher presented a talk sponsored by AIGA Portland titled “Identity Design Today… and Why the Blogosphere Should Shut Up!” (I’ll try not to take offense). According to the AIGA’s site, Ms. Scher “will share her views on the current state of design and social media. Sure to be engaging and thought-provoking, Scher’s talk is a rare opportunity to see one of America’s leading designers in a bold, no holds barred talk.” A principal at leading NYC design firm Pentagram, Scher’s been responsible for hundreds of record cover since she began her career at Atlantic Records in the 1970s, so if you’re wanting to hear more from one of the greats, here’s your chance – http://aigaportland.org/aiga_event/paula-scher/

b) Also that Thursday, photographer Jay Blakesberg was on hand at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles to launch a showing of his work, lead a lecture and present his latest book project titled Hippie Chick: A Tale Of Love, Devotion & Surrender. The lecture, titled “Chasing The Light: The Rock & Roll Photography of Jay Blakesberg” will include stories about his 35+ year career covering the Grateful Dead and a host of other rock music luminaries. He was on hand to sign copies of his new book as well, so if you’d like to learn from one of the music industry’s most-accomplished shooters, visit the following link – http://mrmusichead.com/event-book-signing-lecture-with-jay-blakesberg/

October 13th – 1) It is with great sadness that I must note the passing of one of the world’s most-prolific album cover art directors, former Columbia Records cover guru John Berg. He was 83 and had been suffering with Parkinson’s disease, according to his wife and creative partner, Durell Godfrey. Berg’s portfolio includes credits for over 5,000 (!!) covers, including memorable images for Barbra Streisand (Barbra Streisand Album), Bob Dylan (Blonde On Blonde and Greatest Hits), Jeff Beck (Blow By Blow), Bruce Springsteen (Greetings From Asbury Park and Born To Run) and 14 covers for Chicago (including the most-delicious one – Chicago X – done in chocolate!).
What was truly impressive about Berg’s work was his ability to find and collaborate with the most-talented photographers, designers and illustrators available, bringing the talents of people including Richard Avedon, Paul Davis, Milton Glaser, Jerry Schatzberg and many others to projects for hundreds of clients over the years.
Read more about John and his contribution to great rock imagery in Jon Blistein‘s article on the Rolling Stone magazine site – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-berg-album-art-director-for-springsteen-dylan-dead-at-83-20151013
My condolences to his family and friends – his efforts will not be forgotten.

2) There was an exhibition that ran through October 20th at the Kendal Museum (part of Kendal College) in Kendal, Cumbria, England that will be of interest to fans of both album cover art and comic books. Curated by artist Sean Phillips in anticipation of the upcoming Lakes Comic Book Festival, there are 60 covers on display featuring the work of well-known album cover artists including Richard Corben (Bat Out Of Hell for Meat Loaf), Guy Peellaert (Diamond Dogs for David Bowie), Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz), Robert Crumb (Cheap Thrills for Big Brother & The Holding Company) and many others (60 artists in total). According to Festival Director Julie Tait, “Our exhibitions program is intended to appeal to a broad range of tastes and interests and to demonstrate that there is more to comic artists and art than meets the eye,” Find out more about the exhibition on the museum’s site at http://www.kendalmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-and-events/phonographic-exhibition-part-of-the-comic-art-festival

3) Not sure exactly why I wouldn’t want to make Grace Jones mad at me (other than the feeling that I think she could snuff me out rather quickly), but fear of her wrath seemingly did not deter self-proclaimed musical genius Kanye West from “honoring” Ms. Jones’ earlier contributions to album cover imagery by recreating them – without her approval – in his own promotional imagery (featuring his then-girlfriend Amber) when he launched his web site several years ago. This did not escape Grace’s keen eye and, in Paper Magazine‘s Nowstalgia issue, she minces no words – “‘Kanye has been ripping off stuff from me and Jean-Paul Goude for a long time, so it was no surprise to me”.
You might recall that photographer Goude did work with the new Mrs. West a couple of years ago, recreating another famous image of his – of a model balancing a champagne glass on her rather-curvaceous posterior – substituting in Kim’s ledge-like butt, with the resulting photo breaking the Internet for a couple of days…More on this in Eric Tempesta’s article on The Daily Mail (UK) web site at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3260820/Supermodel-Grace-Jones-slams-Kanye-West-ripping-images-website-weighs-Kim-Kardashian-s-internet-breaking-Paper-magazine-cover.html

October 12th – 1) Over on the East Coast Radio site (East Coast of South Africa, that is), writer Bongani Mtolo presents what is called “The Hardest Album Cover Quiz You’ll Ever Take”. You’re presented with 10 partial album cover images and have to guess (multiple choice) which records they’re from. I got 9 out of 10 (missed #2 and lucked out on #3) and, quite honestly, I think that I’ve seen/taken “harder” quizzes on the subject in the past, but I’d like to hear how you all do – http://www.ecr.co.za/shows/bongani-mtolo-1/hardest-album-cover-quiz-youll-ever-take/

2) Famed Pop Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat had his own record label 30+ years ago (Tartown Records) and released a single on vinyl by Rammellzee and K-Rob called “Beat Bop” that featured a cover design by Basquiat. Quite rare (you can, on occasion, find original copies for $1K or more), the design is now featured on a fully-licensed, limited-edition (1000) record box that, I’m assuming, will be a “must-own” collectible for DJs world-wide.
The record’s artwork is featured on all of the boxes surfaces, both inside and outside, and the box holds 50 discs, with the price for this “box set” (as they call it) being a quite-reasonable $75, while supplies last. You can read about it in David Ireland’s article on Magnetic Magazine –
http://www.magneticmag.com/2015/10/the-jean-michel-basquiat-record-box-pure-dope-for-vinyl-djs-and-collectors/ 
and buy one for yourself (or as a gift) directly from the Get On Down store (with shipping starting later this month) – http://getondown.com/album.php?id=18014

October 9th – Two award show nomination summaries and a look at album art created by musicians:

1) The nominees for “Best Recording Package” for this year’s Latin Grammy Awards have been posted, and they are:

Blam! Blam! – on Coqueiro Verde Records
Julia Rocha, art director (Jonas Sá)

Este Instante – on Aluna Music
Natalia Ayala, Carlos Dussan Gómez & Juliana Jaramillo, art directors (Marta Gómez)

Noel Rosa, Preto E Branco – on Tenda Da Raposa
Anna Amendola, art director (Valéria Lobão)

Tajo Abierto – on Frantastic Records
Pablo González & Francisca Valenzuela, art directors (Francisca Valenzuela)

Veinte Años El Grito Después – on Universal Music Group/EMI
Laura Varsky, art director (Catupecu Machu)

The winners will be announced on November 19th – congratulations to all of the nominees!
http://www.latingrammy.com/en/nominees?genre=55

2) The Australian record industry announced the winner in the “Best Cover Art” category for the annual ARIA Awards. The technical award categories are awarded prior to the televised show on November 26th that will feature the principal award categories.

This year’s winner is Courtney Barnett for Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk! Records / Remote Control)

Ms. Barnett’s album, which went #10 on the Billboard Album Charts and #13 on the UK Album Charts, also received nominations in the following categories: Album Of The Year, Best Female Artist, Best Independent Release, Best Rock Album, Breakthrough Artist and the publicly voted categories for Best Australian Live Act and Best Video for the song, ‘Pedestrian At Best’ which was directed by Charlie Ford.

Other nominees in the Cover Art category included Daniel Johns, Aref and Peter Salmon-Lomas for Daniel Johns – Talk (Eleven / EMI); Timothy Lovett for Flight Facilities – Down To Earth (Future Classic); Bjenny Montero for Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again (EMI) and Nathan Johnson for Gang of Youths – The Positions (Verge / Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Get all of the details at http://www.ariaawards.com.au/News/2015/2015-ARIA-Awards-Connected-By-Telstra-Nominated-ar

3) Writing for the Gigwise site, Alexandra Pollard has put together a nice article that serves to show just how unfair life can be sometimes, with all of the talent genes installed into a small group of lucky recipients. It’s a review of album covers that were created by musicians, with the list of 10 featured in the article including cover images created by acts including Muse, The Stone Roses, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens (AKA Yusuf), John Lennon and several others. With a large percentage of musicians having gone to “art school” (although, some admit to going “just for the chicks”), it seems clear that they often times enjoy showing off their creative “chops” in other aspects of the recorded music business (and making Art Directors quite happy sometimes, I’m told)…http://www.gigwise.com/photos/103068/album-artwork-drawn-and-designed-by-bands-and-musicians-muse-joni

BONUS BIRTHDAY CONTENT – Very happy to be able to point you to a nice article on the Biography.com site written by a former FUSE TV colleague of mine – Laurie Ulster – that talks about the many creative inspirations and outlets for the late, great John Lennon, who would have been 75 years old yesterday had not some idiot with a gun (are you detecting a pattern, perhaps?) taken his life 35 years ago… Laurie also notes that there is a gallery show featuring Lennon’s artwork running currently (through the end of the month) at the AFA Gallery down on Greene Street in NYC where you can see several dozen examples of his talent with pen and ink (and watercolor) on paper. Nice article, Laurie! – http://www.biography.com/news/john-lennon-biography-facts-75th-birthday

October 8th – 1) New and classic works by master of the collage/album cover art great Winston Smith are featured alongside several other local artists in a new show that opened October 8th at the Robert Berman Gallery in San Francisco. “Paper Cuts” will treat collectors/visitors with a selection of works that, according to the gallery’s press release, will show “how paper can take on a strength and beauty in its abstract and narrative forms. In this exhibition, we observe how such a simple medium can be transformed into diverse ranges of forms.” Smith – well known for his work for Green Day, The Dead Kennedys and others – will be showing several of his hand-cut and often humorous masterpieces and, by the looks of the other works to be shown by the other participants, the entire show looks as though it will appeal to all of our creative instincts – more via the link at http://e6gallerysf.com/future

2) I continue to be impressed with the works of album cover artists all over the world, with the Internet bringing us the ability to see the results of cover art projects by designers (and for musical acts) that most of us weren’t aware of. One such example is the works that graphic designer Supichan Rojvanich has done for a number of top recording acts in Thailand. As you’ll read in the article by writer Pimchanok Phungbun Na Ayudhya (wow!) on the Bangkok Post web site, Thai acts have not – until recently – spent a great deal of energy/resources to create memorable album cover visuals, but with Rojvanich and others leading the way, clients from all aspects of the local music business – from rock and dance bands to a Buddhist prayer group – are now getting their first taste of successful “branding” (I can only imagine how decadent the record release parties must be) –
http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/music/716032/it-more-than-an-album-cover

3) With a party at the MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles recently, rap artist Rihanna showed fans and the media some of the interesting artwork by artist Roy Nachum that will be used to package her upcoming album, titled Anti. Based on the designs that were shown, which feature (according to Frazier Tharpe, reporting for the Complex/Style site) “a young girl with a crown superimposed over her face and poetry composed in braille (by poet Chloe Mitchell) covering the canvas…it was explained that it’s inspired by Rih’s first day of daycare.” Nachum seems to have a lot of fans in the music world – there’s a painting of his titled “The Clown” hanging in Jay-Z’s NYC office – and Tharpe helps us get to know the Jerusalem-born artist a bit better in the rest of his article, reachable via this link – http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/roy-nachum-rihanna-album-cover-artist

October 8th, part 2 – 1) “Pop Spots” author/locator of all things album cover Bob Egan recently hosted a video for Rolling Stone Magazine that featured photographer Daniel Kramer giving us a look into “the making of” the iconic shot featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home LP. The story helps to provide a lead-in to the release of the upcoming compilation, The Cutting Edge 1965–1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, which contains session recordings from the album. There will be two more similar videos that give album art/”making of” back-stories for two other Dylan recordings from the same time period – Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde – so stay tuned for more opportunities to get a peek behind the scenes during the production of some of Dylan’s most-compelling records – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-how-bob-dylans-iconic-bringing-it-all-back-home-cover-was-made-20150929

2) The work of long-time (former) Factory Records album art guru Peter Saville can be found on the most-recent release by seminal synth-rock band New Order. The band’s ninth studio record – titled Music Complete – is reviewed by Anwen Crawford in the “Pop Music” section of the 10/5 issue of New Yorker magazine. According to Crawford, “Saville’s designs for the band, using grids, color blocks, and stock photos, resemble advertising for a company that does not exist. Just as the members of New Order have tended to be subsumed by the group as a whole, the visual style creates a dislocation between the band and its audience.”
Someday, I’ll try and figure out just what “critic-speak” means in layman’s terms, but it is comforting to know that there is still an appreciation for the value of long-standing relationships between designers and their music-industry clients – http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/05/late-style

3) What starts out as a riff by a writer about a musical act’s rather-mundane approach to album cover art (embellishing a stock photo with some bling) turns in to a rather-detailed lament about how album art used to be an essential element in building bridges between musical acts and their fans and, at least for me, it’s refreshing to hear this from writers covering today’s “money/brand is everything” music business. While I don’t know anything about the author (“Yoh”, AKA Yotoshop AKA @Yoh31), I would invite all you (us) old-timers to read his/her article on the Complex Music/DJ Booth site and then share your own thoughts on the subject – http://www.djbooth.net/index/news/entry/2015-09-30-album-art-meme
Also – can someone help with a more-detailed definition of the word “meme” than I seem to be able to find?

October 7th – 1) Happy to announce the launch of a new retail site by award-winning (inc. 3 Grammy Awards) album cover designer Kosh, the guy responsible for at least ONE BILLION of your favorite album cover images (OK, I may have exaggerated a bit, but it’s a LOT of them). What’s even more impressive about the designer’s latest efforts is that they include a number of impressive re-interpretations and “mash-ups” of some of his better-known covers. I’m particularly taken by one titled Abbey Hotel, a work that combines aspects of both The Eagles’ Hotel California with The Beatles’ Abbey Road (in real life, traffic would have to stop until the Fab Four reached the other side of the cross-walk).
The new line of limited-edition prints were premiered at a recent display at the Delicious Vinyl Records store in Los Angeles, with Kosh’s designs for clients including Linda Ronstadt, ELO, John Lennon, Humble Pie, The Who and others nicely represented. If you are a fan of great album packaging, be sure to click on over to the new site and take a tour – http://www.koshdesign.com/ 
Via this link, you’ll also find several video interviews with the man behind the magic – http://www.koshdesign.com/about

2) Recently, in a special article on “The Cut” section of the New York Magazine site, photographer/lover-of-life Eve Babitz (the talent behind well-regarded photographs for Buffalo Springfield, Black Oak Arkansas and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel) gets a chance to share some of her early escapades as “A 70s It Girl”, friend and lover to some of the Los Angeles entertainment scenes most-important people (including Jim Morrison of The Doors). Some of you will recall Julian Wasser’s startling (at the time – 1963) photo of a naked Ms. Babitz sitting across from Marcel Duchamp while playing a game of chess in a gallery of the Pasadena Art Museum, but it was her talents as writer and photographer that helped her produce articles about her life and “the scene” that have continued to impress readers with their ability to bring us closer to a sphere of personalities that were beyond our purview… http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/09/sex-life-of-a-70s-it-girl.html

October 5th – 1) Happy to report on this nice review in the New York Times of the NYC premiere of Roddy Bogawa’s film about famed album cover design guru Storm Thorgerson. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/movies/review-taken-by-storm-about-the-mind-behind-a-design.html
You might recall my interview a few years back with Roddy (in 2 parts) while he was in the midst of making this film, during which he spoke about Storm & his partners at the design firm Hipgnosis, as well as his take on a wide range of music/art topics, so it was great to read about both the warm reception his film is getting and why Taken By Storm serves to remind both music/art fans and creators of album cover imagery that creativity is the expression of great ideas and not simply the application of algorithms and filters. I’d invite you to all to read the initial interview with this talented film-maker via the link – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2011/06/interview-with-roddy-bogawa-on-the-documentary-film-taken-by-storm.html

2) Baltimore, MD is the home of an intriguing museum – the American Visionary Art Museum, or AVAM – dedicated to the presentation of art created by self-taught individuals ” whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself”. They’ve been at this for 20 years now and, as part of their anniversary celebration (titled “The Big Hope Show”), they’re presenting the works of psychedelic rock bandleader Wayne Coyne (of The Flaming Lips), whose newest installation, titled “Kings Mouth”, is Coyne’s ultimate expression of a near-death experience he suffered while working as a cashier at a fast food restaurant years ago. Coyne also created the cover art for the band’s 2014 Beatles tribute record With A Little Help From My Fwends, and you can read more about this show (which is running until next September) and some of the other participating artists on the museum’s promo page at –
http://www.avam.org/exhibitions/big-hope-show.shtml

3) Designer Leif Podhasky has been quite busy lately, creating intriguing cover art designs for clients including Tame Impala, The Vines, Kells, Of Monsters & Men and others, but outside the music business, he’s hooked up with top Scotch Whisky distillery Ballantine’s to create a series of limited-edition bottles that “will be a must have for whisky and art connoisseurs alike,” according to Peter Moore, global brand director of Ballantine’s. The three special products will begin shipping world-wide later this month, but art fans can sign up now for a chance to win a set of limited-edition prints of the trio of designs featured on the packaging via a contest run by the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/competition/4534/Win-a-set-of-three-framed-artworks-from-Ballantine-s-Artist-Series Writing for The Spirits Business web site, Amy Hopkins gives us more of the details behind the artist and his inspirations for these colorful designs – http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2015/09/ballantines-unveils-artist-series-whisky-bottles/

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

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – September, 2015

It’s October 2015 and we’ve been rewarded for our having withstood a wild Summer with an amazing “SuperMoon” display recently. Some of the larger local fires are now under control, but the album art world continues to burn up the news wires, with September stories featuring a steady stream of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feeds. In the following paragraphs, I’ll try and provide you with some highlights and updates, but it’ll be up to you at that point to complete your review of this impressive list sure to please album art fans everywhere.

There were interviews galore  – in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including principals from the FUEL Design Group, photographers Mick Rock, Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Bob Gruen, Sir Peter Blake discussing his new Dazzle art mash-up app and a group of designers who share their favorite Rolling Stones covers and how they’ve influenced their own works.

In the fine art book category, artists and their publishers enticed us with new releases, with monographs featuring the works of Mick Rock (photos of early-stage David Bowie & Friends), Ringo Starr (with a new book of Beatles photos), Jazz Record greats, Brian Griffin (taking on a very thought-provoking subject) and punk/grunge-era designer Art Chantry, who warns prospective design students about the dangers of working in the music business.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during September, with museum curators and gallery owners around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll find the details about current and just-completed exhibits such as Mick Rock’s photos of David Bowie at the Taschen Gallery in LA, Baron Wolman’s photos on display in a Louisville, KY distillery, David McClister’s photos at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, an upcoming display in Hoboken, NJ to commemorate the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra, Michael Miller’s display of West Coast Hip-Hop/Rap icons in Orange County, CA, Robert Knight & Maryanne Bilham’s photos in Las Vegas, Henry Diltz & Pattie Boyd’s multi-city photo show, Michael McCartney’s photos in Liverpool (where else?), a collection of photos of Bruce Springsteen up at Monmouth College and a show of Albert Watson’s fascinating collection of shots taken with a Polaroid camera.

Other stories included Rachael Stevens’ monthly record sleeve overview in the Creative Review, several “making of” articles by James Stafford and others (Pantera, The Offspring and Machine Gun Kelley), the release of a turntable/vinyl/book package for young record collectors, a look at an audiophile turntable featuring Queen graphics, Eric Arthurs video presentations of the “Worst Album Covers Ever”, a display of NFL football logos re-imagined as album covers, auctions with art by Andy Warhol, Lee Conklin, Klaus Voorman and the London Features photo syndicate and a teacher who styles his classroom and course materials around the art and music of Kanye West. Of course, I don’t have room to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that with all of the distractions caused by global politics, celebrity clothing mishaps and clients that never seem to pay their invoices on time might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I continue to say (every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

September 30th – End-of-the-month mish-mash of items for you:

1) In a new “And Justice For Art” posting by Ramon Martos Garcia on the MetalUnderground.com site, you’ll learn more about what must be the ultimate commitment to album cover art – having full-color covers tattooed across your back! In the nicely-illustrated article, you’ll find fans of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, KISS and others proudly displaying their cover art recreations. Whether they insisted on pixel-perfect duplications or allowed themselves some creative freedom and added/modified the originals to be more to their own tastes, you must admit that these fans have paid tribute to their favorite groups in a way that few other fans would dare – http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=116741

Have any of you gone down this same path?

2) The promo team at the Girls Rock Camp organization has come up with a unique way to raise funds for their efforts – selling prints of re-creations of classic album covers starring some of their own campers. The “Record Remake Project” page shows nicely-rendered images of their takes on record covers originally produced for musical acts including David Bowie, U2, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar and several others. My hands-down favorite is their take on Blondie’s Parallel Lines record – little “Debbie Harry” is just so cute! Photo credits are given to Carli Davidson, Melanie Aron, Holly Andres, and Shelby Duncan and print prices begin at $50, with the proceeds go towards the group’s ongoing mentoring efforts –

http://www.girlsrockcampfoundation.org/store/

3) Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery in Louisville, KY has put together a wonderful rock photo show now running as part of the Louisville Photo Biennial. Launched last Friday (and running through November 27th),  “The Art of Rock: Transcending Sound” features a nice selection of photos by the talented Baron Wolman, along with prints produced by several local photographers. The exhibit was curated by Mary Yates, who collaborated with local photo gallery owner Paul Paletti and several others to procure all of the images now on display in the distillery’s 2nd floor gallery. More info on this show is available in this article by Sara Havens on the Insider Louisville site – http://insiderlouisville.com/lifestyle_culture/copper-kings-joins-louisville-photo-biennial-art-rock-transcending-sound/

BONUS CONTENT – Fans of graphic imagery from the 1990s will get a kick out of this new music video produced by top branding agency Pentagram’s London office for Jesse Hackett’s first single titled “The Dump Run”. Hackett had found a discarded electronic keyboard near a dumpster which inspired him with both its retro sound stylings and the graphics used on its case and keyboard. The Pentagram team took a decidedly early Flash-animation approach to the video, fitting the overall attitude of the cut quite nicely. It caught the attention of the folks over at Fast Company, who introduce it to us via this recent article – http://www.fastcodesign.com/3051400/pentagrams-new-music-video-is-an-ode-to-90s-graphic-design

Oh how I miss those days of Macromedia Director/Shockwave on an Amiga…

September 29th –  1) This past weekend, at the DiMattio Gallery in Rechnitz Hall at New Jersey’s Monmouth University, a new photo show debuted featuring an intriguing collection of photographs of NJ music legend Bruce Springsteen shot by photographers Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Barry Schneier, Pamela Springsteen and Frank Stefanko. Curated by the Grammy Museum, the 45 photos on display work to show The Boss at all stages of his 40+ year career in music-making, from shots of his famed May, 1974 show in Harvard Square thru photos taken for his most-recent release titled High Hopes. To provide a more-intimate experiece for visitors, there are video interviews (produced by the Grammy Museum) of each of the photographers talking about their experiences working with Springsteen. The show, titled Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey, runs through December 22nd, with more info available on the gallery’s site at http://www.monmouth.edu/templates/EventDetail.aspx?id=40802203509

2) Multiple award-winning photographer Albert Watson, the man responsible for a long list of great album cover images over the past 40+ years (you’ll recall his covers for Carly Simon, Sade, P.M. Dawn, L.L. Cool J and many others), is the subject of a new show that focuses on a select grouping derived from over 100,000 Polaroid photos he’s taken of a huge range of subjects. On display now through October 24th at the Christophe Guye Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland, ‘Roids! shows Watson’s process as he first used the inexpensive instant camera to help him set up shots he’d envisioned to later using scanning technology to take the medium’s unique image qualities to an even-higher level via a series of large-format prints he’s created. You can read more about the man and this show via this recent article in L’Oeil de la Photographie magazine – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/09/21/exhibition/29726/zurich-roids-by-albert-watson-at-christophe-guye-gallery
Of course, I’m hoping that the show’s title is a clever play on words and not one of those situations where the English gets lost in translation…

3) “Why did the Dalek cross the road”, you ask? You’ll have to talk to the Doctor who, in this case, is Doctor Who. It seems that the good Doctor and his BBC compadres have stimulated a lot of conversation with their re-creation of the often-imitated Abbey Road album cover, with this one featuring the Doctor, Clara Oswald and two of the show’s mechanical stars. With Clara in Paul M’s position in the image (barefoot, of course), does this mean bad things for her character? Conspiracy theorists have piped in with scores of explanations, so feel free to add one of your own after you’ve seen the image on Jonathan Holmes‘ article on the Radio Times site – http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-09-19/doctor-who-does-the-beatles–but-does-this-picture-prove-clara-oswald-will-die
Actress Jenna Coleman (Clara) announced that she’ll be leaving the show, so things are looking grim, wouldn’t you agree?

September 28th – Two interesting auctions and a thought-provoking interview:

1) Fans of psychedelic album art have always cherished illustrator Lee Conklin’s pen and ink “lion” cover for Santana’s debut record, so it’s fun to see a large collection of his poster work up for bidding on the Psychedelic Art Exchange as part of their larger anniversary auction, running now through 9PM EST on October 8th. You’ll see examples of Conklin’s work for Filmore Auditorium gigs by bands including Cream, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly and many others – each one a mind-blowing psychedelic masterpiece. Happy bidding!

http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com/catalog.aspx?auctionid=52&searchvalue=conklin&searchby=3

2) As part of their September 29th Rock & Pop auction, the folks at Sotheby’s in London offered a Lot (#105) that included the 58 albums designed by Pop artist Andy Warhol between 1949 – 1987. Two of the examples included in this rare collection – 1967’s Velvet Underground & Nico and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers from 1971 – are signed by the artist. The lot also included a hand-pulled silkscreen print, nine books, some 7″ single covers and an example of the last cover Warhol was working on (one for MTV’s High Priority album) when he died in 1987 (the design was completed by his studio staff). The pre-auction estimate ranged from $46,700 to $78,000, and fans of Warhol art can still get a closer look via the electronic catalog (“turn” to page 82) – http://www.sothebys.com/pdf/2015/L15414/index.html

Update – the lot detailed above did not sell at this auction, but another lot that featured the contract that The Beatles signed with their manager Brian Epstein did sell for approx. $554,000, a bit above its pre-auction estimate.

3) Designers Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell teamed to launch the FUEL design group in 1991 and, since then, have established a sterling reputation for their work for clients in the book publishing, TV/print advertising, music and film worlds but, as you’ll read in Andy Butler’s recent illustrated interview with the pair on the Designboom site, you can trace the earliest inspirations back to – guess where – album cover design. They met at design school (Central St. Martin’s college in the U.K.) in the late 1980s and first worked together to produce a magazine titled FUEL as “a vehicle to express ourselves in content and form, a means of reaching a broad audience, not just within graphic design”. I think that you’ll agree that they’ve done a good job of maintaining that approach to doing great work, with their motto being “bad taste is designing with good taste in mind”. Perfect.

http://www.designboom.com/design/fuel-design-group-interview-09-20-2015/ 

September 25th – 1) Major branding alert! The very British rock band Queen has teamed up with very British turntable (what’s that? they ask) manufacturer Rega to create a very unique hardware/content package that is available to collectors and audiophiles as of today (in the U.K.; early October for U.S. customers). The “Queen By Rega” turntable ($650 list), according to the manufacturer, is “a brand new limited edition official turntable to coincide with the release of the re-mastered coloured vinyl multi disc box set.” The design of this unique custom deck includes reproductions of classic Queen logos, including the Freddie Mercury-designed “Queen’s Crest” logos on the platter and the lid bridge. It’s available only thru authorized Rega dealers (not online – more details at http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Queen-Studio-Collection/Queen-by-Rega-Turntable/4REF056O071), while the “Studio Collection Vinyl Box Set”, which contains remastered versions of all 15 studio albums on 180 gram vinyl and a beautifully-illustrated 108-page book, is selling for $445. http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Music/Queen-The-Studio-Collection-Coloured-Vinyl-Box-Set/4O1C032M071    Oh, won’t you take me home tonight?

2) One of the highlights of the 4th annual Beatles Festival – held for the first time this year on September 26th in the Strawberry Fields near the junction of the 605 and 60 Freeways near Southern California’s San Gabriel River – was a 3pm (PST) interview featuring the designer of the band’s Magical Mystery Tour album, artist John Van Hamersveld. JVH was there to talk about his designs and also had autographed MMT covers for sale (along with his books on design). The fest also had other art and memorabilia installations, including several 10-foot tall recreations of classic Beatles album art. More on this at the event’s web site – http://www.beatlestributefest.com/schedule.html

3) The works of celebrated photographer David McClister are the subject of a display launched recently in conjunction with the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, TN and hosted by one of the music industry’s best-known intimate music venues, The Bluebird Cafe, a place quite familiar to fans of the hit ABC TV series Nashville. The 32 photo prints on display will include shots of many of the best-known artists who’ve recorded and played in this music capitol such as Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant, Ryan Adams (whose debut solo LP featured a cover shot by McClister) and many others. The show will be up for several months, and in Dylan Aycock‘s article on The Tennessean web site, you’ll get to meet the man whose 15+ years of photo imagery has made him a respected local asset – http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2015/09/19/americana-photography-exhibit-opening-bluebird-cafe/72471354/ More details also available at the venue’s site –
http://bluebirdcafe.com/viewArticle.cfm?id=158

BONUS  CONTENT – You all know photographer Bob Gruen‘s work – his photos of John Lennon, KISS, The Raspberries and many others are icons in the album cover world – but were you aware that he traveled with The Sex Pistols while they were on their “farewell” tour here in the U.S.? There to witness the break-up of the influential band, Bob’s photos (and the stories behind them) are the subject of a short video titled “Bob Gruen: On The Road With The Sex Pistols” just posted on the Artdaily.org site – http://artdaily.com/?date=09/24/2015#video Hear how Bob lucked in to getting the last seat on the tour bus and what he witnessed while the band worked hard to antagonize audiences all through the South – classic!

September 24th – 1) The folks at Backstage Auctions staged a new auction the weekend of September 24th that enticed collectors of rock/album art imagery. London-based photo agency London Features amassed a huge collection of rock ‘n’ roll photos starting in the 1960s and over 20,000 of these images will be put up for sale – many with full rights of ownership – in an auction of 425 assorted lots. I found 2 lots that album art fans might want to pay special attention to: Lot 1044 contains a selection of photos, slides and negatives of the members of the band Blind Faith taken by Bob Seidemann in 1969 and includes one photo that was used both as the back cover photo on the package with the controversial cover (i.e., the one with the naked young girl holding the shiny airship) and as the “alternative” front cover for markets too upset by the official cover – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1044-blind-faith-1969-lot-of-29-bw-candid-posed-negatives-/ai/0/22656/

while Lot 1135 is a collection of 108 photo negatives of Beggar’s Banquet-era Rolling Stones taken by 10 different shooters and included is an alt version of the cover image taken during that record’s photo shoot – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1135-the-rolling-stones-1964—1968-lot-of-108-bw-candid-outtake-negatives-with-full-rights/ai/0/22747/

The auction ends on October 4th – All it takes is money (and a winning bid) – best of luck!

2) A recent article by Kim Goggins on the Muskoka Region (Canada) site highlights the career of long-time rock photographer John Rowlands, who staged a fund-raising show/lecture about his work and career on the evening of September 25th at the Gravenhurst Opera House. The two-part fundraiser (another similar event was held on the 26th as well) is for a four-year-old local boy named Mason Anderson who has cerebral palsy. Anderson needs to travel to the U.S. for an operation called a “Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy” that the Ontario government won’t fund. Fundraising efforts since February 2015 have raised about $90,000 towards the $100,000-plus surgery. Event attendees will get to see many examples of Rowlands’ images of popular musicians, from mid-1960s Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga and Iggy Azalea. The show and silent auction began at 6:30pm local time, with more details via the link at http://m.muskokaregion.com/news-story/5914534-rock-n-roll-photographer-will-share-his-stories

3) Classic design is ALWAYS classic design, as is evidenced by Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s realization that the recent issue of Billboard Magazine he was featured on “looks like a Clash album cover”, referring to the cover created by the late designer Ray Lowry (featuring Pennie Smith’s iconic photograph) in 1979 for the band’s 1980 release London Calling. Music geek Fallon should also know that Lowry’s 35-year-old design actually paid homage to the original design featured on Elvis Presley’s debut record, and again in 1995 for Mick Jones’/Big Audio Dynamite’s release P-Funk. Joe Lynch gives us the details on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6700453/jimmy-fallon-billboard-cover-clash-album-tonight-show

Sept. 23rd – Three “making ofs” and an opportunity for YOU to become a rich and famous album cover designer…

1) While I spend most of my time researching and writing about “classic” album cover artists and their art, I do, on occasion, run across a new work of art that inspires me to learn more about the folks behind it and share that with you. This is the case today as I ask you to click on over to Troy Smith’s article on the Cleveland.com site about Tyler Nikkel’s fascinating cover image for Machine Gun Kelley’s upcoming new album titled General Admission (due out October 16th). Nikkel, who is a graphic designer based in Kansas, had been sending the rapper samples of his “fan art” via social media that ultimately convinced MGK to commission him for this new work. The two collaborated on a design that has a bit of a classic Roger Dean-style feel to it and including a lot of specific and hidden references to the architecture and culture of the city of Cleveland as well as to each of the songs on the new record. Nice job, I think – http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/09/the_story_behind_machine_gun_k.html

2) Writer James Stafford provides us with two new “Cover Stories” – over on the Loudwire.com site, you’ll learn more about Dean Kerr’s work (and re-work) on the cover shot for Pantera’s 1994 record Far Beyond Driven featuring an image that would prove popular both to the band’s fans and those who might spend a lot of time in the Hand Tools aisle at the local Home Depot. Interestingly enough, the original art Kerr produced made him a pain in the ass at the record label, while his fix simply gave them a headache – http://loudwire.com/cover-stories-pantera-far-beyond-driven/ Over on the Diffuser.fm site, Stafford gives us the details behind album cover and poster designer Frank Kozik’s illustration for the mega-selling 1998 record Americana by The Offspring. You want to know why there’s a little kid with a leg brace swinging while holding a huge bug? Click on over for a most-enlightening answer – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-the-offspring-americana/ Just don’t hate me when you’re done.

3) The headline reads “Young Thug Wants YOU To Design His Slime Season Mixtape Cover“, and while there’s no official release date announced yet, nor is there much incentive provided in the accompanying article’s details (posted by Trevor Smith on the Hot New Hip Hop site), once can only assume that all of your hard work will be rewarded with a lifetime work contract and a huge percentage of the profits made via your design (isn’t that always the case, designers?) – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/young-thug-wants-you-to-design-his-slime-season-mixtape-cover-news.17619.html

Sept. 21st –  1) Here’s a nice profile article on a Denver-based design agency called The Made Shop that grew from a way for a husband and wife creative team to share their love for design and music (and make some extra money on the side) to a full-time gig that lets them explore many different production and delivery methods while making memorable imagery for their clients. Now in business for over 12 years, Marke & Kimberly Johnson have created some wonderful album art for musical acts including The Fray and Son Lux (their cover for the band’s We Are Rising record features 28 exploding colored smoke bombs) while taking on projects for clients in the film, TV and print publishing worlds, with more behind the scenes details revealed in Rachael Steven‘s recent article on the Creative Review site – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/september/handcrafted-designs-from-denver-studio-the-made-shop-2/

2) More album art inspiration is on display in this rather-cool new exhibition at the Wolveschildren Art Space in Ballarat, VIC, Australia titled “Cover Versions” that features re-interpretations of a number of well-known album covers by more than a dozen local illustrators. While most designers and artists rely on digital tools to create album cover imagery these days, the works on display in this show have been created via “a range of mediums from pen, brush, ink, paint, sculpture and digital”. The exhibit is up until October 10th, with more details available in Dellaram Vreeland’s article on The Courier site – http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3353553/interpreting-record-covers/

You can see more pix of the show on the Art Space’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wolveschildren

3) Some of you may have seen these videos in the past, but I just recently discovered 3 short videos made by Eric Arthur that bring viewers dozens and dozens of horrible album covers, synchronized to classical music scores. Eric is a musician who plays piano in New Orleans-style blues band Bucucrasu & The Slimline Shufflers and has also established himself as an expert in Bad Album Art (you know it when you see it), so if you’re looking to test your tolerance (you can always close your eyes and just enjoy the score), start with Part One of his Worst Album Covers Ever video series and build calluses on your brain from there – http://ericarthur.co.uk/bad-lp-covers/

Sept. 18th –  1) Would like to see you all visit Bruce Jenkins‘ Vinyl Connection site to read a couple of his recent postings having to do with album covers featuring hands. It seems that a number of art-obsessed genres – Prog, Metal, New Age, Jazz, etc. – use images of hands as a central design theme. Many seem to show hands palms up in an effort to invite you in to the recording (or, in some cases, as a way to show us what’s growing in their palms), and most are done close-up, perhaps to allow the palm readers in the audience to determine the length of the models’ Life and Love lines… In any case, Bruce found enough examples (22) to bring us two detailed articles – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/01/10-handy-album-covers/ and http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/15/12-more-handy-album-covers/ with the second collection containing what is my favorite example, that being the cover of Jerry Garcia’s Studio Sessions record (classic Garcia humor)…

2) The Entertainment & Musical Memorabilia Signature Auction hosted by Heritage Auction house recently showcased examples of classic graphic design – including a set of Richard Avedon psychedelic Beatles posters done for Stern magazine in 1968 (you’ll know them when you see them) – and something really unique done by artist/musician/part-time Beatle Klaus Voorman, that being a 1990’s reworking of his iconic cover art for the band’s Revolver LP. Voorman takes an original Revolver LP cover, lays a 12″ x 12″ piece of acetate on top of it, and then paints on new graphics that depict the band in their colorful Sgt. Pepper regalia. It’s an impressive work, and one that, in my estimation, will sell well-above the $2500 opening bid (no reserve, though!).
http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/klaus-voormann-original-beatles-artwork-sgt-revolver-germany-1990s-/a/7149-89117.s?ic4=GalleryView-Thumbnail-071515

Update – the Voorman artwork sold for $3250, while the Avedon prints sold for $4000 for the set…

3) Rock photography fans in the NYC area  were given the chance to hoof it on over to the “Photoville” pop-up photo show through Sunday the 20th to see some amazing shots on display from a number of the music industry’s best-known photographers, on display in a gallery made up of dozens of re-purposed shipping containers! The show – set up in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 Uplands area – was not limited solely to rock photography, but those with a keen eye will find works on display by Danny Clinch, Roberta Bayley, Janette Beckman (who also curated this part of the exhibit), Jill Furmanovsky, Barrie Wentzel and others. Writing for the Noisey Music By Vice site, Kim Taylor Bennett shares some examples of items you’ll see at the show and offers up some nice quotes from Ms. Beckman about several of her personal favorites. http://noisey.vice.com/blog/photoville-2015
Sept. 17th – 1) Well, Ringo’s not the only one with a new book and photo exhibition (see Sept. 16th entry)! Photographer Mick Rock spent a lot of time in the early 1970s with David Bowie who, at that time so early in his career, was enjoying an impressive creative and productive run, releasing several albums, going out on successful tours and even producing a record for Lou Reed (Transformer, which featured a great cover photo also by Mr. Rock). Mick amassed an amazing portfolio of Bowie photos during that period which now serve as the basis for a new book titled The Rise of David Bowie: 1972-1973, just published by Taschen Books. While Rock went on to produce memorable photos and video of many of the rising stars of the era – Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Queen and others – it was his work featuring Bowie that established his bona fides in the music industry. In this article by Drew Millard for the Vice.com site, you’ll learn more about the book and the stories that make it all the more impressive as a chronicle of a very exciting time in pop music – http://www.vice.com/read/mick-rock-documented-ziggy-stardusts-takeover-of-the-universe-taschen-909

In support of this new book, Taschen has put together a very impressive exhibit of photos from the book which is now on display at their gallery on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles (until October 11th). TItled “Mick Rock: Shooting for Stardust -The Rise of David Bowie & Co.”, the display will most-certainly tease collectors into thumbing through the 310-page, $700 limited-edition book (signed by both Rock and Bowie) of which only 1972 copies will be printed. Of those 1972 copies, 200 will be offered as “Art Editions” that will include one of two signed pigment prints. More details on the book are available at
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/03136/facts.mick_rock_the_rise_of_david_bowie_19721973.htm
While more info on the show – including a very nice photo gallery – can be found via the following link –
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/company/blog/661.mick_rock_shooting_for_stardust.htm

Bonus content – 5 years ago – Rock collaborated with director Barney Clay to create a short film based on footage (and other tidbits) Rock had in his archives from the video shoot of Bowie’s wonderful music video for the song “Life On Mars”. Done on behalf of the Creator’s Project creative collective, the resulting film is only shown in galleries and museums (per Bowie’s request), but you’ll enjoy learning more about “the making of” this film and seeing the joy on Mr. Rock’s face when he sees a sample of the work in progress (you’ll also like seeing an interview shot in the now-defunct Mars Bar…
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/barney-clay-gives-mick-rocks-david-bowie-footage-a-new-life

2) Even rabid sports fans can’t help but enjoy this one – a designer in Holland named Maans D. has used his graphic design talents to offer us his take on logos from professional football teams here in the U.S., recreated as album cover art. To makr the start of the season (Go Bears?), five of them are highlighted by writer Jason Alsher in this article on The Cheat Sheet site – http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/nfl-5-team-logos-redesigned-as-vinyl-album-covers.html/?a=viewall
and, if you’re so intrigued, you can see the balance of the designer’s efforts on his Behance site – https://www.behance.net/gallery/22799719/NFL-Vinyl-Collection
I think that you’ll agree that the logo for the Washington Redskins is a bit more palatable than the team’s current offering (I would love to resurrect the Senators name, but they might never agree to play another game).

Sept. 16th – New book, exhibition and auction items from one of the best-known rockers of all time – Ringo Starr

By now, many of you will have heard about the once-in-a-lifetime auction that will be taking place at Julien’s Auctions at the end of November featuring items from the personal collection of drummer Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara. When most of us “down-size”, it means selling off our old sofas, framed art we don’t like any longer, etc., but when Ringo & Co. work to reduce their possessions, you can only imagine what’s going to be on offer! You can start to fantasize by reading the press release about the auction – which will include some amazing items for album art fans, including Ringo’s personal copy of “the butcher cover”, White Album serial number 1, a Peter Blake “Love Me Do” painting and several of Ringo’s own works – http://www.juliensauctions.com/press/2015/ringo-starr-barbara-bach.html

At the same time, there is an extraordinary photo collection on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London that features photos Ringo had collected over the years and which had been stored away until he found them while digging through his storage not too long ago. A selection of his favorite shots has been assembled into a new book titled Photograph By Ringo Starr, with the first limited-edition copies (produced by Genesis Publishing) selling off in record time (see a gallery of images from the book via this link – http://www.genesis-publications.com/photograph-by-ringo-starr-the-signed-limited-edition/default.htm). On September 21st, a new open-edition of the book – which includes Ringo’s original 15,000+ word manuscript – was released at a price of £35.00, with orders being taken now on the NPG web site – http://www.npg.org.uk/shop/shop-list.php?showProductDetails=8665

Writing for The Guardian, art correspondent Mark Brown gives us a look at “the making of” this new book, which features a cover photo Starr took of himself in a mirror (an early “selfie”, it seems) – http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/09/ringo-photos-beatles-national-portrait-gallery-launch-book-exhibition
One tantalizing thought – Ringo is asking the surviving Beatle family members to dig through their own homes for photo books as he’s pretty certain that his other 3 band-mates would have similar troves of photos waiting to see the light of day….

Sept. 15th – 1) Joaquim Paolo and Julius Wiedemann have just published a new, multi-lingual edition of their well-regarded Jazz Covers book, originally released (in super-deluxe editions) in 2012 but now made more-accessible and affordable! As you all know, many great designers, photographers and illustrators have displayed their talents for lovers of music in many genres, but I think that the closest ties are between innovations and trends shared between designs for jazz and rock/pop music, which is why you’ll find so many practitioners of album cover design doing great work for clients in both genres. The new hardcover – all 672 pages of it – is available now for less than $20 from booksellers everywhere, or direct from the publisher at http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/45452/facts.jazz_covers.htm where you will find a nicely-illustrated intro to the book as well.

2) You can never get them started too young….Seattle-based record retailer/publisher Light In The Attic has teamed up with Jack White’s Third Man Records to release a “starter package” for young vinyl collectors – titled This Record Belongs To______ – that includes both a ready-to-run record player package and a specially-produced LP featuring music for kids by a host of top musicians – Carole King, Shel Silverstein, Harry Nilsson, Nina Simone and Kermit The Frog, to name several – as well as a custom cover and a story book by acclaimed artist Jess Rotter. The package retails for $95 complete, so with the Holidays not too far off in the future, click on over to http://lightintheattic.net/releases/1822-this-record-belongs-to__________ to take a look and pre-order this item (shipping in early November).

3) In another enviable example of an artist following his heart to settle in a place that gives him the best of everything he’s looking for, here’s an article about top rock photographer Steve Emberton‘s gradual (30+ year) transition from a U.S.-based shooter busy with hundreds of music industry assignments – having photographed many of the top 70s-80s acts both in the States and the U.K. – to a new life photographing his surroundings in the tranquil coastal town of Amble in England. You’ve seen his work – memorable photos of Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and album cover shots for acts including The Tubes, Lurkers and Gilbert O’Sullivan, among others – so it is intriguing to learn more about what motivated a guy used to the swingin’ scene in London to venture out to find a new life in Northumberland. Read the details in Barbara Hodgson‘s recent article on the Chronicle Live site – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/america-amble-how-rock-roll-10014482

Sept. 15th #2 –  1) I wrote recently about Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd‘s photo show (curated by Mr. Diltz’s gallery, Morrison Hotel) and was intrigued to see a new show, which launched September 18th at the Hilton|Asmus Foto Gallery in Chicago that combines their work with that of another high-quality shooter – Carintha West – with the results called “Visions of a Magic Time”. Rock photo fans in Chicago had the opportunity to meet all three players at a reception that Friday from 5:30pm – 9pm local time and chat with them as they took visitors through their respective collections. The show will be up until the end of October, with more details provided by writer Thomas Connors in Michigan Avenue magazine – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/visions-of-a-magic-time—michigan-avenue-magazine.html

2) Always the trend-setter, famed Pop artist (and Sgt. Pepper’s cover art creator) Sir Peter Blake has fully-embraced the tools of the digital age in creating and promoting his latest works, as is evidenced by the art “mash-up” app featuring his imagery that’s detailed in this BBC News article by entertainment/arts writer Kev Geoghegan. Using what’s called the Dazzle It application, users can remix and re-imagine some of Sir Peter’s works to create something unique and personal. The article includes an interview with the always-creative designer about how technology has been both an influence and a tool throughout his career – read and learn from a true master of the media – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-34151804

3) We work hard to promote as many of the music industry award shows that honor album cover design, so here’s a new posting about the winner – musical act Enter-Tribal for their Hitting The Trail record – in the “Best Album Cover Design” of this year’s Indigenous Music Awards held last week in Winnipeg, Canada. Other nominees included:
BEATRICE DEER – Fox
BLACKSTONE – Kaskite Asiniy
FLORENT VOLLANT – Puamuna
HELLNBACK – #FOE=Family Over Everything

To read about all of the winners in the rest of the categories, click on the link to this article on the CBC News site – http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/indigenous-music-awards-1.3224505

Congratulations to the winners!

Sept. 11th – 1) Yes, we all agree that the album cover images for the rock band Iron Maiden are typically quite spooky, but can we agree on which version is the most terrifying display of Eddie we’ve seen? In this recent article on the topic by John Hugar on the Uproxx.com site – done to commemorate the recent release of the group’s 16th studio album, this one titled The Book of Souls, with artwork by British illustrator Mark Wilkinson, who has also created covers for Judas Priest, Marillion and Fish (along with two earlier IM records) – you’ll find the author’s take on each record’s cover, from least-scary (1998’s Virtual XI) to number-one-most scary (not gonna tell you).
http://uproxx.com/music/2015/09/iron-maiden-book-of-souls-album-covers-ranked/
While I strongly disagree with the #1 choice (shoulda been swapped with #3, IMHO), I am (as always) duly impressed with the 35-year run that this character has enjoyed – now THAT’s “iconic”.

2) Famed rock photographer Brian Griffin’s new book of photos he’s taken of the pathways (i.e., train tracks) that lead to the various Nazi death camps in WW2-era Poland has been released and, rightly so, for the haunting quality of each image, been met with much critical acclaim. Titled Himmelstrasse (“Heaven Street” – a term the Nazis used with sick irony), Griffin’s book was released last week with a gallery show at The Photographer’s Gallery in London, which was followed with an appearance and signing during NYC’s Art Book Fair the next week. The book was inspired by Brian’s train trips in Poland, journeys that lead him to learn more about the rail system’s disturbing history…More on this in Jonathan Bell‘s recent article on the Wallpaper.com site – http://www.wallpaper.com/lifestyle/road-to-hell-a-new-book-by-brian-griffin-reveals-polands-dark-rail-networks

3) Folks in the Hoboken, NJ area now have the opportunity to immerse themselves into all things Frank Sinatra by visiting the Hoboken Historical Museum’s special exhibition – curated by the Grammy Museum and Sinatra’s family – that marks the 100th anniversary of late crooner’s birthday (this coming December 12th). “Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Voice, and the Fans,” is a must-visit for serious fans of Old Blue Eyes, as it features (according to the museum’s site) ” interactive displays and videos, period-appropriate listening stations, and cherished fan photographs and artifacts to illustrate the singer/actor’s formative years in Hoboken, highlights from his remarkable 60-year career, and memories from legions of fans. The exhibit will be accompanied by packed schedule of singers, films and authors, and a big birthday bash on Dec. 12, 2015.” Be sure to use the last vestiges of the “Summer Wind” and rub shoulders with other “Strangers In The Night” – “I’m Going Out of My Head” that it’s 3000 miles away.. https://www.hobokenmuseum.org/exhibitions/main-gallery/current-exhibition 

Sept. 10th – 1) Now this I like – Phil Collins is re-releasing re-mastered versions of his solo catalog and, in the process, replacing the original Trevor Key close-up photos with those taken more-recently (i.e., 30+ years later). The new records are part of his “Take A Look At Me Now” campaign, with the first two releases (Face Value and Both Sides) due out in November. Michael Roffman gives us the details on the Consequence of Sound site – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/09/phil-collins-is-reissuing-his-solo-catalogue-and-remaking-each-album-cover/

The extreme close-up approach to album cover imagery is one that has been used many times throughout rock record history. In fact, there’s even an entire AMIRIGHT site page titled “Face Close-Up Themed Album Covers“, where you’ll find examples from pop (Adele, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, etc.), hard rock (Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, KISS, etc.) and most other genres. Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Joe Cocker and several others showed their faces in great detail in multiple albums while, in some cases (you’ll see what I mean), it might have been wise to use a little make-up – http://www.amiright.com/album-cover-themes/face-close-ups/

My favorite – Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life

Yours?

2) Rock photographer Michael Miller has given us memorable cover photos for a wide range of musical acts, from Stan Getz to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Soul Asylum and over 50 rap/hip-hop acts, so it is not surprising to find his work featured in a new gallery show that focuses on the portfolio he produced of scenes and people related to the West Coast hip-hop scene of the 1990s. Writing for the OC Weekly, reporter Aimee Murillo gives us a look at this exhibition – titled “Love West Coast” – now on display (thru October 10th) at the DAX Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA that includes candid portraits of major music players including Tupac, Easy-E, N.W.A., Coolio and many others. Miller shares the stories behind several of his photo shoots, with pictures taken in areas and under circumstances that had the photographer more than a bit worried about his health, never knowing whether the residents of the neighborhoods they decided to stop in would appreciate the attention or exposure… for more info on the show, please visit – http://blogs.ocweekly.com/heardmentality/2015/09/mike_millers_and_west_coast_hip_hop_at_dax_gallery.php

3) It’s always nice when your alma mater’s college paper runs a story about one of your achievements, so photographer Eric Poppleton should be extra-proud of the coverage he received in Daniel Grady and Dara Metcalfe‘s recent article in The Ball State Daily about the now-famous photo he took that was featured on the cover of the now-even-more-famous N.W.A. record Straight Outta Compton. In the story, you’ll learn more about Eric, his mentor at Ball State (Muncie, Indiana) who encouraged him to consider a career in photography and how a kid from a very white part of the country ended up on his back in LA, looking up at a group of armed and fairly-menacing black men…read the details via the link at http://www.ballstatedaily.com/article/2015/09/straight-outta-muncie

Sept. 9th – 1) Rock art comes in all shapes, sizes and via many different forms of inspiration…Recently, artist Scott McPherson – who works using the moniker “Sink Shower” – was asked to apply his talents to help decorate a record store in Los Angeles called Vacation Vinyl. While on the surface that might not sound very interesting, Sink Shower’s best-known for a logo he designed for his own death-metal band, which he paints over and over again (with slight variations) to create a final image. What started as an art project back in Kansas has now taken on much larger proportions, with reporter J. Bennett working to help us understand the artist’s motivation and plans for the future in this article on the Noisy/Vice site – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/sink-shower

2) Way over on the other side of the country (Palm Beach, FL), the curators at the Holden Luntz Gallery have put together a show called “Let The Good Times Roll” that features 40 photos – dating from 1905 to 2010 – chosen to give show viewers an extended summer vacation, illustrating “the good life” in its many forms. Included in the show is a grouping of photos taken by famed rock photographer Norman Seeff (who has done well-known covers for Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones and many others) and featuring an image of young lovers Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe taken in NYC in 1969. Jan Sjostrum shares the details (and a photo gallery) with us in her coverage for The Palm Beach Daily News – http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/local/lifes-joyous-moments-on-view-at-holden-luntz-galle/nnSnX/

3) J.D. Cronise, front man for Austin, TX-based hard rockers The Sword, was so impressed with a gallery show by artist Jetter Green that he decided right then that he’d want to commission Green to do the art for the band’s next album. Knowing that “a good album cover always compliments a good record”, the pair worked together to produce the image that is now featured on High Country, just released on Razor & Tie Records. Read more about this successful collaboration in Scott Munro‘s article for Classic Rock (you’ll also find a podcast there with an interview with Cronise about “the making of” this new album) – http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2015-08-25/the-sword-praise-high-country-artwork

Sept. 8th – 1) Showing how art can both reflect and help better a lifestyle, this recent story by Andrew Edwards in the Long Beach Press-Telegram brings us news about artist Joe Cool (AKA Darryl Daniel, cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg and the guy that created the cover art for Dogg’s huge-selling Doggystyle album) and the unveiling of a new work of his (titled “Safe Refuge”) that he hopes will move those with substance abuse issues to consider – as he has – avoiding a life that’s been harmed by addiction. Today, after 12 years of sobriety, Joe Cool has teamed with local drug rehab organizations to bring both his art and his story to audiences that will hopefully appreciate both – http://www.presstelegram.com/arts-and-entertainment/20150827/doggystyle-artist-joe-cool-of-long-beach-has-new-art-and-new-lifestyle

2) Detroit, MI-based musician and album cover artist Niagara – having enjoyed some recent success for her stylish cover for Kid Rock’s latest record – has just released the artwork that will be used on a poster to promote the upcoming “Dally in the Alley” music/art event taking place this weekend in the city’s “Cass Corridor” neighborhood (former home of Creem Magazine and where The White Stripes played their first gig). Done in the instantly-recognizable “Niagara Style”, the poster’s subject asks you whether you’d like “to Dally in the Alley” and, as is usually the case when you see Niagara’s artwork, you find yourself wondering whether this would be safe to do (not because it is in Detroit – rather, because her femme fatales always look as though they might want to kill you rather than bother with you much longer!)…Read more in Lee DeVito’s feature on the Detroit Metro Times site – http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2015/08/28/niagara-designed-this-years-dally-in-the-alley-poster

3) Lastly, a slightly-belated R.I.P. message to fans of Sympathy For The Record illustrator “The Pizz”, who died recently at the young age of 57. Stephen Pizzuro has long been a well-loved and respected “lowbrow” artist, producing posters, fine art prints, Rat Fink comics and album covers for recording acts including Bad Religion, The Creamers, Ron Asheton’s Empty Set and others and his work has been featured in many rock poster books. I once had the pleasure of paging through his own book Atavistic Avatar and seeing his work on display at the La Luz De Jesus gallery in LA a number of years ago, so I will most certainly miss seeing any new output from someone who always brought a bit of outlandishness – and a ton of talent – to his work. Read David Peskovitz’s tribute on the Boing Boing site – https://boingboing.net/2015/09/01/lowbrow-artist-the-pizz-rip.html

Sept. 7th – 1) You might recall a recent posting about next year’s Rolling Stones-themed extravaganza at the Saatchi Gallery in London – 50 years of memorable iconography, including lips, tongues, steel wheels, goats heads, etc.. In anticipation of that show, which will be touring the world after its premiere in the U.K., The Drum‘s Thomas O’Neill recently posted his interviews with several leaders in the design world – including record cover designers Stefan Sagmeister, Carin Goldberg, Caroline Robert and Tom Genower – and asked them to note which examples of the Stones’ album art have had the most influence on their own careers. You’ll read stories about Exile, Sticky Fingers, Beggar’s Banquet and even a life-size poster of Brian Jones – http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/08/28/stone-cold-classics-unconventional-iconography-rolling-stones

2) Here’s an interesting example of album art inspiring an even more creative approach to teaching today’s media-obsessed youth – 4th grade teacher Adrian Perez has decorated his Mendota, CA classroom with artwork from Kanye West album covers (including the amazingly-popular Murakami teddy bear found on the rapper’s hit 2007 record Graduation) and used these images and the titles of West tracks as the bases for a number of his classes – “Math Monsters”, “Touch The Sky With ELA”, etc. – and to highlight the progress of his kids throughout the year (“I’m Amazing”, “Power Readers” and others). On the whole, parents seemed to be encouraged, but I’d like to see whether his students’ overall performance (in areas besides rhyming) improves via this unique teaching method…More on this in Eliza Murphy’s article on the ABC News web site – http://abcnews.go.com/beta/Entertainment/teachers-kanye-west-themed-classroom-welcomes-students-good/story?id=33391494

3) It’s been 10 years since the release of Wolfmother’s self-titled debut album, which initially caused a bit of a stir in the loins of certain record retailers who objected to the record’s use of a beautiful-but-bare-bosomed Frank Frazetta painting (titled “The Sea Witch”) on the cover (in addition to several other examples of the fantasy artist’s work for covers of some of the popular record’s singles). Well, the band is re-releasing the record later this month (Sept. 25th) in a special collector’s edition that will include more music (demos, live performances. etc.) and will be available – original artwork in tact – on 180-gram vinyl. If you’re a fan of this band and/or style of artwork, I’d strongly suggest clicking on over to this recent article by Mike “DJ” Pizzo on the Medium/Cuepoint site – quite the eyeful, I must say! https://medium.com/cuepoint/wolfmother-10-years-deep-5f7235d9b1c6

Sept. 4th – Three new shows for you to visit…
1) If you’re headed to Las Vegas any time soon, be sure to stop by the Delano Hotel to see Robert Knight and Maryanne Bilham‘s excellent new photo show there. In the new show, titled “Defiantly Inspired”, you’ll find portraits of many of your favorite rock artists – both classic and “up-and-coming” – including Santana, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Slash, LORDE and many others. They’ve also recorded “making of” descriptions for the images on display that you can listen to live via a downloadable app (how totally modern!). The show runs through the end of the month, and you can read more about it in this feature on the Vegas News site – http://www.vegasnews.com/140574/delano-las-vegas-unveils-rock-n-roll-photography-exhibit-defiantly-inspired-featuring-local-artists.html

2) When you’re done with your trip to Vegas, head a few hours West to see the premiere of a travelling exhibit curated by the Morrison Hotel Gallery featuring selections from the extensive portfolios of rock photographers Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd. The show’s called “Behind The Lens”, and both photographers were on hand to kick off the tour September 10th at Largo on La Cienega in Los Angeles. Both of these photographers were integral parts of the scenes they shot – Diltz as a member of the Modern Folk Quartet (and a Laurel Canyon resident) and Boyd as a top fashion model and muse/wife to both Georege Harrison and Eric Clapton – so their portraits have always benefited from this intimacy with their subjects. Writing for Goldmine MagazineChris M. Junior had the chance to interview both of them just before they left for their tour (which also had stops in Nashville, Chicago, NYC and the final one in Falls River, MA on Sept. 23rd), so click on over to learn more – http://www.goldminemag.com/article/diltz-boyd-behind-lens-tour?

3) The works of Paul McCartney’s younger brother Michael – a talented song-writer, musician and photographer himself – are at the center of a new photography exhibition that opened in early September in (where else?) Liverpool, England in a new gallery in the never-before-opened catacombs under St, George’s Hall. Titled “McCartney Luvs St. George’s Hall”, the show is built around a collection of 60 photos McCartney has taken of this beloved local landmark. McCartney’s photos of rock and entertainment royalty have been shown in exhibitions all over the world (including several in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery) and published in magazines, newspapers, etc. – even meeting the Queen herself during her Majesty’s historic visit to the Liverpool Museum when the city celebrated being a Cultural Capital a few years back. The show runs through October 18th, with details and more available via this article on the Broadway World site – http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwart/article/New-Photography-Exhibition-by-Mike-McCartney-to-Open-at-St-Georges-Hall-20150619

Sept. 3rdArt Chantry at Powell’s Books, Portland, OR – Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 7:30pm 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Don’t call Art Chantry an “artist” – he’s a “graphic designer” and, although he’s quite adamant about the fact that most of the practitioners working in graphic design today are uninspired and simply willing to do anything for their corporate clients just so that they can put the billable hours on their timesheets, the thing that seems to bother him the most is that they are his unworthy competition. And you know, after watching the presentation he made before a good-sized crowd at Powell’s Books here in downtown Portland, OR last Monday night, I find myself agreeing with him, on the most part.

Art was in town to promote the release of his latest book on the field of graphic design titled Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History Of 20th Century Graphic Design (published by Feral House books, with a cover design by Crap Hound’s Sean Tejaratchi and John Hubbard) and, as someone with an album cover credit list that includes images for Soundgarden, The Rev. Horton Heat, Presidents of the U.S.A, Pigeonhed, Pussy Galore, Love Battery, The Beatles (yup, look it up) and many, many others, I knew that I had to be there to meet the man who, as 4X Art Director for the influential Seattle/Portland-area newspaper The Rocket (now deceased) and the foremost proponent of the “when you have no budget, you can do about anything, by hand and with salvaged materials” approach to memorable design, is most-credited for the U.S. punk and grunge-era aesthetic of the past 40 years.

Using his trusty Kodak Carousel 750H slide projector (via a 12-foot wired “clicker”), Chantry took the audience through a career retrospective that began with his first punk rock poster for a Bellingham, WA appearance of Penelope Houston’s The Avengers, which also turned out to be the first poster Art did that was torn off of most of the telephone poles in the area by folks who were less-than-happy with the print’s appearance. It was then that, according to the artist, “I learned that ugly can be a tool in controlling the viewer’s responses and emotions”. He used his early seat-of-the-pants experience to its next logical application as the art director for start-up Seattle-area entertainment rag called The Rocket, with that publication earning national attention for bringing a great sense of design and market-perfect editorial to readers looking for the news delivered to them in a language (visual and verbal) that was theirs alone.

A music review column called “Sub Pop” (written by Bruce Pavitt) was added to The Rocket in 1983 and, a few years later when Pavitt launched a new record label by the same name, he asked Chantry to provide the necessary graphics to package their new music products. Chantry recalled that one of the things that annoyed him the most about providing sleeve designs for his music industry clients was that the inside of the CD – the booklet, the insert graphics and the images printed on the CD itself – were usually very boring (and often obscured by the damage suffered by cracks and smudges in the jewel case), so he spent as much time as he could making sure that the insides would be as compelling as the cover images. Examples of this for clients including the Mono Men, Love Battery, Pigeonhed, The Thrown Ups and others helped those of us in attendance get a good idea of how important this effort really was.

Chantry did spend a lot of time presenting his case as to why working for music industry and other corporate clients has gone from a reliable source of pride and income to something that he’s telling up-and-coming graphic designers to strongly consider before choosing to work in this field. As he put it, “These days, everyone in America speaks and understands graphic design. We agree to the basic rules – the color green means “go”, red means “stop”, etc. – so the only way I can change someone’s mind about what those standard symbols mean is to f*ck with their mind. I work this way so that I can compete with and beat out a kid who just bought a computer and some software 2 weeks ago – they can’t do what I do on their computer”, meaning that great ideas don’t happen simply when someone takes a photograph and hits the “optimize” button.

Acknowledging that he realizes that he’s started something that, to the uneducated, can (on the surface, without the humor or the insight) be replicated by almost anyone with the tools, he admitted that “what I was doing worked too damn well and just about put me out of business”. These days, he realizes that he’s often being hired to “create an Art Chantry” – i.e., one that looks like what he’s done before, with his name on it – and while he might need to resort to accepting commissions like those to pay the bills, this is not where a famous designer should be at this point in his career. He also wants people to know that 20th Century design has been influenced by many talented and experimental designers, many who have gone uncredited and unacknowledged for years, so it is with this sense of purpose (and a desire to sell some books) that he’s published this new book.

I hope that you’ll find a copy (I’m going through mine right now) and take the time to learn what Chantry’s wanting us to know. As someone who is also working now on a new book that, when published, looks to bring music/art fans closer to the sources of their favorite album cover images, it was really quite the treat to be able to meet and learn from one of the greats.

You’ll find his book via the link – http://feralhouse.com/art-chantry-speaks/

Thanks again to Powell’s Books for hosting this (and so many other) author appearances! http://www.powells.com/calendar/

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

Album Cover News Recap – June, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – June, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

With Summer coming here  to the Pacific Northwest with an unseasonable blast of heat and drought conditions to the East and South of us, many album art fans I know are looking for ways to spend quality time indoors, so what better way to beat the heat than by joining like-minded individuals from all over the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe in search of the latest news about album art and the artists that create it. To that end, there were a number of interesting headlines we at the ACHOF posted throughout the month of June, with an impressive number of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feed. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, with the rest following in greater detail.

Having survived one of the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I’m glad to report that all’s well with yours truly on that front and, once again, I have say “thanks” to you all for your patience and continued support during that ordeal. And now, on with the report…

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get to know a bit more about several of their favorite cover image producers including  the always-controversial Stephen Sagmeister, photographer M. Sukita, designer Don Clark and Portland’s own Carson Ellis, as well as my own interview with one of the punk music scene’s most-influential shooters, Edward Colver. This interview came after years of attempts to organize a “Featured Artist Portfolio” item with the elusive Mr. Colver, so I’m proud to be able to finally share this with you.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, publishers were busy promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos from artists including photographer Jay Blakesberg, illustrator James Marsh and, in a follow-up to my report a couple of months back about Ramon “Oscuro” Martos’s newest book titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Cover, there’s a report on a new documentary film short based on the book created for fans of the fantastic art often found gracing the covers of heavy metal music records.

June proved to be a busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with curators and gallery owners in several locations around the world displaying collections that included the works of  photographers Anton Corbijn, Richard E. Aaron and the late Ken Regan, Beatles animator Ron Campbell and Sgt. Pepper’s designer Jann Haworth, along with several retailers who are promoting the limited-edition re-releases of a group of LPs by the Rolling Stones and a group show in Ohio featuring several well-known shooters that covered various aspects of the local/national music scenes. Finally, in Chicago and on the West Coast, fans of the Grateful Dead will find several shows celebrating the band’s 50th anniversary (and their “final” tour).

Other stories included profile features on artist/surf music icon Dean Torrance and the enigmatic MC Escher, user-generated content built around their photos of the current state of the places where famous album cover photos were taken and a soon-to-be-released documentary on the career of famed photographer Brian Griffin. News continued with features on a Cleveland-based artisan who crafts working guitars out of wood and album covers and how one Portland, OR tourist magnet – Voodoo Doughnuts – crafted their own Sgt. Pepper‘s-like collage for an ad in a local paper promoting the shop’s 12th anniversary celebration.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. While I was slowed in my quest to update those already there with new information and to add another 50 or so new ones before taking a break to work on my book project (more to come on this later), that should in no means delay you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends and/or days when it’s beautiful outside) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

June 30th – As fans are getting ready to enjoy several “farewell” performances in Chicago this weekend, here are some Grateful Dead-related stories for you:

1) If you’re in Chicago (perhaps one of the 200,000 people who purchased tickets for the shows being played at Soldier Field), why not hop across the street to the Field Museum to see the special exhibition they’re running built out of items on loan from the Grateful Dead archive at UC Santa Cruz. The show’s called “All The Years Combine: Deadhead Treasures from the Grateful Dead Archive and GDTS Too” and was co-curated by UCSC archivist Nicholas Meriwether, who’ll also be contributing his writing skills to the group’s 50th anniversary box set that will be shipping later this year (80 discs for $700). For more information on this special showing, along with the shows Mr. Meriwether has planned for his own gallery back in California to commemorate The Dead’s golden anniversary, read Scott Rappaport’s recent article in the University’s newsletter via the link at http://news.ucsc.edu/2015/06/dead-archive-farewell.html

2) Two galleries – one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles – are also running special Dead-related shows featuring art and photography by many of the artists known for their work for (and featuring) the band. In the Bay area, the San Francisco Art Exchange has posted a collection of 19 images (with more to come ASAP) showing the band and the local scene throughout their career, with shots by photographers including Robert Altman, Jim Marshall, Graham Nash, Ken Regan, Bob Seidemann and Baron Wolman and including portraits, concert photos and others sure to warm the hearts of Dead Heads everywhere.

http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400115&start=0

Down the coast in LA, the Mr. Musichead gallery is hosting a show called Truckin’: Celebrating 50 Years of The Grateful Dead, where you’ll find photos and artwork by, Arnaud Azoulay Jay Blakesberg, Adrian Boot, Jack Morefield, Peter Simon, Leni Sinclair, and Baron Wolman. This display is available for viewing from now until July 9th. http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13701

June 29th – Stories about 2 Southern California-based album cover artists:

1) Famed cover and poster artist John Van Hamersveld has provided the citizens of, and visitors to, the town of Hermosa Beach, CA with something wonderful to look at – a new mural depicting the history of surfing/surfboards, delivered in a style that only the creator of both the Endless Summer and Magical Mystery Tour  promo images could have done. Unveiled to viewers this past weekend, the mural pays homage to JVH’s fascination with both psychedelic art and the early 19th Century paintings by Japanese master Hokusai. More info on the project is provided by Stephen Carr on The Daily Breeze site – http://photos.dailybreeze.com/2015/06/photos-mural-by-artist-john-van-hamersveld-unveiled-in-hermosa-beach/#1

2) While most music fans are aware of Dean Torrance’s musical output as part of pioneering surf music duo Jan & Dean, fewer know about his equally-impressive graphic arts talents, shown over the years in the many album covers he produced. After the musical act was forced to sideline its work after Jan’s terrible auto accident in 1966, Torrance used the visual arts training he received while at USC and started a design company, producing imagery for music industry clients including the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, Harry Nilsson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, earning four Grammy Award nominations for his work along the way and winning one in 1972 for the cover for Pollution’s self-titled LP. Today, at age 75, he’s still working at his design firm located – where else – in Orange County, CA’s “Surf City”, Huntington Beach, and you can read more about what else he’s up to these days in David Ferrell’s recent article on the Orange County Register web site at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/torrence-667695-city-surf.html

P.S. – R.I.P. Chris Squire – one heckofa bassist – you’ll be missed.

June 26th –  1) I’ve been muddling this over for a couple of weeks now and, since I can’t seem to come to any conclusions with regards to who is right and who is wrong, I thought that I’d just post this and see what my readers think. A couple of weeks back, designer Stefan Sagmeister was speaking at a conference and pronounced that – I’ll paraphrase as best I can – album cover designs are inherently better/more meaningful than those for movies, going as far as to pronounce that one rather-well-known theatrical poster (i.e., the one for the original Star Wars film) “is ultimately a piece of shit”.

As you may know, many designers/illustrators/art directors working today apply their talents to projects in both fields, as well as for clients in the book and magazine publishing worlds, theatrical design, etc., so while I think that Sagmeister’s comments might be true in some cases, I don’t see how, for example, Drew Struzan’s posters for the Indiana Jones film series are any less-impressive than his album covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.

Rather than stoke the flames of a confrontation, I would be more than happy to moderate a discussion between these and other album cover/film poster art professionals and other experts in the field (as well as knowledgeable fans) on the topic or, more simply, just ask “can’t we all just get along?” Read the coverage on this, along with a recent interview with Mr. Sagmeister conducted by Dan Howarth for Dezeen.com – http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/16/stefan-sagmeister-interview-graphic-design-star-wars-poster-album-record-covers/

2) Just who was responsible for the ideas that led to the creation of the originally-banned-but-now-iconic cover art for Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols? There have been several participants who’ve claimed that the inspiration was all theirs, so it was wonderful to read this recent posting by Diffuser.fm’s James Stafford in which he provides “the facts” presented by the two principal protagonists – designer Jamie Reid and punk impresario, the late Malcolm McLaren. As some of you may recall, both the cover’s design and content led to some quite-contentious responses from critics, industry execs and, in the case of the use of the word “bollocks” – which has several meanings in British English – the local constabulary, who arrested a record store owner for indecency when he displayed the promotional items for the new record in his shop’s windows…While we may never know “the rest of the story”, it does provide us with a lot to ponder and enjoy (particularly, the music, samples of which are linked in to the story) – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-never-mind-the-bollocks-heres-the-sex-pistols/

June 25th – 1) Good things come to those that wait – At long last, I’m happy to announce the publication of the latest Album Cover Hall of Fame “Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio” article, with this one bringing you samples from the impressive portfolio of one of the best-known photographers that covered the punk music scene in the U.S., Edward Colver. Perhaps most-remembered for his photos of bands in the emerging Southern California punk club scene, Colver shares some of the stories behind “the making of” cover shots for musical acts including Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, TSOL and other acts – including one eye-catching image that was used on rapper Ice Cube’s Greatest Hits compilation. This article would never have been completed without the ongoing help of publicist Kate Gammell and ACHOF friend Robert Bostrom, so I’d like to thank them both for their ongoing support and patience during the nearly five years (!!) that it took to complete this.
And now, without any further delay, here’s the link – enjoy, and please share with your friends.
https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/achof-featured-artist-portfolio-photographer-edward-colver/

2) Special Southern California music scene bonus item – very few bands have had as powerful a logo/band icon as the one called the “Fiend Skull” associated with another early punk band The Misfits, so it was great to read the details of one of their most-recent shows and the band’s ongoing efforts to provide their fans with new and exciting band merchandise. While Jerry Only is the sole “classic line-up” member left (with Glenn Danzig and Only still duking it out over who has the rights to what), the skull logo motif has been updated to better-represent the current players while still giving fans what they love and respect. The current concerts revolve around playing complete albums, so the t-shirts sold at the event include both custom imagery and unique set lists. I only hope that these new shirts were damaged appropriately while worn in the very-active mosh pits found at each show. More on this in Will Theisens recent article in (where else) The Orange County Register – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/misfits-667563-night-album.html

June 24th – Three for the photography lovers in the audience:

1) In preparation for the Photographs, Icons & Style auction Christie’s is holding on June 30th, they’ve published an article on one of the photographers whose works will be offered that day, that being Stéphane Sednaoui, a fellow well-known to album cover fans for his color-infused fantasy shot of Bjork found on the cover of her 1995 album Post, as well as his photo and video work for many other music industry clients, including Madonna, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Garbage. Some of his video work was on display as part of the recent Bjork exhibition at MoMA in NYC, while his photos are included in the “Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” show running currently (through August 3rd) at the Grand Palais in Paris. More info on his artist and his works are available via the link – http://www.christies.com/features/Iconic-photographs-of-Bjork-Big-time-sensuality-6248-1.aspx

Follow-up – on June 30th, the two Stephane Sednaoui photos of Bjork sold at prices in the mid-range of their estimates – the color photo from the cover of Post had a pre-auction estimate of €20 – 30,000     and sold for €25,000 ($28,047); while the black & white photo he took while shooting for her Big Time Sensuality record (not the cover)  had a pre-auction estimate of €8 – 12,000 and sold for €10,000 ($11,219). The auction, which featured images from photo greats including Richard Avedon, Nobuyoshi Araki, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, among many others, enjoyed total sales of 1,720,475 euros for the 62 lots offered. 

2) Give the fans what they want! Dutch artist/photographer/film-maker Anton Corbijn’s much-lauded “1-2-3-4” show at the Hague Museum of Photography has been extended through August 16th, giving more fans world-wide an opportunity to see this prodigious album cover-maker’s work for subjects including U2, Nick Cave, The Slits, Nirvana and many others. Although he finds himself spending most of his time these days shooting and editing critically-acclaimed films (you’ll recall his work for the Ian Curtis bio-pic Control and The American, starring George Clooney), we’re glad that he found the time to select over 350 works from his archives for this impressive show. Rebecca Bengal gives us the good news in her recent posting in the Art and Culture section on the Vogue magazine site –http://www.vogue.com/13275138/anton-corbijn-exhibition-hague-museum-of-photography/

3) Photographer Jay Blakesberg has over 250 album package credits to his name, but his recently-released book titled Guitars That Jam has him delivering portraits of a very-specific type – images of guitars being played by their well-known owners. Inspired by fan feedback he received when he included several guitar/guitarist shots in his last book, Blakesberg felt that a book of these images would resonate with both fans and musicians, as there are many stories to be shared about the relationships between axe-slingers and their instruments (think B.B. King and Lucille, Clapton with his black & white Fender Stratocaster, etc.).Glide Magazine’s Joe Raniere interviews Mr. Blakesberg about his new book (which features an intro by Warren Hayes) in this article –
http://www.glidemagazine.com/137973/photographer-jay-blakesberg-captures-beloved-axes-guitars-jam-interview/

June 23rd – 1) Money and Fame are, most times, powerful incentives for artists to work on projects that they might not have done normally but, in the case of artist and “master of illusion” MC Escher – as the stories are retold in this nice article by Steven Poole on The Guardian web site – it was all about the respect he did or did not receive from fans, clients and the fine art world in general. While he did license his work for use on album covers for Clannad, Michael Brecker and Mott The Hoople, he turned down more requests than he accepted, including opportunities to work with Mick Jagger and film-maker Stanley Kubrick. Of course, as is often the case with great artists, his work was often appropriated without his knowledge, and it was only after his death in 1972 that Escher achieved the degree of success and respect (in the form of exhibitions and books on his work), so if you’d like to read more about the life and times of a true artistic visionary, please click on over to this story –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/20/the-impossible-world-of-mc-escher

2) Over the weekend, I discovered a new book that fans of music, art and fashion should certainly seek out. Written by author and Goth fan Natasha Scharf (and published late in 2014 by Backbeat Books, part of Hal Leonard Publishing), The Art of Gothic: Music + Fashion + Alt Culture is a very nicely-illustrated 224-page tome that explores the genre since it’s “launch” in the late 1970s and all of the various sub-genres – some quite dark, while others are simply fascinating – that have combined to make modern Gothic imagery one that continues to amaze and impress fans world-wide. You’ll find a lot of info on the many artists that produce album cover art for musical acts in the genre, including Alan Forbes, Andy Vella/Parched Art, HR Giger and multi-talented musician/artists including Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. I found a video trailer on YouTube featuring the author and her book, so fans of “the dark side” of the music/entertainment business can meet her and understand her motivations behind this new publication –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTzHkPQD9Jw

3) Lastly – I found a recent article on a site called Hit The Floor, written by Josh Pratt, titled “WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE BEST ALBUM ARTWORK OF 2015 SO FAR!” and clicked on over expecting to learn more about this survey and the artwork featured within. Alas, when I got there, what I found was a slide show featuring 33 recent cover images, but the selections were not accompanied by any explanation of why they were “the best”. No information was included besides the album’s name and the name of the musical act, and so I wondered what qualified the author to be able to make such a claim. Clicking on his bio, I found that he is a career military man living in North Carolina and, apparently, with no background at all in music or art. While I certainly believe that “citizen journalism” can be a benefit to us all – many bloggers and writers have impressive backgrounds in the subject area they write about, or at least a lot of passion for the subject – it is articles like this that make me wonder how/when (if ever) it will be possible to filter content in ways that allow us to keep informed via written articles that contain useful information. Am I being too hard on this guy, or ?? Your opinions would be appreciated.
http://www.hitthefloor.com/features/we-take-a-look-at-the-best-album-artwork-of-2015-so-far/

June 22nd – 1) Fans of all things rock and roll should have a good time tomorrow (june 23rd) at theExperience Music Project’s 15th anniversary bash at the museum’s HQ in Seattle, WA. I’ve been to the museum many times and am always impressed with their exhibitions, their permanent collection and the digital library and archive they’ve created. Of course, there are always many album cover-related items on display, and in their new Hendrix-centered display titled Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad 1966-1970, you’ll find many examples of original artwork, photography and personal items from the final stages of Jimi’s career. The museum offered free admission (and birthday cupcakes!) to attendees all day June 23rd – click on over to the EMP’s site for the details –
http://www.empmuseum.org/calendar/events/15th-birthday-bash.aspx

2) When both the label’s founder and its art director share a love of the memorable album art created by classic British indie labels 4AD and Factory Records, you can assume that they’ll bring that passion for great art to their own offerings and, as you’ll see in this recent article by Silas Valentino on The Village Voice web site, the head honchos at Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones Records have done just that. 135 records later, shades of Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver are evident in the label’s artwork for their own acts such as The Hunt, Jenny Hval, Zola Jesus and many others. You’ll learn a lot more about the ongoing influence that art has on the label’s approach to offering fans something unique and interesting in this nice interview article, available via the link – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/adoptions-and-adaptations-the-distinctive-design-of-sacred-bones-records-7255864

3) Storm Thorgerson’s artistic vision, Bob Dowling’s photographic talent and an impressive album cover budget combined to deliver fans one of Pink Floyd’s most-memorable album covers, that being the one found on 1987’s A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Never before had over 700 hospital beds been arranged so nicely on a beach, so it was with great interest that I enjoyed the recent reading of this informative article on the topic by Matt Dolloff for the WZLX web site. I hope you’ll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into this project as well –http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/2015/06/15/pink-floyd-momentary-lapse-of-reason-album-cover-photo-shoot/

June 19th –  1) Jann Haworth – the talented pop artist who teamed up with designer Sir Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper to bring us the timeless artwork for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album – is the subject of a new exhibition opening tonight in her adopted home town of Salt Lake City, UT. Ms. Haworth has lived in the area for over 15 years and even re-imagined the SPLHCB artwork in a mural she painted in downtown SLC, so this new show – titled “Round Trip” – serves to showcase her work and the influences of the places she’s lived throughout her career. The show can be seen at the Modern West Fine Art Gallery through July 16th, with an opening reception tonight (June 19) beginning at 6PM local time. More on this show in Kelsey Schwab’s article on the Deseret News web site –http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630624/Local-exhibit-to-feature-work-of-pop-artist-behind-Sgt-Pepper7s-album-cover.html?pg=all

2) Also opening the weekend of June 19th was a new gallery show featuring the works of famed rock photographer Richard E. Aaron, a guy who many of you will know for his album covers for Kool & The Gang, Ray Charles, the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton (Aaron’s shot of the heart-throb in concert graces the cover of one of the most-successful double albums of all time – Frampton Comes Alive!). Called “Rock On Paper”, the show includes well over 200 of his best-known images, including many you’ve seen in magazines, books and other media outlets. Running through August 1st at the Fathom Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles (Aaron’s home town), the exhibit offers attendees a very small sampling of Richard’s archive – over 45,000 shots of the millions he’s taken have been published – no wonder why he was voted one of the Top 10 Music Photographers by Modern Photography magazine! Read more, see more (including a list of the shots that will be on display) on the Monsters And Critics web site –
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/rock-superstars-from-a-to-z-dazzle-the-eye-in-richard-e-aaron-exhibit-opening-in-l-a/

3) Adobe – no stranger to visual imagery, as most of the world’s photographers, graphic artists, illustrators, etc., use their products to create and catalog their works – is celebrating their 25th anniversary and, as part of their festivities, recently published a list of the 25 most-influential young artists in the world. A young (18) artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin was included on the list, giving him his second big win in the past year – the first being his commission from rock act Pink Floyd to create the album cover for their most-recent release, The Endless River. Fans of Eldin and his work will also soon get to see more of his creations when he “takes over” the Adobe Photoshop Instagram account for a couple of weeks and displays his portfolio on that popular platform. You can learn a bit more about this story via writer Enas El Masry’s recent posting on the Egyptian Streetsweb site – http://egyptianstreets.com/2015/06/17/egyptian-teenager-selected-among-the-best-25-visual-artists-worldwide/

June 18th – 1) Always happy to promote the album cover-related efforts of local (Portland, OR) talent, so today I’d like to point you to a recent interview/article on the talented author/illustrator/graphic designer Carson Ellis and her most-recent artistic endeavors, including a new children’s book and album packaging for her hubby Colin Meloy’s band, The Decemberists. While she’s illustrated books for other children’s book authors (Lemony Snicket and Florence Parry Heide, for example), the recently-published “Home” is her first as both author and illustrator. In Jeff Baker’s recent posting on The Oregonian‘s “Oregon Live” site, you’ll read more about Ellis, her work, her relationship with her musical husband and their recent move from Portland to a farm outside the city –http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2015/06/carson_ellis_finds_home_with_n.html

2) In order to provide a broader range of content than their budgets might allow, many publications have turned to “citizen journalists” for their help in gathering items for inclusion in their stories. In a new example posted recently on The Guardian(UK’s) site, you’ll find a number of photos of places that have served as the backgrounds for a host of well-known album covers such as a railing in NYC’s Greenwich Village used on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush to a back alley behind the original CBGB’s club used for the Ramones’ Rocket To Russia to a Liverpool pub used on Ringo Starr’s Sentimental Journey and an alley behind the band’s recording studio used on the cover of the debut album by The Clash. Leave it to the fans to find out the truth, I always say… http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/jun/09/albums-sleeve-art-locations-readers-pictures?

3) In a quick follow-up to yesterday’s bit (posted June 17th) on the Lackey Rd. Guitars (featuring graphics supplied by some of your favorite classic rock record covers), I found a Flickr page that shows many more examples of these instruments – gotta love theLayla and Woodstock poster-based examples –https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlackey/sets/72157644738690191/

June 17th –  Two new examples of album cover-inspired creativity:

1) Based in Cleveland, OH (home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and a pretty good basketball team) is a fellow by the name of David Lackey and David, a retired teacher, has started a small business making electric guitars out of cigar boxes and, most-interestingly, classic album cover-topped solid wood bases. Yes, musicians looking for something different to play can now hit the stage playing 12″ square custom guitars based on their favorite albums, or select one from a list of classics including Abbey Road, Cheap Thrills, Led Zeppelin’s Mothership or several Grateful Dead LPs.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/187553366/custom-order-album-cover-electric-guitar?ref=shop_home_active_2 
Hoping to learn a little more about these but, in the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about David and his hand-crafted LP axes, please visit his site.

2) Often times, when fine artists are looking for easily-identifiable examples of Pop Culture on which to base their newer works, they turn to well-known album covers to serve as those bases. In a new example of such a project, Jeremy Hallock of the Dallas Observer introduces us to an art exhibition featuring the work of Amarillo, TX-based artist Jon Revett, whose new show titled The Glacier Project (which ran thru June 18th) was on display at The Safe Room gallery at the Texas Theater and offered viewers his attempt to combine Pop visuals with the spiritual graphical elements often found in Islamic art. Interestingly, each 12″ square “tile” in the finished work is available for sale at $20 each, so the “glacier” will “melt” a bit each time a tile is sold! Read more about the artist and this fascinating display via the link – http://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/the-glacier-project-is-melting-at-the-texas-theatre-7297442

June 16th –  3 items for fans of album cover photography:

1) With the much-lauded “David Bowie Is” exhibition moving soon to the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, writer Annemarie Kiely just posted an interview in her column for Vogue Living with long-time Bowie photographer Masayoshi Sukita about his new Bowie photo show at the Mossgreen Gallery in Melbourne. Best-known for his cover photo for Bowie’s Heroes LP, Sukita shares more details about that photo session, his relationships with Bowie and buddy Iggy Pop and touring Kyoto with Bowie doing the driving.
The show is on display at the gallery through July 30th, with the “David Bowie Is” exhibition launching July 1 and running thru the end of November. Click the link to learn more –http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+living/arts/david+bowies+photographer+on+forty+years+of+collaboration,36960

2) After photographer Ken Regan passed away in late 2012, his daughter Suzanne uncovered a trove of unpublished photos in his archives that served to document “the turbulent 1960s”. Working with the folks at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street in NYC, a new show based on a selection from these shots – titled “Ken Regan – A Decade Of Uncovered Images” is now on display (thru July 3rd). While album cover fans will best remember Regan’s work via his images for Bob Dylan (Desire, Greatest Hits Vol. 3). The Alpha Band and others, Ken worked as a photo-journalist covering major news and cultural events, so in addition to his photos of celebrities from TV, film and publishing arenas, you’ll find shots of the Apollo 11 astronauts on parade, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. You can find out more about this show in Leslie Feffer’s recent posting on theExaminer.com site – http://www.examiner.com/article/exhibit-of-ken-regan-photos-debuts-today-at-morrison-hotel-gallery

3) Last week, photographer Bud Lee died at the age of 74, 12 years after suffering a paralyzing stroke. During his career, the photo-journalist made a regular habit of catching celebrities from all walks of life in their natural settings, with his candid photos of subjects including Al Green, Clint Eastwood and Mick Jagger finding their way into articles in major publications and books world-wide. His photos of ZZ Top were used in two recent covers for the band – 2012’s Original Album Series and 2013’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970 – 1990. A service in Lee’s memory will be held July 11 at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, FL, the place he called home after moving there in the 1970s. More on Lee and his career can be found in Dave Nicholson’s article on the Tampa Tribune site – http://tbo.com/plant-city/photographer-whose-shots-included-both-famous-and-ordinary-folk-dies-at-74-20150611/

June 15th – 1) In this month’s edition of Rachael Steven’s “Record Sleeves of the Monthfeature on the Creative Review site, you’ll find the stories behind a number of nice new cover images, including those for musical acts such as Everything Everything (illustrated by Andrew Archer), Of Monsters And Men (abstract logo design by Leif Podhajsky) and Tame Impala, with a somewhat-psychedelic cover image by Kentucky artist Robert Beatty. As always, Rachael includes some covers for international (meaning “not easily found in the U.S.”!) artists as well, so there are always some unusual and intriguing things to see and learn about. To read the entire, nicely-illustrated article, just follow the link –http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/june/record-sleeves-june

2) Writing for DIY Magazine, Sammy Maine recently posted an interview article with Seattle-based graphic powerhouse Don Clark in which he recounts his work for the cover of Brand New’s second major release, 2003’s Deja Entendu. Clark’s astronaut has become the basis of many a fan’s tattoo collection and was a fine example of a musical act’s trust in the talents and imaginations of the Invisible Creature team. Click on over to http://diymag.com/2015/06/01/inside-the-artwork-the-story-behind-brand-news-deja-entendu for “the rest of the story”.

3) Lastly but not leastly, fans of Talk Talk cover artist James Marsh can now pre-order a copy of a new edition of his previously-sold-out art book Spirit of Talk Talk. Due out this October, the paperback version will be updated to include 24 pages of additional content, including interviews with several of the band’s best-known cohorts. Founding band member Simon Brenner will be autographing a small number of copies for early orderers, so click on over to the Spirit of Talk Talk site and reserve yours today – http://www.spiritoftalktalk.com/ You may recall that I interviewed James a couple years back about the body of his work, so if you’d like to re-introduce yourself to his work, here’s the link to that interview –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/

June 12th –  1) What Time does to Anarchy….Virgin Money, a financial services company in the U.K., is now offering its customers a chance to get credit cards featuring memorable images from record covers for the Sex Pistols! Jamie Reid’s timeless design for Never Mind The Bollocks…(wait, isn’t “Bollocks” a bit of profanity?) can be had on your new Master Card, with the alternative being the artwork used on the single for the very un-capitalist tune “Anarchy in the U.K.”, complete with a safety-pinned Union Jack. I guess that those of us in the U.S. will have to wait until someone releases a Billion Dollar Babies credit card – no fair! Read and see more on this item in this article by the Daily Mail‘s Sam Dunn –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3116191/Artwork-Sex-Pistols-album-feature-new-plastic-offer-Virgin-Money.html

2) While I’m always curious as to how a writer determines exactly what criteria must be met to be included in a “Most Controversial Album Cover” article (typically, nudity, followed by religious symbolism and “kids doing the darndest things”), it certainly must be said that album covers over the years have stimulated a lot of conversation about how best to create a memorable image, so while you might find some of the covers included in Lex Campbells list found on the Triple M radio web site (Australia) more quaint than disturbing (these days), each example certainly did get folks talking when they hit the retail shelves in their day – http://www.triplem.com.au/sydney/music/news/2015/6/list-10-most-controversial-album-covers-of-all-time/

3) One final Rolling Stones re-release-related item – timed to coincide with both the re-release of the Sticky Fingers record and the band’s upcoming concert at Heinz Field, curators at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA have put together a special exhibition featuring production materials and correspondence related to the making of the famous album cover image – cover photos (front and back), inside sleeve shots (“the underwear”) and letters announcing the record’s Grammy nomination in 1972 for “Best Record Cover”. Writing for the Trib Live site, Bob Karlovitz gives us the details of this ongoing display –http://triblive.com/aande/music/8540066-74/warhol-album-cover#axzz3csNEzIi8

June 11th –  1) Very pleased to announce that film-maker Michael Prince has completed his documentary on the life and talents of photographer Brian Griffin, well-known to fans of album cover art for his memorable covers for acts including Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and many others. The Surreal Lives of Brian Griffin will be hitting the festival circuit in the UK soon, with Mr. Prince working hard to find distribution both in and outside the U.K. soon.
In the meantime, he’s put up a nice promo trailer on the Vimeo site, which I invite you all to watch via the link at https://vimeo.com/124393480
Please share this with anyone you know who is interested in learning more about this talented individual (as well as any fan of fine art photography).

2) With soccer/football/futball dominating the headlines these days, here’s a link to a story about how one Argentinian sports blog is working to highlight what appears to be fan-made apparel that appeals to two passions at once – love of soccer and love of music – by featuring graphics derived from great album art and band logos. As noted in this article on the MLS Soccer site, a blog called LaCasaca has gathered examples of jerseys featuring imagery from Queen, The Beatles, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica and several others. While I’m assuming that these examples are mostly wishful thinking, I’m also hoping that some deep-pocketed clothing manufacturer is paying attention and will work to bring us something similar soon. In the meantime, enjoy –http://www.mlssoccer.com/sideline/news/article/2015/06/10/rock-and-roll-soccer-jerseys-are-here-stay-check-out-latest-crossover-kits-s

3) To follow-up a recent posting about the new line of special-edition vinyl LPs and limited-edition art prints based on several re-releases by the Rolling Stones, there was a special event taking place on Thursday, June 18th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that was built around these new items. On hand to introduce the line was Sirius/XM Radio host Chris Carter (Chris Carter’s British Invasion), so if you’re anywhere near the Sunset Blvd gallery, be sure to stop on in to take a look at these new items, published by Time Life’s Spotlight Gallery division. Preview these items on the gallery’s site at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13708

June 10th – 1) While I know that many well-known album cover artists have applied their talents to clients in both the record and film industries (for example, Drew Struzan did film posters for Star Wars and Indiana Jones after creating covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath), I was impressed to see this recent article by Ria Misra on the IO9 site featuring the talents of one her column’s contributors – who goes by the name of “poorfishy” – who posted his/her mash-ups of classic record and film imagery. You’ll find examples of Duran Duran, The Beatles and the soundtrack for the movie Grease re-interpreted using characters from Star Wars, Dr. Who and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others.
Creative inspiration comes from many sources, but only a few dare to turn it into something worth sharing – well done, poorfishy!
http://io9.com/classic-movie-posters-redrawn-as-vintage-album-covers-1709277184

2) In another example of “you never know what might be worth saving (until you auction it off 50 years later)”, art collectors will enjoy reading the details of the recent luck of a Ms. Jinty Stephenson, a classmate of now-famed designer/artist Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame) who so loved a painting done by her fellow student that she purchased it – paying a total of £30 in ten weekly installments – and is now auctioning it off, with the item expecting to sell for about ten thousand times more than what she paid for it (i.e., approx. £350,000, or a half-million dollars).
It was one of 40 lots up for auction by Christie’s in their June 25th Modern British & Irish Art sale, so I’ll be sure to report back on just how much Ms. Stephenson’s cash account has grown post-sale. In the meantime, you can read more about this in writer Hannah Furness’ article on the Telegraph UK site – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/11655389/Best-investment-I-ever-made-Painting-bought-for-30-to-sell-for-350000.html

Follow-up – Well, our congratulations go out to Ms. Stephenson who, as the beneficiary of some spirited bidding, found her painting sold for NEARLY TWICE the pre-auction estimate – £662,500, or $1,038,800! The entire auction consisted of 32 lots and, with bidders from 18 countries participating, the total take on the evening’s sales was nearly $30 million.

June 9th – 1) To follow-up yesterday’s Rolling Stones-related article that touched on the upcoming re-releases of some quintessential Stones LPs, fans looking for something rare and collectible will have their wishes answered with the announcement of the availability of some special-edition versions of these recordings, made even more enticing by the inclusion of limited-edition album cover art prints. In the article by Nick DeRiso on the Ultimate Classic Rock site, you’ll learn more about the details of what’s available (12×5, Let It Bleed and Get Yer YaYa’s Out!), all done in clear vinyl and packaged with framed litho art prints that feature in addition to the expertly-done artwork found on the records, reproductions of the signatures of the band members.
The art prints were published by long-time album art producer Denny Somach and were done in a partnership between Somach, ABKCO Records and Time Life. The 2500 copies are priced (quite reasonably, I think) at $199.99, so if you’d like one, run don’t walk (or, quite simply, click on over) to the article to find all links as well as a nice video of DJ Chris Carter (host of the long-running “Breakfast With The Beatles” show) unveiling his own copy of the package –http://ultimateclassicrock.com/rolling-stones-clear-vinyl-litho/

2) Speaking of The Beatles – appearing at last weekend’s stop in Orlando, FL of the traveling Art Rock Show was famed designer and animator Ron Campbell, one of the people most-responsible for the memorable psychedelic imagery of both the Yellow Submarine full-length feature and the Saturday Beatles Morning Cartoon series that kept kids and their parents glued to their TV screens in the late 1960s. The 75-year-old artist’s appearance was a rare treat for fans, with the well-attended meet-and-greet a great chance to both hear from the accomplished animator (who worked on many other shows, including Rugrats and Ghostbusters), get an autograph and even take home a limited-edition print or two from the series produced by the artist.
Read the nicely-illustrated coverage of this event by Caitlin Dineen of the Orlando Sentinel on the paper’s site at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orange/os-ron-campbell-beatles-cartoon-animator-20150606-story.html

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Wasn’t I surprised when paging thru last week’s edition of the local Portland alternative paper (The Portland Mercury) when I came upon an ad from huge tourist magnet/donut shop Voodoo Doughnuts that thanked locals for their ongoing support and marked their 12th anniversary with their own re-interpretation of Sir Peter Blake’s often-replicated cover design for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP (see picture at top of this posting). The shop is famous for putting just about anything on a donut (bacon maple is a big seller, as is one in the shape of a voodoo doll), so the collage certainly is representative of the artistic approach to high-calorie snack foods that keeps people filling pink boxes with them every hour of every day… See attached picture and, if tempted, visit their site to learn more –http://voodoodoughnut.com/doughnuts.php

June 6th –  1) Much has been said and written about Sir Peter Blake’s Grammy Award-winning design for the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s by The Beatles, but have you ever wondered just who were all of the people featured in that grouping? Some are quite obvious – two sets of Beatles, Edgar Allen Poe, W.C. Fields and Bob Dylan, to mention a few – but, for example, who are the two 19th Century-looking dudes on the left-hand side of the next-to-last row of figures? Let’s thanks the folks at Ultimate Classic Rock and Diffuser.FM for a detailed slide show containing all of the missing information regarding the “who’s who” of this memorable assemblage – click here and your questions will finally be answered – http://diffuser.fm/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-cover-art/

2) I’ve written before about photographer Eilon Paz’s book titled Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, a tome that tries to explain that strange-but-wonderful connection some folks have with the physical aspects of collecting music on vinyl or CD. In his book, the author discusses how the apparent “value” of music has been diminished by the almost unlimited amount of it you can listen to digitally (i.e., via streams, downloads, etc.). Compare this with the value that a record collector attaches to his/her vinyl or CD collection – those items being things that the collector has decided to invest in for posterity’s sake and, at the same time, helping support the careers of his/her favorite musical acts. In this recent article by Kate Beaudoin on the Mic.com site, Kate works with Paz to select and highlight seven of the collectors/collections featured in the book, letting each subject explain and demonstrate why it is that they prefer – for a variety of reasons – to build and maintain their collections of their favorite music. Very insightful… http://mic.com/articles/120134/7-stunning-images-prove-just-how-much-we-lose-with-digital-music

June 5th –  1) The works of several Ohio-based rock photographers are now on display (through the end of August) in a new show at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in Youngstown, OH titled “Rock Gods: The Art of Rock ’n’ Roll Photography”. The 100+ photos on display were shot by photographers who’ve covered the local music scene for the past 40+ years and include Cleveland-based Janet Macoska and two Youngstown, OH-based creatives, Tony Nicholas (photographer) and Chris Yambar, a graphic artist who has “re-imagined” some of Macoska’s photos and created new works of art. Visitors to this show will recognize Janet’s work as part of the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, along with being seen in most major music publications. You’ll also be able to take home prints of the images on display (priced from $30 – $2500) – great souvenirs of a wonderful exhibition. Read all the details in Guy D’Astolfo’s article on the subject found on the Vindy.com web site – http://www.vindy.com/news/2015/may/28/rock-gods-show-at-tyler-center/

2) Album covers from all over the world continue to intrigue music and art fans worldwide, so it is nice to be able to show examples of pop music packaging from place that your Curator hasn’t had much exposure to, such as the collection of Welsh language rock album covers that will be on display at the Galeri Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales beginning this weekend. The exhibition features 40 specially-selected examples and is part of the 2015 Inc Festival taking place. If you’re heading out to take part in the annual celebration there this weekend, here’s a link to an article recently posted on The Daily Post UK web site –http://www.dailypost.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/galeri-caernarfon-hosts-exhibition-iconic-9381265
Perhaps someone can tell me more about the musical acts and artists/photographers whose works are featured in this show – to be honest with you, I’ve been somewhat thwarted in my efforts to determine who’s who from the descriptions provided 🙂

June 3rd – Every once in a while, an item comes up for bid at auction that gives collectors an opportunity to add something unique and beautiful to their album art-related collections, and today I’m reporting on one such opportunity.

You may recall seeing artist Mila Furstova’s wonderful collage that was produced for the cover of Coldplay’s Ghost Stories record, and it proved to be such a popular image that the artist has gone ahead and created a limited-edition series of mixed-media collages that re-create the original wing-shaped image.

Made with two etchings placed on top of a painted background, the nearly 40″ square works are made even more-collectible by the fact that they’re each signed by the artist and the four members of Coldplay. The Bonham’s auction house had one of these prints (there were 25 total in the edition) included in their new Entertainment Memorabilia auction that accepted final bids on June 24th. The pre-auction estimate on this print is approx. $4600, with a percentage of the final price being donated to the Kids Company charity. You can take a look at this nice print via the link –http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22444/lot/251/

Follow-up – while there was a good turnout for the aforementioned auction, the Furstova Coldplay collage went unsold. A happy Coldplay fan, however, did go home with the guitar that Chris Martin used during the recording of their Parachutes record, with the somewhat-battered acoustic selling for $29,462, or nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!

June 2nd – 1) Friday, June 5th was BBC Radio’s “BBC Music Day” and, in support of this event, a number of the network’s on-air personalities have worked together to re-create examples of much-loved album cover imagery, including covers originally featured on records for acts including Oasis, The Smiths and Lisa Stansfield. The participants really seemed to have enjoyed themselves in this work, and the results are pretty impressive, I must say. Seriously, who wouldn’t love to “play” Morrissey or Liam Gallagher for a few minutes? Read and see more about these nice promo images in this article by Emma Flanagan on the Manchester Evening News site –http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-manchester-album-covers—9350395

2) You may recall an article posted not long ago about a new book by author Ramon Oscuro Martos about the amazing range of album cover images found in the hard/heavy metal rock genres, so it was great to see this new short-form video – produced by the author and film maker Randy Salo – in which Martos provides the narration and briefly discusses why he thinks that the artwork in these genres is unique and an important part of the overall connection between bands and their fans. I haven’t yet seen the book in the flesh, so it was also nice to see how well-produced and illustrated And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers is. It certainly has given me some additional inspiration for when I begin serious work on my own book….To read more about this new docu and to watch it yourself, head on over to the Metal Underground site –http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=113772

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

 

Album Cover News Recap – April, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – April 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

With Spring finally coming to our readers who’ve suffered through a most-impressive Winter, album art fans are slowly-but-surely emerging from their various states of hibernation and joining like-minded individuals from all over the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe in search of the latest news about album art and the artists that create it. To that end, I’m sure that you’ll agree that there were a number of interesting headlines we at the ACHOF posted throughout the month of April and that the sheer number of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items found in our news feed (several of which I’ll highlight now with the rest, in greater detail, following the intro paragraphs) continues to amaze and impress.

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get into the heads and hearts of talented cover image producers and promoters including  UAE-based DJ and vinyl retailer Shadi Megallaa, designers Carin Goldberg and Steve Keene, photographer Henry Diltz and illustrator Dave McKean,  along with my own interview with this year’s Grammy-winning designer (in the box/special-edition category) Susan Archie and a special Record Store Day interview with this year’s “special ambassador”, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, publishers were busy promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos related to musical acts including Pink Floyd, Rush and, for fans of the fantastic art often found gracing the covers of heavy metal music records, Ramon “Oscuro” Martos’s newest book titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers . For those of us who spent hours custom-packaging our favorite music on cassettes, there’s also a new book on the subject of “mixtape artwork” titled Damn Son Where Did You Find This?: A Book About U.S. Hip-Hop Mixtape Cover Art by authors Tobias Hansson and Michael Thorsby.

It was an exceptionally-busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with curators and gallery owners displaying collections that included the works of Raymond Pettibon, Frank Frazetta and photographers Joel Brodsky, Jim Marshall, Jimmy Steinfeldt, Anton Corbijn, Neal Preston, Michael Halsband, Brian Duffy and a group show in NYC featuring several well-known shooters that covered the early rap/hip-hop scene.

Other stories included features on the role of logo art in music marketing, using Google Maps to locate and view the current state of the places where famous album cover photos were taken and one artist/musician (Natalie Sharp) and her ongoing efforts to re-create the cover art of albums she likes on her face using paints and make-up.  News continued with  the announcement of the judging for this year’s D&AD Awards for album cover art/packaging, the premiere of a line of music t-shirts with built-in music downloads as well as several more “best ofs”, “Most Fashionable” and other such “Top 10” lists. The excitement continued with a story about the auction and sale of a cardboard garden gnome that was one of the characters included in the cover collage on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s LP and another on one artist’s work to re-imagine a number of well-known covers with key characters replaced with comic book super-heroes.  I was also happy to provide an update on Kevin Hosmann’s ongoing efforts to finish up production on his new documentary film that will feature interviews with 50 album cover art producers, record label execs and others who’ve contributed to the growth of the medium (and who will share their opinions on the past and future role that this art has/will play in the marketing of music products. Finally, there was info on how the sale of album art prints can serve to raise money in support of scholarships for the next generation of album cover creative/production talent.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interview articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m still on a quest to update those already there with new information and to add another 50 or so new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves but, as I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day (even when it’s beautiful outside and I REALLY want to play hooky) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

August 30th – 1) A reminder to our friends in the LA area – don’t miss the opportunity to take part in the opening night festivities for the new “A Lad Insane by Brian Duffy” photo exhibition at the recently-relocated Mr. Musichead gallery in Hollywood. The reception takes place Friday, May 1, and begins at 7pm. According to the gallery, there “will be photos from Brian Duffy’s five different photographic shoots with David Bowie. These groundbreaking sessions not only documented Bowie’s career and pioneering reinvention, but illustrate Duffy’s special relationship with him.

(The late photographer’s son) Chris Duffy will be present to talk about his father’s working relationship with David Bowie.  Copies of his book  ‘Duffy Bowie : Five Sessions’  will be available for purchase and signing on the evening. The evening’s co-hosts will be Martin and Mary Samuel. An award-winning hair stylist, Martin worked with Bowie on the set of “The Man Who Fell to Earth”.

For more info, visit the gallery’s site at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13357

2) The UK’s National Portrait Gallery has just added another album cover image to their collection – Dav Stewart’s photograph for Tempest’s album Everybody Down – and will be including it in an exhibition called “Picture The Poet” that will begin its tour of exhibition spaces on Friday, May 1, at The Collection Museum of Art & Archaeology in Lincolnshire. The Portrait Gallery’s collection also includes Mischa Richter’s photo portrait of Amy Winehouse used on the cover for her 2006 record Back to Black and the Mario Testino shot used on Madonna’s 1998 album Ray of Light. The Guardian (UK) gives us the details in this recent article on their site –

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/apr/27/kate-tempest-album-cover-added-to-national-portrait-gallery-collection

3) As part of the prestigious design publication D&AD‘s annual Judging Week prior to the awarding of their coveted D&AD Awards, the President of the professional group behind the awards – Mark Bonner – has posted an article that gives us the details on several of his personal favorites. Included in the list is an album package for New Zealand alt-rock band Shihad’s latest record, titled FVEY (with artwork done by the Alt Group) which features a VERY cool skull sculpture. The record is available in several different packages, including several limited-edition versions that include a poster of the skull image, and Mr. Bonner is hoping that someone will take the hint and create a collectible version of that skull (watch out, Damien Hirst!). More about this on the Campaign web site – http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/1343547/

April 29th – 1) Several years ago, I interviewed several people involved with creating logos for their musical clients and, in nearly every case, these “works for hire” (i.e., projects where they were paid a flat fee, or where they received limited licensing credits) went on to earn their clients millions of dollars via their uses on album covers, merchandise and other related money-makers. While they are just part of an act’s overall identity, great band and label logos can stand alone and, as you’ll see in the linked article written by Tom Hutchins for the Noisey Music By Vice site, have done great things in building tighter relationships between acts/labels and their fans. You’ll also see examples of where things didn’t work out quite as their owners expected… http://noisey.vice.com/blog/the-art-of-the-record-label-logo

2) Blogger Bruce Jenkins – the super-fan that runs the popular Vinyl Connection  site from his base “down under” – has just celebrated the 2nd anniversary of his site’s launch and, as part of the festivities, has introduced a new take on a cover-vs-cover competition that he’s calling the “Cover Art Portrait Playoff”. He’s organized 16 pairs of album covers and is asking fans to pipe in with their “whose better” selections beginning next week. To get folks in the mood today, he’s just posted a nice article on a selection of covers that followed very similar approaches to their covers – in this case, covers that look like they are “ripped from the headlines” – take a look and be sure to check back to cast your votes soon – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/04/28/who-wants-yesterdays-papers/

3) Last-minute album art panel discussion announcement as a bonus item related to the ongoing “Pick Me Up” event now running at the Somerset House in London, the folks that run the “Cover Club” series there announced a show Thursday night (April 30) at “The Studio” space featuring graphic designer Ian Anderson, one of the founders of the renowned Designers Republic studio (Warp Records fans know/love his work). Joining Ian on the panel is Kevin King, the music marketing exec that launched the “Secret 7” music/art campaign that has raised lots of money for charities in the U.K. via the sale of specially-produced record cover artwork created by many of the world’s better-known designers. More info on this event is available via the link at https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/pick-me-up-2015/platform

April 28th –  1) There’s a new entry in the “Sgt. Pepper’s album cover tribute” category, and this one is a doozy! You’ll never guess who did it – that’s right, Who did it (sorry, couldn’t resist)! The cover for the new record titled Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular (a tour playing in several cities in the U.K. and featuring a host of BBC musicians playing music familiar to the TV series’ fans) takes on the familiar collage motif found in Sir Peter Blake’s original design for The Beatles, with this version featuring a collection of characters seen in the show – Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels included! Not sure who is responsible for the art, but hope to find out. In the meantime, you can take a look at the work reporter Marcus for the Doctor Who News fan-site gives up a look at the image via the link – http://www.doctorwhonews.net/2015/04/symphonic-spectacular-homage-album-over.html

2) The folks at the Mass Appeal web site have taken inspiration from several other sites (including The Guardian) to use the handy Google Maps application to seek out and display the locations where a number of well-known hip-hop album cover photos were taken. I’m quite appreciative of the fact that they also provided readers with a bit more information (and proper credits) on each of the featured images (yes, working people actually did create the original images, thank you!). If you’ve always wanted to see where the covers of albums including Ice Cube’s Ameriikkka’s Most Wanted, Jurassic 5’s Quality Control, MC Lyte’s Eyes On This and Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head (along with another 10 or so) were first photographed, click on over to the article via the link – http://massappeal.com/iconic-hip-hop-albums-in-google-street-view/section/nas—illmatic

3) Vinyl records have always held a special place in the hearts of music fans, but it is rare to find such love and commitment in societies that, under most circumstances, work to keep such examples of Western decadence away from the local populace. In this article on The National‘s site (an English-language publication headquartered in Abu Dhabi), you’ll meet Shadi Megallaa, a DJ, record label and soon-to-be record retailer in the UAE and learn more about his plans to turn his personal collection into a record store that he hopes will appeal to the audio purists he knows in his home town. After moving recently from New York City to Abu Dhabi, this entrepreneur is working hard to make sure that this effort – which will be called “Flipside” (which I love, as it was the name of a popular record chain in the Midwest that I spent many hours in as a youth) – succeeds in spite of both industry forces and the social mores that exist in that part of the world. Let’s all wish him luck – http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/music/a-look-at-the-growing-vinyl-record-scene-in-the-uae#full

April 27th – Special Fashion Edition…

1) Whether you believe that album cover art reflects the styles/fashions of the day or, in many cases, helps set those standards, you must admit that there have been many album cover images that are “stylin'”, featuring musical acts such as Grace Jones, Joni Mitchell, Madonna and others who, in addition to being reviewed as musicians, were also always in the headlines for their sense of fashion (good or bad). In this recent article by writer Austen Rosenfeld for the Style.com site, you’ll find 14 examples of memorable record covers that the author considers to be “the most fashionable of all time”. If, after looking at the list, you care to comment or add some examples of your own, I/we would love to see what you think…I’ll start – conspicuous in its absence is the cover for Saturday Night Fever…your turn…
http://www.style.com/culture/entertainment/2015/fashionable-album-covers

2) Just prior to becoming a fashion icon herself (i.e., before Like A Virgin and the film Desperately Seeking Susan), young Madonna Ciccone was another in a long line of struggling musicians/performers trying to make a name for herself in the music business, so when Warner Bros. Records hired freelance designer Carin Goldberg to work with their new one-name act, her first thought was “God, it’s going to be one of those” but, as time would tell, this turned out to be the start of something big. Ms. Goldberg would go on to do covers for a number of other pop/jazz/classical acts, and the photographer, Gary Heery, would shoot covers for acts including Roy Orbison, Paul Simon, Joe Cocker and others, but as you’ll read in this interview by NYMag.com’s Erica Schwiegershausen, this one cover portrait will continue to cement this team’s place in classic album cover history. http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/04/making-of-madonnas-first-album-cover.html

April 24th – 1) The folks on Public Radio’s “here & Now” show have posted a multi-media extravaganza (i.e., an audio interview with a series of photos you’ll reference while you listen to the interview) featuring host Robin Young’s recent conversation with album cover photo great Henry Diltz. The eleven-minute interview includes Mr. Diltz’s recollections about a number of his earlier works, including his escapades with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Paul & Linda McCartney, Richard Pryor, The Doors and several other legendary performers. Henry went on to launch one of the best-known galleries dedicated to rock photography – the Morrison Hotel outposts – and has always impressed me with the detailed memories he has of his time spent with early rock royalty, so I hope you’ll take a break from your weekend to listen to this (and the nice soundtrack that accompanies it) – http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/04/23/henry-diltz-music-photography

2) New works by artist Raymond Pettibon, well-known for his covers and illustrations for early punk/alt rock pioneers such as Black Flag, Minutemen and Sonic Youth, are the subject of a new exhibition at the Regen Projects gallery in West Los Angeles running now until May 30th. Titled “From my bumbling attempt to write a disastrous musical, these illustrations muyst suffice”, the new show, according to the gallery’s PR, puts on display “a broad spectrum of influences ranging from Southern California surf culture, punk rock aesthetics, baseball, and film noir to popular culture, world history and politics.” Included art works of pen and ink on paper, gouaches and several collages, all done with the artist’s unique perspective on pop culture gloriously on display. I just want a print of the cover he did for Sonic Youth’s Goo but, hey, that’s just the collector in me talking…More on this on the ArtDaily.com web site – http://artdaily.com/news/78110/Exhibition-of-new-work-by-Raymond-Pettibon-opens-at-Regen-Projects-in-Los-Angeles

3) The estate of the late photographer Jim Marshall has teamed with UC-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism to spearhead and help endow a new fellowship program for students of the craft which, quite rightly, will be called the “Jim Marshall Fellowships In Photography”. There’s an exhibition currently running on campus through the end of May called “The Haight: Love, Rock and Revolution” (accompanied by a photo book by the same name) that includes Marshall’s imagery from that San Francisco neighborhood featuring the stars of that time (late 1960s) and place including The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and others (read more about this show on the school’s info page at http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2015/01/29/love-rock-revolution-exhibit-features-work-of-legendary-music-photographer-jim-marshall/ ), with more of the details about the Fellowship, its funding and ways you can donate to it, available via the link – http://journalism.berkeley.edu/news/2015/feb/02/jim-marshalls-the-haight/

April 23rd –  1) Rock & Roll fine art and photography can do a world of good for more than just the collectors and fans of the art-form…As you’ll read in this recent article on the ETNow web site, proceeds from the sale of art prints featured in photographer Neal Prestons recent exhibition at the Musikmesse industry event (in Frankfurt, Germany) were totaled up and a check for $50,000 was given to the “Behind The Scenes” charity, a group that provides disabled or injured industry professionals with grants to help them better-manage their day-to-day living expense. Preston’s show, titled In the Eye of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hurricane, was done with the support of Lightpower, the German-based distributor of lighting products and put over 60 of his best-known photos of rock royalty (Led Zeppelin, Queen, Bruce Springsteen and many others) up for viewing in a series of super-sized prints.
Read more about this donation at http://www.etnow.com/news/2015/4/lightpower-donates-50-000-to-behind-the-scenes-from-the-neal-preston-rock-n-roll-photo-exhibition
and, to see more of the exhibition, click on over to the Musikmesse site at http://musik.messefrankfurt.com/frankfurt/en/besucher/events/neal-preston.html

2) In Ramon Marcos Garcia’s (AKA Oscuro) recent posting on the Metal Underground site, the author presents a number of album covers that have been based on classic/historical imagery. Fans of art history have long-admired the works of artists from centuries past such as Hieronymus Bosch (the 15th Century Dutch painter best-known for the fantastic “Garden of Earthly Delights”), Jean Delville (the Belgian “Idealist” from the late 1800 – early 1900s) and John Martin (the 19th Century British painter who helped us visualize “Paradise Lost”), so it is fascinating to see works from these and other artists both inspiring today’s album cover illustrators and, in cases like those featured in this article, being “borrowed from” quite freely. You’ll find covers from bands including Morbid Angel, Celtic Frost, Candlemass and others featured in this article, along with the stories about how these historical images found new life on the covers of some of today’s most-progressive musical acts. http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=112500

3) I was browsing through the aisles of the Portland book-selling institution Powell’s when I came across a book that I hadn’t seen previously and, in my ongoing effort to provide album cover art fans with as many resources as possible of information that might help them better-understand the scope of the talent that has produced memorable album art over the years, I wanted to bring this book to your attention.

Published in 1977 by Collier Books and written by the team of Brad Benedict and Linda Barton (both of whom now have credits for scores of books on the arts), Phonographics: Contemporary Album Cover Art & Design is a nice collection of works (over 150 included) of album art produced during the late 60s – early-mid 70s, a period that finds the industry in its “Golden Years”, with regards to the innovations being employed and the importance the recording industry attributed (at the time) to the overall success of recorded music products.

The book’s introduction, though, serves as a painful reminder that, back then, the visuals brought to the packaging of music products were integral parts of their labels’ production/marketing plans, only to have been reduced in importance over the years since this book’s publication – much to the detriment of fans and the talent that worked so hard to deliver such great art and imagery. To those still working on these works today – keep up the good work!

April 22nd –  1) Had a very nice catch-up conversation a few days ago with designer-now-user-experience guru Kevin Hosmann about the status of his labor-of-love project – a documentary film about album cover designers titled “The Album“. Kevin has been working diligently to capture the stories of 50 people who’ve worked in various capacities within the album packaging world – designers, art directors, photographers and other printing/production experts active from 1965 thru today – to chronicle their efforts and. at the same time, the evolution of the music industry.

As a former record cover designer himself, with credits for designs for musical acts including MC Hammer, the Beastie Boys, N.W.A., Tupac, Stone Temple Pilots and others, Kevin is hoping to share his and his former cohorts’ experiences as creatives in an industry that has undergone many changes over the past 20 years, with many of those changes making it difficult for design/visual talent to earn a respectable living (“I need an album cover by tomorrow – here’s $100”). He’s posing a number of questions to his subjects about how they’ve adjusted their approaches to their album art projects and will craft his film from their responses and anecdotes about the people and projects they’ve worked on.

In the meantime, fans can take a look at his rough footage on a Vimeo site he’s set up (https://vimeo.com/user9960212) and, for more info and a nice collection of “back in the day” photos, you can bop on over to his Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Album/1514923212059261
I hope to keep in touch with him as time goes on and eagerly await the time he’s ready to share the film with fans (like me!) of album cover art and artistry.

2) Once again, some brave (or foolish – you decide) soul has published a “Top 10 Best” list of album covers but, in this case, the author (Josh Pellis, writing for the FDRMX.com site) works to provide enough detail to help substantiate his rankings of the “Top 10 Most Artistic Album Covers of All Time” so, whether you agree with him or not, at least you can give him credit for a somewhat-scientific approach to the topic.

The list does include records released over a time period that takes into account many changes in the music world, beginning in the mid-1960s with albums by The Beatles and Hendrix, proceeding thru the 70s, 80s and 90s with records by Pink Floyd, Korn, Dr. Dre and others and including more-recent records by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Calle 13. To read the writer’s complete rundown, click on the link at http://fdrmx.com/top-10-most-artistic-album-covers-of-all-time/ and then let me know what you think…

April 21st –  1) Just finished reading a nicely-done interview with illustrator Dave McKean, a talented guy with many credits in both the book and record cover worlds and the artist behind one of my own personal favorite album covers, that being Fear Factory’s Demanufacture – a classic “man vs. machine” (or is it “man as machine”?) image. McKean has done work for many other metal/hard rock bands as well as supplying covers for books by authors such as Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman and has always shown how today’s digital imaging tools can be put to good (i.e., artistic) use when assignments call for something “other-worldly”. Read Dan Franklin’s in-depth article on The Quietus web site – http://thequietus.com/articles/17626-dave-mckean-interview

2) In Phil Miller’s recent interview article on The Herald (Scotland) site, artist and writer John Byrne talks about returning to the album cover art world recently to take on an assignment for the 25th anniversary recording for Scottish band Shooglenifty. While he’s mostly spent his time lately writing and taking on the occasional art commission, it’s been a while since he’s done record covers. His past work for The Beatles, Stockholm Syndrome and Gerry Rafferty garned him much praise, so it’s nice to see him at work again in this area –
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/byrne-designs-album-cover-for-folk-band.122978964

3) Next week, seminal rock band Journey will be releasing a new record and, in addition to the new music from this best-selling group, fans will be given the opportunity to purchase a limited-edition, 9-color 36″ x 12″ screen print – signed and numbered by the artist, Mark Englert, for only $60. The band has long been a supporter of great album art, beginning early on with works by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley and with several other talented artists following those esteemed names, so it is no wonder that they’re continuing the tradition of offering fine art along with their fine music – click on the link to see the new cover art – pre-orders were to be accepted beginning April 23 – http://store.iam8bit.com/collections/journey/products/journey-limited-edition-print-by-mark-englert

April 20th – Record Store Day follow-up items:

1) Looks as though this year’s RSD was very well-attended world-wide, with over 3,000 indie stores participating, offering specially-produced packages and lots of in-store appearances by musical acts of all types and degrees of popularity. RSD is one of those times where big-name acts come down from their heavenly mounts and mingle with their fans, so you’ll get to see and hear them in some very intimate settings. Quite the treat!

As reported by Shaun Tandon on the ArtDaily web site, the popularity of vinyl continues to grow, brought about by the hand-crafted nature of many of the unique, limited-edition products being offered (you might call them “artisanally-produced music products”) and the depth of information that typically accompanies these packages. Of course, based on the fact that the most-popular vinyl record being sold these days – Abbey Road by The Beatles – you can perhaps correlate it’s sales with the always-in-the-Top-5 rating of its album cover…just sayin’..
http://artdaily.com/news/77984/3-000-independent-stores-have-big-turnout-on-Record-Store-Day-shows-rebirth-of-vinyl

2) About a year ago, I reported on the Record Store Day-related antics of musician Natalie Sharp – AKA “The Lone Taxidermist” – when she released a series of photos of herself sporting face make-up that re-created several well-known album covers (Joy Division, Kraftwerk and others). This year, she’s worked to expand her portfolio of cover-based facepaint, adding covers from Nirvana, Talk Talk, Aphex Twin, Bjork and others (even Mike Oldfield’s classic Tubular Bells!). You can learn a bit more about her ongoing exploits in this Ann Lee-penned article on the MetroUK web site – http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/18/musician-paints-face-to-resemble-famous-album-covers-and-she-looks-awesome-5156220/

April 17th – 1) Every day, I learn a little bit more about the various ways that talented people work to add visuals to their music…In this article by New York Times writer Jon Caramanica about a new book on the subject of mixtape artwork (titled Damn Son Where Did You Find This?: A Book About U.S. Hip-Hop Mixtape Cover Art by authors Tobias Hansson and Michael Thorsby) that features in-depth interview with five graphic artists that have specialized in the field, you’ll learn more about their approaches to the projects they work on and what they do to differentiate their work from what’s typically found on these products. Knowing that they must compete with mainstream products (and the mainstream mindset of many of their clients), they all strive to bring their unique backgrounds and talents to bear when creating some very impressive imagery – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/arts/music/celebrating-the-fast-moving-bug-eyed-wily-world-of-hip-hop-mixtape-covers.html?_r=0

2) Writing for Esquire Magazine, Dan Hyman has posted an interview with artist Steve Keene, the guy responsible for some memorable covers for musical acts such as Apples In Stereo, Silver Jews and, most-notably, Pavement, with this particular article focused on his cover for Pavement’s 1995 record Wowee Zowee (which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release). For an artist well-known for his enormous output, the interview provides some keen insight into how he approached projects that required a bit more attention in order to please his indie icon clients.

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/a34283/steve-keene-pavement-interview/

3) Over the past many years, Todd Rundgren has shown us his many talents as a musician and producer, but with the release of his new record titled Global (and to help promote his world tour in support of his record), Mr. Runt shows off his chops as a visual artist by both creating the cover image for his new album and by sponsoring a contest in which some lucky fans will win their portraits painted by the man himself. To enter the contest, you must show off your own creativity by submitting some evidence – a video, a collection of ticket stubs, pix of your Nazz memorabilia, etc. – that proves that you’re the “Ultimate Todd Rundgren Fan”. You can find all of the details on how to enter in this posting on the GOLDMINE site – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/win-signed-portrait-created-todd-rundgren Good luck!

Bonus Record Store Day posting!

1) My chum Terry at our town’s most-significant temple to all things recorded – Music Millennium – was kind enough to share some info with me about some of the amazing limited-edition special releases that were available starting April 18th, and so I wanted to forward that info on to you with the hopes that you’ll find some time tomorrow to go and see what’s new and exciting and, if so motivated, support your local record retailers at the same time with a purchase or two.

Here’s a link to a handy listing of many of the unique items that are be available (over 500 of them, at this point), with many of them sporting custom covers, colored vinyl and/or bonus items, including posters, art prints, beer cozies, and more!
http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases

A quick scan of the list shows me some very cool items including a David Bowie “Changes” picture disc, a Miles Davis 10″ vinyl box set, a vinyl re-release of The Doors’ Strange Days that features a cardboard sleeve/insert made at the same factory that printed the original in 1967 and, to plug a local recording, Blitzen Trapper’s live recording (recorded at the Doug Fir Lounge here in PDX) of their take on Neil Young’s Harvest LP which sports a smartly-done remake of the original cover image as well. I also saw that, at Terry’s store, anyone who buys a copy of the new Best of the Grateful Dead 2-CD set will also take home a limited-edition print of the Skeleton & Roses cover art – just one of the many examples that should motivate us all to make a beeline to the record store this weekend.

2) Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl is this year’s ambassador for Record Store Day, and he’s pitching in with a special edition 4-song 10″ vinyl record called Songs From The Laundry RoomUSA Today reporter Patrick Ryan has posted an interview with Mr. Grohl in which he spouts off about his love for all things vinyl, sharing info on the first record he ever purchased, time that he spent at record stores growing up and why he thinks that today’s youth has become enamored with vinyl (hint – besides the music, it has something to do with ALBUM COVERS!). Enjoy the entire interview via the link – http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2015/04/15/dave-grohl-foo-fighters-record-store-day-2015/25749947/

April 16th – For those fans of album art from the “heavier” side of the aisle…

1) The fantastic art of Frank Frazetta is featured in a new exhibition that opened April 17 at the Metropolis Gallery in NYC. This is the first such showing of the late artist’s work in the area and is the centerpiece of the gallery’s grand opening activities. Comic book fans have long-known about the gallery’s parent company – Metropolis Collectibles – as the largest vintage comic dealer/auctioneer, so with the opening of this retail gallery and the showing of Frazetta’s work, fans of comics, fantasy fiction and album covers will all have something great to see. The show is in good hands as the gallery’s curator is Rob Pistella, who was Frazetta’s business manager until the artist’s death five years ago. One of the paintings on display will be his iconic “Death Dealer“, an image best-known by classic rock fans for its use on the cover of Molly Hatchet’s 1978 debut album. More details on this show are available on the PR Underground site – http://www.prunderground.com/frazetta-exhibit-at-metropolis-gallery-in-new-york/0056240/

2) Billboard’s Christa Titus gives us a nice overview of the new book by Tampa, FL-based writer Ramon “Oscuro” Martos (well-regarded for his ongoing MetalUnderground.com series about the album art featured on heavy metal music recordings) titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers, just released by publisher Dark Canvas/Handshake Inc.. The book includes the stories behind over 50 memorable metal covers and explores the wide range of styles and subject material featured in these images. While blood, fire and decay are prominently featured, there have been some beautifully-disturbing covers as well, so it is nice to be able to better-understand – in the words of the people who produced these works – their underpinnings and back stories. Whatever you might think of the subject material, there’s no denying the artistry often on display…

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6524434/and-justice-for-art-book-metal-albums

April 15th – A pretty interesting day in album cover news, I think…

1) German illustrator Uwe De Witt has two passions – comic book art and music – and it was with great pleasure that I discovered this article on his recent efforts to re-imagine classic album covers, this time substituting comic book heroes and villains for the characters found on the original covers. I think that he’s done a fantastic job in both selecting the covers he wanted to do and then producing the remakes in an entirely believable fashion. In Ben Kaye’s article on the Consequence of Sound (COS) site, you’ll see examples of records for Aerosmith, Gorillaz, Lou Reed, Nikki Minaj and others. I was particularly impressed with his take on the cover for the West Side Story soundtrack, originally by Saul Bass, but now featuring Daredevil! See the rest at http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/04/artist-reimagines-classic-album-covers-with-comic-book-heroes-and-villains/

2) In another story where an artist has been motivated by dual passions (this time, hip-hop music and professional basketball), you’ll find the details of Jesse Nunez’s recent efforts to re-do well-known rap/hip-hop album covers, replacing the original people featured on the cover with images of NBA stars including James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and others. Laker fans will either love or hate what he’s done with putting the (nearly-expired – sorry, Mark) Kobe Bryant on the cover of a memorable Notorious B.I.G. album…see the rest of Nunez’s work on his Behance site – https://www.behance.net/gallery/25007927/Album-Art-Recreated

3) The annual Florida Music Festival in and around Orlando was enhanced by a new exhibition of the work of photographer Jim Leatherman that launched on Thursday, April 16 at the City Arts Factory, running through May 15th. Leatherman’s photos have been featured in many articles, books and several album covers, with a lot of his best-known work chronicling the 1980s indie-rock scene (Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Archers of Loaf and others), and it was the support from his many fans (via a recent GoFundMe campaign) that provided the incentive for the staging of this show. Ashley Berlanger’s article in the Orlando Weekly gives you the details – http://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2015/03/06/gritty-stunning-underground-rock-photographer-jim-leatherman-finally-gets-a-gallery-exhibit

April 14th –  1) With all of the attention the media has been giving to Hillary C. lately, it is also important to note the role that women have played in the making of famous album covers and, with the help of Mike McPadden and the crew at VH-1, they’ve made that easier to do by publishing an article titled “True Stories of Women On Classic Album Covers”. The article tells us the stories about some of the women that have been featured on records by a wide range of musical acts, from Bob Dylan to Black Sabbath, Blink-182 to Roxy Music and many others. You’ll find photos and illustrations of girlfriends, models, porn stars, etc. but, surprisingly, not one politician! Learn more about the ladies that have been featured in some of the most-memorable covers in rock ‘n’ roll history via the link – http://www.vh1.com/music/tuner/2015-04-06/women-on-classic-rock-album-covers-true-stories/

2) The Trocadero Art Space in Sydney, Australia hosted a show that ran through April 25th in their  Galleries 1&2 (guest-curated by photographer Brendan Lee) called “Turn Up Your Radio” that featured artworks created by musicians. As you know, many musical performers have also displayed their chops as visual artists, and this collection of images – which is accompanied by a playlist also created by the participants – gives visitors a chance to see how 15 of the country’s most-talented (i.e., multi-talented) artists have chosen to express their feelings visually about pop/contemporary culture today. More info is available at http://www.trocaderoartspace.com.au/uncategorized/gallery-12-apr-11-24-turn-up-your-radio-by-guest-curator-brendan-lee/

3) For his 60th birthday, photographer Anton Corbijn received a fine gift – that of an exhibition of his photos of U2, Nirvana, the Rolling Stones and many others that is featured in not one but two museums in The Hague, in Corbijn’s native country of Holland. The retrospectives – titled “Hollands Deep” and “1-2-3-4” – run until June 21 at The Hague Museum of Photography and Gemeentemuseum. While the 1-2-3-4 show is a more-traditional showing of his celebrity photography, Holland’s Deep is unique in that it features photos of Corbijn himself – dressed as some of his favorite musicians, including Elvis, Hendrix, Cobain and others – all taken in his home town of Strijen. You can read more about both shows in this recent ArtDaily article – http://artdaily.com/news/77713/Dutch-master-lensman-Anton-Corbijn-toasts-60-with-new-expos-at-the-Gemeente-Museum-in-The-Hague

April 13th – 1) The works of three well-known photographers who documented the emergence of the rap/hip-hop scene in NYC are featured in a new exhibition now running at the Museum of the City of New York. Titled Hip-Hop Revolution: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper and curated by Sean Corcoran, who produced the exhibition as Curator of Prints & Photographs for the Museum, the show (which runs through September 13th) includes over 80 photos taken between 1977 and 1990 and features images of many of the people that led the way for hip-hop’s birth and ultimate adoption as an integral part of Pop Culture. You’ll find photos of “Afrika Bambaata, Kool Herc, and Cold Crush Brothers, breakers like Rock Steady Crew, and breakout acts such as Run DMC and the Beastie Boys”, among many others. Beckman was also responsible for memorable cover images for The Police, Squeeze and other New Wave artists before “crossing the Pond” to cover the excitement in late 1970s New York City – more about this in this ArtDaily article –
http://artdaily.com/news/77613/Exhibition-presents-historic-early-days-of-hip-hop-culture-and-music

2) Read a fascinating article on the PopMatters site by Elodie A. Roy titled “The Curious Art of Wrapping Music” that takes us through an early history of music product packaging before taking us on a tour of modern approaches to the subject including – which was new to me – a DIY Album Art scene that grew in the U.S. and Europe after the days of punk. The author believes that there’s a section of modern music buyers that will respond very positively to the availability of physical products, particularly those that are packaged attractively. With the rise in popularity of both vinyl records and hand-published “zines” (with some being packaged with CDs of music that accompanies and/or complements the editorial), she presents a compelling argument, don’t you think? http://www.popmatters.com/column/191453-the-curious-art-of-wrapping-music/

3) Finally, in a nice example of an album art creator’s willingness to do just about anything to work with a music industry client to produce a memorable cover image, here’s a link to Ryan Middleton’s story on the Music Times site about photographer Sandy Kim and her recent efforts to work with rapper Young Thug on a cover image for his new release titled Carter 6. He had ideas, she had ideas; she wanted him naked on the cover – guess what he wanted? Follow this through to it’s interesting end via the link at

http://www.musictimes.com/articles/34932/20150408/young-thug-carter-6-cover-photographer-naked.htm

April 10th – 1) Designer/artist James Marsh, well-known for the beautiful and beguiling illustrations for Talk Talk, Steeleye Span and others, has just released a collection of new (and affordable) limited-edition prints in a series that he calls, smartly, “Small Edition Prints”. There are 15 new images in the series, with designs that run the gamut from geometrics and Vasarely-like forms along with Marsh’s well-regarded blends of fantasy and realism. In signed/numbered editions of 10 8″ x 8.5″ prints of each design, collectors can own these for less than $100 each (£62), including postage. To see these new items, along with his other collections, hop on over to his site at http://www.jamesmarsh.com/fine-art/small-edition-prints/

2) If you were anywhere near the Meadowlands Expo Center in New Jersey on Saturday, April 12 at 4pm EST, you had the chance to meet and hear a presentation by one of rock music’s most-respected designers – John Van Hamersveld. Mr. Van Hamersveld – the designer responsible for the covers for Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles, Eat To The Beat by Blondie and Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones (among others) was at the East Coast ComicCon and was interviewed by Cliff Galbraith in a session titled “John Van Hamersveld : Album Covers and Posters That Rocked The World”. John’s contributions to rock & roll imagery are truly notable, as is his perhaps best-known “Endless Summer” poster, a must-have for any fan of surfing..Get the details on the convention’s site at http://eastcoastcomicon.com/panels

3) To follow-up an earlier post about upcoming auctions that feature rock music imagery, I would be remiss to leave out one that took place April 18 in Los Angeles that featured an image well-known to Beatles fans – yes, for the right price, you could have become the new owner of the cardboard garden gnome that is standing next to George Harrison on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s album! A possession of one of photographer Michael Cooper’s assistants, the Sir Peter Blake-designed gnome stands about 20″ tall and has been signed by all four Beatles. You’ll find this item amongst the many being offered in the ’ Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Signature® Auction hosted by Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills. Pre-auction online bidding was at around $14,000 at the time I posted this news (with a pre-auction estimate of $25,000), so it was interesting to see what fans were willing to cough up to own the very unique bit of album cover history (see results in the update, below). More on this in writer Jamie Bowmans article on the Liverpool Echo site – http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/showbiz-news/cardboard-garden-gnome-signed-beatles-9013670

Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover Garden Gnome auction update – some lucky (and, luckily, wealthy) Beatle fan was the winner of a recent auction for this rare bit of Fab Four memorabilia, with the final price paid going well over the pre-auction estimate of approx $16,000 (£11,000). The final price paid – $43,000 (£29,000) – and for that money, the new owner gets a group-signed item designed by leading British Pop artist Sir Peter Blake. I’m hoping that the cardboard cut-out of Edgar Allen Poe comes up for sale at some point but, until then, I’ll just congratulate Mr. or Ms. Anonymous Auction Bidder. Read the rest of the details in Callum Paton’s article on the Daily Mail online site – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3049171/Garden-gnome-featured-Beatles-iconic-Sergeant-Pepper-s-album-cover-sells-29-000.html

April 9th –  1) An album cover “newbie” is responsible for the artwork for The Prodigy’s latest release titled The Day Is My Enemy. When frontman Liam Howlett saw a book by designer Nick McFarlane while touring an art gallery, one look was all it took and Howlett contacted McFarlane at the Auckland, NZ ad agency he works at to ask him to collaborate on the album’s cover image. 166 comps later (!!), the final design was agreed upon and, since its introduction, it’s been getting a lot of attention. The image of a fox looking for shelter in an urban wasteland was so strong that the band staged an event in early April where they projected the cover image on another well-known album cover icon – i.e., the Battersea Power Station in London (featured on Pink Floyd’s Animals) at a promo event there. You can read an interview with the designer in this article on the New Zealand Herald‘s web site – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11426537 and see images of the cover projection event on the NME site via this link – http://www.nme.com/news/the-prodigy/84194

2) Over the weekend  of April 11 & 12, fans of art and music had a unique opportunity to add one of over 700 Grateful Dead-related items to their personal collections from the selections being offered at Donley Auction Service’s “Grateful Dead Family Jubilee Auctions, Parts 1 & 2”. Album and poster art fans were particularly happy to see a number of items offered featuring the works of artists including Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Phil Garris and Rick Griffin. With so many items to sell, the auction was divided into two collections, with each day’s catalog packed with items such as:

Saturday, Part 1 – Rick Griffin’s preliminary artwork for the image he created for the band’s 1981 album Reckoning (opening bid $4500 – sold for $4500); a Stanley Mouse oil painting titled “Whiskey Skeleton & Guitar” for a project that was never published (pre-event estimate $25,000 – sold for the bargain price of only $4500) and Phil Garris Blues For Allah and Play Dead prints ($400 opening bid for the pair, which was also the final sale price), plus others…

Sunday, Part 2 – Two Mouse watercolors of the artwork for Workingman’s Dead – one large, one small – with online bids currently at $1100 and $500 (ultimately selling for $1900 and $1200 respectively) and two Griffin AOXOMOXOA prints, including a very rare 1st edition which had an opening bid of $3750, a pre-auction estimate of $8-10,000 and, unfortunately, was left unsold).

Pop on over to the auction’s Proxibid site to see the results of both days worth of fascinating Dead memorabilia – Day 1 – https://www.proxibid.com/asp/Catalog.asp?aid=91369 and Day 2 – https://www.proxibid.com/asp/Catalog.asp?aid=93716

3) Bringing me back to the days of Windows 3.0 (with multi-media extensions) and CD-ROM-based entertainment, there’s a new “interactive video” up to help promote the release of the re-mastered Led Zeppelin catalog that features a clickable Physical Graffiti cover image and the music from an updated version of “Trampled Under Foot” called “Brandy & Coke”. Clicking on each of the windows unveils a media clip – images, animations, videos, etc.. Now, if they only let you walk down the building’s hallways in very slow 3-D fashion, they might have the makings of a new-style “Myst For Boomers” 😉 More on this on Fast Company‘s design site at http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044616/interactive-led-zeppelin-ice-medusa-azealia-banks-the-weeks-best-music-videos

April 8th –  Three for the rock photography fans in the audience:

1) A 30-year retrospective showing (titled “Rock ‘N’ Roll Lens”) of the work of photographer Jimmy Steinfeldt  opened Thursday, April 9th at 7PM with an artist’s reception at the Mr. Musichead gallery in Los Angeles. Steinfeldt’s credits include shots for the album packages for a long list of noted musical acts, including The Replacements, Kim Wilson, Dee Dee Ramone, Vince Neil, LA Guns, Bob Mould and a host of others. His live-action and editorial work has been seen in Rolling Stone, SPIN and other publications, so if you’re in the area and want to see more of the work by one of rock’s better-known shooters, bop on over to this Hollywood institution – more details at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13384

2) The growing music scene in Manchester, England in the mid-1980s was dominated by the presence of several hot bands including The Fall, New Order and Mr. Morrissey’s band The Smiths, and with the addition of new clubs and a concerted effort to establish the local cultural scene, some folks felt that the city’s uniqueness was being threatened. With a new album – to be titled The Queen Is Dead – ready for release, the band hooked up with photographer Stephen “Steve” Wright in an effort to come up with some imagery that would show “the real Manchester” and, as a result, one of rock’s most-enduring photos was created. Writing for The Quietus site, Mick Middles talks to Mr. Wright about the inspiration and effort behind the making of this well-regarded image – http://thequietus.com/articles/17532-salford-lads-club-the-smiths-photo

3) The career of photographer Michael Halsband, perhaps best-known for his photo of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat looking as though they were ready for some serious boxing, is the subject of a new show that was on display until April 25th at the National Arts Club gallery in NYC. Born, raised and trained in New York, since the 1970s Halsband has been commissioned by publications such as GQ, Interview, Rolling Stone, Vogue and others to provide memorable portraits of celebrities in the worlds of entertainment, politics and fashion, with album cover credits in his portfolio for artists including INXS, Iggy Pop, Klaus Nomi and Northern State. Read more about the artist and the show in this article on the Art Daily site – http://artdaily.com/news/77611/Survey-of-portraiture-by-American-photographer-Michael-Halsband-on-view-at-The-National-Arts-Club

April 7th – 1) Just received updated news on a new album cover art-related product line I reported on last year. Designer Astrella and her husband Jason have released the first group of “Musical T’s” – i.e., deluxe t-shirts featuring licensed designs of your favorite covers that come with an ingenious new bonus – embedded technology called “Activation Tech” that gives buyers exclusive access to related digital downloads! The shirts will first hit the shelves at selected Bloomingdale’s stores in the U.S. in May and, according to an email I received from Jason, the initial releases will include:
Queen – News of the World
The Who – A Quick One
Elton John –The Diving Board
The Spencer Davis Group – Funky
Slightly Stoopid – Best Of
The Vandals – Peace Through Vandalism
Drake Bell – Ready Steady Go
Miles Davis – Blue Moods
John Coltrane – Lush Life
John Lee Hooker – The Country Blues
Thelonious Monk – The Unique Thelonious Monk
If you’d like to learn more about this new line and the people behind it, Matt Hamblins recent article on the ComputerWorld site provides a nice intro – http://www.computerworld.com/article/2905301/musical-ts-combine-album-art-with-a-one-time-download.html
Jason also forwarded a link to an ABC news story about the product from Fashion Week –
http://www.kesq.com/all-star-band-performs-at-fashion-week-el-paseo/31988608
With celebrities from all across the music spectrum – including Matt Sorum, Carmen Rizzo, Tommy Flanagan and NSYNC’s Lance Bass – modeling the shirts, these are bound to find themselves into a lot of rock and roll wardrobes, don’t you think?

2) The nice people from the U.K.’s “Cover Club” asked me to announce that their third installment in their album cover designer interview event series took place at 8pm on Thursday, April 9th at the Ace Hotel in London’s Shoreditch area. The featured guest speaker was designer Lewis Heriz, best-known for his role in (according to their release) “forging the reputation of Soundway Records as one of the most forward-thinking re-issue labels in the world.” A DJ will be on-hand at this free event and will be playing selections from albums that feature Mr. Heriz’s handiwork, including tracks from Drum Talk’s latest.
http://blog.lewisheriz.com/post/113447620077/cover-club9th-april-8pm-ace-hotel-100-shoreditch
Cover Club’s producers also announced that cover designer Ian Anderson – founder of the Designer’s Republic studio and one of the people responsible for the visual aspects of the Warp Records catalog (Cabaret Voltaire, Pop Will Eat Itself, etc.) – would be the featured speaker at a special-edition Cover Club event that took place in late April (as late as May 1) at the Pick Me Up design and illustration festival at London’s famed Somerset House arts & culture center. More info on this as it is made available…

April 6th – 1) Just got a newsletter from the talented team at Storm Studios in which they were promoting a new edition of a book that features more info on the work that the late Mr. Thorgerson and Company had done for one of their best-known clients – Pink Floyd – so I thought that I’d share the details with you. The newest edition of Mind Over Matter: The Images of Pink Floyd is a nearly 300-page book that gives you a very-detailed (and beautifully-illustrated) look behind the scenes of the making of the album covers we all know and love – I’m also impressed with the new cover image they created for the book, featuring FIVE of the famous DSOTM prisms! Published by Omnibus Press, it’s available through all of the major book-sellers – http://www.omnibuspress.com/Product.aspx?ProductId=1105659

2) Almost as well-known to album cover aficionados is the work that artist Hugh Syme has done for Canadian rockers Rush, and so it is with much excitement that I’m pleased to be able to let you know that you can now pre-order your copy of a soon-to-be-released, 272-page coffee table book (with text and interviews by journalist Stephen Humphries) titled The Art of Rush. Working together for 40 years, the band and Mr. Syme have created many a memorable album image, with much of the pre-Photoshop imagery leaving fans amazed and impressed (and other designers asking “how the heck did he do that?”). The reporters at Blabbermouth.net give us a preview on this much-anticipated tome – http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/the-art-of-rush-book-coming-soon/

3) Growing up in Chicago, my radio was pinned to WXRT, so it was with great pleasure that I read a recent article by one of the young staffers “stoking the flames” of classic rock there (Molly Olsem) titled “10 Of The Most Iconic Album Covers & Their Back Stories”. Molly has put together a nice selection of covers old (The Beatles’ Rubber Soul and Warhol’s famous “banana cover” for The Velvets & Nico, for example) and newer (covers for Radiohead, Beck and Wilco are included) and gives us a bit of info about each was made, so let’s support Molly’s efforts to keep her audience in the know about classic cover imagery by clicking on over to her story on the station’s web site at http://wxrt.cbslocal.com/2015/03/26/10-of-the-most-iconic-album-covers-and-their-backstories/

April 3rd – 1) Fans of rock photography had a chance to see (and own) a display of examples of some of the best-known photo images in rock and roll history at the Joel Brodsky exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC that was on display until April 14th. Although Brodsky passed away in 2007, his widow Valerie has worked hard to produce a series of art prints of some of his best-known works, including what is perhaps his best-known photo – that of The Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison in what has become known as the “American Poet” pose that was included on the cover for the band’s debut album in 1967. With over 400 album cover images to his name, it is no wonder that writer Chris Sommerfeldt (in an article written recently for the Resource Online site) was impressed when he found himself surrounded by some of the most amazing examples of rock photography ever put on display – http://resourcemagonline.com/2015/03/fire-lower-east-side-joel-brodsky/50200/

2) Designer Paula Scher’s portfolio of well-known album cover images is truly impressive but, with hundreds of covers to her credit, even she admits that there were some projects that were better-done than others. It is surprising to find out, though, that one of rock music’s best-known cover images – that being the fleet of flying guitar-shaped ships found on the illustration Ms. Scher and Roger Huyssen developed for Boston’s debut LP – is, in her opinion, “a mediocre piece of work” (!!). Writing for The Atlantic‘s web site, art/music historian Steven Heller gives us the story about how this work was created and, regardless of its creator’s feelings about it, continues to be (39 years later) an important icon of the band and the era they launched their careers in – http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/03/the-immortality-of-the-more-than-a-feeling-cover/388739/

3) While we in the Western World are typically free to view – and then respond to – the works of art featured on our favorite music recordings, that is not the case in some countries around the world and, in James Gordon’s recent piece written for the U.K.’s Daily Mail site, we’re given a chance to see how the covers for recent releases by some of the most-popular musical acts in the world have been made “more palatable” for consumers in the Middle East and parts of Asia. You’ll find examples of before/after artwork for Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry and learn about the efforts by local censors to save the sensitive eyeballs of their local constituents from burning in wherever they go locally to burn – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3011459/Record-companies-censor-sexy-album-covers-sold-Middle-East-not-offend-religious-beliefs.html

April 2nd – Happy to (finally!) be announcing the publication of my newest interview featuring Susan Archie, one of this year’s Grammy winners in the packaging categories. If you haven’t yet seen the product package that Susan and her fellow team members produced for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27), released by Third Man Records/Revenant Records, “you ain’t seen nothing yet!” This was most-certainly a labor of love for everyone that participated in the project – how else can you explain the amazing details and information you get in the set (which comes packaged in a hand-tooled walnut case!)?

I’d like to thank Susan for her time and patience as we worked together to provide music packaging/cover art fans with a most-compelling tale about an effort to bring collectors a box set unlike any you’ve ever seen – enjoy the story and, if you feel like sharing, please do…

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/interview-with-susan-archie-2015-grammy-award-winning-designer/

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