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

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

 

By Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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Album Cover News Summary for July, 2016

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s the first day of August, 2016. What’s new, you might ask. Well, assuming that you’re not outdoors (too much sun) or aren’t taking shelter from freak storms (or from the gusts of hot air emanating from your TV sets these days), I’m thinking that you’re enjoying the summer overall and are sharing your love of whatever drives your passions with your friends and family. All of us lovers of album cover imagery are a bit of a family, wouldn’t you agree (albeit a sometimes-dysfunctional one, with yours truly as your “arty” Uncle Mike (and NOT your Wicked Uncle Ernie – apologies to all un-wicked Ernies).

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the new and much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to impress us fans, critics and other observers of the art form with their collective output, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics:

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

a) While the extremely-well-attended Ramones-centered art/memorabilia show at the Queens Museum may have closed this past weekend (July 31st), the kind folks at local public TV network WLIW/Channel 13 have posted a 7 minute video presentation on their Metrofocus web site – http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2016/07/ramones-exhibit-rocks-queens/ – that includes a brief tour through the show, where you’ll see photos by George DuBose, Roberta Bayley and others (including various iterations of Arturo Vega’s iconic presidential seal-like logo for the band) along with interviews with Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh, Johnny’s widow Linda, the band’s former tour manager Monte Melnick and the exhibition’s curator, Marc Miller, a fellow with a long history of producing punk-based art/music shows. Hey ho, if you can’t go, watch the video…

b) Up for a brief run (mid-July through July 30th) at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery on the campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY was an album art show featuring over 1000 record covers on loan from local collectors and the archives of the school’s own radio station (WUSB).

ON THE RECORD: ALBUM COVER ART was presented in conjunction with the Stony Brook Film Festival at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, a venue that has also hosted performances by many of the musical acts (including local talent such as Bob Dylan, Blue Oyster Cult, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Reed and others) whose record albums are on display in this show.

One of the people that curated the exhibition – Karen Levitov, the gallery’s Director – was kind enough to share some additional background info, exhibit details and some photos of the display with me, which I’ll now share with you – “Last summer we had a Vintage Film Poster show during the Film Festival that got a terrific response, so we wanted something just as fun and appealing this summer. Our campus radio station, WUSB 90.1 FM was relocating and packing up its vinyl archive, so we decided to collaborate with them to put this show together. The gallery has a playlist of songs from the albums in the gallery and a documentary video on album cover art…We have over 1000 albums:  811 album covers on the walls and in display cases, plus over 200 playable vinyl records in our listening lounge and children’s area.

Album cover artists represented in the show include famous graphic designers, photographers and artists including Andy Warhol, Shusei Nagaoka, Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, Brian Duffy, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley, Banksy and many more. Rare and unique albums include The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today with the original cover known as the “butcher cover”; The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request (with its 3D cover); John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgins nude cover and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers cover by Andy Warhol  – with a real zipper!”

The festivities were kicked off with a special Q&A session with one of the founding members of Blue Oyster Cult, drummer Albert Bouchard, so if you missed the show, you can still learn more about it on the gallery’s site at http://zuccairegallery.stonybrook.edu/2016/07/on-the-record-album-cover-art/   

c) London’s Somerset House gallery is hosting an exhibition of art – both well-known and newly-created just for this show – inspired by the films of director Stanley Kubrick (from now until August 24th, sponsored by Canon). Included in the show’s display catalog are several works and work-related materials produced by airbrush artist Philip Castle, creator of memorable imagery for album covers and promotional efforts for artists including David Bowie, Pulp, Sir Paul McCartney, Metronomy and The Cars (see the item in Section 2, below, regarding a profile on the artist and his work). More info on the show is available online at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/daydreaming-with-stanley-kubrick

d) In late 1950s – early 1960s London, three upstart young photographers – Brian Duffy, David Bailey and Terence Donovan – were on hand to both document and participate first hand in the rapidly-modernizing changes in the fashion and entertainment scenes. In addition to capturing memorable portraits of stars who arose from within the scene – actors, designers, artists and musicians (you’ll recall Duffy’s shots of David Bowie, including the famous cover for his Aladdin Sane LP, along with Bailey’s psychedelic cover image for the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup), it was arguably Donovan who presented the broadest portfolio of artistically-crafted photos (and, later on, videos), including some that served to help launch the careers of his subjects.

While Bailey and Duffy have had a number of books and museum/gallery shows chronicling their careers, it wasn’t until now that Donovan’s contributions have been given the honor of a major retrospective. Now running at the Photographers’ Gallery in London is a show presented in association with camera manufacturer Ricoh (running through September 25th) titled Terence Donovan: Speed of Light that will include, in addition to a stunning collection of photos, a nice collection of related materials, including contact sheets, notes, diaries, sketchbooks and many previously-unseen items.

The Telegraph‘s Robin Muir gives us a preview of the show, along with some background on the photographer whose subjects have included everyone from Twiggy to Yassir Arafat.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/photography/what-to-see/terence-donovan-the-man-who-launched-a-thousand-stars/

Find out more about the show at the gallery’s site – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/terence-donovan-speed-of-light-2

On a related note, being published immediately after this show closes is a new book of Donovan’s most-beautiful portraits titled, quite appropriately, Terence Donovan Portraits. The book’s authored by Philippe Garner, a Director and International Head of Photographs and of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design at the Christie’s  auction house. Released this month in Europe (and due to hit the streets in the U.S. on September 27th), the 176-page book is being published by Damiani, with more details available on the company’s web site – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

e) Just a reminder that the “Fine Art of Rock” exhibition – featuring the album cover works of Ernie Cefalu, Joe Garnett, Ingrid Haenke, Drew Struzan and the other talented artists that made up the roster of famed album art design studio Pacific Eye & Ear – launched in July at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum for a run that will continue there through November 20th. On display will be original illustrations, paintings and working materials created for records by bands including Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, The Doors, Aerosmith, Grand Funk Railroad and many others. There’s a nice preview article by writer Bob Mehr that’s been posted on The Commercial Appeal: Memphis that also includes comments by Ernie – http://www.commercialappeal.com/entertainment/music/features/the-fine-art-of-rock-pays-tribute-to-album-cover-images-at-memphis-rock-n-soul-museum-376179b5-0e8b–386706541.html and for more info about the venue, click on over to their web site at http://memphisrocknsoul.org/

On a related note – The folks at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum recently alerted me about a selection of photos posted on the Facebook page of classic rock aficionado John Gable taken during his visit to the Fine Art of Rock exhibition currently on display at the museum, so if you’d like to take a brief tour of some of the notable album art on display there, click on over to John’s gallery at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206818128717266&set=pcb.10206818132277355&type=3&theater

f) Designer/blogger extraordinaire Simon Robinson recently posted an article on his ST33 site that introduces readers to a new exhibition which launched on the 14th of July that includes a display of over 500 album covers created for musical acts of the Jewish faith – in a wide variety of musical styles – that is currently on display at the Jewish Museum in London, UK. According to the museum’s site, the show – titled “Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl” (gotta love the name, no?) celebrates “the history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, music producers and songwriters.”

In addition to being able to view examples of early phonographs and gramophone (which, by the way, was invented and patented, along with the first phonograph record, in 1887 by Emil Berliner, a German-Jewish immigrant to the USA), visitors can track the growth of recorded music through the 20th Century to the present, “from Jewish folk music to Yiddish theatre songs, from Broadway musicals to rock‘n’roll via the rebels of punk and psychedelic rock. Hear personal stories from artists, musicians and collectors. Explore the art of the record sleeve and enjoy a display of 500 records including iconic sleeves from Amy Winehouse, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, and Barbara Streisand.” The show runs through October 16th.

Read Simon’s intro to this interesting, historic display on his site at https://st33.wordpress.com/

More info on the show is also available on the museum’s site at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/jukebox

g) Billboard Magazine contributor Gail Mitchell just posted an intro article about the newest exhibition that just launched at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that should be a treat for Beatles fans. This show, curated by the Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits, has been entertaining audiences all across the US since it opened up in NYC in 2014 (setting attendance records wherever it stopped), has now “come home” to the LA-based museum and will be appearing there through September 5th.

According to the museum’s press, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” brings us back to the early ‘60s when rock & roll was re-energized–some say saved–by four lads from Liverpool. The exhibit covers the period from early 1964 through mid-1966—the years Beatlemania ran rampant in America. During this time the band affected nearly every aspect of pop culture, including fashion, art, advertising, media, and, of course, music. On display are many Beatles-related pop culture artifacts from the period, as well as correspondence, instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, interactive displays, and an oral history booth in which visitors can leave their own impressions of The Beatles. Screenings and a series of talks reveal the continuing impact of the Beatles.”

Based on the show’s description and photos, there will be a lot of items on display that will be of interest to record art fans. Related events include one that vinyl lovers will have enjoyed – a specially-produced “Record Theater” event on July 18th which featured the music from the band’s 1966 release Revolver – the record featuring Klaus Voorman’s fantastic psychedelic ink drawing on the cover.

To read Gail’s article online, click on over to the Billboard site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7431018/beatles-exhibit-grammy-museum

and, for more information on the show and all the related screenings, discussions and events, visit the museum site at

http://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhibits/ladies-and-gentlementhe-beatles

h) As part of the kick off festivities surrounding the “Chunk of Punk” photo exhibition which launched July 8th at the High Street Gallery at the Uncorked Wine Bar in Akron, OH (featuring the works of Jill Furmanovsky, album cover contributor extra-ordinaire), the Akron Art Museum hosted a special talk about the local rock music scene that featured both Ms. Furmanovsky and local music legend Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Chunk of Punk was part of Punk Week in Akron, which celebrates the genre via a series of events including concerts, film screenings and related displays of artistry. More on this event can be found on the Museum’s web site at

https://akronartmuseum.org/calendar/artist-talk-jill-furmanovsky-with-chrissie-hynde/10486

Up-to-the-minute updates of this exhibitions can be found on the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/22HighStreetGallery/

i) The Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA has a new group photography show running now through September 13th that they’re calling Music To Our Ears and which features a fine collection of photographs – portraits, concert photography, etc. – by a dozen respected shooters including Charlie Sawyer, Roger Farrington, Marc Lacatell, Rowland Scherman and others, as well as shots from Ron Pownall, the man responsible for album package shots for a number of renowned musical acts including Joe Perry, Rick Derringer, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rainbow and many others.

According to the gallery’s site, the exhibition will also include “some music posters courtesy of our friends at the International Poster Gallery and some new guitars by Booches Custom Guitars.”

Prior to the launching of this event, Pownall was interviewed by Jody Feinberg for the Abington Wicked Local web site – http://abington.wickedlocal.com/entertainment/20160610/rock-n-roll-photography-on-display-at-cohasset-arts-event    There, you’ll learn about highlights from Ron’s career, including a photo taken in 1976 capturing the then 19-year-old Charlie Baker – now the Governor of Massachusetts – at an Aerosmith concert in Providence…

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) 20 years ago, a young photographer named Jonathan Mannion was hired by Rocafella Records to shoot a photo for the cover of the debut record (titled Reasonable Doubt) by a rapper named Shawn Carter who was looking for someone who’d present him to new audiences as someone who’d already established himself as the best in his profession. Shawn Carter went on to become music mogul Jay-Z and, as part of the festivities held to celebrate the record’s 20th anniversary, Mannion’s intimate photos from that session were presented in a “pop-up” exhibition called, quite reasonably, “PROPHECY”. A total of 22 images were shown at the private event – Vibe‘s Josias Valdez was on the guest list, talked to Mannion about how everything came together then and what’s next in this nicely-crafted illustrated interview – http://www.vibe.com/2016/07/jonathan-mannion-interview/

Just received an email from Mr. Mannion in which he details some of the latest things he’s been working on, including album covers for 2 Chains (College Grove), Dj Khaled (Major Key) and Gucci Mane (GUWOP). He’s also just teamed with  retailer PINTRILL to release a series of pins based on album art images Mannion’s done for Jay-Z, including some that celebrate the anniversary of their working together on Reasonable Doubthttp://www.pintrill.com/products/mannion-pin-pack?variant=21301575300

b) Houston-based artist Kevin Peterson received a call from someone on April Fool’s Day saying that they wanted to use a painting of his on the upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers’ record The Getaway. Of course he thought it was a joke…that was, until he was assured that front man Anthony Keidis had seen the work – an ultra-realistic painting titled “Coalition II” of a young girl strolling down a graffiti-marked street along with a bear, a raccoon, a fox and a black bird – and felt that it would perfectly-represent (according to Patrick Flanary’s interview with Peterson recently posted on the Billboard.com web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7408793/red-hot-chili-peppers-album-cover-choice) “the strength that it takes growing up in the world today, those traumas that it takes to get through it, and to survive and thrive.” Like Keidis, Peterson is a recovering drug user himself who found a new beginning in the Arts, so there’s some poetic justice in how the two found each other for this project.

c) After meeting artist Andy Warhol in the late 1950s while he worked as a waiter in a NYC restaurant (to supplement his starving artist career at the time), the two formed a tight bond that ultimately led to both a romantic and creative relationship that would last 10 years and out of which would spring “The Factory”, a place where strange and wonderful things took place. That person – Billy Name (originally, William Linich, Jr. ), one of the last few of the original cast of characters who called The Factory home, died recently at the age of 76.

While he spent the rest of his life post-Factory as a poet, Name’s photographs were included on the famous packaging for The Velvet Underground and Nico (the band’s  Warhol-produced debut album, as well as their self-titled third record, where he’s also a character who knows right from wrong (“…But, Billy said, both those words are dead”) in the group’s  song from that record called “That’s the Story of My Life”.

You can read Name’s obituary in The Guardian via the link – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/18/billy-name-andy-warhol-factory-photographer-dies-76

d) Man Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James – best-known for his 2015 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings – is featured in a recent interview with Jason Parham on TheFader.com site in which he recounts his earlier career as Creative Director (and album art producer) for top-selling Jamaican musician/recording artist Sean Paul. The two attended the same college in Jamaica before meeting professionally via Sean Paul’s manager in 1999 (while James worked as an independent writer/designer for commercial clients) to collaborate on the musician’s Stage One record. In the interview, you’ll learn more about James’ influences (Bjork and Pen & Pixel – quite the range!) and some additional details on several of the other covers he created for his famed fellow alum –

http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/12/sean-paul-album-covers-marlon-james

e) See item in Section 4 about a recent interview in The Guardian with acclaimed artist/musician Klaus Voorman’s regarding his just-released graphic novel about his time with The Beatles.

f) Interesting profile of artist Philip Castle in a recent posting on The Guardian‘s site by reporter Jonathan Jones. Album art fans will recall Castle’s contribution to the cover art featuring Brian Duffy’s memorable photo of David Bowie found on the Aladdin Sane LP (Castle created the silver teardrop found on Bowie’s shoulder, while film poster fans will recall his campy artwork crafted for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. While both of those efforts earned Castle many fans in the entertainment world, it was his artwork for Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 futuristic crime masterpiece A Clockwork Orange – now included in a show at London’s Somerset House gallery called “Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick” – that cemented his place in Pop Culture history. Kubrick’s very hands-on, detail-oriented work ethic had him send Castle art and sculptures used in the film for use in his prep for the poster work (leaving him with great souvenirs!), and Castle would go on to work with Kubrick again on the art for his celebrated war feature Full Metal Jacket. Read all the details via the link at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/07/stanley-kubrick-and-me-designing-clockwork-orange-poster

For some additional insight into this artist and, in particular, his album cover artwork, you might also want to spend a few minutes watching this 2011 video interview with London-based photographer Steve Mepsted posted on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbEAb2HoLVc

g) Another “local boy done good” feature was recently posted on the Somerset Live (UK) site that reminds us of the great talent of fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, who recently licensed one of his works for use on the cover of the latest compilation record by the Rolling Stones (Another Time, Another Place II). Matthews’ art has been featured on scores of books, posters and a number of album covers, including those for Asia, Hawkwind, Barclay James Harvest, Nazareth, The Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep and Rick Wakeman, but in this case, it was an image he’d done 40+ years ago while working for the famed Big O poster house – one that had caught the eyes of the Stones’ production team and, miraculously, ended up being used – without Matthews’ consent – on a U.S. tour poster for the band that the new record’s publisher requested be used on the recent release – this time, with credit and, I’m assuming, some compensation. Good work always wins out in the end…

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/8203-paulton-artist-designsthe-rolling-stones-album-cover/story-29453182-detail/story.html

h) When two collaborators in music both hold degrees from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, you’d have to think that they’d be looking for just the right images to grace the covers of their records and, in the case of the band Quilt and co-founding members Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski, you’d be right! For the cover of their 2016 release Plaza, after they came upon an image of a 1992 illustration by the late artist Ken Price (who also provided the cover art for The Paperhead’s 2014 release titled Africa Avenue) and realized that the artwork would be perfect for their upcoming record, they contacted the artist’s estate (managed by his son Jackson), made an impassioned plea for a license, and were rewarded with the permission they sought.

In Katherine Turman’s recent article for The Village Voice, you’ll meet these two talented young people and learn more about their ongoing efforts to “stitch together music and visual art”, much to the pleasure of their fans – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/perfect-cover-for-their-latest-album-quilt-stitch-together-music-and-visual-art-8768833

i) The works of legendary hip-hop photo specialist Ernie Paniccioli were featured recently in a rather-cool new project launched in Edmonton, Canada called the “Knowledge is Pow Wow” (which according to the project’s site, “will explore religious pluralism and social justice through inclusive conversation and creative expression …young adults from Edmonton’s downtown communities will hear from leaders representing Indigenous, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faiths and culture.”). Paniccioli, a Cree Native American who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, got his start in photography in the streets of his neighborhood, capturing images of the graffiti culture that reigned in the 1970s. His images got him a lot of attention, particularly from the artists in the emerging hip-hop/rap music scenes there and he was asked by a number of the soon-to-be-stars of the time – Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and many others – to provide them with shots for their album packages and promotions.

For an interview with Ernie done prior to the exhibition that was posted recently on the CBC News web site, click on over to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/famed-cree-hip-hop-photographer-s-work-on-display-in-edmonton-1.3652907

j) One of the design groups most-responsible for the over-the-top, bling-filled covers found on many of the rap genre’s best-known acts of the 1990s – 2000s was a Houston-based firm called Pen & Pixel, founded by two brothers (Aaron and Shaun Brauch) and whose work was featured on three-quarters of a billion albums, including 38 gold and 12 platinum-selling discs. The firm grew quickly and expanded their client list to include mainstream musical acts including Cher, Destiny’s Child, Lyle Lovett, Chris Rock and ZZ Top only to become victims of the many changes that rocked the music business, with the brothers leaving to start other careers – Aaron as a serial entrepreneur and business development consultant while Shaun continued on as an executive/creative director for several creative services companies.

New York Times contributor Will Stephenson recently posted a “Letter Of Recommendation” article that chronicles the firm’s rise and fall and how their designs established – at least for a while – the design guide for the proper proportions of cars, jewelry, money and scantily-clad women that should appear on any self-respecting rapper’s latest release.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-pen-pixel.html?

k) Not sure how I missed this when it aired a couple of months back, but Rene Montagne of NPR Radio’s “Morning Edition” did a very nice interview with one of the best-known artists to work in the Bay Area since the mid-1960s – that being, Wes Wilson, the guy credited with crafting the trippy, balloon-y fonts that became a mainstay of gig poster designs from that era (he’s also applied his talents to album art of the day, most-notably on the cover for Cream’s Disraeli Gears LP). Samples of Wilson’s posters were included in the grand re-opening exhibitions staged when the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art threw open its doors after a major renovation and there are more examples of his work in the museum’s permanent collection – https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Wes_Wilson

Listen to Wilson as he recalls how and why he got into the field, what motivated and shaped his work and how he hoped that his works would show, during the time when the war in Vietnam was raging, that “things are going to get better”. http://www.npr.org/2016/05/13/477900499/psychedelic-font-how-wes-wilson-turned-hippie-era-turmoil-into-art?

l) One of the most-impressive gallery collections of rock music-related fine art prints I’ve had the pleasure of seeing was on display at the San Francisco Art Exchange and, during my last visit, I had the pleasure of meeting the staff there, including the co-owner, Theron Kabrich. For those who haven’t seen the gallery’s collection (available online on their site at www.sfae.com), you’ll find editioned prints by many of the masters of album cover imagery, including designers Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson and photographers Joel Brodsky, Elliott Landy, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock and others – usually presented in collections that will appeal to lovers of the imagery of rock’s foremost musical acts.

In his most-recent “Art Dealer Show” audio interview/podcast, art world veteran Danny Stern (who got his first gallery job at SFAE) talks to his mentor Kabrich about his start in the business – having transitioned from a career in the fields of psychology and mental health to his career in the art world after, according to his site bio ” he had traveled throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Nepal and India, collecting art and objects along the way. This set a new chapter in motion from a career in clinical psychology to one as a fine art dealer.” Today, along with his co-owner Jim Hartley, Kabrich presents his gallery’s clients with fine examples of the works of the people that have produced many of the world’s best-known images from the world of Popular Culture, so it’s a rare opportunity to be able to listen to him discuss a whole range of topics with his learned cohort.

The 67-minute-long podcast is available via streaming/download, etc. – http://artdealer.show/004-theron-kabrich/

m) Ask six designers about their favorite/most-inspirational album cover designs and, of course, you get six completely-different stories, but in this recent article on The Guardian (UK) site built around interviews by Kathryn Bromwich, Imogen Carter and Katie Forster, I was particularly-intrigued by the appearance of several “classic” record covers in the answers proffered by some of these young-but-talented design pros. Included in the list of influential designs are covers by bands such as Sparks (their 1975 record Indiscreet is a favorite of Bedwyr Williams), The Human League (Inspiration, their 1979 record which profoundly impressed Julie Verhoeven) and Pink Floyd, whose 1969 record Ummagumma suggests the compositions of the Dutch Masters to Alice Anderson.

Always interesting to learn more about what goes on in the heads of today’s most-creative designers, I think…

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jun/26/art-on-your-sleeve-artists-album-covers-juergen-teller-lynette-yiadom-boakye

n) Orange County, CA has produced a staggering number of talented people who’ve left their marks on the entertainment business – Steve Martin, Bob Deal (AKA Mick Mars) of Motley Crew and Gwen Stefani are just a few we can mention – but few have contributed as influential and long-lasting an item as the logo design created by Westminster High School graduate Gerard Huerta – that being the AC/DC lettering and logo that has graced the covers, sleeves, t-shirts, tattoos, posters and other memorabilia purchased by millions of fans since its introduction in 1976. Huerta began his career at CBS Records in New York designing album covers and creating letterforms for Boston (see the article on this cover later on in this posting), AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Stephen Stills and Foreigner. He started Gerard Huerta Design in 1976 and has been drawing custom letters and logos ever since.

OC Register staff writer Peter Larsen recently posted a profile on the ever-busy artist at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/huerta-720158-westminster-lettering.html

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerard several years back about his work on that iconic logo and so I invite you to take a gander at that article on my old archive site –

http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/07/cover-story—a.html

o) Record covers have always reflected the fashions of the day, so leave it to the writers from Vogue Magazine to track down and interview a person that many of us classic album art fans know, but only from the waist down to his knees! Of course, I’m talking about Corey Grant Tippin – make-up artist, model, actor and Andy Warhol muse/chum, whose mid-section was featured prominently on the un-zippable album cover created for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers record, released in 1971.

In this article by Laird Borrelli-Persson that serves to introduce the relationship between Tippin and famed 70s illustrator Antonio Lopez (whose works are the subject of a new show on display at the new El Museo del Barrio “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion”), the interviewer questions Tippin about Lopez, his career as an in-demand make-up artist and working with Warhol and the team that created the acclaimed and controversial record cover –

http://www.vogue.com/13448063/corey-grant-tippin-interview-antonio-lopez-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers/

p) Writer Vikki Tobak’s new interview series for the Mass Appeal web site launches with an interview with one of the best-known photographers who has covered emerging music scenes over the past several decades – Janette Beckman. Ms. Beckman’s credits in the album art world include cover shots for The Police (Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Every Breath You Take: The Singles); Squeeze (Six Of One); Gang Starr (No More Mr. Nice Guy); Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (On The Strength) and Salt-n-Pepa’s A Salt With A Deadly Pepa and Push It, among others, as well as the subject of this recent interview – an iconic image taken of British rapper Slick Rick during a Def Jam press shoot in NYC for The Great Adventures of Slick Rick album in 1989.

The interview dives into “the making of” this and other shots from her career and provides camera nerds with the details of the equipment she employed to make the magic happen – http://massappeal.com/contact-high-the-stories-behind-hip-hops-most-iconic-photographs/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) St. Paul’s Gallery, one of the premiere publishers/galleries that specialize in album cover art prints, just informed me of a sale they’re running in conjunction of the recent opening of the world-traveling “Bowie Is” exhibition at the MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna – in Spain (see http://davidbowieis.it/en/ for more details). From now until this Friday, August 5th, the nice people at St. Paul’s are offering a 10% discount (via the promo code LIDNI231 entered at check-out) on any of the fine Bowie-related art prints they have available, including prints (some of which have copies also on display as part of the Bowie Is show, organized by the V&A Museum) by acclaimed artists/photographers such as John Rowlands, Celia Philo & Philip Castle, Terry Pastor and others. Some of the prints were co-signed by Mr. Bowie prior to his sad death this past January, making them all the more collectible. To see the entire offering (prints, limited-edition books, posters, sculpture, etc.), follow the link to the gallery’s site – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=264&numRecordPosition=1

b) The team at Gotta Have It Rock & Roll auction house have just released a summary of the prices paid for items that were included their recently-held auction, with bidding closed on Saturday, July 30th. Fans of unique, album art-related items will find several examples of items that found new homes with collectors who participated in the “Rock and Pop Culture Auction – July 2016” event, including several groups of photos of the late artist formerly known as Prince (each of the three sets sold for a mere $100) and an abstract painting done by singer Alanis Morissette, which sold for $5363, well above the $4000 top pre-auction estimate.

Collectors seemed to be holding on tight to their purses/wallets as many items went unsold, including a set of photo proofs/negatives done for records by Steven Van Zant, artwork for Journey’s Time 3 box set (autographed by singer Steve Perry), a pair of photos offered up by the estate of Herb Worthington that were used on covers for Fleetwood Mac and Lita Ford (although, a Worthington-owned RIAA Platinum LP plaque for Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna did sell for $587, near the top of the estimated value range) and an art board featuring a 16 x 20″ Neal Preston photo shot for the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Live 75 – 85 record album. If you’d like to see more of the results, click on over to https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   Congratulations to all who found something nice to add to their personal collections.

c) Lovers of the artwork of the late Rick Griffin were in for a treat this past month with the announcement of a special auction of his works hosted by the Psychedelic Art Exchange. Griffin, who created the now-famous artwork for the cover of the Grateful Dead’s trippy 1969 album AOXOMOXOA, along with covers for musical acts including Kerry Livgren, Cold Blood, MAN, The Packards, Darrell Mansfield and others, was also a celebrated poster artist, creating hundreds of designs for acts playing at Bay-area venues. In the late 1960s, Griffin teamed up with several other celebrated local artists, including Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson to start an agency specializing in psychedelic posters called Berkeley Bonaparte and, in the list of over 100 posters that were included in this auction, you’d have found wonderful examples of this work, along with images he created for his other loves, such as surfing, comic books and religion.

Take a look at what curator Glen Trosch has put together for you to look at in this month’s new auction and, if you’re so inclined, add to your collections, via the link – http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) There’s a new Klaus Voorman book (a graphic novel) that tells the story of his relationship with The Beatles beginning with his first encounter with the group in 1960 in a Hamburg, Germany bar. Birth of an Icon: Revolver 50 includes the story about his Grammy-winning illustrations done for the cover of Revolver for The Beatles. In a recent interview with Robin Stummer for The Guardian web site, Voorman shares some of his recollections (“I created the Revolver cover. It was on the third floor of a house, in a little attic apartment, it was in the kitchen. Parliament Hill, Hampstead. I was staying there. I went back there recently, the building is exactly the same.”) which remain quite vivid even after all these years.

Trained as both a graphic artist and a musician, Voormann and his girlfriend, the photographer Astrid Kirchherr, met the band early in their career (the Pete Best/Stu Sutcliffe days) and inspired their looks at the time (black clothes, leathers and low-cut bangs). Astrid spent hours shooting the band (some of her best-known shots were used on the album packages for the band and several solo LPs, including George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music and John Lennon’s Signature Box compilation). Voormann went on to spend much of the 60s and 70s alternating stints on the pop and rock circuit, playing bass with Manfred Mann, George Harrison and John Lennon – including on Lennon’s Imagine – with his work in graphic design and fine art. Did covers for the Bee Gees (Bee Gees 1st and Idea, more for Beatles-related projects (inc. 1995’s Anthology compilation and Ringo’s Ringo), his own 2009 solo album A Sideman’s Journey (featuring guest appearances by former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Yusuf Islam, Jim Keltner, Joe Walsh and others) and, more recently, a quite-Revolver-like illustration for the cover of Japanese rockers Glay’s 2014 release titled Music Life.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/23/beatles-revolver-cover-klaus-voormann

Book info on Voorman’s site (set for an early August release) – http://www.voormann.com/shop/birth_of_an_icon_revolver_50

b) The works of one of the “Early Influencers” of record album artwork – artist David Stone Martin – have always intrigued fans of album art with their simple-yet-compelling lines and colors – just ask any fan of the many (over 400!) covers he created for records by acts including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and others who appeared on the several labels headed by the great jazz promoter Norman Granz (Asch, Clef and others) during the 1940s-50s. While some of the covers have been available previously as fine art prints, there’s a new, much-larger collection that’s being offered at the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX that comes from publisher Audioframe as the result of their pain-staking efforts to restore vintage plates and recreate the excitement of the original designs. Each print is hand-numbered and is stamped by DSM’s archive. There are 4 sizes available, in editions from 200 for the 14″ square prints, offered at $380, to just 25 prints in the huge 44″ square versions, priced at $1995. To see the entire collection, visit the Modern Rocks site at http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/buy-david-stone-martin-prints/

c) Tom Sheehan’s photos have been featured on hundreds of album covers and packages throughout the years (inc. those for the Flamin’ Groovies, Ian Dury, Aztec Camera, The Charlatans UK and others), but it is his photos of Robert Smith and his mates in The Cure – taken beginning in 1982 while he worked as the principal photographer for Melody Maker magazine – that are probably his best-known works, so it’s exciting to see a hand-picked selection of them taken over a 23-year period (thru 2005) compiled and offered in a soon-to-be-published new book. In Between Days. The Cure in photographs 1982 – 2005 is scheduled to be released this coming November in two beautiful editions – the Deluxe (2500 copies) and the Super Deluxe (just 700 copies) – each with 240 pages of photos and text, with the Super Deluxe version including a signed COA, a deluxe slipcover and an envelope containing three 5×7″ photos, suitable for framing. The Price for the Deluxe version is £48.00, while the Super Deluxe is available for £70.00, with pre-orders now being accepted on The Flood Gallery’s site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/the-cure-in-between-days?

d) The late Nirvana guitarist/songwriter Kurt Cobain showed a love for the visual arts by contributing album images for his band’s In Utero and Incesticide records, some of which will be on display as part of the recently-announced touring show of his art, organized by his family and Jampol Artist Management – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/kurt-cobain-art-exhibition-522386. Kurt’s visual arts genes live on in the artwork now being produced by his only child, the now 23-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, who has begun offering prints of her humorous-but-slightly-macabre artwork via the Depop online art store (https://www.depop.com/en-us/space_witch666). Ranging in price from $150 to $400 per print, the nine different images include, according to this recent article on the ArtNet site by Sarah Cascone, several works that were included in her first series released back in 2010 and illustrate that the young Ms. Cobain shares some of her Dad’s slightly-strange, dark humor…learn more via the link – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/frances-bean-cobain-art-for-sale-355262

e) Another reason to have braved the crowds at last month’s Comic-Con in San Diego is presented in this article by Ethan Anderton on the Slashfilm.com site about two sets of limited-edition items – one set of special-edition vinyl recordings and another set of related album cover art prints – featuring your favorite characters from one of last year’s most-successful animated films – Pixar Animation’s Inside Out. While supplies lasted at the show, festival goers were able to purchase 7″ vinyl copies of music taken from Michael Giacchino’s score for the film (not previously released on vinyl) that will be produced by specialty supplier Mondo in small batches (2500 copies in each) that feature both colored discs and artwork focused on one of the movie’s main characters (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Riley). Also at the show, the first group of limited-edition (200 each out of 420 total per image) 18″ x 24″ prints of the albums’ different covers (done by the Toronto, Canada-based Phantom City Creative team, the same group that produced the stunning album art for Mondo’s soundtrack album for the Hannibal film soundtrack) were offered up by the folks at Cyclops Print Works, with the rest being made available by the publisher after the show.

To see all of the aforementioned art that’s available, link on over to the Slashfilm article now – http://www.slashfilm.com/inside-out-vinyl/

Visit the Cyclops Print Works site to get your own copy of one or more of these new collectibles – https://www.cyclopsprintworks.com/

You’ll find another Mondo-based article down in Section 5 that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well…

f) Please see the article in Section 1 of this recap about the new book coming out featuring portrait photos by the great Terence Donovan – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

g) Photographer Drew Carolan, well-known for his compelling album cover photos featuring musical acts including Ziggy Marley, Eric B. & Rakim, Living Colour and many others, shared with me some information about a book he’s going to release this fall that should be of great interest to fans of the early 80s music scene as it transitioned from punk to the more hardcore styles. Over a two year period – from 1983 to 1985 – Drew set up shop near famed rock club CBGBs in the Bowery section of New York City to document – in an effort called the “Matinee Project” – the people who participated in the scene and attended the hardcore/metalcore events that were held nearby. Partnering with Radio Raheem Records (home of bands including Agnostic Front, Charred Remains, The Androids and other hardcore stalwarts), the deluxe hardcover book – titled Matinee: All Ages – On The Bowery NYC 1983 – 1985 is sure to please fans and those interested in seeing shots from this most-fascinating musical/pop culture era. Several years ago, Carolan created a video that highlights the time he spent creating this series which should serve as a great intro to his project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jN46nf0nl0

To sign up for updates on the availability of this book, please visit http://www.radioraheemrecords.com/matineebook

h) While not easily falling in to this category’s basics (i.e., new prints, books and other arty collectibles), this item is of enough import that I felt it should be mentioned as it does involve collectibles of another type – i.e., postage stamps. On July 7th, the U.K.’s Royal Mail released a series of stamps that feature images connected to one of the nation’s best-known treasures, that being the rock band Pink Floyd. The collection of 10 different images gracing the new stamps include several of the band’s iconic album covers including early releases such as The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals, up to the group’s final 2014 release The Endless River. Four additional stamps feature photos of the band performing live on tour, including shots from concerts at London’s UFO Club in 1966, the Dark Side of the Moon tour in 1973, 1981’s The Wall tour and 1994’s The Division Bell tour.

Besides the stamps, there are a number of related items that are being promoted by the mail service, including souvenir sheets and presentation packs, framed collections, two cover collections, including one commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of group founder Syd Barrett and a special numbered limited-edition item called a “Moon Maxi Sheet” that presents 10 of the Dark Side of the Moon stamps on top of a 9 x 7 replica of the renowned prismatic cover art.

As you might imagine, there has been a fair amount of coverage about this new collection, so if you’d like to learn more, click on over to this article on the BBC site – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-36382247

or another example on the Belfast Telegraph site at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/music/news/pink-floyd-stamps-to-feature-innovative-album-covers-34747737.html

To see and buy these new items, pop on over to the Royal Mail site at http://www.royalmail.com/pinkfloydstamps

i) Comic book publisher Storm Entertainment has released a new comic novel that presents the life and times of the late artist Prince. Titled Tribute: Prince and penned by writer Michael L. Frizell, the comic book features artwork by Ernesto Lovera and Vincenzo Sansone. Lovera has previous credits doing artwork for tribute comics on other famous subjects, including Britain’s Royal Family, pin-up model Bettie Page and an earlier (2013) book on Prince titled Fame, while Sansone has done work on books about John Wayne and Pope Francis. Writer Frizell’s past comic book work covers famous figures in popular culture, politics and music, including books on Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Nancy Reagan, Bono, Miley Cyrus, The Osbournes, Jerry Garcia and Amy Winehouse. Over the years, Storm Entertainment, formerly known as Blue Water Comics, has released a number of tribute comic book biographies, including ones on David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and many others.

Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Althea Legaspi provides us with additional details and comments from the creators of this 24-page tribute to another artist who has left this planet way too soon –  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tribute-prince-new-comic-book-released-20160609#

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Some of you might recall a posting some time back about a new “Floating Record” turntable I’d bought via a Kickstarter project in support of a Chicago company called Grammovox. As a Grammovox owner/supporter, I’ve been the recipient of a regular email newsletter in which they share info on new products (including a retro-style Bluetooth speaker) and on vinyl record products that, when mounted to be played on the vertically-oriented turntable, look extra cool – picture discs, colored vinyl and, in the case I’m sharing with you today, a series of records made by an artist named Curtis Godino that are filled with various liquids. Very lava-lamp visuals, you’d have to figure. Two notable commissions for Godino include “blood-filled” records for clients including Waxwork Records’ Friday The 13th soundtrack and Mondo’s soundtrack for the blood-drenched film ALIENS.

Grammovox staffers recently interviewed the Brooklyn, NY-based artist about the wide range of liquid disc projects – for both musical and fine art clients – for their blog titled The Reverb, which you can reach via the link at https://www.gramovox.com/blogs/posts/interview-with-curtis-godino?

b) Today’s second story about record releases with interesting delivery options shows us a new album titled Ecume on the AntiVJ label by Belgian record producer Thomas Vaquie’, who collaborated with the appropriately-named (for an album package designer) artist Yannick Jacquet (!!) to create a sleeve made of concrete cast resin that’s been inscribed with 3D representations of the waveforms of some of the album’s music. Writing for the Stoneyroads.com dance music web site, Joseph Smith gives us an overview of the limited-edition (25 sets) offering – priced at €90 (not including shipping!) – http://stoneyroads.com/2016/07/artist-creates-concrete-record-sleeve-for-album

c) Levi’s 505C jeans – whether you know it or not – have been featured on two of rock’s most-iconic album covers – Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones and the debut record by NY punk legends Ramones, and with retro styling having a bit of a comeback, the clothing company has decided to re-issue this series in order to fulfill the desires of punkers and Factory-wannabes of all ages to dress as their heroes did.

http://www.gq.com/story/levis-505c-new-style-archives-denim-jeans

d) R.I.P. cartoonist and illustrator Jack Davis, one of the founding editors of Mad Magazine, who died Wednesday at the age of 91. Over his long career, Davis gave us memorable images for a variety of book, magazine and commercial advertising clients (e.g., he designed the original bug that screamed “RAID!” on the bug spray commercials), but besides his great cartoons for Mad, I remember him best for his poster for the 1963 film (then DVD) It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World and his album cover for Johnny Cash’s 1966 record Everybody Loves A Nut.

His colleagues at Mad posted a tribute to him that gives you a nice retrospective of his career – http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2016/07/27/mad-remembers-jack-davis-artist

Truly a great – sad to see him go.

e) Being that we find ourselves – both here in the U.S. and abroad – in the midst of a fair amount of political news-making (elections, party overthrows, military coups, etc.), we’d be disappointed if somebody didn’t use the opportunity to create a series of album cover-influenced images featuring a selection of those folks making the headlines. Well, no reason to be disappointed – the team of reporter Graeme Demianyk and picture editor Tahira Mirza of the U.K. edition of the Huffington Post have crafted a selection of 10 covers that insert politicians including former PM David Cameron, past London mayor Boris Johnson and ex-Labour Party leader Ed Miliband into familiar album art scenes from musical acts including the Beach Boys, Sting, Johnny Cash and Madonna, among others. The creators’ reasoning for this work was stated quite simply – “Sometimes politicians look like they’d rather have been in a band. We’ve tried to make it happen”. I wonder if any of the politicians featured in the grouping would have rather been in the theater? I could definitely see Nigel Farage playing Aaron Burr on a poster for Hamilton http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/album-covers-politicians_uk_57754d63e4b0b9c0dc08ce37

f) They keep trying to get away with this crap…blame it on the “if it’s on the Internet, it must be free” approach to art/photo license management…Photographer Glen Craig, whose portraits and performance photos of many of rock music’s best-known acts (Rolling Stones, James Brown, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and many, many others) have been seen in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and books over the years and, along the way, he’s had special relationships with many of the musical acts he’s taken photos of. Blues guitarist B.B. King was one of those acts, with Craig’s photos of the “King of the Blues” gracing the covers and inside pages of top music magazines of the day including Cashbox, Hullaballoo, Guitar Player, Downbeat and others, so you know that it was a pretty well-known fact that the two were connected.

This seems to have escaped the fact of those responsible for putting together the cover art for several more-recent Universal Music releases of performances by Mr. King, including 2012’s Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr. B.B. King, whose cover shot is one from Mr. Craig’s archives and was not licensed for this use. Not too happy to have found this out by happenstance, Mr. Craig recently sued the label and Mr. King’s estate to recoup royalties he should have earned from a proper license, with the details of the lawsuit and its outcome still pending. The folks on the TMZ.com site recently posted a startling expose of this atrocity, which you can review via the link at http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/11/b-b-king-universal-music-sued-album-photos/   (right next to the link to the article titled “Gigi Hadid’s HUGE Breasts Spill Out…WOW!). Love them TMZers, don’t you?

g) And I thought that I held grudges for too-long a time…It seems that, back in 2013, a spat was ignited between singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens and Jehnny Beth of the UK-based punk band The Savages after Stevens posted a critique of the typography that The Savages used on their Silence Yourself debut record. While the band didn’t respond at the time (Stevens did say that he liked the music), Jehnny showed us that the wound remained deeply ingrained in her psyche when she asked the radio jock she was being interviewed by to not play a Stevens song during the show because “…he wrote a quite funny blog post about how much he hated our album cover.” Stereogum’s James Rettig gives us the details in this recent posting – http://www.stereogum.com/1886227/savages-jehnny-beth-responds-to-sufjan-stevens-critique-of-their-album-cover/news/ All I can say, in the vernacular common for an earlier time, is “take a lude, dude”…

h) If you have a story or personal recollection about the late artist/illustrator Richard Amsel (well known for his film poster and album cover work), the guy that is making a documentary film about the artist is looking for your help. As part of his effort to gather materials for his film, Adam McDaniel was at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con gathering, camera in hand, ready to capture your stories for posterity. In particular, he was looking for other artists who might have worked with Amsel sometime during his career, so if you missed each other during your trip to this huge pop culture extravaganza and have a story you’d like to share, please contact Adam via email at cinemalad5@aol.com. For more information on this film project, please visit their site at http://cinemalad5.wix.com/richardamselmovie

i) While not an article on album cover art per se, I did discover an article about a new book that’ll be hitting the shelves later this year that covers and highlights the work of people – illustrators, graphic designers and industrial designers who, according to a quote from the book’s author,” in many ways, have been left out of design history.” Sound familiar?

The new book, titled The Art of Atari, was written by Tim Lapetino, executive director of the Museum of Video Game Art (playmova.org) and, according to writer Colin Campbell’s recent article for the Polygon web site, “celebrates the packaging and games that were part and parcel of the late-1970s and early-1980s era of console gaming.” Reading through this article, there were many parallels between the perceived roles that designers played in this burgeoning industry – creating eye-catching packaging, marketing materials, advertising, etc. – while in the shadows of the “stars” of the genre (i.e., the video game programmers) with their counterparts in the music business, who typically are the record label execs, band managers and the musical acts themselves that I am pleased to find out that there are others like me (and you, my readers) who have realized just how important it is to provide greater visibility and praise for the “unsung heroes” of these entertainment areas.  I hope to reach out to Tim to find out more about his work and his new online museum but, in the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at this preview – http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/7/4/12083190/inside-the-art-of-atari

j) In the annals of rock music album art history, few band logos/images have been more memorable than Boston’s Spaceship Guitar, the Roger Huyssen-produced illustration (featuring Gerard Huerta’s lettering) which was found on the cover of the band’s 1976 debut record and which went on to sell over 25 million copies world-wide, becoming the second best-selling debut record of all time.

This year, for their 40th Anniversary tour, the group asked the folks at Seattle-based design/animation shop Straightface Studios to expand upon that original design to create an impressive 3-D animation that provides the backdrop to the band’s live concert production. The two-month project produced thousands of hi-res frames used to create the video, with the awe-inspiring results available for viewing as part of writer Kurt Schlosser’s recent article on the Geek Wire site – http://www.geekwire.com/2016/boston-concert-seattle-straightface/

I have more than a feeling that you’ll like what you see (sorry, I just had to do it).

k) We’re often inspired by the images we find on the covers of our favorite record albums, but this is the first time that I’ve read an article where a noted design/innovation consultant has been able to extract the DNA from classic album cover art and apply it to the exploration of how effective teams of people work together to innovate in the workplace (wow – I haven’t written a sentence like that since leaving the Corporate world 10 years ago, and it still stings a bit…).

In this recent article in the Huffington Post by Geoff Tuff (who heads up the Doblin group within Deloitte) titled “Innovation Lessons from the Dark Side“, the author describes how, after deep deliberation, the Hipgnosis-designed cover art for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon presented to him “a reflection on how innovation teams can serve as a prism to play two essential roles for their business: dispersion and re-composition.” By “dispersion”, Tuff means feeding a core business in on one side of a prism and having it come out – through the application of a number of innovative ideas – refracted into a myriad of colorful results. “Re-composition” hopes that truly-capable teams are able to look at the many different ways innovation takes place in the “outside world” and then focus on what’s best for their own efforts going forward.

We’ve all noticed that the titles of the songs on the album – “Time”, “Us & Them”, “Money” and others – all relate quite clearly to

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoff-tuff/innovation-lessons-from-t_b_10364740.html

l) The things some artists will do in order to achieve just the “right” look for their album cover photo! While I typically will not send my readers to gossip sites, this recent article on the Perez Hilton site includes a video of heart-throb Nick Jonas standing still while a sheet of glass is broken over his head, with the results captured via high-speed photography and used on the cover of his latest release titled Last Year Was Complicated. Photography by Yu Tsai, with design and art direction by Kyle Goen (AKA Kyledidthis), the guy responsible for recent album covers for pop artists including Babyface, Ariana Grande, Kid CuDi and Erykah Badu. I’m impressed that Kyle was able to convince the musician (and his management) that this was the best way to produce this image – it harkens back to the days (prior to computer graphics) when art directors had to use their imaginations and available resources to create images like this one…

http://perezhilton.com/2016-06-08-nick-jonas-album-cover-art-last-year-was-complicated-broken-glass-head#

m) Attention all album packaging designers – it’s that time of year again to submit your entries to the annual A Design Awards international design competition. If you’re unfamiliar with these awards, here’s a little more of an intro as provided by the organization’s PR folks – “The A’ Design Award & Competition has been established to promote and recognize the best design works in all countries and in all creative disciplines. The primary aim of the A’ Design Award & Competition is to create a global awareness and understanding for good design practices and principles by highlighting the best designs in all countries and in all industrial fields. The ultimate aim of the A’ Design Awards is to push designers, companies and brands worldwide to create superior products and projects that benefit the society.

The A’ Design Award & Competition has a philanthropic goal to advance society by pushing the frontiers of science, design, creativity and technology forward by creating incentives for innovators to come up with better ideas. The A’ Design Competition aims to create incentives that ignite and reward creativity, original ideas and concept generation in all industrial sectors.”

To those of you who work for clients in the music/entertainment industries, there’s an award category called “GRAPHICS AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN AWARD” that focuses on marketing/promo design – posters, flyers, logos, consumer/trade ads, etc. – with more details on that category available via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/graphicsandadvertisingdesign.html

Packaging designers can find out the details of submissions in the “PACKAGING DESIGN” award category via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/packagingdesign.html

Regular submissions will be accepted until September 15th, with the actual judging/award announcements coming out next April, so watch this space for any updates and for information on the winners in these categories. Best of luck to all who enter!

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (usually on Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month (after the move to our new home near Chicago!) with another summary for you.

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

Album Cover News Summary For June, 2016

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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:

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Album Cover News Recap for March, 2016

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

It’s April Fool’s Day 2016 and, while you’d think that this day would be celebrated as a national holiday, what with most of us here in the U.S. being bombarded with news of the mystery theater performances being given by those actors in our electoral process. However, back in the music/art world (the real world?), news about the people that produce the art and product packaging for our favorite musical acts continues to be published on a regular basis,  with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, lectures, book/art releases and other such activities we reported on during the past month. Regular readers of our news feed have enjoyed stories on the many interviews, features, artist profiles, new gallery/museum shows and other similar items that took place in March, but for those who weren’t able to check in every day, I’ll spend a few moments now to give you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be your responsibility to visit our site to complete your viewing   of these items of interest by reading and (re)viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interview articles this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including designers Cedric Hervet (Daft Punk), and Stefan Sagmeister, who maintains an ever-expanding Instagram account featuring examples of fine album design; sculptor David Altmejd, photographers Dennis Morris, Gered Mankowitz, Phil Nicholls and a group who attempt to explain how best to hire a rock photographer; collage creator Clay Rossner and music producer Ben Vaughan, who custom-crafted a Spotify playlist to accompany a museum show on Pop Art.

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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 November, 2015

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

It’s early December 2015 and, here in the Pacific NW, we’ve already been treated to the first blasts of Winter air – great skiing on Mt. Hood and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather – with the last bits of Fall’s colors reminding us why we moved here. The craziness we all seem to suffer from at the end of the year has done nothing to stunt the flow of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed including many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and the first “best and worst” lists adding to the endless source of joy and inspiration 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 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 art directors Gary Burden, John Van Hamersveld, Kosh, Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) and Tupac’s designer Riskie; photographers Dan Corrigan, Dave Drebin and Brian Cooke, as well as artist/illustrator Tommie Phillips (AKA “Tommie Molecule”).

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer Jay Blakesberg (about the Grateful Dead’s farewell shows), designer/illustrator James Marsh (on his work for Talk Talk), author David Hamsley (with a comprehensive book on Disco-era covers), a GWAR photo retrospective and Taschen’s extensive homage to “the father of album covers”, Alex Steinweiss.

World-wide, there were a large number of exhibitions and shows in museums and galleries built around rock-related imagery that premiered during November, with collections on display that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as Beatle-daughter Mary McCartney’s show of both her/her mother’s family portraits, painter/professor Don Munson’s latest works, a show centered on the art made during So. California’s punk era, cartoonist Jamie Hewlett’s (of Gorillaz fame) latest works, musician/artist Andy Votel’s cassette mix-tape cover designs, White Zombie’s Sean Yseult’s highly-personal artwork and photo shows featuring the works of Dan Fong, Tony Mott, Ken Davidoff and Masayoshi Sukita.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the many new examples of album art-inspired merchandise (something to keep in mind at Holiday time!), a profile of rock star clothier Manuel Cuevas, new record packages where music is delivered via chip-embedded picture cards, a look at the art of design house/record label Mondo, several items listing the “best” and “worst” covers in genres including heavy metal and hip-hop and a look at how photographer Jon Smith creates cover images based on high-speed shots of bullets penetrating various solid objects.

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!

One final noteWe’ve just completed this year’s annual nominating/final voting polls 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. You’ll now find the list of this year’s inductees on the ACHOF via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2015-inductee-intro-page/ – where I’m sure you’ll find some of your favorite album art producers added to our growing list of honorees.

With all of the year-end distractions now upon us , I’m doing my part 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 – it’s my Holiday gift to you!  You can be sure that I’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). Enjoy your Holidays!

November 30th –  1) So, you’ve collected years of rock and roll memorabilia, photos and memories of rock music events and are looking for a way to share it all with the world at large? Of course, you could always do something silly – like launch a blog or web site – but, beginning on December 1st, the curators at The Smithsonian want you to share with other fans via a new site they’ve launched because, according to their press release, “we want rock’n’roll as seen through your eyes: at clubs, concerts, festivals, and beyond.” With one of the ultimate goals of this project being the publication of a book of crowd-sourced images (in the Fall of 2017), the new site (rockandroll.si.edu) will work to be ground central for amateur archivists from around the world. I hope to find out more about the details of this project and will share them with you soon but, in the meantime, you can learn more about how you can help our National Museum become one of the world’s most-complete storehouses of rock music imagery via the link – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-smithsonian-wants-you-to-hit-them-with-your-best-shot-300182334.html

2) Holiday time is the time where rock imagery fans scour the world trying to find never-before-sent gifts to their fellow collectors and, each year, I’m always impressed with some of the unique items I find and am able to share with you. While I’m working on a more-comprehensive article for later in the month, I did want to show you one example I found recently – a collection of cozy blankets and tapestries adorned with well-know album cover and rock portrait designs. Writing for Fast Company‘s design site, Joe Berkowitz introduces us to products sold by a company called society6 that include several well-known album covers nicely-rendered in fabric – you’ll find art for musical acts including Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, Primal Scream, Seal and many others. Lots to choose from, so if you’re stymied for an idea for something new and exciting, take a look – http://www.fastcocreate.com/3053856/wrap-yourself-up-in-music-with-blankets-patterned-after-your-favorite-album-covers#2

November 27th –  1) The talents of the accomplished graphic artist/album cover designer James Marsh are now available in gift-giving form via the new, just-released paperback version of the sold-out 2012 book called “The Spirit of Talk Talk. He kicked the book’s promo off a couple of days ago at a star-studded, musically-intriguing party (featuring The Spirit of Talk Talk Band) at the Clapham Grand in London and, based on the coverage of the event, a great time was had by all who attended. James’ newly-revised book adds pages of new content (artwork, interviews and more) and is a must-have for fans of the artist’s amazingly life-like (and yet surrealistic) illustrations. You can find out more about the book via the Spirit of Talk Talk site – http://spiritoftalktalk.com/ and see pics and video of the recent promo party at https://www.facebook.com/SpiritOfTalkTalk/?fref=photo

Congratulations, James – nice work!

2) In a newly-launched exhibition at NYC’s Gagosian Gallery (available for viewing from now until December 19th), you’ll find an impressive display of photographs that highlight the fact that talent can certainly be inherited. Viewers of “Linda McCartney|Mary McCartney – Mother Daughter” will find a selection of intimate family portraits – some never shown in public – as well as photos well-known to fans of Sir Paul and his family, such as Linda’s shot of her husband and then-baby Mary featured on the cover of the 1970 solo record McCartney. In Sue Williamson‘s interview article on the W Magazine website, you’ll learn more about how this exhibition came together and a bit about how young Ms. McCartney thought it would show how influential her mother’s talents as a photographer turned out to be – http://www.wmagazine.com/culture/art-and-design/2015/11/mary-mccartney-gagosian/photos/

3) While some music fans might be intimidated by the prospect of exploring the cultural themes of rap and hip-hop music, album art fans will be greatly-rewarded by a thorough exploration of the development of the genre’s visuals over the years, with many records serving as stunning examples of both visual artistry and social commentary. In an article written and compiled by Dominique Zonyee for The Boombox site titled “25 Striking Hip-Hop Album Covers That Will Make You Appreciate a Rapper’s Creative Side“, you’ll find a photo gallery showing off examples of memorable cover art for 20+ years of musical acts including Wu-Tang Clan, Geto Boys, Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, DMX, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake and many others. Some are cliche’, some are disturbing and some show an impressive degree of knowledge of the technical and historical influences that simply make for great art – enjoy – http://theboombox.com/25-hip-hop-album-covers-rappers-creative-side/

November 26th –  1) As I’m a fan of artists who’ve excelled in the two disciplines of cartoon animation and album cover art, on the rare occasion that one person achieves fame in BOTH arenas, I’m even more impressed. Such is the case with Jamie Hewlett, the guy responsible for Gorillaz – the “make believe” band that featured music videos (and album covers) built around band members that sprung from the crafty fingers of Mr. Hewlett and who achieved a great deal of success several years ago and whose last record (2010’s Plastic Beach) included the talents of Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg and singer Bobby Womack. While Gorillaz will be staging a comeback soon, Hewlett’s talent as a fine artist was the subject of an exhibition (titled “The Suggestionists”) that was on display through December 2nd at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Read more about the artist’s latest efforts in Holly Williams‘ recent interview article on The Independent (UK) site – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/jamie-hewlett-on-the-return-of-the-gorillaz-and-fine-art-saatchi-gallery-exhibition-a6733491.html

2) Fans of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita – perhaps best-known for the photo he snapped of glam-rocker David Bowie in 1977 that was used on the cover of his Heroes LP (and re-purposed in 2013 on the cover of the singer’s popular record titled The Next Day) – can hoof it on over to the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC (until Nov. 30th, moving to the gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami the following week) to view a retrospective they’ve assembled titled “Sukita: David Bowie”. In this article on Time Magazine‘s site by Kenneth Bachor, you’ll read more about the artist and his 40+year relationship with the rocker who’s called Sukita “a brilliant artist” – see if you don’t agree… http://time.com/4117090/sukita-david-bowie-photos/

3) Colorado Public Radio’s reporting team of Michael D. Yoanna and Nathan Heffel has posted an audio interview with photographer Dan Fong, a shooter with a resume and portfolio that includes portraits of nearly every major musical act that toured through the Denver area in the 1960s-70s (The Who, Van Morrison, Tommy Bolin and others), a series of album cover images for The Doobie Brothers and, based on his further talents as a chef, cooking for a dinner party for The Rolling Stones. A new exhibition of Fong’s photos from the era are also now on display (titled Legends of Rock) from now through January 2nd at the Robert Anderson Gallery in Denver. Sharing the interview with Fong is security guru to the stars, Jerry McKim, who shares tales of his duty keeping fans from killing themselves and the bands that played the local venues – good times, for sure.

https://www.cpr.org/news/story/denvers-rock-heyday-through-eyes-photographer-and-security-man

November 24th –  1) One of the most-creative labels behind the resurgence in the sales of vinyl records is Austin, TX-based Mondo, founded by a saloon owner named Tim League who grew his business to include concerts, merchandise (both their own and from major licensors) and, ultimately, a record label that produces and distributes smartly-packaged music. Their specialty is custom-produced movie soundtrack albums, and the 50+ records they’ve released includes compilations from films such as Star Wars, Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy and many others. Their products have featured art work done by several highly-collected fine artists (including Olly Moss and Tyler Stout, among othes) and, in this recent article by Zack Ruskin on the Consequence of Sound site, you’ll learn more about the company’s past and plans for the future, straight from the principals – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/11/merch-madness-inside-the-world-of-mondo/

2) While 1969’s International Palm Beach Music & Arts Festival held at the area Speedway didn’t move the Pop Culture needle the same way that Woodstock did that year, the fact that key period bands such as The Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones (as well as many others) played before the 50,000 or so ticket-holders over the three days of the festival gave local photographers such as Ken Davidoff a chance to capture memorable images of these bands for posterity. All these years later, Davidoff is now earning a living licensing shots from his portfolio – including images from the previously-mentioned shows – via his OldRockPhoto.com site and displayed a selection of them in a show that ran thru Nov. 30th at the Palm Beach County History Museum, 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL. You can learn more about the photographer and his career (including time spent with John Lennon) in Leslie Gray Streeter‘s recent article for the Palm Beach Post – http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/arock-n-roll-backstage-pass-classic-rock-photos-by/npN3B/

3) One of the best-known Elvis records – titled 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong – featured Elvis in a custom-designed gold lame suit created by famed clothing designer Manuel Cuevas, who also supplied iconic clothing for Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the stars featured in over 100 films and TV shows. Still tailoring-away in his eighties, in this interview article by Freunde von Freunden for The Creators Project, you’ll learn all about the designer’s time spent as a youngster studying from the great Nudie and then stepping out on his own to help design important aspects of many a star’s public and on-screen personnas – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/meet-the-man-who-made-elvis-signature-gold-suit

Any guy who has helped cement our fondest remembrances of Raquel Welch and Marilyn Monroe is a friend of mine…

November 23rd –  1) Very nice article on one of the world’s best-known and prolific album cover artists – Kosh, the man responsible for cover images you love including Hotel California for the Eagles, Abbey Road for The Beatles, Who’s Next for The Who and many, many others. I wrote a while back about the fact that Kosh is now selling a line of prints that include some very well-done “mash-ups” of some of his famous works – how about “Abbey Hotel”, where the Fab Four are now crossing the street in front of the iconic So. CA. hotel (!!). In writer Laura Huntt Foti’s feature on the Best Classic Bands site, the designer gives us some delightful tidbits on the stories behind several of his images, available via the link at http://bestclassicbands.com/kosh-creates-unforgettable-lp-covers-11-17-15/

2) Designer/photographer Brian Cooke has contributed a number of memorable images for fans of rock and roll since starting in the business in the 1960s. Since then, working as both an in-house producer for Island Records and as a freelancer doing work for other labels including Chrysalis and Virgin Records (where he produced over 150 sleeve images), Cooke has worked to introduce us to many now-classic acts in the worlds of rock, punk, New Wave and beyond, including Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, Steve Winwood/Traffic, Robert Palmer, the Sex Pistols, Mott The Hoople and many more. Writer Sharon Dale, reporting for The Yorkshire Post, talks to Cooke about his career and his two recent efforts – a blog and a retail web store – to share highlights of his experiences (his “adventures”) with fans world-wide – http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/yorkshire-living/arts/art/sleeve-notes-my-adventures-in-rock-n-roll-1-7561323

3) The packaging and distribution of retail music products continues to evolve with the times and technology, as you’ll see in this recent article by Brooke Roberts-Islam in the Huffington Post about musician Beatie Wolfe and how she’s chosen to sell her music product to fans – via a specially-produced deck of cards that include NFC technology that allows properly-app’d smart-phones to instantly play her songs, accompanied with lyrics, artwork and other proprietary content. It’s a pretty cool combination of digital and physical, I think you’ll agree – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/brooke-robertsislam/beatie-wolfe_b_8503290.html

Has anyone actually seen or played with anything like this? Please share, if you have…

November 20th –  1) If you find yourself anywhere near Napa, CA, you owe it to yourself to drive on over to the gallery at sparkling wine maker Mumm Napa to see a showing of photos, taken by Jim Marshall and curated by both Carlos Santana and the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery. According to the press release for “Jim Marshall Seen Through The Eyes Of Carlos Santana”, the show serves to both allow the winery to introduce their new, limited-release sparkler called “Santana Savor” and for the award-winning guitarist “to show Jim Marshall’s genius as a photographer, a chronicler of history and portraitist of no equal.” The two first met in 1965 when a mutual friend of theirs introduced them and asked Jim to shoot some publicity photos of what was then known as the Santana Blues Band, and their friendship endures to this day (even after Jim’s death in 2010). The show runs through May of next year, and details can be found via the link – https://www.mummnapa.com/visitmummnapa/events/jim-marshall-seen-through-the-eyes-of-carlos-santana

2) Designer Gary Burden‘s work in the album art field is legendary, so it’s nice to be able to learn a bit more about “the making of” his “10 Most-Memorable Album Covers” in this recent article/photo gallery put together by Melody Lau on the CBC Music blog – http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2015/11/From-Neil-Young-to-Joni-Mitchell-artist-Gary-Burden-on-10-of-his-most-famous-album-covers   If you’re in Toronto anytime between now and next February, you can also tour a new gallery show of Burden’s (and his wife, Jenice Heo’s) creative output called The Neil Young Series on display at the STRUCK Contemporary gallery on Adelaide Street East. The display includes a number of new mixed-media works the duo recently produced that attempt to express their feelings about the musician and his music. You’ll recall that Burden created the album cover for Young’s 1970 album titled After The Gold Rush, as well as those for On The Beach and several CSN&Y albums, including Deja Vu and 4-Way Street. 

3) Andy Votel is truly a multi-talented guy – artist, musician, producer, record label owner – and so it seems natural that he’d apply his gifts to music-and-art-related projects for himself and his stablemates. A true indie at heart, he’s also decided to “buck the system” and, rather than create new music/art for more-traditional retail distribution, Andy has decided to offer fans a series of cassette mixtapes that sport the artist’s colorful cover imagery. Working with the Manchester (U.K.)-based gallery Electrik, you’ll be able (through December 3rd) to see an exhibition of his latest works that include “tape covers – ranging from Bollywood horror themes to Tokyo pop via music made entirely on home made instruments.” Writing for TheQuietus site, John Doran has posted an interview with Votel during which he discusses his anti-establishment approach to delivering music and art via a medium most consider being from a bygone era – http://thequietus.com/articles/19215-andy-votel-turn-on-tape-in-tab-out-exhibition-preview

November 19th –  1) Here’s a great interview article with a great interview article subject – graphic artist John Van Hamersveld, a guy that has so many impressive credits that it’s difficult to begin to summarize them. The Endless Summer poster? That’s him. The Fatburger logo? John again. The covers for Magical Mystery Tour, Exile On Main Street and Hotter Than Hell for KISS, along with posters, prints and, most-recently, a huge, classic Japanese art-inspired mural in Hermosa Beach, CA – all show this artist’s impact on Pop Culture over the past 50 years – so it’s with great pleasure that I point you towards writer Thomas Harlander‘s article as it appeared recently on the Los Angeles Magazine site – http://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/the-artist-behind-the-endless-summer-poster-on-his-work-then-and-now/   Surfers world-wide owe JVH an eternal debt of gratitude!

2) While the cover collage for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s and the photo of the same band’s members crossing the street featured on the cover of Abbey Road must surely be the most-copied frameworks for spoof covers, the folks behind seminal British rock band Queen – in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of Queen II and “Bohemian Rhapsody” – have worked to raise money for the BBC’s “Children In Need” charity by sponsoring a contest where fans were able to stop by a spot in London where a recreation of Wayne’s World‘s 1978 AMC Pacer was set up so that participants could record a re-make of the band’s classic tune. In addition, a number of U.K. rock stars participated in another fund-raiser, posing to re-create Mick Rock’s famous “floating head” photo that ultimately served as both the cover for the record and the basis for the memorable music video for the song. Writer Duncan Lindsay, on the Metro U.K. web site – has just posted a quiz that asks you to identify the substitutes in a series of these photo re-creations – I hope that you did better than I did on this (I really need to bone up on my UK pop stars!) – http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/11/quiz-can-you-name-these-stars-who-have-recreated-the-queen-bohemian-rhapsody-pose-5495218/

3) The Boston Globe‘s Mark Feeney recently posted his review on the newly-launched show at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford (running now through January 24) featuring over 100 works by both Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe that explore their takes on sexual identity and gender. Titled “Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls,” the show consists of “mostly photographs, but also silkscreens, books, album covers, and several videos..(that) range in date from 1973 to 1988, a year after Warhol’s death — and a year before Mapplethorpe’s.” You’ll recall one such example in Mapplethorpe’s 1975 photo of Patti Smith, used on the cover of her record titled Horses, showing Ms. Smith posed in a man’s suit, but many other lesser-known but equally-impactful images are on hand to exemplify the many ways these two artists sought to address the topic. More info via the link – https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2015/11/12/warhol-and-mapplethorpe-hartford/cPeQAHuF65XLucOIv35R6M/story.html

November 18th –  1) Some of you may recall the “Featured Fan Portfolio” feature that I did late last year with photographer/writer David Hamsley regarding gatefold record covers. At the time, David was getting materials together for a book about disco records (with a special focus on the visuals that helped create the era’s unforgettable look and feel), and I’m happy to announce that he’s published his book – titled To Disco, With Love: The Records That Defined An Era (it began shipping on Nov. 24th) – and that it was selected by Amazon.com to be included in their “Editor’s Picks for Unique and Unusual Gift Books” section this Holiday Season. http://www.amazon.com/To-Disco-Love-Records-Defined/dp/1250068452

Congratulations, David! Here’s to a successful, Quiana and thumping bass-filled Holiday sales season! If you’d like to revisit my interview with the author, just follow the link –  https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/featured-fan-portfolio-david-hamsleys-favorite-gatefold-covers/

2) One of the best-known music industry shooters from “Down Under” is Tony Mott who, for over 30 years, has provided us fans with many memorable images of bands for both record packages (Concrete Blonde, Icehouse, Sarah McLachlan and others) and news features in major entertainment pubs. With over 30,000 photos published over the years, I can only imagine the difficulty curators faced when trying to pick just a few to feature in a new exhibition titled What A Life! (running now through next February 6th) in the Mitchell & Dixson Galleries at the State Library/New South Wales in Sydney. Writing for the ABC Arts site, Edwina Storie interviews Mr. Mott, who tracks his career from his first big break (a photo of The Divinyls’ lead singer Chrissy Amphlett) through to sessions with Johnny Rotten, the Rolling Stones and Midnight Oil. Read the interview at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-11/tony-mott-reflects-on-the-golden-age-of-music-photography/6931716 and learn more about the exhibition at  http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/exhibitions/2015/what_a_life/

3) Album Artist on The Late Show! How cool is that? Shepard Fairey, the graphic artist best-known for his Andre The Giant “OBEY” graffiti and his Obama “HOPE” poster, also sports a long list of album art credits, including covers for Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots, Bad Brains and many others. Earlier this week, Fairey appeared with host Stephen Colbert to promote his new book and talk about his past and future plans and his willingness to die (or, at least, go to jail) for his art. Here’s a link to the clip of his appearance on the CBS/Late Show web site – http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/330F4113-B7DD-ADFC-BDAD-13BA13743D68/shepard-fairey-talks-hope-obey-art/

November 17th –  1) After his singing partner Jan Berry was badly injured in a car crash back in 1966, Dean Torrence continued to work on a new record and, at the same time, reached back to his earlier training as a graphic artist to start his own design studio – Kittyhawk Graphics – to make sure that the album art featured on his own records was to his satisfaction. He soon offered his services to other music industry friends and clients (including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Chicago) and, in 1973, he won a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover for his work on Pollution (the record/band, not the environment). While he’s not doing album covers any more, Torrence still performs on occasion and, as you’ll read in this recent interview with Frank Mastropolo on the Rock Cellar Magazine site, you’ll learn more about his career, the trail that lead from do-wop music to “the California Sound” and his relationship with friend/competitor Brian Wilson – http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/2015/11/06/dean-torrence-interview-jan-and-dean-beach-boys-brian-wilson-jan-berry/

2) Happy to share Bruce Jenkins’ recent article on the Vinyl Connection site about the re-release of one of rock music’s most-intriguing (and perfectly round) album packages – that of the Small Faces’ 1968 release Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. So much art in a fascinating package, with artwork by keyboardist Ian Mclagan’s art school chums Pete Brown and Nick Tweddell. Now, if they could only figure out how to stop the package from rolling off the shelf.. http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/11/17/multi-colour-of-the-rainbold/

3) Now on display (thru 12/31) at the Sacred Gallery in New York City is an exhibition by another musician-turned-fine-artist Sean Yseult, best-known for her time spent as the bassist for the popular metal band White Zombie. Trained as a graphic artist at the Parsons School of Design in NYC (where she met and then befriended Rob Zombie), since the band’s first break-up in 1998 Sean has worked hard to develop her career as a fine artist, crafting critically-acclaimed mixed media works which have been on display in galleries in the U.S. and Europe. This new show – titled Sean Yseult: Retrospective – includes a variety of works from various times during her career as an artist, including items from a 2004 show centered on her love of her adopted home of New Orleans and three newer collections – SEX & DEATH & ROCKNROLL (2012), MISSISSIPPI MERMAIDS (2013) and her most-recent show SOIRÉE D’EVOLUTION: TABLEAUX VIVANTS ET NATURE MORTES. You can learn more about the artist and her new show on the gallery’s site, via the link – http://www.sacredgallerynyc.com/now-exhibit-sean-yseult-retrospective

November 16th –  1) While not exactly album cover art-related, I did feel as though I could share this brief intro to the graphic artist who created an image that, like so many great examples of well-considered graphics, will certainly stand the test of time. A 32-year-old French artist living in London named Jean Jullien is responsible for the peace-symbol-turned-Eiffel Tower image that has circulated world-wide since it appeared shortly after Friday’s mind-numbing terror attack in Paris, and you can learn a little more about him and the graphic he created – based on an anti-nuclear war emblem that originated in the 1950s – in this AFP article found on the ArtDaily site – http://artdaily.com/news/82919/-Peace-for-Paris–symbol-by-32-year-old-French-graphic-artist-Jean-Jullien-goes-viral

2) Photographer Dan Corrigan‘s 30+-year portfolio of music clients in the Minneapolis, MN area includes a number of well-known album covers, including the shot featured on the package for The Replacements’ 1984 release Let It Be (along with others for a wide range of acts including The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, The Proclaimers…even comedian Lewis Black!). In the latest installment of the Pitchfork TV series titled Pitchfork Unsung which, as you might figure, focuses on folks working in the music business who don’t receive all of the recognition they might deserve (what a concept!), you’ll meet Dan and watch as he takes you through the highlights of his career, including his efforts to keep alive one venerable local nightclub – First Avenue – so that future generations can enjoy the vibe there as much as he has over the years…http://pitchfork.com/news/61941-photographer-dan-corrigan-the-replacements-let-it-be-featured-in-pitchforktvs-pitchfork-unsung/

3) Part of the team that produced the Grammy-nominated cover for jazz-rock hit-makers Chicago (for Chicago VI), Donald E. Munson was the subject of an exhibit that ran through November 28th at the Storr’s Library in Longmeadow, MA as part of their 2nd annual Local Artist Spotlight. “Evolution: Don Munson – Fifty Years of Painting” is sponsored by the town’s Cultural Council, with the exhibit including 50 examples of Munson’s work from 1965 to the present. Munson has worked in a number of roles in the arts during his illustrious career, including time as an award-winning Art Director at Random House and a professor at Westfield State University and continues to paint while operating his Red Stair Studio from his home in Longmeadow. You can see more of Munson’s colorful work and learn more about him in this illustrated interview by Christine White on the MassLive.com site –  http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2015/11/longmeadow_artist_donald_munson_marks_five_decades_of_life_on_canvas.html

November 13th – 1) High-speed photography has produced some fascinating images over the years, so it only makes sense that it would find its way into album cover imagery and, in this recent article/interview with former chemist-turned-photographer Jon Smith (written by Mark Ambrogi for the Current In Fishers site), you’ll learn more about his transition from corporate scientist to producer of pictures of frozen destruction for media clients, including popular party band Umphrey’s McGee, who featured one of Jon’s photos on the cover of their recent record titled The London Session: A Day At Abbey Road Studios – http://currentinfishers.com/aiming-for-art-fishers-photographer-jon-smith-turns-exploding-light-bulbs-into-creative-displays/

You can find more examples of Smith’s work – including the UM record cover, on his site – http://wideeyedilluminations.com/portfolio/umphreys-mcgee-album/

2) Early prog rock fans will remember the mid-60s ensemble The Syn, which featured a pre-YES Chris Squire and Peter Banks and drummer-turned-rock-photographer Martyn Adelman (among others). Although the band broke up in the late 60s, some of the key players reunited in 2004 and have continued to record and perform. A fan of their early music – Denver, CO-area graphic artist Tommie Phillips (AKA Tommie Molecule), was looking to interview the band for a fan-zine he produced at the time called The Lost Chord and, during their correspondence, band-members were so impressed with the drawings Tommie shared with them that they asked him to design and illustrate the cover for their upcoming release titled The Syn: Live Rosfest, which he happily and ably did. In this article by writer Oakland L. Childers for Westword magazine, you’ll meet Phillips and learn more about his past (including stints as a photo-retoucher and pre-press artist for a local newspaper), his entry into the album art world and his desire to help keep great album cover imagery alive (here, here!) – http://www.westword.com/music/tommie-phillips-creates-album-art-from-the-heart-for-the-syn-7308758

3) Oh, and it makes me wonder…why do so many musical acts accept less-than-good artwork for the covers of their albums? You wouldn’t think that this would be the case – particularly in the graphics-heavy world of Metal Music – but as you’ll see in Joe DeVita‘s recent article on the Loudwire site titled “50 Awful Metal Album Covers”, it seems to have been a pretty-regular occurrence throughout modern metal music history. It’s a painful-but-fascinating read/viewing (where “the hits keep on coming”). Enjoy (?) – http://loudwire.com/awful-metal-album-covers/Metalucifer’s Heavy Metal Chainsaw and Heavy Metal Drill made me snort my soda through my nose (not a very metal thing to do – I know)…

November 12th – 1) Elliott Landy‘s photos have graced the covers of records by The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and others, but the scope of his career has also included (among other things) stints as a photo-journalist covering the anti-war movement in the 1960s and an event photographer at the Woodstock Arts & Music Festival. On Wednesday, November 18th at the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center in mid-town Manhattan (NYC), Mr. Landy was on hand to present a career retrospective titled “An Evening with 60’s Rock Legend Photographer, Elliott Landy” that will include a number of images of some of the era’s top music talent at home and in performance. Although the event time has passed, you can still see and learn more when you click on over to the event’s promo page at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-60s-rock-legend-photographer-elliott-landy-59-tickets-18937067278

In case you were wondering, Elliott was a 1959 CUNY graduate…

2) Moving from New York in the 60s to New York in the 1970s, fans of the work of photographer Allan Tannenbaum can click on over to the Mr. Musichead site to see a special “artist of the month” feature on his work that includes a nice photo album and an interview (by Ellice Ruiz) with the esteemed shooter himself. With a career as a photographer that began in the 1960s and included subjects such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Debbie Harry & Blondie, jazz great Charles Mingus, the Bee Gees and many others, he’s established himself as one of the top portrait photographers in the city, but it was his post 9-11 photo show (which he took to galleries in France and Italy) that cemented his place in the pantheon of NYC-based photojournalists, IMHO… Portfolio at http://mrmusichead.com/portfolio-items/allan-tannenbaum/, with the interview at http://mrmusichead.com/featured-artist-allan-tannenbaum/

November 11th –  1) Ghostly International began 16 years ago as an indie record label, and while the successful expansion of Sam Valenti IV’s brand into other leading-edge lifestyle products might have caused some companies to lose focus on the ideals that brought them to market, Ghostly continues to put creativity front and center in the packaging of their music products. In Ben Sisario’s recent article for the New York Times, you’ll have a chance to learn more about Valenti and his company and see some of the unique ways that they’re offering customers limited-edition music and related products, including art prints of Michael Cina’s album art paintings and a 60-pound marble record box – “a D.J.’s standard-issue record crate re-imagined as an ancient ruin”. Cool. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/business/media/ghostly-transcends-its-record-label-roots-to-sell-an-ethos.html

2) It’s “Record Sleeves of the Month” time again – Rachael Steven, writing for the U.K.’s Creative Review, shows us examples of the latest in album cover packaging, with art featured this month for records by Santigold (artist as shrink-wrapped merchandise, with photo by Haruhiku Kawaguchi), Co La (type samples as album art), Joanna Newsom (landscape in a fish tank) and many others. Olga Bell’s latest is particularly-impressive: a limited-run package with a holographic package and marbleized vinyl disc by Alex Trochut – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/record-sleeves-of-the-month/

3) There’s a new writer who has just posted an interesting album cover article on The 405 site titled “Album Cover Dissection” (don’t worry – no album covers were harmed in the making of this article). Sam Quinton gives us a summary of recent record cover images that he (she?) has found intriguing, including those for musical acts such as Battles, Adele, Empress Of and others. Of course, the so-spooky-you’ve-gotta-look cover for a new release by FKA twigs – whose 2014 release titled LP1 was last year’s most-talked-about album cover – looks as though it will be a feature on this year’s list as well… http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/monthly-column-about-artwork-144

November 10th –  1) Nineteen years ago, artist Ronald “Riskie” Brent was trying to build a reputation in his Compton, CA neighborhood for the artwork he sold on t-shirts at a local flea market/swap meet, while at the same time selling drugs on his block just to get by. Rap record producer Suge Knight (who lived nearby) had brought Tupac Shakur and a crew to the area to make a music video and, waiting patiently, Riskie stepped forward to show his work to his neighbor, who was so impressed that, ultimately, he was offered a job at Death Row Records and ended up creating the album art for Tupac’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, the record that was finished and released 2 months after the rapper was murdered. In this story by Michael Namikas on the HipHopDX siteRiskie shares more of the details of his career as one of rap’s best-known graphic artists –  http://hiphopdx.com/interviews/id.2807/title.makaveli-riskie-a-conversation-with-death-row-graphic-artist-ronald-riskie-brent 

2) I wrote not long ago about a new gallery/photo publisher (House of Roulx) I’d found whose chosen mix of subjects and artists (including images from both photographer George DuBose’s archive and that of the late magician Harry Houdini) certainly qualifies them as an important player in the rock fine art photo-selling world, but in this recent interview with the company’s founders – brothers Trevor and Jared Gendron – done by Shawn Setaro for Forbes Magazine, you’ll learn more about their backgrounds (one is a former record label/distributor art director while the other is a successful memorabilia collector and reseller) and how they came to represent the archive of a late photographer who shot the final live performance of singer Janis Joplin – http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnsetaro/2015/11/03/house-of-roulx-from-hip-hop-to-houdini/

November 9th –  1) The exploits of – and mythology behind – “the world’s only openly-extraterrestrial” art/thrash-metal music collective known as GWAR – are the subjects of both a new book on the topic and an illustrated feature in the December 2015 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine. The book – titled Let There Be GWAR and put together by the duo of Bob Gorman and Roger Gastman, featuring a forward by Kurt Loder and published by Gingko Press – was reviewed by Pitchfork.com‘s Shawna Kenney in September as “a high-end tribute for a band known for spewing fake bodily fluids from effigies like OJ Simpson, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Justin Bieber, just to name a few. The text mixes oral history and narrative from the band’s early art collective days through Grammy nominations, tabloid TV appearances, an ACLU-backed lawsuit, the deaths of members Cory Smoot and Dave Brockie, the Gwar-B-Ques and beyond…” Juxtapoz’s in-depth feature will focus on the band’s visual history, so if you’re a fan (or an adoring slave) of all things “bloody and grotesque”, click on over to the preview at http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/issue-preview-december-2015-with-gwar

2) Following up on their earlier efforts in which they used Google Maps/Street View to find and display the actual locations of several well-known rap/hip-hop record covers, the team at Mass Appeal (per this recent article by Tasia Princejust released Part 2 of their series, showing fans of acts both “classic” and new – including Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kool Moe Dee, Fabolous, T.I. and others – exactly where the cover images were taken. You’ll travel to Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and several locations in the NYC area (sounds like the basis of a “bucket list” tour for fans of the subject, no?). http://massappeal.com/iconic-hip-hop-albums-in-google-maps-street-view-part-2/?view-all=1

3) As I’ve been doing research for my new book and collecting the comments of a number of creative/production people working in the music business, I have to admit that I have heard a fair amount of exasperation from folks who don’t feel that consumers of media these days can differentiate between the works produced by trained professionals and those done by amateurs with their phone cameras. A recent example of this frustration can be found in this interview with the very talented (and in-demand) photographer David Drebin posted by Shinan Govani on The Toronto Star site where he admits that, these days, he’s embarrassed to let folks know that he’s a photographer because “everybody is a photographer these days”. A graduate of the Parsons/New School in NYC and with his works selling for sizable sums in major gallery shows, I know that there is an appreciation of his work but, in this selfie-driven society, it’s hard not to agree that its harder to get people to stop and appreciate artistry of any type these days – http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2015/11/01/photographer-david-drebin-clicks-dont-like-on-the-selfie-epidemic.html

November 6th –  1) It’s time to let your opinions be known about who’ll be the cream of the latest crop of album covers…Our chums at Art Vinyl have posted the nominees for this year’s “Best Art Vinyl” voting, and in this nice introductory article by Rachael Steven on the Creative Review site, you’ll learn more about a number of the fascinating works that were created for this past year’s hottest music – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/art-vinyls-record-sleeves-of-the-year/  Once you’ve had a chance to look through the 50 nominated covers, click on over to the Voting Page on the Art Vinyl site to select the three you’d like to support for the title of “Best Art Vinyl 2015” – http://www.artvinyl.com/vote/  Winners will be announced in early January and will be featured in a multi-city art show. Best of luck to all the nominees – nice work!

2) Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting/interviewing several album cover artists whose principal clients are bands from “the Dark Side” of the music business – that is, metal music makers in all sub-categories (heavy, Nordic, death, thrash, speed, etc.). As you may know, some of these bands prefer to include cover art that many of you might consider to be anywhere from “gory” to “disgusting” but, as it has been shown throughout the centuries, many “fine artists” have decided to focus on the topics that have resulted in works that are just as disturbing (to illustrate my contention, I invite you to check out some of the works done by masters such as Goya, William Blake, Francis Bacon and, everyone’s favorite, Hieronymus Bosch).Writing for Diffuser.fmJames Stafford has dug deep into the album art archives to share with us his “31 Most Disturbing (Non-Heavy Metal) Album Covers Ever”, opening up the investigation about the reasons why any musical act chooses to catch your eye with imagery that is meant to disturb – http://diffuser.fm/most-disturbing-album-covers/

3) Lastly – it seems that every year we get to see examples of album art that aren’t wholly original. Some are parodies, some homages and, in the case detailed in David Renshaw’s recent article on the NME.com site, some seem to be the results of either laziness or obliviousness…In the article, you’ll read about the upset that Coldplay has caused the members of a band called Bring Me The Horizon simply because the album artwork they’re going to feature on their newest release looks an awful lot like the artwork that BMTH featured on their 2013 release titled Sempiternal. I’m guessing that there will be some modification to Coldplay’s promo materials before the new record (titled A Head Full of Dreams) is released this month – http://www.nme.com/news/bring-me-the-horizon/89392

November 5th –  1) Many of us have fond memories of the simply-but-colorfully-drawn, trippy 2-D original animation featured in the original 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine. With today’s often over-the-top, computer-generated 3-D visuals that dominate film screens, you had to think that, at some point, some fan with the talent and the wherewithal ultimately had to show us what the film might have looked like if the today’s advanced animation tools were available back then. Enter famed comic book illustrator Alex Ross, well-known in that arena for his super-realistic renderings of characters including Batman, Superman, The Avengers and many others. Back in July, with the approval of the Beatles’ organization, he released several illustrations featuring re-done scenes from Yellow Submarine and, just recently (as you’ll see in this interview with Robin Burks on the Tech Times site), he’s expanded his Fab Four-related catalog to include some amazingly-realistic, limited-edition portraits of each of the band’s members. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/100645/20151029/interview-artist-alex-ross-discusses-drawing-the-beatles.htm 

WWABHD? (“what would Al Brodax have done”?)

2) Fans in the Huntington Beach, CA area had until the 22nd of November to visit the Rainwater Gallery on Main Street to walk through an exhibit of punk music-inspired artwork from the likes of Winston Smith, John Bilhooley and several others titled “AnARTchy” (“I am an AnARTchist”). The punk scene was very active in So. California, with bands including T.S.O.L., Black Flag and many others inciting intense moshing in clubs all along the coastline, so the hosting of such a display of art, posters, photos and other memorabilia in a Surf City gallery only makes sense. Read more about the show in Brittany Woolsey’s feature on it in the Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.com/socal/hb-independent/entertainment/tn-hbi-et-1029-anartchy-20151029-story.html and check out the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/RainwaterGallery/ for details of the several related events they held during the show’s run.

3) “The Grateful Dead are dead, and they’re grateful” John Belushi once said…but are they REALLY dead? I think not, and even though the title of photographer Jay Blakesberg’s upcoming book on the band’s farewell tour – Fare The Well: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of The Grateful Dead (published by Rock Out Books), hitting the bookshelves on December 1st – might indicate the band’s demise, their art and merchandising (and roylaties) will thrive forever or, as Gary Lambert writes in an essay from the book, “… after fifty years, it can’t be denied that the Dead’s art became a tradition unto itself…” Read more about it on the Grateful Web site – http://www.gratefulweb.com/articles/fare-thee-well-celebrating-50th-anniversary-grateful-dead

November 4th –   2X Annie Leibovitz and 1X Alex Steinweiss – not a bad day!

1.1) On November 3rd, the now-being-remodeled San Francisco Museum of Modern Art bestowed its inaugural “Contemporary Vision Award” upon photographer extraordinaire Annie Leibovitz for, as they state, ” the extraordinary achievements of global leaders—creators, innovators and change-makers—whose work foregrounds contemporary art as a vital and meaningful part of public life.” One look at her memorable album cover photos for Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Peter Tosh, Tony Bennett and others brings great truth to that description, no? While originally from Connecticut, Ms. Leibovitz received her schooling at the the San Francisco Art Institute and went to work in 1970 as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine. https://www.sfmoma.org/press/release/inaugural-sfmoma-contemporary-vision-award-to-hono/

Here’s a link to a photo from that night’s event, tweeted by a staffer at the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle –
https://twitter.com/SFC_Style/status/661765970604658688

1.2) Leibovitz also announced that she’ll be bringing a gallery show based on her successful photo project titled Women to 10 countries, beginning in London in January, 2016 and subsequently moving around the world with shows in Tokyo, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York, and Zurich. This project began years ago with the prompting of her then-partner Susan Sontag, became a popular photo book in 1999 and, since, has expanded to include portraits of many notable women, with recent examples including Amy Schumer, Venus & Serena Williams and Caitlyn Jenner (you’ll recall Annie’s first photos of Ms. Jenner for Vanity Fair magazine earlier this past summer). Writing for the ArtNet Daily site, Amah-Rose Abrams gives us more of the details –
https://news.artnet.com/people/annie-leibovitz-reveals-new-women-subjects-349697

2) Anya Tchoupakov from The Creators Project recently posted an overview of a new book by the Taschen publishing house – collected and edited by art directors Kevin Reagan (formerly with Geffen Records) and Steven Heller (formerly with The New York Times) – that provides album art fans with a comprehensive look at the life and work of the man considered to be “the father of the album cover”, Alex Steinweiss. Appropriately titled Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, the 550+ page book includes hundreds of images made by the man that, 75 years ago, convinced a skeptical employer – Columbia Records – to consider the idea that an attractively-packaged record would appeal to consumers and, therefore, increase the likelihood that they’d buy it (what a concept!). Steinweiss would then go on to establish the “standards” regarding imagery, type-styles, etc., that would soon be copied and employed by record labels globally. Anyone interested in the history of this art form should both read this article and then add this book to their collection – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/the-father-of-album-covers

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.

Copyright 2015, Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved

 

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 – August, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s September and the world has finally cooled off a bit – well, the stock market is on a wild ride and there are still fires burning in Eastern Oregon and Washington, which has done a number on our air quality here in Portland – but the album art world continues to burn up the news wires, with August delivering a continuous stream of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feeds. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, and you won’t find one speck of anything Trump or Hillary-related (we need to focus on something new and exciting, right?)…

There were interviews galore with the noted men and women who’ve added their talents to the world of creating/preserving album cover art, including Brazilian artist Marcello Vaseo (new cover for Slayer), John Simpson (Sgt. Pepper’s mural in MA), John Berg and Eric Meola (on the 40th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run), Paul Cornell and Tony Parker (rock comics), Paul Natkin (on a career retrospective) and, for fans of the Charlie Rose interview, one with musician/artists Skrillex and Diplo.

In the fine art book category, artists and their publishers were promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring the works of Barbara Pyle (70s-era Springsteen), Janet Macoska (DEVO and many others), Robert Del Naja (AKA “3D” – famed graffiti artist and member of Massive Attack) and a newly-revised book on the 50+ record covers produced by Andy Warhol, written by Paul Marechal.

In August, several noted exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery were launched, 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 info on exhibits such as one in Woodstock, NY,  featuring the works of several rock photographers (including Elliott Landy and Graham Nash); a multi-media show called Sound & Vision in St. Louis, MO; the latest mounting of the David Bowie Is travelling show (now in Australia) and Bay area gallery owned Scott Nichols’ show featuring 75+ notable rock photos from top shooters in the field.

Other stories included Rachael Stevens’ monthly record sleeve review, a look at illustrator Dave McMacken’s studio/gallery in Astoria, OR, several illustrators alt-takes on the well-known cover photo found on NWA’s Straight Outta Compton record,  info on the latest record-themed postage stamp issued by the USPS (featuring Elvis Presley), and you won’t want to miss Canadian singer Kalle Mattson’s  new video for his single “Avalanche” that has him re-creating 35 classic album cover images. Of course, I don’t have room to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the list – I’m sure you’ll find something that piques 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 the back-to-school season that 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).

August 31st –

1) Following in the footsteps of Sir Peter Blake is Springfield, MA artist John Simpson who, in addition to recreating the famous Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s cover in a mural on a wall in the town’s Court House Square, has also painted a number of portraits as part of the “City Mosaics” project that, according to Noah R. Bombard’s article on the topic on the Masslive.com site, “features portraits of mostly music and film stars ranging from Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash to local celebrities like Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno.” Simpson’s been working on this project for over a year (at the same time, working hard to keep graffiti off of his existing works!), and you can learn more about the project and the artist in a video interview also featured on the story page – http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2015/08/springfield_symphony_orchestras_kevin_rhodes_added_to_court_square_artwork.html 

2) Over on the “And Justice For Art” site, fans of album cover art found on metal music recordings can find a recent interview article with Brazilian designer Marcello Vasco about his most-recent commission, that for the cover image for Slayer’s new album Relentless. Vasco has done a number of covers for bands in the genre, but getting to do a cover for such a well-known band – and one with a long history of impressive cover art – forced the designer to dig deep to create something new and yet “classic” at the same time (don’t want to disappoint metal fans – it can get dangerous if you do!). After producing a lot of comps, I think you’ll agree with the band that this is a worthy addition to their cover collection – http://www.andjusticeforart.com/2015/06/slayers-brazilian-connection-interview.html

3) Not to be confused with the British punk band from the late 1970s, the fictional rock group featured in the first 4 issues of the new comic series This Damned Band (out on DarkHorse comics, with art by Tony Parker and words by Paul Cornell) – named MotherFather – seems to have a lot more to think about than most bands trying to crack the music business in the early 1970s – i.e., how to separate their stage act (which involved devil-worshiping) from the fact that the Horned One took their antics quite seriously! Writing for the Comics Alliance site, writer Patrick A. Reed inteviews Parker and Cornell – both well-known for their previous work on well-established graphic novels including Mass Effect and Wolverine – about creating a new approach to a series based on a topic – life in the music industry – that’s had a very mixed history of success with fans throughout comic history. http://comicsalliance.com/paul-cornell-tony-parker-this-damned-band-interview/

August 29th – Just heard from photo great Elliott Landy about a new exhibition that opened up today at the Fletcher Gallery in Woodstock, NY and, if you can make it to the opening party, you’ll get a chance to meet Elliott along with two of the three other artists whose works will be on display – Graham Nash, Joel Bernstein and Amy Granatham. According to Elliott – “Graham, Amy and I will be at the opening night, Saturday, August 29th from 5-8 pm at the Fletcher Gallery, 40 Mill Hill Rd. Woodstock, NY.” The show’s titled “Legends At Large” and, in addition to some of the best-known works he’s produced – covers for Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison and others – Mr. Landy tells me that “I’ve selected some one of a kind prints that I don’t normally exhibit, including a Sepia toned Band print used on the 1968 cover of Rolling Stone, a one of a kind Cibachrome print of Jim Morrison, several personally made silver gelatin prints along with a selection of my favorites.”
The exhibiton runs through Oct. 14th, and I am hoping to add some photos from the event soon. More info via the link – http://www.fletchergallery.com/572463/about-us/

August 28th – 1) On the Noisey Music By Vice site, staffers there are happy to share the results of the images they commissioned from six of their favorite illustrators who were asked to re-do the cover of NWA’s Straight Outta Compton record (a record that’s been getting a lot of attention lately due to the success of the top-grossing movie out by the same name). I think that you’ll find their respective efforts interesting and amusing, particularly the remake by UK-based illustrator Tom Slater, who wanted to show us the group’s family-friendly side – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/we-asked-six-illustrators-to-re-imagine-the-straight-outta-compton-album-cover

2) Recently, TV interviewer Charlie Rose presented an interview with two top-selling EDM artists – Wesley “Diplo” Pentz and Sonny “Skrillex” Moore – in which they discussed their unique approach to the successful blending of art and music. In some of the clips showing the duo in performance, you’ll see how integral the visual aspects are to the overall enjoyment of their music, and Charlie works to get them to explain just how important that is in any modern act’s quest for fame and fortune in a media-saturated world – http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60609054  (about 26 minutes in to the episode)

3) In another example of the growing availability of “one-stop shopping” in the music production business, Daily Breeze reporter  Nereida Moreno takes us to All Welcome Records in Inglewood, CA, a studio where musical acts looking to take the next step in their careers (i.e., making a record) will find a staff of mentors, engineers and Art Director Anthony Woods, whose team (including photographer Allie Paz) is available to produce designs and photographs for the custom packaging they’ll produce for their clients. Bring your talent and your checkbook – best of luck! http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/20150825/all-welcome-records-in-inglewood-serves-as-one-stop-shop-for-musicians

August 27th –  1) Famed album cover illustrator Dave McMacken (Frank Zappa, AC/DC, The Beatles, Kansas, etc.) has opened a new art studio/gallery (called “Ratz & Co.) in the hip-and-happening port town of Astoria, OR that showcases both his work and that of several other artists, including Cal Schenkel, another noted Zappa record cover alumnus. A native of Newport, OR, McMacken lived and worked all over the U.S. before returning to his Pacific NW roots a few years ago, so if you’re ever looking for something unique to add to your collection, do as Daily Astorian reporter Edward Stratton did and stop in to visit Dave – you’ll be glad you did – http://www.dailyastorian.com/20140515/ratz-and-co-keeps-it-weird

2) Creative Review‘s Rachael Stevens has just posted her monthly overview of what’s new and exciting in record sleeve design, with new works on records by Chemical Brothers, FKA twigs (who gave us last year’s most-lauded cover), The Orb and several others. I was particularly impressed with the techniques employed by artist/photographer Chen Man in creating the captivating cover for Venetian Snares’ record titled Your Face (not like any face I’ve ever seen, and yet, I can’t stop looking at it!). See the rest via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/august/record-sleeves-of-the-month

3) Last but not least – fans of “old fashioned” record stores will be pleased to finally see the official trailer for Colin Hanks‘ ode to all things Tower Records, with the Harrison-like title All Things Must Pass. What began long ago as a Kickstarter program will be in theaters October 16th, but you can get a sneak peak via the link at http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/allthingsmustpass/

August 26th – 1) August 25th was the 40th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s seminal record, Born To Run, which featured a great album cover photo by Eric Meola. Being that Meola’s originally from Syracuse, NY, Syracuse.com writer Sean Kirst tracked down the talented photographer to get him to reminisce a bit about that original photo session and to find out what he’s been up to lately (storm-chasing on the Great Plains!).
http://www.syracuse.com/kirst/index.ssf/2015/08/fifty_years_after_release_of_his_legendary_cover_photo_syracuse-born_eric_meola.html
In a related story, NJ.com‘s Bobby Oliver posted an illustrated interview with “unofficial” Springsteen photographer Barbara Pyle, a friend of the band who was also on hand during the sessions leading up to the release of the BTR record and shot a number of interesting candid photos of the band while they worked through the many takes required to make The Boss and his band-mates happy with the finished release. She’s put these photos in a new book just out titled Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band 1975, and you can see samples of her work via the link at http://www.nj.com/entertainment/music/index.ssf/2015/08/exclusive_born_to_run_era_springsteen_photos_detai.html
Finally, “E Street Radio” (on Sirius/XM radio) contributor Kevin Farrell premiered a specially-produced radio show yesterday (to be re-run several times over the next few days) during which he interviews both photographer Eric Meola (see above) and famed Columbia Records art director John Berg – along with others – about their memories of their respective roles in the creation of this Springsteen classic. Writing for the Asbury Park PressChris Jordan gives us the rest of the important details of this superfan’s celebration of an important day in the band’s history – http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/2015/08/25/boss-way-celebrate-bruce-springsteen-born-run-day/32334703/

2) For an article featured in Rolling Stone Magazine back in 1968 (issue 8!), noted writer Thomas Albright (the man credited with creating the term “underground music”) gave readers his views on the then state-of-the-art in album cover design. Now available for reading on the Rolling Stone archive site, I found his take on the subject quite compelling, particularly as he notes that “album covers are now becoming as creative as the music within“, taking some of their inspiration from the emerging art scene of the day. While he finds some of the works produced fairly mundane, he does find a lot of talent on display in the works found on Beatles records (particularly, the cover collage on the just-released Sgt. Pepper’s LP), as well as the humor displayed on Zappa & The Mothers’ parody of said record cover collage, found on that band’s We’re Only In It For the Money. It’s also keen to see which of Albright’s favorites would go on to be considered “classic” examples of album art design – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/the-new-album-art-19680406

August 25th – 1) In another example of a “Top 100 album covers of all time” list – sure to spark some discussion and many questions as to what the criteria were in selecting “the best” – the editorial team on the Insomniac site have, at least, presented a list that focuses on a niche that boasts huge audiences and not an awful lot of respect from the music press in general. It shows Electronic Music as a genre that has a long history (nope, it didn’t start at the Pitchfork Festival – sorry!), with some of the most-popular of the acts – Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Tomita, etc. – also packaging their music in covers featuring leading-edge artistry by some of the best-known talent from the fine art world. I remember attending a computer music conference in the early 90s when I was selling an MPC “PC upgrade kit” (remember those?) featuring a Roland SCC-1 card and recall hearing from fans of this genre about musical acts from other parts of the world for the first time – it was truly a movement by artists from all different backgrounds and disciplines, and the album art that accompanied it represented that quite appropriately –
https://www.insomniac.com/media/100-best-electronic-music-album-covers/1

2) Inspiration for album art comes from many sources, but I have to admit that I haven’t seen many better examples of an artist in the field sharing the details of where he finds art that inspires him that Lief Podhajsky’s recent posting on the Junkee site titled “Nine Of Europe’s Best Art Galleries That You Won’t Find On The Tourist Trail”. Being located in London gives Lief the opportunity to traipse across Europe with relative ease, allowing him to visit museums and galleries that display many different styles of art in a variety of motivational settings, such as the new Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, contemporary arts in the collection at The Me Collectors Room in Berlin and closer to (his) home, exhibits at the Pace, Saatchi and Whitechapel galleries. Follow Podhajsky – whose created many a record cover for modern acts including Kelis, Tame Impala and Bonobo, just to name a few – as he takes you on a tour of his favorite places to find new influences for his latest projects –
http://junkee.com/nine-of-europes-best-art-galleries-thatll-take-you-off-the-tourist-trail-4/63495

August 24th – 1) Not quite sure what to make of this recent article on the NME site in which they present a comprehensive overview of the artwork featured on 27 album and singles covers by The Smiths. While I was happy to learn who some of the characters were that were featured on Morrissey & Co’s covers, I’d have preferred to learn a bit more about why these images were chosen besides “Morrissey always liked to include pictures of his favorite pop stars on his records” (unless, of course, it was that simple). In any case, the band always gave fans something provocative and interesting to look at, particularly if you were a fan of James Dean – http://www.nme.com/photos/the-smiths-the-stories-behind-the-sleeves/384620#/photo/1

2) I did want to promote an article written by Bruce Jenkins on his Vinyl Connection site regarding album covers featuring images taken inside automobiles. Looking to follow up a couple of earlier postings he did built around covers that used photos or drawings of cars on the cover – a very popular motif used throughout the modern rock era – Bruce sharpened his focus and brought us inside, letting us look out the windshields and side windows of records by Pennywise, Bela Fleck, Mars Volta and several others. Not sure if he’s done an article on covers featuring motorcycles and scooters (Meatloaf, Hendrix, The Who and others come to mind) but, if not, here’s your next assignment – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/08/18/7-car-covers-from-the-inside/

3) Here’s another article on do-it-yourself record-making, with this one highlighting a new service called Vinylify that, for around $55, will press and package a custom 33-1/3 vinyl LP for you. Based in Amsterdam, the company gives customers the opportunity to create both the record and the album cover easily online, so those of us who felt restricted by the artistic opportunities afforded us creating customized cassette mix-tapes can now – for a price – expand our musical and visual canvases back to a full 12″ square. Read more about this service in Paul Ridden‘s article on the Gizmag.com site – http://www.gizmag.com/vinylify-custom-cut-records/38954/ or, if you’re ready to go, take a look at some of the examples of records already created by amateur label owners via the link – http://vinylify.com/#examples

August 21st – 1) Perfectly timed for that week’s premiere of the new movie about famed gangsta rappers N.W.A. was Wayne Drash‘s article about the photograph found on the cover of the group’s debut record Straight Outta Compton. Eric Poppleton’s well-known photo was taken during a day in which the photographer followed Dr. Dre and Co. around Los Angeles, at one point deciding to lay down on the ground in an alley and take a shot up (perhaps a bad term, considering the number of guns featured as the group peers down at him) and the rest, they say, is history. Read all the details, and click through a grouping of 26 other famous record cover that accompany this article, via the link – http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/14/entertainment/straight-outta-compton-photograph/index.html

2) Straight Outta Akron – back in 1978, photographer Janet Macoska assembled the members of local new wavers DEVO in front of a well-known area eatery – the Chili Dog Mac diner – and produced a photo that became a popular poster of the band, found in the collections of art museums (and, in my case, personal collections of rock art collectors such as yours truly). The location now is part of the Akron Civic Theater and, as part of a special commission for the local business/tourism bureau, a huge reproduction of the photo now graces the building in the same spot the original was taken 37 years ago. Devo member Gerald Casale was on hand for the unveiling this past week, with the event covered by Kathleen Folkerth on the Akron.com site. Janet has a new book of her rock photography due out soon – look for “All Access Cleveland: The Rock and Roll Photography of Janet Macoska,” by Cleveland Landmarks Publishing at your local book-sellers. http://www.akron.com/akron-ohio-entertainment-news.asp?aID=27438

3) The Proud Galleries in London and Chelsea have two shows now running that will be of interest to rock photography fans in that area. “Led Zeppelin From the Beginning 1963-1975“, which runs thru October 4th, features Yardbird/New Yardbird/Led Zep photos of Beck, Clapton, Page and others taken by former Yardbird Chris Dreja, jargen Angel, Lynn Goldsmith, Dan Fong, Michael Putland and others, while in “Masters & Luminaries“, which runs through the 13th of September, Proud features works by a number of the photographers they’ve featured during their 20 year existence, including Brian Duffy (Bowie), Brian Aris (Debbie Harry), David McCabe (Dylan and Warhol at The Factory) and many others. Based on what I’ve seen of their exhibits over the years, they have every right to be Proud (I’m certainly the first to use that pun). More details at https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

August 20th –  1) Gotta love how news is distributed on the Web – today, I’m reporting on someone else’s reporting about someone else’s video blog concerning the trend-setting album covers featured throughout the career of The Beatles, with a particular focus on everyone’s #1-rated record cover – the one for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In this article by Joe Blevins on the A.V. Club site, you’ll learn about a recent video posting by Nerdwriter1 titled “How The Beatles Changed Album Covers” in which he discusses – quite knowledgeably, I might add – how each Beatles cover served nicely as a snapshot of how the Fab Four felt about their place at that moment in Pop Culture along with their development as a musical unit. He provides a brief-but-informative backgrounder on album covers in general before digging in to the band’s efforts – based on some of the other videos he’s produced in the three years he’s been creating these shorts about art and pop culture, this might be a good YouTube channel to subscribe to going forward – http://www.avclub.com/article/video-argues-beatles-lp-covers-tell-bands-story-223792
To take an even more-detailed dig into the history of Beatles record covers, here’s a link to a 15-page article by Ian Inglis in the Jan. 2001 edition of Popular Music (you can read it free online, after registration) – http://www.jstor.org/stable/853696?&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

2) James Stafford‘s latest “Cover Stories” posting takes us back to the early days of the punk music scene in Los Angeles by giving us the story behind the flaming cover image found on the debut record for John Doe/Billy Zoom’s band X. Like so many examples of the do-it-yourself punk ethic, this cover was the result of the owner of the band’s label – Slash Records’ Bob Biggs – taking matters into his own hands – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-x-los-angeles/

3) C’mon, admit it – rock and roll has always had a strong basis in “if you like it, buy it”, so it’s no surprise to find an article like the one Elly Ayers posted recently on AOL’s Cambio site – one targeted at young girls who, at least in this case, actually WANT to look like their parents did back in the 1960s. “How To Rock The Best 1960s Album Cover Looks” gives us six instances where the magazine’s fashionistas have reviewed the clothes worn on classic rock/pop album covers – including records by Bob Dylan, Sonny & Cher and several Motown hit-makers – and then suggest similar ensembles readers can buy at some of their favorite clothing outlets. Lookout Topshop, Vans, Zara and A&F – prepare to be trampled by youngsters looking to put on their best Highway 61 Revisited look! What, no Nehru? http://www.cambio.com/2015/08/13/rock-best-1960s-album-cover-looks/

August 19th – 1) Patti Smith’s best-selling memoir titled Just Kids – which focuses on her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the man that provided us with an album cover photo (the one found on her record Horses) that is included in nearly every “best album cover” list ever published, will serve as the basis of a new Showtime TV series produced in cooperation with Penny Dreadful creator John Logan. Smith’s 2010 book won several major awards after its release, including the National Book Award for non-fiction and gave readers an intimate look at the influence these two artists had on the emerging music and art scenes in NYC during the late 1960s – early 1970s. Read more in Caitlin White‘s recent article on the Bustle web site –
http://www.bustle.com/articles/103713-patti-smith-memoir-just-kids-will-be-adapted-into-showtime-limited-tv-series-by-penny-dreadful

2) San Francisco-based photo gallery owner Scott Nichols has taken a photo of The Who in concert – in which Nichols is seen as part of the crowd in attendance – and used it as the basis of a new show running in his space that features 75 iconic rock-and-roll photo images produced by a “who’s who” of rock photographers (Baron Wolman, Elliott Landy, Linda McCartney, Ebet Roberts and several others including Michael Zagaris, the man who shot the photo Nichols is seen in). Running now through September 16th, “It’s Only Rock & Roll” features several well-known album cover images in its collection, including shots featured on records for Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Blind Faith and others. Back in the mid-1970s, when the photo of The Who at Winterland was taken, Nichols was the stage manager for a U.C. Berkeley student-run organization called “Superb”, who worked with local concert venues to produce shows, and that served as his entree into show business. You can get all of the details on the gallery’s site at http://www.scottnicholsgallery.com/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/

3) Here’s another nice example of the frequent cross-over between the worlds of fashion and album cover photography…former model-turned-shooter Ellen Von Unwerth has taken memorable fashion photos and celebrity portraits that have graced the covers and pages of many of the top magazines, so when top pop music act Rihanna needed an impactful image for the cover of her 2011 record Talk Talk, she turned to someone that she felt would be able to capture both her beauty and the attitude she brings to her music – that someone being Von Unwerth. In this recent article by Caroline Leaper on the Marie Claire site, you’ll find this photo and several more including shots of Natalie Portman, Gisele Bundchen and the impressive product of rock icon Mick Jagger and fashion model Jerry Hall’s relationship, Georgia May Jagger (who is herself a popular fashion model). http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/fashion/550069/ellen-von-unwerth-pictures-the-fashion-and-celebrity-photographer-s-greatest-shoots.html#index=1

August 18th – 1) There’s a new book out about the wonderfully-talented artist and musician Robert Del Naja, a man that’s lead a double life in the arts, splitting his time between his graphic artist personna (the graffiti artist known as “3D“) and his work as the singer/songwriter and album art designer for the UK hip-hop group known as Massive Attack. The 400-page career retrospective is titled 3D and the Art of Massive Attack and provides readers with a well-illustrated look back at Robert’s rise from early 80s Bristol (UK)-area street art denizen to an artist whose style and outspoken anti-war/government work has influenced many others in the field, including another well-known purveyor of art in this genre, Banksy. You can read Robert Whitfield’s overview of the book and the talent featured in it in this recent article on The 405 site – http://www.thefourohfive.com/culture/review/3d-and-the-art-of-massive-attack-143

2) Recently discovered a new purveyor of pop culture-related and rock and roll fine art/photography called House of Roulx, a spin-off of JG Autographs, a company located in Peabody, MA run by two brothers, Jared and Trevor Gendron. They just released a new series of art prints taken by the late photographer Peter Warrack, who happened to be on-hand to shoot what turned out to be the last live show done by Janis Joplin, performing in front of a crowd of 40,000 fans at the Harvard Stadium. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the show (Aug.12th), the company now offers a selection of photos from this event, sold individually or in specially-packaged sets of 24 of these images, including a $2500 one-of-a-kind set that also includes an original Jace McTier painting of Ms. Joplin. I’d also like to note that the publisher is also offering a number of photos – including several famous album cover images (Ramones, Run-DMC, The B-52s and others) – by photographer George DuBose. Read and see more about the exclusive Joplin photo collection via the link at http://www.houseofroulx.com/collections/janis-joplin-the-last-concert

3) What’s the line – “everything that’s old is new again”? Here’s an interesting example of a revival of a seemingly-on-its-way-out technology – the fax – being used creatively by pop duo Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans (AKA YACHT, which stands for “Young Americans Challenging High Technology”) to help deliver a unique experience to folks who are considering buying their latest music offering titled I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler. While I won’t spoil you with all of the details here (better to read the story by Lizzie Plaugic on The Verge‘s web site), I was impressed with the creativity of their approach to giving fans something new and yet retro in its approach to delivering their album art and liner notes/manifesto.
http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/11/9130155/yacht-band-album-i-thought-the-future-would-be-cooler-fax-machine

August 17th – 1) Writing for Music TimesRyan Book notes the recent 50th anniversary of the day that the Beatles’ song Help! (from the film of the same name) hit #1 on the charts. While he was a fan of the song and the movie, he offers less enthusiasm when talking about the outfits that the band members were forced to wear for the cover photo (remember those weird blue raincoats?) and this motivated him to look back a bit to find a selection of other covers in which the folks included in the cover shots also chose to dress rather strangely. As you might figure, each decade showed us musicians clothed in period garb which, in the cases show, should not have us yearning for a return to the fashion of the day…http://www.musictimes.com/articles/44994/20150807/7-bad-dress-codes-album-art-beatles-rolling-stones-kiss.htm

2) While the ACHOF’s main focus is on the artists that have created memorable album cover images, we can’t forget that another reason that fans always liked record cover packages was that the information provided on most of the packages – AKA “the liner notes” – often served to give us some insight into the minds of the people making the music we purchased. And, just as the bands often chose to hire the top artists of the day, they also often decided to take advantage of the talents of their favorite authors and poets to take care of the verbiage for their releases (the Grammy organization still awards a Grammy each year for “best liner notes”, so it’s still an integral part of the album-making process), so I think that you’ll enjoy the run-down of some of the literary greats that provided their services to many of your favorite acts over the years, served to us in Chris Mugan‘s recent article on The Independent (UK) site – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/album-sleeve-notes-dont-have-to-be-boring-just-look-at-those-written-by-thomas-pynchon-hunter-s-thompson-and-other-literary-greats-10445086.html
Personally, I’m just impressed with the article’s URL – well written!

3) While I was in Chicago in early August, I had the chance to stop by the River North Arts District area and stopped in to see the Zack Whitford photo show that I’d written about recently at the Hilton|Asmus Contemorary Art Gallery (mounted for music fans hitting the Windy City this summer to attend the Grateful Dead’s final shows and the yearly Lollapalooza event). I have to say that I was impressed with both the gallery and young Mr. Whitford’s photos of friends and bandmates of his Dad (Brad Whitford of Aerosmith). His portraiture is really nicely-done and he should enjoy a long career in the business. The gallery just sent notice that they’re having the show’s closing reception on Wednesday, Aug. 19th, with a new show scheduled to open in mid-September that will feature the photos of Paiit Boyd, Henry Diltz and Carinthia West – more details available on the gallery’s site at http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/schedule.html?utm_source=ZACK+WHITFORD+CLOSING+II&utm_campaign=RESCHEDULED+Zack+Whitford+Closing+reception
Thanks again to Africa Hilton for her hospitality during our visit – keep up the nice work!

August 14th – 1) For those of you who have owned the soundtrack to the Woodstock film for all these years and have wondered “just who are those people on the cover”, here are two items that will serve to both identify these individuals and, if you’re in the upstate NY area over the weekend, a chance to meet them as well!
In an article posted recently on The Guardian‘s web site titled “That’s Me In The Picture”, Bobbi Ercoline (the girl wrapped in the blanket, wearing sunglasses) gives us the story about how she, her then-boyfriend-now-longtime-husband Nick and their friend Corky ended up in Burk Uzzle’s cover photo. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/aug/07/thats-me-in-the-picture-woodstock-bobbi-ercoline
Bobbi and Nick were also on hand to chat, sign autographs and sip the local wine at an event at The Winery at St. George in Mohegan Lake, NY called “Woodstock At The Winery”. In addition to these album cover celebs, you’ll find music, food and, of course, hand-made goods for sale. Read more about it in Frank Mojica‘s article on the topic on the Yorktown (NY) Daily Voice site – http://yorktown.dailyvoice.com/events/famed-woodstock-album-cover-couple-be-yorktown

2) St. Louis-area music/art fans are also in for a treat during the month of August while a new group of multi-media exhibitions – collectively called Sound + Vision – are on display at several local venues. At venues including the Kranzberg Arts Center, the Craft Alliance Center Of Art And Design and The Dark Room Wine Bar, you’ll find displays of photography by Abby Gillardi, Kenny Williamson and John Paul Torno; artist Mark Dethrow‘s grouping of 51 portraits he’s painted of his re-interpretations of classic David Bowie album covers and several live music performances. You’ll find the details in Willis Ryder Arnold‘s recent article on the KWMU/St. Louis Public Radio site – http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/multi-gallery-show-explores-connections-between-fine-art-and-rock-and-roll-fandom

3) They say that Elvis will live forever in the minds and hearts of fans, and so its only appropriate that the USPS has just released a new “Forever” 49-cent postage stamp and a specially-produced CD of classic Elvis tunes. Both the stamp and the CD feature an Alfred Wertheimer image of “The King” taken in 1955 (when he was 20 years old – he’d have turned 80 this year) and, in addition to the stamp and CD, fans can also buy a folio featuring a mint 1993 Elvis stamp, 16 of the new stamps and a specially-produced booklet of info/images ($24.95) or a framed, ready-to-hang 14″ x 17″ framed art collectible that includes another Wertheimer photo, four of the new stamps and a reproduction signature plaque ($39.95). The designer for the project was Leslie Badani, with art director credits given to Antonio Alcala. Learn more about these items on the USPS web site – https://www.usps.com/stamps/elvis-presley.htm

August 13th – 1) Well-known punk album artist Raymond Pettibon has created the cover for this year’s edition of Best American Comics, the publication that brings readers the most up-to-date examples of the “best of” in the fields of cartooning, illustration and graphic novels. You’ll remember Pettibon’s work for Black Flag, The Minutemen and Sonic Youth, among others, but his status as an innovator in editorial cartooning and a chronicler of all aspects of American Pop Culture made him an obvious choice for this year’s efforts. J.E. Reich gives us the details in this article on the Tech Times web site (warning – the site has an annoying habit of playing video ads while you’re there – the price you have to pay sometimes, I suppose). http://www.techtimes.com/articles/74508/20150805/best-american-comics-series-gets-new-look.htm

2) Staying the punk rock genre, here’s a story that involves not one but two well-known NYC-based shooters who’ve made their mark by giving us years of great images of the early punk scene there. You’ll recall Roberta Bayley‘s iconic photos of The Ramones – particularly her shot of them in a nearby alley that graced the cover of their 1976 debut record – and David Godlis‘ memorable shots of Patti Smith, Richard Hell and other denizens of the CBGB’s era. Well, they’re still neighbors, and Godlis tried to do the neighborly thing recently when Bayley and her dog were attacked while walking to nearby Washington Park, with the details provided here in Lincoln Anderson‘s article on The Villager web site. Very sorry for your loss, Roberta… http://thevillager.com/2015/08/06/famed-punk-photogs-dog-dies-after-attack-by-big-crusty-pit-bull/

3) Just want to give a shout-out to long-time ACHOF friend and talented artist Jeff Davis at Vinylux for being selected as an “Eco Choice Awards” finalist at the NY Now event this week. His beautifully-designed 78RPM album clock was included in the “Sustainability – Designs for a Better World” exhibition at the Jacob Javitz Center – I think you’ll agree that the honors were well-deserved. Keep up the great work, Jeff! http://www.nynow.com/press-release/thirty-finalists-to-compete-for-three-eco-choice-awards/

August 12th – 1) I really enjoyed reading Yo Mannion‘s post on the DJ Booth site about his efforts to learn more about some of the great cover photographers whose work has somewhat been overlooked in the age of “selfies” and phone-camera-based photography. While many musical acts have fed the photo frenzy via their own multiple posts of amateur photos on their own Twitter/Instagram/etc sites, the author was really interested in who created the most-memorable images of his favorite acts and found the answers in the works of shooters including Jonathan Mannion, Danny Clinch, Janette Beckman and many others. Glad to see that there’s still a longing for quality from “the younger generation” – http://www.djbooth.net/index/news/entry/2015-08-03-classic-hip-hop-photography

2) Love these stories of how a fan ends up shooting a photo that ends up on the cover of his favorite act’s latest record! In Joanna Bartlett‘s story on The Register-Guard‘s (Eugene, OR) site, you’ll read about how Bradley Cook – who hadn’t known anything about Buddy Guy and his influence on modern rock guitar-playing until a chance meeting at a festival – took his new-found passion for Guy’s music and, after years of attending shows and snapping fan photos (which he shared with the guitar legend), getting a request to use one of the photos on Guy’s most-recent record, Born To Play Guitar. Read all of the heart-warming details via the link – http://registerguard.com/rg/entertainment/33307937-67/buddy-guy-fan-gets-own-shot-at-glory.html.csp

3) Well, for an old guy, I at least was able to recognize half the cover images in this latest quiz, designed to test your knowledge of popular covers that would be most-familiar to Millennials…Let me know how you do on this VH-1-sponsored quiz (please forgive me for not knowing Katy Perry vs. Britney vs. Pink, OK?) – http://www.vh1.com/news/43977/youre-not-a-millennial-unless-you-can-name-these-album-covers/

August 11th – Back from my road trip and happy to share these three items with you:

1) Canadian singer Kalle Mattson created a very cool new video for his single “Avalanche” that has him re-creating 35 classic album cover images (7 just in the intro!). It’s a great example of how classic album art continues to inspire today’s young musical artists.
http://www.npr.org/2015/07/29/427427711/first-watch-kalle-mattson-avalanche
I’m very impressed – I mean, he included Trout Mask Replica, for goodness sake!

2) In this recent article for the Gigwise site, writer Will Butler works to track down 15 people who were featured on album covers from acts including Arctic Monkey, Smashing Pumpkins and many others, While some (the Nirvana baby and the Blink-182 nurse) have been covered frequently, there were a number of “new bits” of information shared, particularly on some of the children featured on record covers who have since grown into adulthood…http://www.gigwise.com/photos/101879/15-people-behind-the-album-covers-arctic-monkeys-bob-dylan

3) Late last month, a group of music industry heavyweights including U2’s Bono and The Edge, along with Jimmy Iovine, combined their resources to commission NYC-based artist Peter Sis to create a special commemorative work of art to honor Yoko Ono for her ongoing contributions to Amnesty International, with the resulting work – a tapestry featuring the island of Manhattan re-done “Yellow Submarine-style” – unveiled where it is currently installed at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Yoko has raised millions of dollars for the group via the donation of a share of all of the royalties from John Lennon’s post-Beatles music, so it is fit that, on the tapestry, Lennon is the captain steering the ship. AP’s Luqman Adeniyi provides us with the details and photos in an article recently posted on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6649120/john-lennon-yellow-submarine-tapestry-ellis-island

August 2nd –  1) As a follow-up to two books he released last year on the artist, author Paul Marechal has updated and re-released a book on the record cover artwork done by Andy Warhol titled Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Record Covers (published by Prestel). As a working artist in the album cover arena since 1949, Warhol received over 50 commissions for record cover work, beginning in the jazz genre before taking on projects for popular acts including the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and his own favorite band, the Velvet Underground. Reporter Michael Machosky has put together a nice backgrounder that provides additional details on the late artist’s career in the music business, and you’ll find it on the Trib Live site via the link – http://triblive.com/aande/books/8737524-74/warhol-marechal-says#axzz3hhYanwsE

2) Having been seen by over 1 million people thus far in its various showings in museums around the world (setting a record for a V&A Museum-curated show), the David Bowie Is exhibit has moved again, this time to the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) in Melbourne, where it will be viewable until November 1st. You’ll find costumes, stage sets, hand-written lyrics, photographs and, of course, lots of album cover-related materials, so if you’re in the area, take an afternoon and immerse yourself in all things Bowie, with details via the link – http://www.acmi.net.au/exhibitions/bowie/

3) Are you Jewish and looking for a unique arts and crafts project to work on this weekend? Writing for the Jewish JournalJonathan Fong provides readers with step by step instructions on how to make a new tzedakah (i.e., charitable donation) box out of a record album cover. Rightly so, he suggests staying away from using your rare copy of the White Album by The Beatles and, instead, he uses a Mel Torme cover (I’m thinking Dylan or Barbra Steisand, but hey, that’s just me). Even if you’re not Jewish, the box is a great method to collect money for your favorite charity, so if you’re a fan of music and charitable to boot, here’s your chance to make something special – http://www.jewishjournal.com/lifestyle/article/a_new_tzedakah_box_from_an_old_album_cover

August 1st – This one almost slipped by – fellow Chicagoan (I haven’t lived there in 30+ years, but still love my Cubbies) and famed rock shooter Paul Natkin was the subject of a brief-but-inspiring exhibition that ended August 2nd at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park. Simply titled “Superstars”, the show’s name makes perfect sense when you see the list of music celebs he’s photographed during his 40+ year career (with his first concert gig capturing local club icon Bonnie Raitt performing in Evanston in 1976). In this interview for the Gapers Block site, writer Nancy Bishop talks to Paul about his encounters with Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, a host of Chicago Blues greats and what he’s working on these days (including his blog on which he talks about life these days as a professional photographer) – http://gapersblock.com/ac/2015/07/27/paul-natkin-relives-his-life-in-rock-photography-from-abba-to-zz-top/

Ending – 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.

Copyright 2015, Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com & RockPoP Productions – All rights reserved.

A Scientific Approach To Determining “The Best” In Album Cover Art

Details on the U.S. Mensa Society’s “Best Cover Art” Bracket Challenge

American Mensa “Best Cover Art” Bracket Challenge Artwork

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com 

Earlier this month, I learned about an interesting poll looking to discover “the world’s best album cover”. While these polls are typically done by music/art/photography/lifestyle publications (and something that I summarize in a yearly report on the topic (here’s a link to the one from last year – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/best-and-worst-album-cover-art-lists-2013-summary-and-analysis/), I was intrigued by the organization behind this most-recent poll – the U.S. outpost of the Mensa Society which, to the uninitiated, is an international organization made up of people of all ages who, according to their site, ” share only one trait — high intelligence.” To qualify for Mensa, applicants were required “to score in the top 2 percent of the general population on an accepted standardized intelligence test”, making Mensa members – who include engineers, homemakers, teachers, actors, athletes, students and CEOs – well-equipped to develop a method (their “bracket challenges”) via which the “best ofs” in many categories can be determined (past challenges have include “best” heroes, inventions and toys).

This year, the group decided to throw their focus to determining, in a totally subjective, slightly-scientific and non-definitive way, which modern-era album cover is “the best”. On October 14th, I contacted the organization to find out more about their methodology and heard back from Chip Taulbee, who serves as the Editor of the Mensa Newsletter for the American Mensa organization and, based on this back-and-forth between myself and Chip, I think that they’ve come up with a strong approach that will, in the end, probably start more heated discussions than serve to satisfy any music fan’s appetite to know “what’s best”. Even so, I have to laud the group for their efforts and look forward to seeing the results when they’re posted early next year. For your review, here are my notes from my discussion with Chip:

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