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Album Cover Art And Artist News Summary For The Month Of September, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER ART AND ARTIST NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2016

It’s the beginning of October, 2016, with the Fall season in full force here in Chicago – leaves changing colors, the humidity taking a back seat to crisp evening temps and, for those of us new (again) to the area, the famously-frigid Winter weather looming in front of us, with only the thoughts of a hot deep-dish pizza making the prospects tolerable. If you’re either a hearty soul or someone living in warmer climes, I hope that all you’re thinking about right now is a) “how will I survive this Election season?” (don’t forget to VOTE!) and b) “what the heck is going on in the album art/artist world these day, to which I’d like to propose that you now spend a few minutes catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find summarized in both my weekly and monthly recaps.

In this month’s summary, you’ll see that the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to make news with their ongoing contributions to the field of album art/packaging, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

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

a) London’s Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising will soon (on October 4th) be launching a new exhibition that’ll be a must-see for fans of punk/do-it-yourself-because-you-can’t-f**king-trust-anyone-else product marketing, promotion and advertising. Located “just around the corner from the world-famous Portobello Road Market”, the museum will host a display which they’re calling the “Graphics Of Punk” which, using a large collection of prints, posters, underground magazines, advertisements, consumer products and, most-importantly (at least to us), album cover/record sleeve images, works to illustrate how these “radical campaigns draw a visual parallel between the political climate of the time and its punk graphics aesthetics.”

In addition to the items on display, the museum will be hosting a series of talks throughout the show’s run, including one on punk-era typography by designer/author Sarah Hyndman (titled “Never Mind The Typography”, taking place Tuesday, November 15th). Writer Sarah Dawood gives us a preview of the show in this article on the Design Week web site – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-september-2-october-2016/new-graphics-punk-exhibition-will-showcase-outrage-era/  with more info on visiting the museum during the show’s run (through January 29th, 2017) available on the venue’s site at

http://www.museumofbrands.com/whats-on/exhibitions/the-graphics-of-punk-4-october-to-29-january.html

The museum is the love child of consumer products/promotion guru Robert Opie, so it will be interesting to see how he and his people inter-relate this display’s unique grouping and messaging with the thousands of other items that make up their collection.

b) I’ve reported previously on the recently-launched (September 26th) graphic design/illustration exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London called “You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970,” but, with the show’s kick-off now past us, I wanted to share a recent article by The Guardian’s Graphic Arts writer Liz Hoggard that provides us with some additional insights and details about a number of the designers – including many well-known album cover & gig poster artists including Martin Sharp (Disraeli Gears for Cream), Mike McInnerney (Tommy for The Who) and the team of Nigel Waymouth and Michael English of Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, among many others – whose works provided the colorful, mind-blowing and sometimes head-scratching backdrop to the art, fashion and music of the era, as well as the inspiration for the punk, new wave and other scenes that’d soon follow.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/04/revolutionary-artists-60s-counterculture-v-and-a-you-say-you-want-a-revolution

The show will run through Sunday, February26, 2017, with more information nicely presented on the Museum’s web site – http://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-records-and-rebels-1966-70

There will be several related activities kids young and old can participate in during the show’s run, including two “Create! Graphic Design” events in October, free talks/gallery tours and a Conference & Symposium on Friday, the 4th of November which is described as an event during which participants will “explore how the social, cultural and political dynamic changes enacted in the late 1960s continue to impact on our world today and help us think about the world tomorrow. Topics will include:  counter culture to cyber culture, ideology in politics, the uses of hallucinogenic drugs and environmentalism.”

Quite a way to spend a day.

c) Prog Rock imagery fans now have something to plan for – Roger Dean, creator of many of the most-memorable album covers over the past 40+ years (including those for YES, Uriah Heep, ASIA and others) is the subject of a new exhibition that opened on October 1st at the Trading Boundaries gallery space on Sheffield Green in East Sussex, U.K. that’s titled “Pathways”. According to the gallery’s press release, ” Trading Boundaries will be exhibiting original paintings, watercolours, drawings, sketches and prints, many for the first time and many of which will be for sale, including the original painting for Rick Wakeman’s ‘The Myths & Legends of King Arthur 2016’…Paintings and artwork will be on display throughout our showrooms as well as in our permanent gallery of Roger’s work here.

The show’s opening day featured sets by the the very-popular YES tribute band SEYES and, to add some further enticement, at 7PM on Saturday, October 22nd, those with an artistic bent can attend a painting workshop lead by the talented Mr. Dean himself. Tickets for that event can be purchased in advance via this link – http://www.tradingboundaries.com/collections/tickets/products/roger-dean-painting-workshop-br-saturday-22nd-october-br   with more information on this show, which runs through October 30th, available on the gallery’s web site –  http://www.tradingboundaries.com/pages/roger-dean-gallery

d) Director Ron Howard’s new film about the formative touring years of The Beatles, titled The Beatles: Eight Days A Week, has been earning much praise from fans and film critics, with one San Francisco-based art gallery – the San Francisco Art Exchange, well-known for their deep and impressive album art catalog – having served as a photographic consultant to the film-makers. To showcase the Beatles imagery both in the film and in their collection, the SFAE has put up an online Beatles-related photo exhibition, with most items (as well as others you won’t find online) available for purchase as fine art prints for your home. The film focuses on the four straight years of touring the band did between August, 1962 and August, 1966 during which they both perfected their song-writing/performance skills (releasing 11 studio albums in the U.S., from Please Please Me to Revolver) and their public personas via their films (Hard Day’s Night and Help!), TV appearances and constant interaction with the press, so you can be sure to find images from photographers including Robert Whitaker, Ken Regan, Jim Marshall, Terry O’Neill and others that you’ll both know well and those that will bring back fond memories.

http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400137

e) I have to admit that, for the longest time, I thought that artist Ralph Steadman had contributed the artwork for Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” when, in fact, it was produced by another talented pen-and-ink-focused artist, Gerald Scarfe (please tell me that I’m not the only one who thought this). In any case, Mr. Steadman does have a nice album cover resume, having done record packaging for musical acts including Ambrosia, Nils Lofgren and Frank Zappa, as well as spoken word albums built around the witticisms of the man who is perhaps most-associated with Steadman – “gonzo” writer Hunter S. Thompson – so it’s my pleasure to announce that there’s a new career-retrospective exhibition being staged at the gallery of the Society of Illustrators in NYC.

Titled “A Retrospective: Ralph Steadman”, the show celebrates “the work and career of iconic artist Ralph Steadman. This special exhibition will cover three floors of galleries and is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the public to view a collection of his groundbreaking pieces spanning his 50 year career.” You’ll find examples of his work that’s been used to illustrate books, magazines, films and other forms of media, including items that have appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, The Times of London, the New York Times and many others. The Society’s site also lists a number of related events, with details available via the link –http://www.societyillustrators.org/exhibits/retrospective

f) Fans of the late David Bowie are in for a treat now that Guido Harari has launched the latest photo show at his Wall of Sound Gallery in Alba, Italy that is built around a collection of nearly 40 photos taken of Bowie by the famed Japanese photographer Maysayoshi Sukita, best known for the photos used on the covers of Bowie’s Heroes and The Next Day records. Assembled in cooperation with ONO Arte Contemporanea – who are holding their own related exhibition this month at their gallery in Bologna featuring Sukita portraits of Bowie along with Iggy Pop and Marc Bolan (http://www.onoarte.com/current-exhibition.php) – the show, according to Mr. Harari, includes “a series of portraits taken in London in 1972, in New York in 1973 and some live photographs taken in Japan in the same year. There are also iconic images and several outtakes from the 1977 Heroes shoot, some from a trip to Kyoto, Japan, in 1980 and some more recent portraits taken between 1989 and 2002 for the promotion of the Heathen album.”

Visitors to the gallery’s promo page for this show – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/heroes–C-bowie–C-sukita-e18 – can also download a PDF brochure with more info and imagery. A master photographer teaming up with a master musician/actor/trend-setter – sounds like a great reason to visit.

g) In last month’s news summary, I had shared the details about the launch of a new exhibition (running now thru October 16th at the Manhattan Beach Art Center in Manhattan Beach, CA) titled Contemporary Post Future! The Dichotomy of Design and Art – John Van Hamersveld which features a large display of the talented designers commercial and fine art works, including a 47-panel modular black and creme-colored collage/mural JVH created. In early September, I added an update that story that included some exciting new info – on Sunday 9/11, John and Alida staged a poster sale/signing where 50% of poster sales, along with a portion of sales from the exhibit, will be donated to support the MBAC. Owners of previously-unsigned JVH prints were also able to bring their works in to be signed, with pricing for this service beginning at $40 per item and going up, depending on the item.

More information on the show can be found via this link – http://www.citymb.info/city-officials/parks-and-recreation/cultural-arts/exhibition/creative-arts-center-exhibitions#ad-image-1 and, to see more of John’s work – posters, prints, photos, murals and much more, click on over to his site at http://www.post-future.com/

h) Exhibition curator Doug Sjoquist recently put together a show featuring 50+ examples of great album art in a display that was called “The Golden Age Of Album Art” which ran through September 30th at the Keys To Creativity event gallery located in the Lansing Mall in Lansing, MI. The show was built, according to the gallery’s site, as an “exploration of the many multicultural art forms that appeared on album covers from 1967 to 1983 and greatly influenced American art and culture.” The show’s organizers enhanced the display with a lecture and music, including (on September 25th) a lecture (given by the curator and co-hosted by the Capital Area Blues Society) and concert by local blues legend Thornetta Davis that served as a fund-raiser for the Society’s Artist In Residence Program. An article in the local Citypulse Magazine served to introduce the exhibition and related events – http://lansingcitypulse.com/events/view/74121/the_golden_age_of_album_art_with_doug_sjoquist.html , with more information available on the gallery’s site at http://www.keystocreativity.net/event-gallery.html

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) The Guardian’s Dave Simpson recently published an article based on a pretty simple premise – ask a grouping of album cover artists, consisting of well-known names from the field both young and old(er), “what’s the best-designed album sleeve?” – and the results, as you might figure, are both quite insightful and surprising. You’ll hear from creatives who have 30+ years of well-regarded work, including Roger Dean, Vaughan Oliver, Peter Saville and others, as well as younger artists who’ve quickly built up strong reputations in the area such as Jonathan Barnbrook, Carson Ellis, Mr. Scot Sandler and several more. As is always the case with articles published in Europe, the article also introduces us to several artists who you (and I) were probably unfamiliar with, so it’s also rewarding to learn more about “fresh talent” who are making waves in the field.

I still find it fascinating that many of the covers held in the highest regard were created in the mid-late 1970s, a period that many consider one of album cover design’s “golden ages”…

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/22/the-greatest-record-sleeves-as-chosen-by-the-designers

b) While I like to think that our site is well-respected for the quality of the reporting and access to info and interviews with the broadest range of talent working in the album art world, I have to admit that there are several other sites who display the same passion for the subject material as I do and who are also producing fine work for fans of album art and artists. One such person is Atlanta, GA-based writer Loring Kemp, whose blog Cover Our Tracks has posted several fine interviews with music industry-focused artists since it appeared on my radar several months ago.

Just posted this past week by another contributor to that site – Lara Kristin Herndon – is an interview with veteran illustrator Bob Pepper, a man who has made quite the name for himself in all areas of illustration, producing memorable artwork for clients in the music, book, game and advertising worlds. Beginning his career in the music industry in the early 1960s creating covers for Bill Harvey at Nonesuch and Elektra Records, Pepper went on to create one of the most-memorable covers of the psychedelic era – Love’s Forever Changes, released in 1967. While that one cover might be his best-known, he went on to create several dozen others for musical acts in the classical, electronic and world music genres, so it is a real treat to hear more from the artist regarding the arc of his career, his inspirations, what sort of music he prefers (one hint – it’s complicated) and his take on how digital formats have somewhat lessened the full-on album listening experience.

http://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2016/09/26/Bob-Pepper—The-Cover-Our-Tracks-Interview

Eager to see more from Loring & Co. as it is released…

c) Now, why exactly didn’t the record label want Metallica’s debut album to feature a bloody, hatchet-wielding hand coming out of a toilet and the title Metal Up Your Ass? Instead, fans got a slightly-toned-down record called Kill ‘Em All that featured an image that, to those with little imagination, could simply have been the result of a mistake by an apprentice carpenter (yeah, right). With a new Metallica record – one that will be titled Hardwired – due out in a couple of months, the editors at the TeamRock site revisited the story behind the band’s first album image with the band’s drummer Lars Ulrich, who waxes nostalgic for the time they almost got to really upset the PMRC (still can’t forgive Tipper for this) – http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-09-02/the-story-behind-metallica-s-kill-em-all-album-artwork-lars-ulrich-interview

d) Yes, friends, we’re all getting old(er) – this month celebrates the 25th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s break-through 1991 recording Nevermind which featured many hit songs and one of the most-memorable album cover images of the rock era. The band had enlisted Austin, TX-based photographer Kirk Weddle, who specialized in underwater photography, to come up with the iconic “baby in a pool” shot and, in this recent audio interview/article by the CBC’s Candy Palmater, shares his recollections of the session, along with some out-takes featuring the band cavorting in the same pool – http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-tuesday-september-20-2016-1.3770140/nevermind-at-25-kirk-weddle-on-shooting-nirvana-s-iconic-album-cover-1.3770143

I had the pleasure of working with Kirk a couple of years ago on a “Featured Artist Portfolio” article for the ACHOF web site that you might want to re-visit as well – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/featured-album-cover-artist-portfolio-kirk-weddle/   to see a broader selection of this talented photographer’s archives.

e) Fans of Pop Culture should enjoy this recently-posted article on The Undefeated site by Martenzie Johnson about sculptor/special-effects artist Diana Walczak and her work with art director David Coleman and the late Michael Jackson on the making of the album cover sculpture/image used on his 1995 follow-up to the huge-selling Dangerous record, an album titled Michael Jackson: HISTORY – Past, Present and Future, Book 1. Jackson, quite unhappy with the way that he was treated in the press and by his business partners, was determined to work from a position of strength going forward and felt that the best way to represent his power would be via his representation in a statue that would make Roman emperors jealous. And who better to create such an imposing representation than the artist who created the fantastic costumes and props for movies and theme park attractions including Judge Dredd, the Amazing Spider Man, X-Men and even the I-thought-for-sure-it-was-Annette-Benning robed torch-bearer who introduces productions from Columbia Pictures?

Learn all about the concepts, process and whatever happened to the several-hundred-pound sculpture that served as the basis for the imposing photo found on the record, with details available via the link at  http://theundefeated.com/features/cover-stories-the-album-and-cd-cover-for-michael-jacksons-1995-history-past-present-and-future-book-i/

f) Tommy Bishop book release/profile article – see item in Section 4

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Related to the article in Section 2 about Kirk Weddle’s photos from the Nevermind session, the Austin, TX gallery that displays Weddle’s work – the Modern Rocks Gallery – is offering reduced shipping charges (as low as $1!) for both domestic and international collectors who purchase one or more of the images from this special collection. To see what’s available, click on over to the gallery’s site via this link – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/shop-nirvana-nevermind/

b) Many of you will instantly-recognize the photos – album covers, portraits and behind-the-scenes shots – of photographer James Fortune (his 1974 shot of a semi-mutilated Iggy Pop in a performance at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go that was used on the cover of Mr. Pop’s California Bleeding LP remains one of my favorites), so I was pleased to see that Modern Rocks Gallery now also counts him as one of their artists and has added his works to their permanent collection, with signed, limited-edition prints from his archive now available for sale there.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Fortune a number of years ago about “the making of” the Iggy Pop cover – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/07/cover-story—i.html  As I noted back then, “beginning as a photographer for his college paper in the late ’60s, Fortune spent more than a decade photographing rock music icons like The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and countless others. His catalog of over 15,000 images from the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s contains shots of everything from hippie riots in Hollywood to Gene Simmons and Cher sharing an eclair.” The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has over 150 of Fortune’s shots in their permanent collection, so I’d invite collectors looking to add something both historic and visually exciting to their collection to check out this new offering on the Modern Rocks Gallery site at http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/james-fortune-photographer

c) The spirit of Max’s Kansas City, the NYC nightclub opened in 1965 by the late Mickey Ruskin which served as an unofficial meeting place for a veritable “who’s who” of the city’s Pop Culture icons of the time, continues to live and breathe via the efforts of Mickey’s wife Yvonne and her Max’s Kansas City Foundation. The non-profit has continued on in its efforts to support those in the arts who might need help with housing, medical services and/or legal aid via one-time grants, with friends of the organization continuing their support of the organization via a series of fund-raising auction such as the one that took place (ending September 21st) with the help of Foundation partner Paddle8. Still viewable online at https://paddle8.com/auction/maxs-kansas-city/ , the recent auction included a whole host of items donated by music and art-industry stalwarts including photographer George DuBose (who donated a wonderful shot used on the cover of TooTought To Die by the Ramones; an awesome portrait byMick Rock of singer Freddie Mercury; a print of Elliott Landy’s infrared photo of Bob Dylan taken outside his home in Woodstock; a portrait by Dezo Hoffman of the late Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones; Bob Gruen’s photo tribute to Max’s KC; Roberta Bayley stunning portrait of punk icon Richard Hell and Richard Aaron’s shot of music-makers Patti Smith and Lou Reed.

Also on offer was an Alice Cooper-signed Welcome To My Nightmare litho (with art by Drew Struzan); Ramones logo designer Arturo Vega’s art print titled “Porn Is The New Rock” and a print titled 30 Years of Punk Rock by Laurence Gartel, the digital artist who taught Andy Warhol how to use a personal computer (an Amiga, in case you were wondering). Collectors were also able to bid on (as detailed on the auction site) “Kate Pierson’s outfit from the B52’s Orgasmic Tour, the Max’s banner from the tv series “Life On Mars” signed by the cast, a dress prototype designed by Tiger Morse, the high priestess of fashion, Joe Jackson’s electric piano and sax used on several of his tours and so much more.” While you might be a bit too late to participate in the auction, you can certainly lend your support to the organization’s ongoing efforts via a secure donation on their web site – http://maxskansascity.org/

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Baltimore, MD-based designer/writer Darius Wilmore is going to be releasing a new book meant to illustrate just how important “the visuals” have been to the success of artists in the rap/hip-hop world, helping those making the music better-establish their unique personas and better bond with their fans. The book, titled StereoTyped: Hip-Hop’s Unsung Graphic Design Heroes, Heroines, and the Oral and Visual Histories of the Rap Record (1979-1988), will be published next year by Full Circle Press and is the print version of Wilmore’s popular blog by the same name.

Writing for The Shadow League sports site, reporter Erica Blount Danois celebrates the recent anniversary of the first Sugar Hill Gang (“Rapper’s Delight”) record with this interview in which she talks to Wilmore about that record’s famous “candy cane” logo, his time working as part of Def Jam’s marvelous in-house design studio (Drawing Board Graphic Design), the effort it has taken him to complete his book (which I can personally attest to!) and how, without mainstream TV/radio distribution, rap and hip-hop album covers served to introduce the genre to audiences world-wide.

https://www.theshadowleague.com/story/stereo-typed-a-journey-of-hip-hop-cover-art

b) I recently had the pleasure of adding a new book to the ACHOF’s Resources section that’s due out next month and which focuses on the huge array of photographic talent who have contributed to the promotion and sales of music by our favorite acts. The soon-to-be-released new album art book -titled Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, published by photo collective Aperture – will feature over 400 covers that were built around the photo and art directing talents of esteemed artists including David Bailey, Anton Corbijn, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Jean-Paul Goude, Brian Griffin, Danny Lyon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Martin Parr, Irving Penn, Cindy Sherman, Pennie Smith, Andy Warhol, Albert Watson and many, many more.

The book’s editors are certainly well-credentialed to have put together such a comprehensive tome on the subject – Antoine de Beaupré is the founder of Paris bookstore/publishing house Librarie 213/Edition 213; Sam Stourdzé, the director of the well-regarded French photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles and art/entertainment writer Serge Vincendet. It also includes text by music journalist Jacques Denis as well as an interview with photographer and music video director Jean-Baptiste Mondino (who shot the controversial cover of a naked Prince for his Lovesexy release in 1988).

There’s a travelling art show built around the book that was recently (thru October 2nd) on display at Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center’s exhibition titled “Total Records – The Great Adventure of Album Cover Photography” – more info at http://capacenter.hu/en/kiallitasok/total-records-2/  . The show opened this past June at the Center in Budapest, Hungary and will soon be moving on to two more venues, the first being a display at the C/O Berlin Foundation (from December 3, 2016–February 5, 2017) and then on to the Kunsthal Rotterdam (February 24–June 4, 2017).

c) A popular book on album cover art has just been updated – The Greatest Album Covers Of All Time, first released in 2008 produced by music writers Barry Miles and Johnny Morgan and art director Grant Scott and published by Collins & Brown – will be re-released in early October. Same name, new and updated. According to the publishers, “with the resurgence of vinyl, album cover art is as important as ever. This visually sumptuous book brings together 275 of the greatest album covers of all time. arranged chronologically, beginning in 1956. A 50-strong panel of judges—including designers, musicians, producers, and record company executives—made the final selection, and their reasons accompany the photographs. From rock ‘n’ roll to pop, R&B to jazz, punk, blues, and even folk, the covers include both classics and less well-known works, and every one made an impact, either artistically, stylistically, or culturally. Music fans will enjoy looking back at their favorites and debating the selection.” The book’s been updated to include new album covers that have tantalized our eyes during the past eight years. Look for it at your favorite book-seller on the Pavillion/Collins & Brown imprint. 272 pages, hardcover. ISBN-13: 978-1910231982

d) Having built up a strong reputation for his slightly-strange designs for indie bands including The Unawares, Boo Hag, the Transylvania Rats and Los Perdidos, artist/illustrator Tommy Bishop, after relocating from Spartanburg, SC to my most-recent stomping grounds (Portland, OR – we must have passed each other on I-80, unless of course he took I-90), returned to South Carolina the weekend of September 17th-18th to celebrate the launch party for his new kid’s book titled The Incredibly Strange ABCs. Wanting to create something for his young daughter, Bishop has designed and illustrated a book where each letter of the alphabet is represented by a character that is, if I might say, a lot less like Dr. Seuss and a lot more like Ed Roth’s “Rat Fink” (e.g., “A” features Albert Appleworm, a creature who “absolutely adores accounting”).

Writing for The State (Columbia, SC) web site, Erin Shaw’s article serves to introduce you to the artist and this event (party and reading/book-signing on Sunday, September 18th at Tapp’s Art Center) – http://www.thestate.com/entertainment/local-events/article101736597.html with up-to-the-minute details via the event’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/176405956098437/

e) While I’ve already shared information on the new Bowie-focused show now on display at photographer Guido Harari’s Wall of Sound Gallery in Italy, I also wanted to point out that Guido himself is soon to release a new, limited-edition book of photos of one of his favorite subjects, the very talented (and photogenic) singer Kate Bush (that will be titled The Kate Inside), which got its own gallery show this past month in London at the Art Bermondsey Project Space. According to the press release I received, “the show will open on Sept. 13 until Sept. 30 and will be bigger and very different from Guido’s 2014 exhibition at Snap Galleries. It will feature over 50 images, classic and unseen, available for purchase in different sizes.” The Kate Inside limited edition book will also be available and, as part of the festivities surrounding the book’s release, on September 16th there was a special Q&A event at the gallery featuring famed actor/mime (and teacher of the craft to both Mr. Bowie and Ms. Bush) Lindsay Kemp on a panel with Guido, choreographer Stewart Avon Arnold, musician Del Palmer and others.

With over 300 photos included, the hard-bound, 240-page book will be published in two signed/numbered editions – a “Regular Edition” of 1150 copies  along with 350 copies of a “Deluxe Edition”, with this special version also signed by Mr. Kemp, adding more value to any collector/fan of Ms. Bush-related imagery. You can read more and order your copy of this fascinating photo collection on Harari’s site via the link at http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/the-kate-inside-by-guido_harari/the-kate-inside.php

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Space – the final frontier…who’d have thought that album art would be one of the ways that Man would choose to introduce us to civilizations “out there”? Some of you will recall the “Voyager Golden Record” package that astronomer Carl Sagan, along with a team that included writers Timothy Ferris and Ann Druyan, artists Jon Lomberg and Linda Salzman Sagan and astronomer/SETI pioneer Frank Drake (who served as the technical director), assembled in order to present “strange new civilizations” with evidence of our intelligence (this was, luckily for us, before we had recordings from this year’s elections). Now, 40 years later, a trio of enterprising (sorry) entrepreneurs, including noted album cover designer Lawrence Azerrad, have teamed with Ozma Records to embark on a Kickstarter-based project that will produce, for us mortals, a package we can own and treasure that is being called the record’s 40th Anniversary Edition.

Supporting the project at the $98 level entitles you to what’s called the “Voyager Golden Record Box Set” which includes, according to the project’s Kickstarter page, a cloth-covered box with gold foil inlay, three translucent gold, heavyweight vinyl LPs in poly-lined paper sleeves, three old-style tip-on jackets (black ink and gold foil), a hardback full-color book, a 12″ x 12″ lithograph of the Voyager Golden Record cover diagram (printed in gold metallic ink on archival paper), a full-color plastic digital download card that includes all audio from the Voyager Golden Record (MP3 or FLAC formats) and, recently added, a high-quality enamel pin of the Golden Record diagram and a custom turntable slipmat featuring NASA/JPL-Caltech’s heliocentric view of the Voyager spacecrafts’ trajectories across the solar system. Supporting the project at lower levels also entitles you to items including the pin, the download card and/or the litho, so if you’d like to learn more about the project and reserve one for yourself (I did!), click on over to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ozmarecords/voyager-golden-record-40th-anniversary-edition

The folks from the record label have also posted a recent BBC interview (on Soundcloud) with the original designer of the Golden Record – Jon Lomberg – which you can listen to via this link – https://soundcloud.com/user-482195982/interview-with-jon-lomberg?

b) It’s been weeks since we’ve seen a tribute to David Bowie’s impact on the entertainment world, but after reading this recent posting by Jacob Brookman for the British Journal of Photography’s site titled “Deconstructing The Iconography Of David Bowie”, one built around his research and discussions with people there to document the musician/actor/artist’s various transformations over the years, I thought that it’d be a good way to fire up your end-of-the-week brain cells before your weekend activities thoroughly left you in mindless states. You’ll learn more from Bowie insider Mick Rock, whose book The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973 serves to give us a unique view of an artist just starting up the ultimately huge curve of his influence on music, fashion, sexual identity and Pop Culture in general. They were young, influential and, quite evidently, taking large quantities of banned substances but, oh the artwork they produced…

http://www.bjp-online.com/2016/09/deconstructing-the-iconography-of-david-bowie/

c) As a lead in to a promo for the newly-released edition of one of the more-comprehensive album art books available to fans of the category (i.e., The Greatest Album Covers Of All Time, produced by music writers Barry Miles and Johnny Morgan and art director Grant Scott and discussed in detail in the previous section), The Telegraph (U.K.)’s music critic, Neil McCormick, asks and attempts to answer the question “Did Digital Kill The Album Sleeve” – reminisces about stand out work over the past 60+ years in various categories, citing examples of works he liked in each (Sgt. Peppers, The Basement Tapes by Dylan & The Band, London Calling by The Clash, etc.) but then, without providing us with a “why”, he goes on to lament that ” the golden era of album art is long gone and, despite the many benefits of digital music, something important has been lost”, completing his thought by stating that “… the finest (musicians and album art producers) feed off each other to create something that could belong in a museum as much as on a turntable. And a museum, sadly, is where album cover art is heading…”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/from-david-bowie-to-pink-floyd-the-lost-art-of-the-album-cover/

d) During the recent New York Art Book Fair in NYC, the famed Gagosian Gallery hosted a rather unique activity (for a book fair, that is) in their display space at the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 space – a completely-operational tattoo parlor, offering specially-commissioned designs from a slate of established artists, including one each from two figures well-known in the music world – Genesis Bayer P-Orridge, whose album cover credits include Psychic TV’s Tekno Acid Beat; City Ov Paris and Cold Blue Torch for The Origin Of The Species; Prurient’s Wrapped In The Flame Of Illusion, Masked In The Clay Of Behavior and the artist’s own recording (Spatial Memory); and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. Music fans may not be aware of Gordon’s background in the visual arts – a graduate of LA’s Otis College of Art & Design, Gordon worked as a art writer, gallery curator and a popular fine artist, creating multi-media works that often combined visuals and live music. Books built around her work as an artist include 2005’s a personal photo collection titled Kim Gordon Chronicles Vol. 1 and 2006’s Kim Gordon Chronicles Vol. 2which featured her drawings, collages, and paintings. Gagosian hosted a show at their gallery in London of her work in 2013 called “The Show Is Over” – a fitting title considering that her band broke up in 2011 after 30 years together… Artsy’s Casey Lesser shares the details around the tattoo event in her recent article – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-limited-edition-art-meets-skin-at-gagosian-s-tattoo-parlor

e) Previously posted as a “quickie” news update on 9/22/16 – The designer for the record packaging for one of the recent past’s most-memorably-titled albums – Evan Christ’s 2011 release Everything Is Boring & Everyone Is A F__king Liar – spoke to attendees at the Cover Club’s September 23rd get-together at the Ace Hotel in London. Graphic artist David Rudnick (not to be confused with hardcore American punk rocker David Rudnik of Kungfu Rick and Get Rad fame) lead a discussion during which, according to the event’s promo, he discussed “his experiences creating covers for labels such as Man Make Music Phantasy and Boysnoize Records, his creative process and approach to working in the industry.”

https://www.acehotel.com/calendar/london/cover-club-presents-conversation-david-rudnick?ct=t(dr_cover_club9_5_2016)

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/317714025230817/?active_tab=highlights

You can learn more about Mr. Rudnick and his work on his web site at http://davidrudnick.org/

f) When the brand name for an item (e.g., Xerox or Kleenex) or activity (Googling) becomes mainstream, marketers can pat themselves on the back for having reached the pinnacle of their professions. Such is also the case with “Sleeveface”, an activity formally introduced back in 2007 by John Rostron and Carl Morris in the U.K. where participants submit photos where one key element within the shot is built around an LP cover image. The duo went on to host a popular site and publish a book of their favorite examples of creative “sleevefacing” and, nearly 10 years later, the activity continues to attract more creative types to show us their most-imaginative work.

In a recent article by Daniel Peters for the Bandwagon site, you’ll meet a DJ from Singapore named Robin Chua (AKA “KiDG”) who has created a nice portfolio of these images and, in order to inspire others to join in, released a video guide showing how you can create your own masterpieces. Unfortunately, rights restrictions make it hard/impossible for those of us in the U.S. to see the video, but the article includes a number of photos of KiDG’s work and, of course, if my readers outside the U.S. would care to share what they see in the video with us, we can all be better-informed – https://www.bandwagon.asia/articles/sleeveface-or-bringing-your-vinyl-record-sleeves-to-life

g) After attending both the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art in the early 1970s before dropping out to pursue his musical ambitions, David Byrne’s love of art and music remained strong (after all, he teamed up with fellow RISD student Chris Frantz and others to form the Talking Heads soon after) and he played a very hands-on role in the band’s album packaging/imagery going forward, with the band winning two Grammy Awards for “Best Album Art” (although they never won a Grammy for their music!) and collections of his own artwork later being featured in books and museum/gallery exhibitions.

Byrne has also forged relationships with other notables in the art world throughout his career, so it was with great interest that I read this recent posting by editor Abigail Cain on the Artsy.com site about Byrne’s discovery of the trend-setting works by Robert Rauschenberg and then collaborating with the artist on a very special, limited-edition pressing of the band’s 1983 record Speaking In Tongues. While the retail version of the record featured a simple-yet-pleasing design by Bryne himself, one of the limited-edition (1000 copies) versions – hand-signed by both Byrne and Rauschenberg and which sold for $100 – quickly became a must-have collectible. You can read all of the details via the link –https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-the-story-behind-robert-rauschenberg-s-iconic-talking-heads-album-cover?

A recent check on Ebay finds one of these available for only $4999.00…

h) My old friend and hip-hop founding father Rocky Bucano sent out an email on September 8th that I wanted to share with you all as I am a believer in his cause (setting up an institution – the Universal Hip Hop Museum – that will provide a proper home/platform for the preservation and sharing of the history, including an impressive and impactful one in graphic design and photography, of this truly American music genre. As Rocky puts it, “this has been an amazing year for development of the Universal Hip Hop Museum because of the support of our partners, advisors, board members, staff and supporters around the world. The Universal Hip Hop Museum has moved from a grand idea, to a viable concept, and now to a real business with an important mission that has been embraced by Hip Hop pioneers, collectors, business leaders, politicians, developers etc. ”

Rocky continues – “Yesterday, Forbes Magazine published the annual “Cash Kings” list of Hip Hop’s richest artists. A special documentary Bronx To Billions – Forbes Guide To Hip Hop History was produced by Zack Greenburg and Timothy Pierson to spotlight the role of the Bronx and its Hip Hop pioneers who were instrumental in giving birth to the world’s most popular music and culture.  The documentary emphasizes the importance and reasons for the establishment of a cultural institution and repository that is dedicated to documenting, preserving and celebrating the history of Hip Hop…  I invite you to watch the Forbes documentary Bronx to Billions and offer your support of the Universal Hip Hop Museum with a monetary contribution and by sharing this film with other people to make them aware of the UHHM mission.”

You can watch the film online via the link – http://youtu.be/sTzy3cjj0l4 – and be sure to subscribe to the UHHM video channel.  As I’ve shared with you in previous coverage of Rocky’s efforts to establish a Hip Hop museum in the Bronx, NY within the next few years (and, in the effort, help transform the area’s economy)  Also according to Rocky, “several major announcements will be made next month about new partnerships and exciting development plans for the museum,” so I’ll be sure to share them as they become available. In the meantime, you can visit his site at www.uhhm.org or follow them in the Twitterverse at  @uhhmuseum

i) It’s just smart marketing, if you ask me…Home lifestyle/furnishings retailer Crate & Barrel has just announced a new collection – furniture, shelving and related items – that seem perfectly-targeted a we old-timers who once had a special “listening room” where we’d shelve, protect and enjoy our vinyl LP collections. While video-focused “home theaters” have replaced the music rooms of the past, the resurgence of the popularity among some of a more-passive listening/enjoying experience can now be accommodated via this offering called, appropriately, “The Listening Room”. Not only can you buy some comfy chairs and sturdy shelving, but you can also add to your collections by selecting one of the 75 remastered vinyl records from Capital Records (from Sinatra and Garland to Sam Smith and Katy Perry) priced from $19.95 to $24.95 and play them on/through the $379.00 Orbit Turntable/pre-amp coupled to your choice of a $249.00 pair of Audioengine speakers or a $299.00 set of Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) wireless headphones. Of course, no setting would be complete without a small grouping of nicely-framed album covers and, as you might figure, C&B offers two nice frames for your 12 x 12 works of art.

I particularly like the grouping shown on http://www.crateandbarrel.com/decorating-and-accessories/turntable-accessories/1 (Beatles, Beach Boys, Nora Jones, etc.) and the nice-looking cordial set nearby (a requirement for serious listening). See more of the collection at http://www.crateandbarrel.com/special-features/music-listening-room/1

j) Nominees were just announced for the talent to be considered in one of the six categories (architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport) featured in the 9th annual Beazley Designs of the Year awards sponsored by The Design Museum in London, UK, with one of the nominees in the graphics category being designer Jonathan Barnbrook’s iridescent cover for what turned out to be the final album released by the late David Bowie, titled Blackstar.

According to the museum’s press on the nominations, the “Beazley Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.”

In a year where we’re seeing corporate sponsorship re-labeling stadiums/events in ways that some would consider  “not quite right” (e.g., the new name for Sox Park in Chicago becoming “Guaranteed Rate Field”, just one degree less silly than Save-On Foods Stadium in Vancouver or KFC Yum! Center in Kentucky), of course I was curious as to who “Beazley” was. It turns out to be a large, multi-faceted insurance company who, according to their CEO Andrew Horton, chose to claim naming rights to this competition “to celebrate the role that great design plays in all our lives. At Beazley, we are committed to offering beautifully designed insurance to our clients around the world.” Whoo boy.

Read more about this year’s awards in Elizabeth Roberts’ recent posting on the MailOnline.com site – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3767120/David-Bowie-s-final-album-cover-joins-flat-pack-refugee-shelters-drinkable-book-shortlist-year-s-Design-Awards.html   and, to see and learn more about all of the nominees, click on over to the museum’s site at https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/future-exhibitions/beazley-designs-of-the-year

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

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

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 – September, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2014

by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor – AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Fall is finally here and, although your Curator out of the office early in the month, the flow of album cover-related news stories continued unabated. The news was dominated by several classic rock-related events, including the opening of the David Bowie Is exhibition at the MCA in Chicago, the over-sized release of U2’s latest album and the preview of Pink Floyd’s first new record in over 20 years, which features cover art from a soon-to-be-well-known new artist. Of course, there were also a number of stories posted about various aspects of the world of album art – “best ofs”, “rejected covers” – even a photo-story about “hidden images” found in famous record covers (very mysterious and cool at the same time).

There was good news on the self-funded book publishing front, with several artists/photographers raising enough money to be able to produce and publish books of their work for fans eager to own them (which only gave me more incentive to consider doing this myself!). You’ll also read about several exhibitions using albums/album art as a central theme for their designs, proving to cover art fans that album art – particularly vinyl record art – continues to serve as a cornerstone reference for Pop Culture fans.

In preparation for this year’s ACHOF voting efforts, many new biographies have been added to the site this past month so that, by the end of November, our voting panel (as well as our fans) will be well-prepared to select this year’s inductees into the ACHOF Class of 2014. I’m proud to announce that we’ve added several new voters to the panel, including writers, gallerists and film-makers from the U.S., U.K., Australia and Italy, which helps illustrate that there are fans and experts on the subject all over the world now part of the ACHOF effort.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed while enjoying your late-Summer vacations, getting the kids back to school, etc.. We’re working every day to continue our efforts 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.

September 30 – Album covers can be so inspiring and mysterious….

1) Writer Lucy Dayman’s recent article on the ToneDeaf site presents 13 examples of “hidden images” or messages found on classic rock album covers of acts ranging from Black Sabbath to Frank Zappa. While I’ve been aware of several of them – the little Klaus Voorman image in George Harrison’s hair on the cover of Revolver by The Beatles, for example – most of them were news to me. I was particularly impressed with the drug reference buried on the cover of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats and the optical illusion featured on The Black Lips’ 200 Million Thousand – freaky, man! Spend a little time on this slide show and, of course, if you’re aware of any other fine examples of this art, please share it here with your friends. http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/419684/13-hidden-images-classic-album-covers.htm#1

2) I’m often asked to share info on “my favorite album cover” with others and, while of course this is impossible for me to answer, when I do run across a discussion of the subject by others in the album cover art world, I’m more than happy to share that with ACHOF fans. Today’s example is from an article on the Design Week web site, featuring the opinions of a number of established and up-and-coming designers, art directors and others involved in the making of today’s album cover imagery. Of course, there are mentions of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc., but there are a few that I hadn’t seen before and am now glad that I have. Take a look and see if you agree –http://www.designweek.co.uk/voxpop/whats-your-favourite-record-cover-art-of-all-time/3039133.article

September 29 – It’s U2 Monday (is it Monday for you, too?):

1) For those fans that intend on purchasing a physical copy of U2’s latest record (titled Songs of Innocence – I could have sworn that it was called “Now, Where Did That Come From?”) when it is released in mid-October – the band has released the album cover image which features a shot by photographer Glen Luchford featuring drummer Larry Mullen hugging his son Aaron Elvis. Fans of the band will recall that two of their earlier releases – Boy and War – both featured the image of the son of Bono’s friend Guggi Rowen, so they say that they chose another youthful subject in order to illustrate the band’s efforts to reach back into their youth in a search for inspiration for material for their new record. The writers for Ireland’s RTE site provide more details in this article –http://www.rte.ie/ten/news/2014/0926/648174-u2-to-release-new-songs-larry-cuddles-naked-bloke/ 

2) As you might figure, the controversial record has encouraged a number of people to express their feelings about the music (and how it was somewhat forced upon them), so it only makes sense that they’ve also taken to doing something creative with the father-hugging-son imagery that is featured on the record’s cover. One good example of this (actually, almost 30 good examples) are on display on Diffuser.FM’s site in a photo essay they call “Rejected U2 Album Covers” – take a look – http://diffuser.fm/rejected-u2-album-covers/

September 26

1) You don’t often find the opportunity to bid on items from the personal archives of a famous album cover photographer, so I’m particularly interested in following the bidding on the dozens of photos that will be put up for sale this weekend in Backstage Auction’s offering of works from Ian Wright. Wright’s photos of the “who’s who” in musical talent in London in the 1960s – The Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones, Bowie, etc. – have been featured in countless articles, exhibitions and, of course, album covers, and a collection of these images is in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Author Peter Lindblad’s interview of Mr. Wright is a really good read, diving into his relationships with his subjects and providing details on several of his most-memorable photo sessions. Well worth the read, whether you’re looking to add to your knowledge or your collection (or both) –http://backstageauctions.blogspot.com/2014/09/ian-wright-is-ready-for-his-close-up.html 

Update – The auction ends on Sunday, October 5th, so there’s still a few days to bid on any/all of the items in this auction. One thing that I didn’t mention in the original article was that the purchasers of most of the Ian Wright works in this auction not only receive a print, but they also get the negatives and the rights to the images themselves, making them valuable investments. Starting bids are in the $500 – $1000 range….

2) Album cover artwork often includes images that reflect the musical act’s politics or world view in general, so it was nice to see this recent article by the folks at Music Times about “5 Album Covers That Use Famous Photos”, featuring records by The Roots, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against The Machine and two bands I was unfamiliar with – Anthony & The Johnsons (I Am A Bird Now) and the Lovely Bad Things (The Late Great Whatever). Many of these images, on their own, might be a bit disturbing (e.g., a photo former “Warhol Superstar” Candy Darling on her deathbed), but that only makes them more memorable and, in most cases, appropriate for this particular use. For extra credit/consideration, I’d like to also include several of the Dead Kennedys’ records, such as Frankenchrist (with its Shriners in mini-cars cover) and Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, which features a photo of several police cars on fire, shot during the White Night riots that took place in San Francisco in 1979 after the sentencing of the man that killed Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk. Anyone else care to add to the list?
http://www.musictimes.com/articles/10624/20140922/5-album-covers-that-use-famous-photos-the-roots-led-zeppelin-and-more.htm

September 25 –

1) More coverage of the Bowie exhibition in Chicago – Sun Times Media writer Jeff Elbel put together a nice overview of “iconic” David Bowie album covers, including bits on The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and Low. In the “runner up” positions, he added The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust… and The Next Day. While he did include some information about several of the people who’d created these works of art, much was left out which, of course, your Curator must quickly add for the entire story to be told:
a) Hunky Dory – art direction by George Underwood;
b) Low – art direction by Kevin Cann, who was also responsible for the liner notes and designs for several of Bowie’s records. He also authored the critically-acclaimed 2010 Bowie bio book (say that fast 3 times!) Any Day Now. Cann had gone to art school with Brian Eno and met Bowie via that connection.
c) Ziggy Stardust – design/art direction by Terry Pastor;
d) The Next Day – the original photo used as the basis of this controversial design was the one Masayoshi Sukita had taken for Bowie’s 1977 record Heroes. Designer Jonathan Barnbrook, who was also responsible for the covers for Bowie’s Heathen and Reality releases, adapted this well-known photo for the new record.
e) The Man Who Sold The World – a collaboration between designers Wit Hamburg and Keef.
Now you know “the rest of the story”….
http://entertainment.suntimes.com/entertainment-news/david-bowie-found-album-cover-inspiration-myriad-sources/

2) The album cover paintings – both originals and his re-interpretations of classic LP covers – of designer/artist Howie Green were on display in an exhibition that began on September 28th at the Massbay Community College in Wellesly Hills, MA titled (appropriately) “The Album Cover Paintings of Howie Green”. The show kicked off with a reception there from noon – 3PM and all were invited. More info on this show is available on the artist’s site at http://www.hgd.com/gallery/howie_green_events.htm

Update – per Howie’s Facebook page, this event was quite the success, with many collectors going home with new Howie Green prints to present proudly on their walls.

September 24 –

1) The cover art for Pink Floyd’s first album in over 20 years – titled The Endless River, and due out in November – has been released. The work, done by a young digital artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin, was proposed by Aubrey Powell, part of the famed Hipgnosis team (led by the late Storm Thorgerson) who were responsible for the band’s best-known covers, after examples of his work were seen online. Once the designs were finalized, examples of the finished cover have been put on display prominently in major cities throughout the world, including a 25-foot cube installed in the South Bank area of London. The Independent‘s Adam Sherwin interviewed the lucky and talented young artist for this article, which you can review via the link at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/the-endless-river-pink-floyd-unveil-cover-art-for-their-first-new-album-in-20-years-9749012.html

2) And now for something completely different – a new touring exhibition has been launched featuring examples of “DIY”/punk record cover artwork, with the first show on the tour now up in London. Titled For The Record, the show features examples of the design work by many of the best-known designers in the genre, including Malcolm Garrett, Julian House, Central Station Design, Barney Bubbles and many others. Conceived and organized by designer Steve Rowland of MadeLab Studio, the display will be put on in a variety of “pop-up” locations, with the schedule of events and list of participating artists/record labels available on the show’s site at http://www.fortherecordproject.co.uk/ Based on the samples I’ve seen, this is a must-see for fans of classic indie record design.

September 23 –

Today is opening day for the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and, based on the reports I’ve seen on the show, this is a must-see for fans of music-related art and design. A subset of the show that ran recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, this show features over 400 items that help illustrate Mr. Bowie’s impact on popular culture – costumes (Ziggy Stardust, Scary Monsters, etc.), album art, lyric sheets, music videos, stage props, etc.. It is presented in chronological order, allowing fans to view the progression of the man from street mime to accomplished and influential musician, actor and design icon. The show runs through January 4, 2015 – more info and a list of related events is available via the museum’s site – http://www2.mcachicago.org/exhibition/david-bowie-is/
There’s even a show hotline available – 312-397-4068 – if you’d like to hear more via phone….

On a related note – one of the photographers who, from the years 1972 thru 1980, was an important contributor to Bowie’s public image via his shots of the Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Scary Monster, Lodger and “Thin White Duke” personnas the artist adopted – was the late Brian Duffy, and I’m pleased to report that the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery will soon be launching an exhibition/sale of prints of a number of images taken during those five photo sessions. The show, titled Bowie|Duffy: Five Sessions, opens this Saturday, Sept. 27th with a reception at the gallery. A selection of photos from the show – which runs through November 1 – is available for viewing on the gallery’s site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400088

September 22 –

1) Photographer/album cover designer/film-maker Anton Corbijn, best-known to record cover fans for his covers for U2, has been given the “Best International Literary Adaptation” award from the Frankfurt Book Fair for his recent thriller A Most Wanted Man, which was based on a John LeCarre novel of the same name. The film stars, among others, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe and focuses on the many intricacies of “the global war on terror”. It only seems proper that the man that directed the music videos for Depeche Mode’s “Strangelove” and “Barrel of a Gun” should have created such a compelling film – more about this award is available on this announcement on the BookTrade web site – http://www.booktrade.info/index.php/showarticle/55878

2) Saw this item listed in a current Artnet auction and thought you might want to see it as well – Mr. Brainwash – the graffiti artist best-known for the excellent 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary on the world-wide graffiti scene (Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, Banksy, etc.) and his promotion of the art form in the fine art world (as well as the cover for Madonna’s 2009 hit single “Celebration”) – has a work that depicts this week’s birthday boy, Bruce Springsteen, who turns 65, made from broken CDs and vinyl records. Projected to sell in the $25-35K range, the work is one in a series of portraits the French artist has created over the past several years, including ones of Jim Morrison and KISS. To read more about this unique work, head on over to the item’s page on the Artnet site –http://www.artnet.com/auctions/artists/mr-brainwash/bruce-springsteen

Update – bidders in the September 23rd auction for this print did not bid enough to meet the Reserve set for the item, so if you’re interested in this print, you can contact the specialist responsible for the sale of this work – Gracie Mansion – at her office in NYC at (212) 497-9700 Ext. 494 494.

September 19 –

1) The folks at the Grammy organization just released an interview they recorded at the Lollapalooza event in Chicago with graphic artist Shepard Fairey, who was there to curate an art exhibit and talk about his recent “Sound + Vision” collaboration with DJ Z-Trip. During the interview, Fairey – best known for his Andre The Giant and Obama/Hope images, but also a prolific album art designer, having created designs for Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Billy Idol and many others – talks about the sources of his design inspirations, which range from Russian Constructivist/Propaganda posters to the works of Warhol, Rauschenberg, Jamie Reid and Winston Smith (he was also a fan of Hipgnosis/Thorgerson and Stanley Donwood, who has done memorable covers for Radiohead). A thoughtful interview with a very talented screen-print artist – https://www.grammypro.com/professional-development/video/grammy-pro-interview-shepard-fairey

2) This week included the release of a record collection in a very cool package – Def Jam Records’ Def Jam 30 box sets, which are limited-edition/numbered packages – either CD or vinyl – that come in a box that looks remarkably like a turntable/dust cover combination. Designed by a team that includes Darkness Bros. Inc.’s Dawud West (who used to be creative director at the label), Andy Proctor, Sharon Lamb and Tai Linzie, the boxes also include booklets featuring a comprehensive liner notes essay by NYU Prof. Dan Charnas and additional photography and “memorabilia”, along with a limited-edition Def Jam 30 logo t-shirt (along with the music, of course!). More details are available on the DJ site via the link – http://www.defjam.com/dj30-box-set-sept/

September 18 – Two interesting items for lovers of great design –

1) There’s a new book coming out on October 1st that should be of interest to album art fans. Titled Fifty Years of Illustration (published by Lawrence King, UK) and written by two experts in the field – Lawrence Zeegen (Dean of the School of Design at the London College of Communication) and Caroline Roberts (journalist and founder of Grafik magazine) – the book’s focus on contemporary illustration, of course, includes many works by people who’ve created memorable album covers, such as Klaus Voorman (The Beatles’ Revolver), Ian Wright (T.I.’s Paper Trail), David Larkham/Ian Beck (Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), Gerald Scarfe (Pink Floyd’s The Wall), Shepard Fairey (Led Zeppelin’s Mothership) and many others (over 700 illustrations!).

There’s a corresponding exhibition running at the London College of Communication from now thru September 21st as part of the London Design Festival, but if you’d like to learn and see a bit more about the book/show, link on over to this article on The Guardian (UK) web site –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/sep/15/chewbacca-barack-50-years-illustration

2) Design buffs have always swooned over the work of Porsche’s design team, so this new pop-up display in downtown NYC – done as a “modern record store” featuring custom-designed media players that play music and videos inspired by the automaker’s products, delivered on 12″ platters with stylized record covers. In addition to the unique audio experiences, visitors to the store can slide on a pair of headphone to enjoy themed programs that elicit the excitement of a drive in the big city, racing, or a drive in the country, all while viewing video projected on a shiny (I’m assuming) 911 Carrera 4s Coupe (quite the screen, no?). The display, on W 14th St in the Meatpacking district, runs now through October 5th. Read more – and see a photo gallery – on David Pinter’s article on the PSFK.com web site – http://www.psfk.com/2014/09/porsche-popup-sound-store-nyc.html

September 17 –

1) Fans of album cover art now have a new place to visit when they have a craving to add to their fine art collections. Continuing in his father’s tradition (the family was involved in one of the first record art publishing businesses back in the early 1990s), Theodore S. has launched the Hazyrock.com site, where you’ll find an impressive range of album art prints – many signed by either/both the artist that created the image and/or members of the featured musical act – along with DVDs, CD, concert memorabilia, limited-edition toys and other items any music fan would be happy to receive (with the Holidays not too far off, it is always nice to have your resources lined up for your gift-giving needs). Hope that you’ll take a look and tell your friends (I will add this to the ACHOF list of Buying/Selling Resources today, too.). Of particular note to me was the limited-edition DEVO “Energy Dome Throbblehead” – very cool. http://hazyrock.com/ 

2) Received a note yesterday from a writer who’d posted an article I thought you might be interested in. While not specifically album art-related, as a former gallery owner and art preservationist, I feel that it is my duty to provide collectors with this sort of info – the article gives you an overview of how to best store your vinyl record collections. If you’re like me, you have some/all of your collection in boxes in your basement/attic/self-storage unit and, while that may be (in some cases) better than leaving them on a hot radiator, if you want your collection to remain playable for the foreseeable future, you should heed the info you’ll find on Stephanie Hyland’s posting on the Storage.com site –http://blog.storage.com/storage/store-vinyl-record-collection/

September 16 –

1) While most music art fans are familiar with the photos and illustrations that serve as the basis of their favorite album cover designs, there’s also been a lot of time taken during these projects to consider the logo designs and letter (AKA “typography”) and, in many cases, this work proves to be just as memorable. One recent example can be found in the work of the inter-continental design team (one’s in Norway, while one’s in Minnesota) named Non-Format in a recent design – based on a custom typeface – they did for musician Amy Kohn’s latest release, titled PlexiLusso. Their resulting work seems totally appropriate as packaging for new music by Ms. Kohn, an accordion player whose work spans jazz, avante-garde, pop and classical and who has played with Norah Jones, Phil Collins and Dianne Reeves. More about this can be found in Margaret Rhodes’ article on the Wired Magazine site – http://www.wired.com/2014/09/custom-typeface-isnt-perfectly-legible-thats-point/

2) This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Arcade Fire’s Funeral record and, to mark that milestone, Billboard‘s Chris Payne tracked down the artist who created the memorable cover imagery (along with a mural placed strategically in Brooklyn, NY), the talented Tracy Maurice, to find out more about “the making of” this work. The story is somewhat reminiscent of the early NYC music/art scene, with opportunities for folks floating in the same social circles to work together and, hopefully, share in each others’ successes. To read this interview with the Juno Award-winning designer, just follow the link – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6251421/funeral-arcade-fire-album-art-tracy-maurice-neon-bible-win-butler

September 15

1) Sunday would have been Amy Winehouse’s 31st birthday, so it was nice to see news of the unveiling of a work of art – a bronze statue, created by Scott Eaton – that was commissioned by her father, Mitch, who attended the ceremony held at the Stables Market in London along with other members of her immediate family. The statue shows the late singer in a memorable pose, complete with red rose in her hair and Star of David necklace proudly on display. This tribute joins the growing roster of rock star tributes – Hendrix (Seattle), Freddie Mercury (Switzerland), Phil Lynott (Dublin), Bon Scott (Australia) and many others that continue to draw fans from all over the world. More details in this story by Saba Hamedy on the LA Times web site – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-amy-winehouse-sculpture-unveiled-20140914-story.html

2) A photo of Bruce Springsteen’s legendary 1974 performance at the Harvard Square Theater in Boston will be auctioned off this month to raise money for the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. The photo is part of an exhibition of photos by Barry Schneier that is currently on display at the University’s Pollack Gallery thru Sept. 30 – details regarding the auction will be announced soon. More info on this show/auction is available via Chris Jordan’s article on the Asbury Press web site at http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/music/2014/09/11/bruce-springsteen-photo-auction-benefits-collection/15487347/

September 12

1) Happy to report on a new album cover history article series – the folks on The Pier web site – “your No. 1 online destination for good times, great music and up to date news from the Reggae-Rock community” – have published the first article in a series titled “Album & Cover Art History” in which they provide some of the details behind the making of some of your favorite record covers. This first episode includes an interesting mix of covers from musical acts including The Clash, No Doubt, Bad Brains and several others. The writers say that it’s their plan on releasing a follow-up article in late October, so why not get started now and let them know if there are any covers you’d like to know more about – http://www.thepier.org/the-pier-album-cover-art-history-vol-1/

2) The records released by one of glam rock’s early pioneers – T. Rex – always featured interesting and memorable album cover art, so fans of the band will be happy to see it preserved and enhanced in the upcoming (Nov. 3, in time for holiday gift-giving) release of a set titled T. Rex: The Vinyl Collection. 2 versions of the 8-record set, which includes LPs beginning with the group’s first post-Tyrannosaurus Rex record (1971’s T. Rex) up through their 1977 Dandy In The Underworld record, released shortly before Marc Bolan’s tragic death by car crash in September of that year.

Box sets on black vinyl will be generally available thru most music retailers, while those looking for something truly unique can buy one of 500 colored vinyl collector’s edition packages directly from the publisher. There will also be a related, 10-CD set titled T. Rex: The Albums Collection released at the same time for those not vinylly-inclined. More details on this are provided in this article on the Vintage Vinyl News site – http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2014/09/t-rex-first-eight-albums-being.html?m=1

September 11 –

1) Photographer Merri Cyr, well-known for her portraits of luminaries in various aspects of the entertainment business, is perhaps best known for her photos of the late singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley. When Buckley asked her to photograph him and detail his life on tour (as well as shooting the album cover image) – in support of his record titled Grace, she took full advantage of the opportunity, creating a fascinating portfolio of images that are now on display in an exhibition titled “20 Years of Grace” at the Blender Gallery in Sydney, Australia. Many never-before-seen images are included in the show, and Buckley fans can also see more (over 300 more) of Cyr’s intimate photos in her book, A Wished-For Song, Portrait of Jeff Buckley, that’s also available. More on this exhibit, which runs now through September 20th, is included in this recent article by Cindy Tran on the Daily Mail/Australia site at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2743040/He-blew-mind-Photographer-reveals-story-intimate-pictures-Aussie-music-legend-Jeff-Buckley.html

2) Fans of heavy metal music and art can now help fund a project to create a new book dedicated to the display of all that is dark, loud, lurid and fascinating. In support of a new Indiegogo.com project posted by writer and artist Ramon Martos, you can be one of just 300 lucky people who will be able to own a limited-edition, signed book titled …And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers. Having worked several years to secure the rights to the 400+ images that will be included in the finished product, your contributions, according to the author’s pitch, “would make a tremendous difference in the outcome of this project, that—according to Morbid Angel’s front man, David Vincent (who wrote the foreword)—has all the potential to become “a historical document about the importance of Metal album covers.”
Although the campaign has already reached its first goal, there’s still time to secure one of the first run copies, so buzz on over to the project’s page and grab one before they’re gone – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-print-and-justice-for-art

Update – as of October 1, I’m pleased to note that this project has raised over $14,000, well over its $8,310 goal, so supporters will be getting this new book when it is published. With the Indiegogo project still having a month to go, I’m suspecting that there will be a number of other supporters coming, giving the author plenty of resources to create the best version possible of this new book. Congratulations!

September 10 –

1) Not willing to let Nicki Minaj steal all of the limelight with a nearly-naked album cover photo, classic British act Status Quo released a teaser for their soon-to-be-released record (an acoustic set titled Aquostic (Stripped Bare)) that shows two original members of the veteran rock band standing in the nude, with their naughty bits shielded only by strategically-placed guitars. While certainly a bold move by the boogie-woogie band, I don’t think that it will draw the same attention and public outcry as more-recent extremely-revealing covers, as it is doubtful that anyone will be fantasizing about the well-over-60 bodies on display (still quite trim, though). More on this in this article on Ireland’s Independent web site – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-news/status-quo-get-naked-for-new-album-cover-photographed-by-bryan-adams-30551637.html

September 9 –

1) Artist/Designer David Larkham – best known to ACHOF fans as the talent behind most of Elton John’s album graphics – sent me a link to a video he’s produced showing him in the process of creating one of a series of large-scale painted portraits of the Rolling Stones. The video, which gives us a look into the painstaking detail of David’s depiction of Bill Wyman, is set to the music of Wyman’s 1981 hit single, “(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star”. I am always intrigued by what it takes to make great art, and so I’m glad that David saw fit to give us this insight into his latest project – take a look and share it with your friends –http://youtu.be/ToXYb3MXQYI

2) Writer Joey DeGroot of the MusicTimes site has assembled seven examples of unusual record packages that have been released over the years in an article that is a testament to the creativity – and commitment to album packaging as an art form – that has been on display from time to time over the years. Most I’d seen and admired before – Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, Public Image Ltd’s Metal Box, etc – while I wasn’t aware of some of the more-recent examples shown of packages by The Flaming Lips (limited-edition skulls), Street Dogs (a playable package) and, most-amusingly, the Ultimate Box Set by The Residents, which comes packaged in its own refrigerator (!!) for a princely price. Gotta love ’em – http://www.musictimes.com/articles/9712/20140905/7-artists-who-released-music-in-bizarre-packaging-led-zeppelin-the-flaming-lips-and-more.htm

September 8 –

Back from Alaska and happy to announce that the ACHOF site has been added as a resource (under the heading “Other Resources”) to the National Recording Preservation Board of the U.S. Library of Congress. This list includes links to a number of sites/organizations that are there to help inform anyone interested in both the history of recorded music and in preserving the legacy of the people and places that have contributed to recorded music’s rich history.

I’m very proud to see that album cover imagery has been included as part of this effort and look forward to adding more to it as time goes on. If you’re interested in learning more about the NRPB and see what they have to offer (it’s a treasure-trove of info), please follow the link – http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-OTHERRESOURCES.html

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

Album Cover News Recap – August, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – August, 2014

Summer’s almost gone (!!) and, although your Curator was in and out of the office a couple of times this month, nothing could stop the continuous flow of album cover-related news stories. The month was dominated by several important Beatles-related items, as it was the 50th anniversary of their first visit to the U.S. and the 45th anniversary of the release of their iconic Let It Be album. There were stories about several exhibitions, new album cover-related web sites, award shows and recipients of those awards, new books and soon-to-be books, educational programs for budding album artists, the release of new art prints featuring some of your favorite album cover images, fan and industry reactions to the use of sexy images to promote/sell records, as well as a little bit of self-congratulations for our recent inclusion in a Library of Congress resource directory.

Also, with the ACHOF voting season about to begin, many new biographies have been added to the site and, by the end of November, we’ll be announcing this year’s inductees into the ACHOF Class of 2014.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed while on vacation (that’s “holiday” for fans outside the U.S.) this Summer, continuing our efforts 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.

August 31 – Back from Alaska and happy to announce that the ACHOF site has been added as a resource (under the heading “Other Resources”) to the National Recording Preservation Board of the U.S. Library of Congress. This list includes links to a number of sites/organizations that are there to help inform anyone interested in both the history of recorded music and in preserving the legacy of the people and places that have contributed to recorded music’s rich history.

I’m very proud to see that album cover imagery has been included as part of this effort and look forward to adding more to it as time goes on. If you’re interested in learning more about the NRPB and see what they have to offer (it’s a treasure-trove of info), please follow the link – http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-OTHERRESOURCES.html

August 29 – 1) Another cool Kickstarter project that fans of the NYC punk scene will certainly want to look into – photographer David Godlis has initiated a fund-raiser to support his effort to publish a book of his pix of CBGB-era punk rockers – stars, fans, and those who just wanted to stare at the stars and fans – and is offering supporters a number of ways to participate, with many levels including limited-edition signed photos at less-than-going-rate prices. David’s natural-light shots of the clubs and the people who frequented them are impressive, so it is no wonder that, with a goal of $30K, he’s already received pledges for more than twice that (nice!!). The project is accepting pledges until September 30, so please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1745732143/cbgb-punk-photos-by-godlis-1976-1979-the-book to reserve a copy for yourselves.

2) Our friend Adrastos has published a new album cover art story about Bob Seidemann’s very-hip album cover artwork produced for Jerry Garcia’s 1972 solo record. Magritte blood must run through Bob’s veins – it is a fascinating cover for a trend-setting musician. While Seidemann’s Blind Faith cover gets most of the press, his talents graced the covers of a wide variety of musical acts. Read more on the First-Draft.com site – http://first-draft.com/2014/08/27/album-cover-art-wednesday-garcia/

3) Just a reminder – the “American Cool” exhibition that I reported about a while back closed its run at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC on Sunday, Sept. 7th, so while you might have missed your opportunity to see the exhibit in person, you can still compare your own “Top 100 Coolest People” list to the one put forth by the festival’s organizers on their site at –http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/cool/American%20Cool%20Exhibition%20List.pdf

August 28 – Very interested to read about the possibility of a new film by Martin Scorsese about The Ramones. During last Sunday’s 10th annual Johnny Ramone tribute at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary, representatives from the estates of all of the original Ramones – participating in a discussion panel led by event host Rob Zombie – gave fans of the band a little teaser about the film, which is slated for a 2016 release.

Reading through the article (on the Billboard.com site), I believe that it also gives fans a primer into what it takes – licensing-wise – to put all of the rights-related resources in place to make such a film happen. It’ll be a tough slog, but I do hope that they can get it together as it’d be an interesting story to see brought to life by the talented film-maker…

Remember, while it took 38 years for the band’s greatest hits package, titled Ramones Mania (featuring a cover design by George DuBose), to finally achieve gold record status, I believe that there is a significant potential fan base for a movie like this – more on this as it reveals itself –http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6229437/reunited-ramones-estates-plan-big-comeback-including-martin-scorsese-film

August 27 – Always happy to be able to promote local talent with world-wide appeal… just a reminder to folks in the Portland (OR) area that a large exhibition of prints, posters, sculptures and more done by the artist EMEK is now on display at the Peoples Art of Portland gallery here in downtown Portlandia. “The Thinking Man’s Poster Artist” also has a nice portfolio of album cover credits, having created memorable images for musical acts including Erykah Badu, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Bad Religion and many others over the years. The show runs from now through September 14th, with more info and examples of what’s on display available on the gallery’s site at http://www.peoplesartofportland.com/feat-artist.html

August 26 – 1) The talented artist George Underwood – best-known for his memorable cover paintings for David Bowie, T. Rex, The Fixx and others – is the subject of a new gallery show opening soon at the Fosse Gallery in the Cotswolds (U.K.). Titled simply “The Paintings of George Underwood”, the exhibition – which runs from September 7 thru the 27th – includes over 30 of his more-recent oil paintings, all available for sale. If you liked the covers for Bowie’s Hunky Dory, T. Rex’s Electric Warrior, Reach The Beach by The Fixx, Gentle Giant and many others, you’ll be in for a treat whether you attend in person or take a look at these mystical paintings online. Visit the gallery’s site at http://www.fossegallery.com/index.php

2) Tech Times pop culture writer Laura Rosenfield introduces us to a Tumblr site that fans of album cover design should enjoy. Called Tumblr Art of Album Covers, the site works to show fans the images that grew up to become some of our favorite album art images. For example, you’ll see the original graphic novel cover from 1953 that Frank Kelly Freas adapted for Queen’s News of the World album, along with other images for Aphex Twin, Weezer, New Order and many others. The site has been up for a year now, so there are quite a few to see and, hopefully, many more to come. Read more at http://www.techtimes.com/articles/13843/20140823/this-tumblr-shows-you-the-original-artwork-behind-your-favorite-album-covers.htm

August 25 – 1) There’s a new company called HD360 that has developed an app (iOS) that album cover fans should take a look at. While there have been several “interactive album cover” projects launched in the past, this one looks to have a good chance of public acceptance, assuming that they can get more musical acts to join in on the effort. Working with the musical group Bernhoft, the app’s producers have released a “multi-media” (remember thatword?) version of the band’s Islander album. With the app, fans can listen to hi-res audio, watch a 360-degree video of the musicians in the studio (kinda cool), remix the tracks via a number of on-screen devices, view hand-written notes, photo galleries and much more. It’s $20 to play, which might be OK for Bernhoft fans (but a bit much for more-casual participants), but if this is just the first of a series of these projects (and if they come up with tools that allow other bands to build their own interactive albums), they might be on to something here. Read more in this review by Nina Ulloa on the DigitalMusicNews site –http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/08/22/bernhoft

2) While I usually don’t write about specific album cover images (unless they’re SHOCKING ;-0 ), I thought that this cover for the upcoming Aphex Twin record called Syro (due out in late September) was pretty clever – it is simply a list of items that show what a band must deduct from their advance/royalties to repay their label before they earn anything for their efforts. What – you thought that bands made music just to make you happy, and that labels fronted the money only because they want to fully support the Arts? Silly fans…In any case, it’s nice to see that the band is eager to share these details with the hope that when you buy their music, merch and/or tix to their shows, you’ll now know what the money’s going towards….Read more in Joe Lynch’s article on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6228885/aphex-twin-syro-cover-art

August 22 – 1) Who says that folks in the stock art/photography world don’t have senses of humor? In this recent post on the Shutterstock blog, several of the site’s contributors teamed to create a series of album cover images that re-examine well-known records that feature titles that many have mispronounced over the years. Titled “Misheard Album Titles: Hilariously Redesigned Cover Art, you’ll find new takes on classics from Pink Floyd, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Notorious B.I. G and many others. While I personally think that the term “hilarious” might over-state the humor quotient a bit, I did find many of them to be clever-ish, and my personal favorite was the re-do of Led Zeppelin’s Presence (a fine Hipgnosis creation with that famous little obelisk). Take a look and feel free to share your favorites with your favorite album cover art site curator (i.e., me) – http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/misheard-album-titles-hilariously-redesigned-cover-art

2) Proving once again that releasing an album featuring nearly-naked album cover art will keep you in the news for an amazingly-long period of time, writer Iain Shedden from The Australian site has penned an article titled “From The Sex Pistols to Nicki Minaj: Album Covers That Shock“, which chronicles records both old and new that were certainly shocking at the time of their release. In this review of 10 records that were controversial for their cover art, you’ll find examples that were sometimes fascinating (King Crimson, Sex Pistols, etc.) and sometimes disgusting (the Beatles’ famed “Butcher Cover” and the always-tacky Millie Jackson’s work), but whatever you think of the covers, they will certainly serve as reminders of the role that album art plays in crafting the public images of some of our most-remembered musical acts. View the list at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/music/from-the-sex-pistols-to-nicki-minaj-the-album-covers-that-shock/story-fniwj43s-1227032177985

August 21 – 1) In his latest update to his series on album covers that have images that represent the act’s name, Music Times writer Joey DeGroot adds another 11 examples of these very-literal approaches to “branding”. We’re all familiar with the Led Zeppelin I and Big Star examples, but I was less-familiar with the covers shown for Deerhunter, The Locust, Can and others. I was particularly impressed with the covers for the band Acid Witch that feature that group’s attempt to create their own iconic figurehead, ala Iron Maiden’s “Eddie”. Did Iron Maiden ever show us an actual “Iron Maiden” (Eddie was a guy, right)? Read more at http://www.musictimes.com/articles/8903/20140818/11-album-covers-that-represent-the-band-name-led-zeppelin-deerhunter-and-more.htm

2) Just a heads-up for Oasis fans – there’s a new series of limited-edition, artist-signed prints now available from our chums at St. Paul’s Gallery in the UK built around the well-known cover images created by the talented Michael Spencer Jones. Budding Rock ‘n’ Roll Stars can now order one of 195 prints of either/both the front and/or back covers of the band’s 1994 debut record Definitely Maybe priced at £425 (vs. the £495 regular price). Spencer Jones’ photography was featured on many of the band’s album/single releases, so if you’re looking for a great visual memento of the band, check these out at http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=354&numRecordPosition=1

August 20 – 1) No longer can my better half call me a “pack rat” when you see what this nice man has collected – he’s gathered over 1000 copies of The BeatlesWhite Album over the years and now has put them up on display at the FACT loading space on Wood St. during the FACT/Liverpool Int’l Music Festival. The display, titled “We Buy White Albums”, shows off the collection of New York artist Rutherford Chang, who has snapped up copies of the band’s 1968 release – each individually numbered, if you’ll recall, ever since he was 15 years old, and what makes this display unusual in the art world is that he’s looking to BUY more copies from visitors who bring them in during the show’s run (now thru September 14th). Read more on the London-based Artlyst site –http://www.artlyst.com/articles/the-beatles-white-album-sleeve-explored-as-a-blank-canvas

2) In another update to the ongoing celebration of the 45th anniversary of the release of the Fab Four’s Abbey Road record, here’s an interesting story about one Bruce Cameron Clark, who just happens to be one of the hottest crafters of bespoke clothing in London, and his lucky trade made a couple years back with collector/agent Raj Prem. You see, Clark’s creations are very in-demand and, as you might figure, expensive, so Prem offered Bruce an item from his collection – a photo out-take of the now-famous road crossing scene, shot by photographer Iain MacMillan, showing the band crossing back across the street (i.e., towards the studio entrance) – as partial payment for some custom clothing he wanted. While the trade took some time to organize and complete, it now looks as though Mr. Clark will benefit greatly if/when he decides to sell the rare print (one of only 24 known to exist, with the last one auctioned for over $25K). Read more about this interesting transaction in M.L. Nestel’s article posted on the Vocativ site – http://www.vocativ.com/culture/music/abbey-road-album-cover/

August 19 – Back from my trip to the Chicago area and just have to say how impressed I was with my latest trip to the Art Institute there – what an amazing collection! The Magritte exhibit is a must-see – what a mind that man had. The wide range of public art and the Millennium Park “band shell” located next to the museum are just two more examples of the commitment (and contribution) that city has made to the arts – I only wish that I would be able to go back and see the David Bowie exhibit (the one that was organized by the V&A Museum in London and is now travelling) in late September…

With Chicago on my mind, I wanted to point you to a recent article on the Chicago Now site posted by writer Jamie Bernstein in her “Notes From Chicago Music Underground” blog about album covers that have featured Chicago-based scenes. Most of you may be familiar with Wilco’s record that displays a photo of the iconic Marina City towers, but you may not be aware of – or aren’t old enough to remember – covers by Sufjan Stevens, Styx, DJ Rashad or the band named for the city – Chicago. The Foo Fighters upcoming album includes some well-known Chi-Town landmarks in a composite of famous landmarks from around the country as well. Follow the link to see and learn about these and others like them – http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-music-underground/2014/08/8-famous-albums-that-feature-chicago-themed-cover-art/#image/1

August 13 – 1) Fashion and rock music imagery often travel hand in hand, and nowhere is this better-personified than in the photography of Saint Laurent Creative Director Hedi Slimane. His portraits of the very-photogenic Keith Richards, Lou Reed, Christopher Owens, Marilyn Manson and Coutrney Love (among many others) have both been on display in exhibitions and used in campaigns for his creations for nearly 20 years, and so I’d like to let you know that a new exhibition of his black-and-white portraits – titled “Sonic” – has been organized and will be on display beginning September 18 in Paris (just in time for Paris Fashion Week) at the Fondation Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent. A book of photos from the show is now available, as well. The show runs thru next January 11, and the Wall Street Journal‘s William Van Meter’s recent interview with Slimane gives readers a nice intro to the man and his work – http://online.wsj.com/articles/hedi-slimanes-photography-exhibition-documents-rock-legends-1407336986?KEYWORDS=slimane

2) To follow up a posting from earlier this week about the 45th anniversary of the release of the Abbey Road record by The Beatles (which featured that Iain Macmillan photo of the three live band-members and the ghostly barefoot image of the then-dead Paul crossing the road in front of the studio), I wanted to point you to an article that the team at Music Times assembled that details five of the “spoofed” versions of the cover image that were used – to varying degrees of success – by other musical acts since the original record’s release. I thought I’d seen them all, but I was not familiar with the one done the next year by Booker T. & The MGs. You’ll also find examples by Kanye West (whose is, I’m sure, 100X better than the original), the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others –http://www.musictimes.com/articles/8550/20140808/5-abbey-road-knockoff-album-covers-kanye-west-beastie-boys.htm

3) A new “Forever” stamp – the fifth in the Music Icons series – was recently released featuring a very trippy, psychedelic-themed border around a 1970 photo of Ms. Joplin taken by photographer David Gahr (Art Direction by Antonio Alcala). A ceremony used to launch the stamp included a performance by Mary Bridget Davies, the singer who performed as Joplin in Broadway’s “A Night With Janis Joplin”. More info on the stamp is detailed in this article on the EmptyLighthouse site – http://emptylighthouse.com/janis-joplin-featured-limited-edition-forever-stamp-1670608356

4) Singer/songwriter/Joplin friend Johanna Hall penned a nice article in the recent issue of Esquire Magazine titled “Janis Joplin Is Finally Immortal” in response to the release of the new “Forever” stamp featuring her likeness and, while many fans have had that sentiment for over 40 years now, it is a treat to be able to read some of the details of their budding friendship and collaborations. Ms. Hall’s song “Half Moon” – co-written by her ex-husband John Hall, later of the band Orleans – was the B-side for Joplin’s smash hit single “Me And Bobby McGee” and came after a simple request by Janis – You’re a woman, you’re a writer. Write me a song!”. The article can be found via the link –http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/janis-joplin-2014

August 12 – 1) The people have spoken, and the folks that host the annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) have announced the winners of this year’s “Vox Populi” awards in the album cover design/packaging categories. They are:

  1. In the “Album Art” category, the award goes to Nick Keifer for his work on Rick Barry’s Curses, Maledictions and Harsh Reiterations.
  2. In the “Album Packaging” category, the award was shared by Pearl Rachinsky and Corin Raymond on Mr. Raymond’s own Corin Raymond & The Sundowners’ Paper Nickels. Congratulations to all of the winners – keep up the good work. For more details on these and the other winners, head on over to the IMA site at: http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/2014/the-13th-annual-independent-music-awards-vox-pop-winners-announced/

2) On Thursday, August 14th, Elvis fans were given the opportunity to bid on a catalog of six dozen items from The King’s estate during the upcoming “Auction At Graceland” event. Included in the offers were some pretty unusual items – Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage certificate (est. $40-60K), various Graceland-related items (including a cast-iron skillet and a set of blueprints for the home), a piano, a not-yet-shot TV set, Presley’s D-75 Martin guitar, a 1977 Cadillac Seville and a package of collectibles – promo photos and materials, a song list with hand-written notes and a Christmas greeting from Col. Tom and Elvis with the Colonel dressed as Santa – from his December, 1968 TV special.

Cool story – as only Fate would have it, the marriage certificate was from the collection of the County Clerk who had originally sent it out to the couple via the USPS, only to have it come back to the Clerk’s office marked – you guessed it – “Return To Sender” (how cool is that?). Take a look at the auction’s results via the link (requires registration) –http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/28849684_promotional-ephemera-related-to-the-elvis-tv-special

August 11 – It was 45 years ago today….well, at least this month! The folks at UltimateClassicRock.com were kind enough to remind us just how old we are (!!) – and how influential many examples the album cover imagery from 1969 was – via these two stories:

1) Writer Jeff Giles gives us the details behind “the making of” photographer Iain Macmillan‘s memorable photo of The Beatles crossing the street in front of EMI’s Abbey Road studios, with the resulting image used by art director John Kosh on the cover of their Abbey Road album. Since then, this crosswalk has become one of the most-visited spots on any music fan’s tour of London. Read more about it via the link – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-abbey-road-cover-shoot/

2) Writer Corbin Reiff has published the details behind the making of one of the era’s most-controversial cover images, that being Bob Seidemann’s picture of a very young Mariora Goschen in the buff, holding a chrome sculpture of an airplane and freaking out nearly every music retailer looking to sell this supergroup’s debut recording (“but she got a pony for it!”)…Of course, the combination of Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker’s talents on this LP should not be over-looked, either, but the memorable cover artwork is certainly one that tested the limits of what arbiters of taste would accept at the end of the “psychedelic era”. I was fortunate enough to see the mechanicals for this picture on display during the “Who Shot Rock & Roll” exhibition a few years back, but if you’re unfamiliar with the cover’s story, follow the link to this informative article – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/blind-faith-debut/

August 8 – 1) Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of presenting you with an interview I had done with film-maker Eric Christensen, the man behind a fine film about album cover art/artists titled “The Cover Story – Album Art”. That film, as well as his other works for TV and cinema, was another example of Eric’s long history of highlighting the best examples of how Popular Culture is reflected in – and influenced by – the many creative souls that find a place for themselves in either/both the “mainstream” or “the fringes” of the worlds of art and music.

Today, I’d like to let you all know about Eric’s latest film project – a documentary about the career and life of musician and 1950s pop personality Korla Pandit. Some of you might recall some of the early TV performances of this organist, who performed while dancers in strange (to Americans) costumes performed exotic dances in the background, while others will remember his role as the wrap-party organist in Tim Burton’s cult film about a cult film, Ed Wood. Whatever happened to Korla Pandit, and just who was this man? Eric and his production partner John Turner have finished principal production on this film – which featured interviews with musicians (and other performers who were mesmerized by Pandit’s on screen performances) such as Carlos Santana, Booker T. Jones, Chester Smith, writer Ben Fong-Torres and many others – and have just launched a Kickstarter program to raise the remaining $10,000 needed to complete the film, so I hope that you’ll visit their site and consider donating to this inspired effort –https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/897309218/korla

If you’d like to read my interview article with Eric, please click on the following link –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-film-maker-eric-christensen/

Updatethe project was successfully funded, with a total of 74 backers pitching in nearly $11,000 to fund the final production of the film. Looking forward to seeing this film in theaters when it is released!

2) If you’ve always wanted to see what life would be like as a photo-journalist, covering your favorite musical acts, the folks behind the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem, PA have just the program for you! Budding rock photographers who signed up for the Center’s “Photo Pass” program were given instruction and, after completing the basics, a special press pass that allowed them to shoot a performance by rock legends The Moody Blues, along with other headliners including Steely Dan, the Avett Brothers and Weezer, at the MusicFest 2014 event held nearby. This is the latest in a series of events that began last year, letting students cover shows at a cafe and a local blues festival as well as the larger MusicFest concerts. For more information on this, as well as the opportunity to see some of the results of this year’s group of students’ work, please take a look at Express Times‘ writer Dustin School’s article on the LehighValleyLive.com site –http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/musikfest/index.ssf/2014/08/musikfest_2014_photo_pass_program_teaches_students_what_it_means_to_be_a_professional_concert_photog.html

3) It’s exciting to see the work of artists who understand the power of online promotion get rewarded for their extra efforts. An artist based in West Liberty, Iowa named Christopher McMahon always keeps his online portfolios fresh with new work and, as a result of his paintings being appreciated and talked about on various social media sites, one of his paintings (“Mountain Monster”) is now being used on the cover of the ever-popular band Weezer’s upcoming album (due out in late September). Chris’ work features strange creatures and monsters set in idyllic outdoor scenes (think Abominable Snowman in a Christmas card setting) and his sense of humor and style attracted fans around the world, with their postings/repostings/tweets (etc.) bringing the images to the attention of Rivers Cuomo, who tracked Chris down in order to strike a deal to use the work on their new record. He’s now quite the local celebrity, as he’s now featured in this article by Jason Leigois on the Muscatine (IA) Journal’s site –http://muscatinejournal.com/entertainment/music/west-liberty-man-s-art-is-a-monster-hit/article_93848a7b-3647-5325-b611-285c12419daf.html

August 7 – Two items for fans of album cover graphic design:

1) One of the most-memorable images in album cover history – the cover for London Calling by The Clash – is the subject of a new “revival” of an earlier (2010) exhibition featuring the works of artists inspired by the original cover done by Ray Lowry (his design/lettering around Pennie Smith‘s iconic photo). Titled “London Calling 2014” and now on display at The Whitaker Rossendale Museum & Art Gallery in Northwest England (up the M66 from Manchester), the show runs thru September 27th and will include a series of related events including “Vinyl Nights”, hosted by the late Mr. Lowry’s son Sam and featuring a specially-curated playlist of some of Ray’s favorite tunes. Sales from the exhibition – including prints of the extra-cool graphic re-working of the original design – help raise funds for the local INSPIRE substance abuse services program. More on The Whitaker’s site at http://www.thewhitaker.org/events/london-calling-2014/

2) Each August, fans of Afro-Beat music superstar Fela Kuti commemorate his death and life via performances and exhibitions and, this year, African news service This Day Live sought out Kuti’s best-known album cover designer, artist Lemi Ghariokwu, to talk to him about his relationship with Kuti, his long-standing love of both his country’s music (starting at age 11 with exiled singer Miriam Makeba) and the work of graphic artists from all over the world and his career in the music business, having designed thousands (!!) of album covers for both African musicians and pop artists including Mariah Carey, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley. You can read the entire interview on the This Day Live site at http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/lemi-ghariokwu-an-artist-s-chronicles-of-consciousness/185198/

August 6 – 1) Running through the end of August at the Watts Gallery in Compton (Surrey) U.K. was a show built around the career of the now 82-year-old artist Sir Peter Blake, best-known to Beatles fans as the mastermind behind the album cover for the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP. The show covered his work from the 60s thru last year and includes many of his best-known images, including covers for The Who, Band Aid and many more. In late July, Blake toured the show and lead a discussion about his work. The folks from the CCA Gallery, who publish Blake’s works, were also there with an art bus full of prints available for purchase. More on the show and Blake’s visit is detailed in the article by Andre Langlois on the GetSurrey.com site –http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-7543094

2) The team at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery just announced a Beatles-oriented exhibition that launched with a party held there Saturday, August 16 at 7pm. The show, which features 50 images from the gallery’s collection, is timed to commemorate the band’s mid-August kick-off of their 25-concert 1964 American tour at San Francisco’s Cow Palace music venue (trivia fans will recall that their final U.S. performance took place 2 years later, again in SF, at Candlestick Park). Some of the album cover images included in the display include Rubber Soul, Beatles For Sale and the back cover for Abbey Road. A preview of the exhibition is now up on the SFAE web site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400076

August 5 – I admit it – I was wrong (!!). A few days back, you might recall a headline story I’d put up about a film companion to the Paul’s Boutique record released 25 years ago by the Beastie Boys. In that summary, I said that, rather than use the actual music from the record – in order to avoid possible copyright issues – the film’s producers had instead used a re-recording of the music done by a group of DJs. Well, as it turns out, I mis-understood a quote from the interview, which lead me to believe what I’d said. In fact, the film did (bravely) use the actual music from the record, something I would have been able to tell right away had I actually watched the film and read the Summary Presentation about the film’s inspirations and production methodology, spelled out nicely on the producer’s web site at http://www.paulsboutiqueavc.com/

I want to thank the film’s producer/director – Paolo Gilli – for setting the record straight. I hope that you’ll all watch his full-length video, available on the web site – it’s truly a labor of love!

I promise to be a better journalist going forward – thanks for your patience and support. Mike G

August 4 – 1) Several years ago, singer Nicki Minaj‘s publicity team asked the folks at the popular AllHipHop.com site to remove a sexy image of Ms. Minaj as, they thought at the time, it cheapened her image at a time they wanted to keep it clean. Now, with the release of her controversial new Anaconda record cover image, AHH’s owner Chuck Creekmur has issued an open letter to the singer wondering out loud whether the image she’s now developing is counter to what she needs to stay in the public eye, asking her point-blank “Is this the path you want to lead impressionable kids down? Make no mistake about it, you are a leader now”…While it’s always been an integral part of any new music’s marketing campaign, a musical act’s album cover art often becomes the de-facto image associated with that act at that time, so I think that it’s crucial for any act to take ownership of the consequences of this important, artistic decision as well, don’t you? Read more about this letter in this article by Florence Adu-Yeboah posted on the International Business Time’s web site –http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/allhiphops-creekmur-pens-open-letter-nicki-minaj-about-x-rated-album-cover-1458737

2) Revolver Magazine, the online home for lovers of all things loud and soul-shaking, has been posting a weekly selection of album cover images under the title “NFSW: The Most Insane Album Cover Sent To Us This Week…” and, I have to admit, I’m finding the collection of images so far to be mind-boggling in both their artistry and their ability to nearly make you puke (“Perfect!”, cried Mikey Metalhead). This week’s cover is for the upcoming album from “death metal sickos” Obituary for their new record (set for release in October) called Inked In Blood. I just want to know – was the tattoo done before or after…? Follow the link to see this week’s winner and find links to the series archive (don’t say that I didn’t warn you!). http://www.revolvermag.com/news/nsfw-the-most-insane-album-cover-sent-to-us-this-week-728.html