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Album Cover Artist and Art News Summary and Preview for August/September, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER, 2017.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of September, 2017. Since we last spoke, there’s been both a major astronomical event (the 8/21 total solar eclipse) and a major – i.e., catastrophic – meteorological event (Hurricane Harvey) along with a very disturbing display in Virginia of how some folks here in the U.S. just can’t seem to bring themselves to fully share the advantages and opportunities afforded to us here so, when you look at how those events have impacted people in very real ways, I have to ask myself why I’m spending my time reporting on album art/artist-related news versus focusing my efforts on activities that might somehow change/improve the world and the lives of folks just trying to enjoy the little time we’re given here on Earth.

I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t.

I know that art and music can combine to make our lives better in so many ways, and I also know how much I appreciate the talents of the people who work to bring these bits of joy and beauty to us, so in spite of the fact that my writing and reporting will most-probably disappear into the Ether over time, the positive notes and responses I get from my readers continue to provide me with some incentive to continue on in this overall-trivial-but-sometimes-rewarding effort. However, if you want to REALLY do something that will help your fellow man in need in the best possible way, I would invite you to do as I’ve done and click on over to the American Red Cross site, where you can send a donation in support of those most in need right now – https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

I’m hoping that you were able to read the article I posted in mid-August about my visit to the Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution exhibition currently running at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, IL because, as you’ll see below, I’m adding some additional info and photos on the Baron Wolman photo event that took place there recently as well. I also had the chance to tour the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism extravaganza here right before it closed and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing an amazing collection of Stones-related memorabilia and artwork (e.g., comps, alt takes and bits and pieces from “the making of” album covers including Exile On Main Street, Tattoo You and many others – very cool).

This month I also received the exciting news that the ALEX Awards show (named for the Godfather of album packaging and design, the late Alex Steinweiss) – a packaging industry awards show that’s been on hiatus for a number of years now – is being resurrected and will become part of a new show/symposium dedicated to all things vinyl record called “Making Vinyl” set for early November (Nov. 6-7) at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, MI. Album cover creators will have the chance to submit examples of their recent work to a panel of esteemed judges (including well-respected designers and other music industry notables such as Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Stefan Bucher, Gail Marowitz, Sean Mosher Smith, Sylvia Reed and Julian Alexander) for their review beginning September 1st and I’ll be posting more information very soon, so keep your eyes peeled…Online submission forms can be found at http://makingvinyl.com/alex-awards/

With regards to my book project, I am happy to be able to report that I have been able to gather some great new content from several new sources, including the highly-lauded design and writing team of Spencer Drate and Juditz Salavetz and a guy responsible for creating the what many consider to be “the templates” for in-your-face rap music album cover art, Shawn Brauch of Pen & Pixel fame. Of course, this only means that the project is getting even bigger/more time-consuming, so I’ll just leave it at that for now and will let you all know when things move forward on the design/publishing front…

For now, I’m just happy to be able to deliver the details of what’s going on in the lives and careers of the designers, artists, photographers and others who continue to produce great visuals for clients in the music business along with previews of what’s going to be on display and available for sale at your favorite gallery or museum next month. In the summary and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts of your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in the daily news cycle, featuring fascinating and interesting stories on a wide range of related topics.

As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

a)Earlier in August, I had the chance to tour the “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution” event at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, IL, with my full coverage (loaded with photos) posted on the ACHOF site at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/achof-exhibition-tour-bill-graham-and-the-rock-roll-revolution/  As part of the ongoing series of events and other activities that the museum is putting on in support of their show, on Thursday, August 17th, they staged a special event that, as both a fan of rock and roll photography and a regular reader of Rolling Stone Magazine over the past 50 years (!!), was truly a special opportunity and something I just had to attend – a presentation by Baron Wolman, the magazine’s first photographer and a man who has captured scores of photos that have helped illustrate Rock’s “golden ages”.

The evening’s opening discussion was lead by Jason Marck, a local radio personality, who provided the photographer’s introduction and an occasional question during Wolman’s hour-long slide presentation. Even though Baron was suffering a bit from a sore throat caused by the after-effects of recent throat surgery, it did little to curb his enthusiasm to share some of the stories behind a nice selection of his best-known photographs and more info on his own personal story, including his early career as a photographer in the military (BTW, the first photo he sold was of the Berlin Wall while stationed in Germany) and, after returning to the States and landing in the San Francisco Bay area, his introductions to both Jann Wenner at the fledgling Rolling Stone publication and rock impresario Bill Graham, the man who provided Wolman with nearly un-fettered access to his venues and the acts that played there (including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Bob Dylan & The Band, Santana and, of course, the Grateful Dead).

With influences including the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, it was Wolman’s own keen eye and keen interest in all of the goings on behind the scenes of the events and personalities he covered (his fascination with 1960s-era “groupies” was shared later in a critically-acclaimed photo book of his on the subject) that keeps music/art fans yearning to add selections from Wolman’s fine art print portfolio to their own collections. There were number of those fans in the audience that night, and they streamed out after the final Q&A session to both meet the photographer at the book-signing table and, perhaps, grab a photo or two with their hero. The museum was offering those in attendance the opportunity to take home, as a bonus for joining/extending their memberships, a specially-created book featuring items from the Graham exhibition and I’m quite certain that a number of those books went home with their new owners featuring the signature of the man of the hour, the talented Mr. Wolman.

Just as a reminder, the Bill Graham exhibition is on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum through November 12th, with more information available via the link – https://www.ilholocaustmuseum.org/billgraham/

b) Are YOU Experienced? Until you’ve seen the trippy photos taken by Karl Ferris for the cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experience record by that name up close and personal, you can’t really say that you are. Remember friends, this was way before computer-aided design and graphics, so in order to achieve the psychedelic final image, analog tools – fish eye lenses, infra-red film, etc. – had to be masterfully employed and, as you were able to see at two recent shows at the Morrison Hotel Galleries in NYC and Los Angeles (8/23 in NYC, 8/24 in LA), those now-50-year-old pix still grab you and blow your mind.

Karl also shot the photos used on the covers for two more Hendrix records – AXIS: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland (replacing the image found on the UK version that Jimi really despised) and Hendrix once told Karl that he did with his camera what Jimi tried to do with his guitar, so how’s that for evidence of a good client relationship?

The photos featured in the Karl Ferris Psychedelic Experience were part of a larger show celebrating 50 years of mind-expanding imagery, including fine art works by Gered Mankowitz, Amalie Rothschild, Henry Diltz and several others –
https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/5BfROu/Celebrating-iARE-YOU-EXPERIENCEDi

I also found a 2nd article, on Art Daily site, that gives readers a bit more of the background of these shows – http://artdaily.com/news/98318/Morrison-Hotel-Gallery-celebrates-the-era-of-psychedelia-with-an-exhibition-and-sale

The full show is up in the NYC gallery through September 6th, so if you’re in the area and have some ‘shrooms handy, experience the whole thing before it disappears in a puff of pink smoke…

c) Also on display from now through September 7th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles is a 30th anniversary exhibition of images taken by photographer Chris Cuffaro – well-known to album cover fans for his contributions to the packaging of records by acts including Bad English, Suicidal Tendencies, Bush, Nick Cave and many others – taken during the making of a music video for a single by a band called Martini Ranch that was directed by the not-yet-quite-so-popular film-maker James Cameron.

Martini Ranch was a short-lived, semi-serious side project built around the talents of several musicians (including some members of bands such as DEVO, Frank Zappa’s band and film composer Mark Isham), and some people from the movie business, including the late actor Bill Paxton, who’d go on to star in a number of popular films. They released one album – 1988’s Holy Cow, which featured quirky cover art by the acclaimed artist Lou Beach – and to make the video for the song “Reach”, the group brought in a bunch of friendlies from the music and film world, including Judge Reinhold, Paul Reiser and Cameron’s soon-to-be-wife, fellow director Kathryn Bigelow.

Given free rein to shoot the entire cast and crew while this video was being made, you’ll get to see a lot of people having a lot of fun for two days out at the Veluzat Motion Picture Ranch in Saugus, California.
https://www.mrmusichead.com/events/2017/8/30/chris-cuffaro-greatest-hits-martini-ranch

d) With the voting for this year’s Best Art Vinyl Awards almost upon us (beginning in November, with the winners announced next January), in anticipation of the presentation of this year’s nominees and subsequent voting, the folks behind this annual event will be staging presentations of recent winners and nominees in three locations in Europe (is the U.K. still “Europe” – please explain) all starting with the letter “B” – Barnsley (UK), Bologna (Italy) and Budapest (Hungary) later this year. Best Art Vinyl: 12 Years on 12 Inches will put the works of many talented album cover artists on display, including last year’s winner – illustrator/designer Matthew Cooper’s cover for The Last Shadow Puppets’ long-awaited 2nd album Everything You’ve Come to Expect.
The writers at Digital Arts Online provide us with a preview of the upcoming displays and voting –
http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/illustration/best-album-art-2017-nominees-past-winners-of-best-art-vinyl-awards-be-exhibited/

e) Now on display at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly, the EMP) in Seattle is a photo exhibition of 65 images selected by British shooter Mick Rock from the over 5000 he took of David Bowie from March 1972 to November of 1973 as he morphed into his Ziggy Stardust personality and helped establish the bona fides of the “glam rock” movement. Gillian G. Gaar’s coverage of the show, as featured in Goldmine Magazinehttp://www.goldminemag.com/articles/photographer-mick-rock-exhibits-bowie – provides us with a good intro to this long-lasting relationship between rock star and his friend/artist Rock, with more info on the details of the show available on the MOPOP site at https://www.mopop.org/exhibits/current-exhibits/bowie-by-mick-rock/
Later on in this summary, in Section 5, you’ll also find a related article about the premiere of the documentary film about Rock…

f) Genesis Publication’s Genesis House Gallery will be hosting a very special reception on September 9th featuring famed Beatles designer/bassist Klaus Voorman as they honor the release of his brand new collage created to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band’s seminal record, Revolver.
According to the gallery’s press release, “We will have an installation of Klaus’s latest work, the Revolver 50 collage series, alongside his earlier Hamburg Days prints and other artworks. The occasion also marks 50 years since Klaus won the Grammy Award for the Revolver album design, so we will be joined by some special guests to celebrate this achievement, and hope you will be able to join us.” I’d love to, of course, but there’s some water in the way…
http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-the-collage-series-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm?

g) Now I know that I’m getting old – 40 years, really? Yes, friends, it’s been 40 years since we first had our terminals fizzed by Manchester-area punkers The Buzzcocks and our eyes burned to cinders by Malcolm Garrett’s subversive designs for the band (remember the cover for the single “Orgasm Addict” with the iron-headed reclining nude?). Garrett went on to design memorable covers for musical acts including Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, Duran Duran and many others, and has shared his love of design with clients (via his in-demand agency, IMAGES & Co.) and students of design via his participation in industry events, showcases and committees such as the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Committee, the Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) Executive Committee, the i-Design interactive media conference held at the London Design Festival and as co-curator of the annual Design Manchester festival.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of the first designs for the influential band, Garrett will be leading a presentation/discussion at this year’s Design Manchester event, described here on the festival’s web site – http://designmcr.com/events/fizzing-at-the-terminals-malcolm-garretts-buzzcocks-designs-1977-2017 and, if you’re in the area, something I’d invite you to sign up for…

What really makes me wonder is that you can buy t-shirt with these early and then-controversial designs at Wal-Mart now…OMG!

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) While artist Sir Peter Blake, one of the UK’s best-known talents, might be most-recognized for his work on the cover for what’s often considered one of the best album covers ever created – the collage found on the package for 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles – it doesn’t take a lot of work to see that that cover was just one of a huge portfolio of images he’s created over the 85 years he’s been on the planet. His paintings and other works have long been considered amongst the very best in the fine art world but, as you’ll see in this nicely-written profile by Abigail Cain found recently on the Artsy.com site, interviews and conversations about and with the artist inevitably hearken back to his work for The Beatles.
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-beatles-helped-british-artist-perfect-work-pop-art

Today’s young artists have, fortunately, taken the time to look at and learn from Blake’s long list of important works of art, so he seems content to know that he’ll be remembered not just for the work that he and his team (artist Jann Haworth and photographer Michael Cooper) were given the amazingly meager sum of £200 (not including flowers and wax/cutout figures) to create…

b) Writing for VICE, Clara Mokri interviews photographer Brad Elterman as he looks back on his career as a young rock photographer via the discovery and purchase (thanks, eBay!) of a trove of long-lost photos taken early on in his career. Parlaying the sale of his candid shots of David Bowie to Creem Magazine back in the early 1970s into a career that’s brought us scores of great photos of rockers such as Joan Jett, Peter Frampton, Talking Heads, KISS, The Who (and shots that have been included in packages for AC/DC. Alice Cooper and the Eagles) and others, Brad shares the story about how his archive was lost-then-found and the emotions he feels taking a long look at his work all these years later.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/zmepp8/this-teen-took-candid-photos-of-the-70s-biggest-rock-stars

c) You all know Ron Pownall’s work – covers for albums by Ted Nugent, Boston, Aerosmith, Molly Hatchet and dozens more – but how often do you get a chance to take a tour through an accomplished photographer’s studio? Luckily, reporter Emily Cassell was able to snag such a tour, sharing it with us on the Scout Somerville (MA) website – http://scoutsomerville.com/ron-pownall/

Beginning his photo career as a young shooter for the Chicago Tribune newspaper in the late 1960s, he went from covering protests of the Vietnam War to concert events at local venues and, when he relocated from the Windy City to Boston in the early 1970s, his abilities brought him assignments to document the visits of bands including Boston, Queen and others and it was “off to the races”…

d) On NZ’s Stuff Entertainment site, Mike Alexander delivers a profile of Barry Beswick and his Indium Design company, perhaps best-known for his dozens of covers (the last 37 of them, as a matter of fact) created for the seemingly-never-ending series of top hits packages known as “Now That’s What I Call Music.”
https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/95241857/now-thats-what-i-call-album-artwork
Now, that’s what you call a GREAT commission!

e) Parlaying his love of music – exemplified by his collection of bootleg recordings – and his desire to improve the visuals usually associated with those illicit products into a career as an illustrator for the Trademark of Quality label and then, later on for legit label Rhino Records (where he designed their mascot/logo), cartoonist William Stout would then go on to greater fame as a designer of movie posters, film and TV productions and, more recently, a series of music-related books/graphic novels.
And he had me at Little Annie Fanny
Fans should take the time to read Joshua Stone’s profile of the prolific and talented illustrator in a recent issue of Bleeding Coolhttps://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/07/22/william-stout-career-envy/

f) As he’s going to be a speaker at the upcoming 2017 AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, MN (October 12-14), the folks behind the event have just posted an interview with artist Michael Cina, someone who is no stranger to us album art fans as he’s credited with dozens of designs for Pop, Rock and Electronic acts including Jacaszek, Matrixxman, Shigeto, Arthur Beatrice and many others – http://designconference.aiga.org/#!/article/michael-cina-discusses-his-career-journey

As both a freelancer and, since 2010, the principal at Cina Associates, Michael has done work – design, art direction, typography and web work – for a who’s who of happy clients including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Disney, Fox Sports, RedBull and many others.

Looking through the list of speakers lined up for this conference, I also wanted you to know that two other well-regarded album art designers – Pentagram’s Paula Scher and Draplin Design Co’s Aaron Draplin (go, Portland!) – will be on hand to share their innermost thoughts and feelings about design with an audience thirsting for their knowledge…

3) Sales/Auctions –

Nothing exciting to report at this point….

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

a) Rock N Roll Cultural Historian and Fandom Expert Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike (@JenOtterBickerd) has a new book out (September 1st in the UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Vinyl-Matters-Manifesto-Musicians/dp/185149863X) that looks to be required reading for anyone who is a lover of recorded music delivered on vinyl records (an ever-growing population of you, it seems!) and it includes, as I’ve heard from Jen, a fair amount of content that should be of interest specifically to us album art fans as well.

The book’s titled Why Vinyl Matters: A Manifesto From Musicians and Fans and, according to the accompanying press info, it is “a bold declaration of love for pre-digital music technology – part history, part future forecasting, part nostalgia and all celebration. A collection of more than 25 interviews, all illustrated with photos, sidebars, quotes, album covers, outtakes and much more” and includes discussions with musicians Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Henry Rollins (Black Flag and his own band), Mike Ness (Social Distortion), Steve Hackett (Genesis) and many others, along with several with top album cover designers including Peter Saville, Steve Park and Alison Fielding.

An academic, writer and historian now based in the U.K. and who has written several other books on the topics of music and Pop Culture (Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture (2016), The Secular Religion of Fandom: Pop Culture Pilgrim (2015) and 2014’s Fandom, Image and Authenticity (Pop Music, Culture and Identity), Jennifer “remains enthralled by vinyl, and has embarked on a journey to share her passion – and the passion of like-minded stars – with the world.”

Bonus Content – I asked Jen if she’d be willing to share some quotes from the album cover artists with me (and you) and she was kind enough to provide the following:
“I have Peter Saville and Steve Park. Peter has done TONS AND TONS of covers and Steve is most famous for Prince’s Graffiti Bridge (he was Prince’s creative director for years, and a super cool dude too)! Oh, and Alison Fielding, who does all of the creative for Beggars Banquet! “

Just as a teaser, here’s a quote she sent from her interview with Peter Saville – “There is no problem associated with a record cover other than the principle artist liking it. It doesn’t matter: what is on a record cover does not matter. Unlike any other form of packaging or communication. Nobody has NOT bought a record they wanted because they did not like the cover. They may sometimes be influenced to buy a record that they are indecisive about because they like the cover. But if there is a song, a track – something you like – you have never not bought it because of the cover. So, therefore, it does not really matter. But one thing does matter. The principle artist. Because if Bryan, Brett, Madonna, George is not happy – then the release is delayed. And it has got to happen quickly. It is always late. It is always left to the last minute; there are always last minute changes… It always goes to the wire. And at the 11th hour, management, record companies, cave in and say, ‘You know, we don’t fucking care. Just get it approved.’ And the person it has to be approved by is the principle ego. That is how it works.”

b) Back in June/July, I told you about a show featuring photographer Markus Klinko’s beautiful shots of the late David Bowie (“Bowie Unseen”, on display as part of the HeadOn Photo Festival in Sydney, Australia), but I’m now happy to report that those of us stranded here in the U.S. now have a place to find (and buy) many of the same photos featured in that exhibition – Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX. If you follow the link – https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/markus-klinko-photographer – you’ll get a chance to see what’s available, including Klinko’s cover shots for Heathen – the record where Bowie works with Klinko to craft a photo where the subject (Bowie) is quite obviously blind.

c) Going back a bit – i.e., to the beginning – of Mr. Bowie’s career, you’ll learn that it was Gerald Fearnley, brother of Dek Fearnley (one of Bowie’s bandmates at the time), who shot the cover photo used for Bowie’s debut album in 1967 (David Bowie). Digging into that archive, Mr. Fearnley has now put together a new book of those photos also titled Bowie Unseen (?), published by ACC Editions – https://www.accpublishinggroup.com/uk/store/pv/9781851498642/bowie-unseen/gerald-fearnley/

After capturing the eye of the folks at CNN Style, you can now see a bit more about this new book and what’s included – http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/31/arts/unseen-david-bowie-portraits/index.html

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Flying saucer-leaning music lovers will have a lot to celebrate soon when, on Friday, September 29th, a very special 40th anniversary vinyl picture disc package (featuring Kosh’s original artwork) of ELO’s 2-LP set Out of The Blue is being released by Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings. Two LPs = four different designs, and, for the approx. $35 they’ll pay, customers will also receive the music in digital download form – https://www.legacyrecordings.com/2017/07/27/legacy-recordings-release-first-time-ever-picture-disc-edition-elos-blue/

Pre-orders now being accepted – https://store-us.jefflynneselo.com/products/out-of-the-blue-picture-disc-2lp

Believe me now, sweet is the night – even if I’m standing in the rain in the summer and lightning – that this package arrives on my doorstep…

b) Later on in this month’s summary, you’ll read my rant about “best of/worst of” lists (I don’t particularly like them) but, from time to time, someone will come up with a novel take on the topic and, although it disturbs me to my very core, I’ll pass it on to you, my readers. Recently, Dan Caffrey and the staffers of the Consequence of Sound site put their heads together to come up with a somewhat different approach to a “Top 50” listing – the 50 “most outrageous” album covers ever made –
https://consequenceofsound.net/2017/07/the-50-most-outrageous-album-covers/

According to the article, rather than focusing on the good or the bad, the writers “simplified the criteria: It should be something that makes you scratch your head and say, ‘Huh?’” The article also begins with a warning – “Some of these you won’t be able to ‘unsee,’ so proceed with caution” and, after paging through several of them (starting off with Queen’s disturbing cover for The Miracle in which the band members’ faces are grafted together to make one quite-large head), it’s probably a warning well-heeded (although some of the selections are merely from the psychedelic era and, therefore, just images you can trip on)…

c) Lots of Bowie and Mick Rock this issue, no? Take an interesting and iconoclastic photographer/partier and introduce him to several rock & rollers eager to test out their new-found fame and wealth (and mix in examples of said photographer’s famous imagery and voila!, you have the beginnings of an interesting documentary film. Now available for viewing is the new Mick Rock bio-pic – Shot! – and The Guardian (UK)’s film reviewer Leslie Felperin provides us with a first look at it – https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/21/shot-the-psycho-spiritual-mantra-of-rock-review-mick-rock-photography

d) I’m very happy to have been able to tour through Takashi Murakami’s latest show (The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, on now through September 24th at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago) because, while I might not be Kanye’s biggest fan, I do appreciate his selection of Murakami as his album cover artist back in 2008 for his Graduation record and it was fun to see the original cover art included in the show.

In a recent posting on the Uproxx.com site, reporter Corbin Reiff shared a scoop that hints at the possibility that another Kanye friend/collaborator – Kid Kudi – might be looking for a Murakami-designed cover for his new project.
love fest – http://uproxx.com/realtalk/kanye-west-graduation-bear-kid-cudi-japan-new-album-speculation/

e) Any serious student of the album cover arts knows and appreciates the impact that the team from the Hipgnosis design studio has had since they began applying their talents to packages for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Black Sabbath and scores of others since the late 1960s. And while I might not be so willing as to declare all great album art as either being “before Hipgnosis” or “after Hipgnosis” (let’s see – Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, Disraeli Gears, Are You Experienced?, etc. all came before…) as writer Nick DeRiso has stated in an article called “32 Weird Facts About Hipgnosis’ Most Famous Rock Album Covers,” I do want to reward the guy for doing a bit of research and then presenting these fun facts in a highly-entertaining fashion. Did YOU know that the cover for Pink Floyd’s Saucer Full of Secrets was made with 13 layers of imagery (pre-Photoshop, mind you) and that this cover project was only the second time in EMI’s history that they allowed the work to be contributed by an outside agency (the first being Peter Blake’s work for the aforementioned Sgt. Pepper’s cover)? Well, neither did I – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/hipgnosis-album-covers/

f) Haters gotta hate hate hate – While some of us worry that album cover design is often over-looked and under-appreciated in today’s fast-paced, digitally-distributed world, when you’re a mega-star like Taylor Swift and you tease your fanbase with album art for your upcoming release (titled Reputation) that reminds some people of that decoupage project you did at Summer Camp in 7th grade, you have to expect that some folks aren’t going to respond positively (as detailed recently in Brian Koerber’s article on the Mashable site) – http://mashable.com/2017/08/23/taylor-swift-album-cover-graphic-design/
Perhaps she should call up her buddy Kanye and get a meeting with Murakami?

g) With the national pastime for “connected” folks seemingly now being freely telling the world just how much you hate someone/something, it only makes sense that some writers feel that it is their duty to share their until-now-repressed feelings with their readership, so why not highlight what are, according to reporter Joseph Earp on the Tonedeaf.com site, the “worst album covers of all time”?

Why do people do these articles? While no one was killed in the making of these images, it seems as though they did upset his little tummy.
http://tonedeaf.com.au/7-worst-album-covers-of-all-time/

Stop with the “worst of all time” lists, everyone, OK?

Bonus – With Pen & Pixel’s design for Big Bear’s Doin’ Thangs leading the list (with the author commenting “it is without a doubt one of the most hideous things I have seen in the last few years”), I felt that I should get designer Shawn Brauch’s take on this award. Based on his reply, this is obviously not the first time he’s been dissed by the press but, like any controversial artist, he takes it in stride – “Mike – Oh that one is RICH! LOL! Got to love the artwork, even when it’s criticized, they still love to hate it. The great thing is, when the ‘critics’ start to take a long detailed look at the craftsmanship…they always applaud that aspect…what more can we say? LOL! I’ve read past posts about have God-awful the artwork was, in the same sentence touting the number of records sold with the same artwork…like there is no correlation between the two. I’m laughing my A** off!”

That’s all for now – be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.

All text and images included in this article are Copyright 2017 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.

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Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

It’s early December 2015 and, here in the Pacific NW, we’ve already been treated to the first blasts of Winter air – great skiing on Mt. Hood and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather – with the last bits of Fall’s colors reminding us why we moved here. The craziness we all seem to suffer from at the end of the year has done nothing to stunt the flow of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed including many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and the first “best and worst” lists adding to the endless source of joy and inspiration found in our news feeds, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including art directors Gary Burden, John Van Hamersveld, Kosh, Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) and Tupac’s designer Riskie; photographers Dan Corrigan, Dave Drebin and Brian Cooke, as well as artist/illustrator Tommie Phillips (AKA “Tommie Molecule”).

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

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

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

As it typically the case, I don’t have the time/space to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

One final noteWe’ve just completed this year’s annual nominating/final voting polls for the ACHOF and, as part of that effort, I’ve added  several new biographies to the Artist Bios section on the ACHOF site during the month. You’ll now find the list of this year’s inductees on the ACHOF via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2015-inductee-intro-page/ – where I’m sure you’ll find some of your favorite album art producers added to our growing list of honorees.

With all of the year-end distractions now upon us , I’m doing my part to help you in your efforts to catch up on recent news you may have missed but,  as I repeat (incessantly, I know) every month, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics – it’s my Holiday gift to you!  You can be sure that I’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates). Enjoy your Holidays!

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

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

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

Congratulations, James – nice work!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Album Cover News Recap for October, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – 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

Album Cover News Recap – May 2014

Album Cover News Recap – May, 2014

Spring brought us the blooming of flowers, correspondingly, a lot of album cover-related talent emerged from their winter slumber to bring fans a lot of visual stimuli as well with regards new exhibitions, interviews and designs for classic and emerging musical acts. Highlights of this past month’s coverage include information on these shows (both in the U.S. and overseas), interviews with both a Grammy Award-winning designer (Kosh) and young designers now making names for themselves in the field, several new books and fine art print editions of rock and album cover photography, a new Featured Fan Collection and notes on the passing of some great artists, as well. As we always like to say (and show you), there’s always something new to see in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site

May 30 – 1) If you’re feeling creative and in need of a project – artist Richard Evans (who created a number of great covers himself for clients including the Beach Boys, Van Morrison, The Kinks and The Who), on the web site for his excellent book The Art of the Album Cover, has been kind enough to provide us with a number of templates we can download and use to create our own album cover masterpieces (for both CDs and LPs). Grab your pens, pencils, crayons, paints, cameras and computers and get cracking – there’s a future for you as an album cover designer!
http://www.theartofthealbumcover.com/Templates.html

2) After reviewing over 400 entries in this year’s design competition, the St. Louis chapter of the AIGA organization selected 30 winners and, for their work on the colorful packaging for the band Popular Mechanics’ record titled Anti-Glacial, honored the design firm Husbandmen for their work. I’m very impressed with all aspects of this package – particularly the multi-colored CD. More on this on the Riverfront Times site in an article by Allison Babka –http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/rftmusic/2014/05/regional_design_organization_lauds_popular_mechanics_album_art.php

3) To note the passing of artist H.R. Giger earlier in the month, the folks on the DeviantArt site have put together a career retrospective with loads of excellent examples of the late artist’s work and, quite interestingly, many submissions of Giger-influenced art created by others in the DeviantArt community. If you’re a fan at all of Giger’s fantastic work, you’ll really enjoy a visit to this tribute – http://techgnotic.deviantart.com/journal/A-Tribute-to-Hans-Ruedi-Giger-455363395

May 28 – When you have so much talent in one area, it only makes sense to exhibit it in all its glory! Fans of music-related graphics will surely enjoy the new “Paper Covers Rock” show on display at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens, GA from now until July 26th. In it, you’ll find an impressive collection of 1975-1985-era album covers, posters and other promotional images for local talent including R.E.M.,The B-52’s, Pylon, Love Tractor and many others. The show was curated by Atlanta-area artist Sean Bourne, and you can read more about it in Barbette Houser’s article on the Flagpole site –http://flagpole.com/blogs/culture-briefs/posts/paper-covers-rock-covers-graphic-arts-of-athens-bands-from-75-85

May 27 – Album cover talent is available from sources all over the world – here’s an interview with Czech artist Mila Fustova in which she discusses her work on the cover for Coldplay‘s most-recent album titled Ghost Stories. It’s a story of international love, happenstance and intrigue (OK, just trying to give it some spice), but it is fascinating how a musical act finds the talent for its album cover imagery – click on over to this story by Ian Willoughby on the Radio Prague web site – http://radio.cz/en/section/one-on-one/inspiration-worked-both-ways-says-artist-mila-fuerstova-of-close-collaboration-with-coldplay

May 26 – Now, here’s a tour I want to take!
Imagine being on a Beatles-oriented walking tour in Liverpool and coming upon one of the band’s “inner sanctum” friends – bassist and album cover designer (Revolver, for example) Klaus Voorman – while he’s out for a stroll! From the photos, the very-talented Mr. Voorman looks to be in excellent health and spirits – here’s an article on the chance encounter by Steve Marinucci of the Beatles Examiner site – http://www.examiner.com/article/liverpool-tour-guide-bumps-into-longtime-beatles-friend

May 23 – 1) The weekend beginning May 23 was a holiday in both the US and the UK, so if you found yourself in South Wales anywhere near the Oystermouth Castle, you’d have had a chance to meet one of the giants in album cover design, Sir Peter Blake, who was on hand during the “Mumbles Marvellous Weekend” celebration there. Sir Peter’s “greatest hit” is the inimitable cover for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album, and he was there on Saturday for a live interview with author Jeff Towns. More info on this via the link to Nino Williams’ article on the South Wales Evening Post site – http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Art-legend-festival/story-20971260-detail/story.html

2) CBS News reporter Jim Axelrod recently posted a video feature on the prolific NYC-based photographer Jim Cummins, whose works are finally being cataloged and will be available as fine art prints soon. Cummins’ photos have been featured on nearly 1000 album packages, including records for Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Wilson Pickett and Sam & Dave. It’s a nice way to spend 2 minutes – http://www.cbsnews.com/news/photographer-remasters-iconic-album-cover-art/

3) Mr. Cummins is one of the many new bios you’ll find on the ACHOF site which, as you’ll see, is being updated every day with new material. Interesting tidbit – One of the most-recent additions to the bio are is designer Neville Brody, and I was fascinated with some of the details about his long list of accomplishments. For example, Brody and his team were chosen to be the designers of the standard type font for The Times (of London) newspaper, replacing the 75-year-old standard – Times Roman – in 2006 with Times New Roman. As you can see, the talent that has worked on album covers is truly impressive! More bios are available at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-featured-artists-main-page/

May 22 – 1) In another example of why it is important to have strong visuals to go along with the music, the folks that curate the “Woodstock” brand recently appointed two new companies – Perryscope and Epic Rights – as their agents and launched a new web store to sell apparel and accessory items bearing well-known Woodstock graphics. They have a very nice selection of items – I particularly like the tie-dye poster I saw there –http://store.woodstock.com/

2) I’m happy to report that the people behind the Secret 7″ record art-based fund raiser have announced that, with over 700 artists participating this year, they were able to raise £41,500 (almost $70K) for War Child, taking the total raised for the charity by the program over the last three years to £105,000 ($180K). Read more about this fine effort in writer Chris Cooke’s article on the CMU web site – http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/secret-7-confirms-41500-raised-for-war-child-via-this-years-programme/

May 21 – 1) To follow-up my headline from the previous day concerning artist Ken Kelly‘s appearance at the Pop Culture Expo Memorial Day weekend, here’s a link to an article on the Blabbermouth.net site on his newest KISS-related work – Ace Frehley has commissioned Mr. Kelly to create the album cover artwork for his newest release (coming out June 24) titled Space Invader. Fans of classic sci-fi art will surely appreciate this new work –http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ace-frehley-enlists-kiss-destroyer-cover-artist-ken-kelly-for-space-invader/

2) A new exhibition at the Original Art Shop in Lancashire, U.K. features the work of graffiti artist “Temper” and his re-makes of classic album covers, now featuring some of his own characters integrated into cover scenes we all know and love. I was particularly impressed with his version of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust LP, but also enjoyed his takes on covers from Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Oasis and many others. I’d like to find out a bit more about this series and will report back to you all with any updates. In the meantime, take a look –http://www.originalartshop.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=179

May 20 – 1) If you were in the Boston area this past Memorial Day weekend, I hope that you had a chance to spend some time at Gary Sohmers’ Pop Culture Expo at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. Two rock imagery makers of note were on hand – a) Ken Kelly, the artist responsible for the Destroyer album cover for KISS (as well as great illustrations for Conan, Vampirella and many other graphic novels), and b) photographer Roger Farrington, the man who documented “the making of” John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s record Double Fantasy. He was there signing copies of his new book titled Starting Over: The Making Of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy…Lots more to see, details are available via the link –http://www.popcultureexpo.com/collections/artists-and-authors

2) Was doing some album cover research (as I always seem to be doing!) and saw something that caught my eye that I hadn’t seen before, so I wanted to share it with y’all – a few years back, a Vancouver, BC-based company called GGRP Sound came out with a really innovative way to promote their services – a record packed inside a cardboard cover that turned into a working record player (yes, really!). It was a phenomenally successful promotional mailing with, I’m told, a 90% response rate (yes, really!). Take a look at the coverage (which, incidentally, won a number of prestigious advertising and marketing awards). They say that album covers are an important part of promoting records – this is about as integrated a promotion as I’ve ever seen! http://www.coolthings.com/ggrp-sound-folding-cardboard-phonograph/

May 19 – In advance of the voting later this year for the ACHOF Class of 2014, I’ve been regularly adding new bios to the site. Coincidentally, last week I added designer/photographer Brian Cannon‘s bio and just saw (and wanted to pass along) this nice article on the U.K.’s Longridge News site about his work on the now-20-year-old LP, Definitely Maybe, by Oasis. Cannon teamed up with photographer Michael Spencer-Jones on the imagery for the remastered, reissued version of the classic 90’s album and shares some of his experience in this interview – http://www.longridgenews.co.uk/what-s-on/music/the-best-lp-of-the-90s-maybe-an-iconic-cover-definitely-1-6619127

May 16 – 1) The folks at Julien’s Auction House in LA put together quite the assemblage of music memorabilia for their “Music Icons 2014” auction the weekend of May 16th. Included in the mix were two album cover artwork mock-ups for records by The Beatles, including one for Beatles ’65 and one for the Beatles Story (both with $1-2K auction estimates). In addition, there are a number of signed record sleeves – Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Beatles and others and, if you were looking to both do something charitable AND put something shiny in your garage, you could have bid on Lady Gaga’s shiny red Rolls Royce, which she donated to raise funds for the MusiCares Foundation (it sold for $125,000!). More info at http://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2014/music-icons/index.html

2) Now, this is an art program I can really appreciate! On the “Album Covers For Kids” Tumblr site, you can view re-creations of classic album art done by kids with crayons. My favorites so far include Peter Gabriel’s So, Yellow Submarine by The Beatles (always appreciated the child-like art of the original) and a very well-done Brian Wilson Smile cover. You can also submit your own kids’ efforts, so I’m sure that we’ll see more great work going forward –http://albumcoversbykids.tumblr.com/

May 15 – 1) Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will be re-issuing his 2010 photo-filled autobiography Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page in a new, more-affordable format via Genesis Publishing. Originally published as a limited-edition collectible, the new 512-page version (priced at $60) still features hundreds of photos of Page – taken by himself and other photographers including Jim Marshall, Pennie Smith, Ross Halfin, Gered Mankowitz and others – chronicles the musician’s entire career. More info on this is available in Ross Trakin’s article on the Billboard web site at –http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6084587/jimmy-page-to-re-release-photographic-autobiography

2) Blondie guitarist Chris Stein has also had a successful career as a photographer, so fans in the NYC area will be happy to note that, from now until June 24, there’s an exhibition of his photos – titled “Blondie 4(0) Ever” on display at the Morrison Hotel gallery. Stein began to follow his passion for photography while he was a student at NY’s School of Visual Arts in the late 1960s, so his photos of the burgeoning downtown music scene are a must-see for fans of the era. Read more in writer Peter Aaron’s article about the show on the Chronogram.com site –http://www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/blogs/Post?basename=photo-show-by-woodstocks-chris-stein-now-open&day=15&id=DailyDose&month=05&year=2014

May 14 – Two “making of” interviews – one for the latest tribute to Dio, the other on a Weezer classic:

1) Artist Marc Sasso has painted a wonderful “who’s who” in metal music cover for the tribute package titled This Is Your Life. The proceeds from the tribute CD go to benefit the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, which was founded by Dio’s wife Wendy after the singer’s passing to stomach cancer in 2010. Read more about how this image was crafted in this article on the BlabberMouth site at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/dio-cover-artist-discusses-this-is-your-life-cover-artwork/

2) Writer Ryan J. posted a nice interview on the “Smoking Section” blog with Geffen Record A&R rep Todd Sullivan, Art Director Michael Golob and Weezer band historian Karl Koch on the collaborative effort that led to the creation of the album cover for the band’s 1994 debut record Undone. This year marks the record’s 20th anniversary (!!), so it’s a good opportunity to get the real story behind this memorable cover.  http://smokingsection.uproxx.com/TSS/2014/05/weezer-the-blue-album-cover-story-interview#page/1

May 13 – Important passings in the last few days –

1) Best-known for his impactful and intricately-detailed images for the Alien films and album covers including ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery and Debbie Harry’s Koo Koo, I’m sad to note the death of artist H.R. Giger, succumbing to injuries that he suffered in a fall. He was 74 years old. Giger was one of the artists most-mentioned by other successful artists as an inspiration – more details to follow, but you can get the initial story via this article on the Washington Post web site –http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/alien-artist-hr-giger-dies-at-74/2014/05/13/868b4178-da7e-11e3-a837-8835df6c12c4_story.html

2) Last week, famed photographer and film-maker Darius Anthony died after a battle with cancer. The 60 year-old Anthony worked with many famous clients in the entertainment world, beginning his career as the assistant to another album cover photo great, Norman Seeff. Here’s a tribute to Darius as assembled by the team at Lee Bailey’s EURweb site –http://www.eurweb.com/2014/05/we-remember-filmmakerphotographer-darius-anthony-dies-at-60/

3) I would be remiss not to also note that another credited album cover artist – illustrator Patrick Woodroffe, who created great fantasy covers for bands including The Strawbs, Greenslade and Judas Priest – also died this past Saturday at the age of 74 after a short illness. Way too much talent has left the planet – condolences and best wishes to their families – more on Woodroffe on the Prog Rock Magazine site – http://www.progrockmag.com/news/2014-05-12/prog-artist-woodroffe-dead-at-74

May 12 – Two great new exhibitions for you to see –

1) If you liked our recent interview with designer Kosh about his work for So. CA music scene fixture Linda Ronstadt, you’ll want to head on over to the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles sometime between now and Nov. 30th to tour through their new “California Dreamin’: The Sounds of Laurel Canyon 1965 – 1977” exhibition. You’ll find a boatload of exciting things to see and do, including an exhibit of photos by Henry Diltz and Graham Nash, interviews, posters and handbills from the era and artifacts including a chair hand-painted by Cass Elliot and one of Richie Furay of Poco’s famous “Nudie” suits. More info is available via the link –http://www.grammymuseum.org/on-display/special-exhibits/laurel-canyon

2) Starting on May 17 and running for two months is a new exhibition at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI curated by the R&R Hall of Fame Museum titled “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power”. Promo from the museum states that the exhibition gives visitors “an unprecedented chance to revisit the musicians who helped shape the soundtrack of your life — innovators like Madonna and Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner and dozens of others.” Memorabilia on display includes clothing from Joan Jett, The Supremes, Lady Gaga and Madonna, along with guitars, musical manuscripts and much more. On May 15th, the exhibition staged a special party hosted by original MTV VJ Nina Blackwood – more at  http://www.thehenryford.org/events/womenWhoRock.aspx

May 9 – 1)Just posted – my new interview with album designer Kosh about his work on Linda Ronstadt’s Lush Life. With Linda’s recent induction into the R&R Hall of Fame, it only made sense to get hold of the man who has collaborated with Ms. Ronstadt on 24 (!!) of her records, winning 3 Grammys along the way. Kosh was kind enough to provide me with some images of his work-in-progress on that record package, so you’ll see some great examples of how great album cover art develops into the finished product. Take a read and please share with your friends – enjoy –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/interview-with-kosh-linda-ronstadts-lush-life-album-cover/

2) As part of the “Classic Album Sundays” listening events held in London, NYC and Portland, ME, the producers of the series have teamed up with The Flood Gallery in the UK to create a limited-edition series of promo posters and, for this week’s event, they’ve commissioned artist Zeb Love to publish a work based on Neil Young’s Harvest album. These prints will be available at the events and via their post-event web site – nice work, and a great idea for music fans – http://classicalbumsundays.com/classic-album-sundays-presents-neil-youngs-harvest/

3) Singer/songwriter Julian Lennon‘s love for art and photography is now available to enhance your own collections via a series of prints being sold by the folks at RockPaperPhoto, including the cover image he produced for his latest record titled Everything Changes. In addition to his album cover image, you’ll find photo portraits of great musical acts including ZZ Top, U2 and Alejandro Escovedo –
http://www.rockpaperphoto.com/julian-lennon-103243

May 8 – 1) Dave Mason is releasing a new album of Traffic tunes he’s re-worked and, in keeping with showing off the best examples of that era’s talent, has enlisted Graham Nash to create the album cover image. The album’s title is Futures Past, although there are no re-works of Moody Blues tunes to be found on the record. Hope to hear/see this record soon – here’ a link to an article on the Pollstar.com web site – http://www.pollstar.com/news_article.aspx?ID=811134

2) Although my focus has always been on “classic” album cover art, I always look forward to seeing the examples of what perhaps will become “classic” record artwork that are summarized each month on the Creative Review site. In this month’s posting by writer Rachael Steven, you’ll see examples of fine photography, graphic design, sculpture and, to prove the point that album art always reflects what’s new and exciting in Pop Culture, a cover where the subject is wearing an Oculus virtual reality head set (EMA – The Future’s Void) –http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/may/record-sleeves-of-the-month

May 7 – 1) Photographer Jay Blakesberg was sifting through his archives (his concert and album cover photos are well-known to fans of the Grateful Dead and many other bands) and discovered a theme throughout his 30+ years of shooting – hippie chicks make for great photographs! So much so that he’s going to release a book of these photos – here’s more about this upcoming effort as reported by Sara Iravani on the SFGate.com site –http://www.sfgate.com/style/article/Jay-Blakesberg-captures-Bay-Area-s-hippie-chicks-5447355.php#photo-6217292

2) Painter Mark Ryden – you’ll remember him for his great album covers for Michael Jackson, Aerosmith and others – has just released a limited-edition album package that features a number of well-known musical acts doing their own rendition of the classic 1892 hit “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two)”. The cover painting for the record – titled Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell, features a portrait of singer Katy Perry in Rydens inimitable style. It’s a fund raiser and is expected to sell out immediately as part of a show of Ryden’s work on display now through June 28 at the new Kohn Gallery on Highland Ave. in Los Angeles. More on this via this article on the Hollywood Reporter site –http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/katy-perry-featured-pop-artist-700730

May 6 – 1) Musician/writer Danko Jones posted an article on the HuffPo Canada site recently that was rather thought-provoking…in an article titled “Don’t Be Precious About Your Vinyl Collection“, Jones wonders why so many vinyl collectors take their entire enterprise so seriously when, in his words, “goal for me has never been to listen to music on the best ‘googlephonic stereo’ with ‘moon rock needle’ but simply to hear as much music as humanly possible before I go deaf.” While I agree with much of his premise, I like to think that many music fans simply want to feel as “close to the source” as possible and that vinyl does that better than most digital formats. I would also think that the entire package – album/CD cover, liner notes, booklet, coordinated web sites – gives fans more for their money, which makes them feel special as well. Here’s a link to his tome online – would love to hear what y’all think – http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/danko-jones/vinyl-collection_b_5239650.html

2) The same article also served as an introduction to the talents of designer Robert Penney at Penney Design in the U.K.. I think that you’ll enjoy seeing what he’s done to take modern musical acts (Gaga, Interpol, Libertines, etc.) and developed treatments of their visuals that are in classic 50’s – 60’s style – very creative, and I’m hoping that he gives us a few more sometime soon –http://www.penneydesign.com/folio_im_retrosingle.html

May 5 – Was trolling the Dust & Grooves site over the weekend and found a nicely-produced video featuring film-maker Roddy Bogawa, who was the producer/director of the acclaimed movie about the late album cover artist, Storm Thorgerson titled Taken By Storm. In this video, D&G site maven Eilon Paz (and author of the recent book about album collectors under the same title) works with Bogawa to create a collage made solely of Thorgerson’s album covers – it’s very cool. There’s also a link on the page that will take you to Eilon’s interview with Roddy, which is also a good read (you’ll find the ACHOF interviews with him in our archives). Very much worth a watch, I must say –http://vimeo.com/60627506

May 2 – Fans of classic album cover design should enjoy the new Featured Album Cover Fan Collection article I posted today. The subject – Gary Freiberg of RockArtPictureShow.com and Vinyl Record Day – shares his love for the works of the person many call “the Father of Album Cover Art” – the late great Alex Steinweiss. Gary was fortunate enough to have met and spent some quality time with Steinweiss, and so he shares some of his memories with us – as well as images from his extensivecollection of early album covers – in today’s posting. Gary’s also working on getting the USPS to create a new series of postage stamps based on great American album cover designs and gives us an update on those efforts – hope that you’ll take a look and pass it on to anyone you know who is a fan of “classic” album cover design – enjoy –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-gary-freiberg-rock-art-picture-show/

That’s all for now – see you at next month’s recap!

Interview with Kosh – Linda Ronstadt’s Lush Life album cover

Interview with Kosh about the making of the album cover art and packaging for Linda Ronstadt’s Lush Life, a 1984 release on Asylum Records

Kosh, John Kosh, designer, art director, Linda Ronstadt, album cover, record cover, record sleeve, package, sleeve, Lush Life, Grammy, Grammy Award, award winner

 

 

 

 

by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com 

You may recall my recent interview with David Larkham about his long-standing creative collaboration with Elton John and the many album cover projects they worked on together. What I neglected to mention was that there were a number of such partnerships that produced many of our favorite images for record packages (and merchandise, stage sets, music videos, etc.) over the years. Other examples include historic couplings such as Pink Floyd and Hipgnosis, Anton Corbijn and U2, George DuBose and The Ramones, Peter Travers and The Moody Blues, Roger Dean and YES, Cal Schenkel and Frank Zappa, James Marsh and Talk Talk and many others. These examples help illustrate the importance of the establishment of a “shared vision” between a musical act and the person/people entrusted to build a visual identity for that act and, once that synergy has been established, how it can grow into an integral part of how that act is seen – and appreciated – by its fans.

One sterling example of such a relationship is that between recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Linda Ronstadt and the Grammy-winning designer/art director known as “Kosh”. Since the young designer met the singer in the mid-1970s (after her success with her Grammy-winning country-rock masterpiece, 1974’s Heart Like A Wheel, with design by Rod Dyer and photo by her friend Eve Babitz), the two talented artists have joined forces to release two dozen (!!) great albums, with Kosh and his team winning three Grammy Awards for “Best Recording Package” for their work over the years. The third Grammy was awarded in 1985 for Kosh’s cover designs for Lush Life, the second of three albums of big band jazz-era pop standards, with arrangements – and musical bed – provided by bandleader Nelson Riddle.

Released in November, 1984. the immensely popular record quickly became a platinum-seller, with Linda earning a Grammy Award nomination (in 1986) for “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female” for her rendition of the title song, Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” (while she didn’t win for this particular song, Linda did go on to win 11 Grammys during her illustrious career). The first record in the trilogy of recordings dedicated to “the great American songbook” – 1983’s What’s New – established the now-popular practice of rock singers adding their own unique stylings to the classic tunes of a bygone era, with its commercial and critical success proving the viability of such projects to other artists and record labels going forward.  The Lush Life record project would again be honored by the Recording Academy when Nelson Riddle, who died in late 1985, was posthumously awarded a 1985 Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying A Vocal” at the 28th Annual Grammy Award ceremony in early 1986 for the title track, “Lush Life”.

With Ms. Ronstadt’s induction into this year’s class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame fresh in our memories, I contacted the still quite-busy Mr. Kosh in his studios in the Los Angeles area to ask him to give us his take on the making of the package for Lush Life, along with his feelings about his team, his creative partnership with Ms. Ronstadt and the general state of music packaging and graphics these days.  I think that – quite understandably – this relationship thrived on a mutual sense of admiration of the talents each party brought to the table, as you’ll see evidenced in the following transcript…

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