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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For August/September, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once more to you all – hope that you’ve all had a good time this Summer, however you chose to occupy your time. Even though my work on updating the bio section of the ACHOF site continues slowly but surely, I’m still happy to announce that there’s been a fair amount of album art/artist-related news to review – more interviews, profiles, news about new books and prints, etc. – and as you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, if you simply read the summaries I’ve written and click the links provided, you’ll be able to find out more about the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of the world’s most-talented album art creators.

I am also pleased to announce that the second part of the two-part article I wrote about album cover art, artists and album art production has been added to the Illustration History web site – https://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/design-and-illustration-in-the-record-business

Titled Design and Illustration by the “Early Influencers” working in the Record Business, this new article was designed to allow you to meet some of the most-notable purveyors of note-worthy and memorable album packaging and read what they have shared about what they do, why they do it, and what the future holds for this unique craft. To remind you, the Illustration History site is a project of the esteemed Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA) and serves as an educational resource for fans, students and teachers of the fine arts of illustration and design. It’s been an honor to be able to share some of my research and writing on a subject – album cover art – that features so many great examples of work by the talented people who’ve contributed to the visual side of the modern music business, so once again I’d like to thank curator Jesse Kowalski for this opportunity and hope that you’ll spend some time reading both articles and then digging through the site’s impressive archives as well..

In addition, I’ll soon be adding another article to the ACHOF site titled “Album Art and Packaging Trends Timeline and Overview” that seeks to answer, decade-by-decade, beginning in the 1940s up to the present, this important question for those of us interested in the history of album cover art “what was it exactly that the products produced during each decade or era have shown us about Pop Culture and the status of record music promotion at that time?” The article will first be posted on the ACHOF site, with announcements made via social media, and I do hope that you’ll take the time to read, absorb and comment.

Several of you may recall from last month’s summary that I was asked (one of a number of music packaging gurus) to serve as a judge for the upcoming (early October) Making Vinyl Packaging Awards extravaganza that will be a keystone event at this year’s Making Vinyl conference in Detroit. The first round of judging has been completed and, from an impressive number (nearly 250!) of entries in all of the categories, the finalists have just been announced, with the list available for your viewing pleasure at – https://makingvinyl.com/making-vinyl-packaging-awards-announces-finalists-in-12-categories/

I gotta tell you, folks…I really had no idea that there was so much creativity and ingenuity (and, by the looks of some of the packages, resources) being put to task to create new retail packaging for recorded music products until I spent some time – nearly 3 full days! – looking at each of the entries before posting my opinions. What was more interesting to me was to learn more about the people working on these projects, with a nice balance seen between entries submitted by major labels working with “household name” designers/art directors/photographers and the impressive output from people/teams I’ve never had the pleasure to meet before. While I can’t release any of the details now, you can rest assured that I will be introducing myself to some of these new (at least to me) names ASAP and will be sharing the fruits of those efforts with you when I can.

The winning entries – that is, those picked from the aforementioned list of finalists – will be selected by a panel of esteemed judges at the NYC offices of the AIGA design organization and awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony that will be held at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit on the evening of October 1st. You will, of course, find more information on the winners immediately thereafter here on the ACHOF site and, with any luck, will be able to read an interview or two with some of the winners ASAP after.

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) I’m happy to announce that my friends at the U.K.-based art publisher/art gallery Hypergallery are taking a road trip to Berlin, Germany to stage, along with album cover design great Aubrey Powell, a survey exhibition that will “explore and unpack the significant influence of the Hipgnosis design studio through an unprecedented display of images from the Hipgnosis catalogue.” The show – titled Daring To Dream – is scheduled as part of the European Month of Photography (EMOP) 2018 event and is being co-curated by Emily Smeaton and John Colton, under the watchful eye of Mr. Powell.

The show will run from September 30th thru the 28th of October, staged in a courtyard located on the 1st floor of Bergmannstr. 5, 10961 in Berlin, with an opening party scheduled at that location on the evening of September 29th, beginning at 7PM local time. Mr. Powell will be on hand that evening – along with members of a local opera company – and will be signing copies of his own retrospective book of Hipgnosis-generated album art called Vinyl.Album.Cover.Art which was recently published in Germany by Edel Books. More info can be found on the Hypergallery web site at https://www.hypergallery.com/event-hipgnosis-in-berlin/

I’m eagerly awaiting to see photos from the show/opening night event and will point you to those when they’re available.

b) For those of you who weren’t able to attend the Bill Graham-centered art/memorabilia show (BILL GRAHAM AND THE ROCK & ROLL REVOLUTION) that toured last year, you’re being given a reprive of sorts with the staging of the Summer of Love poster show at the Andaz Gallery/Hotel in Hollywood, CA, put on in cooperation with the Grammy Museum and featuring 17 original posters from the 1960s by noted visual psychedelic artists including Wes Wilson, Bonnie MacLean (AKA Mrs. Bill Graham), Jim Blashfield, Greg Irons and Stanley Mouse.

http://westhollywoodmag.net/press-release-andaz-west-hollywood-and-the-grammy-museum-unveil-original-summer-of-love-posters-in-new-salon-art-exhibit/

If you’d like to read my exhibition recap from the Bill Graham show as it was staged here in the Chicago area last year, click on over to https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/achof-exhibition-tour-bill-graham-and-the-rock-roll-revolution/

c) There’s a show taking place in London in mid-September that, if I understand what it is that I’m reading, looks to introduce show-goers to several new formats of visuals that might be accompanying and augmenting recorded (and live) music as time goes on. Based on work done by musician/artist Beatie Wolfe and cohorts at Nokia Bell Labs, you’ll be given the chance to see/listen/experience works including (as they’re described in this article by Oisin Lunny on the Forbes.com site) “the world’s first live 360˚ Augmented Reality (AR) stream combining live, 360˚ stereoscopic video and real-time AR visuals” that will “create a modern ‘Fantasia-like’ live streamed album experience.” A short video documentary is also there to better-explain what it is that Ms. Wolfe and her chums have created.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/oisinlunny/2018/08/26/beatie-wolfe-explores-the-art-of-music-in-the-digital-age-at-the-va/#6d1f677f1217

The show at the Victoria & Albert Museum – titled “The Art of Music in the Digital Age: a series of world-first designs” – runs from September 15th through September 23rd in the Prince Consort Gallery on Level 3 and will, in addition to the Raw Space Chamber described above, put on display such must-be-seen-to-be-understood items as “a theatre in the palm of your hand, an album as a deck of cards and wearable record ‘jacket’” designed by former D. Bowie tailor Mr. Fish, among other equally-innovative items.

The entire effort is delivered as part of the London Design Festival, with more information available at  https://www.londondesignfestival.com/event/beatie-wolfe-art-music-digital-age-series-world-first-designs and additional details on the V&A site at https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/bJR1B3Ng/ldf-2018-the-art-of-music-in-the-digital-age-a-series-of-world-first-designs  If any of you do attend and can share what you’ve seen with the rest of us, it’d be greatly appreciated as we are all curious as to where the future of music-related visuals is headed.

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) NYC Radio show host Zach Martin just posted links to Parts 1 & 2 of his Big Fat American Rock Show! interview with NYC-based album design gurus Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz, well known to album art fans for their award-winning work for Talking Heads, Lou Reed, Bon Jovi, Ramones and many others. The stories they share in Part 1 of how the two worked both alone and together to produce a huge portfolio of commercial work for their clients in the music business over the past 40+ years will make your head spin, so make yourself a dirty olive martini, place yourself in your favorite comfy chair and enjoy the ride – https://youtu.be/4LAwoiNtjy4

In Part 2, Spencer shares the details of who his favorite band is (and why) and how he and Judith seem to do their best work “when everything flows” – https://youtu.be/g144AXr4S_g

On a related note – for both this article and the one you’ll read on the upcoming Making Vinyl trade show – Mr. Drate and Holly Stephey will be hosting an online interview with Mr. Larry Jaffee, the producer of the event and the Packaging Awards show that will be taking place during that event. The live event takes place Friday, August 31st at 5PM EST and you can catch it online at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redvelvetmedia/2018/08/31/larry-jaffee-making-vinyl

You won’t meet anyone with more passion about the resurgence of the vinyl record and the importance of album cover art, so I hope you’ll take the time to listen to this interview.

b) While Madonna may have been making headlines recently for both celebrating her 60th birthday and enduring some music industry flack after delivering a not-so-well-received tribute to the recently-departed Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Award ceremonies, one thorough read of this recent amply-illustrated FOTO Story interview article with photographer Kevin Mazur reminds you of just how much she’s influenced Pop Culture since launching her career as a singer/dancer in the early 1980s in the clubs surrounding New York City. Having met Ms. Ciccone while he was himself a young lad from Long Island (he’s 57 now), Kevin has been on hand to document the Material Girl’s meteoric rise, being on-hand to shoot scores of her concerts (beginning with 1985’s Virgin tour) and producing a huge portfolio of work we’ve all seen in magazines, books and web sites over the years. He’s also produced album cover shots for top musical acts including Bob Dylan, Elton John and U2, but in this article, the focus is on just how much fun he’s had being on hand and moving from gaga-eyed fanboy to long-time friend of someone who has impressed us all with her talent, dedication and fearless approach to success in a really tough business – https://foto.gettyimages.com/celebrity/musicians/madonna-in-motion/

c) NYC-area music art fans might want to quickly click on over to the Eventbrite site (via the link at the end of this notice) to register for what’s sure to be a sold-out event at the Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003) this coming October 19th (from 7-8PM EDT) featuring Metallica’s drummer (and famed fine art collector) Lars Ulrich talking photography with the Brooklyn-based photo duo Herring & Herring (the team behind the album cover imagery for the band’s hit 2016 release Hardwired…To Self Destruct) about how artists like themselves collaborate to create great art.

Herring & Herring consists of Dimitri Scheblanov (who is himself a 2005 graduate of The Cooper Union’s School Of Art) and Jesper Carlsen (who was schooled at the Art Academy on the Danish island of Funen, graduating in 2006) and has worked with Metallica – serving as creative directors, photographers and music video directors – since 2014. In addition to their corporate work – with celebrity clients including musicians Ozzy Osbourne, Beyonce and Questlove, film stars Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Billy Bob Thorton, TV personalities Fred Armisen, Oprah Winfrey and Andy Cohen and sports celebs Derek Jeter and Abby Wambach (among many others) – the partners also produce and publish the highly-praised image-only photo magazine also titled Herring & Herring (available on newsstands everywhere).

Ulrich will be taking a short break from the band’s tour in support of this album, which kicks off September 2nd with a show in Madison, WI.

Event info/registration  at  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/photography-duo-herring-herring-talk-with-metallicas-lars-ulrich-tickets-49040489424?aff=MetallicaFanClub  The event is free and open to the public, although the promoters warn that pre-registration doesn’t guarantee a seat, so get there early!

Article on the Blabbermouth site – http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/metallicas-lars-ulrich-to-talk-with-photography-duo-herring-herring-at-new-york-city-event/

d) We’ve all had to consider, at some point in our lives, just what the proper “work/life balance” would be in order for us to continue to enjoy both aspects of our day-to-day existences. For some of us, the choices were quite simple, being dictated by the status of our health or of our continued relationships with friends and loved ones. For others, it’s when they’ve noticed “something missing” from the enjoyment of their day-to-day activities, whether at work or at home. For Grammy-winning designer Stephan Sagmeister, as you’ll read in this recent article (and audio interview) by Ayse Burcell on the Salon.com web site, he noticed that “once I started to allow for repetition in the work, there was just less excitement.” What did he do to get his life back in balance? Well, he did something we all wish we could do – he took a year-long sabbatical. To do this, he had to overcome fears of “being forgotten” and/or being seen as “unprofessional” but, once he did, you’ll see that it was time well-spent. I’d suggest taking a break from your own hectic schedules to read and listen to this compelling interview via the link at https://www.salon.com/2018/08/27/the-case-for-taking-a-sabbatical-why-grammy-winning-designer-stefan-sagmeister-took-a-break/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Being touted as the “most-metal” of all memorabilia auctions, the estate of the late singer Ronnie James Dio is soon to offer a nice selection of Dio-owned property at Julien’s auction house that includes original album cover paintings, artwork, costumes and much more – http://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2018/ronnie-dio/index.html

Slated for two days in mid-September at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC (September 15th and 16th), the event (titled PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF RONNIE JAMES DIO) includes well over 600 items and will showcase both “normal” personal effects (his little league baseball jersey, autographed baseballs and jerseys signed by his favorite pro sports players, etc.) and those things he aggregated during his multi-decade career as the lead singer for Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own band, Dio. Album art collectors will have the opportunity to bid on:

The Last In Line original cover painting (est $20-30K) opening bid $10K – The original acrylic and collage painting executed by Barry Jackson and used as the cover art for the Dio album The Last in Line (Warner Bros., 1984). Framed, 26 1/2 by 45 1/2 inches; Sight, 18 by 37 inches

Sacred Heart original cover painting (est $20-30K) opening bid $10K – The original acrylic and collage painting executed by artist Robert Florczak and used as the cover art for the Dio’s 1985 Warner Bros. Records album Sacred Heart, signed by Florczak in the lower left. Framed, it’s sized at 25 1/4 by 25 1/4 inches;

Dream Evil original artwork (est $2-4K) opening bid $1K – The original acrylic on canvas board painting done by Steve Huston and used as the cover art for the  1987 Dio album Dream Evil (on Vertigo), signed in pencil in the lower right by Huston. This was the last album to feature “Murray” on the cover. Unframed, it measures 27 by 40 inches;

– A trio of Alan Aldridge items from Dio’s personal collection – opening bid $150 – A signed print of the cover art for The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, a copy of the book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast and an LP copy of the album of the same name. That 1975 album was produced by Roger Glover of the band Deep Purple and featured Dio in the role of “Froggy”. Framed, it measures 24 by 32 1/4 inches

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Fans of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia know that he considered himself as (as he’s been quoted) “an artist who played music” and that he expressed himself via a paintbrush with just as much passion as he did via his playing and song-writing. In the early 1980s, he began to study the visual arts much more seriously and, from that point until the end of his life, he dedicated himself to drawing, painting and creating images on his computers.

Recently, Jerry’s ex-wife Manasha Garcia and his daughter Keelin Garcia teamed up to create “a mission-based company inspired by musician and artist, Jerry Garcia” that’s called “Jerry Garcia Music Arts” and, as part of this music/fine art company’s launch – and to honor what would have been Jerry’s 76th birthday in August – they’ve released what they’re calling a “thematic pairing of art and music”, meaning that they’ve created both a new fine art print of a JG watercolor titled “Ripple” and have released a newly-remastered live version of the Garcia/Hunter-penned song of the same name on streaming music services including  iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Napster, MediaNet, VerveLife, Tidal, Gracenote, Shazam  and 7Digital..

The print – an unframed, museum-quality giclee piece printed on Hanhnemuhle Bamboo 290 gsm paper and offered in an unsigned edition of 500 – is sized 11”w x 15”h, priced at a very-affordable $130.00 and comes with a certificate of authenticity and is available from Terrapin Stationers in their Terrapin Gallery

https://www.terrapinstationers.com/collections/terrapin-gallery/products/terrapin-gallery-and-jerry-garcia-music-arts-present-ripple-unsigned

A portion of proceeds from these sales support ocean conservation (Mr. Garcia was a strong proponent of saving the coral reefs and even shared these beliefs as he testified before a conservation committee for the State of Hawaii in 1990), with more details about the company and its mission available on their web site at – https://www.jerrygarciamusicarts.com/fine-art.html

b) New clothing and wall art designs featuring album cover-inspired imagery by “speed painting “ master Stephen Fishwick was introduced by art/marketing agency Get Down Art at the MAGIC Las Vegas event at the Mandalay Bay Hotel this past August 13 – 15, with these images and products looking to extend the popularity of several well-known album cover designs to a younger demographic via the fashion brands and trends they’ve shown they appreciate. For example, Pink Floyd’s memorable Dark Side of the Moon cover image, as reworked by Mr. Fishwick, shows the iconic diamond on a paint-splattered background, while the new version of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” image shows Mr. Young bravely facing a very colorful electrical storm. The company is offering these designs and many others printed on t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts for both men and women, along with poster prints on canvas and other household items. Now your kids can wear their own unique iterations of their parents’ favorite album art and, in doing so, inter-generational love and understanding will finally be achieved – https://getdownart.com/collections/icons-collection

5) Other articles of interest –

a) This month’s collection of Sound and Vision articles – which provide in-depth details of the stories behind some of your favorite album art – offered to us by Eben Bensen and the nice people at Juxtapoz Magazine includes quite the range of music/art of both recent and historical vintages. Managing Editor Eben Bensen has stayed true to his promise to give us a new story every week, with the most-recent articles summarized below:

– Michael Trevithick’s Magritte-inspired (well, at least to me) artwork on the cover of the late Nick Drake’s third and final studio release – 1972’s Pink Moon – replaced the photograph originally taken for the project, which showed the musician in declining health – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-nick-drake-s-pink-moon-cover-by-michael-trevithick/

– Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 indie release In The Aeroplane Over The Sea was viewed by music critics as a “game-changer” – an album based on the life of Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank – with its artwork the result of a collaboration between songwriter Jeff Magnum and album cover designer Chris Bilheimer and based on the artwork found on a turn-of-the-century travel postcard –   https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-neutral-milk-hotel-s-in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea/

– In 2009, the Portland, OR (yeah, baby)-based experimental rock band called Portugal The Man released its fourth studio album The Satanic Satanist, which featured a very trippy cover crafted by the band’s own lead singer, John Gourley, who combined photos with watercolors to create the image – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-portugal-the-man-s-the-satanic-satanist-cover-by-john-gourley/

– What is that thing jumping over the hurdle in Joan Ludwig’s photo featured on the cover of Beck’s 1996 hit record Odelay? A floor mop? A batch of ramen noodles? The answer is available via the link at https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-beck-s-odelay-cover-photography-by-joan-ludwig/

b) Now you can help two young-but-experienced artists in Portland, OR (yeah, baby!) launch a new “multi-disciplinary creative studio” via your support of their Indiegogo campaign and, as a reward, receive a limited-edition print and music compilation created just for this fund-raising effort. Over the past 13 years, composer/musician/sound designer Courtland Urbano and award-winning illustrator Anthony M. Benedetto worked on and off together on projects, but after Urbano moved to Portland to join the Humble Beast label roster, Anthony followed in 2014 to join the team as Creative Director. They both realized that, as a team, they could offer external clients a whole slew of services, so they decided to strike out on their own and launch a new agency they’re calling Nova Nimbus, with Anthony currently working out of Court’s garage.

Help Anthony get out of the garage into a proper office with your pledge of support and, with a commitment as little as $75, you’ll get a print of a work Benedetto created to show off both the natural beauty of their Pacific NW location and his respect for great mid-Century graphic design called Modern Romanticism.  Urbano adds music to the package with a download of a 19-cut collection of tracks he’s produced over the years, with both testifying to the fact that they love to listen to his soundscapes while they work, so you ought to, too.

The program runs for about another month, with details available at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nova-nimbus-a-multi-disciplinary-creative-studio/x/18934317?#/

c) Using album cover art to find out the identity of one of the art world’s most-mysterious creators – is Robin Gunningham the real “Banksy”? Those bidding on a work of art printed on the sleeve insert for an early 1990s Bristol-based ska band sure hope he is! Artnet.com’s Henri Nuendorf provides us with the details, and happy value-hunting – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/early-banksy-auction-1329194

d) Orlando Sentinel reporter David Whitley provides “a public service” for us in his article “All Great Album Covers lead back to Abbey Road” by providing us with a “10 Greatest Album Covers of All Time list” (what, again?) based on his contention that “everybody can be an expert” (this is why I stay away from these lists) – http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/audience/david-whitley/os-ae-album-covers-david-whitley-0808-story.html His email is provided at the end of the article, so feel free to respond.

e) Don’t they know that it’s just not safe out there? Several times each year, someone takes it upon his/herself to present a list of the “worst” record covers of all time and, each time, I share a link to this list with the hope that enough of you are outraged to the point of expressing yourself somehow on the author’s site. And while I will be the last one to promote any form of censorship, I would ask that folks look deep inside themselves before releasing “best/worst of all time” lists like this one. Yes, there’s been some horrible/disturbing/nonsensical album art used to package recorded music over the past 70+ years (just as there’s been a lot of “bad” music packaged and offered for sale), but the subject has really been beaten to death and is usually built around the same content, which just makes it boring. Please don’t click on this link. I’m asking you nicely…

http://ajournalofmusicalthings.com/because-everyone-loves-awful-album-cover-art-heres-another-gallery-of-some-of-the-worst/

f) Now, after the last entry, here’s one for the “Looking Forward” folder – Is this the “future” of album covers? Rapper/style icon (and very funny talk show guest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s9joL_AGfo ) Nicki Minaj uses artificial intelligence/virtual reality to bring fans up close-and-personal with her and her album art for her new record Queenhttps://mobile-ar.reality.news/news/snapchat-strikes-familiar-chord-with-shoppable-ar-lens-for-nicki-minajs-new-album-0186464/

That’s all for now – stay tuned and 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.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For July/August, 2018

 

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF JULY, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR AUGUST.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings to you all. Work continues on updating the biography section of the ACHOF web site and so, as I noted last month, this month’s news summary is an abridged one, with less commentary from me and a somewhat-reduced number of stories featured in each section. Even so, much work continues in this area, and there’s a lot to review – interviews, profiles, news about new books and prints, etc. – that I think you’ll appreciate and enjoy. As you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, if you simply read the summaries I’ve written and click the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of your favorite – or soon to be favorite – album art creators.

I am pleased to announce that the first part of a two-part article I’ve written about album cover art, artists and album art production has been added to the Illustration History web site – https://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/producing-album-cover-art-for-clients-in-the-music-business

A project of the esteemed Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA), the Illustration History site serves as an educational resource for fans, students and teachers of the fine arts of illustration and design, so it’s an honor to be able to share some of my research and writing on a subject – album cover art – that features so many great examples of work by the talented people who’ve contributed to the visual side of the music business since the 1940s. Part 2 is due soon but, in the meantime, hope you’ll take a look and share this with your friends. I’d like to thank curator Jesse Kowalski for this opportunity and hope that you’ll spend some time digging through the site’s impressive archives, too.

Also earlier this month, I posted a special alert letting you know that, for the second year in a row, album packaging creators from all over the world are being invited to submit examples of their best, most-recent works for consideration by the esteemed judging panel for the 2018 “Making Vinyl Packaging Awards”. According to the show’s advance press, they’re “now accepting submissions in 14 categories that highlight why packaged media is still important in the digital age. Entries may come from record labels, pressing plants, brokers, packagers, printers, mastering facilities, artists, and distributors from anywhere in the world. Submissions will be judged online by award-winning art directors in the U.S. and Europe. In late August, the winners will be selected from the finalists at the offices of AIGA, the prestigious design organization, and receive their prizes at a ceremony at the MAKING VINYL conference in Detroit on Oct. 1st.”

Last year’s judging panel included a number of album art industry notables, including Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Sylvia Reed, Gail Marowitz, Sean Mosher-Smith, Stefan Bucher, Craig Braun and Making Vinyl founder, PR guru/journalist/educator Larry Jaffee. The 2017 Awards, given then in 8 categories, showcased the talents of both well-established designers, such as Lawrence Azerrad, who lead the efforts to create the fantastic Voyager, 40th Anniversary Edition box set and Shepard Fairey, who was nominated for an award in the same category for Blondie’s Pollinator, alongside emerging talent such as the team of young designers/art directors at Third Man Records (Rex Runyeon and Ryon Nishimori), who took home an award in the “Best Record Art” category for their captivating photo-based cover for their label’s release titled The Monks, Hamburg Recordings 1967. You may recall that last year’s “Best Overall Package” category featured a tie between creators of the packaging for AKATRE’s BLCK RCK and Pet Symmetry’s Vision, and now that this year’s top prize has been re-named “The Alex Steinweiss Award” in honor of the noted record packaging innovator, the nominees in this category should be extra proud to be in the running.

For 2018, there are two new categories being added for CD packaging, an award for best use of sustainable materials, one that recognizes the special limited-edition products that are created for the annual Record Store Days and two awards being proffered (one vinyl, one digital) called “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” which, according to the award show’s producers, “Recognizes innovation in structural design that takes into account the use of new machinery or materials or folds or printing processes that stretches the boundaries of album packaging that previously existed.“ I can’t wait to see whether packages are submitted that were made on 3D printers. One more addition to the 2018 awards process is the addition of a highly-esteemed writer, researcher and self-described expert on album cover packaging to the panel of judges reviewing submissions prior to the final voting, with that person being ME! I’m quite honored to have been asked and look forward to being able to review all of the work being submitted.

The deadline to enter your online submission(s) with digital photos is Wednesday, Aug. 15, 11:59 pm (EST). Eligible works include packages offered for sale between the dates Sept. 1, 2017 to Oct. 1, 2018. There’s a page on the Making Vinyl site that provides anyone interested with all of the info they’ll need (submission formats, costs, etc.) to send in their work – https://makingvinyl.com/awards-2018/

I’ll be updating this story as more info comes in and, of course, will be announcing the winners immediately after they’ve been given their honors. As always, it’s my plan to be able to interview one or more of the honorees about “the making of” their winning works, so stay tuned for more.

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) There’s a truly-impressive Michael Jackson-inspired art show now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in London from now through October 21, 2018 that features works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Kehinde Wilde and a whole host of word-class artists who’ve been inspired by the late King of Pop.“Michael Jackson: On the Wall” includes works by 48 artists and includes a number of works from private collections that have never been put on public display before.

After the show wraps up in London, it will travel to Paris, Bonn, and Espoo in Finland, with more details provided in Henri Nuendorf’s exhibition overview as seen on the ArtNet News site –https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/michael-jackson-npg-london-1310123?

One of the items included in this show is Mark Ryden’s memorable cover for MJ’s 1991 hit album Dangerous, with the story behind this gorgeous cover provided in one of Eben Benson’s recent Juxtapoz Sound and Vision  articles – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-michael-jackson-s-dangerous-cover-artwork-by-mark-ryden/

b) In mid-July, the San Francisco Art Exchange launched a show based on photographer Jim Marshall’s portfolio of images of country music legend Johnny Cash, with gallery visitors being treated to a number of rare and never-before-seen photos, including a series taken during the performer’s storied concert recorded 50 years ago at California’s Folsom State Prison.

According to the gallery’s press release, “These photographs include images of Cash onstage and touring the prison grounds, along with several from the legendary sound check at San Quentin when Cash so famously ‘flipped the bird’ for Marshall. These new photographs and a selection of the estate editions released in 2011 will be featured in our upcoming exhibition along with several extremely rare and highly sought-after signed photographs from Jim Marshall’s personal archive of prints.”

The gallery also announced that collectors who purchase one of the prints made available during the show will also receive a free copy of the soon-to-be-released book of Marshall’s photos titled Johnny Cash at Folsom & San Quentin Photographs by Jim Marshall , due to be published by Reel Art Press  later this summer.)  PLEASE NOTE: Collectors who purchase any Jim Marshall photograph during the exhibition will receive a complimentary copy of the new book coming out later this summer.

Fans can view a PDF version of the exhibition’s catalog of the artwork via this link – http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400162

c) Juxtapoz also provides us with the details of another gallery show that ended July 21st that would have been of great interest to anyone drawn to great examples of the intersection of music and art. While not specifically album cover-centric, the sheer number of musical and visual creatives who teamed up to create both this show and the coffee table book it’s derived from has forced my hand… https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/painting/nick-cave-tom-waits-swoon-and-many-more-collaborate-for-children-s-literacy/

The Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles hosted the show built around the music and art created for the book Waxploitation: Stories For Ways & Means, a nearly 10-years-in-the-making effort that resulted in a 350-page book featuring stories written by famous musicians (Frank Black, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and others), all illustrated with artwork by a number of artists that Juxtapoz readers will be familiar with (Joe Coleman, Anthony Lister, Swoon and many others). A portion of the proceeds from both the show and the book are being donated to several worthwhile charities, with more details available on the gallery’s web site at http://www.coreyhelfordgallery.com/shows/waxploitation-stories-for-ways/the-devouring/

d) I promised to bring you news of album cover artists working all over the world, and today’s no exception. Here’s an article about a Malaysian artist named Mustaffa Ahmad Hidzir, who works under the pseudonym “Tapa”, who has spent the last 40 years designing/producing over 300 album covers and who last year released an award-winning coffee table book that was published by the Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia Bhd. 12×12 Album Cover Design offers up almost 200 of his covers, along with the stories behind them, and beginning on August 4th, fans and lovers of album art will be able to take in a week-long exhibition of his works in a show at the Penang House of Music during the George Town Festival. If you happen to be at the venue a 3PM on August 5th, Tapa will be on-hand to lead a lecture about his career as an album cover designer.

For more info on the artist and his career, click on over to this recent article in the local Sun Daily newspaper – http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2018/07/06/drawing-attention

And to see more about the festival and Tapa’s show there, please visit – https://georgetownfestival.com/programmes/12-x-12-album-cover-design

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) To read my recent mini-interview with Ashley Simerman of KnuckleBonz about their new series of 3D album covers, please scroll down to Section 4 of this news summary

b) Here’s a link to a video posted by YouTube star/fashion and lifestyle blogger Karen Yeung (IAMKARENO) of an interview and photo session during which famed photographer Marcus Klinko works with the not-very-camera-shy blogger poses to try and re-create the look of his famous Beyonce Dangerously In Love album cover – https://petapixel.com/2018/07/13/hanging-out-with-the-photographer-of-beyonces-diamonds-album-cover/

Klinko tries to make it all sound so scientific for the Petapixel reader (“I use top end modifiers from Broncolor and Elinchrom, with custom adapters I built… all the lights in the video are by Flashpoint/Godox….I use a combination of 600Pro, and H1200 for all of my studio and location setups, and occasional use the Evolv200 as well”), but Karen’s just having fun pretending to be Mrs. Jay-Z for a while….

c) Almost slipping past my Google Alert web was this recent interview by Eric Skelton on the Pigeons & Planes site with photographer Nick Walker about his recent work with Playboi Carti for the cover of the rapper’s Die Lit album. The cover image works to bring a very punk-inspired aesthetic to the singer’s “against the grain” approach to his music-making – https://pigeonsandplanes.com/in-depth/2018/05/die-lit-playboi-carti-cover-photo-nick-walker-interview

Walker’s worked with many of the top names in the R&B and Rap world – from Beyonce to Nikki Minaj and FKA Twigs, along with a number of other artists on the Interscope label, so the pairing of the two talents seemed both inevitable and a really good idea, I think you’ll agree…

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) This just in – the nice folks over at the Psychedelic Art Exchange just sent me a note about their current poster auction (on now through August 9th) that peaked my interest and, therefore, I’m duty-bound to share the news with you as well. As you know, many of the people who’ve made some of your favorite album cover images – Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin and many others – began their careers creating posters for some of the now-famous concert promoters and venues on the West and East Coasts – The Fillmores, The Avalon Ballroom, Winterland, etc. – and as the years go by, the original posters these artists created are becoming increasingly-rare and valuable, so when a collection of posters are presented that include some of the rarest and finest-quality examples available, doesn’t it make sense to go and take a look?

The highlight of the offering is, what I’m told, the finest example of what’s known to collectors as “FD-26-OP-1”, better-known to us mortals as the “Skeleton & Roses” or “Skull & Roses” poster Mouse & Kelley did for the Grateful Dead’s September, 1966 appearances at the Avalon Ballroom. The same basic design was also featured on the band’s 1971 2-record live album titled Grateful Dead (which became their first gold-selling record). This poster will sell for a load of money (it’s current bid, as we go to press, is $19,000). The auction company people go on to tell me that there are many other posters available that would, on any other occasion, themselves be headliners, and a quick look at the offering certainly backs up their claim, so why not take a few minutes sometime soon and visit the online catalog at https://auctions.concertpostergallery.com/Catalog.aspx  Happy bidding – buy yourself something nice!

b) Earlier in July (on July 6th, to be precise), I did a special posting about Gotta Have Rock & Roll’s latest Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction that was scheduled to take place beginning July 11th and ending July 20th, so now that the bidding’s over, I wanted to get back to you with some of the results on the key items I’d highlighted in that preliminary posting.

From the Larry Vigon collection – most everything sold for prices that were the opening bids for the items up for auction (good deals, overall, with several exceptions), such as the paintings he did for the front and back covers of Eric Clapton’s 1985 record Behind The Sun (listed with opening bids of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively and sold at those prices) and the comps, including George Hurrell’s hand-tinted photographs, of the cover art he created for Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 hit record Mirage (opening bid, $3,000; sold for the tidy sum of $9,422!). In addition, bidding on his hand-drawn lettering  created for the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours ($2,000 to start) sold for $2,000, whereas several other production elements (photos, drawings, etc.) for other Fleetwood Mac records – as well as some of the band members’ solo album efforts – sold for prices ranging from $1,289 for photos of Lindsay Buckingham from Law and Order to $2,000 for Helmut Newton shots from Christine McVie’s Songbird.

Also available were the original cover painting Vigon created for Chicago’s 1984 record titled Chicago 17, a rather unique take on the well-known John Berg/Nick Fasciano band logo-based covers, this time with the logo seemingly popping through a brown-paper wrapper (art director credits to the talented Simon Levy), with starting bids accepted over $3,000 (sold for $3,000). Pat Benetar fans were be able to bid on a nice archive of 20 photos (B&W and color) and layouts for records including her 1987 hit Seven The Hard Way ($1,000 opening bid; sold for $1,000), while fans of the Counting Crows placed bids to own the artwork Vigon created for the debut record August And Everything After ($1,000 opening bid; sold for $1,000).

Other album art-related items available in this auction included drawings by artist/illustrator Greg Hildebrandt done for Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules and composer/TSO founder Paul O’Neill’s rock opera Beethoven’s Last Night (surprisingly, all unsold), while further items of interest, including original drawings by Michael Jackson (sold for $2,200 – $3,500), a John Lennon/Yoko Ono-signed photo from their 1969 “Bed-In” protest in Montreal  album ($15,000 asked opening bid – unsold) and CD/LPs signed by Nirvana (unsold) and Led Zeppelin (also unsold).

There were over 900 items in the auction, so if you’d like to go and see what was available and sold, you can now head on over to the company’s auction site – http://gottahaverockandroll.com/#

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Some of you who might remember my old gallery days will recall that I sold items from a line of intricately-crafted sculptures of iconic rockers/rock imagery made by a company called KnuckleBonz and, I’m glad to report, they’ve recently announced that they’re going to be manufacturing a line of limited-edition album cover art recreations they’re calling “3D Vinyl”. The first two items they’ve announced are stunning renditions of two great albums – Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, both of which are perfectly suited for a 3-dimensional sculpture.

https://knucklebonz.com/product/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-3d-vinyl/

They’ve produced a nice intro video on this new Pink Floyd-based item that you can view at https://vimeo.com/276302319

https://knucklebonz.com/product/guns-n-roses-appetite-for-destruction-3d-vinyl/ will take you to the page on their site with all of the details on the AFD 3D Vinyl product, with the promo video available at https://vimeo.com/276296813

I’ve reached out to the talented team of designers and marketers who’ve created these new products and hope to bring you an update on their efforts soon.

UPDATE/INTERVIEW – Earlier in July, I shared the initial information about the intriguing new series of 3D album cover art pieces that the talented folks over at KnuckleBonz have begun producing and now, as a follow-up, I’m happy to be able to   parcel out a bit more on the subject based on a brief interview I did recently with one of the founders of the company, Ashley Simerman, whose excitement for these new products is pretty evident from the answers she’s provided…

Mike Goldstein, ACHOF – Hello again, Ashley. Nice to be in touch with you again. I was thrilled to read the preliminary info on your 3D album cover sculptures and, as you might imagine, I was eager to learn more about them and your work on making them so I can share this info with my readers. Let’s start with a bit more about your decision-making process. I know that all of your products are licensed collectibles, but I’d be curious as to how you chose the first two covers to produce. Were these your first choices, or did they come as the result of existing or new relationships with the musical act/management/record label/licensing companies?

Ashely Simerman, KnuckleBonz – Hi, Mike. Thanks for checking in and for featuring us! Our first two projects we announced for our new KnuckleBonz 3D Vinyl® are:

1) Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction – This is an obvious choice for KnuckleBonz to lead with this album as we announce this new category that pays homage to the great album art over the last several decades. Appetite for Destruction is undoubtedly one of the greatest debut albums in rock music history. Not only was the album successfully from the standpoint of album sales, but Guns N’ Roses went from nothing to touring with the Rolling Stones as a result of the success of this album. Artistically, it is a great fit , as well. The skulls and subtle detailing make this 3D Vinyl® stand out.

2) Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd undoubtedly mastered combining amazing visuals for all their album covers. Launching with this particular album is a more personal choice for us here at KnuckleBonz. This is an album that we love to just put on here at the studio and listen to in its entirety. This is a favorite, for sure, just because the music is so amazing. But add the robot handshake on the cover and that was a project we all were very excited to recreate in 3D. Wish You Were Here is a perfect fit for 3D Vinyl®, after all, we intend for these collectibles to pay tribute to the most iconic and artistic album covers over the last several decades.

Mike G – How did you guys approach the creative aspects of the projects – meaning, how did you determine what would be 3D, what would be on the back cover, etc.? Did you work with anyone from the original design team in order to make these choices, or were they your decisions to make?

Ashley S – Everything we do creatively for these 3D Vinyl® designs are done internally here at KnuckleBonz. We are long-time fans, just like our customers. We are simply interpreting what would be cool for each project. Ultimately, what we come up with is a design we would like to have on our own wall on display shelf. Once we get that point, we share with the artist or band and we do have to get approval. Then we hope fans around the globe agree that it is a proper tribute to the original album. We only make a finite number of each; typically we limit the production to less than 2000 of each 3D Vinyl® project, making these highly collectible and exclusive.

Mike G – So, of course I must ask you –  Any hint of what’s coming next or later?

Ashley S – We have quite a few coming later this year – including the two KISS albums we’ve announced*- so stay tuned to knucklebonz.com or follow us on FaceBook for new product news. Everything we do is officially licensed so we can’t reveal any projects just yet, but I think rock music fans will be excited about the line-up. We certainly are thrilled to be working on these amazing projects.

* their debut album titled KISS, along with Destroyer.

Learn more and place your pre-orders on the KnuckleBonz site at https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/3d-vinyl/

b) There’s been a lot of recent press about Madonna’s efforts to raise money for, and awareness of, her charity called Raising Malawi that works to improve the lives of children in that country (since 2012, she’s built 12 schools that have served nearly 10,000 students in the area). In this article on the Bored Panda site, you’ll learn about French fashion photographer Vincent Flouret’s imaginative efforts to add to the fund-raising efforts by selling prints of photos he’s taken of his beloved dog Max. What makes these images unique (and of interest to us album cover fans) is that he’s made up and costumed Max so that he appears as Madonna did on the covers of several of her best-known albums – Ray of Light, Music, Like A Virgin, True Blue and more – along with scenes lifted from some of the Material Girl’s most-famous music video. “Maxdonna” is a very attractive Golden Retriever, so these recreations, while a bit campy, are still quite nice-looking.

https://www.boredpanda.com/iconic-madonna-scenes-recreation-maxdonna-vincent-flouret/?

You can also find Vincent’s Maxdonna photos on display from now until the 16th of August in Arles, France at  L’AGENCE ARLESIENNE, 26, place Paul Doumer, 13200 Arles.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkC6JY4FNXs/?taken-by=max_et_vincent

In French, but you’ll figure it out….

c) Fans of the band Rush will find a lot to like here…While perhaps best-known for his drumming skills, Rush’s Neal Peart was also the band’s lyricist and, therefore, quite handy with words, as was evidenced in his co-authoring (with sci-fi writer Kevin J. Anderson) of the novel Clockwork Angels. Skip ahead six years since the book’s 2012 (no, not 2112) debut and what do you find but a new version of the book, done this time as a graphic novel (published by Insight Comics) and featuring a cover by life-long Rush cover artist Hugh Syme. Writer and long-time Rush fan Skip Owens gives us a preview in this article on the GeekDad site  – https://geekdad.com/2018/06/clockwork-lives-is-now-a-graphic-novel/

5) Other articles of interest –

a) A couple of months ago, I introduced you to Juxtapoz Magazine’s weekly series called Sound and Vision that, with each article, shares the details behind the making of some of your favorite album covers. Since that time, Managing Editor Eben Bensen has stayed true to his promise to give us a new story every week, with the most-recent articles summarized below:

– My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 Loveless cover, featuring a stylized photo of a guitar done by photographer Angus Cameron –

https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-my-bloody-valentine-s-loveless-cover-photography-by-angus-cameron/

– Stanley Donwood’s cover for Radiohead’s The Bendshttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-stanley-donwood-on-the-making-of-radiohead-s-the-bends-cover-art/

– Robert Mapplethorpe’s striking photo of Patti Smith for the cover of her 1975 debut album Horseshttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-patti-smith-s-horses-cover-photo-robert-mapplethorpe/  (Am I the only one who always thinks of Gilda Radner when I see this image?)

I’ve since contacted Eben B. and asked him more about the origins of this series in Juxtapoz – whose founder Robert Williams himself has several album cover credits on his impressive resume, including the original (banned) robotic rapist-based cover for Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction – and I’ll soon be posting the text from a mini-interview I did with him about his interest in the subject. I was very pleased to see someone representing “Millennials” with such knowledge and wisdom and so I look forward to sharing this with you soon.

b) I’m hoping that many of you have had, at one time or another, the opportunity to attend one of the world’s premiere art-related events, that being the celebrated “Pageant of the Masters” in Laguna Beach, CA, where the folks that put this extravaganza on every summer amaze audiences with their recreations of famous works of art built around live models placed in meticulously-recreated sets. I was lucky enough to live in Laguna for a number of years many years ago and, although the throngs of tourists made driving difficult for locals, we always made sure to see at least one performance of the POM each year.

This year, I’m proud to say, one of the masterpieces that will be given the POM treatment will be the famous 1964 theatrical poster for the film Endless Summer, created by one of the design world’s most-respected artists, that being John Van Hamersveld, who also holds a special place in the hearts of album cover art fans for the covers he created for The Beatles, KISS, Rolling Stones, Blondie and many others. I can’t think of a better way to honor JVH’s contributions to the art/design world than by having one of his best-known works presented in a bill (with this year’s theme being “Under The Sun”) that also includes paintings by Masters such as Claude Monet, John Singer Sargeant, Paul Gauguin and other modern masters – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155665181841444&set=a.10151014367531444.424291.612486443&type=3&theater

They finish off each year’s performance with a recreation of DaVinci’s Last Supper, which I think would only be cooler-looking if they included JVH himself in the scene (or, at least, someone wearing his trademarked round glasses). In any case, congratulations to one of our own Modern Masters!

c) Southern California is one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations, with one nice stretch of road – Laurel Canyon Drive, in Laurel Canyon – on most maps due to the number of celebrities from the music, film and TV industries who’ve made their homes there over the years. For the last six years, residents of the area have celebrated just how lucky they are to live (or have lived) there via an annual festival called the Love Street Fest, and this year’s festivities drew a good crowd due to the fact that they were honoring two men – Henry Diltz and Gary Burden – who’ve contributed greatly to the music business by producing photos and designs for a number of famous album covers. You can take a look at some of the photos taken a couple of week’s back during this year’s celebrations on the group’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/lovestreetfest – where you’ll find pix of the throngs of attendees, including surviving members of The Doors Robby Krieger and John Densmore, whose fellow band-member Jim Morrison wrote a song about the Drive called “Love Street”.

d) Last month, I wrote a bit about a surprise visit Paul McCartney made to his old home town of Liverpool and the sense of joy and happiness that followed him wherever he went and, in another article I saw recently, Maca worked his magic again as he hit the zebra crossing in front of Abbey Road studios again, 49 years later – https://www.nme.com/news/music/paul-mccartney-crosses-abbey-road-49-years-iconic-album-cover-shoot-ahead-intimate-gig-2358292  I believe that he kept his shoes on this time…and he’s still not dead.

e) In all the years I’ve been a music fan – a fan of most all genres of music, but with a particular love of hard rock, Prog rock, jazz-rock fusion, punk rock and pretty much anything put out by a Beatle (including Billy Preston and Jeff Lynne) – I’ve only on occasion found myself out of my element, with that taking place when I talk to fans of two genres – jazz and metal – where I often find fans with an intense passion for music/musicians in those genres and an intense dislike for those on the outside. Once again, I felt a bit of this attitude in Jon Wiederhorn’s recent Loudwire Magazine article about album covers that “look metal, but they’re not” – http://loudwire.com/14-album-covers-look-metal-but-arent/

In the mix, you’ll find examples of those who truly don’t belong – Lady Gaga, Grateful Dead, ELP and DMX – while others were from bands that seemed to be on the cusp (Demon, Uriah Heep, Necro, Nazareth and others) but who at least, according to the author, didn’t achieve the level of metal-ness required to be included as a “true” metal act (at least, on the featured record). Whether you agree or disagree with whether they belonged on such a list or not, you have to give each of them a bit of credit for wanting to express themselves so heavily.

f) Hoping to “shed a little light” (you’ll see how clever I am when you see the cover image) on the story behind the Nick Cave album cover for his 2013 release Push The Sky Away which featuring his wife, model and fashion designer Susie Bick, in the buff in a photograph taken at the couple’s home by Dominique Issermann- https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-perfect-story-behind-nick-caves-naked-album-cover-starring-wife-susie-bick/

The French fashion photographer was on hand to capture this image as part of an assignment for a French fashion magazine, which only goes to show you…how to save money on an album cover shoot?

g) Finally, if you find yourself with a few minutes to kill this weekend and want to challenge your knowledge of album-related artwork – particularly, band logos – I’d invite you to take this quiz you’ll find on the Topix.com site – Not meaning to brag (too much), but I got 40 out of 40, although I did have to guess on one of them, but got it right, lucky me! – https://offbeat.topix.com/quiz/17911/  In this brand-driven society, it’s nice to see that I’ve been thoroughly penetrated by the power of these iconic images.

That’s all for now – stay tuned and 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.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover News Recap For February, 2016

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – April, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 27th – Special Fashion Edition…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Record Store Day posting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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