Album Cover News Recap – January, 2014 – by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Wow – quite the month in news and info on album cover art, artists and exhibitions! The Grammys highlighted the talents of two strong design teams, while a number of exhibitions opened featuring the work of a whole host of talented designers, artists and photographers. With more (young) folks finding out for themselves about the joy of listening to music on LPs, they’re also getting to take advantage of the nice packages their favorite music is delivered in. It’s great to see and something I’m hoping continues on an upward trajectory.
In case you missed my daily postings this month, here’s a link to a page with a recap of the best articles I’ve seen lately –
January 31 – Sometimes, it seems that for every serious piece of artwork created as an album cover there’s someone spoofing it in a blog, Tumblr or Pinterest site. This one, though, just appealed to me and so I thought it necessary to share it with you. As a fan of metal music, I tend to appreciate the intricate details of the often-grandiose – and occasionally disgusting – works of art created for metal album covers but, you have to admit, sometimes they’re a bit over-the-top (no!!) and some could really use a little lightening up. Well, it seems that I’m not the only one that thinks this, and so I invite you to visit the “Metal Albums With Googly Eyes” Tumblr – you’ll be glad you did! Can’t wait to try this on some of my own favorites… http://metalalbumswithgooglyeyes.tumblr.com/
January 30 – The talented team at Backstage Studio Design – winners of this year’s Grammy for “Best Recording Package” for their work on the Reckless Kelly Long Night Moon record – were kind enough to provide a detailed “peek behind the curtains” of their creative process in crafting their award-winning package in this feature on their site – it’s an impressive undertaking, with many moving parts – no wonder that they impressed Grammy voters in this category! Enjoy – http://backstagedesigns.com/2013/12/10/reckless-kelly-long-night-moon/
January 29 – Two noted album cover image creators are featured in today’s news –
1) Artist/Designer Milton Glaser has created a long list of iconic images, including the “I Love NY” (i.e., I Heart NY) logo and the beautiful multi-color poster of Bob Dylan packaged in his 1966 “Greatest Hits” record. Now, working with the print publisher/gallery Rock Paper Photo, Glaser is offering prints of newer images, including a stunning psychedelic prints of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson (reasonably priced starting at $200) – http://www.rockpaperphoto.com/milton-glaser?utm_source=Eblast&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Beatles64012814
2) ACHOF-inducted photographer Annie Leibovitz‘s traveling photo exhibition titled “Pilgrimage” will be opening Feb. 8 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. Over 70 photos are included in the show, including shots of national parks, Thomas Jefferson’s home and Elvis Presley’s motorcycles. The exhibit will be up through the summer – here’s more info as presented on the KFVS Channel 12 web site – http://www.kfvs.com/story/24571489/leibovitz-photography-exhibit-opens-in-springfield
January 28 – Fans of punk music, style and thought should make a beeline over to the Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia between now and the Ides of March (3/15) to see the new exhibition there titled “Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk”. Consisting of hundreds of posters, flyers, album covers and other related memorabilia, the display was sourced from collector Andrew Krivine and will be supported with lectures, films, punk karaoke and a host of other activities. The gallery has a number of great photos up from their opening night that show the impressive displays – if anyone in the area goes, please be sure to share your photos with us – more on this at http://artdaily.com/news/67708/The-Galleries-at-Moore-College-of-Art—Design-open-a-survey-of-punk-and-post-punk-graphic-design
January 27 – Creative Review writer Rachael Steven has given us fans a very nice summary article of the nominees and winners in both album art-related Grammy categories – so much so, I don’t feel that there’s much more to add (thanks, Rachael!). I’m hoping to get interviews with both winning teams but, until then, here’s the scoop – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/january/grammy-packaging-awards
January 27, #2 – All of the Grammy excitement distracted me from showing you the latest work from another classic album cover designer. Judas Priest fans know and love Roslaw Szaybo‘s memorable work – he designed the band’s logo and the razor blade cover for British Steel – and now the 80-year-old designer has created another heavy metal masterpiece for an upcoming release for the band Scream Maker. Read more about it on the Blabbermouth.net site – http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/artist-behind-judas-priests-iconic-british-steel-album-is-back-in-heavy-metal-game/
I’d like to see the size of the aspirin this guy must have to take for the pain!
January 26 – The 2014 Grammy winners for the two album cover/packaging-related categories we cover have been announced, and the winners are:
1) The Grammy for “Best Recording Package” was won by Art Directors Sarah & Shauna Dodds for their work on Reckless Kelly’s “Long Night Moon” (released on No Big Deal Records), and
2) The Grammy for “Best Boxed or Special Limited-Edition Package” was won by Simon Earith & James Musgrave for their work on Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Wings Over America – Deluxe Edition“, done for Starbucks’ Hear Music label. Certainly a Beatle-happy weekend (with the band honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award – 50 years of music)!
Let’s give a hearty shout of “Congratulations!” to the winners and all of the nominees not chosen this year – keep up the good (great) work!
Read more about it on the Grammy.com site – http://www.grammy.com/nominees?genre=22
January 24 –
1) Here’s a link to Part 2 of the PBS special feature on album cover artist Joe Garnett, the man responsible for some of the artwork for musical acts including The Doors, Alice Cooper and – my favorite – the spacey Captain Beyond lenticular cover. A fascinating artist – you must see some of the things he’s been working on lately – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk9q54i7KnY&feature=youtu.be
2) Photographer Roberta Bayley, best-known for her album cover shots for a number of seminal NY punk acts, has remade her iconic cover photo for The Ramones’ debut album into an amazing new image that’s being used as part of a calendar to raise money for the non-profit that maintains NYC’s Washington Square dog run. You simply HAVE to see this – it’s about as punk as it gets! http://thevillager.com/2014/01/23/photographer-goes-from-punks-to-pugs-for-a-dog-runs-aid/
January 23 – Now, that’s a fine collection of album cover art! Happy to announce the posting of our newest “Featured Fan Collection” article, which highlights some of the fine album cover/music artwork included in the collection of Hypergallery director Rob Smeaton. In addition to managing the very-cool collection at Hypergallery.com, Rob’s been involved in the publishing of a number of fine album art prints for a number of well-known artists and musical acts, so it is a pleasure to be able to see some of his own favorites as well. We’ll be working on more of these articles this year but, in the meantime, feast your eyes (and try not to be too jealous) – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-hypergallery-director-rob-smeaton/
January 22 – This is the sort of thing that I’m hoping to see more of as time goes by – following up his recent appearance on SNL, Canadian artist Drake has created a site – based on the highly-praised album cover art featured on his Nothing Was The Same record release – that reflects your local weather conditions in the background image (!!). As reported on the Spin.com web site by writer Marc Hogan, the backgrounds can show rain, drizzle, sun, etc. I’m wondering what they’ll do to upgrade the site if/when he walks away with one or more of the Grammy Awards he’s nominated for – perhaps the expressions on the baby/adult images will show wide grins? Try it for yourself – here’s a link to the story http://www.spin.com/articles/drake-weather-forecast-new-york-nothing-was-same/
January 21 – Some days, I’m amazed at the variety of album art-related news stories I get to report on. In today’s bag –
1) Photographer Elliott Landy released a new video where he gives us fans of The Band a look behind the scenes while he was shooting photos for Music From Big Pink. Included are candid photos of the recording session and the band members goofing around near the house. It’s brief, but the visuals are very impressive – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1238043057/elliott-landys-photographs-of-the-bandthe-book/posts/724822
2) Great news for fans of Lady Gaga in China – she’s been removed from the government’s blacklist, allowing her latest records to be sold again, although with somewhat-edited album cover images and song titles. The article on the News.com.au site also includes a video of Gaga flying her new dress (that was not a typo) – enjoy – http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/china-lifts-gag-on-lady-gaga-allows-her-album-artpop-to-be-legally-sold-with-changes-to-cover-art/story-e6frfn09-1226807055059
January 20 – Two stories about album cover inspiration from two talented cover producers –
1) Daniel Murphy, designer for the Secretly Label Group, is featured in a nice interview article by Piet Levy in the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. Daniel’s done covers for Bon Iver, Dinosaur Jr., John Cale, Swan Lake and many others and talks about his path to album cover art stardom – http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/d3fd773f9df04558bf8dcbaf100578fd/WI–Album-Cover-Art/#.Ut2dExDTkrg
2) Now featured in a retrospective show at the Morrison Hotel Gallery (in the lobby of the Sunset Marquis Hotel in LA) to go along with the release of his book “Unpainted Faces“, photographer Henry Diltz shares stories behind his iconic cover photos for The Doors, CS&N, The Mamas & The Papas and many more. Still going strong at 75, Henry recently photographed Ringo Starr in Las Vegas and still plays with his old band mates from the Modern Folk Quartet. Read reporter Diane Bock’s story on The California Report site – http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201401171630/e
January 17 – Use your artistic skills to create an album cover for some of your favorite musical acts and, at the same time, help raise money for a great cause. The folks running the Secret 7″ album art competition have released the info on the musical acts – including Black Sabbath, Lorde, Roxy Music, T-Rex and others – who’ve agreed to lend their music to this fund-raiser for the War Child charity. A number of world-renowned artists have contributed their designs in the past, so why not take a look and join the list. You have until February 19th to enter, with an auction of all of the entries (up to 700 of them) taking place in mid-April at London’s Mother London gallery. More details via this article on the Creativity Online site – http://creativity-online.com/news/mother-invites-creatives-to-design-an-iconic-record-sleeve/290991
January 16 – Tell us about the album art/posters/photographs you have in your personal collections and you could be featured in an article on the ACHOF site!. We just launched a new feature area on the site called “Featured Fan Collections” which will include articles on the personal collections of album cover/music art fans from all over the world. The first article focuses on selections from everyone’s favorite ACHOF Curator (hey, that’s me!) which, hopefully, will provide some insight into the what’s and why’s of including rock art in a fine art collection. Will it explain why I see no problem displaying Prog Rock album cover art next to WPA-era examples of Early California Modernism? Perhaps but, in the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at this and, if so motivated, use the handy form at the end of the article to send in info on your own collections for consideration in an upcoming article – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-main-page/achof-resources-featured-fan-collections/
January 15 – People’s creativity never ceases to amaze me, and when they use that creativity to produce something album cover-related, I’m all the more impressed. While I know that I’ve seen some examples of album cover re-creations done with Legos before, I’ve never seen a collection as comprehensive – and as well-done – as the one featured in this article by Caroline Taylor on the Paste Magazine site. The fact that these were done by a 17-year-old is also quite impressive. Feast your eyes, and share with your friends – http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/awesome_of_the_day/2014/01/album-art-made-from-legos.html
January 14 – Two items for today –
1) Sad news – the quite-excellent graphic artist Gary Grimshaw, best-known for his psychedelic posters for Detroit-area artists and venues, died on Monday at the age of 67. While he didn’t do a lot of album covers (his cover for Iggy Pop’s 1988 album Instinct is a good example of his style), his posters for Mr. Pop, the MC5 and many famous visiting acts at the Grande Ballroom have been prized by collectors for years. His work will live on – details on the Dangerous Minds site (thanks to Mark Kellogg for the head’s up on this story) – http://dangerousminds.net/comments/detroit_psychedelic_rock_poster_artist_grimshaw_dead_at_67
2) The works of photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker are the subject of a new exhibition at LA’s KM Fine Arts Gallery titled Bob Marley: I and Eye that is running now until February 18th. The wife of Jeff Walker, who was Island Record’s head of PR in the 1970s, accompanied her husband on trips to the islands and took a number of great shots of the leading reggae musicians there, including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear and a whole host of others. To find out more about the exhibition, curated by Cali Thornhill Dewitt of the Teenage Teardrops label, please take a look at this release on the ArtDaily web site – http://artdaily.com/news/67442/-Bob-Marley–I-and-Eye–The-Photos-of-Kim-Gottlieb-Walker–1975-1976–opens-at-KM-Fine-Arts
January 13 – Now’s your chance to help Popular Photography magazine update their “100 Best Album Cover Photos” list, which was last updated a few years back. While the current #1 – Andrew W.K.’s quite-bloody “I Get Wet” – certainly was a memorable photo, it’d be interesting to see what folks think today, based on a number of interesting new covers that premiered during the past few years (not including, hopefully, the cover photo for Mr. Springsteen’s new album – sheesh!). Add your own comments on the PopPhoto site – http://www.popphoto.com/photos/2013/12/100-best-album-cover-photos-ever-help-us-update-our-list
January 10 – Very happy to announce the publication of my new interview with Grammy-winning (and, again this year, nominated) designer David Turner about the impressive album cover/package he and his team created for Lou Reed and Metallica‘s 2011 release Lulu. As always, I’m impressed with the creativity and technical prowess of designers like David who, working with a wide variety of clients, continue to dazzle us with their work. Lots of nice photos accompany the article, including one with Lars Ulrich and photographer Stan Musilek hamming it up at an art exhibition (art is supposed to be fun, right?). Enjoy the read and please share with your friends and fellow album art fans – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/interview-with-david-turner-the-making-of-the-lulu-album-cover/
January 9 – Here’s an interesting discussion between photographer Chase Jarvis and his client, Mario Andreoni of the band !!!, about how a band decides how best to develop album cover imagery for their record releases. The band licensed a photo taken by Jarvis for the cover for their album titled “Thriller” (on the Warp Records label), which went on to be nominated for a Best Art Vinyl award this year. If you’d like to learn more about how a band works with both their label and a team of visual artists to create the “perfect” cover for their music, follow the link to this post on Chase’s site – http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2014/01/for-photographers-musicians-how-to-shoot-design-award-winning-album-cover-art/chk-chk-chk-cover_front/
January 8 – Album cover imagery continues to inspire articles on pop culture sites…in today’s installment, VH-1 writers Jordan Runtagh and Ben Smith present a selection of 25 “ridiculously illustrated” record covers from all areas of the music world. Included in the list are covers by rockers such as Dio (featuring a priest being drowned by a demon), rappers including Redman and RZA and a whole host of others who were quite motivated to present their fans with more-than-memorable cover art. While I wish they’d provided a bit more commentary on how they made their choices, I do appreciate the collection as it introduced me to some covers I’d never seen before (and, in a couple of cases, hope never to see again) – http://www.vh1.com/music/tuner/2014-01-07/the-most-ridiculous-illustrated-album-covers/
January 7 – Album Cover Licensing News – Shoe-maker Converse is partnering with Black Sabbath to produce a new series of Chuck Taylor All-Stars featuring cover art from the hit records Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Never Say Die! and Vol. 4. The shoes also feature special details such as stitched band logos and graphic lining. This is the band’s second collaboration with Converse. Read more about this on the Blabbermouth site – http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/black-sabbath-partners-with-converse-for-new-footwear-collection/
and then get behind me in line…
January 6 – Not sure exactly when this article was written, but it’s a nice read – writer Bill Demain gives us (via his column on Mental Floss) the (short) stories behind 22 of your favorite album covers.
Of course, if you’d like to read more (long-form) stories like these – say, about the making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/05/cover_story_dar.html
or artist Mick Haggerty (winner of a Grammy for Supertramp’s Breakfast in America) and his work on the Go-Go’s Vacation – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/09/cover-story-the.html
please feel free to read these on our archive site….
January 3 – The results are in, and the winner of this year’s “Best Art Vinyl” award goes to…artist Michael Kagan, whose oil painting used on the cover of White Lies’ record Big TV was the top vote-getter this year. Second place went to artist Paul Jackson for his cover for Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip’s Repent, Replenish, Repeat. To read more about the competition and to see the complete list of this year’s winners, please visit the Art Vinyl site at http://www.bestartvinyl.com/news-item/7.html
January 2 – The popular TV tattoo competition show “Best Ink” recently tested their contestants in an “Album Cover Flash Challenge“, asking them to create cover art for a new release by the band Plague Vendor. Host Pete Wentz brought them to the Viper Room in LA and tasked them to quickly develop artwork that would set the band’s new music apart and, based on what I saw of the artwork they created, I’m surprised that there aren’t a lot more tattoo art-based album covers (as opposed to tattoos based on album covers, like the Uriah Heep “Magician’s Birthday” art I carry around personally). Here’s a story written by Abbey Zelko on the Penn Live site, with abundant details and photos of the work (no spoiler here) – http://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/01/best_ink_episode_4_recap_pain.html
January 1 – To start the New Year off with a bang, I’d like to share an exciting discovery I made today – the album cover work of Montreal-based artist Shane Turner. Here’s a short video he produced of him creating the cover painting for Citabria‘s upcoming release titled Exit Reality. It’s really cool to see the image come together, and even more exciting to see it done freehand! While I wasn’t familiar with Shane’s work, I am a fan now! Here’s a link to his web site – http://www.shaneturnerart.com/p/about.html and here’s a link to his video on YouTube – http://youtu.be/ZSVpN8KneUI