Posted onSeptember 1, 2022|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary for September, 2022
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for September, 2022
Posted September 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
A late-Summer greeting to you all.
For the past 10 years, the ACHOF has worked to recognize and promote the talents of the people who’ve brought music fans and art collectors (and hybrids of both activities) the best in retail and online music packaging, graphics and photography. Helped each year by asking a panel of curators, gallerists, music marketing execs and writers/researchers who cover the topic, I’ve been able to deliver these details to my readers and, once a year in November, present the top vote-getters in our annual poll as inductees into the hallowed (virtual) halls of the ACHOF. What I haven’t been able to do is ask this site’s visitors and fans about their favorite album art-makers, and so to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launch of the ACHOF, I’m going to do just that.
Later next month, I will be posting a poll that will allow you to review the past winners in each of the active categories and then ask you to select your most-admired art directors, illustrators, designers and photographers, who’ll then be placed in special categories that will be called…well, what will we call them? We don’t want to call them “the best”, nor do we want to repurpose some of the popular names that the awards industry has used over time – “People’s Choice”, “Fan Favorites”, “Vox Populi”, “Diamond/Platinum/Gold Medal Winning”, etc. A quick trip to the thesaurus presents words and phrases like “title holder”, “prize winner” and “top dog”, among others, along with some that I think are a bit over the top, such as “conquering hero”, “vanquisher” and “numero uno”, so while I know that it must be something memorable and appropriate, I don’t think I’m quite ready to commit to anything. Now that I think about it, perhaps we should also rely on our readers to present their ideas for this project, keeping this year’s efforts all about YOUR notions for what’s good and right, so I’ll be adding a poll question for this task as well. Eager to see what you come up with – we have a LOT of creative types reading this newsletter, so I’m sure something great will show up.
Thanks in advance for your help. Now, back to the matters at hand.
Posted onAugust 1, 2022|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary for August, 2022
Posted August 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Mid-Summer greetings to you all. Since we last spoke, many of you have experienced extremes in several aspects of our lives – temperature, drought, economic uncertainty, politics, etc. – and so I hope that you’ve all managed to keep your heads above water (assuming that you have water) and your focus on what’s going well in your lives. I’ve been trying hard to keep a positive mindset, but I have to admit it’s been an effort aided by my discovery of some delicious new gins and other mixers (drop me a note if you’d like some recommendations). In any case, let’s get back to the matters at hand.
This past month’s research into all things album cover-related has uncovered a lot to read about and look into – some items being continuations of ongoing serials and other stories providing us with some new and exciting things: exhibitions, items for sale or auction, deeper dives into artists’ portfolios and several articles that uncover new and never-before-divulged details about some of our favorite covers. Overall, the frequency and quality of these news bites continues unabated. The fact that this news comes from sources all over the world certainly adds to the notion that the interest in great album cover art (and in the people that make it) knows no boundaries.
Posted onJuly 1, 2022|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for July, 2022
Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary for July, 2022, posted July 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Happy pre-Independence Day greetings to you all. We here in Chicagoland have gone through several days of nearly 100-degree heat as we passed from Spring into Summer, so we can only hope that things moderate a bit soon so we can leave our air-conditioned cocoons and enjoy the outdoors a bit. Wish us luck, and we’ll return the favor.
The month of June did include the conclusion of another auction featuring a rare item of original album art – the cover painting for one of the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s albums – which hit a fairly-impressive sales number when all of the bidding was done, the release of some fine art books featuring the works of some of the music business’ best-known designers and photographers and the passing of one of rock music’s (and the comic book/fantasy publishing world’s) better-known illustrators, Ken Kelly, along with a lot of interesting editorial work about album cover images and the people that make them so, with all that to consider, I’m suggesting that you take a moment away from the summertime activities you might typically enjoy and take a few moments to review and absorb all of the items and links I’ve shared with you this month.
Posted onJune 1, 2022|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for June, 2022
Posted June 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Greetings to you all. Now that June is upon us and thoughts of summertime fun and frolic begin to fill the empty (or is it “not yet filled”?) spaces of our minds, I know that it is up to me to work even harder to bring you things on the ACHOF site that have enough intrigue to grab your eyeballs and whatever attention span you have left to take a look at and, if I’ve done my job right, enjoy and pass on to your friends and others you think might enjoy them as well. This month’s summary, I believe, has enough examples of “who is doing what” in the world of album cover art and packaging that it may be worth your while to put down the barbeque tongs for a minute, grab your favorite beverage and scroll down the page a bit to see what’s on offer.
In this month’s summary, you’ll find updated reports about new and ongoing exhibitions, news about the ongoing efforts and output of some of the top talents working in music packaging, new items available for sale (including several new books and some interesting new prints) or at auction and scores of other items on our favorite topics. One item I’m hoping you’ll look at is the link in the Exhibitions section to a virtual display of the recent show of photographer Richard Beland’s works at the Brian Liss Gallery in Toronto as its really well-done and shows off how today’s technology can be used to transport us to places we might not see otherwise.
Posted onMay 1, 2022|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for May, 2022
Album Cover Hall of Fame’s News Update and Link Summary for May, 2022
Posted May 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Wow, what a month. Busy with so many things, and “the hits keep on coming”. You’d have thought that everyone’s attention would be focused on truly important things happening in and to our world – war, a refugee crisis, the world economy zig-zagging with every bit of news and several people who think that it is more important to legislate to remove vague references about some of the sad truths about U.S./World history than to address the ongoing issues head on – and yet those in the visual and musical arts continue to produce works that inspire us and make us think and smile. This month’s summary is my valiant attempt to share coverage of those efforts with all of you, so I do hope that you’ll spend a little time digging through the sections and sharing things you find interesting with others as well. We all need to learn how to share better, no?
I’m not a critic. In my mind, to be a critic, you need to know a lot about a topic and, to make your criticisms more believable, you should also have some first-hand experience and/or expertise in the creation of some things similar to what you might be expressing your opinions about. While the word “critic” is first defined (on dictionary.com) as “a person who judges, evaluates, or criticizes” (with the definition then expanded to “a person who judges, evaluates, or analyzes literary or artistic works, dramatic or musical performances, or the like, especially for a newspaper or magazine”), it’s the third definition that’s given – “a person who tends too readily to make captious, trivial, or harsh judgments” or a “faultfinder” that seems to better-define many of today’s professional critics in the arts and, for that reason, I’ve stayed away from really ever saying anything critical about the work of the people I cover on the ACHOF site.
Of course, it can be said that I do make value judgements when deciding what to include on the site or in my monthly news postings, and I really can’t argue with that. Editors and writers are critics by default, since we’re choosing to present a story (or a character in that story) from our own unique viewpoints, but I’d like to think that I’m presenting people and their stories in such a way that you as the readers are given enough basic information so that you then can make up your minds as to whether a story has been worth your time and/or has left you with some sense of satisfaction having learned something new and exciting (even when the subjects might have been well-covered previously). I’ve made one example of this – any article I find in which has been headlined something along the lines of “the Top 10” or “the 25 best album covers of all time – a running joke in my writing over the years, as I’m sure some of you have noticed. Yes, people are entitled to their opinions but, in most cases, scant thought or evidence of any specific method of how these “best” things are determined is ever presented and so, in those cases, I’ll either present them to you with a short-but-snarky intro or, perhaps more often lately, I’ll leave them for you to stumble across in some other fashion.
Posted onOctober 1, 2021|Comments Off on Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for October, 2021
Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for October, 2021
Posted October 1, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Now that Summer has ended and we’ve “officially” entered the Fall (or is it Autumn?) season, we can all celebrate the harvest, the changing colors of Fall foliage and the fact that the nominations and voting for this year’s class of inductees will begin in earnest during the month. More bios have been added to the site in preparation for this effort, so this prep works serves two good purposes (voting prep and more content on the site) at the same time.
While my work continues unabated, so do the efforts of the people responsible for packaging your favorite music products and so, to that end, this month’s edition of the ACHOF News Update and Summary is packed with more of the high-quality bits of album cover artist/art news and updates you’ve come to expect in these monthly summaries. Read on to see this month’s summary of these articles, posts and announcements I’ve gathered recently regarding all things regarding album cover artists and the art they produce. Their work – and our interest in and excitement about their work – endures and so, without further delay, let’s dive into this month’s summary.
ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR DECEMBER.
BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM
With the holiday season fully upon us, I know that you don’t have much time for reading (other than ads and reviews for the electronic gadgets you must buy this season), so I’ll get straight to the point – I was happy to announce the names of the talented individuals and design teams that were selected for inclusion in this year’s Class of Inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame a short while back, and with the Best Art Vinyl and Grammy Award noms and voting straight ahead of us, there’s been a fair amount of album cover artist/art-related news this past month. With my book project back on track, I really have only had the chance to gather a small selection of album cover artist/art-related news tidbits for you (and I’m even late doing that) so, without any further delay, here are those highlights, for your reading pleasure (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):
Grammy Award nominations are to be announced on December 7th (originally was to have been 12/5, but delayed in deference to the funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush), so I’ll post those in the album cover-related categories in a special announcement later this week.
Posted onNovember 4, 2014|Comments Off on Album Cover News Recap – October, 2014
Album Cover News Recap – October, 2014
by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor – AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
While the endless onslaught of mid-term election-centric items has certainly over-flowed most of our respective inboxes, the number of album cover-related news stories continues to impress and enthrall lovers of album imagery.
The news featured details of a number of new exhibitions, including shows at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Paul Simon), galleries in Brooklyn (NY), Los Angeles, Madison (WI) and elsewhere. Many new books featuring design/photography collections were released (just in time for the Holiday buying season, no doubt), including tomes by Norman Seeff, Danny Clinch, Guy Webster and two members of Fleetwood Mac – Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood. The Australian and New Zealand recording industry groups handed out awards for album art excellence, and there were not one but two fascinating efforts revealed where artists worked to bring some of our favorite album covers to life via some impressive animation work (album art continues to inspire creatives world-wide to show us their best work). Along a similar track, one UK-based design firm showed us some very imaginative re-interpretations of classic album art, working to show us “the rest of the story” (see the October 27 entry for more details). Other worthy items include a passel of interviews and your Curator’s personal review of a nice bottle of Pink Floyd-inspired cabernet.
Voting has started on this year’s class for the Album Cover Hall of Fame, with nominations posted on October 20th. In preparation for this year’s ACHOF voting efforts, many new biographies have been added to the site this past month to both aid the efforts of our voting panel and expand the knowledge of our fans. This year’s nominees in the seven categories began their careers sometime during the period from 1990 – present, with the list of inductees published on November 24th, so stay tuned for further developments.
In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed due to the distractions of everyday life (after all, even though you’re all busy, this doesn’t mean you have to go without those things most-important to you, right?). We’re working every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site.
October 31 – 1) A must-view for fans of album cover art and Adobe After-Effects software, a new video by director Vanya Heymann brings a number of your favorite record covers to life in a truly astounding fashion. Some of you will recall Heymann’s previous work, taking Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” track and delivering it in a multi-channel, synch’d fashion, with every “channel” on his TV showing various people, in various settings, singing the song. In today’s example, you’ll find an interesting troupe of musicians – from Lou Reed to Madonna to Prince and ABBA (among many others) – beat-boxing to a musical track by artist Roy Kafri. I’m set to interview Vanya about this effort – I really just want to know how he managed to get Carole King’s cat to jump off that window sill! Watch this – you’ll be glad you did –http://petapixel.com/2014/10/25/famous-album-cover-photos-come-life-creative-music-video/
2) The daughter of “Sunshine Superman” Donovan has entered the fashion world with a line of high-quality t-shirts featuring album artwork from a variety of popular musical acts. Astrella’s “Musical T’s” collection features both original album cover art along with “re-interpretations” of some better-known works by artists including Miguel Paredes. You’ll find designs from acts including Elton John, Ray Charles, Cyndi Lauper, the Neon Trees, Ravi Shankar and many others, and there’s an exciting “extra” included with your purchase – a download of music by the act featured on your new T-shirt! There are new designs coming out this Fall, so click on over to the site and see if there’s something there to help you stand out in a crowd – http://astrellainc.com/
3) Album art fans in the Pittsburgh, PA area should head on over to the Most-Wanted Fine Art Gallery sometime before the 30th of November to browse through a new exhibition there featuring the talents of area native Mozelle Thompson, who art directed and illustrated album packages for an impressive line-up of talent in musical genres including jazz, country, stage, film, folk and early rock. Working as a freelance illustrator, according to the article by Nick Keppler in the Pittsburgh City Paper, “From 1953 to 1969, Thompson designed book covers, children’s books, posters of Broadway shows and at least 100 album covers, for discs by artists including Lightnin’ Hopkins, Cab Calloway, Hank Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Elvis Presley.” The exhibition is built around the collection of local DJ J.Malls, who sought out records featuring this “forgotten” artist’s work after discovering a drawing of Thompson’s on an album of speeches by the late Dr. Martin Luther King. http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/an-exhibit-showcases-classic-album-covers-by-a-forgotten-local-artist/Content?oid=1787449
October 30 – 1) There’s a new exhibit on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland that will be of great interest to fans of Paul Simon. Titled “Paul Simon: Words & Music”, the display includes a large cache of Simon-related memorabilia, including (of course) a number of examples of his album cover imagery (great photography, progressive graphics). What’s cool about the exhibit is that there are a number of aspects of it that are narrated by Paul Simon himself (culled from a number of interviews about the subjects at hand). Among the dozens of historical items are hand-written lyrics, photographs, cover images from classic Simon and Simon & Garfunkel LPs including Bookends, Graceland, Bridge Over Troubled Water, etc., as well as personal correspondence between Paul and Art G. (including a letter from one to the other written at “sleep-away camp”!). The displays are in the Hall’s Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibition Space – more info at https://rockhall.com/exhibits/paul-simon-words-and-music-exhibit-rock-hall/
2) As part of a promotion for their new release titled Run The Jewels 2, Mass Appeal recording artists Run The Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike) have also launched a world-wide “street art initiative” where they’ve invited artists from many different countries to put up their own interpretations of the group’s album imagery (based on designs by artist Nicholas Gazin). The response has been strong, with over 30 artists riffing on the basic design elements – two opposing hands, with one pointing like a gun and the other holding chains – on walls from Melbourne, Australia to Berlin, Germany to Bejing, China. The variations on the theme are quite impressive – take a look for yourself on the Tumblr built in support of this effort – http://tagthejewels.tumblr.com/about
October 29 – 1) To add some additional info to one of the stories posted yesterday (the one about the Pink Floyd DSOTM-related wine), writer Anna Horan just posted an interview with one of the principal designers for that memorable album cover – Aubrey Powell – on the Noisey web site. Promoting the recently-published (and soon to be released in the U.S.) book on the impressive output by the Hipgnosis design firm (titled Hipgnosis Portraits), Powell talks about “the salad days” of album cover design, when great art and experimentation – along with building an instantly-recognizable design ID for their clients – was the motivating factor behind all of their work. Their portfolio of images for Led Zeppelin, 10cc, The Doors, T. Rex, Peter Gabriel and many others is recognized by designers and fans as one of the most-influential of the entire rock art era, so why not take a read and learn more about “Po” and his mates via the link – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/a-chat-with-aubrey-po-powell-one-of-the-guys-behind-the-dark-side-of-the-moon-cover-design
PS – I tried the Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet last night with a spaghetti, peppers and sweet Italian chicken sausage dinner, and it proved to be quite good!
2) With all of the Halloween-related activities on everyone’s docket these days, it only makes sense to inform you about a recent article by writer Andrea Shea’s (on WBUR’s “The Artery” site) about Cambridge (MA)-area author Peter Bebergal’s new book titled “Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll.” Some of the research for his book involved pouring over classic rock music for themes, lyrics and, as you might have noticed yourselves at some point during your youth, album images that might have indicated some either obvious or perceived connections between the music and the supernatural. According to Shea, “that ‘occult imagination’ conjures everything from Ouiji boards to Christian and Jewish symbolism to LSD trips to alternative spiritual practices. Bebergal says it ultimately helped rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath save rock from sounding too poppy, sappy and mainstream.” So, this Halloween, why not turn down the lights, fire up some candles, open a bottle of Dark Side of the Moon wine (!!) and dig deep into the imagery found on your favorite albums – you know that something spooky has got to be buried in that artwork, right? http://artery.wbur.org/2014/10/24/occult-saved-rock-and-roll-peter-bebergal
October 28 – 1) Nice article on the ArtSlant site titled “10 Iconic Punk Record Sleeves”, written by Thomas Howells. While punk art was easily dismissed by the traditional art world, several artists and photographers whose work was featured on significant records in this musical genre have since achieved a greater degree of fame, so it is good to see examples of work by artists who lovers of great album art will know on sight, but might not know any details about. While the article doesn’t delve into who produced the work on display (rather, they’re referenced by their impact on fans of punk music/culture), I’m happy to see examples by talented artists including Mad Marc Rude (Misfits, The Offspring, L.A. Guns and others) and another “featured player” – i.e., the cartoon nerd found on many Descendents covers – done by Jeff Atkinson. See the whole selection via the link at http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/41165
2) So, I was shopping at World Market this morning and came across a display of wines by the Ukiah, California-based producer named Wines That Rock Vineyards and, like the hopeless collector I am, found myself taking home a bottle of their 2012 “The Dark Side of the Moon” Cabernet Sauvignon (see photos, below). When a label tells you that “Pink Floyd’s Epic Masterpiece was the inspiration for this Cabernet…” and that purchasers should “fill your glass, turn up the volume, and enjoy the taste of The Dark Side of The Moon“, who am I not to give it a try. Of course, the bottle features both the front and back-cover images, created by the talented team at Hipgnosis, and for those of you looking for a complete DSOTM wine experience, you can purchase a special “#1 Fan Gift Pack” that consists of two bottles of wine, a Wines That Rock cork puller, bottle stopper and DSOTM baseball cap. Other wines in the series have been inspired by The Police, Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones, but I’ll let you know more about the wine after dinner tonight…To read a summary about the classic Floyd record on the Wines That Rock site, click on the link – http://www.winesthatrock.com/Sound-And-Vision/Dark-Side-of-the-Moon
October 27 – 1) I always knew that we weren’t getting to see “the bigger picture” when it came to our favorite album cover images, but the fine folks at the Aptitude design firm in the U.K. are looking to fix all that via the work they now have on display on their web site. If you always wanted to know why that Nirvana baby was swimming so fast or where exactly Michael Jackson was standing on his Off The Wall cover, Gary and his team are happy to oblige by showing us the whole scene. There’s a bit of a write up on this in Johnny Firecloud’s article on the Crave Online site –http://www.craveonline.com/music/articles/779191-the-bigger-picture-behind-iconic-album-covers – or you can go to Aptitude’s site to see the latest in the series – http://www.aptitude.co.uk/blog/album-covers/ I always felt that there was something behind Adele’s unprecedented success – now I know what she had to sell to achieve it!
2) Writing for the U.K.’s Independent, author Norman Rosenthal’s interview with the uber-successful pop artist Jeff Koons does provide me with a bit more insight into his work done for Lady Gaga’s last album cover (the one before Tony Bennett), but it does little to explain to me why his works continue to command such incredible prices (how many Picassos can you buy for $25M?). And now he tells me that I shouldn’t laugh when I see his work? I’m not laughing at him – I’m impressed with the quality of construction of his pieces – rather, I’m laughing at the thought that folks have placed such a high value on it. The highest-priced album art originals (I think that you can buy Roger Dean’s original painting for YESSONGS for $500K at the San Francisco Art Exchange) sell for 98% less than a balloon dog by Mr. Koons – is that right? Read this article and let me know if I’m just a jealous guy – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/jeff-koons-interview-artist-on-making-lady-gagas-album-cover-and-the-empowerment-of-art-9816034.html
October 24 – 1) There’s a new Color of Sound show launching today at the Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn (916 Bedford Ave.) featuring jazz, hip-hop and martial arts-inspired artwork, brought to you by the folks at Shaolin Jazz. Shaolin Jazz shows are built around the paintings, photographs, posters and other items of a visual nature that have been part of the group’s numerous events, competitions andeducational efforts. Always lots of talent on display and well worth your time to visit – more details on their site at http://gmoney77.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/color-of-sound/
2) There was a show worth viewing at the Morrison Hotel Gallery at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles between October 24th and November 7th – the photo show that accompanies the release of photographer Danny Clinch’s new book titled Still Moving. There was a great selection of shots that feature subjects including Bruce Springsteen (who Clinch first met while working as an assistant for another esteemed photographer, Annie Leibovitz), Neil Young, Tupac Shakur and many others. The stories behind these photos make the book even more compelling – more on this in this recent article on the LAist web site – http://laist.com/2014/10/22/danny_clinchs_still_moving.php
3) Speaking of Neil Young – to help draw attention to his new album , titled Storytone, that will be released in early November, and a newly-published book titled Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars, Mr. Young will be exhibiting creations of a visual kind in a show of his prints and watercolors that will be staged at the Robert Berman Gallery in Los Angeles beginning November 3rd. The show is titled “Special Deluxe” and will include the painting that is featured on the album cover of his new record, along with other watercolors and prints he’s done. The exhibit will kick off with a reception on Nov. 3rd, with the artist in attendance, and the show will be up until the end of the month. To learn more, visit the gallery’s site at –http://www.robertbermangallery.com/exhibitions/neil-young-special-deluxe#2
October 23 – 1) Those of you with keen scientific minds will get a kick out of my correspondence with the editor of the American Mensa Society’s newsletter about their ongoing “bracket challenge” to determine the Best Album Cover Art. I want to thank Chip Taulbee for his detailed response, giving us a look behind the curtain as to how really intelligent people approach the analysis of purely subjective topics. Please share with your album art-loving friends, and be sure to add your votes to this year’s challenge (final results will be published in January – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/a-scientific-approach-to-determining-the-best-in-album-cover-art/
2) Considered one of Ireland’s modern Renaissance men, designer/musician Steve Averil’s career has produced an impressive amount of fine art and music. Music fans will know and appreciate his work as one of the Radiators From Space, while album art fans will recognize his work as an art director for clients including Elvis Costello and U2 (who he’s guided on ALL of their records, set designs and merchandise). In this article (and video) produced by Tony Clayton-Lea for the Irish Times site, Averil provides fans with a lot of insight into his 40+ year career in the music business, including the time he realized that forgoing the music side of his career to focus 100% on design would be “quite liberating”… http://www.irishtimes.com/…/steve-averill-s-life-in-irish-r…
3) Finally – RIP photographer Alfred Wertheimer, best-known for his early portraits of the up-and-coming star Elvis Presley, who died this past Sunday in his NYC home at the age of 85. Always loved the intimacy of Wertheimer’s work – more on his legacy in this article on the Huffington Post site by the AP’s Linda Deutch – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/alfred-wertheimer-dead_n_60…
October 22 – Two bits of info for fans of classic prog album art:
1) The folks at Storm Studios – the studio formerly helmed by the late Storm Thorgerson, responsible for many iconic album covers including Dark Side of the Moon, Peter Gabriel’s “melty” cover Led Zep’s Houses of the Holy and now run by several of his former design mates – are stretching their creativity in new directions, taking some of their works and bringing them into the 3rd dimension! According to their latest press release – “We are working with Coriander and Prof. Martin Richardson at De Montfort University, to create an eye-popping ‘3D’ lenticular print..our first lenticular image is a rendering of the cover we made for Steve Miller’s ‘Bingo!'” This lenticular (ala the cool covers done in the past for Captain Beyond and “Satanic Majesty’s..” for the Rolling Stones), along with two super-large-format (50″ x 60″!!) prints, were on display last week as part of the Multiplied Art Fair hosted by Christie’s in the Brompton Road, which ran concurrently with the Frieze art fair. More on this and other Storm Studios “Big Prints” via the link – http://www.stormsight.co.uk/bigbingo.html
2) On a related topic – While my art world spies usually keep me on top of all things album cover-related, this one slipped by, so I’m sorry for the lateness of the reporting. Prog Magazine/Team Rock – organizers of the prestigious Prog music awards show – this year added a special award named in honor of the late, great Storm Thorgeson, aptly called the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award and given to the designer/team responsible for the best album packaging in the genre. This year’s recipient is designer Mark Wilkinson, the designer of the package for A Feast of Consequences by Fish. In the linked video of the ceremonies held in late September, Fish and Mark W. accept the award together, with the musician giving great kudos to both the designer and the entire notion of how important the visuals are in marketing music today. Congratulations to Mr. Wilkinson on his award for a job very well-done. http://www.teamrock.com/videos/2014-09-24/watch-fish-picking-up-the-grand-design-award
October 21 – 1) Of course, when you’re born with a name like Mick Rock, it seems certain that your career path is pre-ordained (I knew a guy who’s last name was Doctor, and I’m pretty certain he went on to be one). With a recent show in NYC in support of his new book (titled “Exposed“) just ending, writer Matthew Kassel of the New York Observer caught up with the renowned photographer (creator of album covers for Queen, Lou Reed and the Ramones, among others) to ask him about some of the relationships he’s developed over the past 40+ years in the business and, unfortunately, joining the long list of journalists who’ve asked Mick “what’s your favorite photo?” (his least-favorite question). Read more via the link at http://observer.com/2014/10/mick-rock-looks-back-on-five-decades-of-music-photography/
2) Christopher Krovatin, writing for Vice’s “Noisey” music site, makes a strong argument to music producers about the importance of their investment in good album cover art. Responding to another blogger’s reaction to the album art featured on one band’s latest release – in which he said that, due to the “fact” that album art has been miniaturized to the point where it has no impact – Christopher goes on to remind that blogger and his readers that a musical act’s visuals are still greatly important for several well-considered reasons. I’m certainly happy to read such an argument coming from a contributor to a “trendy” music site as it serves to show that, even these days, the most-successful musical acts understand that it takes more than just a hit single to build and maintain a long-term relationship with fans (and that one of the most-important ways is via art, photography and video content). Nice job, Christopher! http://noisey.vice.com/blog/we-should-all-be-able-to-judge-an-album-by-its-cover
October 20 – Very pleased to announce the nominees for this year’s class of inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame. Based on the preliminary voting done by our panel of experts from around the world, you’ll find that each of the nominees in the seven categories that are voted upon brings an extensive portfolio of great work and are certainly worth consideration. The focus of this year’s voting is on people whose first credits for album cover work began after 1990.
Voting began in early November to select this year’s inductees, with the winners announced on November 25. More to come, so stay tuned.
October 16 – more interesting info on album cover photographers:
1) Former Annie Leibovitz intern – and now photo industry heavyweight – Danny Clinch is releasing a new book of his work that looks like it will be a must for fans of rock ‘n’ roll imagery. Titled Still Moving – and featuring a intro by Clinch fan Bruce Springsteen, the book provides an insightful look into Danny’s career and the relationships he’s built throughout the years he’s been active with a wide range of musical acts including the Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam, Afghan Whigs, Bjork, Tupac Shakur and many others. Writing for the PopMatters site, author Sachyn Mital’s article about Clinch provides fans with an up-close-and-personal interview with one of today’s most-prolific shooters (photos, videos, etc.) in the pop music genre – http://www.popmatters.com/feature/186417-an-interview-with-danny-clinch-still-moving/
2) Having just produced the cover shot for Carrie Underwood‘s new record, you’d think that Nashville-based photographer Jeremy Cowart would be able to rest his laurels on his country music clientele – but you’d be wrong! His talents have exposed him to music producers all over the country, so he’s been able to extend his client base to include acts including Sting, Rob Thomas and Britney Spears. His rapid rise to industry prominence is truly an interesting one, so it is good to have been able to read this recent article on him posted by writer Lauren Drell on the Mashable site – http://mashable.com/2014/10/12/jeremy-cowart-okdothis/
3) Pleased to report the results for the winner in the Best Album Cover category in this year’s Vodaphone New Zealand Music Awards. The honor went to designer Anna Taylor for her work on Liam Finn’s record titled The Nihilist. Other nominees included Henrietta Harris (for Grayson Gilmour’s Infinite Life!) and Robert Wallace (for LADI6’s Automatic). The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards events are produced annually by Recorded Music New Zealand Limited, the organization responsible for music industry representation, advocacy and licensing for recording artists and their labels in New Zealand.
Congratulations to the nominees and to the winner for a job well-done – more info at http://www.nzmusicawards.co.nz/award-category/best-album-cover-2014/
October 15 – 1) The world’s smartest people choose the world’s best album covers! Each year, the Mensa Society organizes a “bracket challenge”, inviting members and other interested parties to select “best ofs” in various areas of interest (past challenges have included heroes, inventions and toys). This year, the group decided to throw their focus to determining, in a totally subjective, slightly-scientific and non-definitive way, which modern-era album cover is “the best”. I contacted the organization to find out more about their methodology and will send out a follow-up posting once I get back the info I asked for but, in the meantime, if you’d like to see the 64 record covers – organized into “Madness-style” brackets of 16 in each of four categories – and add your vote, please visit their site at http://us.mensa.org/play/bracket-challenge/ Voting began this week and will advance one round each week, with the final tallies and winner announced in the group’s January 2015 newsletter. May the “best” cover win!!
2) The Flaming Lips released their re-make of the classic Beatles album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (featuring a supporting cast including My Morning Jacket, Moby, Miley Cyrus and many others) at the end of October and the album cover for the record features the psychedelic stylings of artist Oliver Hibert. Originally from Seattle, Hibert went on to become a sensation as a young artist, with his first gallery show at the age of 16 and subsequent commissions from the likes of MTV, Disney, Nike and the BBC (he did the colorful cover for the 2013 release by Wooden Shjips titled “Back To Land” as well). Looking at the cover art, I see influences from The Fool design collective, famous for their work on covers for The Hollies, Incredible String Band and, coincidentally, created the original designs for the Sgt. Peppers record, which were later rejected by the band, replacing them with the now-famous collage by Peter Blake. More on this record and the updated groovy cover design in Dean Van Nguyen’s article on the NME’s news site – http://www.nme.com/news/the-flaming-lips/80325
October 14 – Three stories for fans of fine rock ‘n’ roll photography:
1) The estate of the late famed rock photographer Jim Marshall announced the release of a new book – titled The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution – featuring over 200 never-before-seen shots from his archives. The production team dug through over 100K (!!) images to select the ones that they thought would best-represent the man and his ongoing impact on the world of photo-journalism. In addition to shots of well-known rock music icons, you’ll find many photos that provide you with insights into what was happening in the world – protests against the war, civil rights marches, etc. – as they put it, not only will you see photos of Hendrix, but you’ll also see images of the world he lived in. You can read more about it in Freda Kahen-Kashi’s article on the ABC News site and the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange hosted a gallery show to coincide with the books release October 18th, with the mayor of SF launching the festivities by naming that day “Jim Marshall Day”. http://abcnews.go.com/News/famed-rock-and-roll-photographer-jim-marshalls-newly-released-photos/blogEntry?id=26172130
2) The Morrison Hotel Galleries in SOHO/NYC and at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, CA are currently showing a selection limited-edition prints of of self-portrait photos taken by rock goddess Stevie Nicks. Titled “The Self Portrait Collection”, the show includes 24 different images, including one titled “24 Karat Gold” which is used on the cover of Stevie’s 2014 record of the same name. The large format prints (30″ x 35″ up to 60″ x 70″) are all hand-signed by the artist and are priced from $2,500 to $10,000. The shows were on display at the CA gallery until 10/21 and at the NYC gallery until 10/31. For more info on the prints, visit the gallery’s site at https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/photographer/default.aspx?photographerID=164
3) Lastly but not leastly (!!), fans of photographer Norman Seeff, the talent responsible for hundreds of your favorite album covers for musical acts ranging from Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones to Ray Charles and KISS should book a flight to the Madison, WI area to visit a new exhibition featuring Seeff’s work that is on display at the art gallery at Promega’s BioPharmaceutical Technology Center in Fitchburg, on display until Jan. 2, 2015 there. Working with a collector/consultant by the name of Daniel Swadener, who became enamored with Seeff’s work after purchasing a print at a Tempe, AZ estate sale (and who, incidentally, curates four art shows per year at Promega’s gallery), the display – part of a show called “The Power and the Passion to Create,” includes 30 works from Seeff’s impressive archives. You can read more about this in Doug Moe’s column on the Wisconsin State Journal site at http://host.madison.com/news/local/columnists/doug-moe/doug-moe-norman-seeff-s-power-and-passion/article_5143556f-800e-5cea-8f3f-23d687969888.html
October 13 – I read with great interest the recent article in the LA Times about a new music release – titled You Are What You Listen To, released on 10/14 on Atlantic Records – by friend of ACHOF Gary Calamar and, as I’m always curious as to what inspires the images found on record covers, I sent Gary an email to get a bit more detail about this work. If you’re not familiar with Gary’s name, you’ve definitely heard his work – here’s a bit of background…Gary is a DJ at KCRW and a five-time Grammy Nominated TV/Film Music Supervisor who has produced the memorable soundtracks for a number of popular shows including Dexter, Entourage, House, Six Feet Under, True Blood and Weeds. He’s also the co-author of the critically-acclaimed book about record store culture – past and present – titled Record Store Days. In addition, he has a very impressive collection of music-related art and memorabilia, which is how I first made his acquaintance…
To give ACHOF readers an inside scoop, I asked Gary to give me a little info about “the making of” the cover image for his new EP, and here’s what he told me: “Hi Mike, good to hear from you. Yes, this is all very exciting! There actually is a bit of a story on the EP cover. It is an homage to an ad campaign for John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges album. I always loved this campaign for its “listen to” slogan and the graphic design. My designer, John Girgus, put my cover together. The photo of me is by Stephanie Hernstadt, taken in the KCRW Music Library.”
Lennon’s original Walls And Bridges record, released in 1974, featured design/art direction by Roy Kohara and, in addition to a number of hand-drawn elements done by John himself, it featured photographs by Bob Gruen. The promo photos that inspired Gary’s designs were also featured prominently in the picture book that accompanied the recording in which the photos were “sliced and diced” and re-arranged into several interesting (if not a bit silly) collages.
October 10 – 1) In the first of two mosaic-related stories, the Latin Grammy folks released the artwork for this year’s program and related items and it features the impressive work of Roy Feinson, an artist who has worked hard to create this intricate mosaic from photos taken at previous Latin Grammy events. You may recall Roy’s previous work for the Recording Academy, who selected him to create the artwork for the group’s 50th Anniversary several years ago. Since then, he’s improved his software to be able to trim photos to the precise sizes needed to create the proper color/shading effects needed for his finished pieces, so this new work is one you’ll need to look carefully at in order to fully-appreciate what he’s done. There’s an interview (by Bruce Britt) with the artist up now on the up on the Latin Grammy site where he goes into detail about his process – well worth the read – http://www.latingrammy.com/en/news/roy-feinson-lights-a-cultural-fuse-with-15th-latin-grammy-art
2) Rocker Melissa Etheridge was on Good Morning America this week, happy to share the story of the making of the mosaic for the cover for her new record, simply titled This Is M.E., which was based on images sent to her by her fans. She’s also featured on the cover of this month’s AARP Magazine (along with Sheryl Crow, in an article about “Boomers That Rock”), so there’s plenty for ME fans to be happy about this month – you can watch the video on the Brightshop Marketing site at http://brightshopmarketing.com/melissa-etheridge-discusses-her-mosaic-album-cover-on-gma/
3) While fellow Fleetwood Mac member John McVie has been the better-known fine artist in the group (he shot the photo used on the cover of the band’s Bare Trees record back in the early 70s), drummer Mick Fleetwood has been developing his own photographic style – hand-embellishing photos he has taken during his world travels to create unique works of art – and now he’s putting them on display in a gallery show at the Liss Gallery in Yorkville (Toronto), Canada. He was on hand for a private reception there on October 17 in advance of the close of the show at the end of that month. To find out more about this show and Fleetwood’s feelings about both his art and his music, read Laura Kane’s article on the Calgary Herald‘s web site at http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/story.html?id=10267261
October 9 – 1) While the “resurgence” in the sales of vinyl records hasn’t exactly brought the revenues for the recorded music industry back to its pre-digital heights, it certainly has given album cover artists the larger-format canvas that they most-liked to work on. In an article by journalist John Meagher in Ireland’s Independent, he muses about a number of album images that, for him, represented “best-ofs” in their various categories – best merger of art & music, best depiction of glam rock, best mix of fashion and heartache, and several others. Read the rest of his list of “the best album artwork of all time” via the link – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/the-list-the-best-album-artwork-of-all-time-30627489.html
2) In an article posted by Ocsuro on the Metal Underground site, the writer has given readers a list of album covers that, whether intentional or not, have strikingly-similar designs. Titled “Look-Alike Metal Album Covers (Part 2)”, the author works to provide a bit of background for both the original image and the “copycat”, showing that all art tends to rely on influences from the past. For example, the covers for both Savatage’s Fight For The Rock and Status Quo’s In The Army Now (both from 1986), as well as earlier records by Uriah Heep and Electric Flag, were the artists’ takes on the famous raising the flag at Iwo Jima photo from WW2. More on this and other examples can be found via the link at http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=106763
October 8 – 1) While I don’t quite get the motivations of a site dedicated to items of a “green” nature (helping folks save the planet), it seems clear that there are album art lovers of all stripes who are happy to share their appreciation of the art form by crafting articles like the following one – “15 Awesome Album Covers Starring Animals”, posted by Jaimi Dolmage on the One Green Planet site. Included are classics such as Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, The Fat Of The Land by Prodigy and Weezer’s Raditude along with a dozen others from musical acts across the industry spectrum. Can you think of others that belong on this list? I’ll start with a couple – Zappa’s Ruben & The Jets and Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES…Your turn – http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/awesome-album-covers-starring-animals/
2) Writer Scott Sterling has posted an article on the Radio.com site in which he’s documented “10 Album Covers You Can Actually Visit”, carrying on the tradition of sites that have identified the actual places depicted on album cover designs. While the Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti (NYC) and Pink Floyd Animals (Battlesea Power Station) examples have been seen before, there were a number of examples shown that haven’t received as much publicity, so it makes for an interesting read for those wanting to either learn more about scenes they’ve seen-but-never-identified or, with a little time and money applied, plan a world tour to visit each of the places featured. Pack your bags, grab a camera and help add to the list – http://radio.com/2014/10/03/10-album-covers-real-life-pink-floyd-blake-shelton-eminem/
2) Leave it to our chums at Music Times to come up with another interesting album cover list – in today’s feature, they present to you “14 Album Covers Featuring Just The Lead Singer”. Included in the list are acts such as Black Sabbath, Public Image Ltd. (always happy to see Mr. Lydon’s smiling face) and The Cure, as well as some bands I’m a little less-familiar with (Tennis, anyone?). I’m a little confused about how records were selected – for example, Iggy Pop and Marilyn Manson, while they are in front of bands, the bands are mostly about them, right? Why not include Bowie, Gary Numan, Morrissey, Rod Stewart, Elton John, etc.? In any case, I’d like to see them add The Doors and Iron Maiden to the list (what do you mean – Eddie’s NOT the lead singer?)…. http://www.musictimes.com/articles/11029/20140929/14-album-covers-with-just-the-lead-singer-the-cure-black-sabbath-and-more.htm
October 4 – 1) I’d seen this artist’s work a few months back and forgot (!!) to report about it, but after getting a link to the site from my chums at ToneDeaf.com about a slide show they just ran of samples of this art, I must do the right thing and share it with all of you. While I’m trying to get hold of this person to learn more about him/her and what the motivation was behind these animations, I think that you’ll enjoy seeing a number of your favorite record covers brought to life. And man, this person works fast – there’s already an animation for the upcoming Pink Floyd record’s cover, which is due out in several weeks! There are over 25 examples up on “JBETCOM’s” Tumblr, which you can reach via the link – http://jbetcom.tumblr.com/
2) The folks at Courvoisier have, for some reason, put together an article bringing you a selection of notable album art and information about “the making of” the covers included in the series. The artist/musician collaborations on display run the gamut from the obvious (Sgt. Pepper’s, Dark Side of the Moon, Purple Rain, etc.) to several lesser-known-but-still-impressive images, including covers from acts including The Prodigy, Bjork, The Arctic Monkeys and many others. While I’m still scratching my head about why a cognac company has invested in this article (maybe a larger-than-normal number of “Ladies Men” have said that they were interested in the topic?), I can only say that I’m glad that they have given us such a nicely-done article to read while sipping. More at the following link – http://courvoisier.com/our-journey/artists-stories-behind-favorite-album-covers/?
3) Finally, album cover photographer Guy Webster has just published a new book of his portraits of many of our favorite screen and music stars titled Big Shots: Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons, and the editors at PARADE magazine were given a preview of some of the images included from which they assembled a nice slide show – http://parade.condenast.com/326707/iraphael/8-stunning-portraits-of-rock-icons-and-hollywood-legends/ You’ll remember Guy’s work for artists such as The Mamas & The Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, The Turtles and others – enjoy this sampling of some of his other well-known subjects.