Featured Album Cover Fan Collection – highlights from the collection of film-maker Eric Christensen
by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
March 28, 2014
In the intro for the ACHOF’s Featured Fan Collection section, I recounted my personal motivations for assembling a collection of album cover art prints and noted that I figured that there were others like me who’d followed a similar path – I would just have to find them! Well, luckily for me, I have found a kindred soul in Eric Christensen, the subject of today’s feature. While Eric did get a jump on me – beginning his career in the music business in the 1960s – it’s fascinating to see the similarities in how we both grew, in many cases, to appreciate the visual aspects of the record business as much as the music. What’s impressive about Eric and his collections are their sheer size and the degree to which he has incorporated his love of albums and their packaging into many aspects of his career over the years.
Eric’s long history in the music business began with jobs in rock and roll radio, where he worked in the San Francisco Bay area with record and concert producer Tom Donahue, allowing him to have amazing access to the bands that toured through the area at the time, including The Beatles, The Byrds, The Supremes and many other notables. He continued to work in radio until the early 1970s, after which he branched out into the film-making and television programming business, producing films and TV specials based on concert events, tours and major sporting events. Retiring in the mid-2000’s from a 30+ year career in network TV, Eric began a new phase in his career as an independent film maker and, as is clear from the subjects of his efforts since then – the 1966 Trips Festival (often considered the ultimate 60’s counter-culture event) in a film released in 2007 (and still featured in festivals to this day) and his subsequent film efforts, described below – his focus on highlighting and educating the viewers of his work about the importance of music and art in popular culture remains unchecked (his complete bio is included at the end of this article).
I’d first contacted Eric early in 2013 after reading about the release of a documentary film he’d produced and directed called The Cover Story – Album Art. While album cover art and artists have been the subject of a wide range of books, articles and exhibitions, there have only been a smattering of films or videos dedicated to the subject and, as ACHOF curator, it was my sworn duty to find out more about the film and its creator. Well, as they say, “timing is everything” and both Eric and I found ourselves busy and unable to catch up with each other until early this year, right after I saw the illustrated article he’d written that you’ll find in Juxtapoz Magazine‘s “Psychedelic 60s” issue (March 2014) about “the Big Five” of San Francisco’s psychedelic art scene – artists Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, and Wes Wilson.