Tag Archives: Storm Thorgerson

Album Cover News Summary For August, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF August, 2016

It’s the beginning of September, 2016, with Labor Day upon us, marking the “official” end of this year’s Summer season. If you’re done packing your kids off to school and find yourself with a little extra “me-time” during the day, I’d like to propose that you spend a little time catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find nicely-summarized in my weekly and monthly recaps.

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format I launched several months back – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to make news with their ongoing contributions to the field of album art/packaging, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

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

a) Launching September 1st at the San Pedro (CA) First Thursday Art Walk is an exhibition at the huZ Gallery featuring a selection of the photo portraits taken over the past 40+ years by photographer Peter Figen, a man who has produced stunning promo images of top talent including George Harrison, Bonnie Raitt, Doc Watson, Townes Van Zandt along with album package photos for David Grisman, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Hillman, Carl Verheyen and many others. With a career that was jump-started while shooting at an early 1970s Hot Rise show in California and being spotted by the art director for Frets Magazine, who asked him to submit his shots after the show, Figen has used his passion for folk/roots music to create confidence in his abilities as a photographer in his well-known subjects, with the results now on display during this gallery show. Writer Kathy Leonardo posted this profile on the artist recently on the Huffington Post site – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-leonardo-/music-and-photography-sha_b_11298832.html – while those interested in seeing and learning more about this new print collection can click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.huzgalleries.com/ . The gallery has also teased visitors with the fact that they’ll also be unveiling several new photo prints of a ready-to-be-discovered young musician named Elvis Presley taken by an Air Force photographer during a performance in Lubbock, TX in 1955…

b) Running now through September 10th at the Gabba Gallery on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood is a show featuring over 80 real and not-so-real album cover works created by a whole host of well-known and soon-to-be-well-known artists that’s called Cratedigger: The Lost Art of Album Cover Art. According to the gallery’s press, the exhibition “celebrates one of the twentieth century’s most influential art forms – the record sleeve cover. Curated by (gallery owner and accomplished artist in his own right) Jason Ostro, the exhibition showcases the work of 85 local and international artists. Each artist has imagined a cover design for a real or fictional album. Just like classic record covers, every piece in the show is 12” x 12”…

The gallery also shows music-related works by artists including Joey Feldman, Jules Muck and photographer Jeff Kravitz, so there will surely be a lot to take in during your visit. More info on the album art show is available on the gallery’s site – http://www.gabbagallery.com/cratedigger

c) Photographer Gerald Fearnley cemented his place in rock and roll album art history with the shot he provided for the cover of David Bowie’s debut record, but the folks at the Snap Gallery in London didn’t stop with just that image when they organized a show built around a recently-unearth cache of ’66 – ’67-era photos of the soon-to-be-recognized creative force that was Mr. Bowie. Fearnley was introduced early on to Bowie through his brother, bassist Derek Fearnley, who played in Bowie’s early backing band The Buzz, and used that access to arrange for a series of photo shoots that produced what looks to be a fascinating collection for fans of the era’s music and fashion. You can read an intro on the show – which runs through September 24th – via Tom Pinnock’s quicky posting on the Uncut site – http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/david-bowie-exhibition-feature-unpublished-photographs-86903 and get further details directly from the Gallery via this link – https://www.snapgalleries.com/exhibitions/bowie-photographs-by-gerald-fearnley/

d) The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, TX is where you’ll find a major collection of photos of rock’s best-known female stars taken by shooter (that takes on a new meaning in TX, no?) Anastasia Pantsios, an artist who’s been busy taking great photos for rock music clients including AC/DC, Journey, Eric Clapton, Michael Stanley and many others over the past 40+ years. Titled ” “Girls on Film, 40 Years of Women in Rock”, the show was originally organized several years ago and has been updated to include both some of Pantsios’s earliest works (e.g., Grace Slick with Jefferson Airplane in 1969, Deborah Harry in Blondie and mid-70s Patti Smith) and later examples including Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado and Shirley Manson of Garbage. While no longer working with clients in the music business (what, you want to get PAID to do your work?), Anastasia can look back proudly on her contributions to several Cleveland, OH-area publications including The Plain Dealer (where she also contributed as a writer) and alt weeklies including The Free Times and Cleveland Scene. More info on this show, running now through September 11th, via this article on the LubbockOnline.com site – http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2016-07-30/kerns-buddy-holly-center-displays-photo-exhibit-influential-women-rock#

e) What a combination – a prime collection of wonderful paintings and prints of worlds beyond our own put on display in a museum located on a mystical island! From now until the 19th of November, visitors to the Manx Museum – a National Heritage organization on the U.K.’s Isle of Man – can tour a collection of works by the impressively-talented Roger Dean, best-known to album cover art fans for his contributions to the visuals for bands including YES, Uriah Heep, Asia, Osibisa and many others.

With a portfolio that includes not only album cover imagery but (both alone and working with his talented brother Martyn) stage designs, architecture, calendars and a wide variety of merchandise, Dean’s work continues to impress and astound fans with its ability to take you to the farthest reaches of your imagination. You’ll find works in many media, including several models of designs he’s done for living spaces you can only dream you’d be able to live in. An article on the Isle of Man web site provides an intro – http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/80357/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean  while additional details are available on the museum’s site – http://www.manxnationalheritage.im/whats-on/detail/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean/

f) Since the time of the Woodstock Festival at the end of the 1960s, the exhibition of fine art with music has gone hand in hand, with everyone from poster/merch designers, painters, fabric artists and many other disciplines plying their wares and providing the visual backdrop for attendees at these festivals. One of the latest examples of this was on display recently during the Panorama festival held on Randall’s Island in New York City (as seen via the AFP-penned article that appeared on the ArtDaily.com site – http://artdaily.com/news/88984/For-New-York-s-new-festival–an-immersion-in-art).

Organized by the same team that puts on the popular Coachella festival (i.e., Goldenvoice), the festival features an area called The Lab which, according to the promoters, is an “interactive experience which features installations that combine technology, artistry, and design, created exclusively by New York-based artists for display only at PANORAMA.” Inside The Lab is “The Dome”, which is a huge dome that accommodates up to 400 people at a time and provides a 3D Virtual Reality display using music, animation and other forms of “immersive media”. The works of 11 studios combined to make this experience a fun and fascinating one, providing festival-goers with a place to take a break from the performances by acts including the Alabama Shakes, Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem and the act which has produced a number of very interesting album covers the past couple of years, FKA Twigs.

g) Friend of ACHOF Emily Smeaton of the UK’s Hypergallery was kind enough to share the details of an upcoming event that should be of great interest to anyone interested in both seeing a superb collection of album art prints and hearing from two of the most-respected designers in the field. Beginning on September 26th in lovely Henly-On-Thames outside of London, our chums at Hypergallery will host a pop-up exhibition called “The Art of the Album Cover” that will feature ” prints by Literary Festival speakers, from the days when all music was vinyl, and album covers became an art form of their own.” On the last day of the event – Sunday, October 2nd, at 5pm local time, in the Town Hall venue – two of rock music’s design greats – Aubrey (Po) Powell, the co-founder of the celebrated design studio Hipgnosis (best known for their covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel/Genesis and many others, and author of a book on his studio’s work titled Hipgnosis Portraits) will be joined by Richard Evans (who, in addition to his many well-known album art credits both with the team at Hipgnosis and on his own, was author of The Art of the Album Cover book) where, according to Emily’s note, “the two artists will be sharing anecdotes from the time they spent at the epicenter of the rock and roll tornado of the late 1960s and 1970s.” After the event, Hypergallery will host a book signing and exhibition of the authors’ design work in their print room, just across from the Town Hall. You’ll be able to meet the authors, have a drink or two and view the great collection of works that will be on hand.

Advanced tickets for the event are now on sale via the link – http://tiny.cc/hlf_artofthealbum  and you can visit the gallery’s site at https://www.hypergallery.com/event_hlf/  for more details. Of course, I will work to get hold of any photos, transcripts or videos that emerge from this event, so stay tuned. I am, of course, immediately jealous of anyone who’ll be able to attend this event…

h) Having just celebrated his 75th birthday (Happy Birthday, John!), graphic design superstar John Van Hamersveld marked the occasion with the launch of a new exhibition (running now thru October 16th, at the Manhattan Beach Art Center in Manhattan Beach, CA) titled Contemporary Post Future! The Dichotomy of Design and Art – John Van Hamersveld which, according to the gallery’s PR, ” presents past and present artworks where John Van Hamersveld explores the connection between art, design and commerce.” The centerpiece of the display is a 47-panel modular black and creme-colored collage/mural JVH created that surrounds the building with his talents. Inside, two galleries showcase a number of examples of both his commercial design work and his striking and imaginative fine art designs, so if you’re in the area or need a destination for an art-filled excursion, I’d suggest a trip on over to see this show, with details available via the link at http://www.citymb.info/city-officials/parks-and-recreation/cultural-arts/exhibition/creative-arts-center-exhibitions#ad-image-1

i) Just as a tease, the folks at the V&A Museum in the U.K. just announced that they’re going to stage a new exhibition beginning in May 13th, 2017 built around the imagery of one of Britain’s most-valuable exports – that being the rock band Pink Floyd. According to the press (as exemplified in this BBC Entertainment & Arts section article recently published – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-372284960 ) the show – to be titled “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains” – promises to offer “an immersive, multi-sensory and theatrical journey through Pink Floyd’s extraordinary world which will chronicle the music, iconic visuals and staging of the band, from the underground psychedelic scene in 1960s London to the present day”. With over 350 examples of Floyd-related visual imagery, including a whole host of album cover artwork created over the years by Storm, Po and the team at Hipgnosis, there will certainly be a lot to take in. Advance tickets are now on sale on the Museum’s website at https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/pink-floyd

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) When a long-time fan of a musical act – in this case, South Carolina-based artist Dave Beard – has the opportunity to provide design services for that act – in this case, the Beach Boys – great joy ensues, as is evidenced by this recent article by Andrew Stark for the Fort Mill Times (as shared with the HeraldOnline.com site). The article tracks Beard’s path from fan to fanzine editor/designer to Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) design cohort to a 2014 commission by the Beach Boys to create what Beach Boy Mike Love called “In the 54 years of touring and (a) multitude of concerts and concert programs, the new Beach Boys’ 2015 Official Tour Program is far and away the best I’ve ever seen.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to learn more about this story? Don’t worry, baby – here’s the link – http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article91728932.html

b) Fine artist Filipe Molina has been showing his works in top-notch galleries throughout his career, but when he was contacted by the folks at Capitol Records in 2014 to come up with artwork for the Counting Crow’s then-upcoming record titled Going Under Wonderland, he saw it as an opportunity to be able to share his work with potentially millions of the band’s fans and proposed that he create a unique work for each song on the album, greatly multiplying the “collection” each record’s owner would acquire. He then went on to create a really nicely-done multi-media light show that the band used during their 2015 World Tour. As I’m working on adding Molina’s bio to the ACHOF site, Felipe shared a link to a 25 minute video on YouTube that gives you an overview to the artist and the wonderful images he created for this record package – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz-Gj33Kg0g

To see more of the artist’s works, you can also visit his website at http://www.molinaart.com. Once there, you’ll find more about some of his other projects, including a “Wine Art Music” project (inc. custom labels for proprietary blends released by Standing Sun Winery) and The Outlaw Roadshows (indie rock music festival staged in Nashville and NYC) where Felipe both exhibits his artwork and is one of the event’s five producers.

c) Fascinating article by writer Anna Buksowicz for the British Journal of Photography on art director Samuel Burgess-Johnson that focuses on his most-recent work for the latest record by The 1975, with neon signs placed in unusual locations that are used to illustrate each of the album’s 10 song titles. It’s certainly a testament to the value of a proper budget for stunning album cover work, but I wonder if they paid whoever was hired to come up with the record’s title by the word – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.

Burgess-Johnson also spends a fair amount of time sharing his feelings about what makes for a good album cover and why it’s still an important part of any new record release, so if you’d like to read more of the insights of one of the busier art directors working in the music business these days, click on over to http://www.bjp-online.com/2016/08/how-samuel-burgess-johnson-snapshots-music-through-art-direction/

d) I’ve written previously about the mega-exhibition (“Exhibitionism“) currently in London featuring a heaping helping of Rolling Stones art, photography, music and memorabilia, but fans of notable album cover imagery are in for a treat if you bop on over to this interview article posted on the Clash Music site featuring the wonderfully-talented photographer Gered Mankowitz, someone with several shots included in the show, including his cover photo for Between The Buttons and a portrait of the band’s metronome, drummer Charlie Watts.

While the interview provides an in-depth look at Gered’s relationship with the band, their management/record label and then touches on his other well-known subjects, including Jimi Hendrix (the iconic “Smoking” shot) and newer acts such as Oasis, Mankowitz does go on record with the lament that the first album package image he took of the band – the artsy alleyway shot used on their Out of Our Heads record back in 1965 – was NOT included in the show. “This will be the last time” (or, based on the total control the band has over its image, maybe not)….  http://www.clashmusic.com/features/gered-mankowitz-shooting-the-stones

e) While most album artist profile articles are cobbled together by writers (such as yours truly) asking the subject questions about themselves and their work, today I’d like to point you to one that presents an artist profile that’s been provided by one of the (late) artist’s better-known clients, by whom I mean guitarist Steve Miller, sharing his recollections of working with the famed art director/photographer Storm Thorgerson. One of Storm’s last record cover commissions was for Miller’s 2010 release titled Bingo, with the photo impressing Austin Chronicle writer Raoul Hernandez so greatly that he tracked down Mr. Miller to get his take on the collaboration with Thorgerson that produced such a memorable image.

Armed with a list of what he needed (logo, cover and a new take on a “Space Cowboy” image) and a rather nice budget for these elements, Miller got all he wanted and more and was left with what I’m sure you’ll agree was a long-lasting impression of what it was like to work with a talent such as Storm, even late in his career and having faced a stroke and cancer as obstacles. Really quite the talent…

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/music/2016-07-29/adult-play-storm-thorgerson-by-steve-miller/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) The folks at the WA-based Visual Gallery have announced a sale on a select grouping of limited-edition album art prints that I thought you might want to check out. You’ll find promo pricing on prints including Cream’s Disraeli Gears (a Martin Sharp masterpiece), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, a Charlie Watts-signed Bridges To Babylon print and others. They’re also offering some nice deals on posters by Ioannis, Bob Masse and others, so click on over to see what’s on sale before it’s too late – http://www.visualgallery.com/

b) Works by the late artist Frank Frazetta have fed the fantasies of many a young science fiction/adventure fan as well as musical acts including Molly Hatchett, Nazareth, Yngwie Malmsteen and Wolfmother (who chose to use Frazetta paintings on the covers of several of their record albums), so it was interesting and exciting to see that one of the artist’s best-known paintings – titled At The Earth’s Core and used on the cover of the 1978 paperback release for famed writer Edgar Rice Burrough’s first Pellucidar novel – sell for over a million dollars during a recent Heritage Auction event in Dallas, TX (the actual selling price was $1.075 million, the most ever paid for a Frazetta work). You can click on over to this recent article on the Fine Books & Collections Magazine site in which the details are shared about both this impressive purchase, along with other big-ticket illustration art items that found new homes post-auction – https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/press/2016/08/world-record-for-frank-frazettas-painting-used-as-paperback-cover-art.phtml

c) Kanye West‘s design company – DONDA Design – pulled out all of the stops when they created an animatronic sculpture featuring 12 of the era’s most-recognized celebrities lying naked in a large bed, a prop then used in one of the musician’s latest music videos. Now, Mr. West has entrusted the Los Angeles-based gallery Blum & Poe to find a collector who’d be willing to spend $4 million to take the sculpture – complete with platform bed, bed linens and batteries – home for their very own. Made from silicon (a substance most-widely used for other purposes in today’s entertainment business), the work shows life-like models of Pop Culture icons such as Taylor Swift, Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Bill Cosby and others all asleep, lying alongside West and two of his family members – wife Kim and Caitlyn Jenner. The gallery held a brief showing recently and is actively seeking a buyer among its contact list of well-heeled collectors and museums, so we’ll keep an eye out to see if/when/where it lands. For more details on the work, you can read NY Times writer Adam Popescu’s late-breaking story via the link – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/01/arts/design/gallery-hopes-to-sell-kanye-wests-famous-sculpture-for-4-million.html? or see more on the gallery’s site at http://www.blumandpoe.com/exhibitions/kanye-west

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) If you were impressed with the 50+ “variant covers” that Marvel produced last year which were creatively-reworked versions of well-known examples of hip-hop album cover art, you’ll be happy to read the details of a new series scheduled for this year, with the details provided to us in an article by Fuse‘s Zach Dione. Characters who’ll be featured in the first of this new series include Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Mosaic, built around designs originally found on records by King Mez, Infinite Mind War and Earl Sweatshirt. Keep ’em coming, folks!

http://www.fuse.tv/2016/07/marvel-hip-hop-variant-comic-book-covers-second-wave

b) While I’ve been working hard gathering and organizing the materials for my own book, I look on with great envy as author Ramon Martos Garcia shares the details of his latest release – a thoroughly-revised edition of his critically-acclaimed book on Heavy Metal album art/artists that’s titled And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers (Vol.2). The book, in a signed, limited-edition release (only 270 copies will be produced), is now available for pre-order ($39.99 plus shipping), with shipping set to commence next week.

According to the author, ” This new revised edition has many, many changes—some of them more significant than others, but equally important. Although the new book has the same number of pages (264) and a similar layout, I added a few new images that weren’t available at the time I published the first edition and exchanged some artworks for similar ones with much better quality.

Some parts of the text have also changed, in some cases dramatically. It’s not something you will notice at first sight, but once you go deeper, there are things that are unequivocally different. There are also new comments or interviews with bands and artists I interviewed after the first edition came out. Also, the color reproduction is richer and closer to how the original artworks look like. It took a lot of time and effort.”

If you, like me, are a fan of the many styles of art found on your favorite metal music recordings and you haven’t seen this book before, I’d suggest visiting the publisher’s site now to see more and order your own copy. Here is the pre-order link – http://andjusticeforart.bigcartel.com/product/and-justice-for-art-stories-about-heavy-metal-album-covers

c) The folks at UK print publisher The Flood Gallery recently emailed with some info and imagery about the latest in their series of releases featuring album cover fine art prints of designer/photographer Carl Glover‘s cover images for Marillion’s 2006 LP titled Marbles. In addition to the provocative cover shot, prints of the equally mind-bending graphics that were featured on the record label, CD and inner sleeve are also being offered, with collectors able to preview and purchase any/all of these memorable works via the link – http://www.thefloodgallery.com/search?q=marillion Fans can also check out the prints available for two more Glover-produced Marillion covers – Somewhere Else and Radiation – the latter image being a crafty combination of two photos taken 14 years apart!

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Writing for the DJ Booth site, writer Yoh has put together an interesting look at album cover designs that don’t show the musical acts on the cover. Its an interesting thing to see young writers looking at this as if it were something unusual, considering the number of covers that have been produced over the years that didn’t show the acts or, as evidenced very early on, were hesitant to show the acts for a variety of reasons (e.g., not showing black artists for fear of losing sales to predominantly white audiences or, in the case of some early American acts looking to hop on the British Rock invasion, adopting English names and clothing styles).

In the hip-hop world, where it tends to be important to look tough/rich/street-smart/etc., fans will typically find their favorite musical acts pictured prominently on the cover, so it seems that usually only the well-establish artists (Kanye, Jay-Z, etc.) are the ones willing to take a chance and show off their graphic design inspirations. Here’s hoping for more…  http://djbooth.net/news/entry/2016-07-22-album-covers-no-face

b) For an article posted recently on the Austin Chronicle‘s web site titled “Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler”, several of the publication’s writers were asked to pick their favorite illustrated album covers and album cover artists and let readers know why they feel these examples were stand-outs in their field. The people and images selected represent a very broad range of talent, including artists such as Roger Dean (YES, Uriah Heep, Asia, etc.), H.R. Giger (best-known for ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery, Debbie Harry’s cheek-pierced Koo Koo and the monsters in the Alien films) and Daniel Johnston, among others with works created for musical acts including Pink Floyd, Ramones, Miles Davis, The Beatles and Chance The Rapper. Whether you’re a fan of the hyper-realistic artwork of Mati Klarwein or the trippy, comic-inspired R. Crumb cover created for Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, you’ll find a hand-drawn example you’re sure to appreciate.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2016-07-29/adult-audio-coloring-book-sampler/

c) Washington Post columnist John Kelly recently posted a profile of Ken Orth, a retired urban planner/Beatles fan extraordinaire who travels the Beatles-related gatherings circuit putting on display selections from his 2000+ item collection of spoofs of Beatles record covers. Orth has been collecting these works of art since the early 1980s, and included in his collection are examples of well-known parody covers such as Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ We’re Only In It For The Money (a satirical take on the collage found on the Sgt Pepper’s LP) alongside lesser-known items such as Floyd Domino’s take on the Abbey Road street crossing scene, re-staged using four toddlers in diapers.

The entire parody sub-set of album art collecting is an interesting one, with a number of collectors doing a great amount of researching and Ebay purchasing in order to find prime examples of imagery inspired by classic album art. Ken’s working on gathering the nitty-gritty information on every original Beatles album cover so, with any luck, I hope to be able to share some of that with you when its made available. In the meantime, click on over to https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/beatles-album-parody-art-he-loves-it-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-/2016/08/09/b90e66fc-5dcb-11e6-8e45-477372e89d78_story.html  to read more about Ken and his most-interesting of album art collections.

Related content – if you’re really wanting to see a broad selection of parody covers – including hundreds of examples of “re-imagined” covers inspired by designs for the packages of records from the soundtrack for The Sound of Music to The Who’s Live At Leeds, you must pick up a copy of the 2011 book compiled and written by Jan Bellekens and ACHOF chum Simon Robinson titled Covered. The gall of some musical acts is truly mind-blowing (and, most-often, quite hilarious) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/095614392X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?

d) Leave it to the writing team on the Ultimate Classic Rock site to treat us to album art-related stories with a twist (or, in this case, with a piss). Author Nick Deriso recounts the story told by photographer Ethan Russell about “the making of” the cover image for one of The Who’s best-remembered records – 1971’s Who’s Next – which, you’ll recall, features a shot of the band having seemingly just relieving themselves on a concrete tower found along the motorway in Sheffield. In fact, only one of the stains resulted from a much-needed pit stop, with the others craftily created by the photographer, so if you’d like to get to the bottom of this story, click on over and the truth will be revealed – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/whos-next-album-cover/

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

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved.

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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 for October, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – June, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

With Summer coming here  to the Pacific Northwest with an unseasonable blast of heat and drought conditions to the East and South of us, many album art fans I know are looking for ways to spend quality time indoors, so what better way to beat the heat than by 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, there were a number of interesting headlines we at the ACHOF posted throughout the month of June, with an impressive number of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feed. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, with the rest following in greater detail.

Having survived one of the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I’m glad to report that all’s well with yours truly on that front and, once again, I have say “thanks” to you all for your patience and continued support during that ordeal. And now, on with the report…

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get to know a bit more about several of their favorite cover image producers including  the always-controversial Stephen Sagmeister, photographer M. Sukita, designer Don Clark and Portland’s own Carson Ellis, as well as my own interview with one of the punk music scene’s most-influential shooters, Edward Colver. This interview came after years of attempts to organize a “Featured Artist Portfolio” item with the elusive Mr. Colver, so I’m proud to be able to finally share this with you.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, publishers were busy promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos from artists including photographer Jay Blakesberg, illustrator James Marsh and, in a follow-up to my report a couple of months back about Ramon “Oscuro” Martos’s newest book titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Cover, there’s a report on a new documentary film short based on the book created for fans of the fantastic art often found gracing the covers of heavy metal music records.

June proved to be a busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with curators and gallery owners in several locations around the world displaying collections that included the works of  photographers Anton Corbijn, Richard E. Aaron and the late Ken Regan, Beatles animator Ron Campbell and Sgt. Pepper’s designer Jann Haworth, along with several retailers who are promoting the limited-edition re-releases of a group of LPs by the Rolling Stones and a group show in Ohio featuring several well-known shooters that covered various aspects of the local/national music scenes. Finally, in Chicago and on the West Coast, fans of the Grateful Dead will find several shows celebrating the band’s 50th anniversary (and their “final” tour).

Other stories included profile features on artist/surf music icon Dean Torrance and the enigmatic MC Escher, user-generated content built around their photos of the current state of the places where famous album cover photos were taken and a soon-to-be-released documentary on the career of famed photographer Brian Griffin. News continued with features on a Cleveland-based artisan who crafts working guitars out of wood and album covers and how one Portland, OR tourist magnet – Voodoo Doughnuts – crafted their own Sgt. Pepper‘s-like collage for an ad in a local paper promoting the shop’s 12th anniversary celebration.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. While I was slowed in my 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 my book project (more to come on this later), that should in no means delay you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. 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 every day (except weekends and/or days when it’s beautiful outside) 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).

June 30th – As fans are getting ready to enjoy several “farewell” performances in Chicago this weekend, here are some Grateful Dead-related stories for you:

1) If you’re in Chicago (perhaps one of the 200,000 people who purchased tickets for the shows being played at Soldier Field), why not hop across the street to the Field Museum to see the special exhibition they’re running built out of items on loan from the Grateful Dead archive at UC Santa Cruz. The show’s called “All The Years Combine: Deadhead Treasures from the Grateful Dead Archive and GDTS Too” and was co-curated by UCSC archivist Nicholas Meriwether, who’ll also be contributing his writing skills to the group’s 50th anniversary box set that will be shipping later this year (80 discs for $700). For more information on this special showing, along with the shows Mr. Meriwether has planned for his own gallery back in California to commemorate The Dead’s golden anniversary, read Scott Rappaport’s recent article in the University’s newsletter via the link at http://news.ucsc.edu/2015/06/dead-archive-farewell.html

2) Two galleries – one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles – are also running special Dead-related shows featuring art and photography by many of the artists known for their work for (and featuring) the band. In the Bay area, the San Francisco Art Exchange has posted a collection of 19 images (with more to come ASAP) showing the band and the local scene throughout their career, with shots by photographers including Robert Altman, Jim Marshall, Graham Nash, Ken Regan, Bob Seidemann and Baron Wolman and including portraits, concert photos and others sure to warm the hearts of Dead Heads everywhere.

http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400115&start=0

Down the coast in LA, the Mr. Musichead gallery is hosting a show called Truckin’: Celebrating 50 Years of The Grateful Dead, where you’ll find photos and artwork by, Arnaud Azoulay Jay Blakesberg, Adrian Boot, Jack Morefield, Peter Simon, Leni Sinclair, and Baron Wolman. This display is available for viewing from now until July 9th. http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13701

June 29th – Stories about 2 Southern California-based album cover artists:

1) Famed cover and poster artist John Van Hamersveld has provided the citizens of, and visitors to, the town of Hermosa Beach, CA with something wonderful to look at – a new mural depicting the history of surfing/surfboards, delivered in a style that only the creator of both the Endless Summer and Magical Mystery Tour  promo images could have done. Unveiled to viewers this past weekend, the mural pays homage to JVH’s fascination with both psychedelic art and the early 19th Century paintings by Japanese master Hokusai. More info on the project is provided by Stephen Carr on The Daily Breeze site – http://photos.dailybreeze.com/2015/06/photos-mural-by-artist-john-van-hamersveld-unveiled-in-hermosa-beach/#1

2) While most music fans are aware of Dean Torrance’s musical output as part of pioneering surf music duo Jan & Dean, fewer know about his equally-impressive graphic arts talents, shown over the years in the many album covers he produced. After the musical act was forced to sideline its work after Jan’s terrible auto accident in 1966, Torrance used the visual arts training he received while at USC and started a design company, producing imagery for music industry clients including the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, Harry Nilsson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, earning four Grammy Award nominations for his work along the way and winning one in 1972 for the cover for Pollution’s self-titled LP. Today, at age 75, he’s still working at his design firm located – where else – in Orange County, CA’s “Surf City”, Huntington Beach, and you can read more about what else he’s up to these days in David Ferrell’s recent article on the Orange County Register web site at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/torrence-667695-city-surf.html

P.S. – R.I.P. Chris Squire – one heckofa bassist – you’ll be missed.

June 26th –  1) I’ve been muddling this over for a couple of weeks now and, since I can’t seem to come to any conclusions with regards to who is right and who is wrong, I thought that I’d just post this and see what my readers think. A couple of weeks back, designer Stefan Sagmeister was speaking at a conference and pronounced that – I’ll paraphrase as best I can – album cover designs are inherently better/more meaningful than those for movies, going as far as to pronounce that one rather-well-known theatrical poster (i.e., the one for the original Star Wars film) “is ultimately a piece of shit”.

As you may know, many designers/illustrators/art directors working today apply their talents to projects in both fields, as well as for clients in the book and magazine publishing worlds, theatrical design, etc., so while I think that Sagmeister’s comments might be true in some cases, I don’t see how, for example, Drew Struzan’s posters for the Indiana Jones film series are any less-impressive than his album covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.

Rather than stoke the flames of a confrontation, I would be more than happy to moderate a discussion between these and other album cover/film poster art professionals and other experts in the field (as well as knowledgeable fans) on the topic or, more simply, just ask “can’t we all just get along?” Read the coverage on this, along with a recent interview with Mr. Sagmeister conducted by Dan Howarth for Dezeen.com – http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/16/stefan-sagmeister-interview-graphic-design-star-wars-poster-album-record-covers/

2) Just who was responsible for the ideas that led to the creation of the originally-banned-but-now-iconic cover art for Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols? There have been several participants who’ve claimed that the inspiration was all theirs, so it was wonderful to read this recent posting by Diffuser.fm’s James Stafford in which he provides “the facts” presented by the two principal protagonists – designer Jamie Reid and punk impresario, the late Malcolm McLaren. As some of you may recall, both the cover’s design and content led to some quite-contentious responses from critics, industry execs and, in the case of the use of the word “bollocks” – which has several meanings in British English – the local constabulary, who arrested a record store owner for indecency when he displayed the promotional items for the new record in his shop’s windows…While we may never know “the rest of the story”, it does provide us with a lot to ponder and enjoy (particularly, the music, samples of which are linked in to the story) – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-never-mind-the-bollocks-heres-the-sex-pistols/

June 25th – 1) Good things come to those that wait – At long last, I’m happy to announce the publication of the latest Album Cover Hall of Fame “Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio” article, with this one bringing you samples from the impressive portfolio of one of the best-known photographers that covered the punk music scene in the U.S., Edward Colver. Perhaps most-remembered for his photos of bands in the emerging Southern California punk club scene, Colver shares some of the stories behind “the making of” cover shots for musical acts including Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, TSOL and other acts – including one eye-catching image that was used on rapper Ice Cube’s Greatest Hits compilation. This article would never have been completed without the ongoing help of publicist Kate Gammell and ACHOF friend Robert Bostrom, so I’d like to thank them both for their ongoing support and patience during the nearly five years (!!) that it took to complete this.
And now, without any further delay, here’s the link – enjoy, and please share with your friends.
https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/achof-featured-artist-portfolio-photographer-edward-colver/

2) Special Southern California music scene bonus item – very few bands have had as powerful a logo/band icon as the one called the “Fiend Skull” associated with another early punk band The Misfits, so it was great to read the details of one of their most-recent shows and the band’s ongoing efforts to provide their fans with new and exciting band merchandise. While Jerry Only is the sole “classic line-up” member left (with Glenn Danzig and Only still duking it out over who has the rights to what), the skull logo motif has been updated to better-represent the current players while still giving fans what they love and respect. The current concerts revolve around playing complete albums, so the t-shirts sold at the event include both custom imagery and unique set lists. I only hope that these new shirts were damaged appropriately while worn in the very-active mosh pits found at each show. More on this in Will Theisens recent article in (where else) The Orange County Register – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/misfits-667563-night-album.html

June 24th – Three for the photography lovers in the audience:

1) In preparation for the Photographs, Icons & Style auction Christie’s is holding on June 30th, they’ve published an article on one of the photographers whose works will be offered that day, that being Stéphane Sednaoui, a fellow well-known to album cover fans for his color-infused fantasy shot of Bjork found on the cover of her 1995 album Post, as well as his photo and video work for many other music industry clients, including Madonna, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Garbage. Some of his video work was on display as part of the recent Bjork exhibition at MoMA in NYC, while his photos are included in the “Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” show running currently (through August 3rd) at the Grand Palais in Paris. More info on his artist and his works are available via the link – http://www.christies.com/features/Iconic-photographs-of-Bjork-Big-time-sensuality-6248-1.aspx

Follow-up – on June 30th, the two Stephane Sednaoui photos of Bjork sold at prices in the mid-range of their estimates – the color photo from the cover of Post had a pre-auction estimate of €20 – 30,000     and sold for €25,000 ($28,047); while the black & white photo he took while shooting for her Big Time Sensuality record (not the cover)  had a pre-auction estimate of €8 – 12,000 and sold for €10,000 ($11,219). The auction, which featured images from photo greats including Richard Avedon, Nobuyoshi Araki, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, among many others, enjoyed total sales of 1,720,475 euros for the 62 lots offered. 

2) Give the fans what they want! Dutch artist/photographer/film-maker Anton Corbijn’s much-lauded “1-2-3-4” show at the Hague Museum of Photography has been extended through August 16th, giving more fans world-wide an opportunity to see this prodigious album cover-maker’s work for subjects including U2, Nick Cave, The Slits, Nirvana and many others. Although he finds himself spending most of his time these days shooting and editing critically-acclaimed films (you’ll recall his work for the Ian Curtis bio-pic Control and The American, starring George Clooney), we’re glad that he found the time to select over 350 works from his archives for this impressive show. Rebecca Bengal gives us the good news in her recent posting in the Art and Culture section on the Vogue magazine site –http://www.vogue.com/13275138/anton-corbijn-exhibition-hague-museum-of-photography/

3) Photographer Jay Blakesberg has over 250 album package credits to his name, but his recently-released book titled Guitars That Jam has him delivering portraits of a very-specific type – images of guitars being played by their well-known owners. Inspired by fan feedback he received when he included several guitar/guitarist shots in his last book, Blakesberg felt that a book of these images would resonate with both fans and musicians, as there are many stories to be shared about the relationships between axe-slingers and their instruments (think B.B. King and Lucille, Clapton with his black & white Fender Stratocaster, etc.).Glide Magazine’s Joe Raniere interviews Mr. Blakesberg about his new book (which features an intro by Warren Hayes) in this article –
http://www.glidemagazine.com/137973/photographer-jay-blakesberg-captures-beloved-axes-guitars-jam-interview/

June 23rd – 1) Money and Fame are, most times, powerful incentives for artists to work on projects that they might not have done normally but, in the case of artist and “master of illusion” MC Escher – as the stories are retold in this nice article by Steven Poole on The Guardian web site – it was all about the respect he did or did not receive from fans, clients and the fine art world in general. While he did license his work for use on album covers for Clannad, Michael Brecker and Mott The Hoople, he turned down more requests than he accepted, including opportunities to work with Mick Jagger and film-maker Stanley Kubrick. Of course, as is often the case with great artists, his work was often appropriated without his knowledge, and it was only after his death in 1972 that Escher achieved the degree of success and respect (in the form of exhibitions and books on his work), so if you’d like to read more about the life and times of a true artistic visionary, please click on over to this story –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/20/the-impossible-world-of-mc-escher

2) Over the weekend, I discovered a new book that fans of music, art and fashion should certainly seek out. Written by author and Goth fan Natasha Scharf (and published late in 2014 by Backbeat Books, part of Hal Leonard Publishing), The Art of Gothic: Music + Fashion + Alt Culture is a very nicely-illustrated 224-page tome that explores the genre since it’s “launch” in the late 1970s and all of the various sub-genres – some quite dark, while others are simply fascinating – that have combined to make modern Gothic imagery one that continues to amaze and impress fans world-wide. You’ll find a lot of info on the many artists that produce album cover art for musical acts in the genre, including Alan Forbes, Andy Vella/Parched Art, HR Giger and multi-talented musician/artists including Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. I found a video trailer on YouTube featuring the author and her book, so fans of “the dark side” of the music/entertainment business can meet her and understand her motivations behind this new publication –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTzHkPQD9Jw

3) Lastly – I found a recent article on a site called Hit The Floor, written by Josh Pratt, titled “WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE BEST ALBUM ARTWORK OF 2015 SO FAR!” and clicked on over expecting to learn more about this survey and the artwork featured within. Alas, when I got there, what I found was a slide show featuring 33 recent cover images, but the selections were not accompanied by any explanation of why they were “the best”. No information was included besides the album’s name and the name of the musical act, and so I wondered what qualified the author to be able to make such a claim. Clicking on his bio, I found that he is a career military man living in North Carolina and, apparently, with no background at all in music or art. While I certainly believe that “citizen journalism” can be a benefit to us all – many bloggers and writers have impressive backgrounds in the subject area they write about, or at least a lot of passion for the subject – it is articles like this that make me wonder how/when (if ever) it will be possible to filter content in ways that allow us to keep informed via written articles that contain useful information. Am I being too hard on this guy, or ?? Your opinions would be appreciated.
http://www.hitthefloor.com/features/we-take-a-look-at-the-best-album-artwork-of-2015-so-far/

June 22nd – 1) Fans of all things rock and roll should have a good time tomorrow (june 23rd) at theExperience Music Project’s 15th anniversary bash at the museum’s HQ in Seattle, WA. I’ve been to the museum many times and am always impressed with their exhibitions, their permanent collection and the digital library and archive they’ve created. Of course, there are always many album cover-related items on display, and in their new Hendrix-centered display titled Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad 1966-1970, you’ll find many examples of original artwork, photography and personal items from the final stages of Jimi’s career. The museum offered free admission (and birthday cupcakes!) to attendees all day June 23rd – click on over to the EMP’s site for the details –
http://www.empmuseum.org/calendar/events/15th-birthday-bash.aspx

2) When both the label’s founder and its art director share a love of the memorable album art created by classic British indie labels 4AD and Factory Records, you can assume that they’ll bring that passion for great art to their own offerings and, as you’ll see in this recent article by Silas Valentino on The Village Voice web site, the head honchos at Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones Records have done just that. 135 records later, shades of Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver are evident in the label’s artwork for their own acts such as The Hunt, Jenny Hval, Zola Jesus and many others. You’ll learn a lot more about the ongoing influence that art has on the label’s approach to offering fans something unique and interesting in this nice interview article, available via the link – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/adoptions-and-adaptations-the-distinctive-design-of-sacred-bones-records-7255864

3) Storm Thorgerson’s artistic vision, Bob Dowling’s photographic talent and an impressive album cover budget combined to deliver fans one of Pink Floyd’s most-memorable album covers, that being the one found on 1987’s A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Never before had over 700 hospital beds been arranged so nicely on a beach, so it was with great interest that I enjoyed the recent reading of this informative article on the topic by Matt Dolloff for the WZLX web site. I hope you’ll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into this project as well –http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/2015/06/15/pink-floyd-momentary-lapse-of-reason-album-cover-photo-shoot/

June 19th –  1) Jann Haworth – the talented pop artist who teamed up with designer Sir Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper to bring us the timeless artwork for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album – is the subject of a new exhibition opening tonight in her adopted home town of Salt Lake City, UT. Ms. Haworth has lived in the area for over 15 years and even re-imagined the SPLHCB artwork in a mural she painted in downtown SLC, so this new show – titled “Round Trip” – serves to showcase her work and the influences of the places she’s lived throughout her career. The show can be seen at the Modern West Fine Art Gallery through July 16th, with an opening reception tonight (June 19) beginning at 6PM local time. More on this show in Kelsey Schwab’s article on the Deseret News web site –http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630624/Local-exhibit-to-feature-work-of-pop-artist-behind-Sgt-Pepper7s-album-cover.html?pg=all

2) Also opening the weekend of June 19th was a new gallery show featuring the works of famed rock photographer Richard E. Aaron, a guy who many of you will know for his album covers for Kool & The Gang, Ray Charles, the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton (Aaron’s shot of the heart-throb in concert graces the cover of one of the most-successful double albums of all time – Frampton Comes Alive!). Called “Rock On Paper”, the show includes well over 200 of his best-known images, including many you’ve seen in magazines, books and other media outlets. Running through August 1st at the Fathom Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles (Aaron’s home town), the exhibit offers attendees a very small sampling of Richard’s archive – over 45,000 shots of the millions he’s taken have been published – no wonder why he was voted one of the Top 10 Music Photographers by Modern Photography magazine! Read more, see more (including a list of the shots that will be on display) on the Monsters And Critics web site –
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/rock-superstars-from-a-to-z-dazzle-the-eye-in-richard-e-aaron-exhibit-opening-in-l-a/

3) Adobe – no stranger to visual imagery, as most of the world’s photographers, graphic artists, illustrators, etc., use their products to create and catalog their works – is celebrating their 25th anniversary and, as part of their festivities, recently published a list of the 25 most-influential young artists in the world. A young (18) artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin was included on the list, giving him his second big win in the past year – the first being his commission from rock act Pink Floyd to create the album cover for their most-recent release, The Endless River. Fans of Eldin and his work will also soon get to see more of his creations when he “takes over” the Adobe Photoshop Instagram account for a couple of weeks and displays his portfolio on that popular platform. You can learn a bit more about this story via writer Enas El Masry’s recent posting on the Egyptian Streetsweb site – http://egyptianstreets.com/2015/06/17/egyptian-teenager-selected-among-the-best-25-visual-artists-worldwide/

June 18th – 1) Always happy to promote the album cover-related efforts of local (Portland, OR) talent, so today I’d like to point you to a recent interview/article on the talented author/illustrator/graphic designer Carson Ellis and her most-recent artistic endeavors, including a new children’s book and album packaging for her hubby Colin Meloy’s band, The Decemberists. While she’s illustrated books for other children’s book authors (Lemony Snicket and Florence Parry Heide, for example), the recently-published “Home” is her first as both author and illustrator. In Jeff Baker’s recent posting on The Oregonian‘s “Oregon Live” site, you’ll read more about Ellis, her work, her relationship with her musical husband and their recent move from Portland to a farm outside the city –http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2015/06/carson_ellis_finds_home_with_n.html

2) In order to provide a broader range of content than their budgets might allow, many publications have turned to “citizen journalists” for their help in gathering items for inclusion in their stories. In a new example posted recently on The Guardian(UK’s) site, you’ll find a number of photos of places that have served as the backgrounds for a host of well-known album covers such as a railing in NYC’s Greenwich Village used on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush to a back alley behind the original CBGB’s club used for the Ramones’ Rocket To Russia to a Liverpool pub used on Ringo Starr’s Sentimental Journey and an alley behind the band’s recording studio used on the cover of the debut album by The Clash. Leave it to the fans to find out the truth, I always say… http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/jun/09/albums-sleeve-art-locations-readers-pictures?

3) In a quick follow-up to yesterday’s bit (posted June 17th) on the Lackey Rd. Guitars (featuring graphics supplied by some of your favorite classic rock record covers), I found a Flickr page that shows many more examples of these instruments – gotta love theLayla and Woodstock poster-based examples –https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlackey/sets/72157644738690191/

June 17th –  Two new examples of album cover-inspired creativity:

1) Based in Cleveland, OH (home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and a pretty good basketball team) is a fellow by the name of David Lackey and David, a retired teacher, has started a small business making electric guitars out of cigar boxes and, most-interestingly, classic album cover-topped solid wood bases. Yes, musicians looking for something different to play can now hit the stage playing 12″ square custom guitars based on their favorite albums, or select one from a list of classics including Abbey Road, Cheap Thrills, Led Zeppelin’s Mothership or several Grateful Dead LPs.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/187553366/custom-order-album-cover-electric-guitar?ref=shop_home_active_2 
Hoping to learn a little more about these but, in the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about David and his hand-crafted LP axes, please visit his site.

2) Often times, when fine artists are looking for easily-identifiable examples of Pop Culture on which to base their newer works, they turn to well-known album covers to serve as those bases. In a new example of such a project, Jeremy Hallock of the Dallas Observer introduces us to an art exhibition featuring the work of Amarillo, TX-based artist Jon Revett, whose new show titled The Glacier Project (which ran thru June 18th) was on display at The Safe Room gallery at the Texas Theater and offered viewers his attempt to combine Pop visuals with the spiritual graphical elements often found in Islamic art. Interestingly, each 12″ square “tile” in the finished work is available for sale at $20 each, so the “glacier” will “melt” a bit each time a tile is sold! Read more about the artist and this fascinating display via the link – http://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/the-glacier-project-is-melting-at-the-texas-theatre-7297442

June 16th –  3 items for fans of album cover photography:

1) With the much-lauded “David Bowie Is” exhibition moving soon to the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, writer Annemarie Kiely just posted an interview in her column for Vogue Living with long-time Bowie photographer Masayoshi Sukita about his new Bowie photo show at the Mossgreen Gallery in Melbourne. Best-known for his cover photo for Bowie’s Heroes LP, Sukita shares more details about that photo session, his relationships with Bowie and buddy Iggy Pop and touring Kyoto with Bowie doing the driving.
The show is on display at the gallery through July 30th, with the “David Bowie Is” exhibition launching July 1 and running thru the end of November. Click the link to learn more –http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+living/arts/david+bowies+photographer+on+forty+years+of+collaboration,36960

2) After photographer Ken Regan passed away in late 2012, his daughter Suzanne uncovered a trove of unpublished photos in his archives that served to document “the turbulent 1960s”. Working with the folks at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street in NYC, a new show based on a selection from these shots – titled “Ken Regan – A Decade Of Uncovered Images” is now on display (thru July 3rd). While album cover fans will best remember Regan’s work via his images for Bob Dylan (Desire, Greatest Hits Vol. 3). The Alpha Band and others, Ken worked as a photo-journalist covering major news and cultural events, so in addition to his photos of celebrities from TV, film and publishing arenas, you’ll find shots of the Apollo 11 astronauts on parade, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. You can find out more about this show in Leslie Feffer’s recent posting on theExaminer.com site – http://www.examiner.com/article/exhibit-of-ken-regan-photos-debuts-today-at-morrison-hotel-gallery

3) Last week, photographer Bud Lee died at the age of 74, 12 years after suffering a paralyzing stroke. During his career, the photo-journalist made a regular habit of catching celebrities from all walks of life in their natural settings, with his candid photos of subjects including Al Green, Clint Eastwood and Mick Jagger finding their way into articles in major publications and books world-wide. His photos of ZZ Top were used in two recent covers for the band – 2012’s Original Album Series and 2013’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970 – 1990. A service in Lee’s memory will be held July 11 at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, FL, the place he called home after moving there in the 1970s. More on Lee and his career can be found in Dave Nicholson’s article on the Tampa Tribune site – http://tbo.com/plant-city/photographer-whose-shots-included-both-famous-and-ordinary-folk-dies-at-74-20150611/

June 15th – 1) In this month’s edition of Rachael Steven’s “Record Sleeves of the Monthfeature on the Creative Review site, you’ll find the stories behind a number of nice new cover images, including those for musical acts such as Everything Everything (illustrated by Andrew Archer), Of Monsters And Men (abstract logo design by Leif Podhajsky) and Tame Impala, with a somewhat-psychedelic cover image by Kentucky artist Robert Beatty. As always, Rachael includes some covers for international (meaning “not easily found in the U.S.”!) artists as well, so there are always some unusual and intriguing things to see and learn about. To read the entire, nicely-illustrated article, just follow the link –http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/june/record-sleeves-june

2) Writing for DIY Magazine, Sammy Maine recently posted an interview article with Seattle-based graphic powerhouse Don Clark in which he recounts his work for the cover of Brand New’s second major release, 2003’s Deja Entendu. Clark’s astronaut has become the basis of many a fan’s tattoo collection and was a fine example of a musical act’s trust in the talents and imaginations of the Invisible Creature team. Click on over to http://diymag.com/2015/06/01/inside-the-artwork-the-story-behind-brand-news-deja-entendu for “the rest of the story”.

3) Lastly but not leastly, fans of Talk Talk cover artist James Marsh can now pre-order a copy of a new edition of his previously-sold-out art book Spirit of Talk Talk. Due out this October, the paperback version will be updated to include 24 pages of additional content, including interviews with several of the band’s best-known cohorts. Founding band member Simon Brenner will be autographing a small number of copies for early orderers, so click on over to the Spirit of Talk Talk site and reserve yours today – http://www.spiritoftalktalk.com/ You may recall that I interviewed James a couple years back about the body of his work, so if you’d like to re-introduce yourself to his work, here’s the link to that interview –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/

June 12th –  1) What Time does to Anarchy….Virgin Money, a financial services company in the U.K., is now offering its customers a chance to get credit cards featuring memorable images from record covers for the Sex Pistols! Jamie Reid’s timeless design for Never Mind The Bollocks…(wait, isn’t “Bollocks” a bit of profanity?) can be had on your new Master Card, with the alternative being the artwork used on the single for the very un-capitalist tune “Anarchy in the U.K.”, complete with a safety-pinned Union Jack. I guess that those of us in the U.S. will have to wait until someone releases a Billion Dollar Babies credit card – no fair! Read and see more on this item in this article by the Daily Mail‘s Sam Dunn –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3116191/Artwork-Sex-Pistols-album-feature-new-plastic-offer-Virgin-Money.html

2) While I’m always curious as to how a writer determines exactly what criteria must be met to be included in a “Most Controversial Album Cover” article (typically, nudity, followed by religious symbolism and “kids doing the darndest things”), it certainly must be said that album covers over the years have stimulated a lot of conversation about how best to create a memorable image, so while you might find some of the covers included in Lex Campbells list found on the Triple M radio web site (Australia) more quaint than disturbing (these days), each example certainly did get folks talking when they hit the retail shelves in their day – http://www.triplem.com.au/sydney/music/news/2015/6/list-10-most-controversial-album-covers-of-all-time/

3) One final Rolling Stones re-release-related item – timed to coincide with both the re-release of the Sticky Fingers record and the band’s upcoming concert at Heinz Field, curators at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA have put together a special exhibition featuring production materials and correspondence related to the making of the famous album cover image – cover photos (front and back), inside sleeve shots (“the underwear”) and letters announcing the record’s Grammy nomination in 1972 for “Best Record Cover”. Writing for the Trib Live site, Bob Karlovitz gives us the details of this ongoing display –http://triblive.com/aande/music/8540066-74/warhol-album-cover#axzz3csNEzIi8

June 11th –  1) Very pleased to announce that film-maker Michael Prince has completed his documentary on the life and talents of photographer Brian Griffin, well-known to fans of album cover art for his memorable covers for acts including Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and many others. The Surreal Lives of Brian Griffin will be hitting the festival circuit in the UK soon, with Mr. Prince working hard to find distribution both in and outside the U.K. soon.
In the meantime, he’s put up a nice promo trailer on the Vimeo site, which I invite you all to watch via the link at https://vimeo.com/124393480
Please share this with anyone you know who is interested in learning more about this talented individual (as well as any fan of fine art photography).

2) With soccer/football/futball dominating the headlines these days, here’s a link to a story about how one Argentinian sports blog is working to highlight what appears to be fan-made apparel that appeals to two passions at once – love of soccer and love of music – by featuring graphics derived from great album art and band logos. As noted in this article on the MLS Soccer site, a blog called LaCasaca has gathered examples of jerseys featuring imagery from Queen, The Beatles, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica and several others. While I’m assuming that these examples are mostly wishful thinking, I’m also hoping that some deep-pocketed clothing manufacturer is paying attention and will work to bring us something similar soon. In the meantime, enjoy –http://www.mlssoccer.com/sideline/news/article/2015/06/10/rock-and-roll-soccer-jerseys-are-here-stay-check-out-latest-crossover-kits-s

3) To follow-up a recent posting about the new line of special-edition vinyl LPs and limited-edition art prints based on several re-releases by the Rolling Stones, there was a special event taking place on Thursday, June 18th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that was built around these new items. On hand to introduce the line was Sirius/XM Radio host Chris Carter (Chris Carter’s British Invasion), so if you’re anywhere near the Sunset Blvd gallery, be sure to stop on in to take a look at these new items, published by Time Life’s Spotlight Gallery division. Preview these items on the gallery’s site at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13708

June 10th – 1) While I know that many well-known album cover artists have applied their talents to clients in both the record and film industries (for example, Drew Struzan did film posters for Star Wars and Indiana Jones after creating covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath), I was impressed to see this recent article by Ria Misra on the IO9 site featuring the talents of one her column’s contributors – who goes by the name of “poorfishy” – who posted his/her mash-ups of classic record and film imagery. You’ll find examples of Duran Duran, The Beatles and the soundtrack for the movie Grease re-interpreted using characters from Star Wars, Dr. Who and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others.
Creative inspiration comes from many sources, but only a few dare to turn it into something worth sharing – well done, poorfishy!
http://io9.com/classic-movie-posters-redrawn-as-vintage-album-covers-1709277184

2) In another example of “you never know what might be worth saving (until you auction it off 50 years later)”, art collectors will enjoy reading the details of the recent luck of a Ms. Jinty Stephenson, a classmate of now-famed designer/artist Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame) who so loved a painting done by her fellow student that she purchased it – paying a total of £30 in ten weekly installments – and is now auctioning it off, with the item expecting to sell for about ten thousand times more than what she paid for it (i.e., approx. £350,000, or a half-million dollars).
It was one of 40 lots up for auction by Christie’s in their June 25th Modern British & Irish Art sale, so I’ll be sure to report back on just how much Ms. Stephenson’s cash account has grown post-sale. In the meantime, you can read more about this in writer Hannah Furness’ article on the Telegraph UK site – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/11655389/Best-investment-I-ever-made-Painting-bought-for-30-to-sell-for-350000.html

Follow-up – Well, our congratulations go out to Ms. Stephenson who, as the beneficiary of some spirited bidding, found her painting sold for NEARLY TWICE the pre-auction estimate – £662,500, or $1,038,800! The entire auction consisted of 32 lots and, with bidders from 18 countries participating, the total take on the evening’s sales was nearly $30 million.

June 9th – 1) To follow-up yesterday’s Rolling Stones-related article that touched on the upcoming re-releases of some quintessential Stones LPs, fans looking for something rare and collectible will have their wishes answered with the announcement of the availability of some special-edition versions of these recordings, made even more enticing by the inclusion of limited-edition album cover art prints. In the article by Nick DeRiso on the Ultimate Classic Rock site, you’ll learn more about the details of what’s available (12×5, Let It Bleed and Get Yer YaYa’s Out!), all done in clear vinyl and packaged with framed litho art prints that feature in addition to the expertly-done artwork found on the records, reproductions of the signatures of the band members.
The art prints were published by long-time album art producer Denny Somach and were done in a partnership between Somach, ABKCO Records and Time Life. The 2500 copies are priced (quite reasonably, I think) at $199.99, so if you’d like one, run don’t walk (or, quite simply, click on over) to the article to find all links as well as a nice video of DJ Chris Carter (host of the long-running “Breakfast With The Beatles” show) unveiling his own copy of the package –http://ultimateclassicrock.com/rolling-stones-clear-vinyl-litho/

2) Speaking of The Beatles – appearing at last weekend’s stop in Orlando, FL of the traveling Art Rock Show was famed designer and animator Ron Campbell, one of the people most-responsible for the memorable psychedelic imagery of both the Yellow Submarine full-length feature and the Saturday Beatles Morning Cartoon series that kept kids and their parents glued to their TV screens in the late 1960s. The 75-year-old artist’s appearance was a rare treat for fans, with the well-attended meet-and-greet a great chance to both hear from the accomplished animator (who worked on many other shows, including Rugrats and Ghostbusters), get an autograph and even take home a limited-edition print or two from the series produced by the artist.
Read the nicely-illustrated coverage of this event by Caitlin Dineen of the Orlando Sentinel on the paper’s site at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orange/os-ron-campbell-beatles-cartoon-animator-20150606-story.html

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

Voodoo Doughnuts ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Wasn’t I surprised when paging thru last week’s edition of the local Portland alternative paper (The Portland Mercury) when I came upon an ad from huge tourist magnet/donut shop Voodoo Doughnuts that thanked locals for their ongoing support and marked their 12th anniversary with their own re-interpretation of Sir Peter Blake’s often-replicated cover design for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP (see picture at top of this posting). The shop is famous for putting just about anything on a donut (bacon maple is a big seller, as is one in the shape of a voodoo doll), so the collage certainly is representative of the artistic approach to high-calorie snack foods that keeps people filling pink boxes with them every hour of every day… See attached picture and, if tempted, visit their site to learn more –http://voodoodoughnut.com/doughnuts.php

June 6th –  1) Much has been said and written about Sir Peter Blake’s Grammy Award-winning design for the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s by The Beatles, but have you ever wondered just who were all of the people featured in that grouping? Some are quite obvious – two sets of Beatles, Edgar Allen Poe, W.C. Fields and Bob Dylan, to mention a few – but, for example, who are the two 19th Century-looking dudes on the left-hand side of the next-to-last row of figures? Let’s thanks the folks at Ultimate Classic Rock and Diffuser.FM for a detailed slide show containing all of the missing information regarding the “who’s who” of this memorable assemblage – click here and your questions will finally be answered – http://diffuser.fm/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-cover-art/

2) I’ve written before about photographer Eilon Paz’s book titled Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, a tome that tries to explain that strange-but-wonderful connection some folks have with the physical aspects of collecting music on vinyl or CD. In his book, the author discusses how the apparent “value” of music has been diminished by the almost unlimited amount of it you can listen to digitally (i.e., via streams, downloads, etc.). Compare this with the value that a record collector attaches to his/her vinyl or CD collection – those items being things that the collector has decided to invest in for posterity’s sake and, at the same time, helping support the careers of his/her favorite musical acts. In this recent article by Kate Beaudoin on the Mic.com site, Kate works with Paz to select and highlight seven of the collectors/collections featured in the book, letting each subject explain and demonstrate why it is that they prefer – for a variety of reasons – to build and maintain their collections of their favorite music. Very insightful… http://mic.com/articles/120134/7-stunning-images-prove-just-how-much-we-lose-with-digital-music

June 5th –  1) The works of several Ohio-based rock photographers are now on display (through the end of August) in a new show at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in Youngstown, OH titled “Rock Gods: The Art of Rock ’n’ Roll Photography”. The 100+ photos on display were shot by photographers who’ve covered the local music scene for the past 40+ years and include Cleveland-based Janet Macoska and two Youngstown, OH-based creatives, Tony Nicholas (photographer) and Chris Yambar, a graphic artist who has “re-imagined” some of Macoska’s photos and created new works of art. Visitors to this show will recognize Janet’s work as part of the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, along with being seen in most major music publications. You’ll also be able to take home prints of the images on display (priced from $30 – $2500) – great souvenirs of a wonderful exhibition. Read all the details in Guy D’Astolfo’s article on the subject found on the Vindy.com web site – http://www.vindy.com/news/2015/may/28/rock-gods-show-at-tyler-center/

2) Album covers from all over the world continue to intrigue music and art fans worldwide, so it is nice to be able to show examples of pop music packaging from place that your Curator hasn’t had much exposure to, such as the collection of Welsh language rock album covers that will be on display at the Galeri Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales beginning this weekend. The exhibition features 40 specially-selected examples and is part of the 2015 Inc Festival taking place. If you’re heading out to take part in the annual celebration there this weekend, here’s a link to an article recently posted on The Daily Post UK web site –http://www.dailypost.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/galeri-caernarfon-hosts-exhibition-iconic-9381265
Perhaps someone can tell me more about the musical acts and artists/photographers whose works are featured in this show – to be honest with you, I’ve been somewhat thwarted in my efforts to determine who’s who from the descriptions provided 🙂

June 3rd – Every once in a while, an item comes up for bid at auction that gives collectors an opportunity to add something unique and beautiful to their album art-related collections, and today I’m reporting on one such opportunity.

You may recall seeing artist Mila Furstova’s wonderful collage that was produced for the cover of Coldplay’s Ghost Stories record, and it proved to be such a popular image that the artist has gone ahead and created a limited-edition series of mixed-media collages that re-create the original wing-shaped image.

Made with two etchings placed on top of a painted background, the nearly 40″ square works are made even more-collectible by the fact that they’re each signed by the artist and the four members of Coldplay. The Bonham’s auction house had one of these prints (there were 25 total in the edition) included in their new Entertainment Memorabilia auction that accepted final bids on June 24th. The pre-auction estimate on this print is approx. $4600, with a percentage of the final price being donated to the Kids Company charity. You can take a look at this nice print via the link –http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22444/lot/251/

Follow-up – while there was a good turnout for the aforementioned auction, the Furstova Coldplay collage went unsold. A happy Coldplay fan, however, did go home with the guitar that Chris Martin used during the recording of their Parachutes record, with the somewhat-battered acoustic selling for $29,462, or nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!

June 2nd – 1) Friday, June 5th was BBC Radio’s “BBC Music Day” and, in support of this event, a number of the network’s on-air personalities have worked together to re-create examples of much-loved album cover imagery, including covers originally featured on records for acts including Oasis, The Smiths and Lisa Stansfield. The participants really seemed to have enjoyed themselves in this work, and the results are pretty impressive, I must say. Seriously, who wouldn’t love to “play” Morrissey or Liam Gallagher for a few minutes? Read and see more about these nice promo images in this article by Emma Flanagan on the Manchester Evening News site –http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-manchester-album-covers—9350395

2) You may recall an article posted not long ago about a new book by author Ramon Oscuro Martos about the amazing range of album cover images found in the hard/heavy metal rock genres, so it was great to see this new short-form video – produced by the author and film maker Randy Salo – in which Martos provides the narration and briefly discusses why he thinks that the artwork in these genres is unique and an important part of the overall connection between bands and their fans. I haven’t yet seen the book in the flesh, so it was also nice to see how well-produced and illustrated And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers is. It certainly has given me some additional inspiration for when I begin serious work on my own book….To read more about this new docu and to watch it yourself, head on over to the Metal Underground site –http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=113772

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.

 

Album Cover News Recap – May, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Having suffered through the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I have to apologize to all of you for the tardiness of this month’s recap. With that in mind, rather than bore you with a wordy introduction, I’m simply going to take you to the summary – suffice it to say that there was a lot happening in the space that would be of interest to album art fans everywhere…

May 1st – 1) There’s a new gallery in Austin, TX (AKA “SE Portland”) called the Modern Rocks Gallery (well, it’s been there a short while, but I just learned about it this week) and I wanted album art fans in that part of the country to know about it and a couple of shows – one current, one upcoming – that are/will be on display there. Running thru May 23rd was an exhibit called “The Smiths and Friends – Iconic musicians by Stephen Wright” that featured a nice collection of shots of the band by the acclaimed photographer. In addition to the images of Mr. Morrisey & Co., you’ll also find nice shots taken of Miles Davis, John Lydon, Madonna, New Order, Prince and Bono of U2. At the end of the month, a large collection of Nirvana photos taken by famed underwater photographer Kirk Weddle (of “Nevermind” fame) was put on display.

Along with rock photography, owner Steven Walker – the former guitarist for Modern English – displays and sells actual rocks, minerals and crystals (truly a rockin’ joint). To learn more about the current and upcoming events, visit the gallery’s events page via the link – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/events/

2) To follow-up a previous article on album cover photos found in the collection of the U.K.’s National Portrait Gallery, The Guardian’s Michael Hann has posted a list of other seminal rock portraits – found on album covers from the 1960s up to the present – that he feels ought to be added to the museum’s prestigious collection. Musical acts featured in the photos on the list include Patti Smith, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Sade, Bjork and many others. I’d be proud to include any/all of them in my personal collection and hope, one day, to see more of them on public display –  http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/apr/29/bjork-blondie-and-bruce-the-cover-portraits-that-deserve-to-hang-in-a-gallery

3) Another well-known seller of in-demand music imagery is Wolfgang’s Vault, the retailer which built its business based on offering music fans a chance to own something from the Bill Graham Archives. Now in business for over 12 years and having expanded its online presence to offer subscription and on-demand viewing of concert recordings, the company is working hard to continue to offer its customers unique opportunities to both watch and listen to their favorite classic acts in performance and then take home a souvenir from that show (or others), so it is interesting to get a chance to learn a bit more about the operation from their head of eCommerce (Grant Feichtmeir) in this recent interview article by Ken Sharp on the Goldmine Magazine site –  http://www.goldminemag.com/features/peek-inside-wolfgangs-vault

May 4th –  1) As part of the promo behind the release of his band’s new record titled My Waterfall, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James (am I the only one that automatically adds “and The Flames” whenever I hear his name?) has penned a feature article you’ll find on the Vanity Fair web site that lists his “Top 6” album covers of all time. Included in the very diverse list are records by Link Wray, Bob Dylan, The Mamas & The Papas, Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson, Curtis Mayfield and a record that’s often included on the many “WTF?” lists, the Louvin Brothers and their 1960 release Satan Is Real. You’ll find covers containing work by Gary Burden, Bob Cato & Reid Miles (for Dylan), David Lau & Scott Townsend (GSH) and one featuring Margaret Bourke-White’s flood victims photo that was featured on the cover of the 2/15/37 edition of LIFE Magazine. I’m sure that you’ll find Mr, James’ comments quite insightful, so click on over now to see and read more – http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/04/jim-james-my-morning-jacket-album-art-the-waterfall

2) Photos of the Grateful Dead lifted from the extensive portfolio created by famed cover shooter Peter Simon will be featured in two soon-to-be-published books on the band. Taken while on assignments from Time/Life and Newsweek, this will be the first time that several of the photos have been published, so with this being the 50th anniversary of the band, fans can now celebrate a little early by linking on over to Mr. Simon’s site to dig through an archive area he’s put together featuring scads of these photos –  https://productsandportfolio.petersimon.com/cgi-bin/store/imageFolio.cgi?direct=The_Grateful_Dead

Peter also announced that some of the photos will also be seen in a new documentary by Martin Scorsese – congratulations, Peter!

3) Now album art collectors will have a chance to support a new exhibition planned for later this Spring at The Hyde Collection Art Museum & Historic House located in Glen Falls, NY. In support of a new show featuring the works of Andy Warhol, the museum’s curators are working on a companion display they’re calling “Can You Dig It?”. As part of that show, and taking into account that Warhol had produced over 50 covers during his career, they’re looking to borrow album covers from collectors that will be put on display. Record covers from albums released between 1973 – 1987 are preferred. To read more of the details and to contact the museum if you have covers to lend, click on over to the press release as posted on the Poststar.com site –  http://poststar.com/print-specific/brief/hyde-seeking-album-covers/article_bcff5988-3272-5af7-abfc-a8f79a4c6d00.html

May 6th –  1) Nice story on the DIY Magazine site about how a relationship between a talented young art student (musician and, later on, video director) and the singer Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs led ultimately to that artist’s commission to produce the colorful artwork for the cover of the band’s debut record Fever To Tell. When young Cody Critcheloe – who now operates by the name SSION – first arrived in New York, hoping to tap into the music and art scene there, his arrival coincided with the beginning of the band’s uphill climb to rock stardom, and so after a chance meeting with Karen O during which he introduced her to his artistic talents, he was soon given the opportunity to help establish the band’s visual side through his efforts, the results of which are still impressive to this day. Read El Hunt’s interview with SSION about this important first project via the link – http://diymag.com/2015/04/30/ssion-on-art-rock-and-creating-the-artwork-for-yeah-yeah-yeahs-fever-to-tell

2) When nothing else will do…you gotta do what you gotta do. At least that was writer Albert Mudrian’s approach to securing one particular artist – Dan Seagrave, the man responsible for many a well-known metal album cover image – when he needed a new cover image for the updated version of his book about the origins of the Death Metal music scene titled Choosing Death: The Improbable History Of Death Metal & Grindcore. This commission produced a painting titled Origins Of Madness, and in this interview with the author conducted by J. Bennett for the Noisy.Vice site, Albert shares a bit of info of the process he went through to revise what was already considered “the definitive work” on the topic and the work it takes to keep his writing on the topic (seen both in his books and in Decibel magazine) compelling for an ever-growing audience. http://noisey.vice.com/en_au/blog/albert-mudrian-decibel-choosing-death-interview 

3) An iconic album cover image, created by Pacific Eye & Ear’s Joe Petagno in 1977 for Motorhead, is the basis of a newly-interpreted sculpture-turned-Halloween mask now being offered by the folks at Trick Or Treat Studios in Soquel, CA. Shipping later this summer, the new. officially-licensed “Warpig” mask was sculpted by Rick Fisher, a noted artist who has been creating popular masks since 1999 (including a very cool DEVO Booji Boy model). Motorhead fans have long-sported t-shirts based on the various versions of this figurehead since the late 70s, so it’s about time that they’re able to go full-throttle (like the Hellraisers that they are) into this year’s Holiday with a proper costume accessory. http://www.trickortreatstudios.com/motorhead_warpig_mask.html

The same company gives Alice Cooper fans a similar option, just in case you can’t make up your mind –  http://www.trickortreatstudios.com/alice_cooper_halloween_mask.html

4) When I saw this article, I wasn’t quite sure how/whether to report about it as, on its surface, it seems to cheapen the basis of the work that we all are fans of here at the ACHOF but, as it is that we now live in a society where “there’s an app for everything” and artists have been using computer-based tools to aid their efforts for some time now, this simply adds another tool to the repertoire of album art creators of varying degrees of talent, right?

As detailed in this article on High Point University’s web site, computer science/math major Nick Zayatz has released an application he calls “Album Pop” (available via the iTunes Store) that lets anyone looking to add album cover art to their recorded music to accomplish that feat “in three easy steps”.

As I was a participant in the era where you made interesting covers for your mix-tapes, I can somewhat appreciate that the young man has produced a tool allowing anyone to personalize their music products but, to me, it simply is another in a long list of products that have only served to industrialize and homogenize an important aspect (at least to fans of album art) of creating memorable music packaging. Your opinions on the topic would be greatly appreciated – http://www.highpoint.edu/blog/2015/04/new-app-created-by-hpu-junior-makes-it-easy-to-design-album-covers/

May 7th –  Two talented rock photographers “gettin’ their dues”…

1) The work of Art Kane, the late photographer who created the covers for albums including The Kids Are Alright by The Who, An American Prayer by Jim Morrison and Point Of Entry by Judas Priest, has found a home in a new book published by Reel Art Press. While his long career’s work was never organized and published in a retrospective monograph, Kane’s son Jonathan made sure that his archives were properly feted in this volume and, in this new photo collection assembled for display on the DailyMail.com site, fans are able to see examples from every aspect of Art’s career, including his work as a photo-journalist, fashion photographer and chronicler of the great changes the world was going through beginning in the early 1960s.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3066690/Photographer-lens-captured-iconic-rock-rollers-1960s-1970s-heydays-collects-greatest-shots-new-book-celebrates-eccentric-era-music-fashion.html

Visit the Reel Art Press site to read more about this important new book –  http://www.reelartpress.com/catalog/edition/71/art-kane

2) Originally a Kickstarter-backed film project but now backed by executive producer Eddie Vedder, film-maker Karen Whitehead’s new documentary Her Aim Is True  screened May 7th in San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts. The documentary’s subject is pioneering female rock photographer Jini Dellaccio who, before going on to fame for her photographs of “rock royalty” including the Rolling Stones, The Who and Neil Young, produced three album covers for the upstart mid-60s garage-rockers The Sonics (who, in spite of several break-ups along the way, are still touring today).

Writing for the SoundDiego site (a late-night weekend show on the NBC affiliate there), Hannah Lott-Schwartz has published an interview with the former BBC news producer in which she acquaints us with a shooter who used her unique window on the world – that of a middle-aged woman as editorial photographer working long before this was the norm – to introduce us to all the exciting talent young people were clamoring about at the time.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/blogs/sounddiego/Her-Aim-Is-True-The-Jini-Dellaccio-Story-302790421.html

May 8th –  1) As a follow-up to an earlier posting about an upcoming show in Austin, TX of the Nirvana-related works by photographer Kirk Weddle, writer Anneta Konstantinides has put together a nice photo article for the UK’s DailyMail.com site featuring a number of the alt-takes from the sessions that created the memorable cover. Baby in the pool, Nirvana members in the pool – even some shots of the band in the pool WITH THEIR INSTRUMENTS (personally, I liked my drum set too much to torture it in this way but, hey, it’s all done for the art)! Truly a glimpse back to happier times for all participants and fans – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3067679/Rare-photos-Nirvana-recreating-iconic-Nevermind-cover-sale.html

2) I was very pleased to read that George Kalinsky – the official photographer for Madison Square Garden (since 1966!) and the man responsible for countless instantly-recognizable photos of performers and performances at the famed NYC arena – is being inducted to the Madison Square Garden “Walk of Fame”. At the same ceremony, the Grateful Dead will also be inducted, in recognition for the 50+ concerts the band has given there since 1979. In addition to Garden-related imagery, Kalinsky has also produced a large collection of photos of celebrities from the entertainment and sports worlds and is the recipient of many photo/editorial industry awards. You can find a number of examples of George’s work, along with a bio and other information, on his web site at http://www.georgekalinsky.com/index.html

Congratulations, George!

3) The folks at St. Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham, U.K. have announced the availability of a few remaining copies of a very rare album art print – that of the cover for Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson’s 2004 solo record titled Gettin’ In Over My Head, done by Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame). The Beach Boys were always one of Sir Peter’s favorite bands, so he approached the production of this collage with great determination and joy. The final image is based on his interpretations of each of the songs featured on the album, with the title of each hand-written next to each unique image found in the collage. To see this and several other of Blake’s music-inspired images, click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/fine-art/sir-peter-blake-signed-limited-edition-album-cover-print-gettin-in-over-my-head.asp

May 11th –  1) There was a new auction May 15th that contained a number of interesting album cover-related items – from art proofs to alt takes to clothing and props found on well-known images – and so I thought that some of you might want to bop on over to the Julien’s Auction site to view these and other fascinating bits of music memorabilia that were sold to a host of lucky collectors. In their “Music Icons 2015” auctions, you were able to bid on the following:

a) A limited-edition print (one of 100) of a Michael Cooper photo taken of an alternate version of the Sgt. Pepper’s set – this one with Paul kneeling, Ringo holding a tuba and several historical icons whose images were axed from the final version. Starting bid on this item was $400, with the winning bid at $1250.

b) Several “working proofs” of production artwork for Beatles-related covers including “Meet The Beatles” (sold for $250), “A Hard Day’s Night” (sold for $375), McCartney & Wings’ “Band On The Run” (sold for $125) and Yoko Ono’s “Plastic Ono Band” (sold for $256). All had opening bids in the $100 – $200 range.

c) Album cover-worn items included gold lame costumes worn by members of Sha-Na-Na (these went unsold), a green hat worn by Alicia Keys on the cover for “Songs In A Minor” (sold for $3750) and a bright red suit worn by the late great John Entwhistle on the cover of his “Too Late The Hero” record (sold for $4688).

You’ll also find a number of signed album covers and photographs that were sold, so click on over to the auction’s summary site at  http://www.julienslive.com/view-auctions/catalog/id/153/?page=1&key=album+cover&cat=&xclosed=no to see everything that was available.

2) As those of you who might follow my writing on the topic of album covers as fine art may know, I’ve always worked hard to promote the notion that album cover artists (designers, photographers, etc.) have often been overlooked by the fine art establishment, primarily due to the perceived “commercial nature” of the works they create (not that fine artists ever work hard to sell their works as well, sometimes even to commercial clients – sheesh!). There are other times, though, when I’m somewhat glad that art critics and educators don’t spend too much time on this topic because, when they do, they tend to write in a prose that confuses me, using references that I’m not familiar with and heady metaphors that leave me with the same feeling I get after finishing a Slurpee (TM) too quickly….

Sometimes, though, art writers meet me half way and, as an example of this, I’d like to point you to a recent article in Juxtapoz Magazine by writer Carlo McCormick about the always-evolving work of a commercial artist (with several album cover credits) who has, over the past 15-20 years, made serious in-roads into the fine art world – the talented Ryan McGinness. While I admit that my eyes did glaze over once or twice during my reading of this article, both the author and the impressive photos of the artist’s work did leave me with a better understanding of how this artist has succeeded when so many others come up short – http://beyondthecover.juxtapoz.com/june-2015-ryan-mcginness

May 12th –  1) In support of the opening of a new John Lennon-centric exhibit at the Krab Jab Studios in Seattle, WA, two of the artists whose work is on display were on hand to meet fans – Tim Bruckner, the album cover artist/sculptor who has created imagery for Ringo, Parliament, the Average White Band and others, and photographer/former Lennon companion May Pang who, in addition to lots of shots of the late Beatle (as featured in her book on the subject titled Instamatic Karma) brought along a pair of Lennon-owned prescription sunglasses. There were several other intriguing Lennon-related sculptures on display, and the opening was attended by a host of celebs with ties to John and his family, including drummer Alan White (of YES and a former member of the Plastic Ono Band) and authors Charles Cross and Gillian G. Gaar. Shelley Germeaux, writing for The Examiner, was in attendance and has posted an article and photo gallery from last weekend’s event, viewable via the link –  http://www.examiner.com/article/may-pang-and-tim-bruckner-at-private-event-for-lennon-exhibit-seattle

2) Sometimes, the best way to provide others with a reference to your feelings about a subject is to reference a well-known album cover image (at least this works for me…). In this article and image gallery recently posted by writer Andy Morris on the Gigwise site, the author has selected 15 album covers that he feels best-represent the surprise and bewilderment he and his chums felt as the result of the recent elections in the U.K.. While some are often-referenced, others are a bit more unusual and, in all cases, a much-better option that a simple “WTF?” graphic – http://www.gigwise.com/photos/100348/election-result-2015-reaction-in-album-covers

3) You’ve got to give a lot of credit to a young person who is so dedicated to sharing his love of music and art that he’s willing to “bet the farm” on the opening of a new vinyl record store/art gallery. In this recent profile by Michelle Goodman in the Ironton (OH) Tribune, you’ll meet the owner of Portsmouth, Ohio’s Haskins House – Charlie Haskins – who opened the shop late last year as a tribute to the artistic roots of his family. In addition to the vast inventory of vinyl records, shoppers will find books on a wide range of music and art topics, posters, memorabilia and a selection of fine art created by various members of the Haskins family, including paintings done by his late father of his interpretations of the covers of records including Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones (complete with working zipper) and Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother. You can learn more about this shop and the people behind it via either via the story link at http://www.irontontribune.com/2015/05/07/no-place-like-haskins-house/ or via their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Haskins-House/184541774921400?fref=ts

May 13th –  1) Fans of surrealism and fantasy art have long-admired the works of the late, great H.R. Giger and will want to join the lines at the ticket windows for the upcoming screenings for a new documentary on the artist’s life and work that’s premiering this week. Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World is a film by Belinda Sallin that, according to the film’s distributor, Icarus Films, “shares the intimate last years of the artist’s life and reveals how deeply he resided within his own artistic visions. Behind the shuttered windows and ivy-covered walls of his residence in Zurich, Switzerland, DARK STAR brings viewers into Giger’s mysterious realm…While more-widely known for his amazing designs for the ALIEN films, album art fans will certainly remember his designs for ELP (Brain Salad Surgery), Debbie Harry (Koo Koo) and Danzig (How The Gods Kill), among several others.

A visit to the site brings you to several video clips, including the film’s trailer and segments in which you can see the artist at work and in one of his amazing creations – his “Secret Garden” (enter, if you dare!)

http://www.icarusfilms.com/new2015/dk.html

2) In a follow-up to last month’s article on illustrator Uwe De Witt’s comic hero-based remakes of album covers, I wanted to let you know that there was a show running at London’s Orbital Comics store (thru May 14th) called “Cover Versions” in which you found the works of 14 different comic book artist as they have re-imagined classic album covers. You’ll see superhero-influenced covers for records by The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Who and others and, in a fine example of album art-based philanthropy, if you like the art you see, you can buy prints of the images on the gallery’s site, with all proceeds going to the Brain Tumour Research charity. Alex Spencer gives us more of the details, along with all relevant links, in this article on the Comics Alliance web site –  http://comicsalliance.com/comic-artists-remix-classic-album-covers/

3) The influence of great album cover art runs deep, as is evidenced by the artwork featured in this article on the Catholic Herald web site. In coming up with “something fresh” in a design for a new recruitment poster for the Dominicans in Ireland, the design team uses both references to their own unique clothing and to the cover image for Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 smash album Born To Run. I suppose that a reference to this image makes more sense than if they’d chosen, say, one of the aforementioned Mr. Giger’s designs but, hey, “whatever floats your boat”.  http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/05/08/vocations-poster-inspired-by-bruce-springsteens-born-to-run/

May 14th –  1) A career-spanning exhibition of the works of long-time NME photographer Chalkie Davies is now on display at the National Museum Cardiff. Running through the 6th of September and featuring over 60 B&W images that were taken during the mid-late 1970s, the subjects of Chalkie’s photos include famous faces from The Clash, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, The Specials, Thin Lizzy and The Who. After leaving NME to start a new publication called The Face, he spent the next several years adding photos of David Gilmour, The Pretenders and Pete Townshend to his portrait/album cover portfolio. The museum has several related events that will take place during the show’s run, and you can read more about this presentation on the ArtDaily.org site via the link – http://artdaily.com/news/78441/Rock-and-Punk-era-brought-to-life-in-a-new-photography-exhibition-at-National-Museum-Cardiff

2) Now available for viewing on the 98 Bowery gallery site is a virtual exhibition curated by Marc H. Miller about what many consider to be the first full-fledged gallery show focused on punk art – that being a 1978 spectacle Miller put together (with Alice Denney) at the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington DC. Reaching deep into his personal archives, Marc has put together a really nice multi-part online catalog, re-introducing fans of the scene to many of the players that made this era so interesting and influential. I was particularly-impressed with the nicely-illustrated section he put up about Punk Magazine and what was going on at the time at NYC’s School of Visual Arts (Legs McNeil, John Holmstrom, photographer Roberta Bayley, etc.). There’s a lot of territory to cover, so why not get started on the site’s catalog page – enjoy the ride –  http://98bowery.com/punk-years/punk-art-catalogue.php

3) To update you on an item I reported on several weeks ago about the vandalism of the Darwin, CA-area Joshua Tree plant featured on the cover of U2’s album by the same name – here’s some feel good news! In a sign of true fandom, a guy that goes by the name of George G. moved himself out to the site of the tragedy and “performed surgery” on the damaged arm, bringing back to what seems to be “like new” condition. George shot video of the entire operation, a link to which you can find in Michelle Geslani’s article on the subject on the Consequence of Sound site – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/05/a-good-samaritan-repaired-u2s-joshua-tree/

I think that he was going to do it With Or Without You…

May 15th – In the meantime, here is the one thing I can point you to: there’s a new book out by two experienced rock photographers – Jason Obrotka and Paul Miles – in which they document a “year in the life” of their work behind the scenes at rock music events that took place at various venues in NYC. The two photo journalists wanted to be able to give fans a slightly-different perspective on what life is like for touring musicians in different genres and stages in their respective careers, and in Before I Hit The Stage, they’ve done just that, giving us the details of their encounters with acts including The Yardbirds, Cherie Currie from The Runaways, Dinosaur Jr., the Violent Femmes and many others.

Writing for the “Extra Mustard” section on the Sports Illustrated web site, Andy Gray interviews the two shooters and, in some bonus items, also asks a number of working musicians some for their take on several interesting sports-related topics.

http://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2015/04/24/rock-roll-photographer-jason-obrotka-backstage

May 18th –  1) Here’s a chance to visit with the very talented Stanley Mouse, the designer responsible for so many beloved rock and roll-related designs over the past 40+ years. In an article posted recently in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat – written by Michael Shapiro – you can get a better look at the amazing output of the guy responsible for album covers for Journey, Steve Miller and, most-notably, the Grateful Dead. He’s lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over 50 years, beginning his career designing posters for Chet Helms before branching out (along with his late partner, Alton Kelley) to create memorable imagery that, if you’ll check your t-shirt collection, you’ll most-probably be an owner of a copy or two. Tour thru the artist’s Sebastopol “Mouse-eum” via the link –  http://www.pressdemocrat.com/lifestyle/3864479-181/stanley-mouse-man-who-designed

2) To follow-up on last-week’s posting about the new film on the life and career of artist H.R. Giger, here’s a link to an interview with the film’s director, Belinda Sallin, done by Blastr.com’s Ernie Estrella. Giger allowed Sallin unprecedented access to his home and workplaces and that footage, combined with her many interviews with the artist himself, his friends, ex-wives and associated artists, serve to bring a complete and intimate view of a truly unique designer of an un-matched portfolio of influential fantasy images. The film continues its limited release in approx. 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada thru the end of June –  http://www.blastr.com/2015-5-15/belinda-sallin-capturing-life-and-art-hr-giger-her-documentary-dark-star-hr-gigers-world

May 19th – 1) In the May issue of Creative Review, Adrian Schaunessy gives us a review of a new book on the album cover work of the Hipgnosis design studio. Titled Technical Ecstasy: Hipgnosis Portraits, the book gives readers a detailed (and nicely-illustrated) look at the people that contributed to the studio’s impressive output – iconic works for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Sad Cafe, Muse, The Cranberries and many, many others. Although Storm Thorgerson died back in 2013, his work and that of his cohorts continues to inspire and amaze – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/may1/hipgnosis-portraits

2) You’ll learn a lot about designer/photographer Brian Griffin and his work on album covers for Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and others in this recent interview featured in Brett Helm’s “[Friday On The Turntable] Album Art & Design” article on the “Life On This Planet” site. As a special bonus feature, Brett has assembled a Spotify playlist that includes examples of music from all of the records mentioned in the interview feature – listen and learn, via the link – http://brethelm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/friday-on-turntable-album-art-design-3.html

3) Are you a budding music industry graphic artist/designer looking to build a portfolio of work published in a major music magazine? If you are, the folks at Relix Magazine are looking for an intern willing to give them 2-3 days per week in their Manhattan, NY offices. While it’s an upaid position (welcome to the media business, newbies!), interns will get to attend concerts, take home valuable swag and get the chance to hob-nob with the music industry mucky-mucks they’ll be trying to impress with their work. Follow the link to the article on Relix/Jamband‘s web site to learn more about how to take this important first step in your career as a music industry producer –  http://www.jambands.com/news/2015/05/18/relix-is-looking-for-graphic-design-interns Good luck!

May 20th –  1) Artist Stanley Donwood – known to many of you for his long list of impressive album covers for Radiohead and others – is subject of a large career retrospective show that opened May 21 at the “Semi-Permanent” art/design conference held in Sydney’s Eveleigh’s Carriageworks exhibition space. Running through June 6th, the show (titled “The Panic Room”) covered much of the huge, 64,000 square foot (!!) space. According to Jacqui Taffel’s article on the show recently posted on Australia’s “The Age” site, the space “will be painted and covered with his posters, screen and lino prints and large-scale prints of paintings, with more than 1000 pieces of Radiohead art work. In the middle is a towering red obelisk, a shrine to the pointy-toothed cartoon bear he first drew nearly 20 years ago for his daughter…”

Fans of “the Bear” will be in sheer bliss, I think. Get the rest of the details, along with some insights from the artist himself on the gargantuan task of setting up a show this big, via the link – http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/the-panic-room-radiohead-artist-stanley-donwood-steps-out-of-the-shadows-20150513-ggzgt7.html

2) In a follow-up to the recent posting about an upcoming album art show that will run alongside the Andy Warhol drawings exhibit that will open up at The Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, NY in late June, The Daily Gazette‘s Pop Culture writer, Jeff Wilkin, shares what I think was many a young man’s fantasy in the early 1970s – provided by the cover of Carly Simon’s No Secrets LP (with photo by Ed Caraeff – thanks again, Ed!) – and then moves on to discuss the many other covers that played some part in shaping his life during those formative years. Covers discussed include examples from acts including Black Sabbath, Blind Faith, Heart and, as I’m sure we all have at least one of these in our own collections, a cover by an fairly-unknown band – in this case, Tucky Buzzard. Share in Jeff’s recap via the link –  http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/wilkin/2015/may/16/hyde-exhibit-puts-fun-spin-70s-album-covers/

One of my favorite covers was the one featured on Bloodrock 3, released in the early 70s by TX-based rockers Bloodrock. Anyone else willing to add to the list?

May 21st –  1) Earlier this week, an auction held at London’s Royal Albert Hall (and arranged by The Print Bank) of 30 limited-edition photo prints, donated by the nice people at the Rockarchive Collection in the U.K., raised a bunch of money for several artist-selected charities. Included in the sale were prints by photographers including Jill Furmanovsky, Sheila Rock, Michael Putland and others, with the top money-getter of the evening being a shot of the late singer Amy Winehouse, which sold for £3000. An autographed photo of Led Zeppelin – signed by guitarist Jimmy Page – sold for £2000, with other shots fetching anywhere from £600 to £1600. Very nice to see that fans are willing to support the good works of these charities while, at the same time, adding great new prints to their respective collections. More details here on the Classic Rock web site – http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2015-05-17/led-zepellin-photo-ps2000-charity-auction

2) Beginning on May 25th, the work of celebrated album cover designer Brian Cannon and his team at Microdot are featured in an exhibition that coincides with the group’s 25th anniversary. Taking place at the circa 1887 Old Courtroom in the Old Courts on Crawford Street in Wigan (UK), the group’s studios will be open to the public for a week, with over 150 items on display including a number of autographed items, lyric sheets from Oasis, the Verve and Richard Ashcroft and, of course, designs the group has done for records by the aforementioned artists and others. Cannon and others will be on hand to answer questions, and a good time is guaranteed for all attendees. Learn more about the show’s hours and special events/lectures on the studio’s site at  http://microdotspeaks.co.uk/2015/05/08/microdot-the-exhibition/

May 23rd –  1) With the voter turn-out quite high in Ireland for their gay marriage referendum, I thought that this article would be of interest to album art fans who are also supporters of equal rights for all…This posting was put up recently on the Entertainment.ie site, with the authors using a number of classic album covers as the basis for their appeals for “yes” votes on today’s poll. It only makes sense, when you’re trying to grab peoples’ attention, that you use images that have a strong appeal, and what better to use than re-imagined covers originally created for The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, The Sex Pistols and several others. Nice work – take a look – http://entertainment.ie/life/Pics-Classic-album-covers-reimagined-in-support-of-Marriage-Equality/365195.htm

2) Flipping the coin over to the side where an album image has caused nothing but (well-deserved) embarrassment for one of the people appearing on the cover photo, here’s the story of an elected official in Canada whose past work as a model for a metal band based in Calgary called Gatekrashor has been revealed and has unleashed the fury of a not-too-happy electorate. It seems that, just a week after photos surfaced of NDP MLA Deborah Drever in which she’s seen with pot and making obscene gestures, a keen-eyed person posted the photo cover of Gatekrashor’s Fear of Attack, in which Ms. Drever is in a staged scene where she’s in the midst of being assaulted by a gang armed with a beer bottle. She’s apologized for her lack of taste in selecting modeling assignments, but calls for her resignation are growing louder by the day. Read more about this on the Globalnews.ca site, via the link – http://globalnews.ca/news/2001504/new-mla-in-facebook-controversy-apologizes-for-offensive-album-cover/

3) In our last story, Tim Cain, the Entertainment Editor for the Decatur, IL Herald-Review, spins a heart-warming tale of his love for album cover art – it’s the best way he knows of to decorate his walls to his taste and mood. Tim has also shown some artistic flair in the way he’s taken and modified some of his favorite covers so that they’re unique works of art – we’ve all done this in one way or another, right? Take a look at Tim’s article via the link

http://herald-review.com/blogs/tim_cain/art-in-unlikely-places/article_0a2f7314-fe50-11e4-83c4-cf276083cc29.html?mobile_touch=true

I once painted a large-scale recreation of a Roger Dean image on my basement wall, using house paint. Anyone care to share their own stories of cover-inspired home decorating?

May 26th – 1) In Kyle Grantham’s article on the Delaware Online site, you’ll get to learn a bit about the career of Joe del Tufo, which started off in graphic design and moved its way into photography when Joe decided that he could both save some production money and get the exact shots he wanted if he just took the time to learn how to use a camera! In the 17+ years since taking that responsibility on, del Tufo has become a very popular photographer, with a lot of editorial, advertising and album cover credits to his name (including covers for Marillion, Steve Hackett, The Pineapple Thief and others). Whenever a major act comes to play venues in the Philadelphia area, Joe’s on hand to document their performances, so you’ll find images of a wide range of major musical acts, including U2, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews and many more. Learn more about the multi-talented producer via the link –  http://www.delawareonline.com/story/firststatefocus/2015/05/15/fsf-del-tufo/27386579/

2) It’s hard to believe that Alternative Press is 30 years old (or, is it that I’M this old), but in this interview with the publication’s fearless leader, Mike Shea, you’ll get to learn about how he worked his tushy off to get the publication launched, noticed and, ultimately, respected for their fierce attention to the careers of many talented “alternative bands”. I remember working a bit with their crew when covering the annual Warped Tour concert series a number of years ago, and they were as dedicated to promoting the talents of great new bands as we were. I’m even more impressed that Mike and his crew have remained focused on this aspect of the music business when so many others have lost their focuses (or is that focusi?) and taken a more-generic route. The publication has always featured a strong list of contributing photographers, and the quality of that work continues to impress and bolster the publication’s reputation both in print and online. Mike spoke recently with reporter Curt Miller about his life’s work and passion, and you can find that article now on the KNAC.com site via the link – http://knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=15620

May 27th –  1) The details of the work done in 1972 by famed album cover design firm Pacific Eye & Ear for Alice Cooper’s classic School’s Out LP are highlighted in this recent article by writer Alan Siegel for The Concourse. Done during the days when outrageous (and impactful) package design was an important part of marketing a band known for its ability to drop the jaws of nearly every parent who found themselves digging through their kids’ record collections, the package featured a school desk carved with the names of band members which opened up to show the things found inside (including a switchblade knife). Band manager Shep Gordon took the design into overdrive by insisting that the record come wrapped in a pair of white (and, quite impressively, flammable) paper panties…Stroll down memory lane to get the rest of the sordid (and hilarious) details on one of the best-remembered album cover efforts, via the link –  http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/schools-out-forever-the-secret-history-of-alice-coop-1705441582

2) Artist Victor Stabin cemented his place in album cover lore with his work on the package for Unmasked by KISS, an album that celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. One of several albums by the band that would feature comic book-style artwork, the story behind the record included enough other memorable bits (34 others, in fact) that it motivated writer McPadden to publish an article on the VH-1 Classic site titled “Unmasking Unmasked: 35 Facts About The Classic KISS Album”. One interesting tidbit was that Stabin, an artist based in Brooklyn, NY, was also responsible for a portfolio of portraits of great American scientists that were used on a series of U.S. Postage stamps…33 other fascinating facts are available via the link – http://www.vh1.com/news/19326/kiss-unmasked-35-facts/

3) Finally, in a good example of “it helps to have famous parents but, without real talent, I wouldn’t have succeeded otherwise”, meet photographer Zack Whitford, an artist whose works are featured in a new gallery show that opened Friday, May 29th at the Hilton|Asmus Contemporary Art Gallery in Chicago (with an opening reception there beginning at 5:30PM local time). Currently living in LA, young Zack spent a lot of his childhood on the road with his father and his Dad’s band – Aerosmith – and took up photography as a hobby five years ago. Since then, his hobby has evolved into a full-time freelance gig and, ultimately, taking on the role as the band’s official photographer. His work has gone on to appear in a number of notable magazines, and this show will be his first full-bore gallery display. Glad to see that talent runs in the family – more details available via the link – http://www.hilton-asmus.com/zack-whitford-contrast.html

May 28th –  1) For many music acts these days, album covers are simply something the record label provides as part of their promotional efforts, but it’s clear here in this recent interview with Ceremony’s lead singer Ross Farrar (posted by Gabe Meline on the KQED site) that album art has been an integral part of his band’s holistic approach to building a relationship with their fans. As he describes each cover for the group’s releases over the past 10 or so years, you’ll see that they’ve tried hard – with the help of the artists and art directors they’ve worked with – to put a lot of themselves (and bits of the world they live in) into each cover. Really an interesting perspective and an opportunity to learn more about the relationship between music and art (I’m really impressed with the homage to early cover designers found on their most-recent release) – http://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2015/05/22/into-the-art-of-ceremony-talking-album-cover-design-with-ross-farrar/

2) In another nicely-documented example of the close relationships that are built sometimes between a musical act and the artist(s) chosen to create their record covers, here’s a recent article featuring Texas-based musician Bill Callahan and artist Paul Ryan, a painter from Australia who, in an effort to find just the right music for the soundtrack on a documentary film being produced about his work, swapped a license for one of his paintings – to be used on a record by Callahan – for some of the singer/songwriter’s most-inspiring tracks. To add some additional value to this “money-less” exchange of intellectual property, slides of Ryan’s works will be used in the projections that will appear behind the singer when he next performs at the famed Sydney Opera House. Read the details in Elissa Blake’s article now featured on the SMH.com.au web site –  http://m.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/bill-callahan-and-paul-ryans-creative-partnership-comes-to-vivid-sydney-stage-20150526-gh9kdo.html

3) Finally – it seems that fans of long-running San Francisco band The Residents have gone just a bit too far in their efforts to collect souvenirs from the band…earlier this month, someone stole (“intercepted”, in delivery-speak) a quite-valuable (and instantly-recognizable) “Eyeball in a Hat” mask, along with a rare photograph used on one of their early record covers. The items were in transit back to its owner after having been used in a museum exhibit when they were pilfered, and so anyone with info on these items – valued at over $120K together – is asked to call the San Francisco PD to aid them in their recovery efforts. To see the items and learn more about them, click on over to the KRON site – http://kron4.com/2015/05/23/100k-mask-20k-album-cover-stolen-in-intercepted-package/

May 29th –  1) If you find yourself in the LA area sometime between now and the middle of the Summer, be sure to leave yourself some time to tour through the “Rock & Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip” exhibition – featuring the billboard photos of Robert Landau – on display at the Skirball Cultural Center near the 405 on Sepulveda. One of two rock-oriented shows up now at the museum (the other is “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution”, running now through October 11), the show coincides with Landau’s excellent book on the same subject and offers large-scale photos of a number of memorable record promo billboards that were on display on the Strip from the late 60s thru the early 80s. Although just a young man at the time, Landau was keen enough to photo-document the short-lived-but-impressive displays that lined the street, distracting drivers with their sheer scale and impressive graphics. In Sam McManis’ recent article on the Sacramento Bee‘s web site, you’ll get a mini-tour of the show and, if you go to the museum’s site, you can watch several related videos, including one with artist Enrique Vidal, the man responsible for painting many a 60-foot canvas during this period.

http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/travel/sam-mcmanis/article21583839.html

http://www.skirball.org/exhibitions/rock-billboards

2) Photographer Eric Meola, the guy responsible for several memorable album cover shots for Bruce Springsteen and his band, is working to both commemorate Born To Run’s 40th anniversary and raise money for a favorite charity via the sale of a limited-edition (1,975 prints) commemorative poster featuring his fine photo work. All sales will benefit the WhyHunger organization, one launched 40 years ago by the late Harry Chapin and DJ Bill Ayers (originally known as World Hunger Year). What makes this poster (which sells for $50) even more special is that Meola turned to art director John Berg – a man responsible for hundreds of record covers during his time at Columbia Records – for his help in designing this fund-raising print. Jennifer Landes of the East Hampton (NY) Star interviews Meola in the linked article – http://easthamptonstar.com/Arts/2015521/Born-Run-Marking-40-Battling-Hunger

Here’s a link to the site where you can purchase one for yourself – http://www.backstreets.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=POSBTR40&Category_Code=001

Money well-spent, don’t you think?

3) Finally – Sometimes, timing is everything. Since artist H.R. Giger was already in the U.S. to pick up an Oscar Award for his design work on the film Alien, Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were able to grab him and convince him to work with them on the eerie and painfully-beautiful cover for Harry’s solo record titled Koo Koo. Also included in the article by Nick Gazin on the VICE site are several photos showing Giger’s magical make-up work on Ms. Harry in progress. I learned one thing I never knew – Giger’s idea for the uber-accupuncture design was inspired by the word “KOO”, as in “A-KOO-puncture”. One of the more-interesting story-behind-the-story articles I’ve seen in a while – enjoy! http://www.vice.com/read/blondies-chris-stein-recalls-working-with-hr-giger-309

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. As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection 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).

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.

 

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.

Click here to visit the Nominee Info page on the ACHOF site – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-nominee-intro-page/achof-class-of-2014-nominee-intro-page/

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
or
http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400109

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.

If you’d like to learn more about Gary, his work and his music (and to listen to some samples of music from his new release), please click on over to his site at http://garycalamar.com/ To read August Brown’s article on the subject in the LA Times, here’s the link – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-gary-calamar-20141010-story.html

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/

October 7 – 1) The Australian Recording Industry Association has announced the nominees for this years ARIA Award for Best Cover Art –http://www.ariaawards.com.au/nominees/2014/Artisan-Awards/Best-Cover-Art– and the folks at the Faster/Louder site are asking out loud – “Are these really the best album covers of 2014?” While I might agree that a couple of the nominees feature designs that are pretty mundane, there are a few that show some imagination and technical prowess. Take a look, cast your mental votes, and then check back here in late November for the announcement of the big winner…http://m.fasterlouder.com.au/news/40748/Are-these-really-the-best-album-covers-of-2014

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.

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.

 

 

A Scientific Approach To Determining “The Best” In Album Cover Art

Details on the U.S. Mensa Society’s “Best Cover Art” Bracket Challenge

American Mensa “Best Cover Art” Bracket Challenge Artwork

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com 

Earlier this month, I learned about an interesting poll looking to discover “the world’s best album cover”. While these polls are typically done by music/art/photography/lifestyle publications (and something that I summarize in a yearly report on the topic (here’s a link to the one from last year – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/best-and-worst-album-cover-art-lists-2013-summary-and-analysis/), I was intrigued by the organization behind this most-recent poll – the U.S. outpost of the Mensa Society which, to the uninitiated, is an international organization made up of people of all ages who, according to their site, ” share only one trait — high intelligence.” To qualify for Mensa, applicants were required “to score in the top 2 percent of the general population on an accepted standardized intelligence test”, making Mensa members – who include engineers, homemakers, teachers, actors, athletes, students and CEOs – well-equipped to develop a method (their “bracket challenges”) via which the “best ofs” in many categories can be determined (past challenges have include “best” 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”. On October 14th, I contacted the organization to find out more about their methodology and heard back from Chip Taulbee, who serves as the Editor of the Mensa Newsletter for the American Mensa organization and, based on this back-and-forth between myself and Chip, I think that they’ve come up with a strong approach that will, in the end, probably start more heated discussions than serve to satisfy any music fan’s appetite to know “what’s best”. Even so, I have to laud the group for their efforts and look forward to seeing the results when they’re posted early next year. For your review, here are my notes from my discussion with Chip:

Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap – May 2014

Album Cover News Recap – May, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 13 – Important passings in the last few days –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – April 2014

Album Cover News Recap – April, 2014

April was a particularly busy month with regards to album cover related news. Highlights of this past month’s coverage include information and interviews with award-winning designers, several new books on rock and album cover photography, details on the latest gallery shows both in the U.S. and overseas, new Featured Fan Collections and Featured Artist Portfolios and, uncharacteristically, even some scandal and intrigue! There’s always something new to see in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site

April 30 – Nice interview (by writer Bill Jones on the Digital Trends site) with photographer Robert Knight about how he’s managed to become the “shooter of choice” for a number of musical acts (Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few) while their fame and careers grew. Robert has some good advice for photographers hoping to build their portfolios of “memorable photos” (hint – it’s not as simple as saying “I’ll just go photograph the Rolling Stones”).http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/robert-knight-grooms-next-generation-of-concert-photographers/

April 29 – 1) Running thorugh May 4 at the Brook Gallery in Budleigh Salterton (UK) is a show featuring the works of Storm Studios – Storm Thorgerson, Peter Curzon, Dan Abbott and Rupert Truman. In a recent interview on the Western Morning News site, photographer Truman shares some of the details on how this creative team produced many of their best-known images and, if you’re a fan of Storm’s work, you can’t help but be impressed about how these scenes were created. Rather than relying on computer-generated effects, if they wanted a 12-foot diameter disc partially buried in the sand for a shot (as they did for Steve Miller’s Big Discs), they built it actual size. For more details and info about the show, please visit http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Creating-art-record/story-21017570-detail/story.html

2) Many of you will recall musician Andrew W.K.‘s rather-bloody album cover for his “I Get Wet” album…well, building on the image’s popularity, Andrew’s merch team has released a new design for a t-shirt, now featuring the always-entertaining mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. Definitely worth a look – it’s bloody hysterical! Party hard – http://andrewwk.com/news/rob-ford-party-hard-t-shirt

April 28 – 1) I have to admit that I’ve never explored this angle – it seems that, for nearly 10 years, there’s been an ongoing discussion on the Prog Archives site about album covers featuring main characters that are bald. It turns out that there are quite a few – who knew (or, who cares)? It was fun paging thru the covers – everything from Gryphon to Kansas to Pink Floyd’s Metal Heads is included – http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=98034&PN=1

2) If you haven’t picked up the May 2014 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine – as part of their year-long 20th anniversary, they’re focusing on what they call “pivotal figures in contemporary art” and, as part of that effort, there’s a nice interview article with master collage artist/agent provocateur Winston Smith, known for his album covers for The Dead Kennedys, Green Day and many others. Always great to see folks whose works I admire included in these features – http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/on-sale-now-may-2014-with-alexis-ross-nick-cave-chris-johanson-winston-smith-and-more

April 25 – 1) To honor Rob Stringer for winning a recent Music Week award, David Bowie presented him with a custom-crafted re-creation of his classic Heroes album cover image, done “Daft Punk style”. I hope that this comes out as a print/poster – it’s quite stunning! As reported on the SPIN magazine web site –http://www.spin.com/articles/david-bowie-daft-punk-heroes-art/

2) Fans of all things vinyl-record related might want to consider a visit to the new exhibition at the Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art now through July 27th. Titled “Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records” and curated by the museum’s Senior Curator Rene de Guzman, this comprehensive display “explores the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records” and includes sections where visitors can see – and listen to – some of the impressive collections of a number of vinyl record aficionados. There’s also a nice album cover-related section, along with a film on the subject. I’m hoping to get some additional info/images on this show for you soon but, in the meantime, you can visit the museum’s site at http://museumca.org/exhibit/vinyl-sound-and-culture-records for more info. Let me know if you go!

3) I’ve just finished Graham Nash‘s book Wild Tales and while it gave me some insight into the complicated relationships between Nash and his band mates (and the women he loved), I just saw this article on the Never Mind The Bus Pass site (part of their “Classic Album Covers” series) about the cover for a related band – The Byrds – and it just made me wonder even more about the whole Laurel-Canyon-very-talented-ego-driven aspects of that part of the late 60s-early 70s music business. The degrees that they seemed to be willing to go to just to give what my grandmother called a “zetz” to their friendly competition are quite impressive – read the whole story via the link and let me know what you think – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/happiness/classic-album-covers-the-notorious-byrd-brothers-the-byrds/

April 24 – In our ongoing effort to point fans of album cover art to places where they can find out more about it and the people that make it, I’d like to point you all to a site I found yesterday – Jive Time Records “Album Cover Galleries”http://jivetimerecords.com/blog/category/album-cover-galleries/ – This site is managed by the folks at Jive Time Records in Seattle, WA, a well-established used vinyl store located there. They’ve curated a number of themed album art galleries, including ones dedicated to psychedelic design, vintage designs, exercise records, artistically-defaced record jackets and covers featuring fruit and vegetables! I’ve added this link to the ACHOF Resources site as well. Enjoy!

April 23 – 1) Album cover art seems to inspire the most-creative people to bring things to another level…in this case, a London-based makeup artist/musician named Natalie Sharp has applied her skills to re-create 8 album covers – on her face! While she says that these records aren’t necessarily her favorites, she was inspired by them and, while I’m not sure I’d go outside looking like this, the results would certainly be head-turning. My favorite one is the Talking Heads cover – how about you? More on this in John Doran’s article on The Quietus web site – http://thequietus.com/articles/15044-lone-taxidermist-fact-paint-record-store-day

2) While I usually don’t report on anything of a sensational nature (there are plenty of outlets for that these days), I was rather taken-aback by the news about the accusations made against photographer Terry Richardson. As reported in the NY Daily News, model Emma Appleton has accused him of having offered her free photo services in exchange for sexual favors. He denies it, she stands by it, and Vogue magazine has gone on record saying that they won’t work with him in the future. Of course, this was all done over Twitter…The celebrity art and photo world is surely a world apart, except when it’s not. More on this via the link – http://www.nydailynews.com/terry-richardson-denies-propositioning-model-sex-article-1.1763389

April 22 – 1) Wax Poetics contributor Seb Carayol curated an exhibition that was on display thru April 24 at Sonos Studio in LA highlighting the accomplishments of the artists and musicians who’ve promoted “Jamaican Sound System Culture”, with a focus on the colorful album cover art by a trio of illustrators – Beth Lesser, Wilfred Limonious, and Pekka Vuorinen. If you’re not familiar with the genre, the album covers are a great introduction. In the accompanying article, musician ChrisBateman talks about his love for the covers featured on these little-seen albums and, in particular, the work of Limonious, who died 15 years ago after illustrating over 150 records (Bateman has a book out later this year on the subject) – http://www.waxpoetics.com/blog/guest-blog/illustrator-wilfred-limonious-drew-150-iconic-dancehall-lp-covers?email=limonious 

2) Fans of the Verve record label will have something to cheer about when author Richard Haver’s book on the label, titled VERVE: The Sound of America (published by Thames & Hudson) hits the shelves soon. Norman Granz’s label was one of the leaders in album cover design, and the book features a number of great examples. Steven Heller of the New York Times gives you a preview in his “Visuals” section –http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/03/28/books/review/28visuals-2.html

April 21 – 1) The 700+ entries for this year’s Secret 7″ event are up and available for viewing via the link. This year’s participating artists were given songs by a number of popular musical acts (including Black Sabbath and Lorde!) and came up with an amazing selection of customized covers. You can buy these works, but you won’t know who created them until you get one. Participating artists include Storm Studios (7 entries), Dan Tobin Smith, Ian Wright, Plasticgod, Richard Evans, Stanley Donwood and many others. Proceeds go to the War Child charity, so the money’s going to a great (and needed) cause –http://www.secret-7.com/gallery/

2) LA-based artist Young & Sick, who gave us the nice album cover art for Foster The People’s Torches record, shows another side of his creativity with the release of his new, self-titled debut record. AKA Nick Van Hofwegen, Y&S has also done covers for Robin Thicke and Maroon 5. To learn more about his own music and inspirations, please read this article by Brian Austin on The DePauw/WGRE site – http://www.thedepauw.com/mobile/features/foster-the-people-cover-artist-tries-out-the-music-industry-1.3162032

April 18 – 1) New interview alert! Last month marked the release of the 40th anniversary edition of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, so it is with great pleasure that I’m announcing the publishing of my latest interview, featuring none other than the designer for that great record package, David Larkham. David has worked as Mr. John’s designer for 40 years and has a long list of credits for other acts including Queen, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Van Morrison and many others. This is a must-read for fans of album cover design, so please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in the topic – enjoy! https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/interview-with-david-larkham-elton-johns-goodbye-yellow-brick-road-album-cover/

2) Last night, I watched another BBC documentary (!!) called “Prog Rock Britannia” that aired a couple of years back and, if you’re a fan of YES, Procol Harum, The Nice, Soft Machine, Jethro Tull, ELP, etc., AND if you’d like to watch a discussion about the importance of album cover imagery as it relates to the genre, I’d invite you to click on this link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8De_YroimA

At about 42:45 (until 46:20), you will find the likes of Carl Palmer, Rick Wakeman and Mike Rutherford discussing the topic and, as a special treat, there’s a bit with artist Roger Dean that shows early comps of the YES logo (a classic!) and a scale model of one of his homes! As they flip thru some of his designs, it becomes quite clear to the viewer that the visual style of Avatar must have been derived from that film’s creators’ exposure to Dean’s images (and I’d say that in court, too!)…

April 17Record Store Day 2014 (which took place April 19th) included a list of specially-produced records that were made available. While the special day is past,  I’d suggest a visit to your local record emporium. Many of these will be limited-edition items, such as Christian Death’s “Edward Colver Edition” that comes packaged with a selection of the famed photographer’s photos of the band; Jerry Garcia’s Garcia, with this first solo album featuring Bob Seidemann’s awesome cover image; Sub Pop/KEXP’s special edition of the “Mudhoney On Top” recording done to celebrate both the band and the label’s 25th anniversary, recorded on the roof of the Seattle Space Needle (and with a very 50’s jazz-inspired record cover) and, in case you were waiting, a picture disc version of Sky Ferreira’s album in the nude, Night Time, My Time. To read the full list, please visit – http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases

April 16 – 1) As a follow-up to the item I ran a short while back about photos of the places featured on a number of well-known album covers, here’s a piece in The Gothamist about a NYC photo, taken in the 1930s, that was used on Van Morrison’s 1993 record Too Long In Exile. The photographer was Berenice Abbot, lauded chronicler of New York City –http://gothamist.com/2014/04/10/the_1930s_nyc_photo_that_served_as.php

2) Here’s another fine example (featured in an article on the Death & Taxes site) of the “fun with Photoshop” talent on display on the Web…in this example, a fellow by the name of Lance Underwood has created a blog called QT Albums, where you’ll find Lance’s recreations of well-known album covers for artists such as Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Dr. Dre where the main characters have been replaced with images of his very cute kids. I’m particularly fond of his reworking of What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye – what’s your favorite? http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/218835/dad-adorably-remakes-classic-album-covers-with-his-sons/

April 15 – Found an article about a show that I wish I had the chance to see in person, so I’m hoping that album cover art fans in New Zealand will let me know if/when they’ve visited this exhibition and what they thought of what they found there. The show I’m talking about is called the “Bleeding Vinyl Covers Exhibition” currently on display at Creative Tauranga (now thru May 6th, before moving over to the Lightwave Gallery in Mount Monganui for an extended run there). In this show, a number of artists have re-interpreted well-known album covers, and there’s an interesting interview with one of the artists – James Stanbridge – about his vision for a Moby Dick-based cover for Led Zeppelin. As always, it is fascinating to see just how younger artists are drawn to the notion of the record cover as an important element of Pop art – here are the details as given by writer Rosalie Crawford on the SunLive.com site –http://www.sunlive.co.nz/blogs/6301-reinterpreting-led-zeppelin.html

If you’d like to see more on the gallery site – click here – http://www.creativetauranga.org.nz/gallery/exhibition/bleeding-vinyl-cover-exhibition.html

April 14 – 1) A selection of former Life Magazine photographer Richard Busch‘s photos of music celebs including Hendrix, Clapton, Ike & Tina Turner and many others are in an exhibition titled “It’s Only Rock and Roll” currently on display at the gallery at 8 Chains North Winery in VA (now thru June 8). Busch was a busy photographer in the NYC area in the late 1960s, but he’s since moved to an old dairy farm near Washington, DC and now focuses his talents on pottery. Here’s an overview of the exhibition as it was featured on the LoudenTimes web site –http://www.loudountimes.com/news/article/wine_and_art_its_only_rock_and_roll_at_8_chains_north898

2) What do rock stars do during their free time while out on the road? Well, if you’re The Kills’ Alison Mossheart, you paint and, over time, put together an impressive portfolio of work. As she explains in a recent article in the NY Times T Magazine, her work went on public display for the first time (thru April 26th) as part of a group show at Art NowNY. The art on display reflects her feelings at the time they’re done, so there’s quite the array of emotions depicted in her work. If you’d like to see more of her work, follow the link – http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/on-view-the-kills-alison-mosshart-reveals-her-artistic-side/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

April 11 – 1) In the first of two articles published this week highlighting efforts to recreate the past, writer Laura Mitchell (of The Express) interviews photographer Mick Rock about his recent efforts to update some of his classic compositions using images of today’s top talent. You’ll see his re-do of classic shots of Queen and Debbie Harry featuring Danielle Parente and her band and there’s a video interview with Mr. Rock as well –http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/468470/Debbie-Harris-Queen-David-Bowie-Photographer-Mick-Rock-recreates-icon-Seventies-images

2) The UK’s Chronicle dug deep into their photo galleries to grab a selection of their iconic black and white images of rock/pop stars – Mick Jagger, Bill Haley, Lindisfarne, Eric Burden, AC/DC and others – and had an expert colorize them. The accompanying photo gallery allows you to toggle back and forth between color/non-color images and, in a nod to one of the many ways traditional publications are now “monetizing” their IP assets, fine art prints of these new images are also for sale – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/iconic-images-rock-stars-north-6935880

3) Finally, in the “please be sure to let your staff know to be careful about NOT throwing anything nice out when cleaning up after an auction” category, this story (on the ArtDaily site) about the Hong Kong police’s efforts to find a painting that was auctioned off for $3.7 million but, somehow, ended up (they hope) in a local landfill after being added to a pile of trash gathered by the cleaning staff of the Grand Hyatt Hotel there. While not really having anything to do with album cover art, I just thought that it should serve as a reminder to art collectors to be sure and pick up their winnings BEFORE leaving the auction (sheesh!) – http://artdaily.com/news/69334/Hong-Kong-police-search-landfill-for–3-7-million-painting-dumped-by-cleaners-at-Grand-Hyatt-hotel#.U0g6RvldUrU

April 10 – Well, I finally took the time to watch the BBC’s 2013 special called “When Albums Ruled The World” in its entirety and, naturally, I was pleased to see the inclusion of a number of interviews with album cover artists (Roger Dean, Aubrey Powell) and musicians (Grace Slick, Noel Gallagher, Rick Wakeman) with a keen appreciation for the importance of album art. At the 49:00 mark, there’s a nice overview of Pedro Bell’s covers for Parliament/Funkadelic, and that flows right into a segment where Aubrey Powell talks about Hipgnosis and their work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Record producer Tony Parsons said it best – “The record collection WAS the art collection of the ordinary man” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em4kpy1YuNQ

April 9 – Here’s another article by Fuse’s Joe Lynch that introduces a video by LA hair band Steel Panther in which they discuss all of the rejected album cover image ideas of the ones they considered while developing their latest album, titled All You Can Eat. All of the concepts were based on classic works of art by DaVinci, Vermeer, Botticelli, etc., with DaVinci winning out at the end, with the cover a parody of his “Last Supper”. Keen-eyed viewers will also note another parody design – based on a well-known Van Halen cover – featured on band member Michael Starr’s t-shirt. I have to admit – I thought that band’s like this had disappeared (I mean, there’s a guy in the band named Lexxi Foxx – “Lexxi rhymes with Sexy!”) but, nonetheless, I do like a good parody album cover – http://www.fuse.tv/videos/2014/04/steel-panther-album-covers

April 8 – Here are a couple of interesting articles giving you some alternative ways to enjoy your favorite album covers –

1) My old chums at Fuse have posted an article by Joe Lynch that highlights a Flickr site run by someone named Harvezt who has created a number of images that give us his/her take on how famous albums covers might look if you were able to see them from another angle. You’ll get to see the Nirvana baby in the pool – from behind – along with alt shots of covers by Public Enemy, The Beatles, Metallica and others. Truly fascinating, and I hope to track down the mysterious Harvezt to find out more – http://www.fuse.tv/2014/04/beatles-nirvana-reverse-album-covers

UPDATE – after what seemed to be days of searching, I’ve given up trying to find out who Harvezt is – he/she has cleverly hidden him/her self. If anyone has been able to locate this person, please let me know! MG

2) Halley Docherty from the U.K.’s The Guardian has used Google Street to bring us to the locations where a number of well-known record covers were photographed. Via this article, you’ll be taken on a trip around the world to see the locations where covers for Oasis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others were shot. Now, if someone wants to make it their life’s work to actually go to these places to confirm this work, I’d be happy to provide them a forum for regular updates on their travels –http://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2014/apr/07/classic-album-covers-in-google-street-view-in-pictures

April 4 – 1) Nice overview on the Tonedeaf site of artist Andy Warhol’s album cover artwork in an article called “Before He Was Famous, Andy Warhol Designed Album Covers”. In fact, Warhol got his start as a commercial artist working for RCA Records and, later, Blue Note Records, designing dozens of album, sometimes working with ACHOF “early influencer” inductee Reid Miles. Enjoy the slide show of 15 of his earliest covers –http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/slideshows/394373/before-he-was-famous-andy-warhol-designed-album-covers.htm#1

2) The Library of Congress is adding some 25 new recordings to its list of albums to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. U2’s The Joshua Tree (with cover photo by Anton Corbijn) and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel (cover photo by Eve Babitz) will be included, along with the single “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival, featured on their LP Willy & The Poor Boys, with cover art by Basul Parik. The AP’s Brett Zongker gives us all the details in his recent story on the Dayton Daily News site – http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ap/entertainment/u2-linda-ronstadt-among-25-albums-to-be-preserved/nfQTR/

3) Finally, while I was doing some research the other day, I found another site that offers a selection of the stories behind some of your favorite album covers. The UK-based site is called Never Mind The Bus Pass and is geared toward the Boomer crowd, but the record sleeves chronicled include selections from the 60s thru today. Hope to get hold of these folks soon to find out more about their work. In the meantime, here’s a link to their “Classic Album Cover” story archives – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/category/happiness-archive/classic-album-covers/

April 3 – Some of you may recall an article I’d written a couple of months back about Pozzie Mazerati’s “Red Arrow” campaign, which came about as a result of a posting I had done on the Musicpage.com web site looking to feature the personal album cover art collections of folks in the music business. In the same category, I recently received a note from another musician about the sources for the artwork he used on the covers of his own recordings and so I thought that I’d once again expand the definition of what I was looking to include in this site’s “Featured Fan Collections” section to show you the works used by this artist to create the eye-catching covers for his albums. Ladies and Gentlemen – meet “The Insanitizers” – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-conrad-swartz-the-insanitizers/

April 2 – It’s exhibition-mania! 1) At the Brook Gallery in Devon, UK – Opening on April 4th and running for the next month is a Storm Studios show, featuring the works of the late Storm Thorgerson and his cohorts. Photographer Rupert Truman will be on hand to kick off the exhibition of works for Pink Floyd, 10cc, Muse, Steve Miller and many others – http://www.brookgallery.co.uk/category.php?catid=126

2) April 4th was also the launch day for a screening of a new film about artist Robert Williams, creator of one of my favorite album covers (Appetite for Destruction for Guns n Roses) and the subject of “Mr. Bitchin”, which is being shown as part of the Society of Illustrators Film Series at the Beatrice Theater in NYC. The artist will be at the event and will take part in a panel interview with director/producer Nancye Ferguson and art writer/editor of Paper Magazine Carlo McCormick – http://www.societyillustrators.org/Film.aspx?id=11297

3) If you’re anywhere in the NYC area, I’d suggest renting a car and driving up to the museum at the Bethel Woods Center for The Arts for their re-opening and their new exhibit titled “America Meets The Beatles”. In addition to a impressive display of Beatles-related art and memorabilia from the Rod Mandeville Collection, there will be an appearance by famed TIME Magazine photographer Bill Eppridge, who will be on hand to show and talk about his photos of the Fab Four’s first visit to the U.S. and their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (“Close your eyes, and I’ll kiss you…”).  http://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/bwevents/eventdetail.aspx?id=460