Tag Archives: Storm Thorgerson

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary for September, 2020

 

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – September, 2020

Posted September 1st, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

We’re entering the final stages of Summer 2020 – a summer unlike any I can remember – and now that we’ve heard the arguments from both sides regarding either the re-election of the current administration or its replacement with a new one, I know that the next couple of months will be full of messaging, news and theater but, while you might think that there’d be little news coming from the world of album cover artists and their art, in fact, there’s been a lot to look at, read and learn about. Visual artists have always played an important part in politics and have made some quite-memorable statements about society with their works (think of album covers released over the past 5-6 decades from musical acts such as Pink Floyd, Rage Against The Machine, The Roots and many, many others), so you won’t be surprised to find examples of such work included amongst the articles included this month’s news summary.

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary for April, 2020

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – April, 2020

Posted April 1, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. While it’s my hope that my monthly news summaries bring a little joy into your lives, I must admit that the preparation and delivery of this month’s article during a world-wide health and economic crisis had me wondering whether any of you would be disappointed if I’d chosen to put things off for a while. With many of us sequestering ourselves from the outside world and/or having to deal with the loss of a job, serious health and family issues and a general fear of the unknown, it seems to me that we all have a lot more on our minds than the answer to the question “what’s happening in the world of album cover art and packaging?” Keeping this in mind, and accepting the fact that I’m sure most of you realize that I have more time on my hands to sit at my computer than usual, I’ve decided to shoot out a somewhat-truncated summary document both to keep fans of album art informed and to give this lonely and frustrated soul something to do while we ride this out together.

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – Independence Day Weekend, July, 2019

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update – Independence Day Weekend, July, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Hope that all of you here in the U.S. are enjoying your 4th of July holiday break – BBQ-ing, fireworks, trips to the beach, sun burns, little kids spilling sand on your blanket while their parents are checking their Facebook feeds, etc. – oh such fun! We had great weather (i.e., no rain) here in Chicagoland and were lucky enough to enjoy two nice fireworks displays, so with my ears still ringing and bursts of color burned into my corneas, here is a quickie, much-streamlined run-down of all of the album cover artist/art-related news I think might be worth your time investigating:

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For November/December, 2018

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

With the holiday season fully upon us, I know that you don’t have much time for reading (other than ads and reviews for the electronic gadgets you must buy this season), so I’ll get straight to the point – I was happy to announce the names of the talented individuals and design teams that were selected for inclusion in this year’s Class of Inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame a short while back, and with the Best Art Vinyl and Grammy Award noms and voting straight ahead of us, there’s been a fair amount of album cover artist/art-related news this past month. With my book project back on track, I really have only had the chance to gather a small selection of album cover artist/art-related news tidbits for you (and I’m even late doing that) so, without any further delay, here are those highlights, for your reading pleasure (as always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome):

Inductees announced for the Class of 2018 of the Album Cover Hall of Fame – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2018-inductee-intro-page/

Best Art Vinyl voting has begun – https://www.artvinyl.com/award-year/2018/

Grammy Award nominations are to be announced on December 7th (originally was to have been 12/5, but delayed in deference to the funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush), so I’ll post those in the album cover-related categories in a special announcement later this week.

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For January/February, 2018

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The first month of 2018 really delivered for fans of album cover artistry, with kudos for Best Record Packaging and Box Sets/Limited Edition packages handed out at the Grammy Awards on January 28th along with the top picks for the annual Best Art Vinyl awards – chosen by voters around the world – announced earlier in the month on January 9th. As you’ll see in my recaps way down in Section 5, there were plenty of surprises – including a TIE (!!) – and praise handed out to the very talented producers of this year’s top vote-getters, so to all those who complain that “album art is dead”, I think that you should take a look at all of the nominated works before backing that horse from this point forward…

Some good news also about my book – I’ve just had the proposed details for my project approved by the folks at Kickstarter so, with any luck, I should be able to share a link to my project page for your review (and, if you like what you see, your support) sometime in the next month or so. With any luck, I should be able to get the books designed, printed and shipped to you sometime this Summer – and let us all say, “it’s about damn time”.

As we begin the second month of 2018, I’d like my early Valentine’s Day presents to you all to be a) my just-published interview article in the March issue of GOLDMINE Magazine (page 50) about designer/photographer/pilot Bob Minkin’s work on the packaging for some of the fan favorite Dick’s Picks records released in the early 2000s by The Grateful Dead (my second article in this magazine this year, I’m proud to say), along with the following album cover artist news summary and preview. It will hopefully be just as nourishing and satisfying as a box of chocolates and one I think you’ll want to spend a few minutes reviewing and sharing with your friends. Besides the aforementioned award details, the past month was another one chock-full of news on this topic, delivering a trove of articles I know you’ll want to read, unearthing many new details about those folks who are actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest exhibitions, new books, prints and products and several interesting interviews and artist profiles, along with other related reporting from sources providing these details around the world. With so much to read and see, you should be pleased that I’m not one of those Americans who promotes the notion that nobody else in the world is as talented and praise-worthy as we are – just take a look at the portfolios of record packages produced by some of the people featured in this month’s summary and I think you’ll agree that their works speak for themselves…

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For December, 2017/January, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JANUARY, 2018.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Wow – what a year. Who’d have thought that a guy my age could be so distracted by so many things on a day-to-day basis (world events, U.S. politics, the care and feeding of an elderly relative, etc.) and that those distractions would have postponed my ACHOF book project to the degree they have. I’m not trying to make excuses – I’ve also been guilty of a bit of laziness on nice days here in Chicagoland, where taking a nice long walk, stopping for a coffee or sitting in the gardens at the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette (just beautiful) proved to have a much stronger pull on me than staring at a computer screen all day – but I am resolving to get my Kickstarter project launching in the next month or so, and so I appreciate all of the patience that both my readers and those who’ve contributed to the book have shown while I work to put this together. In the meantime, I eagerly hope that we can all return someday to a time and place where compassion, kindness and respect for both the truth and our fellow human beings means more that counting “wins” and “losses” and seeing who has amassed more stuff, and so here’s wishing you all a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year 2018.

As we now enter the final weekend of 2017, I’d like to present to you (“and I thought that it wasn’t supposed to be about the presents…”) this month’s album cover artist news summary, one I think you’ll want to spend a few minutes perusing during your long Holiday weekend. The month of December was another busy one for news on this topic, delivering stockings full of articles I know you’ll want to read, unboxing new details about those actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts – as found in exhibitions, via new books and products and featured in interviews in profiles and other related reporting – of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in my reviews of stories from sources (including me!) around the globe.

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For October/November, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER,WITH PREVIEWS FOR NOVEMBER, 2017.

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this post-Halloween sunny-but-crisp early November day, 2017. The month of October proved to be a VERY busy one with regards to articles you’ll want to read that reveal new information about those active in the world of album cover art and packaging and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts – as found in exhibitions, via new books and products and featured in interviews in profiles and other related reporting – of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in my reviews of stories from around the world.

Of course, nothing could be more important than the work going on right now to select the nominees and, after close consideration, voting on a new class of inductees, for the Album Cover Hall of Fame. Over 200 people are being considered for this year’s Class (2017), with the winning names revealed to an eagerly-awaiting public just prior to Thanksgiving (which takes place here in the U.S. this year on November 23rd), so watch this space closely as I’m sure you’ll want to know who “made the cut” this year…

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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.

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.