54th Annual GRAMMY Award winners for Best Recording Package and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

Here are the winners of the 54th Annual GRAMMY Award for the Best Recording Package and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package categories. Both packages designs are definitely worthy of their wins. The Springsteen package is very innovative. The Arcade Fire packaging included distribution of several versions of the cover.

Best Recording Package

Arcade Fire – Scenes from the Suburbs
Caroline Robert, art director
Merge Records

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Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package
Bruce Springsteen – The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story
Dave Bett & Michelle Holme, art directors
Columbia Records

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Remembering Whitney Houston

According to the Associated Press, legendary pop singer Whitney Houston has died. The details are sketchy.

Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

Source: Associated Press

The cover art below is for Houston’s 1987 hit album Whitney. The photograph was taken by the late Richard Avedon. It is perhaps one of the most iconic album cover photographs of the era.

The album was nominated for three Grammy awards, including Album of the Year. Houston won her second Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for the album’s first single I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).

Posted by: Gulickson

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Controversial Joy Divison Mickey Mouse t-shirt discontinued by Disney

joy-mickey.jpgAfter negative reactions from fans and a former member of the band, Disney has discontinued selling a t-shirt inspired by Peter Saville’s design for Joy Division’s 1979 album Unknown Pleasures. In spite of the seemingly “joyful” name of the band, the album has been viewed by many as a source of sorrow since the 1980 suicide death of lead singer Ian Curtis. Seeing the iconic album cover turned into a logo for the Happiest Place on Earth was seen as disrespectful.

According to Rolling Stone, Disney discontinued the t-shirt yesterday. However, they also report that at least one is being auctioned on eBay for over $200 at the time the article was written.

While chatting online with Facebook friends, we wondered if Disney would have modified the album covers of other recording artists who met a tragic end. I don’t think so.

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54th Annual GRAMMY Awards for packaging

The nominations for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced tonight. Below are the nominees for the Best Recording Package and Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package categories.

Best Recording Package
Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot III

Todd Gallopo, art director 
eOne Music

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Reckless Kelly – Good Luck & True Love
Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors 
No Big Deal Records

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J.Viewz – Rivers and Homes
Jonathan Dagan, art director
Jorjia Music

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Arcade Fire – Scenes from the Suburbs
Vincent Morisset, art director
Merge Records

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Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Virgil Abloh, art director
Def Jam

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Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
Donald Twain & Zachariah Wildwood, art directors
ATO Records

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Bruce Springsteen – The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story
Dave Bett & Michelle Holme, art directors
Columbia Records

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Danny Elfman & Tim Burton – 25th Anniversary Music Box
Matt Taylor & Ellen Wakayama, art directors
WB

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Sting – 25 Years
James Spindler, art director 
A&M Records/Cherrytree Records/UMe

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Wingless Angels – Wingless Angels Deluxe Edition
David Gorman, art director
Mindless Records, LLC

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Record Store Day’s Black Friday event will feature special releases

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On Friday, November 25, the folks who bring us Record Store Day will be having a Black Friday event at approximately 900 independent record stores in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom. Black Friday has long been an American event celebrated on the Friday after Thanksgiving by large retailers as a shopping day with special sales and marking the beginning of the holiday season.

RSD’s Black Friday is different from the big events at large corporate chains in that it encourages shoppers to shop at smaller, independent record stores and features limited special editions, often numbered, from some popular recording artists. Unlike the special releases for Record Store Day that are made to be sold on the day that Record Store Day takes place (the third Saturday of every April), Black Friday releases are made for the holiday season. This means stores will launch the special releases on Black Friday but may choose to carry them beyond Black Friday (as supplies last). Black Friday releases may also be sold on the store’s websites.

Below is a sample of some of the special editions that are being made available for the Black Friday event. To find a participating store, please visit the official Record Store Day website.

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Dress worn on Back to Black to be auctioned for Amy Winehouse Foundation

According to a recent news article, the dress worn by Amy Winehouse on the cover of the UK version of her album Back to Black (below) will be auctioned to raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

The printed chiffon dress is expected to fetch up to £20,000 for the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charitable trust set up by the late singer’s family.

[…]

After her death, Thailand-based designer Disaya decided to auction the dress, which was returned after the album cover shoot in 2006.

It will go under the hammer at La Galleria, London, on November 29 and all the proceeds will go to the foundation, which supports charitable activities for vulnerable young people.

Source: Google.com

The U.S. release of Back to Black has a different cover, which shows Winehouse in a bubble bath.

Posted by: Joseebus

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Remembering Barry Feinstein

Photographer Barry Feinstein died earlier today in upstate New York. He was 80. Feinstein was responsible for taking photographs that appeared on some of rock music’s most iconic albums, including Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are-A Changin and Janis Joplin’s Pearl.

…He also took the photo on the cover of George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ and photographed a host of other icons, including Frank Sinatra, Hollywood actor Steve McQueen, Judy Garland and politcians such as John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, reports Rolling Stone.

Feinstein was behind the original image of a dirty toilet and a graffiti covered bathroom stall in a Porsche repair shop in Los Angeles that was intended for the cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Beggars Banquet’. However the imaged was too explicit and was replaced with a white cover, but later editions of the album featured the original photo.

Source: NME.com

Posted by: Scott

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Designer of The Beatles’ “White Album” dies at 89

According to Billboard.com, pop artist Richard Hamilton, who is best known for coining the name of the pop culture-heavy art movement and for designing the cover for The Beatles’ “White Album,” has died in Britain of undetermined causes. Hamilton was 89.

Often called the “Father of Pop Art” for his groundbreaking use of commercial and pop culture imagery in his artwork, Hamilton’s seminal work in the 1950s was “Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different,” a collage showing a naked couple in a cluttered-with-products home. In the piece, the man is holding a lollipop marked “Pop.”

His design for “The White Album,” released in 1968, was as uncluttered as you can get. A white square with the band’s name displayed slightly off center. He designed the collage inside as well, which included random shots of the band. Among them, a naked John Lennon in bed next to Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney submerged in a bathtub.

Source: Billboard.com

Posted by: zeefritz

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Remembering Nick Ashford

According to The Associated Press, Nick Ashford, who along with his wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits, died yesterday in a New York City hospital. Ashford had been suffering from throat cancer and was receiving radiation treatment.
He was 70.

Ashford and Simpson wrote Motown classics such as Ain’t No Mountain High Enough , Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand, You’re All I Need To Get By, I’m Every Woman, their 1980s hit Solid As a Rock. Many young people who weren’t even born when Solid As a Rock was a hit became familiar with Ashford & Simpson during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign, when the duo rewrote the anthem as a tribute to Barack Obama and retitled it Solid (As Barack).

In the video posted below, the couple explain how the new version of their song came about spontaneously during a concert. Many people have commented that Ashford looked much younger than his years. He and his wife were performing until early this year. We will undoubtedly hear Solid (As Barack) many times during the upcoming 2012 election.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Controversial Steve Reich WTC 9/11 album cover to be changed

reichs-wtc911_03.jpgAccording to an announcement by composer Steve Reich on the Nonesuch Records website today, the controversial cover for the forthcoming WTC 9/11 Kronos Quartet album (right) 
will be changed.

The album cover received immediate negative reactions from the public due to a highly altered photograph of the second jet heading into the World Trade Center during the September 11 terror attacks.
In fact, during the years I have been the editor of this album art blog, I have never received so many email messages from people outraged over an album cover. Two weeks ago, I predicted that the album cover would go down in history as one of the worst of all time. I can only imagine the kind of feedback that Nonesuch Records received.
While he did not apologize for the cover, Reich he stated that the cover had become a distraction.

As a composer I want people to listen to my music without something distracting them. The present cover of WTC 9/11 will, for many, act as a distraction from listening and so, with the gracious agreement of Nonesuch, the cover is being changed.

When the cover was being designed, I believed, as did all the staff at Nonesuch and the art director, that a piece of music with documentary material from an event would best be matched with a documentary photograph of that event. I felt that the photo suggested by our art director was very powerful, and Nonesuch backed me up. All of us felt that anyone seeing the cover would feel the same way.

In a previous statement, Nonesuch Records president Robert Hurwitz defended the album cover and compared it to a 1989 album that featured a Civil War Era photograph by Matthew Brady.

 

In 1989, Nonesuch released a record called The Wound-Dresser, with a photograph by Matthew Brady of one of the hospitals that is described in John Adams’ composition of that name, a piece that depicted another period of profound suffering during another terrible moment of our history, the Civil War. Should we not have used that image? Where do we draw the line?

I think the answer to Hurwitz’ question is not as difficult as he would like us to think. You simply draw the line at where an album cover is offensive to large numbers of people. Imagine the album cover that I created below being released only a decade after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Like the WTC 9/11 cover, I used an image of the actual event an applied a gloomy sepia tint. There can be no doubt that the public would have been outraged by such an album cover just 10 years after the killing.

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In 1973, Kennedy’s widow was still alive. The wound was still fresh. Even though the images of the event had appeared in magazines, newspapers, and on TV, it was clear that they were being used as information and not to sell a commercial product.
Certainly, a photograph taken during the Civil War would not be controversial. Everyone who was personally impacted has been dead for many decades. Even the Kennedy cover I created would not get much of a reaction these days. It has been almost 50 years since Kennedy was shot. Perhaps his daughter and other family members would be offended. However, the wound has healed for most Americans.
I am happy that Reich has decided to change the cover. I predicted that would be a likely outcome. Hopefully, the new cover will serve to honor the victims and their families.

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