Album Art Flashback: Liza Minnelli’s The Day After That

liza-note.jpgThe Day After That is a song from the Kander & Ebb musical Kiss of the Spiderwoman. In 1993, Broadway and film legend Liza Minnelli recorded the song and donated the proceeds to AIDS research. The single featured three versions of the song in English, Spanish, and French.

That same year she performed the song for thousands of fans in Central Park at the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In January 1994, she performed it live on The Tonight Show. The song is considered by many to be the definitive anthem for HIV/AIDS from the 1990s era.

The CD included a reproduction of a handwritten note from Liza (above right) that read:

I believe…
   This song is about the war against dispair.
   This song is about the devastating plague
                   we’re going through.
   This song is about… hope.
I believe this song is our call to arms.
                           Liza

Liza persuaded a host of stars, muscians and performers to work on the project. It was produced by Phil Ramone, Billy Stritch, Don Sebesky and Liza. The Spanish language version was translated by Gloria Estefan.

The late photographer and make up artist Kevyn Aucoin photographed Liza for the cover. Art direction is credited to Mark Burdett. Aucion worked with Cher, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Courtney Love and hundreds of other artists before his death in 2002.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Tomorrow is World AIDS Day 2010

singleribbon.pngObserved on December 1 each year, World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the global spread of HIV. The day is observed by holding memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS. Government officials and many celebrities also observe the event, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics. The red ribbon (right) has become the international symbol for HIV/AIDS awareness.

Over the years, numerous recording artists have dedicted songs to raising funds for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and for research that may lead to a cure. Tomorrow, the AlbumArtExchange Blog will wear a red ribbon and all of the articles will focus on the topic of AIDS.

Tonight, I will begin with something from one of the recording industry’s most dedicated HIV/AIDS activists, Annie Lennox.

Sing is the second single from Lennox’s 2007 album, Songs of Mass Destruction. The single was released as a charity record to raise money and awareness for the HIV/AIDS organization Treatment Action Campaign. The song was recorded as a collaboration between Lennox and twenty-three prominent female acts and artists.

The participants included Madonna, Anastacia, Isobel Campbell, Dido, Céline Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, Beth Gibbons, Faith Hill, Angélique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, Gladys Knight, k.d. lang, Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, Pink, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Shingai Shoniwa, Joss Stone, Sugababes, KT Tunstall, and Martha Wainwright.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit Annie Lennox’s Official Website.

The cover art for Sing features a photograph of Lennox wearing a red ribbon and a brief statement explaining why she got involved in AIDS activism.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Which is the best album cover for the week of November 30, 2010?

Below are six album covers that were preselected from among this week’s new music releases. They were chosen based on Amazon.com sales rank and for their noteworthy album cover designs. Please vote for the cover that you think is the best of the bunch.

Bryan Adams – Bare Bones
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  The Black Eyed Peas – The Beginning
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Chrisette Michelle – Let Freedom Reign
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  Glee Cast – Glee The Music Season 2 Vol 4
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Various Artists – Burlesque Soundtrack
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  Take That – Progress
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New and Notable: Love Me or Let Me Go by Avery

Love Me or Let Me Go, the debut single by teen pop singer Avery was released last week. The music video has been a hit on YouTube for several months, resulting in a recording contract with Universal.

The one thing that struck me about the cover art for the single is that Avery looks much older in the video. She is 16 and the cover art makes her look like she’s about 12 or 13. Perhaps that is intentional. I don’t know what is up with the dog in the matching outfit. It seems to beg ridicule.

Posted by: zeefritz

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MusicSpace.com

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New and Notable: Play by Justin Bieber

Today, teen pop star Justin Bieber released the music video for his forthcoming single Pray. The single is scheduled to be released on December 14, 2010.

The cover art for the single does not feature a photograph of Bieber. I believe this is the first time a Justin Bieber cover has not included the scowling face of the young artist. Instead, it features an illustration of hands folded in prayer and the word “pray” written several times. I do not have a credit for the artist who created it.

The music video is a montage of Bieber visiting sick kids in hospitals, homeless people and soldiers away from home. I hate to draw this comparison, but it reminds me of the videos that Michael Jackson used to make about his charity work.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Best album cover for the week of November 23, 2010

robyn-pose.jpgAccording to our AlbumArtExchange Blog poll, the best album cover for the week of November 23, 2010 is Body Talk by Robyn. The cover won with 38% of the vote. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West and the reissue of Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine tied for second with 25% each.

The winning cover was created by Australian artist Lucy McRae. McRae’s blog features several photographs that show exactly how the paper sculpture that surrounds Robyn was constructed. It took over two days to create the seven-layered pixel simulation.

When I first saw the cover, I wasn’t sure if it was real or created in Photoshop. However, it is clear from the photograph of Robyn posing in the hanging pieces of paper (right) that it is not a digital creation.

McCrae’s blog is worth checking out. There are several articles and videos that showcase her work.

Posted by: zeefritz

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As usual, check back this evening to vote on the best album cover from this week’s new music releases. This week we have covers by Black Eyed Peas, Take That and four other notable artists.

K.D. Lang

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125,000th cover posted to Album Art Exchange gallery!

Today, the number of high quality album covers in the AAX gallery reached a new milestone. Site owner Scott posted the 125,000th cover at 9:10 a.m.

The cover is It Doesn’t Have to Be (ebx 1.5) from the Erasure box set Erasure 1. or EBX 1. The set was released by Mute Records in 1999.

Thank you to all of the AAX users who have contributed to this achievement. The gallery has grown from only 50,000 covers in August 2009 and will soon hit the 150,000 mark.

Posted by: Scott

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Coldplay promotes Christmas single with animated cover art

AAX moderator Aequi tipped me about this unique handwritten press release from Coldplay about their forthcoming holiday single, Christmas Lights. According to the release, the single will be released on December 1, 2010.

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The band’s website also revealed the cover art for the single with an animated version. The actual cover has not yet been added to the AAX gallery. A music video for the song is currently in production. I will post an update when the cover and music video are available.

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iTunes & App Store

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Banned in the USA: Willie Nelson

Since country music legend Willie Nelson was arrested this morning for allegedly possessing six ounces of marijuana, I thought it would be a good time to write about the cover art for his 2005 album Countryman.

In case you haven’t heard, Nelson was arrested at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas as his tour bus was traveling from California to Austin. He was booked into the Hudspeth County Jail on a $2,500 bond and a released. Nelson has a worked for the legalization of marijuana for several years and is a defiant advocate for use of the drug.

While not surprising in anyway considering Nelson’s history and position regarding pot, the cover art for Countryman was controversial. Nelson’s first reggae album, it was released on  August 2, 2005 by the Lost Highway label with an illustration of a marijuana leaf designed by art director Craig Allen.

Posted by: zeefritz

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As is often the case with controversial cover art, an alternate cover was also created for the album. On the alternate cover, the marijuana leaf has been replaced with a palm tree. Those who shop exclusively at large chain stores may not even be aware that the marijuana-themed cover exists. The palm tree seems to have been created to look somewhat sad and lonely.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Then and Now: Jamie Foxx

Peep This (1994)

Posted by: Taylor

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Best Night of My Life (2011)

Posted by: zeefritz

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