Archive for the ‘Legends’ Category

In the age of the MP3, the album cover is really a lost art – which probably explains why 90 percent of the albums that readers selected come from the 1960s and the 1970s. Take a peek at the readers choice and at the inspirations behind the images. (Text by Andy Greene) 

Number 1 – The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The cover of the Beatles’ 1967 LP Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic images in the history of rock & roll. The photo was originally going to show the Beatles (in their Sgt. Pepper’s outfits) playing in a park. That slowly evolved into the final concept, where they stand amidst cardboard cutouts of their heroes. The band originally planned on including Leo Gorcey, Gandhi, Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler in the photo. Common sense kicked Hitler off the cover (though they did create an image of him), the still-lingering bitterness of Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” comment kicked Jesus off the cover and Gandhi got the boot over concerns that India wouldn’t print the album.

Actor Gorcey requested $400 for his likeness, a decision he probably lived to regret. Mae West initially refused, asking “What would I be doing in a lonely hearts club band?” The Beatles sent her a letter explaining the concept, causing her to change her mind. The only people still living from the cover are Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Dion DiMucci, Shirley Temple and Bob Dylan.
Number 2 – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

Until Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd album covers hadn’t been very memorable. British design group Hipgnosis hadn’t done very good jobs with Floyd’s previous two albums, Obscured By Clouds and Meddle, but they had a good track record with other acts – and so the group hired them again in 1973 for Dark Side Of The Moon. “Rick Wright suggested we do something clean and graphic,” designer Storm Thorgerson told Floyd biographer Mark Blake. “Not photographic.” Their initial inspiration was a photo of a prism on top of some sheet music. It was black and white, but a color beam was going through it. Using that as a jumping off point, the team at Hipgnosis created the iconic cover.

Some stoner, college-age fans think that the rainbow is a hint that the album is synced to the Wizard of Oz. These people are the birthers of the rock community. No matter how much evidence proves they are wrong, they cling ever tighter to their belief.
Number 3 – Nirvana’s “Nevermind”

Spencer Elden, the naked baby on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind, has a great pick-up line with the ladies: “Want to see my penis . . . again.” In 2007 interview with MTV, Elden said he feels weird about his bizarre role in history. “It’s kind of creepy that many people have seen me naked,” he said. “I feel like the world’s biggest porn star.” His parents were paid just $200 for the session, but Elden has been paid more than that a handful of times to recreate the famous photo. He wears a bathing suit for those, though.

Number 4 – The Beatles “Abbey Road”

Beatles nuts who believed that Paul McCartney died around 1967 and had been replaced by a dopplegänger found a lot to examine on the cover of Abbey Road. They saw the picture as a funeral procession: John (covered in white) is the preacher, Ringo (in black) is the mourner, George (in denim) is the gravedigger and Paul (barefoot) is the corpse. A license plate in the background read 281f. McCartney was 27 when the album came out, making people think the message meant he would have been 28 had he not died. None of that was intended. They shot the cover on August 8th, 1969 outside of Abbey Road studios. Tourists flock to the spot in droves, and it’s been parodied countless times – sometimes by members of the Beatles themselves, as Paul did on the cover of his 1993 LP Paul Is Live.
Number 5 – The Clash “London Calling”

Pennie Smith was snapping photos of the Clash at New York’s Palladium in September of 1979 when she captured one of the most iconic images in rock history. Paul Simonon was annoyed by the relatively quiet audience, so he began smashing his bass against the floor. “The Palladium had fixed seating, so the audience was frozen in place,” Simonon has said. “We weren’t getting any response from them, no matter what we did. I’m generally good-natured, but I do bottle things up and then I’m like a light switch, off and on, and it can be quite scary, even for me, when I switch, because it’s very sudden. Onstage that night I just got so frustrated with that crowd and when it got to the breaking point I started to chop the stage up with the guitar.”

Joe Strummer loved the photo, but Smith tried to convince him it was too out of focus for the London Calling cover. She was overruled. The smashed bass now resides at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
Number 6 – The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers”

The second album on our list designed by Andy Warhol, Sticky Fingers was the Rolling Stones’ first album for Atlantic Records – which gave them the freedom and budget to mass-produce this cover with an actual zipper. When unzipped, it revealed white underwear with the Rolling Stones’ tongue logo on it. Contrary to legend, the man in the underwear is not Mick Jagger. It’s one of Warhol’s associates, though nobody seems to be able to agree on exactly who it is.
Number 7 – The Beatle’s Revolver

German-born artist and musician Klaus Voorman was a longtime friend of the Beatles, and an obvious choice to draw the Revolver cover. The group played him their new track “Tomorrow Never Knows” before he sketched his first draft. “They were being so avant-grarde,” Voorman has said. “I thought the cover has to do the same thing. How far can I go? How surreal and strange can it be?”

He asked the Beatles to give him old photos of themselves, and he pasted some of them onto his own drawings. He had trouble with George Harrison’s face, so he pasted newspaper photos of eyes and lips onto it. For many years Voorman worried that the original was lost – but he claims to have recently tracked it down. “I’m not going to tell you where!” he said. “It’s well kept and looked after and I’m happy about that.”
Number 8 – Bruce Springsteen “Born to Run

The cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run was shot by Eric Meola during just two and a half hours in June of 1975. “They came in at 10:00 a.m,” Meola recalled in a 2006 interview. “They were exhausted. They looked as if they’d been up all night . . . It was a statement about race as well. I wanted to capture on film what they did in concert. It is very hard to re-create that kind of energy. But to their credit, they did it.” During the final show of Springsteen and the E Street Band’s 2009 tour, Springsteen and Clarence Clemons recreated the classic pose in the middle of “Growin’ Up.” With Clemonscurrently recovering from a stroke, Meola’s photograph has taken on an added poignancy.

Number 9 – Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here”

Hollywood stuntmen Ronnie Rondell and Danny Rogers worked on nearly 200 movies – including Speed, Titanic, Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys and Waterworld. They remain best known for a single photograph taken on the Warner Bros. backlot in 1975. For the cover of Wish You Were Here, Rondell wore a business suit over a flame retardant suit and shook Rogers’ hand while his clothing was on fire. To protect his head, Rondell wore a wig over a hood. Despite all the precautions, at one point during the shoot, the wind blew in the wrong direction and briefly spread the flames to Rondell’s moustache. The Warner Bros. lot where the photo was taken looks remarkably the same today.

Number 10 – The Velvet Underground “The Velvet Underground & Nico”

Andy Warhol got credit for producing the Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut LP, but his exact role in the creation of the album has always been a little murky. The cover, however, was entirely his project. Early versions of his famous banana print cover said “peel slowly and see,” and there was a peel-away banana sticker that revealed a pink banana underneath. With drug songs like “Heroin” and “I’m Waiting For The Man,” some have interpreted the album’s cover as a reference to the old schoolyard rumor that smoking a banana peel will get you high. Whether or not that was Warhol’s intent, the cover remains one of his most famous works.

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What does visual art and music have in common?

It is obvious that any of the arts spring from the same mysterious well and it is interesting to note how many musicians started out as artists (self taught or trained), and how some continued to juggle both disciplines throughout their careers.

There is a unique book titled ‘ Starart ‘edited by Debby Chesher that showcases the works of musicians that produced visual art. Among famous art school attendees were Keith Richards, David Bowie, David Byrne, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Robert Palmer, Brian Eno, Joni Mitchell, John Mayall, John Lennon, Ron Wood, Bryan Ferry, Grace Slick, Jerry Garcia and John Entwistle.

Enjoy the examples below.and see if you can draw any parallels between their art and their music.

John Mayall "Starart" cover

Joni Mitchell 1969

Joni Mitchell "Neil Young" portrait 1975

Joni Mitchell "Both Sides Now" 1999

Klaus Vormann - "Revolver" cover 1966

Klaus Voorman "Jacki Lomax" 1974

Klaus Vormann "Top Ten Club" Night , Hamburg w/ the Beatles

Klaus Voorman "Top Ten Club" - Light, Hamburg w/ the Beatles

Commander Cody "Elvis Costello"

Commander Cody "53 Buick"

Ron Wood "Please Allow Me" 1968

Ron Wood "Before They Make Me Run" 2009 portrait of Keith Richards

Ron Wood "Foxy" 2009

Cat Stevens "Artist vs. Materialism" 1968

Cat Stevens "Pixi" 1969

Cat Stevens from "Catch Bull at 4" 1972

Jerry Garcia "Mixmaster"

Jerry Garcia "Rocker"

John Lennon "Come Together"

John Lennon "Ono Peace"

John Lennon "Family Tree"

Bill Kreutzman "Addiction" (Grateful Dead)

Bill Kreutzmann "Woven Fish"

David Bowie "Self Portrait" 1988

David Bowie "Zenzi" 1998

Jimi Hendrix "Self Portrait"

Tico Torres "Sound of Music" (Bon Jovi)

Tico Torres "All That Jazz"

Michael Cortellone "Red" from the Lynryd Skynryd Road Series

Janis Joplin "Self Portrait"

Curt Cobain - untitled

Curt Cobain - untitled

Curt Cobain "InUtero"

John Entwistle "4 Proofs"

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I saw a short video of Paul McCartney lately in which he told the story of being inspired to compose a song using only 2-Finger chords after viewing Picasso’s painting “The Old Guitarist”. A fun challenge for a player of any skill set!

Listen to Paul McCartney’s tune and try one of your own!

Here is Picasso’s “Old Guitarist” with a Luna Oracle Eclipse. More masterpieces with Luna Guitars to follow! See if any of these inspire a little tune. : )

Picasso's "Old Guitarist" with Oracle Eclipse

Grant Wood's "American Gothic" with Luna Banjo headstock

Frieda Kahlo "Self Portrait" with Athena 501

Bunce's "Melody" with Luna's Trinity Mandolin

Leighton's "Music Lesson" with Luna's Trinity Bouzouki

Chagall's "The Kiss" with Fauna Phoenix

Matisse's "Musique" with Luna Muse

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa with High Tide Ukulele

Chagall's "Over the Town" with Andromeda Phoenix Bass

Picasso's "The Dream" with Tattoo Uke

Rosetti's "Daydream" with Fauna Butterfly

Rosetti's "Il Ramoscello" with Luna headstock

Van Gogh's "Bedroom" with Luna's Starry Safari travel guitar

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I just watched a documentary entitled Klaus Voorman and Friends: A Sideman’s Journey. Voorman is a bass player that has played as a sideman with a “who’s who” list of legends. The film is the documentation of a journey he took in his 70th year to visit old friends and record with them. Voorman’s friends are people like Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yusuf aka Cat Stevens, Dr. John, The Manfreds (members of Manfred Mann), Bonnie Bramlett, Jim Keltner, Max Buskohl, Van Dyke Parks, Albert Lee, Joe Walsh, Don Nix, Carley Simon and many others.

What impressed me was his total sense of humility throughout his career which is a
refreshing attribute for a celebrity. I was also amazed at his exceptional creativity which spanned both art and music. I am including a short of the documentary as well as some of his art which includes the famous album cover for the Beatle’s Revolver.

Revolver Album Cover

Jackie Lomax Album Cover

Jimi Hendrix Album Cover

Turbonegro Album Cover

Breakfast With John drawing

MandoDiablo bass

Bass Detail


John Lennon

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