Things You Will Find At The Allentown Book & Paper Show
On a cloudless Saturday at eight forty in the morning, a line of about 200 eager men and women snaked its way around Agricultural Hall at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown, PA.
They were anxiously awaiting the April 21 opening of the two day Allentown Book and Paper Show, an all encompassing smorgasbord of anything and everything collectible that has a relationship to paper.
On the show floor a few minutes before 9:00 am,, show promoter Sean Klutinoty announced to the 170 dealers over the public address system, that the anxious crowd would soon be admitted. This was the cue for the dealers to return to their tables. They had set up their stalls the day before but quite a few dealers were scurrying about making some last minute purchases from one another.
Searching through hundreds of thousands of postcards
At nine sharp, customers started filing in. Like bees who fly precise routes to pollinate flowers, the mad dash began for people to get to their favorite dealer. For those who do not have a special dealer to go to, there is a rush to visit each booth methodically row by row.
Each patron is searching for something particular and they ask dealers if they possess whatever special item they seek, before the competition, real or imagined, swoops in and beats them to it.
Another aisle of postcard row
If it made of paper and you cannot find it in Allentown that is the exception.
Unlike a book show where you have books and some ephemera, at a paper show there is literally no limit on what antiquity or modern collectible you may find. Continue reading →
The Photos The Beatles Didn’t Use For The Cover Of Abbey Road
Abbey Road album cover outtake photo – Iain Macmillan
If you are a Beatles fan, and visit London there is a strong chance that if you venture just outside the Abbey Road studios you will find groups of Beatles fans recreating their own version of The Beatles famous walk across the street while someone photographs the scene. The Abbey Road cover is considered to be one of the best and most imitated album covers in rock history.
The photo session took place on August 8, 1969 and photographer Iain Macmillan was given ten minutes to photograph The Beatles. Macmillan perched himself on a ladder in the middle of the street and took only six photographs of the group, one of which became the final album cover.
Here are the other four photos that did not end up being used for the cover. Click on any photo to enlarge.
For The Beatles fan who owns everything you could purchase your own set of the photos, but you would have to spend some big bucks. A set of the five unused photos with one signed by Macmillan was auctioned Continue reading →
This year September 26, marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of one of television’s all-time classic shows.
Gilligan’s Island originally ran on CBS from September 26 1964 until April 17, 1967 and will be seen forever in re-runs. It spawned an unforgettable theme song and a cast of actors that for better or worse became synonymous with their characters.
Nowadays merchandising and licensing for nearly every quasi-celebrity is the norm. But Gilligan’s Island never took advantage of the popularity of the show and issued albums on behalf of the cast members.
But looking around the web you will find a few albums related to the cast of the show.
Alan Hale’s incredibly titled album, Skipper Alan Hale’s Roman Orgy, would not inspire many of the eleven-year-old fans of the program to purchase it.
Almost every rock fan is familiar with The Doors 1967 eponymous debut album containing the hit songs Light My Fire, Break On Through, Soul Kitchen and The End. The album’s iconic front and back covers were photographed by Joel Brodsky. The back cover photo was also used for a billboard advertisement; the first album to ever get that treatment on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.
As we pointed out in our article about Carole King and her photo session for Tapestry, there are always other photographs from a photo session that the public rarely sees.
In these sessions, photographer Joel Brodsky took many pictures of The Doors that could have ended up on the cover. Some of the photos were later used on album sleeve inserts and on greatest hits collections.
Below are some of the other photographs from these famous sessions. Do you think any of them would have worked better than what was chosen?
Andy Johns who worked on some of the greatest rock albums of all-time as a producer and engineer died in Los Angeles on April 7, at the age of 62 due to complications of a stomach ulcer.
Johns was a name not known to casual rock fans because he worked behind the scenes, but his contributions to dozens of classic albums is immeasurable. From the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street to Led Zeppelin’s greatest period of production in the early 1970’s, Johns was setting up and overseeing the recording of albums that will be played for as long as people listen to rock n’ roll. Some of the many bands and artists Andy Johns worked with included Free, Eric Clapton, Blind Faith, Cinderella, Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Mott The Hoople.
After Andy Johns died I scanned The New York Times on a daily basis in disbelief that they did not cover his death. Nearly two weeks after his passing, an obituary finally appeared.
Here, Andy Johns talks about his experiences working with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and the recording of Led Zeppelin’s classic Led Zeppelin IV (a.k.a. 4 Symbols or Untitled) and the song Stairway To Heaven.
David Gilmour and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd between Storm Thorgerson photo possibly by Jill Furmanovsky
Storm Thorgerson was a name even less known by the general public than Andy Johns, but literally millions of people have seen his work. Thorgerson, as half of the design firm Hipgnosis with Aubrey Powell, created dozens of the most iconic record album covers, sleeve and insert artwork of all time. After the dissolution of Hipgnosis in 1983, Thorgerson ran his own firm and continued working until he died on April 13 at the age of 69 from cancer.
Thorgerson’s work was surreal and many times bizarre. But it caught your attention like any great artwork that was meant to be contemplated. Millions of people who bought albums would study the large canvas that an LP album offered for insights and clues about the music and the band they were listening to. With the supremacy of CD’s in the 1990’s, cover artwork was given a much smaller space and a less important role in point of purchase sales of music. Despite this, Thorgerson maintained a steady stream of clients who wanted original and outstanding works of art to go with their musical output.
Best known for his long association with Pink Floyd, Thorgerson also created album covers for a wide variety of bands including Led Zeppelin, Yes, Scorpions, UFO, Phish, AC/DC, 10cc, Black Sabbath, The Alan Parsons Project, Anthrax and many others.
In this clip below, Thorgerson talks about the beginnings of Hipgnosis.
The Divinyls lead singer Christina Amphlett was known in the United States as more of a one-hit wonder for the 1991 top ten song I Touch Myself than for anything else. But in her native Australia, Chrissy Amphlett was a rock legend. The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard even spoke of the impact of Amphlett’s death and what she meant to the Australian music scene.
Amphlett died in New York City at the age of 53 on April 20 after battling multiple sclerosis and breast cancer for many years.
The Divinyls were not just a pop band, they could rock as hard as anybody as evidenced here in a 1982 live performance of Boys in Town. With her schoolgirl outfit Amphlett displays some head-banging moves reminiscent of AC/DC’s Angus Young.
Jim McCrary Photographed Over 300 Album Covers For A&M Records
Cover Photograph to Carole King’s Tapestry Album
Jim McCrary who will be remembered for taking in 1971 one of the most iconic album cover photos in music history, Carole King’s Tapestry, died at the age of 72 on April 29, 2012 of complications from a chronic nervous system disorder at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, CA.
Jim McCrary self-portrait 1978
McCrary was a self-taught photographer beginning his career in 1952. He worked for many years as staff photographer for several portrait studios and in the photography department of Rockwell International during the 1950’s and 1960’s. McCrary joined Herb Alpert’s and Jerry Moss’ A&M Records in 1967 as chief photographer. For the next seven years he photographed most of A&M’s albums, publicity and advertising work. Among his better known images are of Joe Cocker, Cat Stevens, Gram Parsons & The Carpenters.
McCrary left rock photography in the late 70’s after he felt he had lost touch with the music of the bands he was working with. His work won many awards from the Los Angeles & New York Art Directors Clubs, and appeared in several “Best” Album Cover books.
McCrary shared his talent and taught at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Tom Upton, who was once a student of McCrary’s in the 70’s said “…he was magnanimous and kind. He expected hard work and absolute transparency when reviewing work. He was the antithesis of the celebrity photographer as guru, popular at the time. He required no fealty or brown-nosing, just honesty and plain backgrounds so you had to engage your subject. He taught us about hard light and soft light in a portrait, and what the consequences were. You, the subject, the light, and no bull. His assignments were affectionately termed ‘McCrary Portraits’ by his students.”
Survivors include his son Jason McCrary and two brothers Wylee Dale McCrary and Doug McCrary.
To read the story about how Carol King’s Tapestry photo shoot unfolded, click here.
Dolores Erickson on Whipped Cream and Other Delights
The cover is the stuff of teenage dreams and yearning of older men to return to their youth. Innocence and come-hither looks wrapped into one alluring package.
If an album cover ever helped to sell mega amounts of copies, this was it. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, certainly benefited from the album design of A&M art director Peter Whorf, and model, Dolores Erickson, gracing the cover of Whipped Cream and Other Delights.
The iconic album cover, which is best appreciated in its full 12″ x 12″ vinyl incarnation, can still be found for sale at many thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales for a couple of dollars.
The album released in 1965, went to #1 on the Billboard pop music charts and ended up selling over six million copies over the years.
Was it based on the music? While it is a good album of instrumentals, I am positive that the provocative cover Continue reading →
The Story Of The Tapestry Photo Shoot And Some Out-takes
One of the best selling albums of all time is Carole King’s Tapestry from 1971. The appealing cover image of Carole King sitting in the living room of her home in Laurel Canyon, CA was taken by rock n’ roll photographer Jim McCrary. An interesting sidenote was that King’s cat Telemachus was moved while sitting on the pillow from across the room by McCrary to be used in the final cover shot.
We identify famous covers and just accept that is the cover. The conclusion is “it’s the right cover!” In Tapestry’s case, McCrary’s use of the cat definitely helps draw the viewer in.
What if a different cover had been used?
Here are four other photos from The Tapestry shoot
March 2 is the premiere of PBS’s “American Masters” which features Carole King in Troubadors: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter.