Monday, October 13, 2008

Ringo Wishes You Peace and Love....Now Go Away!

Ringo Starr has posted a video on his website asking people to stop sending things to him to be signed.

In all fairness, stars can be overwhelmed with fan mail and, especially, many items that people want signed. Unfortunately, the eBayers and memorabilia sellers are behind much of this mail and not true fans, which leads stars to take stances.

Ringo's message:

"This is a serious message to everyone watching my update right now. Peace and love. Peace and love. I want to tell you, please, after the 20th of October do not send fan mail to any address that you have. Nothing will be signed after the 20th of October. If that has a date on the envelope, it's going to be tossed. I'm warning you with peace and love. I have too much to do. So no more fan mail. Thank you, thank you and no objects to be signed. Nothing. Ah, anyway, peace and love. Peace and love."

To visit Ringo and show your support:

I am with you brother, as of today, I will not sign anything either.

My Kingdom for a Turntable

Apparently some audiophiles feel that certain arms and cartridges work better with one kind of record than another, so by having four set up at once, you'll be ready to go no matter what the musical mood.

This was built around a TW-Acustic Raven AC turntable with three motors, this rig was shown at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest over the weekend, and was put together by Jeff Catalano from the ├╝ber exclusive New York audio salon Highwater Sound. It includes arms from Breuer Dynamic, Graham Engineering, Triplanar, and Ortofon, along with cartridges from Dynavector, Ortofon, and Miyabi.

When we totaled up the price, it came to around $56,000, cables extra.

Album Cover Stories

Again, a special thank you to Michael Goldstein over at for allowing these exclusive reprint rights to these interesting behind the scenes looks at album cover art:

Cover Story - Bob Dylan's "Slow Train Coming",
with artwork by Catherine Kanner

Cover Story for April 11, 2008

Subject: Slow Train Coming, a 1979 release (on Columbia Records) by Bob Dylan, with cover artwork & design by Catherine Kanner

So, depending on whether you’re convinced that his born-again Christianity was just another example of Bob Dylan’s constant need for change to provide him with new-found (and, according to critics, badly-needed) inspiration, or whether his late-70’s conversion and eschewing of all things (and songs) secular was for real, his record titled Slow Train Coming certainly both brought him new fans in the Christian Music genre and served to confound and perturb his fans and the many music critics who, quite vocally, “loved the music, hated the words”.

Recorded with the help of veteran producer Jerry Wexler (who Dylan hoped would bring the soul of “the Muscle Shoals Sound” found in Wexler-produced recordings for Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge and Wilson Pickett), the Muscle Shoals horns (and MS keyboardist Berry Beckett), and both Mark Knopfler and Pick Withers (guitars and drums) from Dire Straits (who were all unaware of the nature of the material they were about to record), the album went on to sell more copies than both Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks did during the first year of their respective releases, driven by the success of the single “Gotta Serve Somebody”, which the TV-shy performer even played as part of his set on “Saturday Night Live”. The record’s cross-genre acceptance was further evidenced by its listings as #16 in the 2001 book "CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music", #38 in the Village Voice’s "Jazz & Pop Poll" for that year, and a Grammy Award in 1980 for “Best Rock Vocal Performance – Male”.

Also trying to serve somebody was the team at Columbia Records who were responsible for the record’s packaging and album cover. For the record he intended to release as a very public statement regarding his commitment to his new found faith, he was not going to accept any image that did not illustrate this appropriately. In a last-ditch effort to deliver something that Dylan would accept, the art director turned to his friend, illustrator Catherine Kanner, who he hoped would use her vast experience as an editorial illustrator to save the day (and it was the last day). I asked Catherine to describe those most-interesting 24 hours for Cover Stories readers, and being the Precious Angel that she is, she was kind enough to comply….

In the words of the artist, Catherine Kanner (interviewed in late March, 2008) -

My first job out of college was one working at a film titles company in Los Angeles (around 1980), after which I moved on to a permanent freelance illustration and design career which included regular work with the Los Angeles Times "Opinion" section. There, my editorial pen and ink illustrations appeared weekly. One morning, I received a phone call from out of the blue from one of my former co-workers at the film titles company (sorry, I don’t recall his name) who had also moved on and who had seen my editorial work in the Times. “Drop everything,” he said. “I’m coming over with an incredible job!” As it turns out, he was now working as a freelance designer and had a good connection at Columbia Records. He rushed over and let me know that this was a potential cover for a Bob Dylan album.

Apparently, Columbia Records had tried several times to come up with an image that would be acceptable to Dylan…but he had rejected them all. They were down to the wire, and my friend told me that we had this window of opportunity to get something in which he might accept…and that it had to be done and turned in that night!

The concept was very concrete as he expressed it to me. As he explained it, this album was to be Dylan’s exploration of Christian ideas through his words and music. I recall being amazed to hear this. The graphic style was meant to have an engraved look - which pen and ink (my specialty) certainly mimics. Dylan’s concepts for the illustration were clear - he requested locomotive train coming down tracks that were being laid by a crew, and there was to be a man in the foreground holding a pick-ax. The axe was meant to be a symbol of the Cross. In my original sketch, I rendered the ax as it would naturally be, but I recall my friend insisting that I extend the top of the ax so that it more resembled a cross. I thought that was too obvious and argued for a more subtle approach, but in the end the ax was extended. I did, in fact, finish the rendering that afternoon and after my friend took the piece, I never saw it again. I never met with anyone face to face at the record company, nor did I meet with Dylan.

My friend delivered the illustration to Columbia Records, and I believe it was about a week later that I heard back from him that Dylan had seen it – and he liked it! He wanted to use it as it was, however the record company wanted to give it another go, and I heard they used their own team and presented Dylan with new pieces in a style quite similar to mine (!!). He rejected them, and so, in the end, my piece was the one went to press, with no changes from my original.

Years later, my parents were sitting on the deck of their house in Malibu, and a man was walking up the beach alone. My father recognized him as Bob Dylan. My mother (who is a character) waved him down. He actually came up to their house and she announced herself as "the mom of the artist who illustrated Slow Train Coming”. She had a copy of the art on the wall, and he came in to see. She said he was “modest and interesting”.

Also, since that time, there have been a number of Dylan scholars who have analyzed my illustration – reading all sorts of mystical meanings and messages in the layout and concept. I have had a dialogue with one of these scholars (in Italy) explaining that my composition was simply designed to “tell the story”, and so it was not suffered over, or filled with deeper meaning. So many artists never get this chance... and I relished the debunking!

About the artist, Catherine Kanner –

Catherine Kanner is an illustrator, author and publisher. She has written, illustrated or designed more than 20 books including her own texts; The Book of the Bath, and Beauty From a Country Garden, and has designed or illustrated books for other authors including Michael Crichton’s Timeline, Fun With Ballet, San Francisco Access, Town & County Cookbook, and Angelina's Ballet Class.

Catherine has created a line of 75 greeting cards with Michel & Company, and has designed products for The Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York. Other clients include; Bank of America, Microsoft, Edison, Texas Instruments, Fidelity Investments, Sun Microsystems, Amtrak, Citizen, Sprint and Kraft Foods among others. She has been a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Opinion section with her work syndicated to 2000 newspapers in the U.S. and 1,000 worldwide. She has won numerous illustration and design awards including the Society of Newspaper Design Award, Print’s Regional Design Award, The Louie Award and the Rounce & Coffin Award for excellence in book design. She has also toured throughout the U.S. as a spokesperson for Proctor & Gamble.

In 1995 she became publisher of The Melville Press, producing limited edition, fine press books, and was creative director for Calamus Gift & Trade Editions. In addition, Kanner currently is Design Director for Los Angeles Ballet.

To see more of Catherine Kanner’s work, please visit her web site at -

More recently, Catherine has involved herself with another Dylan – this time, author Dylan Thomas – with her works used to illustrate a limited-edition book by The Melville Press titled In the Direction of the Beginning. It is a remarkable short story, originally published in A Prospect of the Sea in 1939. This powerful prose poem is a story of love and the sea.

To see all of the Bob Dylan-related items in the RockPoP Gallery collection please click on this link -

All images featured in this Cover Story are Copyright 1979 and 2008, Catherine Kanner - All rights reserved. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2008 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.

Vinyl Wave

So this is what happens to old records! Jean Shin’s “Sound Wave,” is on display at The Museum of Arts and Design, in Manhattan NY.

New Vinyl Releases


Amp Fiddler / Sly & Robbie - Inspiration Information Vol. 1 [2LP]
Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers - Moanin' [2LP]
Beach Boys - Endless Summer [4 Color Gatefold Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl 2LP]
Billie Holiday - Remixed & Reimagined [LP]
Blood Sweat & Tears - Child Is Father To The Man [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Cannonball Adderley - Somethin Else [2LP]
Cheap Trick - At Budokan [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Crime In Stereo - Selective Wreckage [2LP]
Cure - 4:13 Dream [2LP]
Dexter Gordon - Go! [2LP]
DJ Babu - Duck Season 3 [2LP]
Greg Street - Greg Street Certified Worldwide [2LP]
Hank Mobley - Soul Station [2LP]
Haunted - Versus [LP]
Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage [2LP]
Horace Silver Quintet - Song For My Father [2LP]
Joe Henderson - Page One [2LP]
John Coltane - Blue Train [2LP]
John Legend - Evolver [2LP]
John Lennon - Rock N Roll [LP] [4 Color Single Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl]
Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads [LP]
Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue [2LP]
Lady GaGa - The Fame [LP]
Lee Morgan - Sidewinder [2LP]
McCoy Tyner - Real McCoy [2LP]
Megadeth - Peace Sells [LP] [4 Color Gatefold Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl Inner Sleeve w/lyrics]
Megadeth - Rust In Peace [LP] [4 Color Single Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl Inner Sleeve w/lyrics]
Paul McCartney & Wings - Band On The Run [LP] (4 Color Single Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl Bonus Digital Album Download w/Poster]
People Under The Stairs - Fun Dmc [2LP]
Queen - A Day At The Races [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Queen - A Night At The Opera [LP]
Queen - Queen II [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Queen - Sheer Heart Attack [LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Queen & Paul Rodgers - The Cosmos Rock [2 LP] (180 Gram Vinyl)
Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime [LP] [4 Color Single Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl Inner sleeve w/lyrics]
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure [LP] [180 Gram Vinyl 4 Color Gatefold Jacket includes Poster of Jacket artwork]
Roxy Music - Roxy Music [LP] [180 Gram Vinyl 4 Color Gatefold Jacket includes Poster of Jacket artwork]
Slayer - Haunting The Chapel [LP] (Clear Vinyl with Blood Splattering)
Slayer - Hell Awaits [LP] (Gold Colored Vinyl with Blood Splattering)
Slayer - Live Undead [LP] (Silver Colored Vinyl with Blood Splattering)
Slayer - Show No Mercy [LP] (Red Colored Vinyl with Black Blood Splattering)
Social Distortion - Social Distortion [LP]
Steve Vai - Passion And Warfare [LP]
Stray Cats - Built For Speed [LP] [4 Color Single Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl]
The Band - Music From The Big Pink [LP] [4 Color Gatefold Jacket] [180 Gram Vinyl]
The Band - The Band [LP] [4 Color Gatefold Jacket 180 Gram Vinyl]
Verve - Urban Hymns [4 Color Single Jacket [2LP] 180 Gram Vinyl 2 Inner Sleeves w/photos]

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 09/13/2008

1) 45 rpm - Elvis Presley RCA EPB-1254 with alternate picture sleeve - $2,483.00

2) 45 rpm - The Idols "Check Her Out" / "Why Am I So Blue" USA - $2,125.00

3) LP - Sonny Rollins "Saxophone Colossus" Prestige 446 - $2,025.00

4) 45 rpm - Bobby Kline "Taking Care Of Business" / "Something Nice To Say" MB - @$1,727.00

5) LP - The Brigade "Last Laugh" Band 'n Vocal - $1,725.00 Start: $9.99

This week we go back down in the middle ground between zilch and $5k, with the highest selling record being 1/2 of an Elvis EP. This is a radio station copy of one record of the EPB-1524 EP set on RCA with an alternate sleeve, the commercial sleeve sporting the famous pink and green typeface and commonly selling for around fifty dollars. This alternate sleeve shoots the price up to a few dollars below $2.5k.

Next, a Northern Soul 45 from the Idols sells for over over $2.1k. A Prestige jazz LP from Sonny Rollins takes the #3 spot bidding up past $2k.

Another Northen Soul 45 gets the #4 spot, this one by Bobby Kline and selling for more than $1.7k. And last, a Psych LP of a 100 copy run from The Brigade closes $2 under its fourth place companion.


Week Ending 09/20/2008

1) LP - Johanna Martzy "Bach: The unaccompanied Violin Sonatas" Columbia Box set - $4859.99

2) LP - Beatles "Let It Be" Apple Canada - $3,000.00

3) 45 rpm - Johnny Rodgers "Make A Change" / "Soul Food" Amon 4619 - $2,900.00

4) LP - Cressida self titled Vertigo - $2,200.00

5) LP - Leonid Kogan "Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 61" Columbia Sax 2386 UK Pressing - $2,051.00

A rare classical set of Bach sonatas performed by Johanna Martzy takes the top spot but does not break the $5k mark, the boxed set closing over $4.8k. Still, this sale is close to double what the set sold for over 2 years ago. Next, a Canadian "Let It Be" in its original box set sells for exactly $3k. The Canadian version box edtion is the rarest of them all, having had a very low press run.

In the #3 spot, a Northern Soul 45 from Johnny Rodgers on Amon closes at $2.9k. Next, the rare Psych LP on Vertigo from Cressida goes for $2.2k.

In the last spot another classical record on Columbia, Beethoven's Violin Concerto performed by Leonid Kogan sells for a little over $2k.

As always a special thank you to Brian over at for the excellent information

Classic Rock Videos

Ricky Nelson - It's late 1959

Album Cover Art

Let's continue our look at's list of the top 50 most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers as compiled by their staff:


16. Marilyn Manson: ‘Holy Wood’ – Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) is the fourth full-length album by rock band Marilyn Manson. It was released on November 14, 2000 by Interscope Records. It is a concept album, and the third and final album of a trilogy along with Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals. It spawned three singles ("Disposable Teens", "The Fight Song" and "The Nobodies") and a novel which remains currently unreleased. The album cover featured a rotting Christ-like figure from the torso-up. The corpse’s mutilated face showed Manson with his teeth bared in a typical display of gothic headline-grabbing.

Holy Wood was Marilyn Manson's first album since the Columbine High School massacre (April 20, 1999), for which some media outlets, pundits and politicians had made him scapegoat by accusing him of fostering and encouraging the perpetrators' violent state of mind via his music and "goth" imagery. Consequently, much of the album's content addresses the issue and poses several counterarguments indicting parents, the values and culture of Conservative Christian America and the media alike for the roles they also play in the exaltation and movement into the mainstream of violence. The record supplants this by underlining American society's obsession with guns, religion and fame - esp. fame that has historically been attained by people whose deaths have been publicly displayed and romanticized in the media (televised or print) and consequently painted as "martyrs" within the national or public consciousness (e.g., President John F. Kennedy also, by extension, Jesus Christ).

Brian Hugh Warner (born January 5, 1969), better known by his stage name Marilyn Manson, is an American musician and artist, known for his outrageous stage persona and image as the lead singer of the eponymous band. His stage name was formed from the names of actress Marilyn Monroe and convicted murderer, Charles Manson.

Though critically acclaimed and more popular amongst newer fans, the album was Manson's worst-selling album at the time. After debuting at number 13 on the Billboard 200 chart, it free-fell off the charts in the weeks that followed.



16. Butthole Surfers: 'Hairway To Steven' The Surfers make it here again, and I would bet, given their overall goofy image, we'll see them again (I did peak ahead).

Hairway to Steven is the fourth full-length studio album by American alternative rock band Butthole Surfers, released in February 1988. All songs were written by the Butthole Surfers, co-produced by the Surfers and Ric Wallace, and mixed by Wallace. The album was recorded at January Sound Studio in Dallas.

Hairway to Steven's title is an obvious parody of (or perhaps tribute to) Led Zeppelin's popular hit, "Stairway to Heaven." Some of its tracks also make allusions to other famous musicians, such as Julio Iglesias.

Hairway to Steven was recorded at one studio in a relatively short period of time. According to bassist Jeff Pinkus, the band had been performing most of these songs for years before recording them for this album. Many of the band's previous releases had been piecework affairs, recorded over several months in numerous studios, and their songs underwent far more in-studio development.



16 Michael Bolton – ‘Michael Bolton’ I see a pattern here with the worst covers- the less said about them the better. I found this interesting- Bolton's hard rock band, Blackjack, once toured with heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne. What a nice pairing!

Michael Bolton (born Michael Bolotin on February 26, 1953), is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his soft rock ballads and tenor vocals. His achievements include selling 53 million albums, eight top ten albums, two number one singles on the Billboard charts, and awards from both the American Music Awards and Grammy Awards.



16. Beck: ‘Odelay’ - The album's unusual cover photo, which has been misinterpreted as a mop head jumping over a hurdle, is actually a real photo of a Komondor, a rare Hungarian breed of dog with thick matted hair. This came after Bush released their album Sixteen Stone, which featured a similar looking dog called a Puli being thrown into the air on the inside cover.

The image was chosen at the last minute after Beck failed to decide on an album cover. The image was presented to him by his girlfriend and was chosen almost out of desperation. The typeface was chosen by a record company worker. I guess it does look like a dog, he's in there somewhere!