Sunday, March 8, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Beatles- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Record Store Day Is Saturday, April 18

The organizers of Record Store Day have been happily overwhelmed by a steady flurry of support and activity from artists, record labels and retailers wishing to participate in the annual event in salutation of the independent music store. This year Record Store Day is set to feature a number of exciting new products made especially for the event from such well-known artists as Radiohead, Wilco, Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams and the Flight of the Conchords, just to name a few.

Wilco plan to release their upcoming DVD as an exclusive release to indie stores and on the band's website on Record Store Day. The group's Jeff Tweedy told Billboard Magazine in a recent interview, "Even if I wasn't in a band, I'd still support Record Store Day. It's a great thing and I'm glad we could do something special with them for our DVD."

The Decemberists will release a Record Store Day 7" as well. The band's Colin Meloy adds, "I don't know what I would do without indie record stores. Growing up in a town without them, I can tell you that it's no fun to shop for indie records at chain box stores."

You can also expect a slew of vinyl releases from Radiohead, My Morning Jacket who will release a CD as well as limited run double 10" vinyl recorded live in Louisville at record store Ear X-tacy.

Also expected are classic split 7" releases from Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams who will issue a double 7" of live tracks from Atlanta and Edinburgh, as well as Sonic Youth exclusive Record Store Day split singles with Beck and Jay Reatard.

Other indie rock elder statesmen the Jesus Lizard will release a special package to include nine 7" singles and Guided By Voices will re-release their Hold On Hope EP, with three bonus tracks.

And in the "legends" category, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen will all release RSD exclusive 7" singles. Def Jam also plans to release a 4 LP gatefold history of the label, the physical version of which will be for indies only.

Fans can expect more unique Record Store Day pieces from a diverse array of artists such as Metric, Slipknot, Jane's Addiction, The Smiths, The Stooges, MC5, Modest Mouse, Slayer, Rivers Cuomo, the Black Kids, Brandi Carlile, Taking Back Sunday, among many others.


Back in the Groove: Vinyl Records are making a comeback

By Scott A. Rosenberg

They’re big, heavy and cumbersome. The sound crackles and pops. They’re relics of a bygone era.

So what is it about the vinyl record – admittedly a truly iconic item - that caused sales to nearly double in 2008?

“It’s really for the true collector, the one that understands music, quality of music, wants to know about the artist that’s playing, wants to read linear notes,” said Rachel Friedman, president of J&R Music World.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, LP sales were up 89 percent in 2008, jumping to 1.88 million LP’s sold. When you take into account the 14 percent overall drop in CDs, LPs and digital sales combined, it’s a mystifying trend.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, LP sales were up 89 percent in 2008, jumping to 1.88 million LP’s sold. When you take into account the 14 percent overall drop in CDs, LPs and digital sales combined, it’s a mystifying trend.

Collector's Market

Vinyl sales have been rising steadily at J&R, which has been selling vinyl since it opened in 1971. As demand increases, it has expanded the vinyl section, Friedman said.

Read The Rest Of The Article Here: Vinyl Comeback

Album Cover Stories

As always, I want to thank Michael Goldstein over at for the exclusive reprint rights to his marvelous album cover art stories:

Cover Story - The Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street", with artwork by John Van Hamersveld
Cover Story for April 25, 2008

Subject: Exile on Main Street, a 1972 release (on Atlantic Records) by The Rolling Stones, with cover artwork & design by John Van Hamersveld

When the Rolling Stones released Exile on Main Street in 1972 - a double album of songs representing the many different genres of music that shaped Stones music at the time - fans and critics found themselves having to spend a lot of time trying to “get it”. It required a number of listens to gain an appreciation of what, on the surface, often seemed to be a collection of studio out-takes and Richards/Taylor/Watts jams than a freshly-recorded musical offering.

Many critics of the era failed to appreciate the Stones’ explorations of R&B, Soul, Country and roots Rock that were spread over the 4 album sides. In fact, the record was comprised of a series of recordings done during the previous four years and, as such, they featured a variety of mixes (some better than others) and showed the band building on top of these influences in their own inimitable style to the point that, now over 35 years later, the package is considered by many to be the band’s most-authentic offering. It is always listed near the top of most of the “Best Of” and “Greatest” lists (#7 on the Rolling Stone Magazine 2003 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, #22 on VH-1’s survey, and even impressed the younger generation enough to be ranked #11 on Pitchfork’s 2003 list of Best Albums of the 1970s).

In a similar fashion, when the buying public took their first look at the design and imagery of the sprawling record cover, most people admitted that they didn’t “get it”. Having just soaked in Warhol’s ultimately-iconic "cover with a zipper" for Sticky Fingers, fans should have been ready for anything, but John Van Hamersveld’s designs seemed to confound them, asking them to digest a rough, anti-establishment, punk-before-there-was-punk collage of images that may have, initially, combined with the unfamiliar musical stylings to impact sales (don’t worry, as the record was supported by the now-famous 1972 American concert tour and songs such as “Happy” and “Tumbling Dice” got some significant radio play, the record went on to top the charts in the U.S. and the U.K.).

And so when Van Hamersveld, who’d established his industry cred via his poster and package designs for Hendrix, The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour), Jefferson Airplane (Crown of Creation) and others, was approached by the Rolling Stones (who were in a studio in LA putting the finishing touches on this new album) to work on the graphics and packaging for a songbook project the band wanted to release, he joined in on an interesting series of events on the day of their initial meeting had a profound impact on the course of album art history. And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, on center stage, here’s today’s Cover Story…

In the words of the artist, John Van Hamersveld (interviewed in March 2008, with additional text provided* and used with his permission) -

I had been a multimedia artist and rock promoter during my Pinnacle Rock Concerts in the 60's and I was returning from the Kings Road Scene in London to LAX in 1971 in an effort to use my music business promotions experience to connect with Hollywood again. One day, from the new Chapman Park Studio Building on 6th Street in Los Angeles, I left to meet with a friend who would introduce me to Norman Seeff, the art director and photographer for United Artists and Blue Note Records.

Norman was an art director and photographer of personalities and had worked as the photographer for Bob Dylan's The Band package with Bob Cato, the famous art director for Columbia Records. I had skills that I had developed in art school and I could apply them to this medium. I could draw, do typography, illustrations and could combine design with photography. I also had printing and publishing experience from my famous rock posters of the 60's. After the meeting, Norman and I started a creative relationship built around packaging albums.

Norman had 65 projects to package over the first year, so he and I created an artistic design process for the packaging of music and band identities. We became a design team that worked hard to lead the industry by creating a professional style that was envied by all the major labels. After each release of record packages to retail, other companies began to follow our UA style.

One day Norman and I met the Rolling Stones here in Hollywood. A beautiful girlfriend I had met earlier on “the scene” in London – Chris Odell - was now Mick Jagger's personal assistant, and so in early 1972, The Rolling Stones approached Norman and I to work on the design of a songbook with photographs for Warner Brothers. At this stage, I don’t know that I will be packaging Exile On Main Street. The Stones are in Los Angeles at Sunset Sound studios, finishing the record. Our first meeting was set to be in Bel Air, where they were staying.

As I drive to the meeting, I think about the times I am a captive to Jagger's enigmatic voice on the car radio, clarifying themes of the day with his lyrics, as if they were an advertising slogan for today's lifestyle. His words strike like an axe to my forehead. The Bel Air mansion where the Stones are living is a sumptuous Mediterranean-style villa, surrounded by lush foliage, and soon I am standing on a Persian rug, looking into the eyes of Jagger. He extends his pale, soft hand – limp from a life of wealth, decadence, and privilege.

The rest are talking at the large dining table. We greet each other and sit down in a seating plan orchestrated by Jagger. I am directed to sit next to Mick, and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess of Chess Records and President of Rolling Stones Records) stands on the left. Norman is taking pictures of the band, and Keith is sitting on the couch across from me. He is looking at me in his mirrored sunglasses while smoking a joint. He looks so healthy, handsome and rested.

Then, to my surprise, Robert Frank (the photographer and film-maker well known for his late 1950's book The Americans, with a foreword by Jack Kerouac) walks into the room with a small Super 8mm Canon camera. Jagger and I smile. "This is a very hip day," I say to myself. I knew Robert from a meeting in New York in 1968. He takes Jagger to downtown Los Angeles to film him on the seedy parts of Main Street later in the day. Norman and I leave after the shooting to edit his photographs.

At the request of Marshall Chess, Norman and I arrive for a second day of meetings. We walk through the living room of the villa down to the far wall into the dining room where Mick and Keith are waiting with Marshall. As Marshall starts the meeting, Norman hands another album cover by another designer to him. The cover is passed to Jagger for approval. He rejects it. Marshall then hands me a Robert Frank front photo collage across to me. The tattoo-parlor-wall cover image is from Robert's photo documentary “The Americans”. Mick, on my right, looks on for both of us to agree, so I nod. This then becomes the famous photo-composition for the Exile On Main St. album cover. As the meeting progresses, the other pieces of the package are handed to me.

During the meeting, Marshall asks me what we will do with Norman's photos, given that Frank's are the agreed ones for the cover. Marshall has Norman's images from the late night photo shoot. They are the sequences where Keith arrives at the very last minute for the shoot. Everyone had been waiting for him to show, and then he arrives with his pants hanging off his butt. With Keith's arrival, the group is now ready to go on with Norman's session ("This is a one-time shot!" someone says). Lights, smoke, and confetti is readied, it all begins and a sequence is attempted but then, by accident, Keith began to fall all over the set, creating a disaster. All else fails and our budget has now been used up.

Suddenly Keith says from across the edge of the table, "Make some postcards," showing us with his hands an accordion-folded-style collection of postcards. He then proceeds to almost lose his balance and fall over onto the rug. I say to Mick, "Let's take that as an idea and do it." He agrees and Marshall says, "Done". Marshall and Jagger hand me a stack of photos made by Frank over the weekend. I leave with the visual “ingredients” and arrive back my place at the Chapman Park Studio Building.

In my studio, I play the song 'Sympathy For The Devil' and I think about how to design, in a "Beat style", the concept of a “pop art” package. I have to make it so it will work as an image in a competitive market place. I envisage the package as a painter's fine art print. I had been using various kinds of mediums like brushed inks, crayons, markers, paint and airbrush tools with complicated layered stripping and printing tricks to gain the effects I needed, but in this case I need just the basics - drafting tape and ripped paper.

I select the pictures from the ones Frank took. After our meeting, I organize the images as per Jagger's instructions while Marshall looks on. I am able to step back as an artist and see the opportunity in front of me. Jagger is really a pop artist, too. With all the images in place, I'm satisfied with my work. Upon the label’s approval, Exile will soon hit the streets.

The last step of the approval process stopped at Ahmet Ertegun’s office at Atlantic Records. He was the label’s ultimate authority and so when this kind of art and esthetic made it past his eyes, I knew that all would be okay. In the eyes of the many in the industry, they were all shocked by the ugly, rough, tuff, beat look of the package and that it was not funny or real humorous (to anyone but a Johnny Rotten).

So, as the result of Jagger and I sitting side by side in 1972 at our meeting, my arrangement of materials that would go beyond Frank’s photo style, creating an identity that would becomes the basis of the PUNK FASHION MOVEMENT. To the spectators, critics, and others in the Establishment, I had made a package that was not glamorous. It was not a friendly image to put on display in the record stores, but it was THAT image that established the anti-establishment look of PUNK. It took years to recover from the cover’s graphic statement, with new generations of punks exploiting the graphic concept to this day - still ripping and tearing and drawing all over things with their own graffiti.

The album cover art images from the past, as part of our culture, were styled for fashion and archetype. In 1984, my friend John Lydon said to me "The Stones’ Exile package set the image of punk in 1975 - we used that graphic feel to communicate our message graphically".

In the 70's, I do feel that 12x12 album covers were an all-inclusive image of cultural style in the visual fashion of the sixties and the seventies. I was, therefore, a well-known designer of cultural images which were created as reflections of that culture. These were then watched closely by other design teams and designers who copied me their pursuit to find new images. Today more than 100,000 artists are using a "Ripping and Tearing" style and graffiti in their work.

At least Johnny was nice enough to explain what his intention was then…JVH

About the artist - John Van Hamersveld -

John (b. 1941, Baltimore, MD) is an artist and designer who’s responsible for an enormous catalog of well-known music industry and pop culture-related images. From his early works on the promo poster for the soundtrack for 1966’s ground-breaking surf-culture movie The Endless Summer and his cover work for The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour) and Jefferson Airplane (Crown of Creation), to his iconic 70’s covers for the Rolling Stones (Exile on Main Street), The Grateful Dead (Skeletons from the Closet), KISS (Hotter than Hell), and Steve Miller (The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle), and then on to his imagery that helped introduce the world to Punk Fashion, such as the cover for Blondie’s Eat to the Beat and Autoamerica and John Lydon’s post-Pistols solo efforts (This Is What You Want, This is What You Get), Van Hamersveld’s images set the path that the rest of the industry followed for style and substance.

His recent posters and graphics for the Cream Reunions in New York and London have been fan and collector favorites, and who but JVH could have so appropriately designed Led Zeppelin’s recent Mothership package?

Van Hamersveld also created the famous "grinning Johnny" image in 1969, a version of which is said to have been the inspiration for John Pasche’s designs for the Rolling Stones' “Lips & Tongue” logo.

To learn more about John and visit his site, please follow this link –

To see more of John’s works in the RockPoP Gallery collection, please follow this link –

To see all of the Rolling Stones-related items in the RockPoP Gallery collection please click on this link –

*Adapted from the JVH interview found in book by Genesis Publications, titled EXILE: The making of EXILE ON MAIN ST. by Robert Greenfield. Copies of this book are available from the publisher on their web site at

All images featured in this Cover Story are Copyright 1972 and 2008, John Van Hamersveld - All rights reserved. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2008 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.
CATTLE DECAPITATION: 'The Harvest Floor' To Be Released On Limited-Edition Picture-Disc Vinyl

Metal Blade Records will release the limited-edition, picture-disc vinyl version of the new CATTLE DECAPITATION album, "The Harvest Floor", on April 14.

"The Harvest Floor" sold around 1,700 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD debuted at No. 16 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

The drum tracks for "The Harvest Floor" were laid down with Zach Ohren (ALL SHALL PERISH, DECREPIT BIRTH) before the rest of the instruments were recorded and the entire thing was mixed with producer Billy Anderson (MR. BUNGLE, MELVINS, SWANS) at Sharkbite studios in Oakland, California. The CD features guest vocal appearances by Ross Sewage (IMPALED, LUDICRA) and Dino Sommese (DYSTOPIA, ASUNDER). There is alsoa special appearance by Jarboe (SWANS), lending her beautifully haunting voice to the epic death dirge "The Harvest Floor". Jackie Perez Gratz (GRAYCEON, AMBER ASYLUM) graces a couple tracks with her electric cello and Los Angeles noisician John Wiese also lends his electronic/atmospheric expertise to the album, further separating the band from the typical "cookie-cutter" approach applied all too often by today's extreme acts.


Thin Lizzy News

The new Thin Lizzy live album Still Dangerous is out today (CD, Digital & limited edition vinyl) on VH-1 Classic Records.

Still Dangerous: Live At The Tower Theatre Philadelphia 1977 is a newly discovered live album, featuring the quintessential Thin Lizzy lineup.

The album contains two songs not found on their landmark Live and Dangerous LP: 'Soldier Of Fortune' & 'Opium Trail.' Still Dangerous was remixed/remastered by producer Glyn Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones).

Buy it Here: Thin Lizzy Vinyl

Scott Gorham, guitarist for Thin Lizzy, was interviewed by and addressed the state of the music industry:

"I just feel the whole download trend is capable of really damaging the music I love. Suddenly musicians and bands have no control over who can get hold of their music and often there’s no financial return. There’s this misconception that rock stars spend all their royalties on Ferraris and big houses with swimming pools. But the majority of us are just regular guys who want to buy the kids a new pair of shoes or go on a holiday from time to time. And we need an income like the next man. A lot of good bands won’t be able to afford to do this for much longer if illegal downloads continue at such a pace. For me Lizzy is my regular day job and I have to pay the bills. I really hope a new regulatory system comes into place sooner or later."


Chris Darrow Collection Now Available

Chris Darrow may not be a household name - yet. But throughout the history of Southern California country-rock, folk, surf, psychedelic and world music, he has cast a welcome presence. His trail-blazing, country-rock-leaning pair of solo albums, Chris Darrow (1973) and Under My Own Disguise (1974), soon will be released by Everloving Records, the home of Inara George & Van **** Parks, Cornelius and Herman Dune . The Darrow collection, titled Chris Darrow/Under My Own Disguise, will be available as a deluxe two-CD, two-LP (180 gram vinyl) with a 48-page 12' x 12' photo book.

The music will also be available through digital retailers without all the fancy stuff.

The Chris Darrow story begins with Kaleidoscope, a late '60s L.A.-based band cited by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page as his 'favorite band of all time.' Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman wrote in his book Follow the Music that the first Kaleidoscope album, Side Trips, is his favorite album of all time.

Buy Your Copy Here: Chris Darrow Collection


U2 World Tour

U2 is set to announce a massive stadium tour on Monday that will start on June 30 in Barcelona and run through the end of 2010, according to Billboard.

Early reports say that the group will play at the center of stadiums and will feature a cylindrical video screen.

"It's hard to come up with something that's fundamentally different, but we have. Where we're taking our production will never have been seen before by anybody, and that's an amazing thing to be able to say," detailed the Edge.


Guitarist Passes Away

David Williams, guitarist on Michael Jackson's Off the Wall and Thriller albums along with a huge resume of work with Madonna, Phil Collins, Stevie Nicks, Earth Wind & Fire, Bryan Ferry, Diana Ross and many more, passed away on Friday at Sentra Hospital in Hampton, Virginia. According to an article in the New York Post, he was without health insurance and his family battled the hospital over his care.

His ex-wife Deborah told the Post before his death, "During this very difficult time where our focus should be on the nurturing and care of David, we are battling with hospital officials just to get and maintain the care he deserves, a hospital whose main interest lies in his ability to pay for his care."