Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cover Story Interview - The making of the "Yellow Submarine" sericel, with new designs & artwork by Jon Blosdale

With the news of the Yellow Submarine remake, this is the perfect time to repost a feature I posted about a year or so ago. I have exclusive rights to reprint this feature from Michael Goldstein over at and you can look for these amazing behind the scenes stories about classic album covers every Saturday from now on. Enough said, let's explore the making of the Yellow Submarine album cover:

Cover Story for November 19, 2008

Subject - The making of the sericels based on the original artwork for The Beatles' Yellow Submarine film soundtrack, released in 1969 on Apple Records, with new artwork and layout done by artist Jon Blosdale.

Released in 1968 and nominated for a Grammy (TM) for its Soundtrack, Yellow Submarine was a departure for The Beatles from the live-action films they had made to that point. Using a very simple animation technique and a psychedelic palette of colors, the film and its animation was directed and supervised by George Dunning, the director of The Beatles’ TV cartoon series, and was art directed by Heinz Edelman. It took a production team of over 200 over 11 months to create the sequences used in the film.

Sir George Martin composed the film’s instrumental score, and in addition to the title song, other songs featured included “Baby You’re A Rich Man”, “Hey Bulldog”, “Only A Northern Song”, “When I’m Sixty-Four”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and the previously-mentioned “All Together Now”.

A large troupe of artists, animators and voice-over artists worked on the film (including many who also worked on the TV series) and, contrary to popular belief, Peter Max did not participate in the production, although it seems clear that his approach to painting was greatly influenced from that point forward by the film’s style and color palette.

The film’s plot was simple and in keeping with the band’s peace and love through music world view. A magical, musical place under the sea – Pepperland – is attacked by an army of music-hating Blue Meanies, who seal Pepperland’s protectors – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – inside a bubble and then go about their business of paralyzing the populace and draining the land of all its color.

In an effort to enlist help to save the land, Pepperland emissary Old Fred sets off for Liverpool in a yellow submarine to try and convince The Beatles to come back with him. The journey back takes them through the Seas of Time, Science, Monsters, Nothing, Heads and, finally, through the Sea of Holes (meeting many strange travails and characters along the way), arriving back in Pepperland, where the band disguises themselves as the imprisoned Sgt. Pepper’s band and sets off to rescue all of the hostages and return music and color to the land. Using a hole that Ringo had taken from the Sea of Holes, they release the real band from their bubble prison and Pepperland is saved, but rather than vanquish the Blue Meanies, John offers them friendship, which so moves the Meanies that they accept and everyone lives happily ever after (music, flowers and color, included!).

In the film’s final, live-action scene, The Beatles return to Liverpool loaded with souvenirs (including the Yellow Submarine’s motor!), but John announces to the theater audience that another band of Blue Meanies has been spotted outside the theater and that the audience would need to sing – “all together now” – if they wanted to make it out safely. The lyrics of the song appeared on-screen (in many languages) and, we can assume, audiences the world over sang along.

One of the millions of young people drawn into Beatlemania early on was Jon Blosdale who, later, after a long career in the entertainment/production business, decided to “follow his dream” and focused his efforts on re-capturing a personal piece of the “Peace and Love”/”All You Need is Love” spirit by obtaining all of the necessary permissions he’d need to help him use his artistic talents to re-introduce fans to important snippets of their animated Beatles memories.

Most-recently, he’s released an awesome recreation of the iconic cover of the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album, and so for today’s Cover Story, I’ve asked him to take us all down the path that ultimately lead him to create this masterwork. So – “all together now” – let’s read on….

In the words of the artist, Jon Blosdale (interviewed in October/November 2008) –

I was only 8 when the Beatles invaded America on Ed Sullivan and that was it. I was hooked, along for the ride and never looked back. Like a lot of us, I grew up with the Beatles. And through the good times and bad, the Beatles and their music always kept me company. Looking back, it seemed as though my life evolved around the Beatles, each new song, album, TV appearance was what I was waiting to hear, buy or see. Nothing else really mattered.

Life went on and I was in the entertainment business for almost 20 years before embarking into the animation art business. Frustrated and burned out with the film and television production scene and, to be honest, tired of the distant locations, 5AM calls, bad catering and the ever-present Hollywood ego, I decided to follow my passion for animation and art. How was I going to start this new career? Of course, by starting with my other favorite passion – The Beatles! But that wasn’t going to happen quickly or easily - at least not for a couple more years.

In 1998, with the exception of a couple film productions in between, I quit the entertainment business (or it could have quit me), and started to learn about computer graphics and graphic arts. I took Photoshop and Illustrator courses, delved into books, took more courses, and then I took a real departure in my career - I went to work at a sign shop.

Astoundingly, working as a computer graphics person in a sign shop proved to be the most-valuable way to gain experience for what I do today. It’s those skills that I learned - layout, design, font structure, color combinations, etc. - which I applied to the animation art I do now. Unfortunately for me though, the sign shop closed and I was then out of a job. I had this new skill, a passion for creating art with my new skill, and no place to apply it. That’s when I decided to go with what always made me happy as a kid – that being The Beatles, and especially the Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoons". Then a light went off in my head - or it may have been above it - either way, I saw something! I saw an opportunity to possibly do what I love and do it with the Beatles cartoons. Then the light went a bit dim as I thought – “How on Earth am I going to pull this off?”

Purely out of curiosity, and really not knowing what I was going to do if and when I found what I was looking for, I began my search for animation from the original King Features Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoon" series. I quickly found there were few or no original production cels remaining in existence, nor was there much information about the original series for that matter. The reason for this was that, in the mid-1960s, there was no forethought about an aftermarket of the Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoons", and the Beatles themselves were not in the animation art business. So, most of the original production acetates (cels) were either reused for other cartoons or simply trashed.

While doing some additional research, I came across a great book by Mitchell Axelrod called "Beatletoons, the Real Story Behind the Beatles Cartoons”. This answered a lot of my questions, but not the most important one I had, which was “how do I get the licensing rights to recreate the images from the 'Saturday Morning Cartoons'?” From that point, my plan was pretty straight-forward. I would use my newly-acquired skills to create animation cels from old 16mm films of the cartoons, commonly known as “sericels”. This decision then set me on a 2 ½ year quest to find the licensing agency that handled the Beatles merchandising and trying to convince them that I was the right person that could pull this off.

When I first made contact with the licensing agent, he had indicated to me that the "Saturday Morning Cartoons" weren’t really on Apple’s high priority list, but if I wanted to submit a proposal and some samples (then more samples, and then even more samples) to go ahead and “see if you can knock our socks off”.

That was just the challenge that I needed. I worked for 10 straight days and nights coming up 3 of 4 sample images of the "Saturday Morning Cartoons", packed them in a box with my 2 page proposal and new pair of sweat socks. That got the licensing agent to chuckle (to this day, I can say the artwork has always spoken for itself, but I think the new sweat socks didn’t hurt either).

All in all, I think I submitted over 30 sample cels to the licensing agent and Apple Corps Ltd. over those 2 ½ years, and finally my persistence paid off. In April of 2004, I signed a licensing contract with Apple Corps Ltd.! I can’t tell you the feeling I had to see my name next to “Apple Corps Ltd”, “Neil Aspinal” (then, Apple’s managing director) and, of course, “The Beatles”. They say never give up your dream, that all can be possible with hard work and passion. I say that it is possible and when it does come true, it’s time to go to work!

A couple of years into my license, Apple asked if I’d like to take on Yellow Submarine. I accepted wholeheartedly and decided the way I wanted to launch the animation art for Yellow Submarine was to start with the album cover itself as a special triple-layered over-sized animation cel. What’s interesting about my overall license is that Apple gives me ample latitude and a tremendous amount of creative license with both the cartoons and Yellow Submarine. That’s not to say I haven’t had my share of rejections when submitting art to Apple. As I’ve learned, there are reasons behind their (Apple’s) choices. I don’t take it personally – I just keep on developing, keep on submitting and do my work.

As far as the Yellow Submarine album cover idea, I had the layers visually figured out in my head. The first layer would be printed on archival paper and feature the background of just the mountain, psychedelic plants and the words “Nothing is Real”. The second layer would be a silk-screen printed cel of the support cast (the Captain, Jeremy, the Mayor, Blue Meanies, Snapping Turks, etc.) and, finally the third (top) layer would be of the Beatles, the Submarine and logo, also silk-screen printed. Finishing the art, each layer would be trimmed with a colored matte and a hidden 1/8” frame that floats between the layers – it gives the piece an almost 3D effect.

Above some sample images showing the various layers used to create the final image...

Now, that’s how I thought that I would do it. How it would actually piece together was another story altogether. Because I decided to go big with the image area, my challenges were not only the materials, but how to separate the artwork for the silk-screening process and lining it all up in the frame. Also, the art itself is over 22 colors, making the silk-screening the biggest challenge, both physically and economically. The camera-ready art process took the longest time. I had to vector every detail on the entire album cover before I could separate the art for silk-screening. Vectoring is a computer graphics process that creates line-art that I can manipulate any way I desire and get it “camera-ready”.

Once the art was vectored and the silk screens were ready for the coloring process, I had to choose a special acetate. It had to be a thicker mil weight because of the 20” x 20” image size and - most importantly - it had to fit the screen printer’s apparatus. In order to keep the manufacturing costs down, we ran the two layers side-by-side on one large sheet of 48” x 32” acetate and then trimmed it to size after the colors were done.

The framing took some trial and error, but I used the same techniques I use with the smaller framed cels and, amazingly, it framed up better than expected. I think that it turned out to be a stunning piece of art - not because of me, but because the brilliant style of the original art done some 40 years ago for the original animation still holds up. All I did was come up with a clever new way to present the Yellow Submarine album cover.

Because I also develop the "Saturday Morning Cartoon" images and the time it takes to go through the approval processes, etc., the concept and development of the Yellow Submarine album cover piece took about a year. When I presented my concepts to Apple’s head of merchandising and the licensing people, they flipped out. Apple said nobody has ever done anything remotely like this triple-layered art of the Yellow Submarine album cover.

It was a privilege and an honor to be given the opportunity to recreate the Yellow Submarine album cover and then other images from Yellow Submarine. The feedback from Apple is and has always been enthusiastic praise. I feel that I’ve earned the trust of Apple and the licensing agent. Just as long as I stay true to the original art of both Yellow Submarine and the "Saturday Morning Cartoons", they’re pretty much on board. Apple and the licensing agent have been very favorable to me in many ways. I could never thank them enough for their ongoing support.

And so, in the end, if you’d ask me what inspires me and provides my style guide for the artwork, I would have to say “the money”…just kidding!! The money may provide the oil for the engine, but the Beatles are the gas. And, as a final note, just before Neil Aspinal (Apple’s managing director and longtime friend of The Beatles) passed away, I was able to give him a finished piece of the album cover. It was delivered to his hospital room and hung on the wall for him to enjoy. I heard it brought a smile to his face. Now, that’s an honor in my books!

About the artist, Jon Blosdale –

Photo of Jon Blosdale (right) with Peter Sander, one of the original Yellow Submarine/"Saturday Morning Cartoon" illustrators

Jon Blosdale is the owner/artist for the DenniLu Company, an animation art company that is officially licensed by Apple Corps Ltd. to manufacture and market animation art of the original 1960’s Beatles "Saturday Morning Cartoon" series and Yellow Submarine.

Prior to getting involved with the Beatles animation art, Jon Blosdale had a career behind the scenes in film and television as a producer and production manager. Throughout his producing career, Jon has worked with Robert Conrad’s television company, director Charlie Matthau and on a variety of commercials. In 1998, utilizing his parent’s names (Dennis and Lucette), Jon formed the DenniLu Company and traded in his 20 year career in film and TV production for a new start in the computer graphics business.

Six years later in 2004, the DenniLu Company signed a licensing contract with Apple Corps Ltd. and has since added Yellow Submarine animation art to his company's offering.

In a matter of 4 years, the DenniLu Company has formed relationships to sell its merchandise through numerous catalogs, online stores and to a number of fine art galleries worldwide. Their animation art can also be seen at the “Love” stage show boutique at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, as well as the Hard Day’s Night Hotel in Liverpool.

To see more of Jon’s work, you can either visit his web site at

Or to see the collection of Dennilu items available at RockPoP Gallery, just click on this link –

To learn more about the Yellow Submarine film and soundtrack (released in 1969 on Apple Records), please visit their website at

All images featured in this Cover Story are Copyright 2008, Jon Blosdale/Dennilu Company (DenniLu Company is under license by Apple Corps. Ltd. to manufacture and market Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon and Yellow Submarine sericels, hand-painted cels and giclees. Apple Corps Ltd. does not endorse this website) - All rights reserved. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2008 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.

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

Rock/Pop Tidbits

When he thought that the crowd needed a wake up call, Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes occasionally fired off a shotgun over the heads of the fans.

In the early years the Butthole Surfers enjoyed performing while medical-curiosity films played in the background. These ‘films’ were so gory and graphic (e.g. scenes of sex-change surgery), that some people at the concerts would actually vomit; which was not always a bad thing at a Butthole gathering.

When Frank Sinatra Jr was kidnapped in December, 1963, his abductors demanded $240,000 ransom. His father offered one million dollars for his safe return, but for some un-explained reason, his captors turned the offer down and settled for the original amount. Three men were later caught and sent to prison.

Walter Murphy's 1976 disco hit, "A Fifth Of Beethoven" was based on Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5 in C Minor", composed in 1807.

After Capitol records had rejected “Love Me Do”, “Please Please Me” and “From Me To You” for American release, label president Alan Livingston sent a memo to their parent company, EMI in Britain that said: “We don’t think The Beatles will do anything in this market.” A year later, in January, 1964, when “I Saw Her Standing There” was issued, it became the fastest selling single in the history of recorded music and Capitol’s pressing plant was forced to run 24 hours a day, trying to fill more than one million orders.

Although it says Diana Ross on her birth certificate, her parents and friends called her Diane until her early 20s

When Dennis Edwards of The Temptations first sang "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", he was upset by the line "It Was The Third Of September / That Day I'll Always Remember / 'Cause That Was The Day My Daddy Died", because Edwards father actually did die on September 3rd.

Robin and Barry Gibb wrote "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" for crooner Andy Williams. When he declined, the Bee Gees recorded the song themselves and scored the first of their nine number one records with it.

Listen carefully to the beginning of The Beatles' song "Come Together", from their Abby Road album. The bass guitar riff nearly obliterates John Lennon saying "Shoot me."

The flip side of Bobby Helms' Christmas favorite "Jingle Bell Rock" is called "Captain Santa Claus And His Reindeer Space Patrol".

The first song of the rock era to become a US #1 twice by different artists was "Go Away Little Girl", first by Steve Lawrence (Dec 1962), then by Donny Osmond (Aug 1971). The second to accomplish this feat was "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva (July 1962), then Grand Funk (March 1974). Both songs were penned by the same songwriters, Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

The rock group Queen issued albums called "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" which were named after movies by The Marx Brothers.

It was in 1966 when Richard and Karen Carpenter formed a trio and won a battle of the bands contest at the Hollywood Bowl. The trio serenaded the crowd with the song “The Girl From Ipanema” and were accompanied by drums, piano and a tuba. One record executive visionary attempted to sell the enterprising trio as a “rock-tuba super group.” To no one’s surprise, the idea did not catch on.

The Four Tops recorded their first Motown hit, 1964's "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" in the wee hours of the morning, shortly after songwriter Eddie Holland had sang it for them for the first time.

After Rick Nelson signed a one million dollar, twenty year recording contract with Decca Records in January, 1963, he had only two more hits, 1964's "For You" and 1972's "Garden Party."

Connie Francis was on the comeback trail in 1981 when her brother, George, was brutally murdered, allegedly by members of organized crime.

Pat Boone, who is a very religious man, once claimed to use his own surname in lieu of curse words when he is upset.

When Janis Joplin was in college in 1963, a local fraternity voted her "The Ugliest Man on Campus."

Mark Dinning scored a number one hit in the U.S. in 1960 with "Teen Angel". While he was growing up in Oklahoma, one of his babysitters was a girl named Clara Ann Fowler, who would go on to have a recording career of her own as Patti Page.

Bert Kaempfert, who led his orchestra on the January, 1961, number one US hit, "Wonderland By Night", would go on to produce the first recording session that The Beatles ever had. At the time, the boys were backing Tony Sheridan on "My Bonnie" and "When The Saints Go Marching In".

Classic Album Cover Art - Nivana Nevermind

Nevermind was the second studio album by the rock band Nirvana and was released on September 24, 1991. Produced by Butch Vig, Nevermind was the group's first release on Geffen Records, which signaled its move away from Seattle-based independent record label Sub Pop. Band leader Kurt Cobain sought to make music outside of the restrictive confines of the Seattle grunge scene, drawing influence from groups such as the Pixies and its use of loud/quiet song dynamics.

Despite low commercial expectations by the band and their record label, Nevermind became the surprise success in late 1991, largely due to the popularity of its first single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which was an MTV staple. By January 1992 it had replaced Michael Jackson's album Dangerous at #1 on the Billboard charts. The album has been certified ten times platinum (10 million copies shipped) by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The album's tentative title Sheep was something Cobain created as an inside joke towards the people that he expected to buy the record. He wrote a fake ad for Sheep in his journal that read "Because you want to not; because everyone else is." Novoselic said the title was inspired by the band's cynicism about the public's reaction to Operation Desert Storm. Cobain grew tired of the title as recording sessions for the album were completed, and suggested to Novoselic that the new album be named Nevermind. Cobain liked the title because it was a metaphor for his attitude on life and was grammatically incorrect.

The Nevermind album cover shows a baby swimming toward a US dollar bill on a fishhook. According to Cobain, he conceived the idea while watching a television program on water births with Grohl. Cobain mentioned it to Geffen's art director Robert Fisher. Fisher found some stock footage of underwater births but they were too graphic for the record company. Also, the stock house that controlled the photo of a swimming baby that they subsequently settled on wanted $7,500 a year for its use, so instead Fisher sent a photographer to a pool for babies to take pictures. Five shots resulted and the band settled on the image of a three-month-old infant named Spencer Elden, the son of the photographer's friend Rick Elden. However, there was some concern because Elden's penis was visible in the image. Geffen prepared an alternate cover without the penis, as they were afraid that it would offend people, but relented when Cobain made it clear that the only compromise he would accept was a sticker covering the penis that would say "If you're offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile."

The back cover of the album features a photograph of a rubber monkey in front of a collage created by Cobain. The collage features photos of raw beef from a supermarket advert, images from Dante's Inferno, and pictures of diseased vaginas from Cobain's collection of medical photos. Cobain noted, "If you look real close, there is a picture of Kiss in the back standing on a slab of beef." The album's liner notes contain no complete song lyrics; instead, the liner contains random song lyrics and unused lyrical fragments that Cobain arranged into a poem.

Follow Up

The baby who graced the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind album has recreated the famous image 17 years on. Spencer Elden was the four-month-old baby photographed in a swimming pool reaching towards a dollar bill on the end of a fish hook.

Now a teenager, Spencer Eldon strikes a familiar pose

The picture became the cover of Nirvana's second album, released in September 1991, which went on to sell 26 million records worldwide. Seventeen years later, he has recreated the classic underwater shot, this time wearing shorts. Now the 17-year-old high school student, who lives in Eagle Rock, near Glendale, California and his ambitions are to go to art school next year.

In 1991, his parents were paid $200 for allowing their friend, underwater photographer Kirk Weddle, to photograph their baby. The original photograph and the recent recreation by the British photographer John Chapple were shot from the bottom of the pool at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Centre in Pasedena, 17 ft (five metres) underwater.

Spencer said: "It's kind of cool, knowing that I've been on an album cover"

"But I feel pretty normal about it because growing up, I've always known I was the Nirvana baby. It never really struck me like, 'Oh, ****, that's me on the cover'."

"Quite a few people in the world have seen my penis. It's kind of cool, I guess," he told the Independent. "I feel like I'm the world's biggest porn star. But I'm just a normal kid living it up and doing the best I can while I'm here."


Nevermind not only helped popularize the Seattle grunge movement, but it also brought alternative rock as a whole into the mainstream, establishing its commercial and cultural viability. Nevermind's success even surprised Nirvana's contemporaries, who felt dwarfed by its impact and creativity. Fugazi's Guy Picciotto later commented: "It was like our record could have been a hobo pissing in the forest for the amount of impact it had. It felt like we were playing ukuleles all of a sudden because of the disparity of the impact of what they did".

In 1992, Jon Pareles of The New York Times described that in the aftermath of the album's breakthrough, "Suddenly, all bets are off. No one has the inside track on which of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ornery, obstreperous, unkempt bands might next appeal to the mall-walking millions". Record company executives offered large advances and record deals to bands, and previous strategies of building audiences for alternative rock bands had been replaced by the opportunity to achieve mainstream popularity quickly.

Michael Azerrad argued in his Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana (1993) that Nevermind marked the emergence of a generation of music fans in their twenties in a climate dominated by the musical tastes of the baby boomer generation that preceded them. Azerrad wrote, "Nevermind came along at exactly the right time. This was music by, for, and about a whole new group of young people who had been overlooked, ignored, or condescended to."

Rolling Stone wrote in its entry for Nevermind on its 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, "No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation—a nation of teens suddenly turned punk—and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator."

Nevermind has continued to garner critical praise since its release. The album was listed at number seventeen on Rolling Stone's list "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Time placed Nevermind, which writer Josh Tyrangiel called "the finest album of the 90s," on its 2006 list of "The All-TIME 100 Albums."

In 2005, the Library of Congress added Nevermind to the National Recording Registry, which collects "culturally, historically or aesthetically important" sound recordings from the 20th century.

SLAYER: New Video Interview With DAVE LOMBARDO

Metal Injection conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo on August 7, 2009 at the Camden, New Jersey stop of this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Watch the chat below.

SLAYER will release its new album, "World Painted Blood", in the U.S. on November 3 (one day earlier internationally) via American Recordings/Columbia Records.

The final track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. World Painted Blood
02. Unit 731
03. Snuff
04. Beauty Through Order
05. Hate Worldwide
06. Public Display Of Dismemberment
07. Human Strain
08. Americon
09. Psychopathy Red
10. Playing With Dolls
11. Not Of This God

"As we're so excited about 'World Painted Blood'," said Lombardo, "we wanted to do something special for the packaging, and have been working with some really cool ideas. They've taken time to get just right, and with our headlining the Mayhem tour for most of the summer, it's just taken that much longer to get all these great ideas exactly the way we want them."

There will be three different editions of "World Painted Blood" —a limited-edition CD with multiple CD covers, a deluxe edition CD/DVD, and a high-quality, 180-gram vinyl edition; specifics for all editions will be detailed shortly.

"We hope our fans will like everything about 'World Painted Blood' as much as we do," Lombardo continued. "Recording this new album has been one of the greatest experiences we've had as a band. We were together during the writing process more than we had been for past albums, we worked more collectively, everyone's suggestions and ideas were heard and considered, and that camaraderie is definitely heard in the new album."

How Alex Steinweiss invented the album cover

It’s 60 years since Steinweiss’s breakthrough, but his story has lessons for us still

by John Bungey

It is one of the iconic record sleeves — on a coal-black background a piercing shaft of white light elegantly splits into the colours of the spectrum. This, however, is not Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. This is Alex Steinweiss’s 1942 cover for a recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto. Great designers think alike, it’s just that Steinweiss thought alike three decades earlier.

This is not the only example of inspirational work by the American who is credited with singlehandedly creating the format, design and graphic “language” of the album cover. A book of his work — Alex Steinweiss, The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover — is published next month. Now 92, Steinweiss has designed some 2,500 sleeves.

Through the 1920s and 1930s, 78rpm discs were routinely sold in plain cardboard sleeves. When the 23-year-old Steinweiss became the first art director for Columbia Records in 1939, he convinced a sceptical management that it was worth creating packaging to reflect the beauty of the music.

Read the rest here:

Music News & Notes

LA Landmark Rockaway Records Holding 30th Anniversary Event

(Submitted News) Rockaway Records, a Los Angeles landmark acknowledged by collectors and experts of music memorabilia as one of "the best record stores in America," is celebrating their 30th anniversary!

In honor of their three-decade milestone, Rockaway is turning back the clock and throwing one of their famous parking lot sales Sunday, September 27th at their Silver Lake location at 2395 Glendale Blvd. 30,000 CDs will all be priced at 99 cents each while every item in the store, including collectibles, will be on sale.

While nearly every independent record store (and many chains) in Los Angeles have closed, Rockaway is flourishing. Co-founders, brothers Wayne and Gary Johnson are aggressively acquiring extensive record industry collections and purchasing personal collections of CDs, records, DVDs, concert-related items, tour programs, toys, as well as rock 'n' roll promo items and collectibles. Frequently paying five and six figures for valuable collections, Rockaway recently paid $600,000 for a single collection of vinyl and $150,000 for a CD collection.

"It's remarkable to reflect on founding Rockaway Records 30 years ago and to have actively witnessed the evolution and revolution of an entire industry in a mere three decades. We're extremely proud of our success and know how fortunate we are to be not only weathering a difficult economy, but continuing to make key acquisitions and grow during such a volatile time," said Wayne Johnson, co-founder Rockaway Records. "While we have seen a number of our independent peers come and go over the years, what we offer is more unique than any big box retailer could ever possibly undertake. We are continually looking ahead and plan to not only remain relevant in years to come, but aggressive in the retail marketplace. Trends come and go everyday, but real style and substance is always rediscovered. We feel that moment everyday we open our doors."

Wayne and Gary began re-selling albums in 1979 after attending one of the legendary record swap meets at the Capitol Records parking lot in Hollywood. What began as a hobby more than 30 years ago, quickly turned into a business when they were virtually forced to open a store, if only to house their growing collection! Expert appraisers of music memorabilia, the brothers Johnson have traveled the world buying and selling some of the most highly sought after music and collectibles.

Not only are collectibles in demand for their novelty, but also for their potential appreciation. One often-overlooked area is music memorabilia. These collectibles have yielded some impressive returns. The Johnson brothers are known throughout the world for their honesty and for paying the fairest prices for records and memorabilia. They regularly travel the United States and overseas to purchase private collections and make certain that sellers receive the highest market price.

Rockaway Records, one of the last remaining truly independent purveyors of fine music and memorabilia, is located at 2395 Glendale Blvd. in Silver Lake, one of Los Angeles' hippest neighborhoods.


25 Years Of Punk - PENNYWISE Covers 7 SECONDS For BYO Records

LA punk label BYO Records is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with the release of 'Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records.' The release includes a 31-track compilation of songs from the extensive BYO catalog, performed by NoFX, Bouncing Souls, Pennywise, Nothington, Leatherface and many more.

Also included is a documentary on BYO and Youth Brigade's involvement in the early LA punk scene, directed by Jeff Alulis ('Do You Remember? 15 Years of the Bouncing Souls,' 'NOFX Backstage Passport').

'Let Them Know' will be available September 22 as a box set containing a colored vinyl double LP, the film and a hardcover, full-color book. It will also be available on CD (DVD included) and digitally.

The documentary is premiering in LA and will be screening across North America this fall. The Stern brothers, who created BYO, are also founding members of Youth Brigade and will be touring this fall.


AGENT STEEL's 'Omega Conspiracy' Released On Limited-Edition Vinyl

Night Of The Vinyl Dead has reissued AGENT STEEL's "Omega Conspiracy" album on limited-edition Azure vinyl with a gatefold cover and insert. Originally issued by Candlelight Records in 1999, the LP was made available in 350 hand-numbered copies


COALESCE Announces Details Of 'Ox' EP

Kansas City, Missouri hadrcore punk/metalcore band COALESCE will release the follow-up EP to its "Ox" album in November via Relapse Records. The "Ox" EP will include seven new tracks and will be available on CD and 12-inch vinyl.

In other news, COALESCE has announce a handful of U.S. shows, including two free shows with CAVE-IN. These Scion-presented dates will take place in Atlanta and Los Angeles on October 7 and October 8, respectively. COALESCE has also been confirmed for this year's The Fest in Gainesville, Florida as well as Austin, Texas' Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Terrorizer magazine's Jill Mikkelson conducted an interview with COALESCE vocalist Sean Ingram at this year's Hellfest, which was held on June 19-21, 2009 in Clisson, France. Watch the five-minute chat below.

"Ox", the first full-length album in 10 years from COALESCE, sold around 600 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (Note: Internet/digital sales **ARE** included in the SoundScan totals.) The CD landed at position No. 95 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.

"Ox" was released on CD and LP on June 9 in North America and June 15 internationally via Relapse Records. The CD version is housed in a six-panel digipack with an embossed front cover and contains a 24-page booklet with seven distinctive die cuts. The LP comes in a gatefold jacket with embossed front cover and a custom-printed inner sleeve with a unique die cut center.


New Death Row Records Opens Snoop Dogg and Tupac Vaults

In January Toronto-based WIDEawake Entertainment Group acquired a bankrupt Death Row Records -- the iconic hip-hop label created by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight in the early 90s -- with the intent to reissue music from its vaults. One of the first orders of agenda for the recently re-launched label is 'The Lost Sessions Vol. 1,' an album's worth of unreleased Snoop Dogg material due this fall. 'The Lost Sessions Vol. 1,' will feature never-before-heard Snoop tracks recorded during the Long Beach rapper's initial days on Death Row. Guest apperances on the album include K-C & JoJo, Nate Dogg and Dr. Dre.

Death Row CEO, Lara Lavi, is also readying a new album of unreleased music from another one of Death Row's finest, the late Tupac Shakur, for 2010. With a new Death Row Films division in the works, Lavi told that the label will include unreleased video footage of Tupac in conjunction with the new tracks.

"We're trying to put if out as part of our birthday celebration of Tupac," Lavi said. Tupac would have turned 39 this coming June. "It isn't just the music, what's happened in the course of this whole exercise is so many people have come out of the woodwork for video content that no-one's ever seen before and suggestions for playlists, etc. The fans have been wonderful. The release will include a huge DVD of unreleased, never before seen video also."

Snoop Dogg's 'The Lost Sessions Vol. 1' will hit stores on October 13th. The rapper was recently named Creative Chairman of Priority Records, and plans to release his tenth studio album 'Malice N Wonderland' in December.

Yellow Submarine Remake In The Works

Walt Disney has officially announced that they have an agreement with Apple Corps, Ltd. and film director Robert Zemeckis to remake the movie Yellow Submarine. Here's the press release:

The Walt Disney Studios has made a deal with Apple Corps Ltd. to develop a new 3D performance capture adaptation of the 1968 hit animated film "Yellow Submarine" to be written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, it was announced today at the D23 Expo by Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. The film will be created by ImageMovers Digital, Disney's state-of-the-art performance capture animation studio operated in conjunction with Zemeckis and his partners, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey, who will serve as producers on the project.

For this fantastic new voyage to Pepperland, Zemeckis will incorporate the 16 Beatles songs and recordings from the original motion picture licensed from Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC and EMI-Capitol Records, respectively. The songs include "All Together Now," "All You Need Is Love," "Eleanor Rigby," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "With A Little Help From My Friends" while combining his unique vision and style to bring this dazzling tale to life.

In making the announcement, Cook said, "This is truly an inspired collaboration, and a wonderful opportunity to revisit one of the most imaginative and memorable musical fantasies of all time. To be working with the amazing folks at Apple Corps, and to have Bob helming the sub is truly as good as it gets. With all those incredible Beatles songs and imagery, the spectacular vision of Bob and his pioneering team at ImageMovers Digital, and a classic adventure full of wit and action, we're sure that moviegoers are going to have a great time on this latest trip to Pepperland."

Zemeckis said, "'Yellow Submarine' is one of the greatest fantasy films of all time, and making this new 3D performance capture movie is a dream come true for me. With the latest advances in technology, we will be able to take moviegoers on a voyage unlike any other, and bring new excitement and dimension to Pepperland and the various sea worlds they encounter. I'm thrilled to be working with the good folks at Apple Corps and our partners at Disney on this epic retelling of one of my all time favorite films."

Jeff Jones, CEO, Apple Corps Ltd., said, "With The Beatles and Walt Disney Studios, we have a partnership between two of the best loved creative entities in the world. We're very excited about the magical fantasy that will result from this collaboration. The marriage of the music of The Beatles with the talent and technical wizardry of Robert Zemeckis and ImageMovers Digital should produce something very special. We look forward to working with Bob and his team on realising his new vision for 'Yellow Submarine'".

The original motion picture (released in the U.S. on November 13, 1968) based on the music of The Beatles was directed by George Dunning and featured the inspired art direction and design of Heinz Edelmann. The movie is set in Pepperland, an undersea paradise inhabited by music lovers who live in peace and harmony and are protected by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. That is... until they are threatened by the music hating Blue Meanies. It's up to John, Paul, George and Ringo to set off on a magical adventure in their yellow submarine and bring music and harmony back to Pepperland.

Vinyl Collective News & Notes

Here's a couple of the latest posts from Virgil over at Stop by the site and help him celebrate the anniversary and get some killer vinyl for your collection!!

Forget the Itunes LP, Remember the Vinyl LP

While I commend Apple and its digital retail destination, Itunes, for attempting to offer something more with the launch of the Itunes LP, what they are trying to do makes terrible assumptions about the audio/visual experience of their customers. While I agree that having liner notes, credits, and artwork is a step in the right direction, I don’t want to have “enjoy” these aspects on my computer screen. Having behind the scenes videos and interactive media are also a nice bonus, but what you get is just an enhanced CD and I don’t know about most of you, but I typically look at an enhanced CD’s contents once and that’s it. Now, let’s talk about the price tag as reports are saying that the Itunes LP might be priced in the neighborhood of $19.99 although I have also read that it could be $13.99 or $16.99. I understand wanting to increase your revenue and appease shareholders, but this added price only gives you things you can pretty much get for free by visiting Google, The Band’s website/myspace, and/or Youtube.

With nearly every Vinyl LP we have released, we bundle our records with a digital coupon that allows one to download the entire album as 320 Kbps MP3s. Most of our single LPs are priced at $10.99 (all are currently on sale at prices between $5 and $8). To recap, you can buy most Suburban Home LPs for $10.99, get the digital album for play on your Ipod and have something tangible/physical with liner notes/lyrics, credits, and big/beautiful artwork. Listen to our albums on your Ipod while driving in the car, at work, while exercising, etc. Listen to the Vinyl LP while at the comfort of your home, relaxing, having a beer. If you ask me, there is no comparison.

I may be old fashioned, but I like to listen to my records on my record player, I like to look and touch the LP jacket/Insert. Also worth noting, I have yet to hear an album on my Ipod that sounds nearly as good as the vinyl counterpart. Digital albums are great for convenient listening, but liner notes are best experienced with the Vinyl LP.


As you more than likely know, September is Suburban Home’s 14th Anniversary. It’s pretty crazy when you think about how much has changed in the last 14 years and somehow we are still around. What were you doing in 1995? I was going to college at the University of Colorado at Boulder and during that summer, I decided to start a fanzine to write about all the incredible music that was blowing my mind. Little did I know then that I would eventually start putting out records and find myself doing music full time. Crazy how things go. The last 14 years have been chaotic and unpredictible, but I have always had fun and in the end, that is what matters right?

Well, I could go on and on about this and that, but instead, I wanted to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. I would not be here if it weren’t for the independent music supporters from all over the planet that have helped to support what we do. To show you our gratitude, I wanted to offer you 1 of 2 discount possibilities:

Spend over $50 and get $14 off your order by using the coupon code SHANNIV14

Spend any amount and take 14 percent off of your order SH14PERCENT

This offer is good til the end of the month. Here are a few suggestions on how you should spend your money:

Suburban Home’s I Celebrate Their Entire Catalog Sale – you get every in print Suburban Home CD, an I Celebrate Their Entire Catalog T-shirt, and our next 10 CD releases mailed to your house

Our Pick 5 for $25 or Pick 10 for $50 plus bonus CDs – for a short time longer, we are offering you 5 free CDs of our choice with your pick 5 for $25 or 10 free CDs of our choice for our pick 10 for $50 sale. There is a long list of great CDs, vinyl, and pint glasses available with this deal.

Suburban Home CDs are $5.00 each – for the rest of the month, every Suburban Home CD is only $5.00 each. Load up before we jack up the prices to $8.99.

SH/VC Wholesale Vinyl Sale – for the rest of the month, all of our excluse vinyl is available at either our wholesale price that we sell it to distributors for or even lower (don’t tell our distributors). These coupons make it even cheaper.

Our Bargains section – take a look at this category in our store, there is a killer Ferret vinyl sale, a few Drag the River sales, a Tim Barry sale, and more.

Those are just a few of the deals that will help you to get the best deal possible. Thanks everyone. Here’s hoping we will be around for another 14 years!