1965- Cautiously looking up and down the shop’s aisles, an inquisitive 10 year old boy quickly makes his way to the back of the local Peoples Drug Store. Back by the pharmacy is the display rack where the LPs and 45s are for sale, and the rumor around Kenilworth Elementary School is that a record has come in that is, well, hot! Really cool! Dirty! “Whipped Cream” by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. A naked lady covered in whipped cream, on display in the record section for all impressionable young American boys to see! I was hooked!
It wasn’t long before I was blowing all my hard earned paper route money on music. It was the glorious era of the 45, but I was intrigued by the LPs, long playing 33 1/3 albums, encased in glorious and innovative packaging- The album cover! Fast forward a few years, and after Confirmation classes, I’d find myself rushing to the local Ben Franklin to get my sweaty hands on The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s, or Robert Crumb’s classic art for Big Brother & The Holding Company, or Alton Kelly and Stanley Mouses’s psychedelic masterpieces for The Grateful Dead. I was buying for the covers as much as the music, and sometimes venturing into the complete unknown, for an unheard of band, but WOW! What a cover! The amazing thing was, the music was always as good as the packaging. You could judge the book by the cover. This was an art form. I knew that I had to do this. It was time to create.
Much water has passed under the proverbial bridge. Gone are the record stores, gone are the major labels, gone are the enlightened art directors, gone are the 12 inch canvases of the classic covers of old. (although vinyl IS making a come-back) Thankfully, that 10 year old boy did go on to fulfill his dream, and I now have over 250 album and CD covers in my portfolio, either as a photographer, an artist or designer- and in many cases all three. And with a great roster featuring many of my musical heroes. Jazz-Bluegrass- Classical- Blues- even Polka! But after 30 plus years, I’m still waiting to do that iconic rock cover. C’mon guys, crank up the Marshall and give me a call. Operators are standing by.
Featured below are some of the packages I’ve created in 2011.
Fine local jazz talent- Photography & Design by Michael G. Stewart
Photography by Michael G. Stewart, Design by the Labels
Photography by Michael G. Stewart Design by Rip Bang Pictures
Photography and Design by Michael G. Stewart
Photography and Design by Michael G. Stewart A big year for jazz guitar