Thursday, August 04, 2011
Alex Steinweiss - Album Art Pioneer (1917 - 2011)
Steinweiss seldom used pictures of the artists. Instead he drew covers that corellated with the music inside. The designer retired in 1973 when he decided his work was too out of date for the rock and roll generation but not before producing, what he claims, were about 2,500 album covers.
Newsweek Magazine wrote that sales of Beethoven's "Eroica Symphony" by Bruno Walter "increased ninefold" when the cover was illustrated with the artist's work.
Back in the day, when I was less careful with my money, I must confess that more than once I purchased a record because I was attracted to its cover. Unfortunately, these purchases more often than not turned out to be a mistake proving Steinweiss was correct. Good cover art could sell the music inside.
By the late 60s many of the top artists were putting almost as much work into their album covers as they did the music. It's safe to assume that if it hadn't been for Steinweiss some of our most iconic rock album covers may not exist today. Would Abbey Road have the same impact in a plain brown wrapper? How many people have taken the London tube to EMI Studios just to get their picture taken at the famous crosswalk? I surely am not the only one.
Steinweiss has his own website that displays many of his best covers.