Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don Weller's Album Art

Don Weller- cover for Angel Records-circa 1970
A while back I did a pair of posts about the art of my friend Don Weller. This follow up post focuses on the art Don did for album covers in the 1960's and 1970's and mostly in Don's own words (which are more entertaining than mine anyway) taken from his email to me.

"In the late 1960s and 70s I did some album covers. I worked for a man named Bill Pate who was essentially a lettering man but had some music clients, most (of the covers) that I designed for him were photos with type on them. I did a bird painting for Bill Pate for an album whose name was "Little Bird", but I can't remember the artist (a piano player I think.) It was a two color job, green and black as I remember."

"This was probably my first actual illustration on an album cover, about that time I did some others I would rather forget: a Strawberry Alarm Clock album cover and a series of Broadway musicals for Frank Sinatra. I can't remember what they looked like, thank goodness. I think there were four in the series and sold together in a card board box like sleeve. I'm pretty sure they were rather ugly but I saved a nice letter I received from Mister Sinatra thanking me and saying how much he liked them.
During that period I did a lot of music posters for Warner Bros Records. They were for many different artists and some for Dionne Warwick, Seals and Crofts, and Gordon Lightfoot, and were winners in art directors shows, design shows and Illustration shows. And I did many more."
Don Weller-Cover for Angel Records
"The art director at Warner Bros would call and I'd drive over the hill to Burbank, meet and pick up any photos he might have. When I got back to my office in Hollywood, I'd call and explain whatever idea I'd come up with. He'd say "Fine, go ahead." I'd do the finish and take him the art by his deadline, usually a few days but often the very next day. He'd approve it and and the first time the musician would see his (or her) poster would be in the record stores (unlike the album covers that had to please everyone). So the first time Dionne saw her poster it was in the stores. I later heard she hated it."
 "I did my best album covers for Marv Schwartz at Angel Records (the Classical Music Division at Capital Records). He was the art director there, and a fine gentleman with the ability to assign illustrators, approve the result, with no one else in the loop. It was terrific to work for him, unlimited freedom. And he had long deadlines, there were a few artists he liked and used often. If you were one of those, and you were not busy you could call him and he'd find an upcoming album for you to do. There were several of us in this situation and we all tried to do our best for him.
Thanks Don!
My post on Don Weller"s Early Work
My post on Don Weller Current Work

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