"Aqualung" cover story

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"Aqualung" cover story

Postby Muskrat » 10 May 2018, 18:32

Intrigue and ego - cash


“[Terry Ellis] had no idea what he wanted to do or what I would do,” dad said. This was not uncommon. Dad was often left to his own design by the art directors at various magazines and that degree of artistic freedom — and the promise of steady, well-paying work — helped lure talented draughtsmen into the field. But the lack of a concrete proposal was part of Ellis’s sales pitch, not that dad needed much encouragement. “[Ellis] said, ‘Listen, come to London,’” dad said. “You’ll watch the group in rehearsal. You’ll take a look at Ian Anderson. You’ll sort of get acquainted and you'll get some ideas from it.’’


The artwork helped. “This is probably the golden age of the rock [album] cover,” [journalist Dave] Weigel said, and though they ran the gamut from hyper-designed and often surrealistic imagery and photography, Aqualung was of a different order. “This is just a cool painting — a cool rough, impressionistic painting which I think stands out for that reason.”

Ian Anderson couldn’t disagree more. In the book, A Passion Play: The Story Of Ian Anderson And Jethro Tull, he called the front cover, “not very attractive or well executed,” adding, “I’ve never liked the Aqualung album cover; although a lot of people think it’s terrific.” In a 2011 interview with LA Weekly, he called the artwork "messy,” and restated his complaints about it being an unflattering portrait of him (which it isn’t). Aesthetic criticisms notwithstanding, t-shirts featuring the cover art are currently available for purchase on Jethro Tull’s website for $19.98.
Things that a fella can't forget...

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Quaco » 10 May 2018, 18:55

Sad story. It'd be nice if some of the people involved had chipped in a bit to help the guy. But I don't think they really owe him anything, do they? I didn't find IA's letter haughty -- the whole article is tenuous and written to inflame rather than to inform -- and he doesn't have any legal ground to stand on. Record covers were made for that much and less.

By the way, I disagree with IA in that I find it a great cover. Besides becoming iconic, it's just very well done, better than most of theirs. Thick as a Brick is fantastic as is This Was, while things like War Child, Benefit, and Minstrel (to say nothing of A and beyond) are pretty poor.
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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Charlie O. » 10 May 2018, 19:06

Everything Quaco just said.
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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Neige » 10 May 2018, 19:14

Yep
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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Matt Wilson » 10 May 2018, 19:34

The cover is iconic. And I've heard the character is both Anderson, and a tramp which the artist painted. Perhaps it's both.

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Quaco » 10 May 2018, 19:50

The tramp character clearly came from Jennie Anderson's photo essay about homeless people, which also led to the song's lyrics. In the past, I believe Anderson has explicitly said that it wasn't based on him.

I don't think I've ever seen any of those photos, come to think of it.
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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby sneelock » 10 May 2018, 20:07

I never thought of the cover as being I.A. -- I always thought it was the guy he was singing about with the snot running down his nose.
it's sad that the business of show is littered with stories like these. it seems like it's getting worse instead of better unless someone is really established.

that letter from I.A. is pretty cold. when's the last time you saw somebody in a "Crest of a Knave" t-shirt?
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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Bent Fabric » 10 May 2018, 20:15

sneelock wrote:
that letter from I.A. is pretty cold. when's the last time you saw somebody in a "Crest of a Knave" t-shirt?


The "Grammy winning album Crest of a Knave", snee!

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby bobzilla77 » 10 May 2018, 20:29

It's a great cover.

I've occasionally heard from cover artists that their work was stolen or misppropriated because they failed to profit from it beyond the first payment, usually a couple hundred bucks. R Crumb said this about the Cheap Thrills cover - "they stole my artwork!"

But, unless they made a percentage deal at the time, that couple of hundred bucks was all that was ever coming their way. All the benefit of it, the ability to sell shirts of it, the iconic trademark, revert to the band when the artist accepts the couple of hundred bucks.

Should they work on percentage instead? I'm not convinced. Considering how many albums tank right out of the gate - all of which need cover art - the artists are probably better off overall taking the couple hundred bucks and moving on.
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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Thang-y » 10 May 2018, 21:23

Personally, I think the cover's dreadful. Offputting, even.

Q:Ian Anderson always said that he never
liked it, really. What do you think about it?

Well Anderson certainly has that right, but the album comes to life with that painting of mine. He so disliked it as to sell prints of the painting and autographed them to make a bit of lunch money I suspect..


Utter shite. Anderson was absolutely right to call him presumptuous.

The album's success is down to the music. Perhaps they should charge the artist for the exposure of his work. It certainly features up there on his credentials.

IA has worked hard for decades continuing to tour and so on .. and in such continued hard work he has every right to flog Tull stuff which was well-paid for originally.

And the artist *was* paid exceedingly well for it - before they could know of the success of the album. He was thrilled with the money at the time.

The huddled figure is a just an imaginative gamble with what I thought a homeless man with a malevolent stare might look like . I actually used my own facial grimaces to make the portrait ... Anderson was not my model for him , but the hair and the outlier look was a reference to his performance persona.


He was paid very well at the time .. in terms of no contracts or percentage rights, that's just how they did it at Chrysalis in those days. That wasn't the least of it - but not down to any attempts to rip people off, more they were amateurs learning as they go along.

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby caramba » 11 May 2018, 08:23

Thang-y wrote:Personally, I think the cover's dreadful. Offputting, even.

Q:Ian Anderson always said that he never
liked it, really. What do you think about it?

Well Anderson certainly has that right, but the album comes to life with that painting of mine. He so disliked it as to sell prints of the painting and autographed them to make a bit of lunch money I suspect..


Utter shite. Anderson was absolutely right to call him presumptuous.

The album's success is down to the music. Perhaps they should charge the artist for the exposure of his work. It certainly features up there on his credentials.

IA has worked hard for decades continuing to tour and so on .. and in such continued hard work he has every right to flog Tull stuff which was well-paid for originally.

And the artist *was* paid exceedingly well for it - before they could know of the success of the album. He was thrilled with the money at the time.

The huddled figure is a just an imaginative gamble with what I thought a homeless man with a malevolent stare might look like . I actually used my own facial grimaces to make the portrait ... Anderson was not my model for him , but the hair and the outlier look was a reference to his performance persona.


He was paid very well at the time .. in terms of no contracts or percentage rights, that's just how they did it at Chrysalis in those days. That wasn't the least of it - but not down to any attempts to rip people off, more they were amateurs learning as they go along.


Agreed with T, above.

The guy painted various cover images for an album almost 50 years ago and was quite well rewarded for his work at the time. If he didn't think to insist on retaining rights back then, he can hardly start moaning about it now. Maybe he should try and get IA to go on Judge Judy like John Lydon did a few years back...

As iconic as the artist's image has become, the idea that anyone forked out money for the record on the basis of the cover alone is ridiculous.

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Carlsson » 11 May 2018, 09:23

Quaco wrote:By the way, I disagree with IA in that I find it a great cover. Besides becoming iconic, it's just very well done, better than most of theirs. Thick as a Brick is fantastic as is This Was, while things like War Child, Benefit, and Minstrel (to say nothing of A and beyond) are pretty poor.


I love the Benefit cover

Image

Image

Of course, the Stand Up cover is superb








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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Neige » 11 May 2018, 10:30

To me, the cardboard figures on the Benefit cover look like an unimaginative afterthought on Stand Up. :|
Thumpety-thump beats plinkety-plonk every time. - Rayge

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby caramba » 11 May 2018, 11:40

Thought SU was one of hte best album covers of that era.

Think B tries to carry the stand up figures from the gatefold through, but the whole thing looks hopelessly cheap.

The other great cover that JT did around then was the double Living In the Past comp which contained a full colour book housed
in some kind of lavish leather-look cardboard

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby trans-chigley express » 11 May 2018, 14:16

caramba wrote:
Thang-y wrote:Personally, I think the cover's dreadful. Offputting, even.

Q:Ian Anderson always said that he never
liked it, really. What do you think about it?

Well Anderson certainly has that right, but the album comes to life with that painting of mine. He so disliked it as to sell prints of the painting and autographed them to make a bit of lunch money I suspect..


Utter shite. Anderson was absolutely right to call him presumptuous.

The album's success is down to the music. Perhaps they should charge the artist for the exposure of his work. It certainly features up there on his credentials.

IA has worked hard for decades continuing to tour and so on .. and in such continued hard work he has every right to flog Tull stuff which was well-paid for originally.

And the artist *was* paid exceedingly well for it - before they could know of the success of the album. He was thrilled with the money at the time.

The huddled figure is a just an imaginative gamble with what I thought a homeless man with a malevolent stare might look like . I actually used my own facial grimaces to make the portrait ... Anderson was not my model for him , but the hair and the outlier look was a reference to his performance persona.


He was paid very well at the time .. in terms of no contracts or percentage rights, that's just how they did it at Chrysalis in those days. That wasn't the least of it - but not down to any attempts to rip people off, more they were amateurs learning as they go along.


Agreed with T, above.

The guy painted various cover images for an album almost 50 years ago and was quite well rewarded for his work at the time. If he didn't think to insist on retaining rights back then, he can hardly start moaning about it now. Maybe he should try and get IA to go on Judge Judy like John Lydon did a few years back...

As iconic as the artist's image has become, the idea that anyone forked out money for the record on the basis of the cover alone is ridiculous.


I agree with these, except about the cover being dreadful. Silverman was well paid for his work. Perhaps his mistake was not taking advantage of the album's success and marketing himself better with more lucrative cover designs on the strength of this one.

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby trans-chigley express » 11 May 2018, 14:27

If the tramp is not meant to represent Ian Anderson then why did Silverman paint him to look like Anderson? I've spent most of my life assuming that it was meant to him and clearly Anderson thought the same.

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Bent Fabric » 11 May 2018, 16:11

Veteran Texas trio accused of stiffing waitress in 1973

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby Matt Wilson » 11 May 2018, 16:16

I still say it's Anderson - even Ian thinks so.

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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby sneelock » 11 May 2018, 16:22

sorry gang. regardless of who it's supposed to be, I don't see how anybody can see Aqualung album cover art on framed prints, t-shirts and mugs and not think this guy got screwed.

The story of rock and roll is certainly full of such tales - it doesn't make them right. people buy the Aqualung album cover on framed prints, t-shirts and mugs because they love the album and the cover is part of what they love about it.

when you've loved an album a long time then the cover becomes the symbol of the album for you. this is marketing in it's purest sense. you might think that cover is butt-ugly but the person who might be willing to buy an Aqualung pot-holder doesn't care if you think it's butt ugly or not. it reminds them of something they love. I'd like to think this is a good thing but how can it be?

Ian Anderson passes the buck, management pass the buck. it's nobody's FAULT. somebody is making money off that picture years and years after Dad was payed in full , it's nobody's fault but somebody is making money off that guy's work.

well, I don't see how this is any different than P.T. Barnum giving the guy who bit the heads off chickens a bottle at the end of the week. Hey, quit complaining, you got paid. well, how nice it would have been for P.T. to take a video, sell the videos and then never buy that guy another bottle of booze.

My friend the Libertarian Blowhard likes to say that rich people shouldn't be taxed to provide for others. why should they when they've done so goddamned well for themselves? L.B.Hard assures me that if we get the gummint off their backs they will take up the slack out of the goodness of their BIG FAT HEARTS so why should the law make them? that's the theory. how often does it work in practice?

I can think of a couple of examples in the movie business. David Lean & George Lucas both made sure that people who helped them make their successful films got a piece of the pie when their projects became financially successful beyond their dreams.

Am I saying Ian Anderson should have done something like that when he had the ability? not really. I'm just saying I don't know how he could sign posters and albums with that image on them and sleep at night knowing that the guy who made that cover didn't have a pot to piss in.
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Re: "Aqualung" cover story

Postby bobzilla77 » 11 May 2018, 16:45

I just think it's like, when you are an employee of RCA, and you come up with some scientific discovery working in their lab, whatever you discover belongs to RCA. Some of those people will tinker away and never come up with anything of value, some will discover something like DVD technology that we'll all have in our house a few years later. They all collect a salary in the meantime.

Had Aqualung been a shitty album that no one liked, it would not have been made a success by the cool cover.

By contrast, just the lettering from the cover of the White Album is iconic... I could recognize it on a t-shirt.
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