John Berg Columbia Art Director

John Berg Columbia Art Director

 

John Berg Columbia Art Dirctor

Artists create their works and certainly deserve all the credit for those works, but sometimes it takes someone else's inspiration to select or choose the work and put it into the pubic's eye.
Artists often need art directors
John Berg was that second person. He was an art director at Columbia Records and commissioned or selected the art that graced the album covers. 

According to a Rolling Stone magazine article, "Berg worked on over 5,000 records during his 25-year tenure at Columbia, earning Grammys for his work on Dylan's 1967 Greatest Hits collection, Barbra Streisand's The Barbra Streisand Album, Chicago's Chicago X and Thelonious Monk's Underground."

The article went on to say that, "Berg's innovative covers were as much a product of his own artistic sensibilities as they were indicative of his eye for talent. As art director at Columbia, and later creative director and a vice president by the time he retired in 1985, he commissioned works by noted contemporary designers, illustrators and photographers like Richard Avedon, Paul Davis, Milton Glaser, Edward Sorel, Tomi Ungerer, Jerry Schatzberg and W. Eugene Smith."

Early career

According to the Cooper Union alumni site, "John Berg...was born in Brooklyn January 12, 1932.  He attended Erasmus Hall High School. He drew cartoons for the school newspaper. He attended The Cooper Union School of Art where he graduated in 1953.  After earning his degree, he worked for Doyle Dane Bernbach and Esquire. John Berg was responsible for the design of many popular album covers while he served as the vice president of Art and Design at CBS Records. Berg joined Columbia Records in 1961 as art director of packaging, after working for Gray Advertising, Esquire Magazine, Horizon Magazine, and others.

Don’t dis the director

Not without a sense of humor mixed with a touch of vengeance, Berg designed the cover for an posthumous album by the conductor George Szell. Berg felt put upon and treated poorly by the famed Szell. Berg searched photograph after photograph before deciding upon the right cover for Szell's recording with the Cleveland Orchestra of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.  Appropriate for the album if not for the conductor's face.

John Berg Columbia Art Director

 

The Waxpoetic site put together a (very) partial collection of Berg's most famous covers. Follow this link.

I didn't even know I knew this guy and I bet the same is true for you.
John Berg Columbia Art Director

John Berg Columbia Art Director

NYT obituary

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Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

released its first album

October 1965

paul butterfield blues bandIn October, 1965 future Woodstock Music and Art Fair performers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band released their first album: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Paul Butterfield was 23; Mike Bloomfield was 22; Elvin Bishop was 23; Mark Naftalin was 21; Jerome Arnold was 28; and Sam Lay was 30.

ining two walls in a hallway of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts are pictures and brief bios of each band and its members who performed at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. When I watch or listen to guests visiting the Museum, the usual artists they hover over or speak about are Jimi Hendrix, the Band, Janis Joplin, the Who, or other so-called "big names." 

I cannot remember any guest hovering at the Paul Butterfield  Blues Band. They should be.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Rock and rolls roots are obviously from rhythm and blues whose roots are simply the blues. Jimi, Robbie, Janis, and Pete would all acknowledge and tip their hats to a Paul Butterfield for so brilliantly playing those blues.

The band's first album (even though few of those original members played at Woodstock) is an excellent example of the style and strength the various band line-ups presented over its time.

All Music's Mike DeGagne says this about the first album: ...a wonderfully messy and boisterous display of American-styled blues, with intensity and pure passion derived from every bent note. In front of all these instruments is Butterfield's harmonica, beautifully dictating a mood and a genuine feel that is no longer existent, even in today's blues music. Each song captures the essence of Chicago blues in a different way, from the back-alley feel of "Born in Chicago" to the melting ease of Willie Dixon's "Mellow Down Easy" to the authentic devotion that emanates from Bishop and Butterfield's "Our Love Is Drifting." "Shake Your Money Maker," "Blues With a Feeling," and "I Got My Mojo Working" (with Lay on vocals) are all equally moving pieces performed with a raw adoration for blues music. Best of all, the music that pours from this album is unfiltered...blared, clamored, and let loose, like blues music is supposed to be released."

You should give it a listen, again I hope, but if not for the first of what will likely be many times.

 

 

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October 13 Peace Love Activism

October 13 Peace Love Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Poll tax
October 13, 1942: the U.S. House passed legislation abolishing poll taxes in national elections, but in the Senate, Southern senators filibustered, blocking the bill. Over the next several years, the House continued to pass the legislation — only to be blocked again by the Senate. (see Oct 20)
Vivian Malone Jones
October 13, 2005: Vivian Malone Jones died in Atlanta. She was 63. Her husband, Mack Jones, had died in 2004. (Black History, see February 2006; U of A, see Jan 17, 2013)

Cold War

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

October 13 Peace Love Activism, 

October 13, 1952:  the US Supreme Court announced that it had declined to grant certiorari in the appeal of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, condemned to death for conspiracy to commit atomic espionage for the Soviet Union. (RS, see Oct 17; Nuclear, see Nov 1; Rosenbergs, see June 19, 1953)
Nixon/Kennedy debates
October 13, 1960, Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy participated in the third televised debate of the presidential campaign, with Nixon in Hollywood, Calif., and Kennedy in New York.

October 13 Music et al

Beatles

October 13 Peace Love Activism, 

October 13, 1963: although The Beatles' popularity had been growing steadily and to increasingly frantic heights throughout 1963, their appearance at the London Palladium catapulted them into the attention of the mainstream media.

Sunday Night At The London Palladium was a variety entertainment program that regularly drew huge British TV audiences of up to 15 million people. Competition to appear was fierce, and The Beatles were taking no chances, having spent the previous evening rehearsing.

On the night they appeared briefly at the beginning of the show, before compère Bruce Forsythe told the audience, "If you want to see them again they'll be back in 42 minutes." And indeed they were. The Beatles topped the bill that night, closing the hour-long show. They began with From Me To You, followed by I'll Get You, which was introduced by Paul McCartney with some jovial interjections from John Lennon. Their most recent hit, She Loves You, was next, announced collectively by Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison. Then came the finale. Paul McCartney attempted to announce it, but was drowned out by the screams from the frenzied audience. Lennon told them to "shut up", a gesture which was applauded by the older members in the audience. McCartney then asked them all to clap and stamp their feet, and they began Twist And Shout.

The Beatles' appearance featured on the ITN news, complete with footage from the group's dressing room. The following day, meanwhile, newspaper reporters wrote front-page stories about the screaming fans. (see Oct 17)

Bob Dylan
October 13, 2016: the Nobel Prize committee announced it had awarded Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".(see Nov 16)

Vietnam

DRAFT CARD BURNING

October 13 Peace Love Activism, 

October 13, 1966: the conviction of David J Miller, the first person arrested in the country for burning his draft card (see previously Oct 15, 1965) was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court held that Congress had the right to enact a law against destroying a draft card so long as it did not infringe on a constitutional right. (DCB, see December 12, 1966)
Robert S. McNamara

October 13 Peace Love Activism, 

October 13, 1966: Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara declared at a news conference in Saigon that he found that military operations have "progressed very satisfactorily since 1965." (see Oct 24)

Feminism

October 13, 1967: President Lyndon B. Johnson had issued Executive Order 11246, establishing affirmative action in employment for all federal agencies and contractors on September 24, 1965. He deliberately did not include women in the order, however, despite the fact that sex discrimination was specifically prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (signed on July 2, 1964). Although he was deeply committed to the civil rights movement, LBJ had no similar commitment to the women’s rights movement that emerged in the mid-1960s. Leaders of the reinvigorated women’s rights movement protested Johnson’s omission of women from his first E.O., and on this day, Johnson issued Executive Order 11375 to include women in affirmative action.

The pressure came from the revived feminist movement in the 1960s. See the publication of Betty Friedan’s influential book, The Feminine Mystique (and the critical review by the New York Times on April 7, 1963), and the founding of the National Organization for Women (NOW) on June 30, 1966. (see January 15, 1968)
October 13 Peace Love Activism

US Labor History

Columbia University strike
October 13, 1985: more than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases. (see June 19, 1986)
National Basketball Association
October 13, 1998: the National Basketball Association canceled regular season games for the first time in its 51-year history, during a player lockout.  Player salaries and pay caps were the primary issue.  The lockout lasted 204 days. (see July 14, 1999)

LGBTQ

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
October 13, 2010: A federal judge ordered the United States military to stop enforcing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that prohibited openly gay men and women from serving.

Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court for the Central District of California issued an injunction banning enforcement of the law and ordered the military to immediately “suspend and discontinue” any investigations or proceedings to dismiss service members.

In language much like that in her Sept. 9 ruling declaring the law unconstitutional, Judge Phillips wrote that the 17-year-old policy “infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members and prospective service members” and violates their rights of due process and freedom of speech. 

The federal government appealed the ruling. (NYT article) (see Oct 19)

Native Americans

October 13 Peace Love Activism, 

October 13, 2014: Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray signed a proclamation recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day and by so doing the city of Seattle no longer celebrated the “Columbus Day” holiday. (see February 21, 2015)

Nuclear/Chemical News

October 13, 2017: President Trump declared his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal agreement of 2015. By doing so, he left it to Congress to decide whether and when to reimpose sanctions on Iran, which would end the agreement.

The Administration made it clear that it wanted to leave the accord intact, for the moment. Instead, it asked Congress to establish “trigger points,” which would prompt the United States to reimpose sanctions on Iran if it crossed  thresholds set by Congress.

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