Music, Stars and Stripes

The Beatles

 
 

Mick Jagger

 
 

Bruce Springsteen. Born in the U.S.A. promo picture by Annie Leibovitz

 
 

Axl Rose

 
 

Bon Jovi

 
 

Bono

 
 

Britney Spears

 
 

Christina Aguilera. Photo: Michael Caulfield

 
 

Beck

 
 

Katy Perry

 
 

Lenny Kravitz. American Woman music video (Paul Hunter, 1999)

 
 

Madonna. American Pie music video ( Philipp Stölzl, 2000)

 
 

Shery Crow. Live At Budokan (2002) album art cover

 
 

Lana Del Rey. Born to Die music video (Yoann Lemoine, 2011)

 
 

Azealia Banks. Liquorice music video (Rankin, 2012)

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Entropic Universes

Hugh Syme is a Canadian Juno Award-winning graphic artist (5 wins and 18 nominations) who is best known for his artwork and cover concepts for rock and metal bands.

The most remarkable quality of his art designs are the themes he links into the album concepts: oneiric or surreal landscapes; typefaces integrated into the background of the cover art; Kafkaesque events in which absurdity is accepted with resignation or even celebrated. His artwork can be seen as a collection of entropic universes that seems to keep leading to a bigger disarray or randomness of a closed system. The standstill movement of the scenes is what causes that impression of systematic chaos. In fact, the duality of that phrase is a fitting description of the word Entropy  (from Greek ἐντροπία, evolution, transformation). So, it is precisely a measure of the number of specific ways in which a system may be arranged, often taken to be a measure of disorder. In the domain of sociology, entropy is used as a metaphor for chaos, disorder or dissipation of energy.

 
 

(1983)

Note: The album is named after Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

 
 

(1985)

 
 

(1988)

 
 

(1990)

 
 

(1993)

 
 

(1993)

 
 

Youthanasia (1994)

 
 

(1997)

 
 

(1997)

 
 

(1997)

 
 

Arena, The Visitor (1998)

 
 

(2005)

 
 

(2006)

 
 

(2007)

 
 

(2011)

Get a Grip and Draw the Line on a Milk Cow

Get a Grip (1993). Art direction: Michael Golob. Cover design: Hugh Syme. Photography: Edward Colver, William Hames. An animal rights group objected to the cover of a cow’s pierced udder, but it was confirmed by Aerosmith to have been computer-generated.

 
 

Alternative design cover

 
 

Get a Grip is the 11th studio album by American rock band Aerosmith. It was the band’s last studio album to be released by Geffen before they returned to Columbia Records. Get a Grip became Aerosmith’s best-selling studio album worldwide, achieving sales of over 20 million copies, and is tied with Pump for their second best-selling album in the United States, selling over 7 million copies as of 1995. This also made it their third consecutive album with US sales of at least five million. Two songs from the album won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, in 1993 and 1994. The album was voted Album of the Year by Metal Edge readers in the magazine’s 1993 Readers’ Choice Awards, while Livin’ on the Edge was voted Best Video.

Get a Grip featured guests including Don Henley (a founding member of The Eagles), who sang backup on Amazing, and Lenny Kravitz, who offered backup vocals and collaboration to Line Up.

Mark Coleman, for his Rolling Stone magazine review of Get a Grip, said he liked the title track and he compared the album’s introduction, titled Intro, to Steven Tyler and Joe Perry‘s collaboration with Run–D.M.C. on Walk This Way, but feels that most of the album lacks “adventure” and is too “somber”. In his interview he compared Livin’ on the Edge to a Bon Jovi song and feels that a problem with the album comes from the outside songwriters/collaborators.

Regarding songs that reflect on the band’s history with drug abuse such as Get a Grip and Amazing, Steven Tyler declared: “We were saying you can point it back to some of those old beliefs about the crossroads and signing up with the devil, that you can look at the drugs as that: It can be fun in the beginning but then it comes time to pay your debt, and if you’re not sharp enough to see that it’s taking you down, then it really will get you.”

 
 

Image from Rush’s Counterparts (1993) album design, also by Hugh Syme

 
 

Seeing is believe. Another computer-generated ilustration by Hugh Syme for an ad campaign, made almost fifteen years after Get a Grip was released.  

 
 

 
 

Milk Cow Blues is a blues song written and originally recorded by Kokomo Arnold. Elvis Presley, accompanied by Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on bass, recorded a rockabilly version retitled Milk Cow Blues Boogie at Sun Records in November or December 1954.