Fashion and Design on Rock & Pop bands
Well, here we enter on a very open and big category: image communication and music identity. I will try to summarize some artists that for me have been fundamental to the industry´s history.
I have choosen the one on Andy Warhol’s The Velvet Underground (1966) to start this post:
Andy Warhol says about the EPI:
“We all knew something revolutionary was happening. We just felt it. Things couldn’t look this strange and new without some barrier being broken”
The Velvet Underground and Nico is an album even the band members never thought they would be allowed to record. Andy Warhol made the decision to record the album and then try to sell it to a record label, rather than the more convential route of securing a contract first. The advantage was obvious: nobody could interfere with the result. The disadvantage was also clear – no funds. The result reflects both the sense of freedom and economic limitations. It was recorded in a cheap studio, with only four microphones available. Prior to the sessions the Velvets rehearsed constantly, working on new arrangements, determined to transfer as much of their unique sound to vinyl as possible. The quality of the results says a lot for the Velvets` determination to the primitive facilities and the short time they spent in the studio.
There has been a lot of speculation over the years about Warhol`s role in the making of this historic album. He dit the artwork for the album, which is one of the most famous covers of all times. The banana on the cover is typical for Warhol`s work. This banana you could peel off and a pink banana would show up inside. The album also credits him as producer, but in a conventional sense there was no producer. What Warhol did qualified more as an executive input. Nevertheless, his role was essential for the completion of the album. Lou Reed put it this way:
Andy was the producer and Andy was in fact sitting behind the board gazing with rapt fascination.. at all the blinking lights. He just made it possible for us to be ourselves and go right ahead with it because he was Andy Warhol. In a sense he really produced it, because he was this umbrella that absorbed all the attacks when we weren`t large enough to be attacked… As a consequence of him being the producer, we`d just walk in and set up and did what we always did and no one would stop it because Andy was the producer. Of course he didn`t know anything about record production…He just sat there and said, Oooh that`s fantastic, and the engineer would say, Oh yeah! Right! It is fantastic, isn`t it?
The album was released on 12 March 1967, peaking at #171 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 charts. The promising commercial début of the album was dampened somewhat by legal complications: the album’s back cover featured a photo of the group playing live with another image projected behind them; the projected image was a still from a Warhol motion picture, Chelsea Girls. The film’s cinematographer, Eric Emerson, had been arrested for drug possession and, desperate for money, claimed the still had been included on the album without his permission (in the image his face appears quite big, but upside down). MGM Records pulled all copies of the album until the legal problems were settled (by which time the record had lost its modest commercial momentum), and the still was airbrushed out.
PINK FLOYD- THE WALL (1979)
is a musical film by British director Alan Parker based on the 1979 Pink Floyd album The Wall. The screenplay was written by Pink Floyd vocalist and bassist Roger Waters. The film is highly metaphorical and is rich in symbolic imagery and sound. It features very little dialogue and is mainly driven by Pink Floyd’s music. Although it features a linear storyline, in many ways The Wall more resembles a long-form music video than a traditional narrative feature film.
The film contains fifteen minutes of elaborate animation sequences by the political cartoonist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe, part of which depict anightmarish vision of the German bombing campaign over the United Kingdom during World War II set to the song “Goodbye Blue Sky“.