Skip to main content

Christmas Unwrapped: Meeting Ernie Cefalu

What do I want for Christmas after surviving my midsummer stroke? Not much, because every day is a celebration. But I love this time of year. The decorations, the music, the food, the family and gatherings. I am thrilled to be here for another one. So, as far as presents do go, I got family approval for my selection and guess what: Christmas came a week early for me. And Santa looks an awful lot like graphic design titan Ernie Cefalu.

The name doesn't ring a bell? His work will. You - music fan - cannot matriculate through Rock 'N Roll High School without knowing Mr. Cefalu and his cadre of artisans who made up Pacific Eye & Ear. Their iconic work in the 1970s adorned album covers for the likes of Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath & Grand Funk Railroad. As PE&E's Creative Director, Ernie hired and collaborated with some of the most celebrated artists, illustrators and designers in the history of rock and roll, not on the music, but the beautiful sleeves that contained, that held, that cradled the vinyl. Ernie, himself, is the artistic mind behind memorable images for "Jesus Christ Superstar" and the Rolling Stones.

Why all this hullabaloo? Why this build up? Well, today friends, we were fortunate enough to host Mr. Cefalu in our home. He delivered to me a first of its kind. More on that in a moment.

You all know I am stupid for the Bee Gees. Well, he and one of his chief collaborators, the world-famous illustrator Drew Struzan, composed the cover for the Bee Gees' Main Course. Ernie created the iconic and heraldic Bee Gees logo. Drew's contribution was the Girl in the Spoon and Ribbon. Through Ernie's website, I started an amazing correspondence with Ernie which led to me ordering a print of a composite of their original artistic elements that made up the LP cover and the results are stunning. My print of "Main Course" is 1/100; signed by both Ernie and Drew! It brings the vibrancy of the album's audio and visual components to life. I love staring at an album cover while the LP is playing. I can't wait to crank up the stereo on Boxing Day. It's gonna be on, friends!

I was simply thrilled to meet Ernie, to hear a few of his stories and yes! to receive the work. In short order, this piece will be adorning my home in a prominent place with stories galore. I will do some Jive Talkin' by request.

If you are a fan of rock and roll and you don't know about Ernie and Drew's contributions to the craft of cover art; you owe it to yourself to do some research, starting with Ernie's website Album art is a lost art, but I hope and suspect that as vinyl experiences its resurgence a new generation will come to appreciate Ernie's work.

Ernie is one of the coolest cats I've ever met. I can't wait to chat with him again and expand my collection of Cefalus. Here are a few snaps of Ernie's visit and the Main Course.

Happy Christmas!


Ernie Cefalu said…
Thank you Norman, the pleasure was all mine I assure you. Both you and Patty are wonderful people and a real treat to spend time with Thank you so much. - Ernie
Terry said…
Congrats on the print of my all-time favourite album cover (and one of my fav albums from the Bee Gees). What a gem Ernie is....
Terry said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie said…
Norman, I enjoyed reading your article very much. I know the photos of the artwork do not do justice to the print, and to have the print delivered by the man himself makes it even more special. Ernie is class personified and a more humble man, I have never met. You picked a gorgeous piece of artwork for your home. Wishing you good health.

Popular posts from this blog

Murderous Haircut of the Mayor of Bel Air - Book Review

“The Murderous Haircut of the Mayor of Bel Air” is a trippy new mystery novel from Phillip Mottaz. It captures the grit and gilt of the City of Angels with the flair of a contemporary Raymond Chandler. The brisk pace and wit are reminiscent of Douglas Adams’s entries in the detective game. Flourishes of  Fletch  and “Medium” also spring to mind. However, Mottaz has added a psychic/mutant/superhuman touch and his own comedic voice, structure and internal monologues to the proceedings that help the author announce his own style and the arrival of a literary heroine for a new generation. Hairstylist and budding private investigator, Danica Luman is the perfect character to convey the irony, angst and sarcasm needed to tell a 21st century L.A. crime story. Danica also represents anyone who thought it would be neat to get tangled up in a mystery and the darkly comic cautionary tale that follows. The genre is recognizable, but Mottaz offers a fresh take on the not-ready-for-prime-time-hard-b

Well, I Left My Jag In Kansas City

Hey Soul Mates, that's one of my all-time favorite movie lines. On occasion in real life, I've been able to say it. That bit of dialogue is from Silver Streak . My buddy Mike told me to say something about Richard Pryor . That man was funny. How about that? I always looked forward to going to his movies as a kid: Bustin' Loose, Wholly Moses!, Brewster's Millions, The Toy and See No Evil, Hear No Evil . Plus, if you got to see his latest movie, you were "cool." We'd watch the rest on TV: Car Wash, Bingo Long, Greased Lightning and The Wiz to name a few [I know one of Bryan's all-time faves is Moving ]. Just last month, I caught his big scene in Uptown Saturday Night on BET. These are not necessarily classics, but Mr. Pryor's performances were all enjoyable and there was a feeling of rebellion in watching him work. As a kid, it was like you were given a peek into the absurd, adult world through his humor. He was showing us how messed up Ameri

Lord Huron - Long Lost (Review)

Lord Huron - Long Lost  Republic, 2021 Released on Whispering Pines Records & Tapes, Lord Huron’s new LP Long Lost is a Fabulist & Western concept album. The band has traditionally tapped into the spirit of Hank Williams, Springsteen and Roy Orbison with lovelorn, operatic flair. Ghosts are never too far, either, and Lord Huron have never been ‘fraid of them or reverb. They have added to their usual cinematic repertoire by way of interludes jarring and organic, spoken word introductions (maybe label founder Tubbs Tarbell?) and reprises, enhanced by headphone listening. The result is an experience that sounds like a vintage radio show produced by David Lynch with lead singer Ben Schneider in the role of Special Agent Chester Desmond’s musical nephew’s doppelgänger. Standout songs are the stunning title track Long Lost, I Lied, and Not Dead Yet. The last quarter of the album is a dream state soundscape, Time’s Blur, the band becoming the radio wave escaping earth’s atmosphere. T