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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 www.originalalbumcoverart.com. 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!




Comments

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.

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