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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow "Classic Rock Posters: 60 Years of Posters & Flyers" - Farren/Loren
"Classic Rock Posters: 60 Years of Posters & Flyers" - Farren/Loren Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Friday, 07 June 2013

Classic Rock Posters book'Classic Rock Posters: Sixty Years of Posters and Flyers: 1962 to 2012' written and compiled by Mick Farren and Dennis Loren, was published on November 8th, 2012, by Omnibus, and is possibly the most complete look at this fascinating world, which continues to captivate collectors and fans across the world.

In part, the book shares common ground with 'The Art of Classic Rock' (Roth and Grushkin) and 'The Art of British Rock' (Evans and Palmer-Edwards) but compliments this field, rather than competes.

Covering six decades of the art of poster and flyer design, this is a lavish and lovely book, perfect for those of us who revel in the visual aspect of music. The sheer variety of artists and design techniques employed never ceases to impress, reading through the book, and whilst there is a US bias to some of the content, this could be due to that market having a more diverse or inventive poster design community (particularly in later years?) or bigger advertising budgets enjoyed by the US venues and promoters.

Featuring no fewer than 300 examples, all well reproduced on the 256 pages with bold colours to the flore as evident on the originals. It has been said that advertisers have mere seconds to grab the attention, and it is clear from the selection within that this principle was grasped by the majority of the designers with both hands.

The authors set out their stall early on; the examples chosen to fill the book are designed to show the evolution of design. Some are chosen by the poster artists themselves, others by fans, keenly aware of some of the more significant shows, and many are included in print for the very first time, revealing very rare, carefully preserved artefacts of events lost in time.

Throughout, there is thoughtful and detailed analysis which never strays into too much detail or depth. Rather, social and musical context is placed on the passages which either start each chapter, or accompany each illustration. This gives a more rooted sense to the book - instead of a bland picture book, a detailed insight is given to help with a greater appreciation of things.

Advances in printing technology, coupled with experimentation and artistic innovation gave rise to a rich vein of creativity during the 60s, which is handsomely illustrated here. As corporate entities got to grips with this burgeoning artform and way of promoting artists, so record companies and promoters leapt onto the bandwagon and the hitherto revolutionary designs became more polished and mainstream. Out went hard to decifer fonts, in came statements of intent. The development was swift, and quite fascinating. Some great examples amply illustrate this turning point in design, moving from many of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat's, and also Martin Sharp's, wonderful designs, through to anonymous record company art departments' rather joyless, basic efforts. The 'psychedelia' section of the book is a real joy to browse through. Some wonderful Pink Floyd posters are included, but each of the posters absorbs and often dazzles, irrespective of the featured artists of that show.

The rise of stadium rock, with professional/corporate designs, and the dramatically different approach for punk and new wave artists, propelled posters into new areas which are amply illustrated. There are extensive examples of the Sex Pistols' posters, many of which were by Jamie Reid, in some cases moving from pure adverts for tours or records, to statements of intent.

With the rise of dance music, poster design at times clearly took a look backwards, with a retro feel to many of the examples. The 60s classics inspired many contemporary artists who either paid tribute to, or shamelessly stole ideas from, some of the rarer or more iconic images. Advances in design techniques also seem clear with sometimes highly complex, sometimes deceptively simple, and often very polished promotional sheets, presented in the final part of the book, bringing the story up to the present day.

There are a fair number of very rare Floyd posters well reproduced within the book's pages, but more than that, the book gives a fascinating look at the history of the subject, with plenty of examples at every step to show how things developed. Anyone with even a vague interest in music, or design, will surely find plenty of material to absorb and enlighten.

You can order this book through the following direct links: Amazon UK,,, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Espana and Amazon Italy.

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