Canada’s A FOOT IN COLDWATER released 4 albums in the ’70s, had a couple of hit singles here, then split after the 4th, but reunited on a few occasions. The Toronto band included Alex Machin [lead vocals], Hughie Leggat [bass], Bob Horne [keyboards], Danny Taylor[drums], and Paul Naumann [guitars]. The band’s first 2 albums were released in Canada on Daffodill Records, though the debut was also issued in Australia and New Zealand. But it was the band’s 3rd album All Around Us in 1974 that finally saw the band signed to Elektra Records and get released in the US and the UK. The album included 5 tracks taken from the band’s first 2 albums (notably the hits “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” and “(Isn’t Love Unkind) In My Life”) , as well as new songs. Legendary British producer John Anthony (Queen, Van Der Graaf Generator, Genesis, Roxy Music…) was brought in to co-produce (along with Francis W.H. Davies;, also co-engineering was Mike Stone), with the album being recorded in Toronto and London [UK], and American artist John Van Hamersveld was tasked with the album’s cover art. The logo featured on the cover would be re-used elsewhere on CD compilations and concert shirts (I picked up 1 of each when I saw the band in 2011). *The album cover in Canada would be silver, while the US version would be white with the added ‘Or’ to the title.
Below is John’s words about the about cover for All Around Us, as well as info on his career before and after….
John Van Hamersveld’s background …
In 1967-68 I was a rock concert promotor for my company called Pinnacle Production, putting concerts on for a year. My partners and I booked and heard 43 bands twin a night on a Ltexlancing sound system. I was losing my hearing in the process. (Pinnacle Dance Concerts, which was founded in 1967 by Sepp Donahower, Marc Chase and John Van Hamersveld. Pinnacle promoted the early shows of the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Traffic, Cream, The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Pink Floyd. The Single Wing Turquoise Bird Light Show did many of the multimedia light shows at the Pinnacle Concerts.)
… I was in the business for 17 years 1967 to 1984, and when the business went digital, I left the industry to work in Surf Subculture, and the re-entry of The Endless Summer Poster into the culture in the 80s.
On getting A Foot In Coldwater assignment…
Elektra Records had their office up the alley from Willoughby street where my studio was at the corner of Las Cienega Boulevard. There was the art director Glenn Christensen who was given 30 to 40 album cover projects to design every 90 days. He had to pick photographs and designs to get the order together. So he called me and gave me the Foot In Coldwater LP cover.
(Glenn Christensen: US art director, graphic designer & photographer for Buddah Records, Elektra/Asylum Records, and 20th Century Fox Records. Glenn Christensen may have made the photograph, the photographer not credited)
Glen gave me the album cover because the group’s manager by contract didn’t with the art director doing the cover and campaign, the manager wanted control.
Familiar with or meet the band beforehand?
The politics of the company people at Elektra Records was the art director to guide the will. I don’t think Glenn introduced me.
Creating the band’s logo for the cover….
I presented the idea of a logo as the cover like a lot of bands used in the promotes. The title words were weak. So I thought a logo-like image would be more dominant in the Record Store, and they would hang the promotional logo around the store.
The wings: meaning… High Flying. Arranging the title words was being abstract in typography. The logo would be the visual trick for the promotion, visually simple, could be on the drum kit, ads, t’shirt, etc. The group didn’t photograph well, no style! They needed style, so the logo became the style.
All that JVH did on All Around Us…
Created the design of the front and back.
The most famous album cover worked on.
Exile On Main Street, by The Rolling Stones!
Other famous and favorite ones John worked on…
The Endless Summer soundtrack album from the movie 1965. The Beatles, MMT album 1967, The Jefferson Airplane, Crown of Creation 1968, Bob Dylan’s, soundtrack album Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid 1972, The Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of the Grateful Dead 1974, Steve Miller’s The Joker 1976, and Fly Like an Eagle 1978, Blondie’s Eat to the Beat 1979, Kiss, Hotter Than Hell 1974, The Doors, American Prayer, Jim Morrison’s Poetry album 1978. Claudia Lennear album cover Phew !, 1973 … to name a few.
Other art John has done over the years, and places people can view his work…
A Foot In Coldwater’s first album and All Around Us have recently been reissued on colored vinyl- https://shop.unidiscmusic.com/search?type=article%2Cpage%2Cproduct&q=a+foot+in+coldwater