Tower Records Original Poster Calendar Turban Frank Carson 1976 KCBQ San Diego
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This original printing was published by Tower Records in partnership with San Diego radio station KCBQ in 1976.
These are pretty scarce. Artwork by Frank Carson.
These calendars were created by Tower and used to partner with a radio station, usually one in each of their retail markets. This one was created for the San Diego radio market and features KCBQ, one of the most popular and innovative pop music stations in the country during the '70s. It is now features conservative talk radio.
Sometimes, there was no sponsorship, so Tower would insert a generic type message such as "Rare Jazz, Nostalgia, Big Band, Bluegrass, Old Time Radio. "
Illustrator: Frank Carson Method: Offset Lithograph Year: 1976 Size: 11 5/8 x 39.5
These early Tower Records calendars and art prints are big, rich and, simply, magnificent. Frank Carson's art is lush and fanciful, and they are printed on beautiful heavy paper and feature stunning lithography.
And they represent the blazing peak of a record industry that will never be the same.
Tower created them for most of its long tenure as the "greatest record store in the known world." The exact number of prints that were done is unknown. They date back to the early '60s. They might be one-offs celebrating a concert, a poster created to be used in-store to publicize a certain release or just a fun thing printed up because somebody liked a band. Cat Stevens, the Jefferson Airplane and Bob Dylan were just a few of the artists whose image or work graced early Tower prints.
Later, the prints and calendars publicized store openings or took the form of calendars which touted the local radio stations in Tower store markets all over the country. We think the first Tower calendar was published in 1975. Tower created calendars for almost three decades, most of which were produced in cooperation with the radio stations, who would pay or trade for the insertion of their logo on a certain number of the calendars, which would then be distributed through the Tower stores in that particular market. The calendars were highly sought after and turned up on TV and in movies, such as the music movie FM or the long-running TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.
The Tower prints featured high-quality lithography on heavy coated stock. Artist Frank Carson did virtually all of the calendars from the early '70s through the '90s. They are quite beautiful, evolving from early shots of bountiful hippie chicks and deco Egyptian themes to bountiful contemporary female model types surrounded by symbols of popular culture.
These calendars are increasingly rare. More than any record chain, the iconic Tower Records has become a symbol of the halcyon days of prerecorded sound on disc.