Tower Records Original Poster Calendar by Frank Carson, featuring KNBQ Radio, which at the time served Tacoma, WA
These early Tower Records calendars and art prints are very nice. Carson's art is gorgeous and interesting. They are beautifully printed on glossy heavy paper stock and look fantastic framed. Tower's continued notoriety, the art's high quality, impressive size and intrinsic beauty guarantee they they will remain great conversation pieces and will appreciate nicely in the years to come.
Tower created these highly collectible posters for most of its long tenure as the "greatest record store in the known world." The exact number of early-year press runs is unknown, but in years when Tower had just a few stores were likely not high.
In the '60s and early '70s, some of the posters were one-offs celebrating a concert or created for use in-store for a specific release. Cat Stevens, the Jefferson Airplane and Bob Dylan were just a few of the artists whose images or albums graced early Tower prints.
Starting in around 1975, as the press runs grew along with Tower, the prints evolved into calendars. Eventually, most were produced in cooperation with radio stations, who would pay or trade for printing plate changes which enabled the insertion of their station logo on a certain number of the calendars that would be distributed by their local Towers and through station promotions. They were highly sought-after and turned up in TV shows and movies, such as the music movie "FM" or the long-running TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati."
Artist Frank Carson did virtually all of the art from the mid-'60s into the late '80s. They are quite beautiful, with bountiful hippie chicks nestled into rich deco and art nouveau themes to bountiful contemporary model types surrounded by pop art and symbols of popular culture. Carson disappeared from the Sacramento art scene in the late '80s and a number of different approaches were used to adorn the calendars, from hiring notable fine artists like Jerald Silva to acquiring art by holding competitions between Tower store artists and employees.
These art prints and calendars are increasingly rare. They are mementos of the days when Tower's aisles teemed with a record biz vibe as customers, employees and record company salesmen bought, sold and talked music and records. It was a highly enjoyable communal ritual.
Tower Records Original Poster Calendar Sapporo Japan 1984 by Frank Carson M
This poster is part of the Tower Records Calendar series. Pictured is the KFM Chico edition. We also have KPOP (Stockton) and Sapporo and Shibuya, Japan versions.
It is one of a number of very high quality posters and calendars produced by Tower over around four decades starting in 1960. These posters, particularly ones from the late '60s to early '80s, feature ambitious illustrations by Frank Carson, using top-quality paper and printing . It's hard to convey in a picture how good these look in a frame.
These very collectible Tower Records calendars and art prints were made throughout Tower's long tenure billed as the "greatest record store in the known world." The number of prints Tower did over the years is not precisely known. The Tower print series started in the late '60s and always featured high-quality lithography on heavy coated stock. Artist Frank Carson did virtually all of the art from the mid-'60s into the '90s. They are quite beautiful, evolving from early shots of bountiful hippie chicks employing deco and art nouveau themes to bountiful contemporary chicks surrounded by pop art and symbols of popular culture. After Carson mysteriously disappeared in the late '80s, a number of different approaches were used to adorn the calendars, from hiring notable fine artists like Jerald Silva to acquiring art by holding competitions between store artists and employees.
They might have been one-offs celebrating a concert, a poster created to be used in-store to publicize a certain release or just commissioned and printed up because somebody liked a band and wanted to promote them. Cat Stevens, the Jefferson Airplane, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan were just a few of the artists whose image or work graced early Tower prints.
In 1975 the prints morphed into calendars, most of which were produced in cooperation with local radio stations, who would pay or trade for the insertion of their logo on a certain number of the calendars. The printing plates were changed to create numerous editions with each station or sponsor's logo, and the result would then be distributed through the Tower stores in that particular market, but also by the stations during promotions. They were highly sought-after and often turned up in TV sitcoms and movies, such as the music movie FM or the long-running TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.
These art prints and calendars, especially the early and very late years, are increasingly rare. Tower's aisles teemed with a record biz vibe as customers, store employees and record company salesmen bought, sold and talked music and recordings. It was a highly enjoyable communal ritual that is sorely missed.
Illustrator: Frank Carson
Venue: Tower Records
Edition Size: 1984
Size: About 12 x 40
Signed by Illustrator: Yes
Signed by Performer: --NA--
Printing Method: Offset
Product ID: TR005S
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