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Tower Records Poster Calendar Smoking Blonde Frank Carson 1980 B100 FM Radio

Tower Records Poster Calendar Smoking Blonde Frank Carson 1980 B100 FM Radio

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This original printing was published by Tower Records in 1980 in partnership with infamous San Diego station B100 FM. It's a high-quality lithograph created by Frank Carson. Note the radio dial has the correct 100 FM setting for B100 back then.

Illustrator: Frank Carson
Method: Offset Lithograph
Year: 1980
Size: 12 13/16 x 39

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.



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