Gary Burden, the Grammy Award-winning visual artist behind album covers like Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush, the Doors’ Morrison Hotel, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu, and more, has died. He was 84.
A longtime collaborator with Neil Young, Burden was an important part of Young’s collaborative creative process, and the two worked together for over 50 years. In a lengthy tribute posted on the Neil Young Archives website, Young writes, “My friend for life, Gary was my art director, creating album covers with me for almost 50 years, beginning with After The Gold Rush and ending with Paradox and Roxy, my next two albums.”
“I still have some covers for unreleased albums that we made together,” he continues. “They are coming. We probably made 40 covers. I lost count. In the last twenty, thirty or so years, Gary has worked alongside his talented and beautiful wife, Jenice, at R. Twerk & Co, as we have continued on a life-time of making album covers, laughing, loving acoustic music and so many other things. My heart is heavy.”
Young discusses the making of the art for his 1974 album On The Beach, one of his favorite Burden covers, describing the difficult process of getting an old tail-fin and rear fender from a 1959 Cadillac from a Santa Anna junk yard to begin staging the scene. Young writes, “I have so many memories of Gary and I doing these album covers. He was a great man and a true artist. Rest in peace my old friend.”
More recently, Burden has made album art for bands like Monsters of Folk, My Morning Jacket, Kurt Vile, and Conor Oberst. Burden was awarded a Grammy in 2010 for his work on Young’s The Archives Vol. 1 1963–1972, which won in the Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Packaging category. Find a full list of album art he was a part of here.