Legendary art director and album designer Gary Burden died on March 10th, at age 84 of undisclosed causes, according to Rolling Stone. Whether you knew his name or not, Burden’s work effected nearly every rock fan’s musical experience over the past 50 years, having supplied iconic album covers for Crosby, Stills, & NashJoni MitchellAmerica, the Eagles, the DoorsJackson Browne — and the artist he worked with most closely — Neil Young, designing many of his most recognized LP covers.

In 2010, Gary Burden snagged the Grammy for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Packaging for Neil Young’s The Archives Vol. 1 1963 – 1972 collection. Burden and frequent collaborator, photographer Henry Diltz were the subject of the critically acclaimed 2000 documentary on their careers, titled California Rock: Under The Covers. Together the pair created the visuals to the music of the 1970’s L.A. canyon genre.

Neil Young posted a tribute to Burden on his official NeilYoungArchives.com site, writing:

“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. 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. 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.”

The Eagles also posted a tribute on their official site (Eagles.com) which reads:

“We join with many others in mourning the passing of our friend and collaborator, Gary Burden. Gary designed the covers of our first four albums. He was a unique and talented man, a big-hearted adventurous spirit, a Marine, a fluent Spanish speaker, a masterly raconteur, and a true artist. He made an exceptional and lasting contribution to the art of the vinyl LP album cover and he will be missed. RIP, old friend.”

  • During a chat with World Cafe, Gary Burden explained how despite studying to become an architect, he found his calling, literally on a whim: [“Mama Cass (Elliott) of the Mamas & The Papas, she asked me to do a remodel of her home in Laurel Canyon. And so, she’s the one who said, ‘Y’know, Gary, you should make our new (album) cover. You know how to design stuff.’ Well, I, I didn’t know anything about that. I have never been interested in being a graphic artist or any of that stuff. But she insisted that I do it — and she was right.”] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC: . . . she was right)
  • Burden went on to say that over the course of his career, he always considered himself a facilitator for the artists that employed him: [“I mean, sometimes it’s my vision, but it’s never my cover. It’s always someone else’s cover and I lend what I know what to do to them, and how to visualize the music, y’know? That’s been my mission.”] SOUNDCUE (:12 OC: . . . been my mission)
  • For a complete discography, log on to http://garyburdenforrtwerk.com/discography-list/

Among the highlights of Gary Burden’s career are:

  • The Doors: Morrison Hotel
  • Neil Young: After The Gold RushTime Fades AwayOn The BeachTonight’s The NightDecadeFreedom — among many, many more
  • CSNY: Crosby, Stills, & NashDeja vuFour Way StreetSo Far; CSNAmerican DreamLooking Forward; and Deja vu Live
  • The Eagles: EaglesDesperadoOn The Border; and One Of These Nights
  • America: HomecomingHat Trick; and Hearts
  • Jackson Browne: Jackson Browne and The Pretender
  • Joni Mitchell: Blue

READ: Full Gary Burden story: http://rol.st/2FsUcfX