In February of 1971, a lot of people who had grown up in the U.S. listening to the Grateful Dead found themselves expanding their musical horizons by playing—and replaying—the latest release from a U.K. band called Yes. We couldn’t get enough of the band’s new lead guitarist, Steve Howe, while the complicated and prominent bass lines of Chris Squire reminded many of us of Phil Lesh, not necessarily for its style but definitely for its attitude. Then, in November of the same year, the band outdid itself with “Fragile,” which brought a caped keyboardist named Rick Wakeman into the musical fold and gave us the first of many Yes album covers by a Royal College of Art graduate named Roger Dean.
Like Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, and Stanley Mouse, who provided much of the iconography and imagery for the Grateful Dead, Dean would do the same for Yes, giving the band’s fans intricate worlds into which they could get blissfully lost, as albums such as “Tales from Topographic Oceans” and “Relayer” spun on their turntables. That’s probably why so many music lovers and rock-poster collectors are so excited that Roger Dean will be attending the 2022 edition of the Festival of Rock Posters on October 15th. We know Dean’s work well, having stared at his intricate compositions for hours on end. Thanks to The Chambers Project, Zoltron, and Monolith Press, Dean will not only be in the Hall of Flowers to meet his many fans, he’ll be releasing a limited-edition, 11-color screen print to commemorate the occasion.
So thank you, Roger Dean, for half a century of amazing work, and for participating in our show!
To see more work by Roger Dean, visit his two-person exhibition at the Haight Street Art Center titled “The Secret Path,” which includes numerous pieces by his daughter, Freyja Dean. That exhibition continues through October 30. And don’t miss “Dragon’s Dream: The Roger Dean Experience,” an immersive exhibition that opens at Gray Area in San Francisco on November 12.