Roger Dean

Views: The Official Authorised Biography

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Roger Dean is probably the most famous album cover artist in rock & roll. Dean's iconic logo and fantasy landscape sleeves for progressive rockers Yes are so synonymous with the band that it is difficult to imagine one without the other. Listening to Yes' definitive early-'70s albums without conjuring a mental picture of Dean's rich visuals is practically impossible. Occasionally, certain artists' work is closely linked to particular bands -- Storm Thorgerson and Pink Floyd, Frank Frazetta and Molly Hatchet, Hugh Syme and Rush, and Derek Riggs and Iron Maiden to name a few -- but none more so than Dean and Yes. Dean merits his own documentary, the 2002 DVD Views: The Official Authorised Biography, narrated by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. In addition to Dean's own detailed insights, interviews are conducted with Steve Howe (Yes, Asia), Mick Box (Uriah Heep), John Wetton (Uriah Heep, Asia), and Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep). Dean recalls how he started training as a draftsman and at first felt more comfortable with a pencil in his hand than a paintbrush. He eventually started illustrating album covers, primarily by jazz artists, before drifting into rock when legendary music executive Phil Carson gave him the choice between working with Led Zeppelin or Yes. Among Dean's best-known album covers are Yes' Fragile, Close to the Edge, Yessongs, Tales from Topographic Oceans, Relayer, Yesterdays, Drama, Yesshows, Classic Yes, Union, Yesyears, and The Ladder; Uriah Heep's Demons and Wizards and The Magician's Birthday; and Asia's Asia (just as recognizable as his Yes sleeves), Alpha, and Astra. Other clients have included Anderson-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe (the short-lived Yes offshoot), Gentle Giant, Budgie, Greenslade, Babe Ruth, and It Bites. Views: The Official Authorised Biography also includes footage from Dean exhibitions in Philadelphia and London, extended interviews with Dean and Howe, and an image gallery. Three featured musical performances are Asia's "Heat of the Moment," Uriah Heep's "'Acoustically Driven' -- Medley" (consisting of "The Wizard," "Paradise," and "Circle of Hands"), and Rick Wakeman's"Piano Piece."