For jazz fans, a poster of Chet Baker almost seems to come with its own soundtrack. Posters of blues artists conjure the smoky, booze-soaked dives where John Lee Hooker and other practitioners of that great American musical genre held court. Vintage country-western posters advertising Buck Owens suggest the sweetly intermingled scents of cold beer and fresh hay. And for fans of 1960s rock music, well, a concert poster from Cream’s first U.S. tour may be the only way for them to remember they were there.

Some vintage music and concert posters are easier to find than others. Trying to build a collection of original, mid-20th-century jazz posters of Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, and Miles Davis would probably be a frustrating, and expensive, pursuit. An artist named Dennis Loren makes beautiful "restoration lithographs" of jazz posters from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, but if a high-quality reprint is unacceptable to you, consider a vintage movie poster with the artist’s name in the credits—Count Basie gets prominent billing on the movie poster for Top Man; Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are both listed on the poster for Cabin in the Sky.

In the world of country music, Hatch Show Print of Nashville is the oldest print shop in the United States (it has been around since 1879). Hatch made, and continues to make, posters for all the Grand Ole Opry stars, from Bill Monroe to Roy Acuff to Patsy Cline.

Symphony buffs need not feel left out of the world of vintage music posters. Since 1972, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival has been publishing handsome, high-quality posters designed around paintings by Georgia O’Keefe, Dan Namingha, and other southwest artists.

But without a doubt, the most accessible and collected type of vintage concert poster is the 1960s rock poster. In London, Michael English and Nigel Waymouth, working as Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, produced psychedelic updates of Art Nouveau posters for Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Traffic, and The Who.

In Boston, the owners of a club called Boston Tea Party tended to take a clean, graphic approach to publicize concerts by everyone from local heroes J. Geils Band to New York’s Velvet Underground. Tea Party posters were frequently composed of little more than a block or two of solid color juxtaposed with formal-looking type.

Detroit had the Grande Ballroom, whose resident poster artist was Gary Grimshaw. His posters for locals like MC5 and visitors such as The Fugs tilted more toward the psychedelic ...

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Dahlgren made posters for a club called the Kaleidoscope, whose posters were always circular. Across town, John Van Hamersveld produced beautiful, trippy images for Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and other bands playing L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium.

But the city that’s best known for vintage rock posters is San Francisco. A combination of multiple music venues and lots of talented artists was the catalyst for the vibrant scene. Over at the Avalon Ballroom, Chet Helms hired Wes Wilson, followed by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, to make posters for shows featuring The Blues Project, Captain Beefheart, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the Grateful Dead.

That first year, 1966, Kelley and Mouse created an image for the Grateful Dead that would visually define the band. Known among collectors as FD026, it was based on an illustration the artists found in a 19th-century copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Sometimes called Skeleton & Roses, a version of this poster would be used as an album cover for the band in 1971. Today it is one of the most enduring and collectible images in psychedelic rock.

Over at Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium, artist Wes Wilson created posters that helped define the psychedelic lettering style of the day. In 1966, several of Wilson’s posters also featured photographs by Herb Greene. One of the best of these, BG025, revolved around a terrific portrait of a pre-Jefferson Airplane Grace Slick, a smile teasing the corners of her lips as she looks tantalizingly to her right and out of the camera’s range.

With a resume that bridged the Avalon and the Fillmore, Wilson was a respected figure on the local rock-poster scene. Indeed, when the Beatles came to town in August of 1966 to play what would be their last live performance, Wilson was hired to make the poster for that show.

Another influential San Francisco artist was Rick Griffin, whose February 1968 "Flying Eyeball" poster (BG105) for Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall, and Albert King is an icon of the art form.

Victor Moscoso rounds out the so-called Big Five (Wilson, Kelley, Mouse, and Griffin being the other four). Moscoso produced numerous posters for the Avalon and a smaller club called the Matrix. For Moscoso fans, the Holy Grail is to collect all 27 posters in the artist’s hyper-vivid Neon Rose series.

Other San Francisco poster artists of note include Lee Conklin, whose black-and-white drawing of a lion for a show at the Fillmore West became a celebrated album cover for Carlos Santana. Another important Fillmore alum is David Singer, who created 67 Fillmore posters, including the venue’s final one to mark its historic closing week.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Wish you'd visited San Francisco in the late 1960s? Get a quick hit with this comprehensive collection of psychedel… [read review or visit site]

London Transport Museum Posters

London Transport Museum Posters

A must-see collection of 5,000 vivid, colorful British posters from the early 1900s onward. Browse by artist (over … [read review or visit site]

Remember Eddie Cochran

Remember Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran died in 1960 at the age of 21, but his legacy lives on at Remember Eddie Cochran. The site pays tribu… [read review or visit site]

Dylanstubs.com

Dylanstubs.com

Hey babe, check out this database of over 2,900 Bob Dylan ticket stubs and concert posters, assembled with the help… [read review or visit site]

USSR Posters

USSR Posters

Ben Perry's Flickr photoset showcasing almost 1500 Soviet propaganda, advertising, theatre and movie posters from 1… [read review or visit site]

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

The New York Public Library's impressive Digital Gallery offers free access to over 500,000 historical images inclu… [read review or visit site]

The American Memory Project

The American Memory Project

This amazing Library of Congress site includes about a hundred photo and document collections (see complete list) o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Widespread Panic Poster Chuck Sperry Signed By Band. Myrtle Beach 20102000 Columbus Jim Pollock Phish Poster 2003 Queens Of The Stone Age - Clifton Park Concert Poster S/n By EmekSid Vicious Sid Sings Lp 1979 Uk 1st Press! Mint + Mint Knife Poster Sex Pistols1998 Pearl Jam - Birmingham/greenville Silkscreen Concert Poster By Ames DesignJefferson Airplane 1966 Original Concert Poster Fillmore Auditorium Bg 29-op-12003 Queens Of The Stone Age - Albuquerque Concert Poster By EmekPink Floyd 1967 Original Concert Poster Fillmore Auditorium Bg -90-op-1Status Quo Signed By All Four Of The Frantic Four 2014 Litho Reunion PosterQueens Of The Stone Age Emek & Gan San Francisco Concert Poster 4-17-14 GidThe Clash Complete Control Promo Poster 1977,sex Pistols,damned Punk,Phish Tree Of Life Poster Framed W/ TicketsThe Clash London Calling Promo Poster 1980 Original 44x42 Huge Classic Punk311 Day 2006 Poster Beatles Beautiful Brian Wilson Concert Poster Signed Perfect By Brian Full Name!Very Rare Monster Sized Original Beatles Genuine 1963 Poster, Enourmous 54x38''2004 Pearl Jam - Boston Ii Silkscreen Concert Poster By Brad Klausen1967 Bo Diddley Original Concert Poster Avalon Ballroom Fd-18 -op-1 First PrintVintage Kiss Poster Japan Hth Dressed To Kill Era 36 X 24 Not Aucoin Vintage Black Light Poster "are You Experienced" - Hendrix2003 Queens Of The Stone Age - Fort Worth Concert Poster Signed By Emek2004 Pearl Jam - Reading Silkscreen Concert Poster By Brad Klausen NeoconCoachella Festival 2014 Tim Doyle Official Poster 100 Made Print Emek D*face1982 Van Halen "diver Down" Tour Poster / Extremely Rare Rare Rare!!!!Cher: Vintage Promo Only Poster, 1970's Approx 22 X 27" Rare!!Pearl Jam Chicago Wrigley Field Kevin Shuss Cracker Jack Framed PosterBooker T & The Mg's 1968 Original Concert Poster Carousel Ballroom 6/14-16/681996 Pearl Jam - Ft. Lauderdale Silkscreen Concert Poster By Matt Getz Signed ApJeff Wood Widespread Panic En La Playa 2014 Uncut Poster Metallic Gold Ae PrintPearl Jam Poster Emek Portland Mint Condition1987 Grateful Dead Original Concert Poster Telluride ColoradoChuck Sperry Nye Widespread Panic Poster #599Vintage 1977 Kiss Poster Western Graphics Aucoin2004 Pearl Jam - Toledo Silkscreen Concert Poster By Brad Klausen Neocon311 Day Poster New Orleans 2008 - Framed Beatles Rare Vintage 1968 Uk Fan Club Only Poster And Newsletter!2014 Jaco Pastorius Rsd Exclusive Poster Mint Ss Record Store DayVintage Kiss 1976 Destroyer Concert Tour Poster Aucoin BoutwellWreckless Eric Stiff Records 1977 Uk Live Stiffs Tour Barney Bubbles PosterGrails Aaron Horkey Burlesquedesign Casbah San Diego 2009 Poster Signed #7/30Otis Rush/mothers 1967 Oringinal Concert Poster Fillmore Auditorium Bg-53-op-11995 Pearl Jam - Salt Lake City Silkscreen Concert Poster By Ames Design2004 Interpol - Nottingham Uk Silkscreen Concert Poster S/n By Jay Ryan2004 Pearl Jam - St. Louis Silkscreen Concert Poster By Brad Klausen NeoconOriginal 1980s Ramones & D.o.a. Punk Rock Concert Poster Seattle Hippodrome Who Poster Autographed By John Entwistle-the Who Europe Tour '97 Original John Mayer Autographed Poster Original Limited W Serial Number Grass Roots 1966 Original Concert Poster Avalon Ballroom Fd 15-op-1Nine Inch Nails / Queens Of The Stone Age Poster Melbourne 14 March Nin/qotsaJohn Lee Hooker 1968 Original Concert Poster Carousel Ballroom 4/4-6/68Original 1967 Beatles John Lennon Look Magazine Richard Avedon Poster2005 Erykah Badu - Bronze/blue Variant Silkscreen Concert Poster S/n By EmekOriginal The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter Photo Collage One Sheet Promo Poster80's Van Halen Band On Stage PosterPhish Poster Festival 8Peter Tosh Original Concert Poster 1983 Bogart's Cincinnati Pearl Jam Fargo June 15 2003 Ames Concert PosterThe Ramones 1978 Bataclan Paris France Gig Promotion PosterNick Lowe Stiff Records 1977 Uk Live Stiffs Tour Barney Bubbles PosterR.e.m. Tour Poster 1985 Original Fables Of The Reconstruction W/10,000 Maniacs

Recent News: Music and Concert Posters

Source: Google News

The Rolling Stones: Through The Years
ABC News, April 16th

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. A concert poster of The Rolling Stones for Altamont. GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, circa 1970s. Chris Walter/Getty Images. Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones ...Read more

Long may ya big jib draw, Lawnya Vawnya
The Independent News, April 15th

Eastern Edge will also host the festival's record and press fair on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival, and from April 19 to May 9, Fog Prints, an expo of music poster art by local artists. “There's not one show of the entire festival that we...Read more

Students celebrate language at 38th annual modern Language Fair
Daily Nebraskan, April 10th

Millard South High School students perform a skit in German. In addition to drama, students also competed in poetry, music, poster and dance competitions. n wildart wilwerding 3. Millard South students perform a skit in German during the modern...Read more

THIS WEEK ON WGCU-TV
Florida Weekly, April 8th

MONDAY, APRIL 14, 8 P.M. Antiques Roadshow: Kansas City Highlights include a 1955 Elvis Presley concert poster, an 1812 Marklin “Puritan” toy boat valued and a 1919 Leon Gaspard “Portrait of Young Girl” oil painting. ¦ TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 9 P.M. The ...Read more

Alan Richman: A New Chef Revitalizes a Nolita Classic
GQ Magazine, April 8th

The men's room features a 1999 Metallica concert poster in Hebrew—perhaps a ploy to earn a place on the power list of The Jerusalem Post. The menu seems to promise what we call New American cuisine, which means something from everywhere and, ...Read more

April 8: WWI, D-Day anniversaries to be commemorated in joint Armed Forces ...
McGill Reporter, April 3rd

D-Day-Concert-Poster This concert is also a way for the students to share the stage with professional musicians. In fact, most of the members of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal and the 438th Tactical Helicopter Squadron are professional musicians. When they...Read more

Web extra: Q&A with artist and musician Adam Elliott
Columbus Alive, April 2nd

The show at Impero [for the Short North coffee shop's April show of work by local rock and concert poster artists] consists of 10 flyers I had made for local rock shows. For this show, I took out all band names and concert venues to just let the art...Read more

Design a Concert Poster for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Abu Dhabi Gig
AhlanLive.com, March 26th

Design a Concert Poster for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Abu Dhabi Gig. Call for arty types to flex their creativity ahead of rap duo's Abu Dhabi date. Lauren Steadman Thursday, 27 March 2014. Design a Concert Poster for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Abu ...Read more