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’Keeffe, 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 style, often incorporating altered photographs into his design...

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]

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]

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]

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    

Pearl Jam Pj20 Poster Ames Bros 9-3-2011 Alpine Valley Balloon Wrigley VedderOfficial Kiss Collectors' Edition Book - 1980 Australia Tour !!! (no Poster)Pearl Jam Poster Brisbane 2003 Print AmesHuge 53 1/2 X 38 Vintage Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced Poster YqzOriginal 311 Limited Edition Foil Poster2015 Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour Poster Gumball Bubble Gum Limited Edition Dave Matthews Band Poster 2015 West Palm Beach Night 2Pollock Atlanta Phish Print Poster Summer Tour 1999 Mint/nm+ With Tickets Stubs2015 Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour Poster Gumball Bubble Gum Limited Edition759Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Poster Set Aj Masthay At Chicago's Soldier Field Johnny Cash 1963 Columbus, Ga Grand Ole Opry Original Concert Poster Tex RitterDave Matthews Band Poster Virginia Beach 7/11/2015The Grateful Dead Poster Print Richey Beckett Santa Clara June Gd50Sex Pistols Swindle * Ultra Rare Original Store Poster 1980 Pistols Punk RockRare Vintage Kiss Original Blacklight Velvet Poster 1976 Aucoin And 2nd PosterFilllmore West Concert Poster-sam The Sham & Pharaohs-sit Ins-1966--#221-msxDave Matthews Band Poster S/n /750 Virginia Beach, Va 7/11/15- Sperry -sold Out!Widespread Panic Southaven, Ms 2015 Tour Poster - Miles TsangDave Matthews Band West Palm Beach Night 2 2015 PosterMotorhead : Super Rare Original Store Poster For 'on Parole' Lp 1979 Rock / PunkGreatful Dead Poster Chicago Fare Thee WellDave Matthews Band Dmb Poster Alpine Valley 7.25.15Deftones White Pony Serigraph Poster Art Print Sold Out Rare Jermaine RogersGrateful Dead " Fare Thee Well" Poster Chicago Soldier Field Mike Dubois LeFillmore West Concert Poster-love-everpresent Fullness-1966-poster-msxGrateful Dead Golden Road Fare Thee Well Gold Foil Poster 1st EditionGrateful Dead - Fare Thee Well Justin Helton China Cat Gd50 Santa Clara PosterRolling Stones 2015 Zip Code Tour Vip Poster Lithograph - Raleigh Ncsu WolfpackBeatles Rare 1974 U.s. John Lennon " #9 Dream " Apple Single Promotional Poster!Pearl Jam Poster, 2000 Seattle, Ten Year Anniversary Pj10.Dave Matthews Band Alpine Valley N1 2015 Poster MintThe Rolling Stones Zip Code 2015 Tour Vip Package Poster, Book & More - Rare!Dave Matthews Band Flag Legends Of Letterman Nyc New York City 5/7/15, PosterK-pop Infinite Reality 5th Mini Album Cd Poster Limited Edition Official OpenedRush R40 Tour 2015 Los Angeles Forum Lithograph Poster Numbered Limited EditionQuicksilver Rick Griffin Avalon Fd89 Signed Family Dog Fillmore Era Poster 1stPhish Poster Bend8 Inch Kiss Custom Figure Doll Creatures Fox Cd Poster Statuette Rare 1967 Country Joe & The Fish Concert Poster Continental Auditorium By CannonDave Matthews Band Spac Saratoga July 4th 2015 James Eads PosterFoo Fighters Rare Fenway Park Poster Brad Klausen July 18, 2015 Artist EditionDave Matthews Band Alpine Valley July 26 Poster East TroyBrian Jonestown Massacre / Dandy Warhols Dig! French Movie Poster 60x44 OriginalDave Matthews Band 7/26/2015 Alpine N2 Sunday Poster #705 - Sold OutDave Matthews Band Dmb Tour Poster 2013 Alpine Valley, East Troy Wi 7-5-13Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well 3d Lot Poster Chicago Santa Clara Soldier FieldDave Matthews Band 2015 Wpb PosterDave Matthews Band 2015 N2 Alpine Valley PosterGrateful Dead " Fare Thee Well" Poster Chicago Soldier Field Mike Dubois LeGrateful Dead Field Maiden Beckett Santa Clara 2015 Poster Print Fare Thee WellRolling Stones Concert Memorabilia-vip Package From Buffalo Gig Includes Poster!Grateful Dead Santa Clara Poster "fare Thee Well" Just Helton ~train~Vintage Kiss Ace Frehley Guitar Carnival Size PosterDave Matthews Band Poster West Palm Beach 2015 Night 2Dave Matthews Band St Louis Beer Can Poster 2015 Mint Limited RunFare Thee Well Grateful Dead Helton China Cat Print Poster Santa ClaraGrateful Dead Golden Road Fare Thee Well Gold Foil Poster 1st EditionDave Matthews Band Poster West Palm Beach 2015 Night 2Grateful Dead Poster, Fare Thee Well Chicago, Brian Carroll, Terrapin Foil PrintOriginal Grateful Dead - Stanley Mouse Converse - Silk Screen Poster 2008

Recent News: Music and Concert Posters

Source: Google News

Rockers celebrate 100 years at Welch Allyn, July 30th

A worker at Welch Allyn displayed on Twitter a concert poster with a Woodstock psychedelic motif. It promoted both the Doobies and the Don Felder band playing for the 100th birthday celebration. Comments are the sole responsibility of the person...Read more

Preview: Texas Musicians Museum in Irving
Fort Worth Star Telegram, July 24th

A concert poster for Tejano superstar Selena at the Texas Musicians Museum in Irving. Note the lipstick print. Robert Philpot One of the many Texas-music artifacts at the Texas Musicians Museum in Irving. Robert Philpot Vintage...Read more

B1A4 Releases Concert Poster Image For 'B1A4 ADVENTURE 2015' To Take Place In ...
KpopStarz, July 23rd

Group B1A4 released their concert poster. B1A4 released the poster for their fifth concert "B1A4 ADVENTURE 2015"- which will take place outdoors for the first time ever. The poster was uploaded on concert ticketing website, social media accounts, and ...Read more

The 30 Best Music Posters of 2015 (So Far)
Paste Magazine, July 22nd

Brush lettering, subtle gradients, airbrushing, and flat design have all featured prominently in the music poster year 2015 so far. This collection includes posters of all purposes— album releases, festivals lineups, tour announcements and art prints...Read more

A Pink welcome you to 'Pink Island' with second solo concert poster
allkpop, July 21st

Get ready, Pink Pandas, A Pink are gearing up for their second solo concert this August with the release of their poster! Going with the pink theme, their concert 'Pink Island' will be on August 22 and 23 at the Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium in Seoul! Their...Read more

JYJ's Yoochun releases a bonus handsome concert poster
allkpop, July 21st

Two thirds of JYJ Yoochun's solo Japanese tour is already done, but there's still two more concerts left! And he's released a surprise bonus poster for fans! C-JeS Entertainment stated, "On July 22 and 23, Park Yoochun will have his last performances...Read more

Toronto finally cancels ridiculous concert poster fines
blogTO (blog), June 12th

show posters toronto Toronto's bid to become a Music City got a small boost this week when the Music Sector Office and Municipal Licensing and Standards revealed that live music venues will no longer be fined for show posters put up around the city...Read more

Sea-Tac Airport hosting Pearl Jam concert poster exhibit
KIRO Seattle, May 27th

The Experience Music Project Museum unveiled a new exhibit at Sea-Tac Airport featuring Pearl Jam concert posters. Pearl Jam formed in 1990 when posters were the main way bands communicated with fans and advertised upcoming shows. They also ...Read more