How Jim Warren’s Artistic Dream Led to a Grammy Award
Jim Warren is a Grammy Award-winning artist, but not in the traditional sense.
Warren’s artwork for Bob Seger’s album “Against the Wind” earned the album the Grammy for Best Album Package in 1981, exposing his artwork to millions.
Warren first received recognition in 1975 when he won first place in an art show. Soon after, Warren sharpened his talents and began painting covers for books, movies and albums. All of this was to achieve a dream he had since he first decided to become a professional artist in 1967.
“I really wanted to paint album covers because in the ‘60s album cover art was a big thing – some of the best artists and best art I’ve ever seen was on album covers,” Warren says.
After creating his first album cover in 1978 for the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band, Capitol Records contacted Warren to work on “Against the Wind,” Seger’s eighth album. The art director informed Warren they wanted to features horses on the cover. Warren recalls feeling hesitant, as he had never painted horses before then.
“They said, ‘You can do it,’ and I said, ‘For Bob Seger? Sure!’” Warren says.
“Against the Wind” was a commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 for six weeks in 1980 and sold 3.7 million copies in the U.S. by 1981.
During the 23rd Annual Grammy Awards, “Against the Wind” won two Grammy Awards. The first was for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal, and the second for best album package (renamed to Grammy Award for best recording package in 1994).
Warren admits he didn’t watch the awards show that night, so he was surprised the next day when the art director called and congratulated him on creating a Grammy Award-winning cover.
“I was very excited that it won a Grammy,” Warren says. “I didn’t expect all that, but it fit in with the goal from high school that I wanted to do album cover art.”
Warren received a Grammy Award Certificate, and the experience inspired the artist to continue including horses in his artwork. Warren later created album covers for musicians such as Prince and Alice Cooper and works for authors Clive Barker and Robin Cook.