When artist Milton Glaser was asked to put together a drawing of Bob Dylan for a then-forthcoming biography, he came up with a concept that involved him having psychedelic hair, as it was 1966. The publisher wasn’t able to present the full color drawing in “full color”, so it was scaled down to blue and tan lines. Upon presenting it to Dylan, he rejected it immediately. The drawing would eventually be used as a poster found in copies of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits on Columbia. If you went to someone’s home or apartment and they had the poster, then you’d know they had a copy of the album. The trippiness of the drawing started to take on a life of its own and became iconic in its own right, with people discovering the word “ELVIS” spelled out in Dylan’s hair.
Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson is the drummer for the Philadelphia hip-hop band The Roots, and he is about to release his first book in 2013, done with author Ben Greenman, called Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove (Grand Central Publishing). If you have ever read his liner notes, his online posts, or Tweets, you’ll know that he is a walking and breathing version of album/CD liner notes. We’re not talking mere production credits and acknowledgments, but full on liner notes. After all of that accumulation, he has put all of that down (or as much as he can up to a point) so the public can consume it at will. The cover of the book is homage to Glaser’s Dylan drawing, but instead of having psychedelic hair with “ELVIS” spelled within, it’s a number of question marks and his trademark Afro-pick. As I’m looking at ?uest’s book, I notice a few curls in his mustache and beard. Is there secret code found within? Uncertain at this time, but I’m sure the code that everyone will want to discover will be located within its pages.