Best of the Bronx: Album cover designer Michael Mendel

Artist Michael Mendel has worked with artists like Buddy Rich, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Tony Bennett over the course of his career designing album covers.

Artist Michael Mendel has worked with artists like Buddy Rich, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Tony Bennett over the course of his career designing album covers. (4/4/17)

THE BRONX - One Bronx man is behind the designs of some of music's most iconic album covers.

Artist Michael Mendel has worked with artists like Buddy Rich, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Tony Bennett over the course of his career designing album covers.

"As a kid I would buy an album and sit looking at the album cover, never thinking this would be my life," Mendel says.

Two years after the 83-year-old Berlin native and his family immigrated to Cuba, he came to the United States.

"We landed in Miami, then took a Greyhound bus to New York and here I am," he says.

Decades later, he found himself at Columbia Records designing Latin American albums.

"I had to do projects for people I did not know - Sarita Montiel, Cuco Sanchez, Trio Los Panchos," Mendel says. "It turns out these are million-dollar sellers."

Mendel says each album jacket has a story, but one of his favorites belonged to R&B band Brass Construction.

"I came up with the idea of doing their logo as construction machinery," he says. "This album cover was a coin which we had minted and the group gave out during concerts."

A sampling of Mendel's work will be on display throughout the month of April at the Riverdale Senior Center on Netherland Avenue.

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