Once again a record cover turns up to prove that my previously “complete” collection of an artist’s record cover art isn’t complete.
I’m trying to write a discography of Sir Peter Blake’s record cover art and had produced a first draft when it occurred to me to do a search of Discogs’s database. Discogs logs credits to many (most?) of the records, CDs and cassettes catalogued there and users can easily choose to search for individual musicians, record producers or, indeed, graphic artists. My rather belated search turned up a surprise:
I had never seen this cover before but it certainly looks like a Peter Blake painting and the rear cover gives Peter Blake the credit. So I sent an email to Sir Peter’s gallery, the Waddington Custot Gallery in London, to enquire about the source of the painting. Unfortunately they had not handled a painting like this but assured me they would ask Sir Peter if and when an opportunity arose. I’m still waiting for a possible reply to that.
This U.S., 1990, four-track, promotional EP seems quite rare. I can’t quite understand how it managed to slip under my radar for so long, but I managed to find one on Discogs and it arrived this week (23 rd September) to “complete” my Peter Blake collection. I now eagerly await the next Peter Blake cover I have never seen. It’s bound to turn up soon.
In a previous post I described the posters I collected in the sixties and I promised I’d write about some of my own poster designs.
I started painting posters while at University, in the late sixties. My collecge, Guy’s Hospital had an active social club and somehow I got involved and someone had to produce adverts for dances, lectures, plays etc., and that someone turned out to be me. I can’t remember how I got elected to this honorary position but it resulted in the production of many posters over a period of two or three years and then, after a long hiatus, I started painting again in the nineties and started doing silkscreen courses in the past five or six years.
As there were noticeboards in various locations about the Guy’s campus, three or four posters were needed for each event. That meant much work late at night. After a while Andrew Batch joined in and we worked together to produce our posters. A few were actually printed by a south London silkscreen firm, but mostly we hung our original paintings.
This poster was not for any event, but was a sort of challenge between Andrew and me. We would each paint a poster with this girl’s face and this was my version. I was particularly proud of this and took it to Gear in Carnaby Street, and they offered me £25 for it! I thought that wasn’t enough and walked way (how stupid can you get? £25 was a lot of money in 1967!) I later paid for it to be printed and sold a few for £1 each. I didn’t make £25, though.
Here are some posters for lectures.
And some posters for plays.
Now for some pure art posters:
Finally some of the posters for parties, dances and balls:
All these posters are hand painted using gouache on paper.
Some of my later work includes paintings and silkscreens.
Some other series:
I have always been interested in record cover art and when a cover eiother doesn’t exist, or is so rare / expensive that I will never be able to get it, following in the tradition of other artists like Elaine Sturtevant, I can make my own version. thus far I have recreated Andy Warhol’s & Billy Klüver’s 1963 Giant Size $1.57 Each cover (2013 — the 50th anniversary of its original production)
Other warhol covers I have recreated include the LP and EP, the extremely rare box sets Night Beat and Voices and Events.
I hav also made some reproductions of record covers with cover art by Banksy. The most recent being the rare test pressing of Embalming Theatre / Tersanjung 13 split 7″ entitled Mommy Died – Mummified / Hellnoise.
I have other artworks, too, but I think this is enough for this post. Perhaps I’ll return to the remainder later.
When at University in the sixties I used to paint posters for dances, balls and parties. Having limited imgination, however, I found inspiration from many sources. I bought Michael English’s posters of Coke bottletops, Fried eggs and, as one half of Hapshash & the Coloured Coat (with Nigel Weymouth) the third issue of English OZ magazine.
Unfortunately, I no longer have these two, but I do still have:
While still a student, I used to spend Saturdays walking down the King’s Road, Chelsea, bird-watching. I found a boutique somewhere near the Town Hall that sold psychedelic postcards/handbills by artists such as Wes Wilson, Rick Griffin, Mouse & Kelley and, probably my favourite, Victor Moscoso. These were for concerts at the legendary Fillmore West and Avalon Ballroom. I managed to find forty of these and, some time later, my brother sent me a further postcard from a concert at the Fillmore East, making forty-one in all. I’ve spent a happy hour or two cataloging them, and here’s the result.
I have no idea if any of these are particularly rare — but I still think they are beautiful and many seved as inspirations for my own poster designs that I’ll show in a forthcoming post.
I used to collect stamps. I had a brilliant collection (I thought), but it just stayed in my cellar storage when I moved on to record collecting. Eventually I sold most of it, but I keep finding remnants — first day covers, or bits of sheets of stamps whenever I go through old boxes of books or such.
I saw that Madagascar (of all places) had released a set of stamps with Banksy’s art in 2018. They released two mini sheets — One with four Malagasy Ariary 18.00 postage stamps and the other with a single Malagasy Ariary 65.00 diamond-shaped stamp.
Some further research, via that well-known research engine, Ebay, turned up an even earlier use of Banksy’s art on a mini sheet of stamps produced in a prestige stamp booklet by the Royal Mail on January 7th, 2010. This booklet was produced to celebrate famous record covers: Pink Floyd — The Division Bell, Coldplay — A Rush of Blood to the Head, Blur — Parklife, New Order — Power Corruption and Lies, The Rolling Stones — Let It Bleed, The Clash — London Calling, Mike Oldfield — Tubular Bells, Led Zeppelin — IV, Primal Scream — Screamadelica and David Bowie — The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
However, also included in the booklet were two mini sheets of ordinary definitive stamps (i.e. standard stamps bearing only the Queen’s head). One of these had a Banksy connection.
So I rekindlled my stamp-collecting and added these to my Banksy collection.
There are rare records that can take some time to find. One such was an early LP by the Swedish band bob hund. It was called Omslag: Martin Kann and is (as far as I know) only the second LP to only have the designer’s, not the band’s, name on the cover. The first is, of course, The Velvet Underground & Nico with only Andy Warhol’s name on the front.) The bob hund LP took me seven years to find!
There is an LP with Andy Warhol’s art that I’ve been trying to find since 2008. That is the longest time I’ve been searching. But there’s another release that has taken ten years to find.
Sometime in 2010 I found, on a website, an illustrated list of records and CDs with cover art by Banksy. I had seen most, if not all, of the covers pictured except one — for a CD called Monkeys With Car Keys. It was a relatively poor quality thumbnail picture with an URL across it.
Of course, I tried to reach THEBANKSYFORUM.COM but it lead to notbanksyforum and I couldn’t find any details about the CD. Thus began a longterm search for a CD I really wasn’t sure even existed.
Fast forward to late 2020. By this time I had been looking out for this CD for ten years without success. I mailed a photo of the thumbnail picture to a friend who had roots in Bristol and he confirmed that Banksy had painted this design as a mural in the late 90s
Sadly, the mural has since disappeared. However, a couple of months later my friend told me he had actually found the CD and sent me a copy!
So it does really does exist! I am thrilled that my ten-year search has finally ended and I have been able to add this desperately rare CD to my collection. My sincerest thanks are due to my friend who found it for me.
Followers of this blog will remember how I have, on several occasions, noted (and not without a degree of smugness) that this or that collection now is complete, only to discover a short time later some new item I had missed. I’ve said it about my Warhol, Banksy, Kate Moss, Damien Hirst, Klaus Voormann and Peter Blake collections. The one I was most certain about was my collection of Peter Blake’s record covers. There just aren’t that many of them and so I thought I had it covered (pun intended).
Just imagine my chagrin earlier this week when I did a little search on Discogs that turned up not one, but FOUR covers that I had missed. Okay, so three of them were Paul Weller CD singles taken from his 1995 Stanley Road album that only incorporated small bits of Peter Blake art on their covers — I could sort of dismiss them as not really being Peter Blake covers. But there is one I can’t excuse: the cover to a 1990 U.S. 12″ promotional EP by The Fall called I’m Frank.
The track I’m Frank appeared on the Fall’s 1990 Extricate album and this 12″ includes two other tracks from the LP and a bonus track, Zandra. It was only released in the U.S. The EP isn’t included in The Fall’s discography on Rate Your Music.
The Paul Weller CD singles with Peter Blake art that I missed are: – You Do Something To Me – Digipak CD, – A French promo 2-track CD entitled Stanley Road, – Broken Stones – Digipak CD
The 4 DVD set of the Live 8 Concert from July 2nd 2005 includes a picture of Peter Blake’s poster for the event.
So now I have to add all these to my book manuscript on Peter Blake’s Record Cover Art. But, I really can’t be sure that I now have found all the covers with Peter Blake’s art. I expect more to turn up as soon as I close this post.
I have only seen Sonic Youth live once. That was at Hultsfred”s Festival in 2002. The concert can be seen on YouTube. I don’t remember too much about the show, only Kim Gordon’s pink dress and that I thought there were very few people gathered for such a major band. The video, however, makes it look like there was a huge crowd.
I recently discovered that Kim Gordon was an art school-trained artist as well as a musician and that she had designed record covers. Quite unknowingly, I actually had one of her cover designs in my collection — Ciccone Youth’s 12″ maxi single Into the Groove(y)/Burnin’ Up. It was Guy Minnebach who pointed this out.
Sonic Youth have used other monicas than Ciccone Youth. In 2004 the band released an album called simply Sonic Nurse, with Richard Prince’s painting of a nurse as its cover art. There were four different paintings on this beautiful cover.
This was my first contact with Richard Prince’s art. To my mind it established a relationship between him and Sonic Youth. Prince is known as a painter and photographer and has even used found objects such as cars. He is also a musician and in 2015 recorded a song, Loud Song and released it on a CD.
There was an exhibition of Richard Prince’s art in 2016 called It’s a Free Concert Now and for that exhibition Prince produced a limited edition, single-sided 12″ picture disc with the same title and two tracks, It’s a Free Concert Now and Loud Song. There were 25 numbered and signed copies and 25 unnumbered, unsigned copies.
Richard Prince used a detail from one of Kim Gordon’s paintings for the cover of his limited edition 12″ single Loud Song released in 2016. One edition of 250 was signed and numbered and the record pressed on white vinyl. However, my copy, while signed, is unnumbered and the record is pressed on black vinyl. I don’t know the size of this edition.
In 2019, The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh released a double album by Gordon, Bill Nace, Steve Gunn & John Trusinsky of the Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS concert, held the previous year atthe Museum. The cover art was made up of stills from Andy Warhol’s Kiss film. The clear vinyl records also had similar stills on their labels.
A further Kim Gordon cover has appeared. The band Talk Normal released a 7″ single called Lone General in 2011 with cover art by Gordon, with very abstract impressionistic drips! This limited edition single was released on both black and clear vinyl.
I am on the lookout for more covers by both Richard Prince and Kim Gordon to add to my collection.
I found references to several magazines with articles about Andy Warhol while reading Blake Gopnik’s biography of the artist. I realised that I had a few of these in my collection as well as quite a few others as well as exhibition catalogues.
I have a couple of gallery exhibition publications. In 1983 Gallerie Börjeson in Malmö, Sweden, published an edition of Warhol’s portraits of Ingrid Bergman and simultaneously produced a leporello (or fold-out, concertina-like) book of the prints that contained 48 variations of the portraits.
The second gallery exhibition catalogue in my collection is the limited edition Reigning Queens exhibition in Odense, Denmark, in 1985. There is a plate-printed Andy Warhol autograph on the frontespiece.
Sometime in the 1980s I bought a bootleg LP by the Rolling Stones called Emotional Tattoo that used one of Warhol’s 1975 portraits of Mick Jagger on the cover.
This image came from a series of ten prints published by New York’s Castelli Gallery in 1985. Leo Castelli used a set of postcards of the prints as invitations to the opening of the show and my friend, the late Daniel Brandt, sold me a set.
Warhol painted portraits of many music stars for his major portraits. Many turned up on record covers, including Paul Anka, Diana Ross, Billy Squier and Debbie Harry. He also painted Michael Jackson for a March 1984 edition of Time Magazine and a portrait of Prince, painted in 1984, that was used on the cover of a commemorative magazine in August 2016.
The first time Andy Warhol featured in a major amgazine was in May 1962 when Time Magazine ran a feature on Pop Art (though it didn’t use the term then).
In addition, I managed to find a copy of the Museum of Modern Art’s programme for the 1940 Concert of Mexican Music in which Warhol found the picture he based his illustration for the Columbia Records 1949 10″ LP A Program of Mexican Music — one of Warhol’s very first commissions after moving to New York in the summer of 1949.
It is general knwledge that Andy Warhol was unhappy with Mick Jagger’s alterations to the design of the Rolling Stones Love You Live album, released in 1977. Warhol’s original design did not include the band’s name or the record’s title, but Jagger added them. Advertisements for the album, however, used Warhol’s original design without Jagger’s additions. A double page ad was placed in the June 1977 copy of Interview Magzine.
It wasn’t until 1980 that Warhol made portraits of The Beatles for Geoffrey Stokes’s book of the same name. The hardback first edition of the book had a second dust jacket with Warhol’s Beatle portraits without the title.
In 1981-2 Stockholm’s National Museum hosted an exhibition of record cover art, one of the first ever exhibitions that was devoted solely to record covers. The exhibition was called Ytans innehåll, which means the What’s inside the surface. I visited the exhibition and have the catalogue as well as the poster, autographed by Andy Warhol.
There is going to be a Warhol / Banksy exhibition in Catania, Sicily, this autumn. perhaps some of these items might appear there.
Record Store Day this year is once again affected by the Covid pandemic and there will be a double drop first on June 12th and then a second on July 17th.
I haven’t had much luck in the past finding RSD releases that fit in with my collections. In fact I have only two records in my collections from previous RSDs. The Norman Dolph Acetate version of the Velvet Underground & Nico from 2013.
I bought that one soon after it was released and it would take until earlier this year before I bought my next RSD release. I started collecting David Shrigley’s record cover art and found that he had designed the cover for Stephen Malkmus & Friends’ live version of Can’s Ege Bamyasi album. This was a limited edition on released on red vinyl in the U.S. and green vinyl in Europe in 2013. Finding a copy wasn’t too easy, but I eventually found one on Discogs.
When I saw the drop lists for 2021’s RSD releases I scrolled through without too much hope of finding anything that fitted in with my collections. However, I was excited to see that a 40th anniversary revamped album by The Who was listed. This was Face Dances, with cover design by Peter Blake.
I was really happy to find a copy and examine it thoroughly. While the cover art is still Peter Blake’s original design, the package has been art directed by Blake fan Richard Evans. Evans has been involved with The Who’s recod design evre since the original Face Dances album was released in 1981. He designed the cover to an album of an interview with Pete Townsend talking about Face Dances, called Filling in the Gaps. Note how he has copied Peter Blake’s handwriting on “The Who” at the top.
The new edition of Face Dances is a double album, one on translucent blue vinyl and one on yellow vinyl, with live tracks on side four. Richard Evans has included the cover image from Filling in the Gaps on the inner sleeve to the second disc. The package also conrtains four prints of the cover portraits.
So now there are the three Record Store Day LPs in my collection. I haven’t seen any from the July releases that would fit in my collections.
My friend Tasso von Haussen keeps me up to date on record and CD covers with Banksy connections. He recently sent me pictures of four 12″ releases on the Bow Wow label by Buckfunk 3000 (2 Much Booty, 2004), Product.01 (The Loud EP, 2004), Speed Baby – aka Tim Wright (Taken / Lurcher, 2004) and Bass Kittens (Rise of the Machines, 2005) that all use a modification of Banksy’s Dog with Rocket Launcher design.
Next he found a test pressing of a split EP by Embalming Theatre / Tersanjung XIII (Mommy Died – Mummified / Hellnoise) on the Rotten to the Core label. The six-track EP was released in 2013 in a limited edition — 100 copies on clear vinyl and 400 on black vinyl.
However, the test pressing had a different cover.
According to Discogs, there are fifteen copies of the test pressing and, after being in contact with the band, I have to admit that the chances of finding one are probably close to zero. The cover image is, of course, a modification of Banksy’s I Fought the Law print. I was surprised to learn from my discussions with the band that they had no idea this was a Banksy design. I then contacted the band’s record label, Rotten to the Core Records to ask who designed the cover of the test pressing. Here is the reply from Robert Janis, the company’s owner: It’s a Banksy piece. I’m the one who designed the test press cover. He even sent a copy of Banksy’s original artwork.
Another friend supplied me with the original image from which Banksy created his print:
So, in order to keep my Banksy collection as complete as possible, I need to get hold of a copy of this test pressing… The only sure way seems to be to make my own. I asked for scans of the cover and record label and, after a considerable amount of work, this what I came up with.
I decided to make a limited edition of ten numbered copies, plus five artists proofs. The scan I had to base my design on was somewhat overexposed and I thought there was a thin white border round the greyish outer border. A later, better photo, showed that there was no white border. My first attempt was in pure monochrome, as shown above. However, a more recent, clearer photo, supplied by Tasso von Haussen, shows that the cover has a bluish tinge. I’m not sure how much the plastic protective cover controbutes to the bluishness, though.
I’m still trying to work out how to add the blue overcoat to the black an white image. In order to distinguish my reproductions from the origials, I have made proper sleeves that the record slips in and out of, rater than the single, foled sheet of paper that the real test pessings have.
I decided that it would be fun to use real Embalming Theatre / Tersanjung 13 EPs and give them white labels. So I got back in touch with the band and ordered more copies. Bear in mind that these are a limited edition of 400 black vinyl EPs, so now I own about 2,5 per cent of the edition.