October 2012 will be a memorable month with new record cover art by two of modern record cover art’s great exponents. First the German group Fools Garden release their new CD “Who Is Jo King?” (get the pun?) with cover art highly reminiscent of Klaus’ cover for The Beatles’ 1966 album “Revolver”.
Then, on the 29th October, Madness release their first album on their new label Cooking Vinyl entitled “Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da” with cover art by Sir Peter Blake. Peter Blake celebrated his 80th birthday on 25th June 2012 and I rate this cover as one of his most humorous.
I started out collecting record covers that had been illustrated by or designed by Andy Warhol, which should not have been too controversial. It was relatively easy to spot designs that were obviously by him. Added to which, The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh had many of Warhol’s original designs so a basic collection of covers with art by Warhol based on these designs made collecting easy. However, it now appears that there are many covers that Warhol designed for which no record seems to exist in The Warhol’s archives. The Vladimir Horowitz “Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Liszt” is one such. The Gershwin / Grofé cover of “Rhapsody In Blue / Grand Canyon Suite” and the covers for Margarita Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish are LP covers now generally accepted as being illustrated by Warhol. In addition there are the 7″ EPs “Latin Rhythms” by Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops and The Century Symphony Orchestra’s “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr” which are also clearly Warhol illustrations. The RATFAB single from 1984 is a further example.
Covers bearing Warhol’s art which were not designed or sanctioned by him began to appear in Warhol’s lifetime, usually on bootlegs such as The Rolling Stones “Emotional Tattoo” or The Falling Spikes “Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes”. A couple of new examples have turned up recently. Andi Sexgang’s debut LP “Blind!” has “Multiple Elvises” on the cover and Ciccone Youth’s (Sonic Youth’s alter ego) cover of Madonna’s “Into the Groove(y) / Burnin’ Up” single appeared in 1985. These have only recently been added to the list of Warhol covers. In the 25 years since his death many others have appeared either by artists who have been painted by Warhol, such as Russell Means and Simeon of The Silver Apples. Means had had his portrait painted in Warhol’s series of Native Americans and Simeon when he was a Factory associate in 1969. There are a number of other releases that bear Warhol’s art. A reissue CD of Marilyn Monroe’s music “Happy Birthday Mr. President” has Warhol’s iconic “Blue Marilyn” on the cover. M.T.T.’s “Caught from Behind” and Cultura’s “Andy Warhol by Cultura” Double CD (this one had their use of Warhol’s art sanctioned by The Warhol Foundation.)
Then there is a third category of “Warhol” covers, those that use images made by Warhol’s Factory associates. Gerard Malanga’s photography of Loredana Berté on her “Made in Italy” LP and the single from that album and Mananga’s photograph of Edie Sedgewick that The Cult used on their 1986 “Edie Ciao Baby” single. The Smiths used stills from Warhol’s films on many of their covers (for example their debut album “The Smiths”and a portrait of Candy Darling on “Sheila Take a Bow” single) and some consider these to be “Warhol” covers, too.
One item is difficult to classify: in 1994 The Warhol Museum released a CD of recordings of Andy Warhol’s interviews called “Andy Warhol From Tapes”together with the Museum’s inaugural book. The CD was available as a stand alone CD with a detail from Warhol’s “Flowers” printed on the CD, or it was available attached to the front cover of the Museum’s book. Being released by The Warhol Museum and using Warhol’s art makes this about as near a true Warhol cover as any.
Purists, however, stick only to the covers that Warhol actually had a hand in illustrating or designing. So, where do I stand? My collection of Warhol covers is based on the covers purists agree on. I do have a few of the other items too; such as the Russel Means and the Cultura CDs and the Silver Apples “Fractal Flow” single.