The thing that makes the past year’s collecting Andy Warhol’s record cover art most exciting is, without a doubt, the informal convening of The Warhol Cover Collectors’ Club (WCCC). The Club’s four other members have contributed enormous amounts of enthusiasm and knowledge and found a many record covers with art either by Warhol or that is clearly influenced by him. I cannot thank them all enough for their input and stimulus to keep me up to date.
I have been trying to keep my list of Warhol covers up to date and members of the WCCC have pointed put omissions. I realised during the past year that I have been naive when maintaining this list. I had not realised that it had become a reference site and that posting records there influenced sales of covers and thus prices. In retrospect, I should never have advertised the RATFAB cover – I could have gone on buying copies for under $10 had I not shared its existence with viewers of my list. I’ve learned my lesson, however, and keep “mum” about one rare cover….
I have prided myself on having a fairly good and representative collection of Andy Warhol’s record cover art, although my collection lacked some of the rarer early Warhol covers. Over the past twelve months I have managed to fill several of the major gaps as prices for some of the not-quite-so-rare items have come down somewhat. Thus I have added both volumes of “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish”, “Latin Rhythms by The Boston Pops”, Vladimir Horowitz’ “Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Lizst” to my collection. I was, however, convinced that a couple of the seriously rare covers, such as the “Night Beat” promotional box and the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.” would never find their way into my collection. So, I hatched the idea of making my own and supplying the WCCC with copies for their collections. 2013 just happened to be the fiftieth anniversary of the first production of Andy Warhol’s “Giant Size $1.57 Each” record cover. I hade made a digital copy of this cover for the 2008 “Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol!” exhibition in Piteå, Sweden, but now wanted to produce true copies exactly as Warhol had done. That meant spraying record sleeves with paint and then silkscreening his “Giant Size” image over the painted sleeve. Warhol made prints of the sleeve in five colour variations: red, orange, yellow, green and white. His placement of the silkscreen on each cover was quite sloppy and he was not too bothered if areas of the “Giant Size” motif failed to print. From pictures that I have seen of the rear covers it is clear that he stacked covers on top of one another before the paint was completely dry as there is paint residue on the rear of many sleeves.
In addition to making the “Giant Size $1.57 Each” record covers, I decided to make ten and seven inch versions of the unreleased “Progressive Piano” record as well as the the “Night Beat” promotional box and the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.” EP. Thus I was able to add nine new covers to my collection; “Night Beat”, the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.” and ten and seven inch versions of the “Progressive Piano” album and the five colour variants of the “Giant Size” sleeve.
During the year I also managed to find copies of Keely Smith’s “I Wish You Love” (both LP and EP versions), The Velvet Underground’s bootlegs “Paris 1990” and the red version of “Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes” and several EPs that I was missing, including Joe Newman Octet’s “I’m Still Swinging” (in several variations), Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” in a three EP box, German pressings of Artie Shaw’s “Both Feet in the Groove” and Joe Newman Octet’s “I’m Still Swinging” and a few CDs with Andy Warhol art including Mark Blixtstein / Tobias Pinker “Piano Concerto / Keys to the City” CD, David Cronenberg’s “Cronenberg on Warhol” and Rasmussen’s “Three friends” CD. I also found copies of Walter Steding’s “Dancing in Heaven” LP and “Secret Spy” 45, Aretha Franklin’s “Jerry Lee”, “Rock-a-lott” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and Enola Gay’s “Döda djur” singles and The Smith’s “Sheila Take a Bow” 12 inch.
All in all I have, over the past twelve months, added forty-one titles, including the eight replicas I have made myself, to my collection of Warhol covers. And I have added a few records with covers that resemble Andy Warhol’s art such as The Darling Buds’ “It’s All up to You” and The Velvet Underground’s “Velvet Redux – Live MCMXCIII” Video disc and “Harvest” CD. There are a few bootlegs that I have yet to find, but – as far as I can tell today – no official releases. The final addition to my collection this year is not really a Warhol cover, but the record and catalogue from the 1963 “Popular Image Exhibition” recorded by Billy Klüver with cover art by Warhol’s fellow Pop Artist, Jim Dine.
Here’s wishing all readers a Happy 2014 and much success in their continued collecting of Andy Warhol’s record cover art. I hope we will see a new exhibition of his record sleeves during the year.