More additions to my Warhol cover collection

When I first tried to collect all known record covers designed or illustrated by Andy Warhol I counted about sixty-five covers. I wanted to put on an exhibition of his record covers and but I had little knowledge about his early work in the 1950s and had no idea there were colour variations of some of the early covers. Paul Maréchal’s book “Andy Warhol: The Record Covers 1949-1987. Catalogue Raisonné” had not yet been published. I had the great good fortune to have made contact with Warhol collector Guy Minnebach who helped put on the exhibition by lending some of these early covers.

Since 2008 there has been an enormous amount of new knowledge about Warhol’s record cover art, greatly aided by Paul Maréchal’s book. Several record covers have been identified as being illustrated by Warhol. So the search has continued. Over the past months I have managed to find a further four Warhol sleeves; two vinyl covers and two CDs.

There has been considerable debate as to whether the three albums released in 1957 on RCA Victor Bluebird Classical label were illustrated by Warhol. However, they are now generally accepted as being Warhol covers. These three albums are:
– Byron Janis: Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” coupled with Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” (LBC-1045)
– Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Sevitsky, cond.) Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” coupled with Grieg’s “Symphonic Dances” (LBC-1059).
– Erica Morini: Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” (LBC-1061)
I suppose the acid test of their acceptance will be seeing whether they are included in Paul Maréchal’s new book “The Complete Commissioned Record Covers” due to be published in early 2015. [Note added January 21st, 2016: The second edition of Maréchal’s book includes the Tchaikovsky “Violin Concerto” but does NOT include the “Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances” covers.)

Tchaikovky's Violin Concerto.
Tchaikovky’s Violin Concerto.
Cover of the "Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances" album.
Cover of the “Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances” album.
Byron Janis recording of "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Grand Canyon Suite".
Byron Janis recording of “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Grand Canyon Suite”.

Rarest of these three is, without doubt, the “Porgy and Bess / Symphonic Dances” and I had been looking for a copy since 2008 and just before Christmas 2014 I found one in lovely condition that I could afford. That completed my collection of the three Bluebird Classics albums.

From the sublime to the cor blimey. Like most other collectors of Warhol covers I keep regular checks of what is on sale on Ebay and other internet markets. There is one seller from Germany who manages to find some interesting records and CDs with covers by famous artists, not only by Warhol. It is always worth checking what is on offer on that site. Then trying to find the same item cheaper elsewhere. Well, I saw the Diana Ross “So Close” 7-inch single in a poster pack on the site with a ridiculous starting price. So the search began to find a cheaper copy. About ten minutes later the mission was accomplished.

The Diana Ross "So Close" single in its poster cover.
The Diana Ross “So Close” single in its poster cover.

As readers of this blog may remember I have made mock ups of several extremely rare early Warhol covers. Among these was a cover for a double EP with the”Progressive Piano” design. As Warhol cover collectors know this disc was never released, but I wanted to add the cover to my collection. Lithographs of cover designs for both a 10-inch and 7-inch version exist in The Warhol Museum. So, having found the front cover image, I needed to find a rear cover that would possibly have been used. I went to the double EP of Toscanini’s recording of the William Tell and Semiramide Overtures on the RCA Victor label. It transpires that there are at least two variants of the rear cover design. The one I used is:

The rear cover used on the "Progressive Piano" mock-up.
The rear cover used on the “Progressive Piano” mock-up.

I have now managed to find the record with the alternative rear cover:

The alternative rear cover on the "William Tell" Overture" .
The alternative rear cover on the “William Tell” Overture” .

Perhaps I shall decide to make an alternative “Progressive Piano” sleeve using this rear cover.

Again, I saw a couple of CD from this German Ebay seller; both at rather inflated prices. One is a various artists CD called “Open Ends: Musical Exploration in New York 1960-2000” released in 2000 by the Museum of Modern Art. The cover image is nine of Warhol’s 1967 self portraits. ANd I found a cheaper copy after a short Internet search.

The booklet from "Open Ends: Musical Exploration in New York 1960-2000". Released by the Museum of Modern Art.
The booklet from “Open Ends: Musical Exploration in New York 1960-2000”. Released by the Museum of Modern Art.

Also on the German seller’s site was a CD entitled “The Mystery of Do-Re-Mi” with baritone Christopher Gabbitas accompanied by lutist David Miller with a starting price of $49. I found one on Amazon for $4. The cover uses a detail of Warhol’s rendering of Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” from his Renaissance Details series from 1987. Another CD that used another image from the same series was Karl-Aage Rasmussen’s “Three Friends: Works for Symphonetta” from 1993 that uses Warhol’s “The Annunciation”.

"The Mystery of Do-Re-Mi" by Christopher Gabbitas and David Miller. Image from Warhol's "Birth of Venus".
“The Mystery of Do-Re-Mi” by Christopher Gabbitas and David Miller. Image from Warhol’s “Birth of Venus”.

I also thought I had bought a copy of The Velvet Underground’s bootleg LP “Psychedelic Sounds From the Gymnasium”. But, I had not read the article description and was somewhat disappointed to find that I had ordered the CD. But the cover image is the same as that on the LP.

The Velvet Underground's "Psychedelic Sounds From the Gymnasium".
The Velvet Underground’s “Psychedelic Sounds From the Gymnasium”.

So there, I have been able to add another six Warhol covers added to my collection. There are still more out there. Some extremely rare and some not so rare. I will never manage to collect all the record and CD covers that have art by Andy Warhol, but I’m going to keep trying.

The Sources of Andy Warhol’s record cover art, Part 2 – The Rolling Stones

Part one of this series on the sources of Andy Warhol’s record cover art dealt with the images on the covers of Rolling Stones bootleg albums. It seems logical to devote the second part to the three official Rolling Stones covers designed by Andy Warhol. Well, actually, there should be four official album covers that he designed for the Stones – but the design for their 1969 Greatest Hits album has been lost after Mick Jagger (was said to have) refused it. The three covers are (of course):
– Sticky Fingers (1971)
– The Rolling Stones (promotional EP) 1977
– Love You Live (1977)

Sticky Fingers
In 1969 Andy Warhol is said to have suggested to Mick Jagger at a party that he would like to design a record cover with a working zip. Jagger remembered this in 1969 when recording the Stones’ first album to be released on their own label, Rolling Stones Records. He wrote a letter to Warhol expressing his satisfaction that Warhol had agreed to design the cover.

Mick Jagger's 1969 letter to Andy Warhol sending him material and a copy of Sticky Fingers and asking him to design somerthing wild.
Mick Jagger’s 1969 letter to Andy Warhol sending him material and a copy of Sticky Fingers and asking him to design something wild.

So, what about the photo? There is uncertainty about who the model was and even discussion about who actually took the photograph. It is usually credited to Warhol. The identity of the model has never been confirmed, though many assumed the model was Jagger, it has often been rumoured to be either a hanger-on at the Factory, Warhol’s studio, named Joe Dallesandro, or Factory artist and designer Corey Tippin.

The album package was designed by Craig Braun who realized there had to be an extra layer of cardboard to protect the record from the zipper; that layer features another Warhol shot of a different man, possibly the twin brother of Warhol’s boyfriend and assistant Jed Johnson or journalist Glenn O’Brien, this time in his jockey shorts which (barely) contained him. The picture of a man’s pelvic region clad only in a revealing pair of white underpants was stamped with Andy Warhol’s stamp. Sticky Fingers was the first Stones record to show the  tongue logo, which has often erroneously been credited to Warhol. It was in fact designed by Ernie Cefalu and his version was used for much of the merchandising and was the design originally shown to the band by Craig Braun. However, the design used for the album was done by John Pasche.

While the cover of “Brown Sugar / Bitch”, the number one single from the album, in most countries had a portrait of the group taken by Peter Webb. However, in Mexico the single and an EP used the Warhol photographs.

"Azucar Morena" EP - front and rear cover.
“Azucar Morena” EP – front and rear cover.

There was also a shaped picture disc that used the classic Warhol image.

"Brown Sugar / Bitch" picture disc single.
“Brown Sugar / Bitch” picture disc single.

The Rolling Stones (promotional EP)
This four track EP was released in 1977 as a trailer for the forthcoming “Love You Live” double album. Warhol had taken a number of Polaroid photographs of the band members licking or biting each other or just sticking their tongues out. There seem to have been about twenty-five polaroids and these were printed on tablecloths used at the

Warhol's Polaroid photographs on the "Love You Live" launch tablecloth.
Warhol’s Polaroid photographs on the “Love You Live” launch tablecloth

“Love You Live” launch party thrown by the Stones at the New York’s club Trax, September 27, 1977.

The EP was released as a black vinyl EP in a picture sleeve bearing four of the Polaroid pictures.

The Rolling Stones' promotional EP cover.
The Rolling Stones’ promotional EP cover.

A picture disc EP also appeared with the same catalogue number. However, this was probably a bootleg.

Love You Live
Released on 23rd September 1977 was a double album with a gatefold sleeve designed by Warhol. His original design did not include the album title or the band name, which apparently were added by Mick Jagger much to Warhol’s annoyance. The front cover picture is of Mick Jagger biting what looks like a child’s hand – probably that of his daughter Jade. The inner sleeves show two profiles, possible Charlie Watts,  with extended pink tongues painted in.

Both “Sticky Fingers” and “Love You Live” have become classic record cover designs and rank with Warhol’s banana cover for “The Velvet Underground & Nico” as his best known covers.