New cover art by Sir Peter Blake.

Towards the end of September, I came across a Rolling Stones CD with cover art by Andy Warhol that I had not seen before. A search for a possible source lead me to a seller in Japan from whom I bought a copy and thereby found myself on the seller’s mailing list. A newsletter arrived at the end of November and I scrolled through it to see if there were any another Stones CDs with Warholian art that I had missed–with no success. BUT–there was a CD box with a portrait of Eric Clapton that looked suspiciously like a recent Peter Blake portrait. Enlarging the cover picture showed that it really was by Peter Blake–and even had his signature. This was a 14 CD box of all seven concerts that Clapton played at London’s Royal Albert Hall between 14th and 23rd May 2015 to celebrate Clapton‘s 70th birthday that was on 30th March. The set is released on the Mid Valley label and must be a bootleg.

Further Internet searches showed that Clapton had also played two concerts at Madison Square Garden on 1st and 3rd May as part of his birthday celebrations. There had been a common programme for all nine concerts–a LP-sized book with the same picture on one cover and the same portrait of the other but with the Madison Square Garden text.


So I bought a copy! Inside was a further portrait of Eric holding a card with other  portraits, drawn by his daughters, Sophie, Ella and Julie:

Well, I had to have the CD box to “complete” my collection of Peter Blake covers but when I returned to the Japanese site it was listed as being out of stock! A feverish Internet search ensued which eventually lead me back to an Ebay seller in Japan who had copies for sale and within four days it had arrived! And then I had another surprise. The same seller advertised a 3 CD set of the Madison Square Gardens concerts! The cover art was again taken from the programme cover:

So I placed an order for this one, too.

I then noticed that there was an official album of Clapton‘s Royal Albert Hall Concerts released on CD, DVD and vinyl called “Slowhand at 70 – Live at The Royal Albert Hall” but the cover art is not by Peter Blake.
And then I started googling Eric Clapton bootlegs. I was astounded by the number available. It would seem that almost every concert Clapton has played since the early 1990s has been bootlegged. Thus it is completely logical that Reprise Records released a double CD and Double LP of Clapton‘s 1991 “24 Nights” series of concerts at The Royal Albert Hall in order to cash in on the interest in his live performances. I found that there were several bootlegs of individual concerts from the “24 Nights” series available. The majority had covers showing photographs of Clapton in various poses take at the concerts, but two–one with a recording from the first night (5th February 1991) and one from the fourth night (9th February 1991) used some of Peter Blake‘s drawings from the cover of the official release. Here is the “First Night” cover:

and here is the “Fourth Night“:

The “First Night” is a double CD while the “Fourth Night” is a double CD-r.

These four CD sets are the first bootlegs that I have been able to discover that use Peter Blake’s art. I wonder if he knows about them? Probably not!

I shall continue to search for others.

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