Pete Townsend and Peter Blake are mates and when Pete needed cover art for The Who’s first new recording since 2004, he turned to Peter. The album, entitled WHO, was release on 6th December 2019.
This is the second album cover Peter Blake has designed for The Who. The previous one, Face Dances, was released in 1981, and the cover for this latest Who album includes a reference to that album in the lower right hand corner. The layout of the cover is also reminicent of the Face Dances cover but with a five-by-five layout instead of the four-by-four layout.
The album is released by Polydor Records and they have gone to town. There are at least four different vinyl versions:
1. Standard 11-track black 33 rpm vinyl LP
2. Limited edition double 45 rpm LP with a separate 10″ vinyl with three extra tracks only available through The Who Store
3. A limited edition (5000 copies) HMV exclusive double LP with the 11-track album on black vinyl and a special cream-coloured extra LP of The Who’s greatest hits
4. Limited edition 11-track picture disc.
The Who-WHO picture disc.
And then there are possibly four different CDs:
1. Standard 11-track CD in jewel case
2. Deluxe 14-track CD including three tracks not on the standard issue. This comes in a jewel case with slipcase (see picture above)
3. 11-track CD with vinyl look autographed by Pete Townsend inside the centre spread
4. 14-track CD in special cover signed on the outside by Pete.
– limited edition music cassette.
Collecting all these variations will cost a small fortune.
I’m constantly on the look out for record and CD covers with cover art by the artist known as Banksy. Ebay seems to be a real treasure trove and a great place to do research. I recently saw a copy of a cover for a seven inch version of DJ Danger Mouse’s 2008 unofficial Keep It Real / Laugh Now single. Well I have never seen one of these before and was immediately suspicious that it could be a fake. However, as a well-known faker myself, there was one detail in the item description that suggested that it may actually be genuine. If I was going to make a seven inch cover of this record that, as far as I know, has only been released as a 12″, I would simply photograph the front and rear of the cover, reduce the photos to the correct size in Photoshop, align them together and get my printer to print the result on glossy 300 gm paper. But the photos of this Ebay item showed that the artist, record title and catalogue number were printed on the spine. I’ve tried to replicate text on a thin strip to use as a spine and have found it nigh on impossible–so the appearance of text on the spine of this cover suggests to me it is genuine.
I made an offer for it and after some haggling managed to buy it. It is beautiful and in mint condition.
The front cover of the 7″ single.
The rear cover of the 7″ single.
The seller told me that he had acquired the cover along with a couple of printers’ proofs sometime around 2011. apparently Danger Mouse had planned to release a seven inch version of the single and had a limited number of covers printed before abandoning the idea.
Here’s what the cover looks like with a single inserted.
We had been planning a revamp of our wardrobes almost from the moment we moved into out current abode seven years ago. Finally, last spring, we finally decided that we should get on with it. This involved moving a wall to enlarge our closet so that we could fit wardobes and cupboards on both sides. I planned for three metres of shelf space to house my record and CD collection. Unfortunately, there was no way to fit the three metres horizontally, so I had to arrange them vertically. And in mid-October everything was complete and I could fetch a crate of records from our storeroom in the cellar and arrange them om the new shelves.
My collection of Andy Warhol record covers was returned from the exhibition at Moderna Museet in Malmö at the same time and I could unpack the records and shelve them somewhat haphazardly until I had time to sort them properly. Almost simultaneously my collection of Banksy record and CD covers was dispatched to Genoa for the “Il Secondo Principio di un artista chiamatio Banksy” exhibition there.
Over the past weeks I have sorted the records and CDs according to designers–a shelf for Peter Blake’s record covers, two for Andy Warhol covers, spaces for Damien Hirst’s and Klaus Voormann’s covers and separate shelves for CDs (where all artists’ covers are collected together for the first time).
But as I began sorting the covers returned from the Warhol 1968 exhibition in Malmö I couldn’t find three covers that I knew had been returned but just didn’t seem to be among all the others. Two were irreplaceable–Paul Anka’s The Painter album signed by both Anka and Andy Warhol and Ultra Violet by Superstar Ultra Violet. The third album was the US promo of John Cale’s The Academy in Peril, which isn’t too hard to find. I was desperate. I could buy a new copy of the John Cale album but I wouldn’t be able to afford new copies of the Ultra Violet and Paul Anka covers, even if they were available.
I spent three days going through every cover looking for these three. I took all the covers out looking for them, even opening gatefold sleeves to see if they had slipped inside but to no avail. I really thought the covers were lost. Had I really got them back from Malmö? I was about to contact Moderna Museet when I remembered that I had checked the returned covers by clipping the album title out from the delivery list accompanying the delivery and slipped each clipping into each respective record’s plastic protective sleeve (you can see the little strips in each cover in the photo). So, obviously I had received the records–so where were they? I spent the third night worrying and slept badly. On the fourth day I decided I’d go through the shelves for a final time.I started at the top and removed box sets and opened them to see if I had unconsciously put the records in them. They weren’t there, of course, but I did find some singles/EPs that I thought I had lost when I sold the major part of my record collection nearly six years ago–among them three German-pressed Count Basie EPs with Andy Warhol’s Basie portrait on the covers and two rare promotional CDs for the Hours’ Ali in the Jungle in a silver-covered booklet.
And, in addition, I found some other singles with Warhol cover art–The Silver Apples (Fractal Flow / Lovefingers), Jeanne Moreau & Günther Kaufmann (Each Man Kills the Things He Loves) and the seven inch EP box of Hugo Winterhalter’s recording of Rhapsody in Blue / Grand Canyon Suite. I am very pleased to be able to reintroduce these “lost” items into my collection.
I went through all seven shelves of records starting at the top, took out all the CDs sifted through a pile of singles and when I finally reached the bottom shelf, I found the three missing Warhol albums together right at the start of the covers lined up there. It was as if someone had removed them knowing I would be sorting the collection and then taken pity on me seeing my misery and carefully replaced them! Had they been there previously I would have found them. I mean I took every record out several times. Poltergeist? Someone or something from “the other side”? Any other explanaiton?
Anyway, having found the missing LPs–and a load more stuff I thought I’d lost–I can at last store my records where I can find them and have everything in order.