Vinyl records with cover art by the artist known as Banksy were released in relatively limited quantities and have become very collectible. Two promotional records are particularly interesting for collectors as their covers are hand sprayed by Banksy. These are the Capoiera Twins‘ 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out 12″ single released in 1999, and Röyksopp‘s Melody A.M. album issued as a double LP in 2001. Both were editions of 100–the Capoiera Twins single unnumbered and Röyksopp‘s album hand numbered. I have previously written about the 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out cover and how I was swindled by what I now consider an unethical dealer here.
In this post I want to discuss the Melody A.M. cover.
I bought my copy of this album (No. 84/100) in 2011–before prices really started to skyrocket. It was sold to me by DJ who needed the money as he was getting married. All the copies I had seen up to that point had the cover art sprayed in dark green paint and I was initially disappointed in that my copy was sprayed in a much lighter green. I was suspicious that perhaps this was some sort of copy, but the records and press release were obviously genuine, so perhaps the colour had faded. Recently. however, I have seen several more covers with this light green printing.
The covers pictured above have numbers 20, 34, 46, 56 and 68. Both the olive green versions have the highest numbers and my copy is number 84. So it seems that Banksy changed the colour of the paint at about number 50 (the exact number still has to be confirmed.) Perhaps he just ran out of the dark green spray and took the next best thing.
Thus there really are TWO versions of the promo cover for the Melody A.M. album — the dark green and the pale/olive green varieties. For completeness my collection should include both — that’s how I got to meet Ed Cartwright.
Ed had advertised a copy of the dark green version and we began an email correspondence, finally agreeing a price. Ed didn’t want to trust this rare album to the risks of sending by post or even by private carrier, so he suggested he would deliver it in person, if I agreed to contribute to his flight costs. What could be safer? Done deal. Ed is an interesting character. He is heavily involved in the music industry, managing bands and doing PR work and the occasional DJ gig. He has a huge vinyl collection. Most pertinent to the Röyksopp album, though, is the fact that he worked for Wall of Sound records (Röyksopp‘s label) around 2001-2 when their Melody A.M. album was released. In his office, he apparently was entrusted with a number of these promotional albums. He sold one in 2011 and now wants to rebuild his kitchen so wanted to sell another copy.
So on Friday, March 6th, 2020 Ed flew in to deliver the album. It is number 12/100. Ed could confirm that the initial fifty or so covers were sprayed with the darker green spray paint and suggests that the can ran out and the lighter, olive green spray paint was used for the remainder. Ed says that he knew the guy who sprayed the covers was named Robin. Wall of Sound records asked him to make the covers as a PR exercise, (there may even have been a film of the covers being sprayed), but as Banksy was almost unknown at that time, the information was never used.
This cover art may not be the greatest thing the artist known as Banksy has ever produced (actually, it’s pretty crappy) but it completes my collection of record and CD covers with his art. Okay, I hear you — I should NEVER say my collection is complete! But until I find something new I’m happy.
Here are my two covers (Nos 12 and 84):