Once again a record cover turns up to prove that my previously “complete” collection of an artist’s record cover art isn’t complete.
I’m trying to write a discography of Sir Peter Blake’s record cover art and had produced a first draft when it occurred to me to do a search of Discogs’s database. Discogs logs credits to many (most?) of the records, CDs and cassettes catalogued there and users can easily choose to search for individual musicians, record producers or, indeed, graphic artists. My rather belated search turned up a surprise:
I had never seen this cover before but it certainly looks like a Peter Blake painting and the rear cover gives Peter Blake the credit. So I sent an email to Sir Peter’s gallery, the Waddington Custot Gallery in London, to enquire about the source of the painting. Unfortunately they had not handled a painting like this but assured me they would ask Sir Peter if and when an opportunity arose. I’m still waiting for a possible reply to that.
This U.S., 1990, four-track, promotional EP seems quite rare. I can’t quite understand how it managed to slip under my radar for so long, but I managed to find one on Discogs and it arrived this week (23 rd September) to “complete” my Peter Blake collection. I now eagerly await the next Peter Blake cover I have never seen. It’s bound to turn up soon.
In a previous post I described the posters I collected in the sixties and I promised I’d write about some of my own poster designs.
I started painting posters while at University, in the late sixties. My collecge, Guy’s Hospital had an active social club and somehow I got involved and someone had to produce adverts for dances, lectures, plays etc., and that someone turned out to be me. I can’t remember how I got elected to this honorary position but it resulted in the production of many posters over a period of two or three years and then, after a long hiatus, I started painting again in the nineties and started doing silkscreen courses in the past five or six years.
As there were noticeboards in various locations about the Guy’s campus, three or four posters were needed for each event. That meant much work late at night. After a while Andrew Batch joined in and we worked together to produce our posters. A few were actually printed by a south London silkscreen firm, but mostly we hung our original paintings.
This poster was not for any event, but was a sort of challenge between Andrew and me. We would each paint a poster with this girl’s face and this was my version. I was particularly proud of this and took it to Gear in Carnaby Street, and they offered me £25 for it! I thought that wasn’t enough and walked way (how stupid can you get? £25 was a lot of money in 1967!) I later paid for it to be printed and sold a few for £1 each. I didn’t make £25, though.
Here are some posters for lectures.
And some posters for plays.
Now for some pure art posters:
Finally some of the posters for parties, dances and balls:
All these posters are hand painted using gouache on paper.
Some of my later work includes paintings and silkscreens.
Some other series:
I have always been interested in record cover art and when a cover eiother doesn’t exist, or is so rare / expensive that I will never be able to get it, following in the tradition of other artists like Elaine Sturtevant, I can make my own version. thus far I have recreated Andy Warhol’s & Billy Klüver’s 1963 Giant Size $1.57 Each cover (2013 — the 50th anniversary of its original production)
Other warhol covers I have recreated include the LP and EP, the extremely rare box sets Night Beat and Voices and Events.
I hav also made some reproductions of record covers with cover art by Banksy. The most recent being the rare test pressing of Embalming Theatre / Tersanjung 13 split 7″ entitled Mommy Died – Mummified / Hellnoise.
I have other artworks, too, but I think this is enough for this post. Perhaps I’ll return to the remainder later.
When at University in the sixties I used to paint posters for dances, balls and parties. Having limited imgination, however, I found inspiration from many sources. I bought Michael English’s posters of Coke bottletops, Fried eggs and, as one half of Hapshash & the Coloured Coat (with Nigel Weymouth) the third issue of English OZ magazine.
Unfortunately, I no longer have these two, but I do still have:
While still a student, I used to spend Saturdays walking down the King’s Road, Chelsea, bird-watching. I found a boutique somewhere near the Town Hall that sold psychedelic postcards/handbills by artists such as Wes Wilson, Rick Griffin, Mouse & Kelley and, probably my favourite, Victor Moscoso. These were for concerts at the legendary Fillmore West and Avalon Ballroom. I managed to find forty of these and, some time later, my brother sent me a further postcard from a concert at the Fillmore East, making forty-one in all. I’ve spent a happy hour or two cataloging them, and here’s the result.
I have no idea if any of these are particularly rare — but I still think they are beautiful and many seved as inspirations for my own poster designs that I’ll show in a forthcoming post.
I used to collect stamps. I had a brilliant collection (I thought), but it just stayed in my cellar storage when I moved on to record collecting. Eventually I sold most of it, but I keep finding remnants — first day covers, or bits of sheets of stamps whenever I go through old boxes of books or such.
I saw that Madagascar (of all places) had released a set of stamps with Banksy’s art in 2018. They released two mini sheets — One with four Malagasy Ariary 18.00 postage stamps and the other with a single Malagasy Ariary 65.00 diamond-shaped stamp.
Some further research, via that well-known research engine, Ebay, turned up an even earlier use of Banksy’s art on a mini sheet of stamps produced in a prestige stamp booklet by the Royal Mail on January 7th, 2010. This booklet was produced to celebrate famous record covers: Pink Floyd — The Division Bell, Coldplay — A Rush of Blood to the Head, Blur — Parklife, New Order — Power Corruption and Lies, The Rolling Stones — Let It Bleed, The Clash — London Calling, Mike Oldfield — Tubular Bells, Led Zeppelin — IV, Primal Scream — Screamadelica and David Bowie — The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
However, also included in the booklet were two mini sheets of ordinary definitive stamps (i.e. standard stamps bearing only the Queen’s head). One of these had a Banksy connection.
So I rekindlled my stamp-collecting and added these to my Banksy collection.
There are rare records that can take some time to find. One such was an early LP by the Swedish band bob hund. It was called Omslag: Martin Kann and is (as far as I know) only the second LP to only have the designer’s, not the band’s, name on the cover. The first is, of course, The Velvet Underground & Nico with only Andy Warhol’s name on the front.) The bob hund LP took me seven years to find!
There is an LP with Andy Warhol’s art that I’ve been trying to find since 2008. That is the longest time I’ve been searching. But there’s another release that has taken ten years to find.
Sometime in 2010 I found, on a website, an illustrated list of records and CDs with cover art by Banksy. I had seen most, if not all, of the covers pictured except one — for a CD called Monkeys With Car Keys. It was a relatively poor quality thumbnail picture with an URL across it.
Of course, I tried to reach THEBANKSYFORUM.COM but it lead to notbanksyforum and I couldn’t find any details about the CD. Thus began a longterm search for a CD I really wasn’t sure even existed.
Fast forward to late 2020. By this time I had been looking out for this CD for ten years without success. I mailed a photo of the thumbnail picture to a friend who had roots in Bristol and he confirmed that Banksy had painted this design as a mural in the late 90s
Sadly, the mural has since disappeared. However, a couple of months later my friend told me he had actually found the CD and sent me a copy!
So it does really does exist! I am thrilled that my ten-year search has finally ended and I have been able to add this desperately rare CD to my collection. My sincerest thanks are due to my friend who found it for me.
Followers of this blog will remember how I have, on several occasions, noted (and not without a degree of smugness) that this or that collection now is complete, only to discover a short time later some new item I had missed. I’ve said it about my Warhol, Banksy, Kate Moss, Damien Hirst, Klaus Voormann and Peter Blake collections. The one I was most certain about was my collection of Peter Blake’s record covers. There just aren’t that many of them and so I thought I had it covered (pun intended).
Just imagine my chagrin earlier this week when I did a little search on Discogs that turned up not one, but FOUR covers that I had missed. Okay, so three of them were Paul Weller CD singles taken from his 1995 Stanley Road album that only incorporated small bits of Peter Blake art on their covers — I could sort of dismiss them as not really being Peter Blake covers. But there is one I can’t excuse: the cover to a 1990 U.S. 12″ promotional EP by The Fall called I’m Frank.
The track I’m Frank appeared on the Fall’s 1990 Extricate album and this 12″ includes two other tracks from the LP and a bonus track, Zandra. It was only released in the U.S. The EP isn’t included in The Fall’s discography on Rate Your Music.
The Paul Weller CD singles with Peter Blake art that I missed are: – You Do Something To Me – Digipak CD, – A French promo 2-track CD entitled Stanley Road, – Broken Stones – Digipak CD
The 4 DVD set of the Live 8 Concert from July 2nd 2005 includes a picture of Peter Blake’s poster for the event.
So now I have to add all these to my book manuscript on Peter Blake’s Record Cover Art. But, I really can’t be sure that I now have found all the covers with Peter Blake’s art. I expect more to turn up as soon as I close this post.