Readers may remember my latest artistic effort to recreate the four covers for a projected Billie Holiday album designed by Andy Warhol some toime in the 1950s. Well, Swedish trombonist and band leader Nils Landgren had obiously seen Warhol’ designs as he “borrowed” Warhol’s trombone player from one of the covers.
Here’s my version of the relevant Volume 3 cover:
Nils Landgrens’ latest album
There is no credit to designer of the Funk is My Religion cover but there is a note saying “inspired by Andy Warhol. I wonder how Landgren found this image. Still it’s fun that Warhol’s designs are still turning up on record covers.
Are you a record collector? Do you search for records with record sleeves in perfect or near perfect condition? I certainly do. But I’m prepared to allow my covers to be defaced by allowing the artist or cover designer autograph my covers, and I have many covers so defaced. Recently, I heard about an exhibition in the Netherlands called Vinylize! that showed covers that many graphic artists had “re-imagined” record sleeves by creating new cover art by painting the original sleeves. The exhibition was accompanied by a book that illustrated the covers and included a potted biography of the designers who had re-imagined the original designs.
Stimulated by this exhibition, I took two of my Andy Warhol covers to artist and record shop owner Romain Beltrame to re-imagine the designs.
Even more recently, I heard about Greg Wooton’s book Marred for Life! A pictorial collection of record sleeves defaced by their owners.
Some of the record covers illustrated in the book are simply doodles while some have some artistic quality. Here are three examples from the book.
I must have come across many covers defaced by their owners and felt that the covers had lost their charm. Now I’ll have to rethink my attitude, but not so far as to start collecting defaced record sleeves! I appreciate that even my autographed sleeves are defaced.
Marred for Life! and Vinylize! find their place on my bookshelf where I keep books on record cover design.
When I started collecting Andy Warhol’s record cover more seriously sometime in the early 2000s there weren’t that many covers known to have been designed or illustrated by him. Everyone knew about the Velvet Underground & Nico and the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers but there weren’t many of the early covers that were recognised. Some of his jazz covers were signed but I could still search Ebay for less recognised covers including copies of early records like Cool Gabriels and buy the relatively cheap and resell doubles to fund further purchases. I had a fair collection by 2008 when I was offered the opportunity to put on a show of what I at the time considered to be a COMPLETE collection of Warhol covers. I was helped considerably by Warhol expert Guy Minnebach who had recently discovered important covers. We managed to collect about 65 covers. Then in September 2008 the Warhol Live! exhibition opened at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and included Paul Maréchal’s collection of Warhol’s record covers and his catalogue raisonné of Warhol’s record covers was published (Andy Warhol: Record Covers 19489-1987. Catalogue Raisonné. Prestel, 2008.)
Included in Maréchal’s book was a cover of Loredana Bertè’s 1981 album Made in Italy. The cover photograph was by Warhol’s good friend Christopher Makos. On the rear cover the photograph was credited “Album Concept and Photography Christopher Makos Andy Warhol Studio“. Loredana Bertè spent at least a year in New York in the early 80s learning English and has said she became friends with Andy Warhol and cooked him spaghetti. However, it seems doesn’t seem that Andy Warhol actually had any input into the design of the cover of the Made in Italy album, though he might well have come up with the title. I have always had difficulty in calling the Made in Italy album cover a “Warhol cover”, but who am I to argue with Paul Maréchal?
Interestingly (at least for me) is the fact that Chris Makos provided the portraits for Bertè’s 1983 album Jazz. There are two cover portraits of Loredana — the version of Jazz released in Italy has a photo that looks as though it could have come from the same photo session as the portrait on the Made in Italy album. The version of the same album released in Holland has a different portrait, this one in colour. Both are credited to Chris Makos, New York.
Chris Makos met Warhol probably in 1976 and is credited with showing him the 35 mm camera and its possibilities. He accompanied Warhol on several trips to Europe and took many photographs of him, including the famous series of Warhol in drag.
Should the Jazz album covers also be credited as “Warhol” covers like the Made in Italy album cover? I don’t think so. But then I don’t really think the Made in Italy cover should be included either.
It’s probably a mortal sin, but I’ve allowed two of my Andy Warhol covers to be subjected to remakes by artist Romain Beltrame.
I have duplicates of a few Warhol covers and selected Aretha Franklin’s 1986 album Aretha together with Miguel Bosé’s 1983 Milano – Madrid album for Romain to ‘play’ with.
I left thecovers with him only a week ago and today he mailed me that he was ready. The results are amazing.
I fully realise that collectors of Warhol’s record cover art might be horrified by these re-imagined covers, but I like them and welcome them as new additions to my cover art collection. After all, they are unique.
Andy Warhol was an artist — both commercial and “fine”. But he was so much more beside. He was an author, film maker, photographer, publisher, business mogul, socialite, collector, hoarder and, not least, what today would be called an “influencer”.
All facets of his creativity are represented on the sixty plus record covers he produced during his lifetime and have been almost continuously produced since his death over thirty years ago. Warhol’s film career began with the film Sleep — a five hour and twenty minute monochrome, silent film — starring John Giorno (1936-2019) released in 1964. However, Warhol had already begun filming his Screen Tests a year earlier and by the end of 1966 had filmed over five hundred of these three minute studies, of which four hundred and seventy have survived. The subjects of these Screen Tests were Superstars, friends, sundry famous people, anonymous Factory visitors and associates. They were not intended as screen tests in the film industry meaning of the term. They were not auditions for parts in any of Warhol’s films. They were simply portraits of the sitter. They were simply arranged. Warhol placed his Bolex camera on a tripod, arranged the lighting and seated the sitter so that he or she would be filmed from the shoulders up usually in front of a light background. Such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Dennis Hopper, Salvador Dalí, Allen Ginsburg, Jim Rosenquist and Ivan Karp sat for Screen Tests, along side Factory Superstars such as Edie Sedgwick and Jane Holzer and Factory stalwarts Billy Linich (Billy Name), Gerard Malanga, Mary Woronov and Ondine (Robert Olivo). Of course musicians Nico, Lou Reed and John Cale all sat as did Ed Sanders and Rufus Collins. Steven Watson’s book Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties lists just sixty one of the people portrayed in Screen Tests, many filmed more than once.
While Warhol’s illustrations and commercial art grace the covers of records produced from his earliest days in New York in 1949 through to the early 1960s, in wasn’t until 1978 that a still from one of the Screen Tests appeared on a record cover. This was a still from Susanne de Maria’s screen test. Susanne de Maria Wilson married artist and musician Walter de Maria in 1960. Walter de Maria had joined John Cale, Lou Reed and Ton Conrad in a band called the Primitives, a name suggested by their record label, Pickwick. Susanne de Maria met artist Joseph Cornell in 1962 when she was working at the Museum of Modern Art and became his assistant until 1968. The record that used a still from her Screen test was by a band called Skyline and was a bootleg released on the Four Stars label in 1978. The cover image was identified by Raimund Floeck and Guy Minnebach from illustrations in Callie Angell’s Andy Warhol Screen Tests. The Films of Andy Warhol. Catalogue raisonné, Vol. 1.
No further stills from any of Warhol’s films appeared on record or CD covers in Warhol’s lifetime. The next was John Cale’s Eat/Kiss–Music for the Films of Andy Warhol in 1997. The booklet used stills from both Eat and Kiss.
The following year, the band Hopewell released their CD Contact that used a still from Warhol’s Empire State film as its cover image.
The latest release to feature stills from Screen Tests appeared in 2010 on a 7-inch sigle by Dean and Britta called I’ll Keep it With Mine / It Doesn’t Rain in Beverly Hills. This was released by The Warhol Museum in a limited edition of 500 numbered copies.
The latest release to use stills from a Warhol film was also produced by The Warhol Museum. This was a limited edition double LP of 500 copies released in May 2019 titled Sound for Andy Warhol’s Kiss. The concert by ex Sonic Youth member Kim Gordon (vocals, guitars, harmonica) supported by Bill Nace (guitar, shruti box), Steve Gunn (guitar), and John Truscinski (percussion, electronics) was recorded live in The Warhol theater on August 1 and 2, 2018. The sound score was by Kim Gordon. The gatefold sleeve housed two LPs pressed on clear vinyl. The second disc was single-sided with a silkscreen still image from the film Kiss on the record’s B-side. There is also a booklet featuring work and essays from the Museum’s Kim Gordon: Lo-Fi Glamour exhibition which ran from (May 19 – September 1, 2019).
Andy Warhol made hundreds of films (if you choose to include each of his Screen Tests). You can find an exhaustive list on Wikipedia. Chelsea Girls is probably the best known and most often shown. However, only Sleep, Eat, Empire and Kiss and a single ScreenTest have been remembered on record and CD covers. And, with the exception of the last of these, all long after Warhol’s death.
These five recordings are the only ones I have been able to identify that use images from Warhol’s films — probably one area of Andy Warhol’s productions that has recently been reevaluated.
The resurgence of vinyl records in recent years has focused interest on record cover art. Covers by famous artists and designers command big money today. Who would have guessed that collecting record cover art would become its own specialty collecting area, with some covers costing thousands of pounds/dollars/euros? Galleries and museums have begun to show an interest in showing record cover art and the number of exhibitions has increased exponentially in recent years but the idea isn’t new. The first exhibition of record cover art that I visited was called “Skivomslag” (Record Covers), arranged by Kristian Jakobsen after an idea by Thomas Ohrt and had been first shown at in 1980 at Vejle Konstmuseum before reappearing at Aarhus Konstmuseum in Denmark from 5th September to 4th October 1981. The exhibition moved to Stockholm’s National Museum on 27th October and ran until 17th January 1982. And then moved (in modified form) to Bildmuseet in Umeå in northern Sweden. That exhibition was the first where I saw a few covers designed by Andy Warhol collected. The accompanying exhibition catalogue contained essays by Thomas Ohrt on the development of record cover design as well as an essay by Bo Nilsson on Andy Warhol‘s record cover art (thirty years later Nilsson, as head of Artipelag’s gallery outside Stockholm, would curate his own Warhol exhibition (“The Legacy of Andy Warhol“) including a number of prints of Warhol‘s record covers.)
I didn’t hear of any exhibitions of record cover art after the Umeå showing of the National Museum exhibition but had discussed the possibility of putting on my own exhibition of Andy Warhol‘s cover art with the organisers of the Piteå Dansar of Ler (Piteå Dances & Smiles) music festival that I attended every year. In 2008 Piteå Museum allowed us to put on “Happy Birthday Andy Warhol“, to coincide with what would have been Warhol’s 80th birthday and I wrote a catalogue text (in Swedish) listing the (then) known Warhol covers.
Together with co-curator Guy Minnebach, we found sixty-five covers, including the recently discovered “Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.” that Guy had found at a record fair. Little did I know that the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts would host an exhibition entitled “Andy Warhol ‘Live’” (view a video here) from October 2008, where the focus would be on Warhol‘s love of music and where a “complete” collection of Warhol‘s record covers was presented “for the first time” (not so, as we had done if two months earlier!) The record collection was from Paul Maréchal‘s personal collection and his book of Warhol covers “Andy Warhol-The Record Covers 1949-1987, Catalogue Raisonné” was launched at the exhibition. It included some covers that we had not known about in our exhibition, notably the “Night Beat” box set and the Margarita Madrigal “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish“, but not the RATFAB “Det brinner en eld/Mörka ögon” single that wasn’t identified until after the exhibition.
The following year, the organisers of Piteå Dansar of Ler allowed me to present an exhibition of Peter Blake’s record cover art, again at Piteå Museum, and called “Sir Peter Blake “Pop” Art“. Another catalogue was made listing all Blake’s known covers.
The next exhibition that I curated was in 2010, again in association with Piteå Dansar och Ler, was of the Swedish band Kent’s record and poster art, which we called ”På nära håll” (Close by), after a song on one of their albums. We were lucky to be able to get Jonas Linell to show original photographs of early Kent record covers as well as autographed copies of most of the band’s vinyl releases (rare in the nineties, as most music was then only released on CD). The catalogue for this exhibition was a folder in the form of a 7-inch gatefold record cover with all the Kent released pictured on the centre spread and the catalogue text on an insert in the form of a 7-inch record. Jonas Linell’s photo of the band graces the catalogue’s cover.
Soon after the Kent exhibition, my late friend Daniel Brant, owner of the A and D Gallery in London contacted me and told me that Sir Peter Blake was launching new graphic prints at the gallery and he wondered if I could show my collection of Peter Blake’s record covers to fill out the gallery. Jan Wimander and I flew over with the covers and some rare prints of Blake’s cover art and we presented Sir Peter with a copy of the Piteå “Sir Peter Blake “Pop” Art” catalogue and he signed copies for us.
Folkets hus och parker–an organisation that spreads culture throughout Sweden in towns and parks—have organised three touring exhibitions of record sleeve art using records from my collection. The first to tour was a collection of Andy Warhol’s record covers, then Kent’s record covers and finally a collection of covers by the artist known as Banksy. Each exhibition toured various venues all over Sweden for between one and two years.
Another exhibition screen showing the tree “We Love You… So Love Us” CDs, “Keep It Real” promo and One od Dirty Funker’s “Future” covers.
One of the exhibition screens in preparation showing the two versions of Dirty Funker’s “Let’s Get Dirty (My Sharona)” single, the Banksy interview 12″ and Queen & Cuntry’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” bootleg.
In 2012 I was approached by Stockholm’s Konserthus (Concert House) to curate an exhibition of Banksy’s record cover art. This was probably the first time that all known records with Banksy’s art were shown and the show was seen by over 60,000 people during the two months it was open. There was no proper catalogue for this exhibition, only a list of the covers.
Some tome ago I sold some records to John Brandler, owner of Brandler Galleries, which specialises in street art. We kept in touch and late in 2015 he contacted me about a planned Banksy retrospective exhibition scheduled to open in Rome in May of 2016, and wondered if I could lend my collection of Banksy records and CDs. The exhibition entitled “War, Capitalism and Liberty” opened at the Palazzo Cipolla on May 23rd and ran until September 4th. A room was dedicated to the record and CD collection.
The latest exhibition I have been involved in is the “Warhol 1968” at Moderna Museet, Malmö. My involvement came about when I attended the opening of the exhibition in Stockholm in September 2018. That was due to close in February 2018 and move to Malmö in May. There were eight Warhol record covers on show at the Stockholm exhibition, only one wasn’t by Warhol.
I pointed this out to John Peter Nilsson, the exhibition’s curator and told him that I had a complete collection of Warhol covers. He saw to it that the offending cover was changed and suggested that Moderna show a complete collection of Warhol’s covers when the exhibition opened in Malmö.
The “Warhol 1968” exhibition in Malmö runs until September 8th 2019.
Sometime in the near future I would like to put on an exhibition of Klaus Voormann‘s record cover art.
I enjoy visiting the A & D Gallery in Chiltern Street, London, on my regular visits to spend time with my aged mother. I enjoyed the banter with my friends, the late Daniel Brant and Helen Clarkson (who now runs the gallery). I learnt a whole lot about pop art, and in particular about Andy Warhol’s art, from these experts. Daniel had sold a couple of signed copies of the Rolling Stones’ “Love You Live” album in previous years and I had told him hat I would be interested in a copy should he ever find another. Three or four years ago he mailed me that he had included copies of “Sticky Fingers” and “Love You Live” in an auction and I was lucky to be able to buy them.
Late in 2018, I met John Peter Nilsson, from Moderna Museet, in Stockholm during the Warhol 1968 exhibition at the museum in Stockholm. I pointed out that one of the eight Andy Warhol designed record covers on display (by The East Village Other) was NOT designed or illustrated by Warhol. And I mentioned that I had a complete set of Warhol covers. John Peter suggested that, when the exhibition moves to Moderna in Malmö in March 2019, my collection would look great in the Malmö exhibition space so I agreed to lend my records to the exhibition.
Just prior to collecting the records I came across an autographed copy of Paul Anka’s 1976 album “The Painter” signed by both Andy Warhol and Paul Anka. Apparently, Warhol signed the cover outside The Factory in December 1986, just two moths before he died, and Paul Anka signed it later.
Most recently I found a copy of Billy Squier’s “Emotions in Motion” album signed by Andy Warhol. Unusually, this is an Italian pressing. The provenance is from a gallery in Rome that bought the album from Anita Pallenberg.
Apparently, this was signed in for Anita at The Factory in 1985. I’m a little suspicious, however.The signature soesn’t look 100% and I wonder how Anita Pallenberg happened to have her Italian copy of the album with her in New York… Perhaps I’m being too suspicious, though.
But the signed album any Warhol collector really wants is, of course, a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico!
My friend and fellow collector of record cover art, Stefan Thull, decided in October to sell part of his amazing collection and among the records he was prepared to part with was his signed copy of Rats and Star’s “Soul Vacation” album that he sold to me.
I’ve been quite confident that I had all of Klaus Voormann’s record and CD covers bar one (the LP “Wer nie im Bett Programm Gemacht“), but a fellow rateyourmusic.com member (Warpkernbruch) showed my that there were several CD covers that I had missed by a musician named Achim Schultz and his band Achim Schultz Over Twenty. I had never heard of Achim Schultz. A Google search reveals little. He is a music producer with his own studio and record label (imaginatively called Achim Schultz) in Munich and has recorded several CDs. He must be on good terms with Klaus Voormann as Klaus has provided cover art for three CDs by Schultz and one for a German group called The Pleasure. I know nothing of them except that they have released two albums: “The Pleasure” in 2006 and “Travel Inside” in November 2008, Klaus drew the cover for the latter album.
Achim Schultz’s CDs include “Bye Bye George Harrison“, released on Achim’s own label in 2006, which includes the tribute track with the same title, a CD single “Give Peace a Chance” from 2008 and “Welcome“, from 2009 the latter two credited to Achim Schultz Over Twenty.
All four covers show Klaus Voormann’s incomparable draughtsmanship.
Klaus Voormann in his recently published book “It Started in Hamburg” provides pictures of several recent covers that I haven’t been able to trace. Klaus says some of the records for which he has designed the covers may, or may not, be released. These are Gaby Moreno’s & Van Dyke Parks’ “Spangled!“, Wukong & The Grim Shadows same titled album, and Stephen Dale Petit’s “2020 Vision“. I’ll keep an eye out for these to see if they ever surface.
Klaus Voormann celebrated his 80th birthday on 29th April 2018. He has given his many fans a belated birthday present in the form of a book reviewing his more than 60-year career as a graphic artist. He calls the book “It Started in Hamburg” and is available from his website.
The slipcase for the limited edition of “It Started in Hamburg”.
The cover for the limited edition of “It Started in Hamburg”.
Klaus Voormann‘s career started at art school where he obviously developed a special interest in record sleeve design, making–as he states in “It Started in Hamburg“–with a fascination for the cover art of Blue Note Records. The book features a number of mock ups of record sleeves by jazz artists including Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Guiffre, Sonny Stitt, Bob Cooper and Bud Shank.
Voormann was truly the right man in the right place in 1960s Hamburg. Together with Astrid Kirchner he stumbled on The Beatles playing Hamburg’s Star Club, befriended them and showed one of his record cover designs to John Lennon. He played in the German group The Eyes, designing the cover of one of their singles and designed the cover for British band The Typhoons‘ German release of The Ventures hit “Walk Don’t Run“.
In 1962 he was asked to design the covers for a series of twenty jazz EPs called “Pioneers of Jazz” on Deutsche Grammophon’s German subsidiary Coral Records. At about the same time he drew the cover for an LP entitled “Ver nie in Bett Programm gemacht“, said to be a recording of a radio programme.
Voormann moved to London in the mid sixties. In March 1966 John Lennon phoned him and asked him to design the cover for The Beatles’ album “Revolver”, for which he was to win a Grammy. Besides graphic design, Voormann continued his musical career joining Manfred Mann‘s band in 1966 when Paul Jones left and Mike D’Abo took over the role of singer. He designed the cover for the band’s 1966 album “As Is“, released in October that year.
“It Started in Hamburg” summarises Voormann‘s career. The 221 pages are divided into two sections: open the book one way and the text is in English. Turn the book over and you can read it in German. However, there does not seem to be any duplication of pictures. A few of Voormann‘s early attempts at producing jazz covers (see above) are included along with thirty-four of his published covers. There are pictures of the covers of ten of the “Pioneers of Jazz” series, along with one of the two Bee Gees covers (“Idea“)he designed and details of how cover art for The Beatles “Anthology” series came about. The limited edition comes with a USB with excerpts from Klaus’s film “Making of The Beatles “Anthology” artwork”, and little additions like an original drawing from the serial “Revolver–Birth of an Icon” and some film negatives.
His poster design and the design for his recent book “Revolver–Birth of an Icon“, about the design of the cover for “Revolver“, are also represented. His graphic self portrait and portrait of John Lennon remind me of some of Chuck Close‘s portraits, graphically breaking down their faces.
Voormann’s 2017 self-portrait for Zeit magazine.
Voormann’s portrait of John Lennon.
“It Started in Hamburg” is an important addition to any collection of Klaus Voormann’s art–my copy of the limited edition of turned out to be No. 3/80. I offer my sincere congratulations to Klaus on his 60 years of art and music. May he continue for many more!
I like graphic design and for me minimalism in expression and great typography make a record cover appeal to me. I regularly get asked which is my favourite record cover design. The question is really impossible to answer–could it be “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”? “Revolver”? “Sticky Fingers”? Something by Vaughan Oliver or Peter Saville? Nope!
Despite collecting cover art by some great designers, there are a couple of covers that always excite me. The first is the late Tony Lane’s design for Toto’s 1981 album “Turn Back”. In my book, a contender for the greatest record cover design of all time!
Tony Lane (May 2, 1944–January 1, 2016) is one of record design’s masters, though generally unrecognised. Lane was responsible for revamping the graphic style of Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. He was recruited by Bob Cato and John Berg at Columbia Records and designed covers for a wide range of artists including Michael Jackson (“Bad”), Simon & Garfunkel (“Bridge Over Troubled Waters”), Barbra Streisand (“Greatest Hits, Volume 2”), among a host of others. But for me, his greatest moment was this Toto cover!
He even managed to convince Columbia records to move their Walking Eye logo from the top left corner of the cover (where it appeared on every Columbia LP that I have seen since the early sixties), banishing it to the bottom of the reverse.
What more can I say other than the calligraphic design in all its simplicity really rocks!
Close to this, and almost equally exciting, is Chris Bigg’s cover for Pieter Nooten’s & Michael Brook’s “Sleeps With the Fishes” released by 4AD in 1987. For many years Chris Bigg was Vaughan Oliver’s partner in 4AD’s design team v23. His calligraphy was featured on several 4AD covers including the promotional double CD/book “Lilliput”. The “Sleeps With the Fishes” cover stimulates my fantasy and I see all sorts of figures in the calligraphy. I’ll also admit to having a particular liking for covers that use black/red/white colour combinations. They are always dramatic as these two examples show.
I used to have the poster for this cover on my office wall, so I could see it every day.