Category Archives: Banksy record covers

Mother Samosa’s Two Albums on CD. Designed by Robin Gunningham.

Do we really care who the person behind the Banksy moniker really is? Well, in 2015 the Daily Mail “revealed” that one Robin Gunningham, a public school educated person is indeed Banksy. However, this has never been officially confirmed and collectors of the artist’s work don’t seem to mind who is behind the art and art dealers won’t accept that works signed Robin Gunningham should be classified as being by Banksy.

In the past decade, everything that Banksy seems to have had a hand in has escalated in value; even record and CD covers with his art have become sort after collectors items. Now there are literally hundreds of such covers floating around among collectors but only a few are offically authorised as being by Banksy. The vast majority are covers that use the artist’s works, often subtly modified to suit the us

The earliest authorised Banksy covers are for the Bristol hip hop band One Cut (or OneCut) released on Jamie Eastman’s Hombré label between 1998 and 2000. In 1999 John Stapleton asked Bansky to stencil 100 promotional covers for the Capoeira Twins 12″ single 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out.

At about the same time Banksy had been with the Easton Cowboys football team on their tour to Chiapas, Mexico, where he painted some murals. A cassette of revolutionary songs Called Canciones electorales was released using Banksy’s painting of a Zapatista on the inlay. The cassettes were white, yellow and red and produced in limited quantities.

Back to the artist named Robin Gunningham. Sometime in the mid to late 1990s a guy called Robin visited Leicester and designed the logo for the dub organisation the Vibronics, whose owner, Steve ‘Vibronics’ Gibb is sure must have been Banksy.

More certain, are the covers for two cassettes released by the Bristol group Mother Samosa in 1993 and 1994. The cassette inlays are both credited to Robin Gunningham. Assuming Gunningham to be Banksy, then these cover designs are probably the first “Banksy” covers. The first cassette was called Oh My God It’s Cheeky Clown (1993), and reputedly also released as a CDr at the time. The second was Fairground of Fear (1994). The cassettes were produced as limited editions and I have thus far never seen one.

I was lucky to get hold of printers proofs of these two cassette inlays in late 2020. I recently read that a set of these had been up for sale by Art Broker in 2018 with an estimate of GBP 4000! I got mine from a oen-time friend of the band.

In 2006 and 2007 the band reissued the remastered albums as limited edition Digipak CDs. The first was the nine-track Oh My God It’s Cheeky Clown, while the second, the Fairground of Fear album was released on Digipak CD with only 11 of the original twelve tracks (track five on the tape’s side two Wallace P. Bowl was omitted from the CD.) The person who sold me the cassette inlays contacted me again in early December 2022 and offered me the two CDs, which duly arrived before Christmas!

According to my supplier, these Digipak CDs were released in editions of one hundred numbered copies with a handful released unnumbered. Neither of my CDs is numbered.

Now, I suppose I will have to continue my search for the original cassettes.

A Rare Addition to My Banksy Collection.

Fairytales usually start “once upon a time …”, so that’s probably how I’ll start this post. Once upon a time I got hold of a printers’ proof of Dirty Funker’s Let’s Get Dirty cover. As you all know, there are two versions of this cover — one with no artist or title on the cover, only the two Kate Moss portraits, the second, more common, cover has a “Dymo” band over Kate’s eyes on the front with the title and over her mouth on the rear cover.

The printers’ proof:

Printers proof of the Let’s Get Dirty cover.

No one know how many printers’ proofs are made. Probably only a handful. I’ve only ever seen one other Let’s Get Dirty proof before.

Last month, I saw an Ebay item that I couldn’t resist. A seller in Stockholm, literally just down the road from where I live (well. actually a bus ride or eight underground stops away) had advertised the original stampers for the Let’s Get Dirty single and I made a cheeky offer that (after a wee haggle) was almost instantly accepted! They came with documentation on their provenance, so I guess they’re genuine.

I think this combination of the printers’ proof cover art together with the original stampers and both pressings of the record must be pretty rare. They make a great addition to my collection. So, thanks Dan for selling me the stampers.

Banksy in Mexico – and a Rare Cassette.

The artist known as Banksy’s art has always had a political edge. He is well-known for his support of Palestine and his depiction of the U.K. parliament populated by monkeys. Less well-known is his involvement with the Zapatista movement in Mexico. The Zapatistas are a revolutionary group of indigenous people living in remote areas of the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico on the Guatemalan border. In 1999 a football team from Bristol called the Easton Cowboys visited them and played several matches on mountainous football pitches, sometimes normally cattle-grazing pasture, complete with cowpats. The story is told in a 2012 book called Freedom Through Football – The Story of the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls, by Will Simpson and Malcolm McMahon.

The Freedom Through Football book.

Team members realised that the Zapatistas needed aid in the form of access to clean water and other basic necessities and decided to offer aid. Finance was always going to be a problem and the Cowboys organised a club night and one of the Cowboys, Tom Mahoney, contacted Banksy and asked for help with décor. Apparently, Banksy has already been involved with the Cowboys, having been to some training sessions in 1996-7. Banksy donated a canvas of a Zapatista footballer doing a flying kick. The painting was reproduced on T-shirts. The club night raised £1400 and the Cowboys decided offer the painting as the prize in a raffle to raise more money with tickets costing £1 each! They decided to make it a “spot the ball” competition with punters able to buy as many tickets as they wanted and guessing where the Zapatist’s ball would be on the painting with a sticker. However, not all the Cowboys were happy with the raffle idea, thinking that Banksy was getting recognition and that selling the painting might bring in more money. But the raffle went ahead anyway and brought in just £300. The winner, “a girl from Knowle”, eventually sold the painting for £20,000.

Banksy joined the Easton Cowboys on their second tour of Chiapas in 2001 and painted several murals there.

One of these, a painting of a Zapatista – perhaps of Emiliano Zapata, who led the Mexican revolution of 1910-1920 – later appeared on the cover of a cassette of revolutionary songs called Canciones electorales. The cassette was produced in very limited numbers in three colours, white, yellow and red.

The cassette artwork.
The red version of the cassette (photo Nick Suszinski)

I’m happy to have found this one with Nick’s help. Thank you! I don’t think I will chase the red or yellow cassettes. After all, there has to be some limit to my collecting.

Monkeys With Car Keys — A Banksy Cover I’ve Been Looking For.

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.

The thumbnail picture of the Monkeys With Car Keys CD cover.

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

Banksy’s Bristol mural.

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!

The Monkeys With Car Keys CD.

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.

Obtaining the unobtainable…

My friend Tasso von Haussen keeps me up to date on record and CD covers with Banksy connections. He recently sent me pictures of four 12″ releases on the Bow Wow label by Buckfunk 3000 (2 Much Booty, 2004), Product.01 (The Loud EP, 2004), Speed Baby – aka Tim Wright (Taken / Lurcher, 2004) and Bass Kittens (Rise of the Machines, 2005) that all use a modification of Banksy’s Dog with Rocket Launcher design.

Next he found a test pressing of a split EP by Embalming Theatre / Tersanjung XIII (Mommy Died – Mummified / Hellnoise) on the Rotten to the Core label. The six-track EP was released in 2013 in a limited edition — 100 copies on clear vinyl and 400 on black vinyl.

The cover of the limited edition EP.

However, the test pressing had a different cover.

The cover of the test pressing of the EP.

According to Discogs, there are fifteen copies of the test pressing and, after being in contact with the band, I have to admit that the chances of finding one are probably close to zero. The cover image is, of course, a modification of Banksy’s I Fought the Law print. I was surprised to learn from my discussions with the band that they had no idea this was a Banksy design. I then contacted the band’s record label, Rotten to the Core Records to ask who designed the cover of the test pressing. Here is the reply from Robert Janis, the company’s owner: It’s a Banksy piece. I’m the one who designed the test press cover. He even sent a copy of Banksy’s original artwork.

Banksy’s original I Fought the Law print.

Another friend supplied me with the original image from which Banksy created his print:

The original photo from which Banksy created his I Fought the Law print.

So, in order to keep my Banksy collection as complete as possible, I need to get hold of a copy of this test pressing… The only sure way seems to be to make my own. I asked for scans of the cover and record label and, after a considerable amount of work, this what I came up with.

The result.

I decided to make a limited edition of ten numbered copies, plus five artists proofs. The scan I had to base my design on was somewhat overexposed and I thought there was a thin white border round the greyish outer border. A later, better photo, showed that there was no white border. My first attempt was in pure monochrome, as shown above. However, a more recent, clearer photo, supplied by Tasso von Haussen, shows that the cover has a bluish tinge. I’m not sure how much the plastic protective cover controbutes to the bluishness, though.

I’m still trying to work out how to add the blue overcoat to the black an white image. In order to distinguish my reproductions from the origials, I have made proper sleeves that the record slips in and out of, rater than the single, foled sheet of paper that the real test pessings have.

I decided that it would be fun to use real Embalming Theatre / Tersanjung 13 EPs and give them white labels. So I got back in touch with the band and ordered more copies. Bear in mind that these are a limited edition of 400 black vinyl EPs, so now I own about 2,5 per cent of the edition.

Two Banksy Covers I Didn’t Know About.

Today was a bit of a special day! I discovered two CDs with Banksy artwork that I had never seen. I was casually surfing the Internet when I came across a picture of a CD cover that I didn’t recognise but that had classic Banksy artwork. The CD in question is an 11-track compilation released by Seven Magazine and called Seven Magazine Presents the Soundtrack to Sizzler Parties, and contains tracks by Blak Twang (Twixstar) and the Röyksopp remix of The Mecons Please Stay. This CD was released in 2002, so I don’t really understand how it has eluded me for so long!

The second CD, Orange City by a Canadian band called One Bad Son, was released in 2007. The front cover didn’t look promising — probably explaining why I had missed this release.

It isn’t until you open the jewel case and see the CD that the Banksy connection appears.

Here the Bomb Hugger girl image appears both on the CD and on the inside of the rear of the jewel case. I suspect that this is an unofficial use of this particular Banksy image that appeared officially on the Peace Not War compilation CD that accompanied the February 2004 number of the Big Issue magazine.


As I write this, my collection of Banksy records and CDs is moving from the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa to the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara until September 2020 and then from September to December to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto. Perhaps I should add these rare CDs to the exhibit.

Röyksopp’s “Melody A.M.” Promo Cover Art by Banksy.

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 Twins4 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.

Raimunds covers
Five copies of Röyksopp’s Melody A.M. promotional LP with Banksy artwork. Note three with dark green and two with pale green/olive green print. Photo: Raimund Floeck.

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.

Ed delivers 3
Ed Cartwright with the Röyksopp album.

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):