I don’t really know why I haven’t done it before. I felt kind of forced to make a list of my covers with art by Banksy before the collection was shipped off to Rome for the “War, Capitalism & Liberty” exhibition which opened in May 2016. I had a basic list of my collection of covers with Andy Warhol art, but I needed lists of Peter Blake‘s, Damien Hirst‘s and Klaus Voormann‘s covers. Finally last month I sat down and started compiling these lists and was surprised to find that there are seventy-six covers with Klaus Voormann‘s art!
Then, just as I had finished my list I saw an advert for a book entitled “Albums with Cover Art by Klaus Voormann“. Well, naturally, I thought someone else had done the work for me. So I bought it. What a disappointment! It only lists eleven covers designed by Klaus and included a number of covers not designed by him. None of his covers designed for German artists are mentioned and none of his early jazz covers. There are several pages devoted to the recording of “Concert for Bangladesh” with pictures of the original box set and a reissue, neither of which were designed by Voormann! The book, produced by Books LLC, Wiki Series, Memphis, Tennessee, is thus a complete waste of money. Well, not quite–the book did show a picture of Wet Wet Wet‘s 2007 single “Too Many People” which has a cover drawing by Klaus Voormann.
I already have Wet Wet Wet‘s CD “Timeless“, both as the official CD and a promo version with two different Voormann covers. After a bit of research I found the there were two CDs of the “Too Many People” too.
CD 1 and CD 2 cover art for Wet Wet Wet’s 2007 single “Too Many People”
Then Thorsten Knublauch, an expert on The Beatles‘ early days in Hamburg, who sold me my original copy of the Paddy, Klaus & Gibson 10″ compilation EP tipped me off about a CD by Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes entitled “Fretterning Behaviour” with classic Voormann art.
Almost simultaneously, I saw a seven-inch single advertised on Ebay of Klaus Voormann‘s song “Lu Le La Lu“, which he recorded for Apple in the sixties but which was never released. A group called Wishful Thinking released the song as a single in 1974. Now http://www.aisforapplebooks.com released a limited edition of 1000 copies (250 of which were autographed by Klaus) featuring a remastered version of Klaus‘s recording of the song backed with Wishful Thinking‘s version. The single, in a gatefold cover with Klaus Voormann‘s self portrait from 1960 on the front cover, is sold in aid of a charity for refugees.
At the same time another Ebay seller was selling a 1974 Jimmy Smith album entitled “Black Smith” and stated that the cover was by Klaus Voormann. I was very surprised to see this and started searching for confirmation that the cover art was by Klaus as I didn’t feel that it was typical of his work. It didn’t take long to find a picture of the rear cover with clear credit to Voormann. So I had to order a copy, which wasn’t too difficult as there were many for sale at very reasonable prices.
Suddenly there were these five Klaus Voormann covers, which I had missed! I could have almost done without the book on Klaus Voormann‘s record cover art, although it did tell me about the Wet Wet Wet singles. But, apart from that, I’m sure I could do a better job myself.
Okay, as you probably have gathered if you read my blog, I live in Sweden. This is not a very important piece of information, but it explains why this post was inspired (probably not the right word) by a recent book and a magazine number. The book, by Olle Johansson, is called “En skivsamlares memoarer” (ISBN 9789163776618, Rabarber förlag, Stockholm, 2015), which translates to “A Record Collector’s Memoirs” and the magazine is the Spring 2016 number of the Swedish music magazine Sonic–a 116 page special number entitled “Alla talar om skivsamlande“, again in translation “Everyone is talking about record collecting“.
Most people would not see any difference between a record collector and a music collector, but there is huge difference and these two publications illustrate it perfectly. Olle Johansson is a MUSIC collector. He is not interested in the format the recording is presented on. He does not care about record labels, catalogue numbers, or the cover art. He wants the music, and it doesn’t matter if it is a reissued CD or vinyl. He doesn’t search for original pressings or special editions. He just wants the music or the artist.
A record collector, however, cares about all, or at least some, of these things. There are those who collect a particular artist–and must have EVERYTHING released by that artist, including unofficial (bootleg) releases. Alternatively, the collector may collect a particular record label, quite independently of the type of music released (though the label will probably have released music that suits the collector’s taste). Then there are collectors who will collect a particular format– say 1960s EPs, or picture discs; the options are endless. And there are strange types, like me, who collect record cover art. Even here there are subdivisions; record cover art by a particular artist, cover art by any famous artist, or cover art that uses a particular design feature or a certain typography.
There are loads of books on record cover art and others on greater or lesser celebrities’ record collections. One recent, almost encyclopaedic one is Eilon Paz‘s “Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting“. Paz visited record collectors and photographed them with their hoards of vinyl–everything from rare 78s to the world’s largest collection of coloured vinyl records. Sonic magazine interviewed musicians, DJs, record collectors and record buyers at record stores. I used to have a library of books about record cover art. I have only kept a few that I really treasure. These include Nick de Ville‘s “Album: Classic Sleeve Design: Style and Image in Sleeve Design“, Richard Evans‘ “The Art of the Record Cover“, Paul Maréchal‘s “The Complete Commissioned Record Covers“, Jennifer McKnight-Trontz’ & Alex Steinweiss’ “For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss, Inventor of the Album Cover” and the catalogue from Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum’s 1981-2 exhibition “Ytans innehåll: utställning av skivomslag” [“The Surface’s Contents: An Exhibition of Record Covers“].
Where did my collection begin? Born in the mid forties, I was raised on vinyl records. My father loved music and had a few hundred LPs and a few 78s. In my late teens I had a friend, Chris, who worked on Saturdays at The Chelsea Record Centre, a shop on The King’s Road, Chelsea. We used to go to pubs and listen to R ‘n’ B and, when I went to University we started going regularly to the 100 Club on Oxford Street. We could see The Pretty Things, The Graham Bond Organisation or The Artwoods. One night–I suppose in 1964 or 1965– we went to see Bo Diddley and his famous band (who I had at that time only heard of through some Buddy Holly recordings.) Well, to call that concert mindblowing was an understatement.
The first records I bought were LPs–Eddie Cochran‘s “Memorial Album“, “The Buddy Holly Story” and John Lee Hooker‘s “Don’t Turn Me From Your Door“. One evening in late November 1963 my friend Chris came home with a copy of “With the Beatles” and we spent an evening just playing and replaying the album. And almost a year later on the 24th October 1964, Chris and I went to the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn to see The Beatles–I can’t say we heard them because of all the screaming. I still have the “Four Aces” programme from the concert! I started buying records and became a regular at two of London’s independent record shops that imported American albums; One Stop Records in South Moulton Street and Musicland in Berwick Street.
In early 1967, My brother, who had been living in America, returned to England and presented me with a bundle of records including Big Brother & The Holding Company‘s eponymous first album (on the Mainstream label), Country Joe & The Fish‘s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die“, The Jefferson Airplane‘s “Takes Off” and “Surrealistic Pillow“. I bought The Doors‘ first album, which was one of the greatest albums of 1967, at One Stop, and they recommended an album by The Velvet Underground & Nico, which I bought but didn’t really get into. I liked the cover, though. Then I discovered bluebeat, ska and reggae and for the first time bought singles. Prince Buster, The Ethiopians and Desmond Dekker before finding Phil Spector and then soul music in the form of Doo Wop with Clyde McPhatter & the Dominoes, The Coasters, The Drifters, Don Covay, Joe Tex and, of course, Otis Redding. Thus far, I was still a music collector.
Then in April 1971, I bought The Rolling Stones‘ “Sticky Fingers” with its Andy Warhol designed cover. I already had The Velvet Underground & Nico, so this was my second Andy Warhol cover. I also had two covers by Peter Blake: “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and The Pentangle‘s “Sweet Child“. So I had the beginnings of two cover art collections. In the early 1980s I stumbled across an album by The Cocteau Twins and soon started collecting albums on the 4AD label designed by Vaughan Oliver and Nigel Grierson (as 23 Envelope) and Vaughan Oliver and Chris Bigg (as v23). I also found Fetish Record‘s “Final Testament” and collected every cover I could find with Neville Brody‘s art.I also had all three of Joy Division‘s albums but didn’t start collecting Peter Saville‘s record covers in any systematic way, though a few did find their way into my collection. In the early 2000s I fell for Rob Jones‘ work–both as a poster artist for the White Stripes, The Raconteurs and Dead Weather–and for his record cover art. I also collected Swedish designer Martin Kann‘s covers for the band bob hund. All the while my collection of covers by Warhol and Blake grew. I also found that I had many covers by Klaus Voormann and then Damien Hirst produced a few record covers that found their way into my collection. In about 2008 I picked up a couple of albums with cover art by the artist known as Banksy and managed over the course of two years to collect almost all the covers bearing his art.
When I retired in 2010 it was apparent that my wife and I would have to move to a flat and that I would not be able to take my collection of records, posters and CDs with me. I had to downsize. I decided only to keep my collections of record cover art. I said “good bye” to my 4AD, Martin Kann, and Rob Jones records and kept only my Banksy, Blake, Hirst, Voormann and Warhol collections. So now I am a RECORD collector rather than a music collector. The music is secondary to the cover art.
The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by by Philips and SONY and introduced in 1982, five years before Andy Warhol’s death in February 1987 following a gallbladder operation. As far as I can ascertain the only CD that used Warhol’s art that was released during his lifetime is the 1986 Aretha Franklin album “Aretha“. I have twenty-two of the 33 catalogued CDs in my collection that have cover art or portraits by/of Andy Warhol. The table lists all these that I have found.
The compact discs:
Aretha Franklin‘s “Aretha” album released in 1986, was simultaneously released on LP, cassette and CD. Many older albums with Warhol art were later re-issued on CD. But I have not included re-issues in this list – thus no Velvet Underground & Nico or any of the Blue Note albums with Warhol art.
in 1988 Tobias Picker’s “Keys to the City” coupled with Marc Blitzstein’s “Piano Concerto”, was first released, on the CRI label. The booklet featured Warhol’s “Brooklyn Bridge” poster design on the cover (left). Warhol had created this print to celebrate the Bridge’s centenary in 1983. The CD was was re-issued in the 1990s with a modified cover (right).
In 1990 John Cale and Lou Reed released “Songs for Drella”, their tribute to Andy Warhol. “Drella” was Warhol superstar Ondine’s nickname for Warhol – a contraction of Dracula and Cinderella – used by people at The Factory but apparently not appreciated by Warhol himself. The “self portrait” on the cover was taken by Billy Name. There was also a limited edition CD in a velvety Digipak version that only had the album title of the front cover together with Cale’s and Reed’s names.
Russell Means, a famous native American activist, released “Electric Warrior” in 1993. The portrait on the booklet was taken from Warhol’s “The American Indian” series, originally published in 1976. Other portraits of Means from the series can be seen at http://www.skarstedt.com/exhibitions/2012-10-10_andy-warhol/.
The Warhol Museum opened the following year and a book and CD were published to commemorate its inauguration. The CD of Andy Warhol interviews “Warhol From Tapes” had a detail from “Flowers” printed on the CD. The book had the compact disc attached to the front cover, but there are also CDs in standard jewel cases.
In 1972, Paul Anka had commissioned Warhol to paint a series of portraits of him. Warhol delivered these in person to Anka, who was, at that time, appearing in Las Vegas. Anka used two of the portraits on his 1976 LP “The Painter” and in 1996 released a compact disc album of duets entitled “Amigos”. This was a Spanish language release with Anka duetting with such artists as Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias and others, including his daughter Anthea Anka. Two compact disc singles were released from this album; a promotional single of “Diana” featuring Paul Anka and Ricky Martin and a standard CD single of “Yo te amo”, which Anka sings together with Anthea.
The soundtrack to the film “I Shot Andy Warhol”, released in 1996, starred Lili Taylor, Stephen Dorff and Jared Harris. The soundtrack was a compilation of various artists tracks.The choice of artists on this CD was eclectic. There was a track from The Lovin’ Spoonful, and others from R.E.M., Luna, The MC5 (“Kick Out the Jams” – one of my favourites), Love and a specially composed “I Shot Andy Warhol Suite” by John Cale.
The next classical CD, released the same year as “I Shot Andy Warhol”, was a promotional double CD entitled “Concert of Concerts, Opus 2″ released by NTT Data in Japan of works by Mozart and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The cover and the discs themselves all featured a drawing from Warhol’s sketches from his portfolio “Play Book for S Bruce from 2:30 to 4:00″ given to Stephen Bruce joint owner of New York’s Serendipity 3 restaurant.
In 1997, Catalyst records released “Music for Merce” by The EOS Ensemble, conducted by Jonathan Sheffer, that used Warhol’s photographs of dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham on the booklet.
The next classical CD to appear was Karl-Aage Rasmussen’s 1998 “Three Friends”, which featured a detail from Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Annunciation” from Warhol’s “Details of Renaissance Paintings” prints from 1984. Another detail from another print from this series would appear on a CD cover in 2006.
The band Hopewell released its first album entitled “Contact” in 1998 with a cover picture of the Empire State Building from Warhol’s 1964 film of the building. The silent film lasts 8 hours and 5 minutes and was shot from the 41st floor of the Rockefeller Center.
John Cale released “Eat/Kiss –
Music From the Films of Andy Warhol” in 1999, which features a still from Warhol’s film “Kiss” on the booklet’s cover.
In 2000, the Museum of Modern Art released a CD entitled “Open Ends – Musical Exploration in New York 1966-2000″. This is a compilation of various artists including The Velvet Underground, Yoko Ono, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo and The Fugs. The cover showed four colour variations of Warhol’s self portrait from 1966 – a work that resides in the Museum of Modern Art.
A rather strange compact disc entitled “Andy Warhol – Amerykansi Mit” appeared in Poland in 2002. This is a twelve track CD with the majority of tracks by members of The Velvet underground, but also including tracks by Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, The Animals and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Two further compact discs were released in 2002 with Warhol art. “Andy Warhol – Uh, Yes, Uh, No” – a recording of Warhol quotes, and “Pop Art – Underground Sounds From the Warhol Era” another compilation of tracks by thirteen artists including (of course) Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Roky Erikson, Debbie Harry, John Cale and Jackson Browne. The cover was one of Warhol’s 1984 self portraits.
Another strange compact disc entitled “Warholes Or All Andy Would Enjoy (and Fear) / Warhol Memory Disorder” by Lengow & HEveRMEarS / Otomo Yoshide & Sachiko M with DJ Mao and Peter Skala used Warhol’s Cow wallpaper with added bullet holes as its cover image. I don’t have this CD and have no idea what tracks it contains.
In 1993 David Jones (no, not the David Bowie David Jones) and Bill Shute released a cassette of “traditional songs for all ages”, with simple cover art, entitled “Widdecombe Fair“. The album was re-released in 2003 with new cover art.
In 2004 another various artists CD by Cultura and entitled “Andy Warhol by Cultura” was released in Italy. This Digipak double CD included a booklet with several Warhol artworks, the use of which had been sanctioned by The Warhol Foundation.
A bootleg compact disc with early Velvet Underground tracks, recorded between January and April 1966 was released in Japan in 2005. The CD was called “The Velvet Underground at the Factory – Warhol Tapes”.
The British music magazine Q released two CDs of covers of the music of John Lennon. These were cleverly titled “John Lennon Covered #1” and “John Lennon Covered #2“. Each 14-track CD included tracks by Oasis, Madonna, Paul Weller, Stereophonics and others.
Three compact discs featuring Warhol art were released in 2006. “The Mystery of Do-Re-Mi” a recording by the baritone Christopher Grabbitas accompanied on the lute by David Miller used a detail from another of Warhol’s “Details of Renaissance Paintings” series, This time using SandroBotticelli’s “The Birth of Venus“.
A second CD from 2006 was Brian Keene’s “Andy Warhol – A Documentary” which contained a specially composed soundtrack.
Several CDs have appeared in Germany on Warhol’s life and works. The first, a tranlation of Andy Warhol’s diaries was released under the title “Andy Warhol – Das Tagebuch” in 2006.
While on the subject of Warhol’s life, Deutsche Grammophon released a series of CDs with programmes of biographies of famous people, one of whom was Andy Warhol. Stephana Sabin compiled the biography, which is in German.
The French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles released a compilation compact disc entitled “Le New York d’Andy Warhol” in 2007. The CD featured tracks by Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Television and others. The cover picture was David McCabe‘s photo of Andy with Edie Sedgwick taken in 1964 just after the release of Warhol’s film “The Empire State Building”.
And in 2008 another German CD biography of Warhol appeared, this time written by Annette Spohn and called “Andy Warhol – Leben, Werk, Wirkung”.
The Art Gallery of Ontario presented an exhibition of Warhol art entitled “Stars, Death and Disasters, 1962-1964″ in 2008. The exhibition was co-curated by film director David Cronenberg and the gallery released a CD of Cronenberg’s discussions of the exhibition. The CD was entitled “Cronenberg on Warhol” and featured two images of “Double Elvis on front and rear covers.
In 2008 a re-issue of an old bootleg appeared on CD with a new cover. The Velvet Underground‘s “Psychedelic Sounds From the Gymnasium” is a concert recording from April 30th 1967. This album was originally released on vinyl in 2008 and this re-issue has a Warhol cover supplied by The Warhol Foundation.
The final compact discs on my list are credited to MPHO (Mpho Skeef, a South African, now living in London). The are promotional various artist CD-rs and are released on the Wall of Sound/Parlophone label. Entitled “The Art of Pop featuring DJ Beware, Vols 1 and 2″, the cover art shows classic Pop Art images, not only by Warhol, but by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and others.
And that takes us up to 2009. I have thus far not been able to find any compact discs released after this that feature Andy Warhol’s art. But I promise – I will keep on searching.
This post owes a big thank you to Guy Minnebach, who came up with several CDs that I had missed. Thank you, Guy.