I have been searching for record covers designed by Peter Blake for several decades, but never come across this one before. Advertised on Ebay with a starting price of £0.99, was a CD titled “Colours” by a trio calling themselves A Stranger Shadow. Never heard of them, and apparently nor have many others as I can find no information on Internet music sites such as Allmusic, Discogs or Rateyourmusic. A Stranger Shadow are/were Paul Wilby (bass guitar, piano, vocals), Diana Jones (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Anne Harris (violin, percussion, vocals). They seem onlyto have recorded this one fourteen-track album, released in 1995. Discogs lists a 1984 7″ single by Paul Wilby titled “Nobody Needs You/Animosity Crept in” but that’s all I have found.
The booklet cover, is a sort of collage, and is signed at lower right by the artist. But how did this unknown group manage to get Peter Blake to design the cover? Was their record label — Mixed Bag Records — involved?
It would be wonderful if this album had also been released on vinyl, but I suppose record companies assumed in 1995 that vinyl was dead.
I have already posted the several versions of “The Velvet Underground & Nico” album. I have fallen for the temptation to include albums with cover art that is a pastiche of Warhol’s banana design or designs that influenced Warhol’s designs.
I found six pastiches of the banana cover, including several with removable stickers in various designs.
1. Crue-L Grand Orchestra – Family – 12″ EP – MayDay MayDay Records – 1999.
2. Various Artists – The Velvet Underground & Nico – 12″ LP – Castle Face Records – 2012.
3. Fauré Quartet – Popsongs – 2 x 12″ LP – Deutsche Grammophon – 2009.
4. Bud Benderbe – Slice Slowly & See – 12″ LP – Boo-Hooray Records – 2013.
5. Abwärts – Sonderzug zur endstation – 7″ EP – Virgin – 1990.
6. All You Can Eat / Hickey – Banana Split – Split 7″ EP – Monitor Records – 1995.
The last two of these simply had a printed banana on the covers.
Another Warhol pastiche, this time with soup cans:
1. Mindswings – Spiritual High – 12″ EP – Arista – 1990.
And a cover obviously used by Andy as for the design of the “Progressive Piano” design:
1. Jan August – Plays Songs to Remember – 12″ LP – Mercury – 1955.
On the subject of pastiches, I also picked up a wonderful “Sgt Pepper” pastiche by Jun Fukamachi with cover painted by Fumio Tamabuchi:
1. Jun Fukamachi – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 12″ LP – Toshiba – 1977.
A while ago I started searching for musicians among winners of the Tate Gallery’s Turner Prize and turned up an astonishing number of artists who were also musicians and had released records with their own art on the covers. In 2017 I could include record cover by two of them–Suzan Philipsz and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Susan Philipsz: Susan Philipsz – Ziggy Stardust – Limited edition Digipak CD (500 copies) Susan Philipsz – Stay With Me – Book / catalogue with CD Susan Philipsz – Lost in Space – Limited edition picture disc LP in box set (300 copies) Susan Philipsz – There Is Nothing Left Here – Limited edition LP
In February I had the good fortune to meet Susan Philipsz at the opening of her “Lost in Space” exhibition at the Bonnier Gallery in Stockholm. She kindly signed the copy of her “Ziggy Stardust” CD and the book/catalogue from her “Stay With Me” exhibition from Malmö’s Konsthall. There was a catalogue introducing the “Lost in Space” exhibition and a limited edition box set of 300 copies that includes a 12″ picture disc of the performance. However, the box set was not available until a couple of months after the opening, so I didn’t get that signed… After considerable searching, I found the catalogue and LP from Philipsz’s 2008 “There Is Nothing Left Here” exhibition at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporaneo in San Sebastian de Compostela.
Susan Philipsz “Stay With Me” exhibition catalogue with CD.
Susan Philipsz’ “There Is Nothing Left Here” 2008 LP.
The picture disc LP and book of Susan Philipsz’ “Lost in Space” installation.
Wolfgang Tillmans was another Turner Prize winner who’s records I found:
1. Wolfgang Tillmans – Here We Are – 12″ EP – Fragile – 2016.
2. Wolfgang Tillmans – 2016–1986 EP – 12″ EP – Fragile – 2016.
3. Wolfgang Tillmans – Device Control – 12″ EP – Fragile – 2016.
The cover of Tillmans’ latest EP “Thats Desire” EP.
Tillmans’ “Device Control” EP cover.
Wolfgang Tillmans’ “2016-19862 EP cover.
There were diverse other covers: A limited edition LP by Gilbert & George, entitled “The Thoughts of Gilbert & George” released by MoMa:
A Record Store Day soundtrack double LP release called “Ciao! Manhattan” with a cover drawing of Edie Sedgwick:
Having lived in Luleå, in the north of Sweden for more years than I can remember, I am acquainted with Karin “Mamma” Andersson’s art. Mattias Alkberg, poet and rocker, used her art on a 7″ single and a limite edition 12″ EP and I discovered that Beck had used her paintings to illustrate three limited edition 12″ singles, available only through his website.
1. Beck – Gimme – 2 x 12″ EP – Fonograf records – 2013.
1. Beck – Defriended – 12″ EP – Fonograf records – 2013.
1. Beck – I Won’t Be Long – 12″ EP – Fonograf records – 2013.
Beck “Gimme”. Cover art by Karin “Mamma” Andersson.
Beck “Defriended”. Cover art by Karin “Mamma” Andersson.
Beck “I Won’t Be Long”. Cover art by Karin “Mamma” Andersson.
In my music festival days, I got to know singer Henrik Berggren, formerly front man of the now defunct Broder Daniel. Henrik released his first solo album “Wolf’s Heart” after many year’s absence from the music scene. The standard album was released on black vinyl, but six record stores each had limited editions of 300 copies on coloured vinyl. There were yellow, light blue, violet, red, clear and pink vinyl issues. Being totally obsessive I bought copies in each colour.
Henrik Berggren’s “Wolf’s Heart” album on black, violet, red and yellow vinyl.
The pink and light blue vinyl versions of Henrik Berggren’s “Wolf’s Heart” LP.
Well, that sums 2017 up. A record year and the last time I will be publishing a list like this, My collections are so near complete as I can make them. So I feel it’s time to stop. I will try to keep the collections up to date if, and when, any of the artists I collect release new cover art.
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.
2017 was one of my best for I don’t know how long–probably since the mid 2000s when I really started to seriously collect Andy Warhol’s record cover art and it saw the 50th Anniversary of the release of many albums that helped form my musical tastes, including “The Velvet Underground & Nico”–an album I still listen to as often as I do to The Who’s “Who’s Next” or Led Zepellin “II” or “Electric Ladyland”.
There were 16 separate titles added to my Warhol cover collection in 2017: Miguel Bosé – Made in Spain promotional folder – LP, 12″ and 7″ singles + booklet Latin Rhythms by The Boston Pops – 7″ single. Aretha Franklin – Aretha – Original CD from 1986. I’m Talking – Lead the Way – 7″ and 12″ singles. Moondog – The Story of Moon Dog – Original Prestige LP. Sergei Prokofiev – Alexander Nevsky – Two copies: Original 1949 turquoise cover and re-issue green cover. Rolling Stones – Live in Laxington – Bootleg LP. Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (outtakes) with David Mongomery’s photo. Diana Ross – So Close – 7″ single in calendar cover. Diana Ross – Who – 7″ single. Skyline – Skyline – 12″ bootleg EP – Original on Four Stars Records label. Skyline – Skyline – 12″ bootleg EP – 2016 Reissue on Paint Noise Productions label. Velvet Underground & Nico – 12″ LP with artist’s name and record title on cover. Velvet Underground & Nico – 50th Anniversary black vinyl LP (2 copies) Velvet Underground & Nico – 50th Anniversary pink vinyl LP John Wallowitch – This Is the Other Side of John Wallowitch – 12″ LP
Perhaps the most important additions to my Warhol cover collection were the Moondog and John Wallowitch albums, particularly as most copies of the former that I have seen come up for sale have been badly yellowed or in otherwise poor condition. My copy is superbly near mint! John Wallowitch’s second album on the Serenus Records label is considerably rarer than his first and I was lucky to find a good copy.
The Story of Moondog with calligraphy by Julia Warhola.
The cover of “This Is the Other Side of John Wallowitch”.
The find that probably excited me most, however, was the Spanish promotional package for Miguel Bosé’s 1983 “Made in Spain” album, which came in a maroon folder and should have included the full album the 12″ and 7″ white label versions of the “Fuego” single as well as a booklet with a fold out poster of Warhol’s cover portrait of Bosé. Mt copy of the package, though, didn’t include the two singles, but they were relatively easy to findon Discogs, so I could completee the package.
The “Made In Spain” promotional folder.
The complete set, including the booklet, which contains a fold-out poster of Warhol’s Bosé portraits.
The “Made In Spain” promotional folder showing the “Made In Spain” LP, the white label 12″ and 7″ Fuego singles.”
Two “new” Warhol covers were discovered in 2017 . Warhol collector Kevin Kinney found the “Lead the Way” single by Australian group I’m Talking, which used a detail from Warhol’s “Marilyn’s Lips” print as its cover art. The single was released as a 7″ single and as a limited edition 12″.
I found the second “new” Warhol cover in the catalogue of the “Adman – Warhol Before Pop” exhibition held in Melbourne in 2016. The catalogue had a picture of a print that I immediately recognised as a slick for a box set of 7″ EPs similar to the “Night Beat” set. I immediately set about making a replica box similar to the one I made for the “Night Beat” set.
The “Night BEat” and “Voices and Events” box sets.
The “Night Beat” and “Voices and Events” box sets.
Another cover I had had trouble finding was the “Skyline” album with the portrait of Suzanne de Maria taken from one of Warhol’s screen tests. Early in the year I saw a copy on Ebay which I managed to win only to find that it wasn’t the 1978 original but a 180g reissue, supposedly limited to fifty copies that included a photo of Suzanne de Maria numbered 49/50. The record was released on the Paint Noise Productions label, not the Four Stars label and the rear cover stated that the cover photo was by “A. Warhol”, the original 1978 album did not have this credit. Later I got hold of a copy of the original 1978 version and a comparison showed the cover photos to be very different. The original version had a clear picture of de Maria, while the reissue was fuzzy.
The cover of the original 1978 version of “Skyline”.
The cover of the 2016 reissue version.
The covers are almost two separate versions of the image.
And as if the Skyline albums weren’t nerdy enough, there were a couple of even nerdier additions to my collection: The original cover for “Latin Rhythms by The Boston Pops” EP as well as a second copy of Warhol’s design–one that without the A Hi-Fidelity Recording” text under the RCA logo on the front cover.
The original cover design which came in various colour variations.
I have reserved the final section to the 50th Anniversary reissues of “The Velvet Underground & Nico” album. I already had the 45th Anniversary LP and 6 CD sets and wondered when they came out why Universal Music had released them with the 50th anniversary so near. Obviously, to sell more copies–so I wasn’t too surprised to read that they would also release 50th Anniversary versions, too. I heard that there eas a very limited pink vinyl version as well as the standard the black vinyl version. I found two copies of the latter at HMV on Oxford Street but they had never heard of the pink vinyl version. It took a while to find a copy but that was added to my collection.
I had also decided to collect other cover designs for the album and bought an eighties reissue with the artist and title on the front cover to add to my collection as well as a bootleg of the Norman Dolph Scepter Studios acetate
The latest bootleg version of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s Norman Dolph acetate superimposed the classic banana image over a photo from the 1966 film of the Velvets in concert.
I hope 2018 will allow me to find copies of the only two LPs with Warhol covers that I still need to complete my collection:
Keith Richards’s – Unknown Dreams – LP with Warhol’s Mercedes drawing,
Prokofiev’s – Alexander Nevsky – LP wit the pink variation of the cover.
In following posts I will list additions to my other collections: Banksy covers, Kate Moss covers, and newer collections including Karin “Mamma” Anderson, Suzan Philipsz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jeff Koons, Klaus Voormann and Peter Blake as well as pastiches of “The VelvetUnderground & Nico” and “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” covers.
Wishing you a very Happy and successful 2018. See you next time!
Robert del Naja, a.k.a 3D, is a musician, artist and composer probably best known as being a founder member of the trip hop group Massive Attack. He has also other musical projects. del Naja was born in Bristol in 1965 and has been credited as the the city’s first graffiti artist and Banksy has named him as a major influence–it can be noted that suggestions have been made that del Naja IS Banksy! A real fact about him is that he is colour blind. Something that caused him problems in his early works–painting a self-portrait with green hair and brown Christmas trees.
I really liked the deceptively simple cover art for Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine” album, with its stag beetle image. Otherwise I had not paid particular attention to the group’s cover art. I was completely unaware that del Naja had a separate career as a record cover artist. He admits to have been designing covers for Mo’ Wax records for eight years–I once owned the 1994 Mo Wax vinyl samplers “Headz 1” and “Headz 2” with cover paintings by del Naja, though I then had no idea who he was.
Mo Wax 1996 compilation Headz 2A, with cover art by Robert del Naja.
Mo Wax 1996 compilation Headz 2, with cover art by Robert del Naja.
Just recently, The Vinyl Factory published “3D & the Art of Massive Attack” by Robert del Naja and Sean Bidder–a 400 page book of Robert del Naja’s art. There are two versions, a popular edition selling for £50 or a limited edition of 350 signed copies selling for £350. I have the popular edition, which came sealed in cellophane with the Vinyl Factory sticker with bar cove on the outside. The book only contains pictures of del Naja’s artworks with no text apart from a three page interview in a separate 12-page booklet included in the package. Reviews of the book state that Banksy has written the book’s introduction, but I couldn’t find it in my copy–perhaps that’s only included in the limited edition…
I was fascinated to find out that Robert del Naja has cooperated with photographer Nick Knight to produce record cover art. The “Mezzanine” cover is one example.
Del Naja again approached Nick Knight for the cover photo for Massive Attack’s “best of” compilation “Collected”.
Nick Knight’s most famous cover photographs are probably David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” cover, Björk’s 1997 “Homogenic” or Nick Cave & The Bad Seed’s “The Boatman’s Call” covers, but he has also photographed Miguel Bosé (see a previous recordart post for another Miguel Bosé album) for the cover of his 1987 album “XXX” among many others.
I was disappointed with the book at first, but it lead me to start looking for more examples of Robert del Naja’s record covers and that has proved to be an interesting journey. I will have to try to contain my interest and NOT start collecting his covers.
Finding details of where and when Andy Warhol took the nine famous “biting” photographs that were used on the “Love You Live” album cover and other items hasn’t been easy. In a recent interview (July 18th, 2017) in Interview Magazine about the origins of many of Warhol’s photographs Christopher Makos explains where many of Warhol’s photographs were taken. Towards the end of the interview, Makos mentions the photos for the “Love You Live” album.
Makos remembers that Andy was given a “point and shoot” camera sometime around 1975. And he used it constantly throughout the late 1970s, often replacing his Polaroid camera, which he primarily used for his portraits. However, the “biting” photos are nearly always shown as if they were Polaroid pictures, so I cannot be sure which type of camera they were taken with. However, the reproductions on posters and elsewhere suggest that Warhol used both Polaroids and his “point & shoot”camera.
During the summer of 1977, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards rented Peter Beard’s* house in Montauk (East Hamptons, New York State) and Andy took some of the photographs there and some additional ones at Warhol’s third Factory address at 860 Broadway in New York later. Obviously Jagger had brought his daughter Jade to Montauk as it is her hand Mick is “biting” on the “Love You Live” cover. There is also a photo of Jagger and Jade sticking their tongues out at each other.
It seems eleven photographs were taken and a contact sheet produced. However the last picture int he second row shows Mick Jagger biting a child’s hand but this is not the photo that appears on the front cover of “Love You Live“.
There are also other pictures that do not appear on this contact sheet, in particular the picture of Mick and Jade (born 21 October 1971) sticking their tongues out at each other.
…And here’s how it looked on the “El Mocambo 1977” box set cover.
The photos were also used on the cover of a four-track promotional EP for the “Love You Live” album, entitled simply “The Rolling Stones” (Rolling Stones Records, EP-PR-287). In addition there was a picture disc (probably a bootleg) with the same four photos.
The “Rolling Stones” promotional single.
The bootleg picture disc.
A new bootleg of a Stones concert, presumably from Lexington, Kentucky, was released in 1978 with the title “Live in Laxington” with a fairly traditional front cover picture of Mick and Ronnie Wood. However, one of the “Biting” photos appeared on the back cover.
Front cover of “Live in Laxington” LP.
Rear cover of “Live in Laxington” LP.
The photographs were also used for other promotional items. The Rolling Stones threw a release party for the “Love You Live” album at the Trax club in New York on September 27, 1977 and the photos featured on the plastic tablecloths used at the reception. These measured 36″ x 48″ (91,4 x 121,9 cm). There were also similarly sized posters on paper. Carrier bags with the photos were also produced, I would guess as goodie bags for guests, though I don’t know if they were appeared at the launch party or later.
Poster and Tablecloth
Andy Warhol was fastidious about typography and was annoyed by Mick Jagger’s addition of the record title and the Band’s name to the artwork for the “Love You Live” album cover and usually refused to sign the front cover, preferring to sign the inner spread.
“Love You Live” inner spread signed by Warhol.
Warhol’s signature on inner spread.
This autographed copy of “Love You Live” is from my collection of Andy Warhol’s record cover.
*Peter Beard (born 1938) is a photographer, film director, author and artist who has lead an adventurous life. He was friends with the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and other celebrities.
The 50th anniversary of the release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” has caused considerable interest in various aspects of what came to be called “the summer of love”; 1967’s glorious pop year. It was also the time of “Swinging London” and Carnaby Street’s first heyday.
That the cover of the “Sgt. Pepper” album would become a classic had been foreseen by Beatles manager Brian Epstein who wanted a “proper” artist to design the cover rather than the original psychedelic ideas suggested by fashion designers The Fool. From an idea by Paul McCartney via his friend and gallery owner Robert Fraser, Peter Blake and Jann Haworth were recruited and with some input from Jann’s father, Ted, the couple set to work.
It didn’t take long for the first of many pastiches of the cover art to appear. The Mothers of Invention’s album “We’re Only in It for the Money” released in March 1968, was one of the earliest. Frank Zappa wanted the cover (designed by Cal Schenkel) to be a copy of the “Sgt. Pepper” cover and asked Paul McCartney for approval. Apparently McCartney wished that Zappa’s and The Beatles’ mangers discussed the suggestion. Zappa went ahead but Verve Records, who would release the album, would not allow Schenkel’s copy of the “Sgt. Pepper” montage to appear on the front so the band’s portrait, photographed against a yellow background became the outside of the gatefold.
The front cover of “We’re Only in It for the Money”.
The lyrics, printed against a similar red background to those on the “Sgt. Pepper” cover appeared on the inside of the gatefold opposite Schenkel’s montage.
Release of “We’re Only in It for the Money” was delayed five months because of the record company’s anxiety over a possible infringement of copyright. In the event there was no reaction as the front cover only revealed four band members.
There have been innumerable pastiches of the “Sgt. Pepper” cover since the Mothers of Invention’s album; ranging from albums by the Muppets and Simpsons to more “serious” artist like The Ruttles. An Internet search turns up literally hundreds. Probably only the cover photo from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” has been copied/parodied more often.
My collection includes only three pastiches of the (probably) hundreds out there, collected because of their originality (and possibly rarity). The oldest, from 1969, is Jack O’Reilly’s “You Can Be a Ventriloquist” (subtitled “Constable O’Rourke’s Wooden Hearts Club Band“, just so that no one would miss the reference to “Sgt. Pepper“). An instructional album that was probably privately pressed and thus in relatively limited numbers. O’Reilly went to inordinate expense to put together a background of forty ventriloquists’ dummies for the cover photograph.
The second example is a Japanese album by Jun Fukamachi called (not so strangely) “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“. Fukamachi plays several of the “Sgt. Pepper” songs rendered as jazz tunes. I like the cover for the idea of reversing the whole scene. It must have taken weeks to paint!
And the final parody that I have collected is another Japanese release–Junichi Masuda’s “Pokèmon” LP from 2015. This is an unoffical release on the Moonshake record label. Masuda, who is programmer and director at Pokèmon also makes the music to video games. The “Pokèmon” album was released in several versions. The “standard” album came in four variations of coloured vinyl housed in a cover that is a parody of the “Sgt. Pepper” design.
Oh, and I have been guilty of plagiarism, too. In 2009 I curated an exhibition of Peter Blake’s record cover art at Piteå Museum. Together with my friends at In the Cold bureau we designed a cover for the exhibition catalogue, of course modelling it on the “Sgt. Pepper” design, but with all the artists that Blake had made record covers for.
In 2010, I showed my collection of Peter Blake’s record covers at the A and D Gallery in London, and Sir Peter Blake signed m catalogue. I wonder if it didn’t inspire him to produce his 2012 update of the Sgt. Pepper cover…
I don’t have this print, though it would make a nice addition to my collection of Sir Peter Blake’s record cover art.
Anyway, I really hope I won’t be tempted to buy any more “Sgt. Pepper” pastiches.