Category Archives: Record cover art

Peter Liversidge–Exhibition and Record Cover Art.

Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm shows a wide variety of art exhibitions. I saw Turner Prize winner Susan Phillipz “Lost in Space” exhibition there a couple of years ago and I went to see the gallery’s latest exhibition by British artist Peter Liversidge. I hadn’t heard of him before seeing the exhibition. Liversidge’s preferred medium is providing “proposals”–he types suggestions for art happenings on A4 paper on his Olivetti portable typewriter. The proposals range from simple orders to suggestions that are complex and possibly impossible to realise. The exhibition at Bonniers konsthall has 45 of Liversidge’s “proposals” as its starting point. These 45 proposals are neatly framed A4 papers with his suggestions for projects arranged on one wall in three rows of fifteen frames. On the floor in front of the frames is a pile of A2 papers each printed with “Let’s take a walk together”. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take one or more of these posters home. There  is a shelf on the wall opposite the framed proposals with various implements standing on it, each covered in postage stamps. Apparently Liversidge often uses the postal service to send articles to his exhibitions. Bonniers konsthall allows the postman/postwoman to arrange the item that is being delivered on the shelf. Thus the postal service acts as  sort of exhibition curator.

One suspects that some objects might possibly get lost in the post–nobody knows which, if any, don’t make to their destination, adding mystery to the exhibition.The idea of sending repeated missives through the post reminded me immediately of Japanese -American artist On Kawara (1932-2014), who throughout his career sent postcards to friends and institutions with stamped messages. One series stated “I got up at—-o’clock”, and another simply stated “I am still alive”.

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One of On Kawara’s postcards from the “I got up at…” series.

The gallery shows a film of another of Liversidge’s projects. He asked a class at an east London school to make a protest about any subject they felt strongly about. It had to be the children’s project–not one suggested by teachers of adults. The film I saw was a protest about dogs fouling pavements with placards saying things like “clean up after your dog”. This protest was stages at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2014.

Another of Liversidge’s ongoing projects is collecting artifacts that look like faces and one room of the exhibition is devoted to found objects that resemble faces and masks that Liversidge has produced from such objects.

A day or two after I seen the Liversidge exhibition, I got an email about the best record cover designs of 2018 and was surprised when I saw a cover bearing one of Liversidge’s masks among the nominated covers. The album is “Double Negative” by the American band Low (released in September 2018). Liversidge has also designed the cover for the band’s 2015 album “Ones and Sixes”, and it transpires that he has designed at least two other record sleeves: one for High Plains’ album “Cinderland” (2017) and another “Find the Ways” (2017) by Allred & Broderick.

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Low’s “Double Negative” with cover art by Peter Liversidge.

I always find it interesting when “fine” artists design record covers. There’s a long list of them ranging from Sir Peter Blake to Damien Hirst via Andy Warhol. I’m looking forward to seeing all Peter Liversidge’s record covers.

 

Richard Evans–Graphic Designer.

As anyone knows who has been following my blog, I’ve been collecting record covers by Sir Peter Blake for a long time. I’ve also been to numerous gallery shows and museum exhibition of Peter Blake’s art. I also have a number of exhibition catalogues from a various Peter Blake exhibitions. In addition I have several books on record cover art and one by graphic designer Richard Evans–who I guess is a Peter Blake fan too.

Richard Evans (born 30th March 1945 (as he states on his web page the same day as Eric Clapton) is a graphic designer, artist and photographer who has designed record covers for a great many artists including Robert Plant, Van Morrison, World Party, Pete Townsend and has been “official” designer to The Who since the mid 1970s.

Richard Evans published his book “The Art of the Record Cover” in 2010 and it is a chronological guide to record cover design and includes, at the end, a section on how to design one’s own record cover.


Richard Evans – The Art of the Record Cover–A History and How to.

One of Richard Evans’s covers for a 1985 compilation album by The Who called “Who’s Missing” features tracks not previously available on LP and the cover–to another fan of Peter Blake’s art–seems inspired by Blake’s 1960-1 painting/collage “Got a Girl” (the title comes from a 1960 single by The Four Preps (Capitol 4362)).

Peter Blake — “Got a Girl” 1960-61.


Richard Evans’s cover for The Who’s “Who’s Missing”.

This album was only released in America and I have been looking for a copy to keep beside my Peter Blake covers for several years, and I finally found one in my favourite Stockholm record emporium.

”Colours” by A Stranger Shadow—A Record Cover by Peter Blake That I Never Knew Existed.

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.

Additions to My record Cover Art Collection in 2017 – Part Three.

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.

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The Cru-el Grand Orchestra’s 12″ single “Family” with its obviously Warhol-inspired banana ice lolly.

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Castle Face & Friends play the Velvet Underground & Nico album with David Shrigley’s cover art.

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Bud Benderbe’s cover album.

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Abwärts “Sonderzug zur endstation” 7″ single.

Another Warhol pastiche, this time with soup cans:
1. Mindswings – Spiritual High – 12″ EP – Arista – 1990.

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Mindswings “Spiritual High” 12″ EP.

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.

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Jan August “Plays Songs to Remember” LP cover.

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.

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The cover of Jun Fukamachi’s “Sgt. Pepper” album painted by Fumio Tamabuchi.

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.

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Susan Philipsz’ “Ziggy Stardust” CD autographed by her.

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.

There were diverse other covers: A limited edition LP by Gilbert & George, entitled “The Thoughts of Gilbert & George” released by MoMa:

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“The Thoughts of Gilbert & George” LP cover.

A Record Store Day soundtrack double LP release called “Ciao! Manhattan” with a cover drawing of Edie Sedgwick:

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Soundtrack LP “Edie Sedgwick: Ciao! Manhattan” has the same image as The Cult’s single “Ciao Edie”.

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.

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.

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.

Classic Record Cover Design – “Turn Back” and “Sleeps With the Fishes”.

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!

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Tony Lane’s cover design for Toto’s “Turn Back” album.

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.

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The rear cover of “Turn Back” with Columbia’s logo at bottom centre.

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.

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Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook – “Sleeps With the Fishes” cover design by V23 with calligraphy by Chris Bigg.

I used to have the poster for this cover on my office wall, so I could see it every day.

Additions to My Collection of Andy Warhol’s Record Cover Art–A Review of 2017, Part One.

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 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.

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″.

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I’m Talking’s “Lead the Way” 7″ single cover.

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.

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 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.

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.
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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

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!

“3D and the Art of Massive Attack”–A New Book on Rock Art.

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.

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…

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The cover of Robert del Naja’s new book.

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.

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The “Mezzanine” front cover. Photo by Nick Knight.

Del Naja again approached Nick Knight for the cover photo for Massive Attack’s “best of” compilation “Collected”.

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Nick Knight’s photograph on the cover of “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.