Banksy, Blake, Voormann Additions to My Collection.

Here I go again! I regularly boast that I have complete collections of Banksy’s, Peter Blake’s and Klaus Voormann’s record covers (well, I usually admit to lacking one Klaus Voormann cover, but still) only to find out that none of these boasts is true.

I recently found the cover to an unreleased 7″ single version of DJ DangerMouse’s “Keep It Real” cover (you can read about it in an earlier blog post). Now it seems there are a couple of other Banksy covers that I had previously never heard of. I’m not going to say more at the moment, but you can be sure that I shall return to this subject in due time.

My blog posts on the latest record cover art by Peter Blake have only mentioned the various vinyl, CD and cassette versions of The Who’s latest album “WHO“. I had bought two limited edition issues of the album: the 45 rpm double LP version with extra single-sided 10” single “Sand” sold via The Who Store and the HMV “Nipper1” double LP. A mate in Liverpool popped in to see Sir Peter while on a recent visit to London and got him to sign both the 45 rpm and HMV covers for me as well as a copy of the reissued “Stanley Road” album (signed previously by Paul Weller himself.)

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Then I saw an ad for Dr. John Cooper Clarke’s 2018 book and CD “The Luckiest Guy Alive” whith its cover portrait of Cooper Clarke by Peter Blake and Blake’s classic alphabet tiles for the album title and artist’s name.

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The cover of John Cooper Clarke’s CD “The Luckiest Guy Alive”.

So, naturally, I ordered a copy of the book and CD. I wonder if my Peter Blake collection is complete now?

Then I saw an ad for The Blues Band’s album “Itchy Feet” that stated that the cover was designed by Klaus Voormann. I immediately went through my Klaus Voormann collection only to find that I had missed this album (though I had bought the other two Blues Band albums when they came out, and even seen the band live.)

fullsizeoutput_6569While going through the Voormann albums, I noticed that my copy of Gary Wright’s “Extractions” LP was in less than mint condition. It is a U.S. promo copy with a large cut-out hole through the top right corner of the cover, so I looked on Discogs for a better copy and saw that the U.K. original was released in a six panel poster cover that I had never seen.

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The six-panel poster cover for Gary Wright’s “Extractions” LP.

So I ordered both the “Itchy Feet” and the “Extractions” records to “complete” my Klaus Voormann collection even though I’m still missing at least one of his covers. I was lucky that the “Itchy Feet” LP was one of the limited edition pressings that included the large poster of the band in action.

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The poster from the “Itchy Feet” album.

I have to say that I feel I’m nearer to having complete collections of these three cover artists. I’ll just have to keep a lookout to see if I find further missing covers.

 

The Latest Peter Blake Cover Art.

Pete Townsend and Peter Blake are mates and when Pete needed cover art for The Who’s first new recording since 2004, he turned to Peter. The album, entitled WHO, was release on 6th December 2019.

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Peter Blake’s cover for The Who’s 2019 album “WHO”.

This is the second album cover Peter Blake has designed for The Who. The previous one, Face Dances, was released in 1981, and the cover for this latest Who album includes a reference to that album in the lower right hand corner. The layout of the cover is also reminicent of the Face Dances cover but with a five-by-five layout instead of the four-by-four layout.

The album is released by Polydor Records and they have gone to town. There are at least four different vinyl versions:
1. Standard 11-track black 33 rpm vinyl LP
2. Limited edition double 45 rpm LP with a separate 10″ vinyl with three extra tracks only available through The Who Store

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The limited edition 45 rpm double LP with red vinyl 10″ plus CD and cassette.

3. A limited edition (5000 copies) HMV exclusive double LP with the 11-track album on black vinyl and a special cream-coloured extra LP of The Who’s greatest hits

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Limited edition HMV exclusive double LP.

4. Limited edition 11-track picture disc.

And then there are possibly four different CDs:
1. Standard 11-track CD in jewel case
2. Deluxe 14-track CD including three tracks not on the standard issue. This comes in a jewel case with slipcase (see picture above)
3. 11-track CD with vinyl look autographed by Pete Townsend inside the centre spread
4. 14-track CD in special cover signed on the outside by Pete.

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Deluxe 14-track CD signed by Pete Townsend.

 

Finally:
– limited edition music cassette.

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The limited edition cassette.

Collecting all these variations will cost a small fortune.

 

Banksy Covers–A Previously Unknown 7″.

I’m constantly on the look out for record and CD covers with cover art by the artist known as Banksy. Ebay seems to be a real treasure trove and a great place to do research. I recently saw a copy of a cover for a seven inch version of DJ Danger Mouse’s 2008 unofficial Keep It Real / Laugh Now single. Well I have never seen one of these before and was immediately suspicious that it could be a fake. However, as a well-known faker myself, there was one detail in the item description that suggested that it may actually be genuine. If I was going to make a seven inch cover of this record that, as far as I know, has only been released as a 12″, I would simply photograph the front and rear of the cover, reduce the photos to the correct size in Photoshop, align them together and get my printer to print the result on glossy 300 gm paper. But the photos of this Ebay item showed that the artist, record title and catalogue number were printed on the spine. I’ve tried to replicate text on a thin strip to use as a spine and have found it nigh on impossible–so the appearance of text on the spine of this cover suggests to me it is genuine.

I made an offer for it and after some haggling managed to buy it. It is beautiful and in mint condition.

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The spine.

The seller told me that he had acquired the cover along with a couple of printers’ proofs sometime around 2011. apparently Danger Mouse had planned to release a seven inch version of the single and had a limited number of covers printed before abandoning the idea.

Here’s what the cover looks like with a single inserted.

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The cover with a random single.

It’s a lovely addition to my collection.

 

 

At Last–My Collection Organised.

We had been planning a revamp of our wardrobes almost from the moment we moved into out current abode seven years ago. Finally, last spring, we finally decided that we should get on with it. This involved moving a wall to enlarge our closet so that we could fit wardobes and cupboards on both sides. I planned for three metres of shelf space to house my record and CD collection. Unfortunately, there was no way to fit the three metres horizontally, so I had to arrange them vertically. And in mid-October everything was complete and I could fetch a crate of records from our storeroom in the cellar and arrange them om the new shelves.

My collection of Andy Warhol record covers was returned from the exhibition at Moderna Museet in Malmö at the same time and I could unpack the records and shelve them somewhat haphazardly until I had time to sort them properly. Almost simultaneously my collection of Banksy record and CD covers was dispatched to Genoa for the “Il Secondo Principio di un artista chiamatio Banksy” exhibition there.

Over the past weeks I have sorted the records and CDs according to designers–a shelf for Peter Blake’s record covers, two for Andy Warhol covers, spaces for Damien Hirst’s and Klaus Voormann’s covers and separate shelves for CDs (where all artists’ covers are collected together for the first time).

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The three missing Warhol covers.

But as I began sorting the covers returned from the Warhol 1968 exhibition in Malmö I couldn’t find three covers that I knew had been returned but just didn’t seem to be among all the others. Two were irreplaceable–Paul Anka’s The Painter album signed by both Anka and Andy Warhol and Ultra Violet by Superstar Ultra Violet. The third album was the US promo of John Cale’s The Academy in Peril, which isn’t too hard to find. I was desperate. I could buy a new copy of the John Cale album but I wouldn’t be able to afford new copies of the Ultra Violet and Paul Anka covers, even if they were available.

I spent three days going through every cover looking for these three. I took all the covers out looking for them, even opening gatefold sleeves to see if they had slipped inside but to no avail. I really thought the covers were lost. Had I really got them back from Malmö? I was about to contact Moderna Museet when I remembered that I had checked the returned covers by clipping the album title out from the delivery list accompanying the delivery and slipped each clipping into each respective record’s plastic protective sleeve (you can see the little strips in each cover in the photo). So, obviously I had received the records–so where were they? I spent the third night worrying and slept badly. On the fourth day I decided I’d go through the shelves for a final time.I started at the top and removed box sets and opened them to see if I had unconsciously put the records in them. They weren’t there, of course, but I did find some singles/EPs that I thought I had lost when I sold the major part of my record collection nearly six years ago–among them three German-pressed Count Basie EPs with Andy Warhol’s Basie portrait on the covers and two rare promotional CDs for the Hours’ Ali in the Jungle in a silver-covered booklet.

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The three Count Basie EPs I had considered lost.
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The front and rear covers of The Hours’ promo booklet for Ali in the Jungle.
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Miguel Bosé’s singles with Warhol cover art.

And, in addition, I found some other singles with Warhol cover art–The Silver Apples (Fractal Flow / Lovefingers), Jeanne Moreau & Günther Kaufmann (Each Man Kills the Things He Loves) and the seven inch EP box of Hugo Winterhalter’s recording of Rhapsody in Blue / Grand Canyon Suite. I am very pleased to be able to reintroduce these “lost” items into my collection.

I went through all seven shelves of records starting at the top, took out all the CDs sifted through a pile of singles and when I finally reached the bottom shelf, I found the three missing Warhol albums together right at the start of the covers lined up there. It was as if someone had removed them knowing I would be sorting the collection and then taken pity on me seeing my misery and carefully replaced them! Had they been there previously I would have found them. I mean I took every record out several times. Poltergeist? Someone or something from “the other side”? Any other explanaiton?

Anyway, having found the missing LPs–and a load more stuff I thought I’d lost–I can at last store my records where I can find them and have everything in order.

Banksy’s Second Principle–Retrospective Exhibition of Works by the Artist Known as Banksy in Genoa, Italy.

Three years ago the Fondazione Roma organised a retrospective exhibition of works by the artist known as Banksy, curated by Stefano S. Antonelli, Francesca Mezzano and Acoris Andipa. I was honoured to be asked to show my collection of Bansky’s record and CD cover art at that show and when the Associazzone MetaMorfosi was planning a new show once again to be curated by Stefano and Acoris, this time at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa planned to run from 23rd November 2019 to 29th March 2020. Acoris again asked me to lend my record and CD covers to the exhibition.

Stefano Antonelli has entitled the exhibition “Il secundo principio di un artista chiamato Banksy“, which translated means “The Second Principle of the artist known as Banksy“. Okay. But if this exhibition is Banksy’s second principle, what is his first?  Stefano explains in his essay in the beautiful exhibition catalogue.

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The exhibition catalogue.

Banksy’s first principle, according to Stefano, is “If you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask“. His second principle is “If you want to be honest then you have to live a lie“. And I suppose one should bear that in mind as one views the exhibition–however, I only read the catalogue at breakfast on the morning AFTER I went to the opening.

The exhibition is housed in the Palazzo Ducale’s cellar–eminently suitable for a show of “underground” street art. It is beautifully laid out and contains prints, sculptures and aforisms in addition to my collection of record and CD covers. The works on show have all been lent by private collectors and, as the organisers are at pains to point out in the introduction to the exhibition hall, that it is not authoised by Banksy.

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The introduction to the exhibition.
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General view of the exhibition locale.

The only famous Banksy prints I missed were the Kate Moss series, which Banksy had done in the style of Andy Warhol. And I was reminded of how Banksy really knows his art history as I wandered round the five exhibition rooms. My records and CDs are in Room Five.
Bansky covers

The CDs and single records are shown in an impressively massive black trunk.

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The trunk showing the CD and 7″ covers.

All in all a thoroughly thought out exhibition that I’m very happy to have been a (small) part of. Thank you to Stefano and Acoris for letting me share this experience. But, to return to the exhibition title “Il secundo principio di un artista chiamato Banksy“, I wonder if to be honest, I have to live a lie? This exhibition is an honest retrospective of the work by the artist known as Banksy. But is Banksy living a lie in trying to be honest?

A New Andy Warhol Record Cover

From March 31st to September 8th, 2019, Moderna Museet in Malmö showed a major part of my collection of Andy Warhol’s record cover art advertised as the first time a complete selection of Warhol’s cover art production was on show. At a forum on record cover art at the Museum on 31st August, 2019, I suggested that we do not actually know if the sixty-eight covers on show are really all the covers produced during Warhol’s lifetime. I noted that new discoveries were still being made–coincidentally, often soon after and exhibition closed. And so it has turned out again!

Warhol expert and collector extraordinary, Guy Minnebach, recently visited The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and did some further research through Warhol’s letters and invoices collected at the Museum [https://warholcoverart.com/2019/10/13/the-bossa-nova-cover-no-one-knew-was-a-warhol-paul-desmonds-take-ten/]. he turned up an order from RCA Records dated May 1st, 1962 for cover art for an album with catalogue number LPM/LSP 2598. An invoice with the same date had a July 6th written on it, suggesting that that was when it was paid.

Guy didn’t recognise this catalogue number among currently identified Warhol covers and quickly discovered that the number belonged to Paul Desmond’s 1963 album “Take Ten”.

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The cover of Paul Desmond’s 1963 album “Take Ten”.

In the nineteen fifties Andy Warhol designed or illustrated about twenty-eight record covers. By the mid- to late fifties he was one of the highest paid commercial artists in New York, but, surprisingly, only three record sleeves were known to have been produced during the sixties; the “Giant Size $1.57 Each”, the “John Wallowitch” covers, and–of course–the famous “banana” cover for the “Velvet Underground & Nico” album. So the discovery of a further cover released in the sixties is sensational.

This appears to be a silkscreen portrait of Desmond against a coloured background. This possibly could be Warhol’s first silkscreen portrait. He only began making silkscreens in August 1962, so he probably had no idea for the cover when the order arrived. There is a sweet story as to how Warhol hit upon the idea of using silkscreens to “mechanise” his art. In 1961, he met a couple of English teenagers, David and Sarah Dalton, at party and invited them to see his art at his home. The Daltons were regular visitors to The Factory and David would in 1966 co-produce the Aspen Magazine box set together with Warhol.

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The pop art edition of Aspen Magazine produced by David Dalton and Andy Warhol in December 1966.

David Dalton went on to a successful career as a writer. But I digress, When Warhol met the Daltons, David was 16 and his sister Sarah 14. In early 1962 Warhol was experimenting with ways to speed up the process of producing multiple images on a canvas. He tried using stampers made from various materials but found that he could only produce small images by this method. According to one story, Sarah Dalton was visiting the Factory in early 1962 and saw Andy at work and he complained about the problems of reproducing many images quickly. Sarah was attending art classes at the time and suggested to Andy that he should try silkscreening as she had tried the method in her classes. Sarah would be a regular visitor and When Andy had filmed his first major film “Sleep”, he asked Sarah to edit it. Sarah had no previous experience of film editing but took on the challenge. It was the start of her career as a film editor.

Warhol usually used photographs from which to make his drawings and silkscreens. Thus he used a publicity still from Marilyn Monroe’s film “Niagara” for his “Marilyn” portraits, and a photo of hibiscus flowers, taken by photographer Patricia Caulfield as the basis for his “Flowers” paintings and prints. I therefore suspect that he found a photo of Paul Desmond on which to base his cover portrait. I have been searching for the photo, but without success.

Warhol’s cover design was also used by RCA Italy for a slightly different Paul Desmond album called “The Artistry of Paul Desmond” also released in 1963 and containing six of the original eight tracks from “Take Ten” but substituted “The Night Has a Thouand Eyes” and “O Gato” for “El Prince” and “Samba de Orfeu” on the original US release.

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The cover of “The Artistry of Paul Desmond” album.

So, my collection of Andy Warhol covers on show at Moderna Museet in Malmö during the summer of 2019 was incorrectly advertised as being “complete”. The finding of the Paul Desmond album barely one month after the show closed proves the collection to have been incomplete. I wonder how many more Warhol covers will turn up in the future?

 

Record sleeve art by artists I collect