New additions to my collections of Warhol, Banksy and Peter Blake record sleeves

Literature, an American band from Austin, Texas, released their ten track second album, “Arab Spring” in January 2012 on vinyl LP and cassette. A CD with two extra tracks was released in Japan. The LP was released, according to Discogs, in a limited edition of 500 copies; four on grey vinyl, 98 on white and 398 on black vinyl. The cassette was only produced in an edition of 25 copies. I have been lucky enough to get both the black and white vinyl versions and the cassette. The album uses Andy Warhol’s “Flowers” on the covers. The LP and CD use the classic “Flowers” image while the CD shows only a detail from the painting. Nowhere in the package is the cover image credited to Warhol. Still, “Flowers” is probably my favourite Warhol image.




And so to the “new” Banksy cover. Banksy has had an association with Wall of Sound Records – witness the hand stencilled cover for Röyksopp’s “Melody A.M.” Promo LP and the series of “We Love You… So Love Us” compilation albums. In 2003, Alex Gifford put together a new compilation to celebrate Wall of Sound’s tenth anniversary. The standard album shows a group in front of a whitewashed wall with a Banksy inscription just visible behind the band members, while the promo CD just shows a wall with a Banksy stencil. The cover image is credited to Banksy on the rear.

VA-OffThe Wall_front_400

While researching the “Off the Wall” CD I accidentally found that Paul Weller’s new album “Sonik Kicks” had been released and that he had released a six-track EP called “Dragonfly” on 17th December as a 12″ or download. The EP contained the single and 5 tracks from previous sessions and was apparently only available by mail order. The cover was by Sir Peter Blake, his second cover this year, released only 6 weeks after Madness’ “Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da”. So, 2012, Sir Peter’s 80th year, is his most prolific as far as record cover design goes.


Yet another Banksy cover and the number of records/CDs with Warhol art on the cover increases

I thought I had gotten up to date on records and CDs that bear Banksy images, but last week I saw a promo CDR for Dirty Funker’s “Future” EP that I had not seen before. Of course it was listed in Discogs, so I don’t know how I missed it. Anyway, a copy was for sale on eBay and I managed to grab it!


Apparently, according to the copy of the newsletter that accompanied the CD, only 50 were produced, making it one of the rarest Banksy covers, so I’m glad to have found a copy.

Incidentlally, a Finnish journalist had seen the Banksy exhibition at Konserthuset via the Internet who is currently writing a book on Culture Jamming and wants to include pictures of Banksy’s/DangerMouse’s Paris Hilton spoof album as an example of hi-jinx related to the music industry and celebrities in general. he asked me for pictures which I duly sent.

What with this week seeing the release of Klaus Voormann’s 60th and Sir Peter Blake’s 20th piece of record cover art, I am amazed by the diligence of collectors of Andy Warhol’s record cover art in finding more covers that use his images. Thanks to I can keep my list up to speed. The most recent covers to come to light are:

Andi SexGang*s “Blind!” from 1985, that uses Andy’s “Multiple Elvis” image.


The following year Sonic Youth released a covers album that included a reworking of Madonna’s “Into the Groove(y) / Burnin’ Up” and this was released as a single in both 12″ and 7″ formats with a cover using Warhol’s picture of Madonna and Sean Penn’s wedding.


The re-issue trend continues with a revamped Velvet Underground live album “The Velvet Underground Live at the Gymnasium. Originally recorded on 30th April 1967 at New York’s Gymnasium, this recording is purportedly the only live recording before John Cale left The Velvets and includes a track “I’m Not A Young Man Anymore” that is not available anywhere else. The recording was first released in 2008 and was re-issued in 2011 with a cover purported to be by Warhol.


Last, but not least (at least at the time of writing), is a new release by a band called Literature entitled “Arab Spring” which uses Warhol’s “Flowers” image (incidentally my favourite Warhol image) on it cover. The album is a limited edition with 398 copies pressed on black vinyl, 98 copies pressed on white vinyl and 4 copies on grey vinyl (according to Discogs.) There is also a cassette with a different variation of the Flowers image released in only 25 copies.


I have no idea whether the use of Warhol’s art on these (and other) releases has been sanctioned. I suspect, however, given the continued popularity of Warhol’s art, that these covers will not be the last to use Warhol’s images. I guess I will have reason to return to this topic in the future.



New cover art by Klaus Voormann and Sir Peter Blake

October 2012 will be a memorable month with new record cover art by two of modern record cover art’s great exponents. First the German group Fools Garden release their new CD “Who Is Jo King?” (get the pun?) with cover art highly reminiscent of Klaus’ cover for The Beatles’ 1966 album “Revolver”.

Then, on the 29th October, Madness release their first album on their new label Cooking Vinyl entitled “Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da” with cover art by Sir Peter Blake. Peter Blake celebrated his 80th birthday on 25th June 2012 and I rate this cover as one of his most humorous.

Andy Warhol’s record cover art – or covers that bear Andy Warhol’s art

I started out collecting record covers that had been illustrated by or designed by Andy Warhol, which should not have been too controversial. It was relatively easy to spot designs that were obviously by him. Added to which, The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh had many of Warhol’s original designs so a basic collection of covers with art by Warhol based on these designs made collecting easy. However, it now appears that there are many covers that Warhol designed for which no record seems to exist in The Warhol’s archives. The Vladimir Horowitz “Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Liszt” is one such. The Gershwin / Grofé cover of “Rhapsody In Blue / Grand Canyon Suite” and the covers for Margarita Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish are LP covers now generally accepted as being illustrated by Warhol. In addition there are the 7″ EPs “Latin Rhythms” by Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops and The Century Symphony Orchestra’s “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr” which are also clearly Warhol illustrations. The RATFAB single from 1984 is a further example.

Covers bearing Warhol’s art which were not designed or sanctioned by him began to appear in Warhol’s lifetime, usually on bootlegs such as The Rolling Stones “Emotional Tattoo” or The Falling Spikes “Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes”. A couple of new examples have turned up recently. Andi Sexgang’s debut LP “Blind!” has “Multiple Elvises” on the cover and Ciccone Youth’s (Sonic Youth’s alter ego) cover of Madonna’s “Into the Groove(y) / Burnin’ Up” single appeared in 1985. These have only recently been added to the list of Warhol covers. In the 25 years since his death many others have appeared either by artists who have been painted by Warhol, such as Russell Means and Simeon of The Silver Apples. Means had had his portrait painted in Warhol’s series of Native Americans and Simeon when he was a Factory associate in 1969. There are a number of other releases that bear Warhol’s art. A reissue CD of Marilyn Monroe’s music “Happy Birthday Mr. President” has Warhol’s iconic “Blue Marilyn” on the cover. M.T.T.’s “Caught from Behind” and Cultura’s “Andy Warhol by Cultura” Double CD (this one had their use of Warhol’s art sanctioned by The Warhol Foundation.)

Then there is a third category of “Warhol” covers, those that use images made by Warhol’s Factory associates. Gerard Malanga’s photography of Loredana Berté on her “Made in Italy” LP and the single from that album and Mananga’s photograph of Edie Sedgewick that The Cult used on their 1986 “Edie Ciao Baby” single. The Smiths used stills from Warhol’s films on many of their covers (for example their debut album “The Smiths”and a portrait of Candy Darling on “Sheila Take a Bow” single) and some consider these to be “Warhol” covers, too.

One item is difficult to classify: in 1994 The Warhol Museum released a CD of recordings of Andy Warhol’s interviews called “Andy Warhol From Tapes”together with the Museum’s inaugural book. The CD was available as a stand alone CD with a detail from Warhol’s “Flowers” printed on the CD, or it was available attached to the front cover of the Museum’s book. Being released by The Warhol Museum and using Warhol’s art makes this about as near a true Warhol cover as any.

Purists, however, stick only to the covers that Warhol actually had a hand in illustrating or designing. So, where do I stand? My collection of Warhol covers is based on the covers purists agree on. I do have a few of the other items too; such as the Russel Means and the Cultura CDs and the Silver Apples “Fractal Flow” single.

More on Warhol covers

I’ve been updating my list of record covers illustrated or designed by Andy Warhol on There have been several additions to my list recently. I noted that I had completely forgotten to include the Mozart album ”4 Divertimenti” and Warhol’s last design, the ”MTV – High Priority” album. I have had to add some completely new covers, too. Two collectors, Frank Edwards and Kevin Kinney, have helped me by providing pictures of covers I had not previously known about, for which I am most grateful.



One completely new cover has turned up. Valdimir Horowitz’ ”Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Liszt”, released in 1952 on the RCA label. Three of these have come up for auction on Ebay over the past few weeks.


Then there are colour variations of previously known covers. The first of these to turn up was a reissue of a bootleg by The Velvet Underground entitled ”Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes”. The album was initially released in 1985 and this cover is a red variation released in 1987.


Kevin has collected multiple copies of many of Warhol’s covers and pointed out subtle colour variations of the cover to Tennessee Williams’ recital LP entitled, ”The Glass Menagerie”. The cover has bands of colour and the variations have either three of four colour bands that vary in position on the various versions. Kevin turned up a rare variation on the “MTV – High Priority” album cover. The usual cover has the MTV logo with red shading. The version he found has yellow shading and the titles at the top of the cover are all in black.


I hope to get good pictures of all these covers to post on the rateyourmusic list.

Banksy collection nearly complete

Record collecting can be both fun and frustrating. In the (good) old days it could take years of visiting record shops, record fairs and charity shops to find that one elusive title needed to complete a collection. Today it is often enough to log on to eBay  to find it. It makes collecting considerably easier but much more boring. I mean, you do not even have to put on your coat and go out to find that one item. Record collecting, like any other collecting, should be a social activity. Visiting record shops or fairs should enable you to make contact with like-minded people. This social aspect is lost when you sit in front of your computer and let it find the goodies for you. The thrill of the chase and the opportunity to bump into other collectors, not to mention, discussions with knowledgeable record shop staff, who might suggest where you could find what you were looking for is lost completely.

On the rare occasions when eBay lets you down, there are several other sites to search, Musicstack, GEMM are the best known.

So, what of my collection of Banksy record cover art? There are currently three items missing. Banksy designed the cover to a CD of Bristolian poetry in 2008, entitled “Monkeys With Car Keys” – the title uses Tery Fugate-Wilcox’s famous quote “Without art we are but monkeys with car keys”. Banksy has used the quote in his street art down a crack alley just off Stapleton Road, Bristol and on this CD he uses it again. The CD seems impossible to find. I’ve been in contact with Bristol’s main public  library and they checked all the local libraries in the city without success.

Then there is a sampler 4-track 12″ EP by hip-hop group One Cut, for whom Banksy designed several covers in 1999-2000. This one, the “Grand Theft Audio Sampler”, which has a Banksy image on the label and comes in a generic white card cover with a sticker with Banksy’s design. I have been looking for this for some time and may possibly have found a copy…

The third missing Banksy cover is – of course – The Capoeira Twins promo “4×3″ 12” single. I’ve seen one on eBay and know of one person who has it (but won’t part with it.) I have to be happy with the copy that I’ve made.

Currently up for grabs – providing you have the cash, asking price £1500 – is one of the original 500 Banksy/Danger Mouse bootlegs of Paris Hilton’s CD “Paris”. Banksy manipulated the cover image to show Paris apparently topless and added texts to the pictures inside the booklet. The CD contains 40 minutes of Danger Mouse’s music. I have a copy of the reissue bootleg (of which 1000 copies are said to have been made), so I don’t think I shall invest in the original, which I don’t think is worth more than, say, £400-500.

And here’s a reminder that our exhibition of Banksy’s record and CD cover art opens at Stockholm’s Konserthus on June 19th and runs until August 23rd. Every Banksy cover will be on show (except, of course, the “Monkeys with Car Keys”.) Come along and see them.

Exhibition of Banksy’s record and CD cover art has the go-ahead

So, I’ve collected over 50 record and CD covers designed or illustrated by Banksy – or that use his art. And now it’s all systems go for our exhibition of Banksy’s record and CD cover art to be held at Stockholm’s Konserthus, in the heart of Sweden’s capital city. The exhibition opens on July 3rd 2012 and runs until July 28th. A splendid time i guaranteed for all! Entry – as far as I can gather, is free, so there’s no excuse for not going.

I am hoping that the exhibition will be taken over by Sweden’s Folkets Hus & Parker organisation in the autumn and tour Sweden.

Ball and chain

I have to get rid of my music collection in the next three months. I had a visit from a British company that buys record collections. Two guys spent 36 hours going through my collection and making notes and agreed that it was a pretty interesting collection. A week after they left, I received an offer for about one fifth of what my estimation of the collection’s value. So I turned it down. Now I’ll probably have to sell on Ebay. That’ll mean a lot of hard work.

As I have previously stated, I will keep my specialist collections of record cover art. My Banksy collection lacks just three covers. I have a possible contact for getting hold of the elusive “Monkeys With Car Keys” CD, but I’m not sure how reliable that contact will prove to be. We’ll see. My Klaus Voormann collection is still growing as I find more covers. I’ve just found an further two; Heinz Rudolf Kunze’s “Reine Nervensache” from 1981 and what appears to be a new release – Van Dyke Parks’ “All is Golden” seven inch single – which has a lovely Voormann painting on the front cover.

This coming week I’ll be discussing the possibility of putting on an exhibition of Banksy’s record cover art in Stockholm this summer. It seems highly likely that it will come off. Just some niggly little details like finance to be ironed out.

The wonders of research

My collections of record cover art are nearing completion. The main subjects are:

1. Andy Warhol’s record covers

2. Sir Peter Blake’s record covers

3. Martin Kann’s vinyl record covers

4. Neville Brody’s record covers

5. Vaughan Oliver & v23 covers

6. Damien Hirst’s record covers

7. Klaus Voormann’s record covers, and

8. Banksy’s record covers.

All these artists have a finite number of record covers and it should, at least in theory, be possible to collect all the covers by each of these artists. In practice, however, some covers are so incredible rare that they are impossible to find (or afford). So far, I only have a complete collection of Sir Peter Blake’s recrod covers. I have all Martin Kann’s 12″ and LP covers and many 7″ covers, but I’m sure there are a few 7″ singles missing. I have all Neville Brody’s covers for Fetish records.

There are five Warhol covers that I do not have in my collection. These are, of course among the rarest – and therefore the most expensive of his covers. I have scans of all of them and have made copies of his silkscreen entitled “Giant Size $1.57 Each”, originally shown at the Contemporary Art exhibition at Washington’s Gallery of Modern Art in 1963.

Vaughan Oliver & Chris Bigg at v13 have produced a prodigious number of covers and I have limited myself to a representative collection and limited the further by concentrating on their most productive period up to about 2000. Even here there are a few expensive rarities, but I have managed to pick up most of these quite early.

Martin Kann is a Swedish designer who, with few exceptions, only designs the covers for the Swedish band bob hund (note the lower case). He is notable because he, like Andy Warhol, has given his name to an album (“Omslag: Martin Kann” (trans: Cover: Martin Kann) by bob hund.) His latest covers are really weird. One of the most recent just has the text: “Jag har ingen omslagsidé, Sorry /Martin (trans: I have no idea for the cover, Sorry /Martin.)

Damien Hirst has not been responsible for many covers as yet (I’ve found 18, thus far), but a few of them are already collectors’ items. In particular his cover for the self-released single “Use Money Cheat Death” that featured his portrait of Kate Moss with half her face dissected. The LP of Joe Strummer & The Mescalero’s album “Art Rock and the X-ray Style” is also extremely hard to find. His latest (2011) cover is the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “I’m With You” Album.

Apart from Andy Warhol, all the above designers are still active and more covers may be expected from them. Klaus Voormann still designs record cover art and is active as a session musician and record producer. His 41 year (and counting) career in record cover design outdoes Andy Warhol’s 38-year productive life. He started designing record covers while still at art school in Hamburg in the late 1950s and made his first commercial cover in 1960. It is only this first cover that eludes me so far.

Nobody knows if Banksy will continue to design record covers. The majority of covers in recent years have use his images apparently without his approval. Banksy allows anyone to copy his art and use it for non-commercial purposes. His early covers are becoming exceedingly difficult to find and the two that he hand-stencilled himself (Röyksopp’s “Melody A.M.” promotional LP and The Capoeira Twins “Four (4×3)” promotional single) command very high prices. I started collecting Banksy covers rather late. I found a list of his covers at and started collecting from this. However, I soon found out that this was by no means complete. A contact via Ebay helped expand the list and at the time of writing this I have identified 50 covers with Banksy art. Check them out at

The exciting thing about collecting individual artists is the amount of research that is needed to find all the covers each artist has designed. I started to collect Andy Warhol’s record covers by accident. I bought “The Velvet Underground & Nico”  in 1967 and The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” in 1971 when they were released. The Stones’ “Love You Live” came next and then John Lennon’s “Menlove Avenue”, Aretha Franklin’s “Aretha” and Diana Ross’ “Silk Electric”. So, there was the basis of a collection and I started trying to find other covers Warhol had designed. There were no books at that time and the best research tool was Ebay. I managed to pick up several of his rarer early covers for reasonable sums before prices started to go through the roof. Now several of the covers I bought sell for hundreds of dollars each. But some of his early covers are so rare that I will never see them. Through Ebay I made contact with Guy M, a true Warhol collector, who has helped me enormously.

My Vaughan Oliver collection started when I bought a pack of posters designed by 23 Envelope, his first design group. I had a couple of Cocteau Twins albums and things started to grow from there. I visited his studio in 2001 and he gave me a further 30-odd posters.

I loved Neville Brody’s typography and bought most of the Fetish records as they came out. I have only been able to identify forty covers so far.

Sir Peter Blake has only produced 20 covers, so it is not too difficult to get a complete collection. However, he admits to having designed four additional covers that were never used. Apparently, he does not have copies of all of these.

Klaus Voormann, can truly lay claim to the title the 5th Beatle.He got to know them in Hamburg and, as everybody knows, designed the cover of their “Revolver” album, for which he earned a Grammy. He has played with all of the Beatles at different times. My collection started out from the discography on his own webbsite, This list, however, is far from complete and the man himself says he has forgotten many of the covers he has designed. I’ve had fun searching German sites to find many of the covers he has not listed.So far I’ve identified 56 covers!

Another fascinating thing about collecting reord cover art is that I get to listen to music I would otherwise never have heard. Everything from the classical music and jazz of the Andy Warhol records to Lex Voix Bulgares on 4AD or hip hop of One Cut or Talib Kweli (with Banksy covers.) Then there is the industrial music of Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire (Neville Brodie covers) and the pop & rock of The Beatles (Voormann & Peter Blake), the Pentangle, The Who, Ian Dury  or Paul Weller (Peter Blake.)


I keep finding Klaus Voormann covers

Last week, that is the week before Christmas, I came across a record by the Les Humphries Singers entitled “Seasons Greetings”, which, as the title suggests, is a record of Christmas songs and carols. It was released in 1972. Despite the English sounding name, the Les Humphries Singers was formed in Germany by Englishman Les Humphries, who had been a musician in the British Army in Germany. The singers were from many nationalities and had several hits in the early seventies. The “Seasons Greetings” album comes in a gatefold cover with artwork by Klaus Voormann.

A further search this weekend turned up a single by Stephan & Nina called “Fireworks”. Stephan Remmler, a member of the German group Trio, teamed up with actress Angela Smecca (under the alias Nina) in 1984 and recorded the single “Feuerwerk”, which was also released in English as “Firework”, produced by Klaus Voormann, who also did the comic book artwork for the cover.

Neither of these releases are listed in Klaus Voormann’s own discography at

Record sleeve art by artists I collect