Saul Bass – Another great designer and more on Warhol covers

Last week I was browsing in an art bookshop and stumbled across a recent tome devoted to Saul Bass’ design (Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design, by Jennifer Bass & Pat Kirkham.)

Saul Bass book cover
Saul Bass book cover

Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996) is noted for his company logos such as his double “U” for United Airlines, the bell and globe logos for AT&T and a host of others that have proved their worth by their longevity and, of course, his film titles and posters. He designed the opening and closing titles for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and the titles for the recent “Hitchcock” film were, not surprisingly, strongly reminiscent of Saul Bass’ work.
Saul Bass also designed record covers, many just using his film poster designs. I have six of his covers (St. Joan, The Man With the Golden Arm, Anatomy of a Murder, Advise & Consent, West Side Story and Bunny Lake Is Missing.) Monocle has compiled a list of 21 of his covers (www. and the book referred to above shows a few more, icnluding Elmer Bernstein’s “Blues & Brass” and three “The Man With the Golden Arm” EPs.

I’m also a White Stripes/Dead Weather/Jack White fan. Jack White’s favourite designer is Rob Jones ( who designed many record covers and posters for Jack White’s many incarnations. One cover that Rob Jones did not design, however, is for the single “The Hardest Button to Button”, which revamps Saul Bass’ “The Man With the Golden Arm” design.

The White Stripes "the Hardest Button to Button"
The White Stripes “the Hardest Button to Button”





And so on to more Warhol covers. I’ve decided to try to complete my collection of Warhol covers and the first one I came across was Horowitz’s recording of “Piano Music of Mendelssohn & Liszt”. Now I am only missing three of Warhol’s classic covers; “Latin Rhythms” by Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops, Johann Strauss Jnrs “Waltzes” and Margarita Madrigal’s “Magic Key to Spanish”. I hope affordable copies become available in the not too distant future.

The Smithsonian Magazine has an article on Banksy

The February 2013 number of the Smithsonian Magazine has an in depth arrticle on Banksy and his art. by Will Elsworth-Jones: This revealing article tells the story of Banksy’s rise to fame (and fortune) without delving into the issue of identity, though it does reveal that Robin Banks initially signed his work “Robin Banx” before shortening his signature to plain Banksy, seemingly confirming the rumour that his full name is Robin Banks. apparently many of Banksy’s outdoor works have disappeared or been removed in recent years. We really need a detailed list of cities and street addresses where his work may be found.


Banksy turns up on a record cover!

That's Banksy at far right, busy spraying!
That’s Banksy at far right, busy spraying!

This is Wall of Sound’s jubilee compilation album, released to celebrate the record label’s tenth anniversary in 2003. As you probably know, Banksy has had a long association with the label with designs for several Blak Twang covers in 2002 and the famous Röyksopp “Melody A.M.” promo LP cover which he sprayed himself.

Now this cover, which I had missed and was therefore not included in the exhibition of Banksy’s record cover art at Stockholm’s Konserthus this past summer and which is not included in the touring Banksy exhibition currently doing the rounds in Sweden, is probably the most significant, as it shows the artist at work. The people portrayed on the cover are most (if not all) of the artists whose records were released by Wall of Sound between 1993 and 2003.

The cover of the promo CD, which I posted recently only shows the finished graffiti on the wall without any of the artists. I had only seen a thumbnail picture of the LP and was slightly dubious as to whether or not to try to get a copy as I had not seen it recorded as a possible Banksy cover. It turns out it was £12 (including shipping) well spent! I’ve added it to my List of Banksy’s record cover art at if you want to check it out.

The “Dragonfly” promo CD


This Paul Weller EP was released as a 3000 copy limited edition 12″ vinyl only available from Weller’s webb shop and sold out prior to its official release date. Copies appear on Ebay for 2 or 3 times the £14 original sale price. Recently copies of the promotional CD-r have also appeared on Ebay and there are currently more of these for sale than the vinyl release. The promo has the same (if slightly cropped) Peter Blake cover image. So now I have both versions.

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.

Record sleeve art by artists I collect