Tag Archives: Bootleg LPs

Lou Reed & John Cale – Songs for ‘Drella’ and The Velvet Underground reunion

In 1968 John Cale and Lou Reed had fallen out during the recording “White Light / White Heat”, The Velvet Underground’s second album. They vowed not to play together again. However, they met at Andy Warhol‘s memorial service at St Patrick’s Cathedral on April 1st 1987 after having not had any contact with each other for many years. Apparently, Julian Schnabel suggested that they write a memorial album for Andy.

Warhol superstar Ondine had nicknamed him “Drella“–a contraction of Dracula and Cinderella and Reed and Cale decided to call their work “Songs for Drella“. They previewed the work at Brooklyn’s St. Anne’s Church in two concerts on January 8th and 9th 1989 before it was  complete.And these concerts were recorded and a bootleg LP appeared.
Warhol by Finkelstein


The record cover was a silkscreened copy of Nat Finkelstein‘s 1965 portrait of Andy Warhol holding a tambourine. John Cale recorded a single with two songs from the “Songs for Drella” project live on 27th July, 1989. These were “Style It Takes / Forever Change“. The cover showed two contractions of Robert Mapplethorpe’s portrait of Andy Warhol (C The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation).

AW by RM


The complete work was performed at a series of concerts in November and December 1989 and one performance filmed and released on DVD and Laserdisk. Reed and Cale recorded the work over the following two months for an album, which was released by Sire Records on 24th April 1990 on standard CD, a limited edition Digipak CD and on LP.

“Songs for Drella” CD with a Warhol self-portrait visible behind Lou Reed and John Cale.

A single “Nobody But You / Style It Takes” was released from the album.

A tour proved out of the question although Cale and Reed did perform together again in 1990 in Paris. They were joined by Sterling Morrison and Mo Tucker to play “Heroin“. This concert was also recorded and released on a bootleg entitled “Paris 1990“, with fluorescent cover art on a black background. The front cover showed a Warhol lily and the rear a portrait of Warhol in a diamond-shaped lozenge.



The arrival of Morrison and Tucker at the Paris concert lead to a further reunion concert in 1993 that was also recorded and released on CD and Laserdisk entilted “The Velvet Underground Redux Live MCMXCIII” and later as a four-LP set with Warhol’s banana as the cover art.



The Sources of Andy Warhol’s record cover art, Part 1 – The 1975 portraits of Mick Jagger

I have been planning a series of posts on the sources of Andy Warhol’s record cover art. Here comes the first of what I hope to be many. And I have chosen to start with some bootlegs – the source of the Mick Jagger portraits used on the “Emotional Tattoo” and “Mick Jagger in Japan” albums.

In 1975 Andy Warhol released a portfolio of ten silkscreen portraits of Mick Jagger. The portfolio was initially shown at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York and Castelli made a folder of the ten portraits in postcard size (approximately 15 x 10 cm) for the launch. The portraits for the mini set were obviously photographed before Warhol or Jagger had signed them. After the launch, most of the mini portfolios were destroyed but a few were kept in Castelli’s safe and were sold at auction in 1999. A few have turned up signed by Warhol – but these all seem to have been signed later.


The Castelli mini portfolio of Warhol's 1975 portraits of Mick Jagger.
The Castelli mini portfolio of Warhol’s 1975 portraits of Mick Jagger.

At least six bootleg LPs have used versions of these prints as their cover art. These are four versions of “Emotional Tattoo”, the “Mick Jagger in Japan” set and the latest, “Lonely at the Top”, released in late 2014. I have already discussed the various incarnations of The Stones’ “Emotional Tattoo” LP, which was first released in 1983 on black vinyl. Sometime later copies on orange vinyl began to appear in an sleeve identical to that of the black vinyl version. The sleeve was of fairly thin card and the Jagger portrait was slightly blurred, pale and lacked either Jagger’s or Warhol’s signature.

The reverse of the sleeve had the initials E.T. and a picture of the Extraterestrial. I had to kick myself for my stupidity when fellow WCCC member, Guy Minnebach, enlightened me as to why E.T. came to figure on the cover. E.T., of course, are the initials of Emotional Tattoo! So obvious! E.T. was popular in 1983, but rather “old hat” in 2014 when the album was reissued in a sturdier cover with a clearer version of the same Jagger portrait on the front (top row, right in the above picture), but this time with Warhol’s signature.It is interesting to compare both covers. Some important differences appear in the portrait which make me suspect that the portrait on the 1983 version is comes from another source.

The 1983 (left) and 2014 (right) issues of Emotional Tattoo.
The 1983 (left) and 2014 (right) issues of Emotional Tattoo.

The image on the 1983 version is coarser, paler and somewhat smaller than that on the 2014 reissue. The red colour on Jaggers face is missing and the brown area on the left is paler. The whole picture is “grainier” as if almost pixellated. Could it be a early scan or a photo of a photo? Further, there are two bluish colour bars over Jagger’s eyes in the 1983 version but only a turquoise bar over the bridge of his nose in the 2014 version. Warhol’s drawing of Jagger’s hair is missing in the 1983 version and the whole image is paler than the original print. Up to now, I have not been able to trace a source for the 1983 version of Jagger’s portrait.

The rear cover of the 2014 version shows all ten prints.

The rear of the 2013 re-issue album. Cleaner and better designed than the original.
The rear of the 2013 re-issue album. Cleaner and better designed than the original.

Here the portrait used on the cover is second from the right on the lower row of prints.

So, there are four versions of the Emotional Tattoo bootleg; two that use the 1983 portrait (black and orange vinyl issues) and two that use the 2014 portrait (black and green vinyl issues).

However, there is a fifth bootleg that uses another of the Warhol Mick Jagger portraits – the Suntory D.R.Y. beer promo “Mick Jagger in Japan, released in 1988.

Mick Jagger in Japan - The Suntory D.R:Y. Beer promo from 1988.
Mick Jagger in Japan – The Suntory D.R:Y. Beer promo from 1988.

This portrait can be seen in the upper row on the rear of the 2014 Emotional Tattoo cover, second portrait from the right. On the Mick Jagger in Japan LP the portrait is in black and white and is boldly signed by Mick himself.

Last, but not least, there is the “Lonely at the Top” LP apparently released in Germany by Cat Records in a numbered edition of 55 copies. Cat Records seems to specialise in releasing Rolling Stones bootlegs.

Lonely at the Top album cover.
Lonely at the Top album cover.

This image of Mick Jagger is identical to that included in the original portfolio of Jagger portraits and is identical to that used on the 2013 reissue of “Emotional Tattoo”. The image is crisp and has correct colour balance. The printers’ marks are visible on both sides of the image, which must have been taken from the signed portrait rather than from the mini cards as it shows Warhol’s signature at lower right.

I shall have to do some further research to try to find the original of the portrait used on the 1983 version of “Emotional Tattoo”. With a bit of luck, I shall return to this post with an update.

The Rolling Stones’ “Emotional Tattoo” bootleg album with Warhol art.

Warhol’s record covers

Although Andy Warhol designed or illustrated over sixty record covers during his life, his reputation as a cover designer  is mainly based on his two best-known sleeve designs: the “banana” cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico and the zip cover for The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album. Of course, Warhol also designed The Stones’ “Love You Live” cover and a greatest hits cover that Mick Jagger apparently rejected and which seems to have be lost. When it comes to bootleg albums The Stones are second only to The Velvet Underground when it comes to the number that use Andy Warhol’s art.

There are at least four Stones bootlegs that use Warhol’s art. These are “Emotional Tattoo”, “Live at Laxington”, “Mick Jagger in Japan” and the box set “El Mocambo 1977 +”. The first three of these all use one of Warhol’s Mick Jagger portraits originally sold in 1975 in a folio of ten silkscreens signed by both Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger. I had the opportunity to buy one of these sets at that time but turned them down as I thought the prints were ugly! A miss as gross as Patricia Caulfield’s refusal to accept two sets of Warhol’s “Flowers” as compensation for him using her photo as the basis for the paintings/prints . She demanded money instead!

Emotional Tattoo

This bootleg was originally released in Germany in December 1983 and included tracks recorded during sessions in 1981 and 1982 for the albums “Emotional Rescue” and “Tattoo You”. The cover was rather poorly printed with Warhol’s portrait of Mick Jagger on the front and a picture of ET on the reverse. Guy Minnebach tells me that ET was chosen for the cover as from an abbreviation of the record’s title and the fact that the film was very popular at the time the record came out.

The rear of the 1985 cover with ET.
The rear of the 1985 cover with ET.
The original 1985 front cover with the unsigned portrait.
The original 1985 front cover with the unsigned portrait.

The 1983 release was originally on black vinyl but sometime later copies appeared on orange vinyl housed in a cover identical to the black vinyl release and with the same catalogue number ID 1266.

Late in 2013, or perhaps early in 2014, a new version of the album appeared. Copies on green vinyl appeared on Ebay first from Portugal. This new pressing is a numbered edition of 350 and has the catalogue number RST-ST 01. The cover printing is of much better quality and the front cover portrait of Mick Jagger is now signed by Andy Warhol. ET has been banished from the rear and all ten of Warhol’s portraits of Jagger are pictured. There are also copies on black vinyl also in a numbered edition of 350 with an identical cover to the green vinyl issue. There is no indication on the cover as to which vinyl colour is included.

The front cover of the 2013 album. Note the improved colouring and Warhol's signature at the bottom.
The front cover of the 2013 album. Note the improved colouring and Warhol’s signature at the bottom.
The rear of the 2013 re-issue album. Cleaner and better designed than the original.
The rear of the 2013 re-issue album. Cleaner and better designed than the original.

It is possible that there are two editions of 350 copies each; one each for the green and black vinyl releases. I have not been able to ascertain whether there are, in fact, 700 albums in the new series or only a single series of 350. As I write this (December 2014) copies of these new pressings have been selling for around €200 each for both the green and black vinyl versions, but prices seem to be coming down. Copies of the 1983 issue have been priced at $300-500, which, in my opinion, is ridiculous.

The Rolling Stones – “El Mocambo 1977 +” a new bootleg box with Andy Warhol art

Both the Velvet Underground and The Rolling Stones hve been well served by Andy Warhol art. And not only on official releases but even on numerous bootlegs. When it comes to The Stones there was the 1985 “Emotional Tattoo” LP with one of Warhol’s portraits of Mick Jagger on the cover and the “Live in Laxington” LP (1979).

There are several Velvet Underground bootlegs that use Warhol’s art on their covers, ranging from the “Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes” (with three different colour variations on the colour), “More Bermuda Than Pizza” (1987) the “Paris 1990” album (1991), “Unripened” (2007) and “Live at the Gymnasium” (2011).

This year (2013) Red Tongue Records in Germany have released a lavish box set with soundboard recordings from the two Stones concerts at Toronto’s El Mocambo Tavern on 4th and 5th March 1977 and the concerts at the Oshawa Civic Auditorium on 22nd April 1979 as well as some studio tracks by Keith Richards recorded at Sound Interchange Recording Studios, Toronto, 12-13 March 1977. The two concerts at the Oshawa Civic Auditorium in Ottowa were put on as a charity show in aid of the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) as a condition after Keith Richard’s trial for possession of 5 grammes of heroin.

The box contains 36 tracks on both four 180 g vinyl records (3 white vinyl with some marbling and one red vinyl LP) and on 2 CDs. The box cover has a montage of Mick Jagger poking his tongue out at a girl – probably his daughter Jade* – who reciprocates. The box contains a folder with the same image. On the reverse of the box and the folder is a compoisite picture of two Mick Jaggers facing each other, over which the track titles are given.



These portraits come from a series of prints. Here are the originals:



It is perhaps quite logical that the album aret uses images like those on he Rolling Stones’ “Love You Live” album as four tracks, “Mannish Boy”, Crackin’ Up”, Little Red Rooster” and “Around and Around” recorded at El Mocambo were mixed down and released as side 3 of that album.

The box is released as a limited edition of 700 copies and costs around SEK 1000 – which I don’t consider too exorbitant.

*Thanks to Guy Minnebach for information on these images.