Tag Archives: record collecting

Banksy on Record — A Pictorial Discography

I know nothing about the artist known as Banksy’s art training. He was involved in the street art scene in Bristol from the late nineteen eighties and has admitted that 3D and the Wild Bunch were early influences. Perhaps he had also seen Blec le Rat’s art and borrowed his signature rat images. Monkeys were another early Banksy motifs.

Although he had been active since the mid nineteen nineties, Banksy first came to fame in 2006 when he and associates succeeded in placing 500 spoof CDs satirizing Paris Hilton’s newly released Paris album on the shelves of 48 HMV stores across the United Kingdom. Banksy had reimagined the CD booklet, rendering Paris Hilton topless on the front, and DJ Danger Mouse had created a special album to replace Paris Hilton’s songs. This made frontpage news in several newspapers and started a hunt to try to unmask the artist, led primarily by the Daily Mail.

But Banksy’s career had started at least ten years earlier in his native Bristol, where he followed other street artists in decorating walls in the city. He started painting murals but soon found that stencilling was faster and meant he could better avoid discovery and possible arrest. The story goes that he was in the process of painting a mural when he was spotted and to avoid capture hid under a lorry. On the lorry’s underside was a stencilled message and Banksy realized that stencilling would allow him to work faster.

There is debate about when Banksy first designed a cover for a record. In 1993 and 1994 someone called Robin Gunningham – suggested by the Daily Mail to be Banksy’s real name – designed the covers for two cassettes by the Bristol band Mother Samosa. The first, Oh My God It’s Cheeky Clown (1993) was also released on CDr. The second, The Fairground of Fear (1994) doesn’t seem to have been released in any other format. Printer’s proofs of these cover designs have circulated and been suggested to be the earliest cover art by the artist known as Banksy. However, I have never seen the cassettes.

Printers proofs of Mother Samosa’s two cassettes.

There is no doubt that the covers for One Cut’s records on the Hombré label, and the covers produced by Wall of Sound Records and its offshoots; Ultimate Dilemma and We Love You use Banksy’s images authorised by him, later releases on other labels or on bootlegs are almost certainly unauthorised. Sometimes, as in the case of Benjamin Zephaniah’s Naked CD or Liberation by Talib Kweli and Madlib, it is not certain that the cover images were authorised by Banksy. I won’t separate authorised from unauthorised covers in this list.

I have a nasty feeling that more recent bootleg releases, such as the two Boys in Blue 12” singles and TV-Age’s 12”, seem to have been produced in limited editions, often beautifully made, exclusively to lure collectors to part with large sums. An Israeli group is even producing picture disc singles with Banksy images that are being sold at exorbitant prices. I would not advise serious collectors of Banksy’s record cover art to fall for these.

In the mid-to-late nineties Banksy was an amateur footballer, apparently goalkeeper for the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls and toured with the team to Chiapas, Mexico in 2001 where he painted a mural and provided images for a very limited cassette by a Mexican band called Revolucion X, titled Canciones electorales, that was probably pressed in the U.S.. There seem to be three colour variations of the cassette, yellow, red and white.

Revolucion X cassette (Thanks to Nick S)

Then there is the story told by Steve Gibbs, a.k.a. Steve Vibronics that an artist called Robin designed the logo for his Vibronics dub band in the latter half of the 1990s, while in Leicester and there is some evidence that Banksy visited at that time. Steve is certain that this Robin was Banksy, but we have no definite confirmation. The Vibronics logo appears on three record covers: The Outernational Dub Convention, Vol 1: Jah Free Greets The Vibronics (1998), Dub Italizer (2000) a sixteen-track double LP that shows part of the logo, and The Return of Vibronics (2015).

The cover of The Outernational Dub Convention, Vol 1: Vibronics Greet Jah Free showing the logo (at right) purportedly designed by Banksy.

The first official cover designed by Banks was for Jamie Eastman’s record label Hombré Records. He designed the cover for hip-hop group One Cut’s Cut Commander 12” EP in 1998 and their remix CD album Hombrémix.

The Cut Commander cover.
One Cut’s Hombremix CD cover art.

He went on to design five more covers for the band in 2000 including their double album Grand Theft Audio, and a 12”, four-track sampler EP, called simply Grand Theft Audio Sampler. There are two versions of the promo 12”, one with a plain white label and the other with Banksy’s Abseiling Thief image together with track titles on each label.

Grand Theft Audio LP cover.

It is said that Banksy had a studio in Bristol in the same building as John Stapleton, who started BlowPop records, and Stapleton asked Banksy to design a cover for the promotional single by his new band the Capoeira Twins. Banksy produced a Matador and Car stencil and spray painted 100 covers for the 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out 12” promotional single.

The Capoeira Twins 4 x 3 / Truth Wiill Out promotional 12″.

There is a rumour that there was also a promotional CD-r for the album entitled Armour Plated, X-rated. This was produced in very limited quantities.

The other covers were for the 12” EPs Mr X / Rhythm Geometry and Underground Terror Tactics. I have a promo version of the Mr X / Rhythm Geometry 12” in a generic black cover but with Banksy’s logo on the record label.

In 1999, Wall of Sound records licensed a compilation CD to Sleazenation magazine. Steve Lazarides photographed Banksy’s image for the cover of The Next XI, a compilation CD that was attached to the September 1999 issue.

Sleazenation magazine with the The Next XI CD.

Banksy collaborated with Insect to design a poster for Monk & Canatella’s Do Community Service CD in 2000 and this was reproduced on the cover of the duo’s CD.

In 2000 Banksy was approached by the newly formed Clown Skateboards to design a logo that would be applied to a limited edition series of skateboards. Banksy came up with his Insane Clown image and Clown Skateboards produced a promotional CDEP called Skateboards, with the Insane Clown image on the cover. And the logo appeared on the label of a split 12” EP Styles by the Dozen by The Dynamic Duo (who are Niall Daily and Bryan Jones) and Nasty P (Paul Rutherford) the same year.

In 2000, Wall of Sound Records launched a subsidiary label called We Love You and released a compilation album called We Love You … So Love Us, with Banksy’s famous Rage – Flower Thrower image on the cover. There are two further We Love You compilations. We Love You … So Love Us Too was released the following year on CD and there is also a four-track 12” that comes in a red generic cover with the same image as on the CD on the record label. The third compilation, imaginatively titled We Love You … So Love Us Three, only available on CD, appeared in 2004. There are copies in jewel cases and promotional copies in card sleeves.

Ultimate Dilemma, another record label associated with Wall of Sound Records released a series of compilation albums and a 12” single between 2001 and 2003 with design by Tijuana Design and incorporating various Banksy images. All were released on vinyl and Digipak CD. Roots Manuva (Rodney Hylton Smith) released a single-sided 12” version of Yellow Submarine (2001). He also remixed tracks for the compilation Badmeaningood, Volume 2 (2002).  Skitz (DJ John Cole) remixed the compilation Badmeaningood. Volume 1 (2002). Peanut Butter Wolf (Chris Manak) remixed Badmeaningood, Volume 3, and Scratch Perverts (Prime Cuts and Tony Vegas) remixed Badmeaningood, Volume 4 (both 2003).


In 2001 the Norwegian duo Röyksopp (Torbjörn Brundtland & Svein Berge) released their first album Melody A.M. on the Wall of Sound label. A promotional double album was released to promote the album in a cover that was hand-sprayed by Banksy. One hundred hand-numbered copies were produced at Wall of Sound’s London office. The first fifty used a dark green paint while the final fifty were sprayed with a paler, olive green, paint.

Magic Records was another label associated with Wall of Sound records and Hip-hop artist Blak Twang (Tony Alabode) recorded his Kik Off album for the label in 2002. Three 12” singles were released from the album: Kik Off, Trixstar and So Rotten (Tony Rotten being another of Alabode’s aliases) There was also a remix version of Trixstar featuring Estelle (Estelle Swaray, who wrote the song). All four releases credit design to Mitch Design with art direction by Banksy. Steve Lazarides is credited with the photography.

Sometime in 2002 Seven Magazine produced an issue with a compilation CD in a card cover attached called The Soundtrack to the Sizzler Parties that used Banksy’s Dynamite Ice Cream image on the cover. There were even small flyers with the same image but with different coloured backgrounds. I haven’t seen the magazine.

The Soundtrack to the Sizzler Parties CD.

Banksy first showed his painting I Fought the Law at his Peace is Tough show in the Glasgow Arches in 2001 and two editions of screenprints, an unsigned edition of 500 and a signed edition of 100, were released in 2004. There were several colour variations. The original photo from which Banksy made this design came from the video of John Hinckley’s 1981 failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Amazingly, the American hardcore band The Promise were quick off the mark and the designer J. Bannon modified the I Fought the Law image for the cover of the band’s Believer album released in November 2002. The album came in two limited editions, 100 copies on clear vinyl and 900 copies on red vinyl, and included a double-sided poster. The album was also released on CD; the U.S. version had a black and silver cover image with the album title in red, while the European CD has a black and grey cover image, with the album title in green. The European version also includes two extra tracks.

The cover of the Believer LP. There are also two CDs with slightly different covers, one with the title in red and another with the title in green.

But 2003 was when Banksy’s art first came to the attention of a broader record-buying public with the release of Blur’s seventh album Think Tank on 5th May. The album release was preceded by a promotional CD in a hand stamped card cover that featured Banksy’s Petrolhead image. As the cover was hand stamped the positioning of the Petrolhead varied from cover to cover, sometimes being stamped upside down and, on a few covers, was missing completely. There is also a very rare variation with Petrolhead being replaced by an infant’s handprint. I have seen two copies of this with the handprint in slightly different placings.

Three promotional CDs for Blur’s Think Tank album.

The release of this Blur album in May 2003 was awaited with almost Beatles-like expectation and four months later, on 21 September, the Observer newspaper produced a five-track CD in a card cover with extracts from the album to accompany their Sunday Magazine again with Banksy’s art on front and rear covers. The image of a child wearing a diver’s helmet also appeared on a page in a Royal Mail stamp booklet issued January 7th, 2010 celebrating ten classic record covers, though the actual cover of the Observer CD wasn’t shown, and the only Blur cover was the Parklife cover, not Think Tank. The Think Tank album was reissued in 2012 on heavyweight (180 g) vinyl.

Three singles with cover art by Banksy were released from the Think Tank album: Out of Time, Good Song, and Crazy Beat, were released as limited edition vinyl singles, with Good Song and Crazy Beat on red vinyl. All were designed by Tijuana Design. Out of Time had Banksy’s Out of Time image; Good Song used his Kids on Guns and Crazy Beat had Insane Clown on Balcony. There was also a collector’s edition in a red book cover with a gold Father Holding Daughter with both wearing divers’ helmets stamped between “Think” and “Tank” on the front.

Wall of Sound Records released a compilation album called Off the Wall: 10 Years of Wall of Sound, celebrating its tenth anniversary on 13th September 2003. This was released as a triple LP set and a double CD in a gatefold card cover. The covers had some of the Wall of Sound artists posing in front of a wall and on the cover the figure spraying over the Tenant Parking Only sign on the wall is Banksy.

The cover of the Wall of Sound triple LP.

The label released a follow up to the We Love You … So Love Us Too with the imaginatively-named We Love You … So Love Us Three in 2004. Again, this was only available on CD with booklet art by Banksy. There is also a vinyl 12”, four-track sampler of the We Love You … So Love Us Too.

The February 2004 issue of the magazine The Big Issue included a compilation CD called Peace Not War to celebrate the Peace Not War festival to be held 12-15 February the cover and the CD showed Banksy’s Bomb Hugger Girl. The CD, in a card cover, was Sellotaped to the magazine’s front cover and copies of the CD usually bear marks after the tape. This is the first of several CDs that have used the Bomb Hugger Girl motif.

An album by the German band The Apoplexy Twist Orchestra released a white label, white vinyl LP in 2004 entitled Create the New. This came in a transparent cover with an obi with Banksy’s Bomb Hugger Girl and an insert had a picture of Banksy’s Nipper with Rocket Launcher.

The Create the New white vinyl LP.

Between 2004 and 2005 Bow Wow Records released four 12” singles / EPs; three of which used a modified version of Banksy’s Nipper with Rocket Launcher on the covers, subtly changed to Nipper holding a Tops. The fourth 12”, by Buckfunk 3000 had the same image on the record label.

The label of the Buckfunk 3000 12″ EP

Benjamin Zephaniah, vegan, poet, musician, activist and anarchist recorded a number of albums between 1982 and 2017. His 2005 album Naked was released in a Digibook that contained photos of many of Banksy’s images. It is unclear whether these were published with Banksy’s approval, but considering Zephaniah’s endorsement of Palestinian issues and BDS, similar to Banksy’s, it seems likely.

The same year a Mr Bird released his CD Know Your Rodents with a collage of various Banksy images on its cover and on the disc.

The CD booklet from Mr Bird’s CD Know Your Rodents.

Dirty Funker (Paul Glancy) is a DJ and remix artist who remixed Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and Lithium in 2004 and the following year remixed The Knack’s My Sharona on a limited edition 12” single on his own Spirit Records label, calling it Let’s Get Dirty. He used Banksy’s portrait of Kate Moss on front and rear covers. The very limited first pressing used the portrait without any text. While but on the cover of a larger second edition he Dymo strips across Kate’s eyes on the front and over her mouth on the rear. At least two copies of a printer’s proof of the cover art from the first pressing have appeared.


Printers proof of the Let’s Get Dirty cover.

And so to the famous Banksy / Danger Mouse remake of Paris Hilton’s 2006 Paris CD. Five hundred copies of this artwork were produced and Banksy and associates succeeded in placing them in the racks of a number of HMV stores across the United Kingdom and many unsuspecting customers mistook them for the genuine article and must have been mightily surprised when they got to play the CD. The original Banksy / Danger Mouse version was released as a CD-rom with Paris and a heart handwritten on the CD-r in marker pen (purportedly by Banksy.) It came in a jewel case with a booklet that Banksy had reimagined based on Paris Hilton’s original. This prank made national headlines in the United Kingdom and made Banksy a household name.

The original Banksy/Danger Miuse booklet. No label on cover.

Sometime later, a second edition was released in a limited edition of 1000 copies. This time with a properly pressed CD. This edition has been called a fake, but in reality it is a reproduction. It can be distinguished from the first edition by the sticker present at the top left on the outside of the jewel case is printed top right on the booklet’s front cover on the reproduction and the fact that the CD is not a CD-rom.

The reissue of the Banksy / Danger Mouse cersion of Paris Hilton with the “sticker” printed top right on the cover.

A bootleg white label 12” single I’m Not Your Friend by Hoxton Whores was released in 2006 with Banksy’s Rude Copper image on the record label.

Talib Kweli joined Corey Smith joint founder of Blacksmith Music, to form a production company. In 2006 Blacksmith released the album Liberation, a collaboration between West Coast producer Otis “Madlib” Jackson, Jr. and East Coast rapper Talib Kweli. Banksy’s painting ”Flag” was used on the cover.  A coloured vinyl re-issue has been promised for early 2022.

Banksy’s The Flag on the cover of Talib Kweli & Madlib’s LP.

Me&You (T.M. Juke and Robert Luis) released a 12” single called Floating Heavy (Edits) in 2007. This remix single has Banksy’s One Day We’ll Be in Charge on one label and Grannies image on the other. They also released a double CD called Music for Birthdays with a cover image of Prince Charles wearing a paper crown inscribed Burger King that has been suggested to be by Banksy, though it was done by the Norwegian street artist Dolk.

Dolk’s cover for the Music for Borthdays CD.

In 2007 Ashley Beedle remixed Kate Bush’s Running up That Hill and released it on a 12” single that had Banksy’s Kids on Guns image on the record label.

A Canadian band from Saskatoon called One Bad Son (mainly Shane Connery Volk (vocals) and Kurt Dahl (drums)) released its second album Orange City in 2007 and used Banksy’s Bomb Hugger Girl image on the CD.

The Orange City CD has Banksy’s Bomb Hugger giorl on the CD.

DJ Danger Mouse released a double LP the same year with cover art credited to Banksy. The front cover shows a CCTV camera pointing at a wall inscribed with Danger Mouse – From Man to Mouse a modification of Banksy’s What Are You Looking At. The rear cover shows Banksy’s Child with Divers Helmet Holding a Canary; the same image as on the Observer Blur promotional CD from 2003.

A relatively recent discovery is the seven-inch EP by the Belgian band SL-27 called simply SL-27. The fold-out cover has Banksy’s Love Is in the Air: Flower Thrower on the inner spread, Banksy’s Laugh Now, But One Day We’ll Be in Charge on the record label on side A and Banksy’s Children on Weapons Heap on side B. And this also appears on the back cover.

Bristol used to host a poetry festival and one year – probably 2008 – a CD entitled Monkeys With Car Keys was privately produced of the fifteen poets reading forty-two poems. I was first alerted to the existence of this CD in 2010 when I saw an image of the cover on a thread on UrbanArtAssociation’s site. I started to search for it contacting the Bristol main library, the Bristol Museum, and several Bristolian antiquarian booksellers without success. In fact, no one I contacted had ever heard of it. Eventually I sent a picture of the cover art to an ex-Bristolian Banksy collector who recognised the cover painting as one done by Banksy in Bristol in around 1999 but that had disappeared. My friend managed to confirm that the CD did exist and, after a few weeks, also found a copy.

The incredibly rare Monkeys With Car Keys CD.

This seems to be last release with cover art authorised by Banksy. All covers and record labels with Banksy’s images released from 2008 are all unauthorised.

The first of these is Dirty Funker’s Future, released on Dirty Funker’s own Spirit label. The 12” single was released in a cover that used Banksy’s Radar Rat. There were five limited editions (each said to be of 1000 unnumbered copies) printed on white, grey or brown card and Radar Rat was in three colours. There was also a 12” test pressing with a black and white cover as well as a promotional CD in a paper cover with the black and white Radar Rat.

The next bootleg was an interview LP called The Banksy Years (2008). Again, this was a limited edition of 1000 copies pressed on orange vinyl.

Another bootleg that used Banksy’s Queen Victoria as a dominatrix was a cover of Queen’s  Don’t Stop Me Now by a group calling themselves Queen and Cuntry [sic] (2008).

The next 12” was a split single by Hot Chile and Anarchist, again in a white cover with Banksy’s Love Is in the Air: Flower Thrower on the front cover and Hip-Hop Rat on the reverse.

Danger Mouse released a new single called Keep It Real / Laugh Now in four numbered limited editions of 1000 copies each with Banksy’s iconic Monkey design against a coloured background. There are 1000 copies each with gold, silver, brown or dark green backgrounds. Unusually, the numbers are on the record labels rather than on the covers. Apparently, he had planned a seven-inch single release as well and a series of covers with the same design but against a white background were prepared but the single was never issued.

Dirty Funker released a further 4-track 12” single called Flat Beat on his Spirit label in 2009 and appropriated Banksy’s Happy Choppers image for both front and rear covers. The choppers flew against a blue sky on the front cover and against a yellow sky on the rear. I must say that Dirty Funker had the good taste not to add any typography to spoil the artwork.

Dirty Funker’s Flat Beat 12″.

The German band Gottkaiser released a Digipak CD in 2008 called Krieg & Frieden with Banksy’s Bomb Hugger Girl on the cover and CD.

Gottkaiser’s CD Krieg & Frieden.

When the Time Comes, a limited edition five-track CD by a band calling itself The Lonely Kids Club came out in December 2011. I haven’t seen one of these yet.

A band from Hitchin, U.K., called Frog Stupid released their CDEP Love and Amnbition Won’t Get You a Payrise in 2011. This seems to be a private pressing not on any label. The cover shows Banksy’s Girl With Balloon.

Frog Stupid CD cover.

In 2012 a New Orleans brass band called The Hot 8 Brass Band released its third album, called The Life and Times of… The band had approached Banksy for permission to use some of his art on the cover but heard nothing. However, just before the CD was going to press, the band reached out again and this time Banksy agreed to allow the use of his images, though not permitting the band to use his art on the CD cover. The booklet’s inner spread has several Banksy images.

Desy Balmer, an Irish DJ and producer, and co-founder of Nice & Nasty records, released a 15-track compilation as a digital release in 2012 on his own Nasty & Nice label with a cover painting by Banksy modified from an image from the Palestine Wall.

TerranceK (Terrance Kerti) is a Detroit-based DJ who produced a digital EP in 2013 called Hot Line that used a photo of Banksy’s London Phone Box #2 on the cover.

Cover art for digital only relase by TerranceK.

Banksy’s I Fought the Law image appeared for the second time on the cover of a test pressing of Embalming Theatre’s and Tersanjung 13’s split seven-inch EP titled Mommy Died – Mummified / Hellnoise on the Rotten to the Core label in 2013. The test pressing cover was designed by Robert Janis, owner of the label.

Test pressing with I Fought the Law motif.

Warrior Soul released a CD in 2008 called Destroy the War Machines with a modified image of Banksy’s CND Soldiers. The album was reissued in 2013 in a limited edition of 333 numbered, white vinyl LPs. Design is credited on the inner sleeve to Ballsy [sic] and collage by Joachim Ljung. Band photographs by Tim Hodgson & Dajana Winkel.

The LP cover. Only 333 copies were released.

Junichi Masuda is a producer and composer for Pokèmon and produced an LP called Pokèmon in 2015. There doesn’t seem to have been an official release as all editions are listed as test pressings. There are three main cover variations, all released on the Moonscape label. Several coloured vinyl editions came in a cover that was a pastiche of Peter Blake’s and Jann Haworth’s Sgt. Pepper art with the famous Sgt. Pepper drum replaced by a Pokèmon ball. However, there was a further limited edition planned to be 100 copies with a hand-sprayed recreation of Banksy’s Love Is in the Air – Flower Thrower art. The story goes that the stencil used broke after about ninety covers had been sprayed and another stencil with a rabbit and balloon take on Banksy’s Girl with balloon was substituted for most of the remaining ten covers, although there may also be a few with another image instead of the rabbit. Both covers were designed and made by Sean Patrick Dagle. Dagle wasn’t satisfied with the initial run of covers as there was much spray paint outside the actual image and he remade the stencil and produced a further series of 150 numbered covers that he sold without records.

In 2015 a band calling themselves Boys in Blue released Funk da Police, a bootleg 12” single in a cover with Banksy’s Rude Copper design, ostensibly in a limited edition of 100 unnumbered copies. The band released a second bootleg 12” single called Strawberry Donut / Thick as Thieves as a limited edition (250 copies) in 2021.

A band calling itself Minraud released a CD in 2016 titled Vox Populi on the Hidden Stone record label. This is probably a bootleg but the cover art uses Banksy’s Radar Rat image.

American DJ Romanowski release a CD called Tracks from the Movie “Saving Banksy” in 2018 with a Banksy rat on the cover.

Another German release arrived in 2016 from a band calling itself TV-Age. This was The Player EP with a beautiful, hand-screened cover of Banksy’s Every Time I Make Love I Think of Someone Else.

TV-Age – The Player EP.

There is also a CD from Belgian band Fist2Fist entitled Hold the Gun with Banksy’s Girl with Rocket Launcher art. There is no information on when it was released.

Banksy designed a protective vest for rapper Stormzy (Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr.) and this was featured on the cover of his December 2019 album Heavy Is the Head. The album was available on CD, a limited edition double vinyl LP, with the vest pictured on one on the inner sleeves, and as a double picture disc. The cover was designed by Hales Curtis design studio. The album was later reissued as a double black vinyl LP.

In 2020, John Brandler bought Banksy’s Port Talbort mural Seasons Greetings and celebrated it with by producing a CD called Seasons Greetings by the Climate Change Sound Project. (Gwyn Griffiths and Frankie Oldfield).

The Climate Change CD cover (rear cover (left) and front cover (right)).

I am certain that more covers appropriating Banksy’s art will appear – both newly discovered records and CDs (and even music cassettes) as well as speculative new productions akin to the Boys in Blue and TV-age releases.

More on Ed Sheeran’s “=” [Equals] Cover.

My vinyl bundle of this latest Ed Sheeran release arrived this week. I received the limited edition recycled vinyl LP, the standard CD, the limited edition coloured vinyl LP with CD in the deluxe book cover, and the limited edition cassette.

The front cover of the “=” [Equals] LP.

Nowhere could find a credit to the art direction or design. However, Ed Sheeran’s friendship with Damien Hirst is well documented; not least on Sheeran’s Instagram site, and the presence of butterflies is highly suggestive of Hirst’s work.

Damien Hirst redesigning Ed Sheeran’s plaster cast (from Ed Sheeran’s Instagram).

Further research into Ed Sheeran’s discography took me to the artist’s previous album release “Divide”, which has a sort of spin painting on the cover, looking suspiciously like a Damien Hirst work.

The cover of the “Divide” album.

However, it turns out that Damien Hirst allowed his mate to use his studio to play around and make this artwork himself. So the “Divide” cover is not a Damien Hirst design, but an Ed Sheeran product.

Comment from Loughran Gallery on the “Divide” cover art.

Well, that saves me the expense of having to chase a copy of this particular Ed Sheeran album.

Some New Thoughts about Collecting Banksy’s Record Cover Art.

It seems that this blog has become a reference work for information on record and CD covers with cover art by the artist known as Banksy. And I find it very flattering. My aim, way back in the 00s, was to catalogue all record and CD covers with Banksy’s art, irrespective of whether or not the release used an authorised Banksy image. To date I have catalogued about 100 releases.

Banksy’s art has been sold as paintings, stencilled prints or silkscreen prints, the latter being the most commonly available. The prints are commonly limited editions, often in editions of 100 or 250 which may be signed or unsigned. Both are becoming scarce and command very high prices; witness the recent sale of Banksy’s painting Love is in the Bin for GBP 18 million. Signed prints of his more iconic works are currently (October 2021) on offer for GBP 100,000 to 200,000.

I bought Blur’s Think Tank LP when it was released in 2003 and the promotional Parlophone and Observer CDs around the same time. However, I didn’t start seriously collecting Banksy’s record cover art until around 2005. Back then I could buy the records as they were released and they cost no more that other 12″ records, so my set of Dirty Funker’s Future 12″-ers cost GBP 6.99 each; likewise my set of Dirty Funker’s Laugh Now / Keep It Real 12″-ers (there’s a set for sale on Ebay just now for GBP 10,000). The most expensive release I bought was Dirty Funker’s Let’s Get Dirty (the first press without the Dymo strips across Kate Moss’s eyes) from a fellow collector for GBP 100. I added more and more records and CDs as time went on.

Once upon a time, the most expensive Banksy covers were the two he had purportedly stencilled himself: the Capoeira Twins’ promotional 12″ 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out and Röyksopp’s promotional Melody A.M. double LP; each produced in editions of 100 copies, comparable to Banksy’s limited edition prints. However, the records have been selling for about a tenth of what an equivalent print would cost.

So, when I started collecting, the covers were affordable and remained so until about 2015 when prices began to rise. Now, however, many collectors are competing to find Banksy’s record covers and prices have skyrocketed. I am amazed (and shocked) to see someone trying to sell copies of Dirty Funker’s Flat Beat 12″ for between EUR 815 (about GBP 700) and AUD 6,500 (about GBP 3,500), and copies of Queen & Cuntry’s Don’t Stop Me Now are for sale on Ebay for about GBP 4,000! These prices are stimulating the production of forgeries. I am not sure all the copies offered for sale nowadays are 100% genuine.

Apart from the question of forgeries, there are other ways unscrupulous producers are cashing in on the willingness of collectors to fork out large sums for limited edition covers. These seem to be on the increase. Take TV-Age’s beautiful The Player EP (an apparently hand screened cover in an unnumbered edition, said to be 100 copies) or Boys in Blue’s two 12″ singles Funk da Police (unnumbered edition, said to be 100 copies) and Strawberry Doughnut / Thick as Thieves (numbered edition of 250 copies). In my view these have been produced exclusively to lure collectors of Banksy covers to pay large sums for worthless music.

Another group that is cashing in on the widespread interest in collecting record cover art are the Israeli producers of picture discs with art by a variety of artists ranging from Banksy (like this one) to Warhol. They sell via Ebay and generally cost around USD 300 for a single-sided, generally unplayable, 12″ single. I made the mistake of buying a couple of these to test. I hope nobody else will fall for the con.

Thus I have now decided in future to concentrate only on official releases with Banksy’s art. Several CDs and cassettes have recently surfaced that are unoffical and I will not join in the bidding for these, nor will I go for the latest Boys in Blue 12″. Let’s all agree to boycott the speculative releases and just concentrate on the legitimate ones.

The Fall — I’m Frank. A Peter Blake Cover I Missed.


Once again a record cover turns up to prove that my previously “complete” collection of an artist’s record cover art isn’t complete.

I’m trying to write a discography of Sir Peter Blake’s record cover art and had produced a first draft when it occurred to me to do a search of Discogs’s database. Discogs logs credits to many (most?) of the records, CDs and cassettes catalogued there and users can easily choose to search for individual musicians, record producers or, indeed, graphic artists. My rather belated search turned up a surprise:

The Fall’s I’m Frank promotional 12″.

I had never seen this cover before but it certainly looks like a Peter Blake painting and the rear cover gives Peter Blake the credit. So I sent an email to Sir Peter’s gallery, the Waddington Custot Gallery in London, to enquire about the source of the painting. Unfortunately they had not handled a painting like this but assured me they would ask Sir Peter if and when an opportunity arose. I’m still waiting for a possible reply to that. It turns out that this is painting by Blake called Nadia, oil on hardboard (29.2 x 21.6 cm / 11.5 x 8.5 inches), painted in 1981. It was exhibited in the Peter Blake retrospective at the Tate Liverpool in 2007 and there’s a full page picture of Nadia on page 120 of the exhibition catalogue Peter Blake : a Retrospective, published by the Tate.

Peter Blake’s Nadia. From the Peter Blake: a Retrospective catalogue.

The Nadia painting is in the collection of the RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A., one of three paintings by Peter Blake in the museum’s collection. I just wonder how The Fall came to choose this as their record cover art. They do not credit the RISD Museum.

This U.S., 1990, four-track, promotional EP seems quite rare. I can’t quite understand how it managed to slip under my radar for so long, but I managed to find one on Discogs and it arrived this week (23 rd September) to “complete” my Peter Blake collection. I now eagerly await the next Peter Blake cover I have never seen. It’s bound to turn up soon.

Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon and Richard Prince — Some Record Covers.

I have only seen Sonic Youth live once. That was at Hultsfred”s Festival in 2002. The concert can be seen on YouTube. I don’t remember too much about the show, only Kim Gordon’s pink dress and that I thought there were very few people gathered for such a major band. The video, however, makes it look like there was a huge crowd.

I recently discovered that Kim Gordon was an art school-trained artist as well as a musician and that she had designed record covers. Quite unknowingly, I actually had one of her cover designs in my collection — Ciccone Youth’s 12″ maxi single Into the Groove(y)/Burnin’ Up. It was Guy Minnebach who pointed this out.

Kim Gordon’s cover for Ciccone Youth’s single.

Sonic Youth have used other monicas than Ciccone Youth. In 2004 the band released an album called simply Sonic Nurse, with Richard Prince’s painting of a nurse as its cover art. There were four different paintings on this beautiful cover.

This was my first contact with Richard Prince’s art. To my mind it established a relationship between him and Sonic Youth. Prince is known as a painter and photographer and has even used found objects such as cars. He is also a musician and in 2015 recorded a song, Loud Song and released it on a CD.

Loud Song CD with photo of Richard Prince’s barn covered in vinyl records.

There was an exhibition of Richard Prince’s art in 2016 called It’s a Free Concert Now and for that exhibition Prince produced a limited edition, single-sided 12″ picture disc with the same title and two tracks, It’s a Free Concert Now and Loud Song. There were 25 numbered and signed copies and 25 unnumbered, unsigned copies.

Richard Prince used a detail from one of Kim Gordon’s paintings for the cover of his limited edition 12″ single Loud Song released in 2016. One edition of 250 was signed and numbered and the record pressed on white vinyl. However, my copy, while signed, is unnumbered and the record is pressed on black vinyl. I don’t know the size of this edition.

In 2019, The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh released a double album by Gordon, Bill Nace, Steve Gunn & John Trusinsky of the Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS concert, held the previous year at the Museum. The cover art was made up of stills from Andy Warhol’s Kiss film. The clear vinyl records also had similar stills on their labels.

Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS.

A further Kim Gordon cover has appeared. The band Talk Normal released a 7″ single called Lone General in 2011 with cover art by Gordon, with very abstract impressionistic drips! This limited edition single was released on both black and clear vinyl.

The cover of the Lone General 7″ single.

I am on the lookout for more covers by both Richard Prince and Kim Gordon to add to my collection.

Visual Vinyl– An Exhibition of Jan van Toorn’s Amazing Collection of Record Cover Art.

Record cover art has become a recognised field of collecting and exhibitions of record cover art are now quite common. Some of us collect specific artists, some collect a particular type of music (heavy metal or hip hop seem popular) while others collect more generally and have collections solely based on record covers’ artistic merit. The first collector I came in contact with was Guy Minnebach, who has an amazing collection of Andy Warhol’s record cover art. Through him I got to know to know Frank Edwards who at first collected Warhol’s record covers but later branched out to collect more generally, including a wide variety of covers by various artists. Frank Edwards’s collections have been exhibited at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

As a follower of Mike Goldstein’s Album Cover Hall of Fame blog I have had the opportunity to see a number of record cover art exhibitions online and Mike recently tipped me off about one he thought I should have seen — the Visual Vinyl exhibition at Schunk, Heerlen, The Netherlands, which ran from 28th November 2015 — 6th March 2016. Mike had just got hold of the exhibition catalogue. A beautiful 232 page hard cover book. The exhibition, curated by Lene ter Haar and Cynthia Jordens, showed hundreds of record covers from Jan van Toorn’s amazing collection ranging from the commonplace, like Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground & Nico Banana cover to more obscure releases by the Fluxus group. Many very rare covers were included and the book has pictures of a whole host of them. In the book’s final pages Jan van Toorn describes his collecting philosophy and then presents a discography of his collection listing 2200 covers ordered alphabetically by designer/artist. You won’t find any record industry designers — no Steinweiss, Jim Flora, Aubrey Powell, Roger Dean — but Peter Blake & Jann Haworth (Sgt. Pepper) and Richard Hamilton (The Beatles) are in. So are Banksy and Damien Hirst. Art bands like Sonic Youth get included.

Jan van Toorn lists several covers by David Shrigley in his discography, but none is pictured in the book. He also has one of Andy Warhol’s Giant Size $1.57 Each covers from the numbered limited edition of 75 copies made by Billy Klüver for German gallery owner Heiner Friedrich in 1971.

However, van Toorn doesn’t seem to know the history behind this record cover. He suggests that these 75 covers were all that Warhol produced. In fact, it was Swedish engineer turned artists’ assistant. Billy Klüver who had made the eleven interviews with the pop artists included in the Popular Image Exhibition in Washington D.C. in 1963 who asked Warhol to help make covers for the LPs of the interviews that he had had pressed for the exhibition (at the show, they were sold in envelopes designed by Jim Dine, together with the exhibition catalogue.) Klüver obviously had records over and in 1963 he and Warhol screen printed hundreds of covers, some with white backgrounds, others with green, red, orange or green spray-painted backgrounds that Billy Klüver took charge of. When Heiner Friedrich, a German gallery owner, asked for a limited edition, Klüver took 75 white covers with records and asked Warhol to sign and number them and Friedrich sold them at his gallery. Klüver later sold copies of the coloured covers, some with records, some without. And a few of the white variety were sold at Andy Warhol’s first international retrospective at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in January-February 1968.

The Visual Vinyl book is a great addition to my library.

Five Record Covers Signed By Andy Warhol.

I enjoy visiting the A & D Gallery in Chiltern Street, London, on my regular visits to spend time with my aged mother. I enjoyed the banter with my friends, the late Daniel Brant and Helen Clarkson (who now runs the gallery). I learnt a whole lot about pop art, and in particular about Andy Warhol’s art, from these experts. Daniel had sold a couple of signed copies of the Rolling Stones’ “Love You Live” album in previous years and I had told him hat I would be interested in a copy should he ever find another. Three or four years ago he mailed me that he had included copies of “Sticky Fingers” and “Love You Live” in an auction and I was lucky to be able to buy them.

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My signed “Sticky Fingers” LP.

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Late in 2018, I met John Peter Nilsson, from Moderna Museet, in Stockholm during the Warhol 1968 exhibition at the museum in Stockholm. I pointed out that one of the eight Andy Warhol designed record covers on display (by The East Village Other) was NOT designed or illustrated by Warhol. And I mentioned that I had a complete set of Warhol covers. John Peter suggested that, when the exhibition moves to Moderna in Malmö in March 2019, my collection would look great in the Malmö exhibition space so I agreed to lend my records to the exhibition.

Just prior to collecting the records I came across an autographed copy of Paul Anka’s 1976 album “The Painter” signed by both Andy Warhol and Paul Anka. Apparently, Warhol signed the cover outside The Factory in December 1986, just two moths before he died, and Paul Anka signed it later.
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Most recently I found a copy of Billy Squier’s “Emotions in Motion” album signed by Andy Warhol. Unusually, this is an Italian pressing. The provenance is from a gallery in Rome that bought the album from Anita Pallenberg.

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Billy Squier’s “Emotions in Motion” signed by Andy Warhol.

Apparently, this was signed in for Anita at The Factory in 1985. I’m a little suspicious, however.The signature soesn’t look 100% and I wonder how Anita Pallenberg happened to have her Italian copy of the album with her in New York… Perhaps I’m being too suspicious, though.

But the signed album any Warhol collector really wants is, of course, a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico!

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“The Velvet Underground & Nico” signed by the band and Andy Warhol.

My friend and fellow collector of record cover art, Stefan Thull, decided in October to sell part of his amazing collection and among the records he was prepared to part with was his signed copy of Rats and Star’s “Soul Vacation” album that he sold to me.

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“Soul Vacation” by Rats and Star signed in 1983 in Japan when Andy Warhol met the band.

Robert del Naja (3D) and Massive attack.

I had heard of Robert del Naja in my research into the roots of Banksy‘s art and learnt that del Naja–alias 3D–was a leading figure in Bristolian street art long before Banksy started decorating Bristol’s streets. Banksy has acknowledged 3D as a major influence. I knew also that del Naja was a member of Massive Attack. Del Naja has even been suspected of actually being Banksy. despite Banksy‘s ex-agent Steve Lazarides stating that he had seen Banksy at a Massive Attack gig.

I got hold of Robert del Naja‘s book “3D and the Art of Massive Attack” last autumn and wrote a post about it last October. A couple of months ago I bought a copy of Massive Attack‘s “Heligoland”–the limited edition version from The Vinyl Factory, with its spangly cover.

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Massive Attack’s “Heligoland package with 2 LPs, CD & booklet.

I then saw a copy of The Vinyl Factory’s limited edition (1000 copies) of Massive Attack‘s “Atlas Air” 12″ offered together with a copy of Very Nearly Almost (VNA) magazine No. 26 which featured an article on 3D for the amazing sum of £300! And the VNA magazine was the regular version, not the limited edition one. I picked up a copy of VNA no. 26 for the princely sum of £15!

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The standard shop version of VNA Magazine No. 26.

and decided that I would try to get the “Atlas Air” and “Splitting the Atom” 12″-ers too. I was lucky enough to find a seller in Germany who could supply both! They arrived a couple of days ago and I’m really pleased I got them. The cover art is magnificent.

I decided that I would buy the limited edition of “3D and the Art of Massive Attack“, too. Said and done! My copy was number 149/350 and includes a print by 3D (from a run of 1325 copies, an expanded version of the ordinary book called “Protection” and, not least a single sided 12″ entitled “Vermona“–which is only available in this box set.

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The box set of “3D and the Art of Massive Attack”.

The cover of the book of 3D‘s art and the print (on hardboard) and the “Vermona” single sided 12″ with 3D‘s etching on the reverse.

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The standard version of the book (left) and the limited edition, numbered version (right).

I’m waiting for the remastered reissue of “Mezzanine“, Massive Attack‘s magnificent 1998 album. A special 3 LP version with coloured vinyl will be released in late January 2019 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The stag beetle cover photo is by Nick Knight and the remastered vinyl package will come in a heat-sensitive box with more photos by Knight and 3D.

Printer’s Proof of Dirty Funker’s “Let’s Get Dirty” Cover.

You already know that I am inordinately proud of my collection of records and CDs with cover art by the artist known as Banksy. Many of the vinyl releases with Banksy‘s cover art, particularly the “unofficial” ones, were released as limited editions. Dirty Funker (just one of DJ Paul Glancy‘s aliases) released two remixes as 12-inch singles with cover art by Banksy: “Let’s Get Dirty“, from 2006, appropriated Banksy‘s famous Kate Moss portrait, and “Future“, released in 2008, featured Banksy‘s “Radar Rat” design (in five different limited edition covers, probably each of 1000 copies).

There were two editions of the “Let’s Get Dirty” 12-incher, both limited–the first edition, which showed only Banksy‘s Kate Moss portrait with no artist, title or tracklisting, or even a barcode. The front image showed Kate‘s head against a red background, while on the rear cover she had a pale green background. This edition must have been significantly more limited than the second edition which showed Kate‘s portrait with a Dymo strip over her eyes on the front cover giving the artist and record’s title. On the rear the strip was placed over Kate‘s mouth giving the tracklisting.

This week a printer’s proof of the first edition “Let’s Get Dirty” cover was advertised on Ebay. The seller had bought it in 2007 and now was sadly selling it. He thought there might have been about ten copies printed in 2006 (the print is dated 18th January 2006) and makes an interesting addition to both my Banksy and my collection of record and CD covers featuring Kate Moss.

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Printer’s proof sheet for the “Let’s Get Dirty” cover.