Tag Archives: Rolling stones’ bootlegs

Records and CDs with Andy Warhol Cover Art – Where to Draw the Line

I suppose it was the fact that a collection of 105 record covers bearing cover art by Andy Warhol or his associates is currently up for auction at Sotheby’s in London (auction date 29th & 30th September, 2015) with an estimated sale price of £30,000 to £50,000 that made me sit down and think about which covers should and should not be included in a collection of Warhol covers.

I have made a list of record (LPs, EPs and singles) and CD covers that currently includes 218 items. I have included some doubles like various pressings of Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album as well as re-issues of the Alexander Nevsky cover and various formats of fifites EPs by Artie Shaw and The Joe Newman Octet. However, I haven’t included the Liberty re-issues of Kenny Burrell’s Blue Note albums with Warhol drawings or the various Blue Note issues with different New York addresses in my list.

The collection on sale at Sotheby’s includes some covers that I have not included in my list – such as Loredana Berte’s “Jazz” album. Also included in the sale are some “replica” covers. As I know whose collection this is, I can guess that these “replicas” are a couple of the covers I made (“Progressive Piano” and “Night Beat“). I wonder how Sotheby’s views the inclusion of these “fakes”. I shall visit the pre-auction viewing and try to find out.

The collection on sale includes some very rare items including a “Giant Size $1.57 Each” cover signed by Billy Klüver (who together with Warhol silkscreened the covers) and copies of “Sticky Fingers” and “The Velvet Underground & Nico” signed by Andy Warhol. But – some rare covers, like the Lew White “Melodic Magic” and “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr.” and the rarer blue version of “A Program of Mexican Music” – are missing. It also includes the East Village Other’s “Electric Newspaper” (incidentally, also included in Paul Maréchal’s book), which has no other connection with Warhol than the record contains a track “composed” by him. The cover art is definitely not by Warhol.

My list includes more thirty-five CDs – only one of which (Aretha Franklin’s “Aretha“) was actually released in Warhol’s lifetime. Should these really be considered to be “Warhol Covers”? Just this week two more bootleg CDs arrived that use Warhol’s 1975 folio of prints of Mick Jagger for their cover art. The first is called “Marquee ’71 + Sticky Out” and the second “Raretracks+“.

The Rolling Stones' bootleg CD
The Rolling Stones’ bootleg CD “Raretracks+”.

Stones_RareTracks+_frMany of the records and CDs on my list are bootlegs – by The Velvet Underground or, like these most recent additions, The Rolling Stones. Should a serious collection include bootlegs or be restricted to officially released material?

I would be interested in reading other collector’s opinions as to where to draw the line when collecting Warhol 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.