Damien Hirst’s Record Cover Art for The Hours.

Antony Genn and Martin Slattery, former members of Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, formed a new band, The Hours, in 2004. The Hours released five singles and two full-length albums and then disappeared–releasing no new material under The Hours moniker since 2009.

From the start, Damien Hirst was involved in designing the cover art for The Hours‘ releases. I haven’t found out how he came to be involved, but a clue could be that Hirst had designed the cover for Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros‘ “Rock Art & the X-Ray Style” and three singles, “Yalla  Yalla“, “Tony Adams (the Morning Sun)” and “Bankrobber 99” (well, I don’t suppose Hirst “designed” the cover for the latter, as it was a bootleg recorded at Sweden’s Hultsfred’s Festival in 1999. The cover was simply a black & white copy of the design on the “Rock Art & the X-Ray Style” cover).

Damien Hirst and Jason Beard are credited with the cover designs.
The Hours‘ first four singles, “Ali in the Jungle“, “Back When You Were Good“, “Love You More” and a second version of “Ali in the Jungle” were all taken from their first album “Narcissus Road” (sadly, only released on CD).

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Narcissus Road CD cover.

There were two promotional CDs for “Narcissus Road”; one in a normal CD card sleeve and a three-inch, four-track CD in a booklet.

The four singles from the album were released on CD and as limited edition 7″ vinyl. All came in sleeves decorated with more of Damien Hirst‘s signature skulls:

And each had a slipcase and the first “Ali in the Jungle” (with the yellow cover) also included a 7″ sticker with the cover image. Also available from Damien Hirst‘s web shop was a three dimensional skull that was meant hold the CD:

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Damien Hirst’s 3D skull to hold the CD.

I don’t have one as it cost a cool £4,000 and my budget isn’t that elastic (anyway, where would I put it?)

The Hours‘ second album “See the Light” was released on 20th April 2009 this time on double vinyl and CD. The LP also included a booklet with more Damien Hirst art. Once more the design was a skull, but this time as one of Hirst‘s Spin Paintings.

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The cover of the “See the Light” LP.

The promo for this album came as a USB in the shape of a skull (what else?)

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The “See the Light” promotional USB in its box.

A beautiful double 12″ was released with six remixes of the title track “See the Light”. There were autographed copies for sale from The Hours‘ website, but I missed out on one of those.
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The final 7-inch single was “Big Black Hole” and, as far as I can see, the rarest of The Hours‘ five 7-inchers.
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Edie Sedgwick on Record Covers.

The original Poor Little Rich Girl film (not the 1987 film of the same title) featured Andy Warhol’s 1965 muse Edie Sedgwick (April 20, 1943 – November 16, 1971). she would star in eighteen of Warhol’s films in just one year before they fell out.

Her story is real tragedy. She was born into a rich aristocratic American family, whose roots could be traced back to the Pilgrim Fathers. Her father was mentally unstable married to her shy retiring mother. Edie was the next youngest of eight siblings. Edie lost her virginity when she was twenty and got pregnant and had an abortion. She received a trust fund of $80,000 from her grandmother and moved in with her in New York, moving to her own apartment a few months later. In 1964 two of her brothers died. Minty committed suicide aged 25 and Bobby, aged 31, killed himself by crashing his motorcycle into a bus. Edie was experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Andy Warhol’s superstar “Baby Jane” Holzer had been 1964’s Girl of the Year and on March 25th, 1965 film producer Lester Persky hosted a party for Tennessee William’s birthday and, knowing that Andy was looking for 1965’s Girl of the Year introduced him to Edie. As Lili Anolik writes in the December 2017 edition of Vanity Fair (the whole article is beautifully written and worth reading:

“They were one of the great romances of the 1960s. Pop art’s golden couple, even if silver was their signature color. Romeo and Juliet with kink. Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick. The two were opposites. Were, in fact, radically, diametrically, almost violently opposed. So how could the attraction between them have been other than irresistible? She was the beauty to his beast, the princess to his pauper, the exhibitionist to his voyeur. They were also, of course, opposite sexes, which should have made their pairing all the more inevitable, only it did, well, the opposite since he preferred the same. As impediments to heterosexual unions go, homosexual impulse is a biggie. Edie got around it, though, no problem because she intuited that Andy’s gayness was incidental. Fundamental was Andy’s narcissism. No, fundamental was Andy’s frustrated narcissism. He was the boy who didn’t like what he saw when he gazed into the pool, and thus was doomed, in a permanent state of unfulfilled desire. Edie’s method of seduction was to take her shoulder-length dark hair, chop it off, bleach it a metallic shade of blond so that it matched his wig, and dress herself in the striped boatnecked shirts that had become his uniform. In other words, to turn herself into the reflection of his dreams. At long last—oh, rapture! oh, ecstasy!—his self-love was requited.”

Edie and Andy had begun to fall out towards the end of 1965. She had met Bob Dylan in the autumn and they had a brief relationship which Edie thought was serious and believed that Dylan was going to get his manager Alan Grossman to sign her for a professional film career. When Edie told Andy that she was leaving the Factory to sign with Grossman (and hopefully continue the relationship with Dylan), Andy coldly told her that Dylan had just got married–which Edie hadn’t heard. She was devastated!

In 1967 Edie started filming her story with producer David Weisman but the filming broke down. Weisman made a second attempt in early 1971 with Edie recounting her life story and the film was finally released in 1972, just weeks after Edie had died of a barbiturate overdose.

The soundtrack of the film was released as a limited edition (3000 copies) coloured vinyl LP for 2017’s Record Store Day with Weisman’s portrait of Edie on the front cover.

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Soundtrack LP “Edie Sedgwick: Ciao! Manhattan”.

I didn’t recognise this photo but assumed it was taken at the Factory from one of Warhol’s screen tests or from a still from one of Warhol’s films. I should have looked at Edie’s hair in this picture, which is dark with strands hanging over her forehead. In her Factory days Edie had died her hair blond and had it combed back off her forehead. So this photo obviously wasn’t a Factory image.

The LP cover photo was the same one as The Cult had used on their 1989 single “Edie! Ciao Baby”, sort of Warholised with a coloured aura round her head. You can listen to it here.
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There was also a 12″ version with a more “artistic” version of the cover image.

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The cover of the limited edition 12″ with the hologram slip case.

Some Ebay sellers try to sell the “Edie! Ciao Baby” singles as Warhol covers, but now I know they definitely are not Warhol portraits at all but photos from the “Ciao! Manhattan” sessions.

The “Ciao! Manhattan” LP, pressed on red/white vinyl, comes in a gatefold sleeve and includes a 20-page booklet with more photos of Edie from the film sessions.
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The gatefold’s inner spread has yet another alluring photo of Sedgwick.

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The gatefold album’s inner spread.

The French music magazine “Les Inrockuptibles” issued a compilation CD together with their January 2017 magazine with DAvid McCabe’s famous photo of Warhol and Sedgwick on the cover.

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Les Inrockuptibles CD “Le New York d’Andy Warhol”.

Andy Warhol and Silkscreens.

I’ve now read three Warhol biographies–well actually four: The first was the 1989 version of Victor Bockris’s Warhol biography entitled “The Life and Death of Andy Warhol”. Next I borrowed Bob Colacello’s “Holy Terror – Andy Warhol Close Up” (1990) from my local library and soon realised I needed my own reference copy. The third was Wayne Koestenbaum’s 2003 “Andy Warhol”. But then I read a review somewhere that told me that Bockris had updated and expanded his 1989 bio in 2003 for the 75th anniversary of Warhol’s birth and simply called it “Warhol”. So I invested in a copy and reread Bockris’s account.

There is no doubt that Bockris’s biography is the most detailed story of Warhol’s life and artistic development and I recommend the 2003 edition as the most detailed. Colacello’s book also tries to describe Warhol’s background and early years but its main interest is in the period from 1970 to 1981 when Colacello was Andy’s employee and confidante and hustler–constantly being nagged to convince potential customers to order Warhol to paint their portrait.  Koestenbaum’s, is the shortest of the biographies, and includes a description of Warhol’s early life, but I get the impression that he’s read Bockris. Koestenbaum is a fan of Warhol’s films and most of his book extols the virtues of sitting for hours watching them or re-watching them until one is hypnotised.

Bockris tells how Andy Warhol was introduced to silkscreening. Coincidentally, the day before I read Bockris’s account, I saw a BBC documentary on Robert Rauchenberg. I knew next to nothing about this other founding member of American Pop Art and realised I have really missed out on seeing his art. The only Rauchenberg work I know is “Monogram”–the stuffed goat with a tyre round its middle standing on a collage floor. I had no idea he was working with silkscreens before Warhol got the idea. I didn’t know either that he was gay and had had a relationship with Jasper Johns…

Warhol moved house many times in New York; first living in cockroach-infested, cold-water flats in various locations. In 1952 he rented a fourth floor flat at 242 Lexington Avenue and in the spring his mother, Julia, moved in with him as his housekeeper. They slept on mattresses on the floor of the single bedroom. then Andy rented the flat on the second floor of the building, above Shirley’s Pin-Up Bar night club, leaving Julia in the fourth floor flat. Andy was using his living room as his studio with the TV on and his stereo blaring the day’s pop record on repeat. He had hired his first assistant, Vito Giallo in 1954, introduced by Nathan Gluck, who the following year, would take over as Andy’s assistant.

Well, back to Warhol and silkscreens. Warhol always wanted to be accepted as a proper artist, but was generally regarded as a commercial artist and was having difficulty getting his art shown in galleries. He had approached Leo Castelli , who represented both Rauchenberg and Johns but had been rejected. Fast forward to 1962. Andy’s Cambell’s Soup Can paintings had aroused a lot of media attention, even before they had been shown in a gallery (in fact they were first shown in Los Angeles in July 1962).

Elinor Ward, owner of the Stable Gallery, who represented, among others, Cy Twombly and Robert Indiana, wanted to meet Andy. She was taken to his apartment by the art critic Emile de Antonio. Ward offered Andy a show in her gallery on one condition–according to Bockris, she took out her lucky two dollar bill, and waving it in Andy’s face, said that she’d give him a show if he painted the bill. All Andy replied was “Wow!”

Andy had painted Coke bottles and Campbell’s soup cans and was looking for a way to be able to reproduce images faster than painting them. So in July, as Andy was trying to find a way to reproduce a hundred dollar bills, Nathan Gluck suggested he use silkscreens.  He immediately revisited some of his earlier subjects, Elvis, Troy Donahue, Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood and made silkscreens with several images of his idols on each. Then, on 4th August 1962, the same day his Soup Can show closed in Los Angeles, Marilyn Monroe died. Andy immediately decided to paint a series of portraits of her, using Gene Korman’s photo of her from the film Niagara as his subject and over the following months he produced 23 portraits in various colour combinations. First he painted a coloured background, then he sketched an outline by projecting the image onto the background and painted in eye shadow and lipstick and then he silkscreened the black and white image onto the prepared canvas.

Thus was born Warhol’s modus operandi for the rest of his career. In the future, he would take a photograph (or he would find a stock photo) of the subject to be portraited. He would take the photo to a printer who would blow the photo up to the required size (usually 40 x 40 inches) and make an acetate from which a silkscreen was prepared and Andy–or rather some assistant, with or without his help–would make the final painting or print. In effect, Andy’s only contribution to the process was either taking or choosing the photograph used in the work.

Then–just as Rauchenberg, did–he would store the screens so that they could be re-used later. Andy did this in the eighties when he made a series of “reversal” paintings, re-using the Marilyn screens to make a series of negative portraits. Now, the fact that Andy kept old screens may shed light on another series of artworks, namely his 1963 “Giant Size $1.57 Each” record covers. He collaborated with Billy Klüver on producing the original edition of 75 signed an numbered copies on white record cover stock. There are four further series, each of 75 copies on spray painted record sleeves. The covers were sprayed in red, green, orange and yellow paint and then silkscreened with the “Giant Size” image. These were released for sale in 1971. It is my guess that it was probably Klüver’s idea to remake the series as he seems to have been responsible for selling at least some of them. It is thus completely possible that he–or Andy, or one of Andy’s assistants–made the second batch of covers using the original screen, particularly as these were often unsigned and unnumbered.

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The five colour variations of the “Giant Size $1.57 Each” covers.

Andy Warhol – The Artist Who Died Twice.

In a recent post I investigated Andy Warhol’s medical history, concentrating on the story of the heroic Dr Guiseppe Rossi’s lifesaving treatment of the seriously wounded Andy Warhol and on his gallbladder disease and final operation and his unnecessary death in 1987. Since that post, I have been researching Andy’s medical history in more depth using several biographical sources. Finding Andy’s medical history was relatively easy. Using several sources, probably every illness can be identified. However, none of the sources I have thus far read have even begun to discuss Andy’s mental health.

Reading Victor Bockris’s and Bob Colacello’s biographies gives some insights, but neither tries to discuss Andy’s psychological health. There are other books that do look at aspects of Warhol’s mental health. Claudia Kalb discusses Andy’s hoarding while Brian Dillon examines his hypochondria.

Reading Bockris’s and Collacello’s biographies one gets the feeling that Andy couldn’t have been a particularly ‘nice’ person. The biographies show that Andy was born in Pittsburgh in relative poverty. He was his parents’ third son, but the couple had had a daughter, born in Miková, then in the Austro-Hungarian empire, but now in Slovakia, near the Polish border. The girl died after only six weeks. Ondrej, Andy’s father (after whom he was named) was a hard worker and often had to travel away to work. So the three boys would be brought up mainly by their mother, Julia. The family was poor and Julia worked cleaning houses and making toys out of tin cans which she sold for 25 cents. Ondrej was thrifty and saved money to be able to send his youngest son to college. He hadn’t been able to afford to send his two elder sons — they started working early in life. Ondrej had recurrent jaundice that improved after his gallbladder was removed in 1939. However, his liver later began to fail and he was housebound for the last year of his life, dying in 1942 at the age of 55, when his son Andrew was only 14 year old.

Julia’s English wasn’t good. The family lived in cramped conditions and had a poor diet. Soups were often what they ate. Andy’s childhood illnesses made him closer to his mother. Remember, she had already lost her first born child. At the age of two, Andy had swollen inflamed eyes, which necessitated bathing them with boric acid solution. When he was four he fell and broke his arm. He didn’t tell his mother and it was several months before it was noted that his arm was crooked and he went to a doctor. It was necessary to re-break his arm to straighten it. In 1936, when Andy was six, he caught scarlet fever and developed Sydenham’s chorea, tremor and muscular weakness. He was confined to bed for several weeks and when he had apparently recovered he had a relapse and was again sent back to bed. A further consequence of the illness was that it left his skin blotchy and it would be a problem for him for the rest of his life. He also had problems with pimples and is nose was lumpy and ugly. He became very concerned about his appearance. And in addition, in his twenties, he began losing his hair and took to wearing wigs.

Andy began using various cosmetics to hide his blotchy skin and pimples and visited dermatologists at first searching for a cure, but later for collagen injections to fill out his sunken cheeks, the result of his inadequate diet because of his gallbladder disease. In the mid 1950s he had a procedure to sandpaper down his bulbous and swollen nose, but the treatment provided only a temporary result and he felt his nose was worse afterwards. He took courses of tetracycline for his pimples.

Warhol always maintained that he did not take drugs, though his associates witnessed him dipping his finger in cocaine and smearing it on his gums while saying the he didn’t take it. However, as part of weight loss treatment he was prescribed Obetrol®, a mixture of four amphetamine preparations (a 10 mg capsule contained 2.5 mg methamphetamine saccharate, 2.5 mg methamphetamine hydrochloride, 2.5 mg racemic amphetamine sulphate, 2.5 mg dextroamphetamine sulphate, while the 20 mg capsule contained twice the amount of each constituent). Andy would continue to take these capsules twice daily for the rest of his life.

Andy’s mental health:
Andy Warhol was inordinately attached to his mother, taking her to live with him in New York. He was homosexual but had difficulty in forming longterm relationships. He was vain and deeply insecure, always seeking approbation and affirmation. He had a twofold aim in life, to be the most famous artist of the twentieth century and to become very rich. He lacked empathy, discarding friends and associates, often delegating uncomfortable decisions to others. He was stingy and underpaid his Factory employees. He even failed to pay the $3,000 bill from the surgeon who, in 1968, saved his life after Andy was shot and seriously wounded. The bill was found when one of WArhol’s Time Capsules was opened almost 30 years after Warhol’s death. Warhol also suffered periods of depression. In summary, he appears to have been a classic case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The DSM-V states:

The most important characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are grandiosity, seeking excessive admiration, and a lack of empathy. These identifying features can result in a negative impact on an individual’s interpersonal affairs and life general. In most cases, on the exterior, these patients act with an air of right and control, dismissing others, and frequently showcasing condescending or denigrating attitudes. Nevertheless, internally, these patients battle with strong feelings of low self esteem issues and inadequacy. Even though the typical NPD patient may achieve great achievements, ultimately their functioning in society can be affected as these characteristics interfere with both personal and professional relationships. A large part of this is as result of the NPD patient being incapable of receiving disapproval or rebuff of any kind, in addition to the fact that the NPD patient typically exhibits lack of empathy and overall disrespect for others.

But this isn’t really enough. Andy was a hoarder, another anxiety-based condition. DSM-V states that the symptoms of the hoarding disorder are:

  1. Persistent difficulty or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.
  2. This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and to distress associated with discarding them.
  3. The difficulty discarding possessions results in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromises their intended use. If living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of the interventions of third parties (e.g. Family members, cleaners, authorities).
  4. The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning including ( including maintaining a safe environment for self and others).
  5. The hoarding is not attributable to another medical condition (eg., brain injury, cerebrovascular disease, Prader-Willis syndrome).
  6. The hoarding is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (eg. Obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, delusions in schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, cognitive deficits in major neurocognitive disorder, restricted interests in autism spectrum disorder).

The hoarder engages in excessive acquisition, buys items that are unnecessary and they do not have have space for. The hoarder may have good insight and realise that their hoarding is a problem or have poor insight and not recognise their behaviour is unhealthy.
According to (DSM-5) 80-90% of hoarders also engage in excessive shopping and buying unnecessary items.

This describes to a tee Warhol’s shopaholic behaviour. He threw nothing away. Quite apart from filling his house with about 100,000 items that, on his death, many were found not to have been removed from the packaging in which he took them home, he accumulated 610 boxes of “stuff” from his Factory studio that he called “Time Capsules”. These, now in the Warhol Museum, contain invoices, unread letters, used postage stamps, broken toys, gifts, records, decaying pizza slices, and much else.

I have a theory that many artists have a touch of obsessive compulsive related disorder (OCRD). But are OCRD and hoarding related? There are cardinal differences as explained by in a 2014 article:

The disorders in the OCRDs category have both similarities and differences. Although all the disorders in this category have intrusive thoughts, these obsessional thoughts manifest somewhat differently. Some disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are characterized by classic obsessions. Obsessions are repetitive, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts that trigger anxiety. In other disorders, such as body dismorphic disorder (BDD) and hoarding disorder, the intrusive thoughts could be more aptly described as a persistent and unrelenting preoccupation. In the case of BDD, this preoccupation focuses on personal appearance and attractiveness. In the case of hoarding disorder, the preoccupation centers around possessions.

The intrusive thoughts of people with hoarding disorder are associated with their preoccupation regarding their possessions; specifically, parting with, or losing these possessions. Unlike spontaneous OCD obsessions, intrusive hoarding thoughts and resultant anxiety are not usually activated until faced with the prospect of losing or parting with possessions.

Andy’s preoccupation with his appearance–he always considered himself ugly–could perhaps be construed as a symptom of body dysmorphic disorder, BDD.

By all accounts Andy was not loved, more tolerated. There were, however, many sycophantic hangers on who wanted to share Warhol’s fame. His employees at the Factory called him “scrooge” because of his meanness. But Warhol was inordinately generous to people he wanted to impress, giving paintings and prints to potential clients or advertisers.

Over and above these personality disorders, Andy had several phobias. He was afraid of the dark from childhood. He was inordinately afraid if hospitals and doctors, despite having his own personal physician and regularly visiting dermatologists. It is unclear exactly when this fear of hospitals began; it could have been in his teens when his mother, Julia, was operated on for bowel cancer and ended up with a colostomy. Colacello states that it started n earnest after an operation in March 1969 to remove part of a bullet that remained in his body after he was shot by Valerie Solanas on June 3rd 1968. This inordinate fear was to cause him to delay having his gallbladder removed until his physical condition was poor. Unsurprisingly, Warhol became more paranoid after he was shot. Andy professed to a fear of flying. Early in his career choosing to cross America by car rather than fly. However, he seems to have overcome this later in his lie as he journeyed round the world to exhibitions.

I think we can conclude that Andy Warhol was a tortured soul. Biographical descriptions lead me to conclude that he probably suffered from at least three psychological disorders: narcissistic personality disorder, hoarding disorder and possible body dysmorphic disorder. However, his psychological deficiencies did not prevent him from producing amazing art that still influences twenty-first century art.

Sources:
Bockris, V. The Life and Death of Andy Warhol. 1989
Colacello, B. Holy Terror–Andy Warhol Close Up. HarperCollins, 1990.
Kolb, C. Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder- National Geographic, 2016.
Dillon, B. Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives. Penguin Ireland, 2009.

 

 

 

Liam Gallagher “As You Were”.

All collectors have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or why would anyone want to collect 3,000 egg cups or 200 china elephants, stamps or, indeed, records? Well, I admit that I may have more than just a touch of OCD…

Last summer (2017) I heard that Liam Gallagher would be releasing his first solo album on 6th October 2017. I used to be an Oasis fan and had a really nice collection of Oasis stuff, including signed albums, rare promos and several other rarities. But they all went when I sold the bulk of my record & memorabilia collection. So–in theory–I wasn’t interested in a Liam Gallagher album. BUT. Unfortunately, I read the press release and saw that there would be a special limited edition, white vinyl LP that included a single-sided 7″ single and memorabilia, and–wait for it–an A5-sized Klaus Voormann portrait of Liam.

Now I was in torment. Did this qualify as a Klaus Voormann cover? Should it be included in my collection of Voormann covers and posters? After three months of agonising I decided I’d get the package and see.

So it arrived a couple of weeks ago.

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The limited edition of “As You Were”.

Inside the front cover was the 7″ single in a non-removable pocket. and inside the back cover was the LP in a card cover equally stuck to the outer read cover. Opposite was a pocket containing the CD in a poster sleeve, some reproduction concert tickets, a page of Gallagher writings and the VOORMANN print.

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Klaus Voormann’s portrait of Liam Gallagher.

The CD includes three bonus tracks not on the LP. The poster cover is nicely designed.

The inside of the CD cover shows 24 Polaroid photos that immediately reminded me of an Andy Warhol photo session.

The album hasn’t had particularly great reviews and I certainly hear shades of Oasis in the songs, but they don’t (yet) seem as memorable as Oasis’s early albums.

So I have added the portrait of Liam to my Klaus Voormann collection.

Additions to My record Cover Art Collection in 2017 – Part Three.

I have already posted the several versions of “The Velvet Underground & Nico” album. I have fallen for the temptation to include albums with cover art that is a pastiche of Warhol’s banana design or designs that influenced Warhol’s designs.

I found six pastiches of the banana cover, including several with removable stickers in various designs.
1. Crue-L Grand Orchestra – Family – 12″ EP – MayDay MayDay Records – 1999.
2. Various Artists – The Velvet Underground & Nico – 12″ LP – Castle Face Records – 2012.
3. Fauré Quartet – Popsongs – 2 x 12″ LP – Deutsche Grammophon – 2009.
4. Bud Benderbe – Slice Slowly & See – 12″ LP – Boo-Hooray Records – 2013.
5. Abwärts – Sonderzug zur endstation – 7″ EP – Virgin – 1990.
6. All You Can Eat / Hickey – Banana Split – Split 7″ EP – Monitor Records – 1995.
The last two of these simply had a printed banana on the covers.

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The Cru-el Grand Orchestra’s 12″ single “Family” with its obviously Warhol-inspired banana ice lolly.
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Castle Face & Friends play the Velvet Underground & Nico album with David Shrigley’s cover art.
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Bud Benderbe’s cover album.

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Abwärts “Sonderzug zur endstation” 7″ single.

Another Warhol pastiche, this time with soup cans:
1. Mindswings – Spiritual High – 12″ EP – Arista – 1990.

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Mindswings “Spiritual High” 12″ EP.

And a cover obviously used by Andy as for the design of the “Progressive Piano” design:
1. Jan August – Plays Songs to Remember – 12″ LP – Mercury – 1955.

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Jan August “Plays Songs to Remember” LP cover.

On the subject of pastiches, I also picked up a wonderful “Sgt Pepper” pastiche by Jun Fukamachi with cover painted by Fumio Tamabuchi:
1. Jun Fukamachi – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 12″ LP – Toshiba – 1977.

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The cover of Jun Fukamachi’s “Sgt. Pepper” album painted by Fumio Tamabuchi.

A while ago I started searching for musicians among winners of the Tate Gallery’s Turner Prize and turned up an astonishing number of artists who were also musicians and had released records with their own art on the covers. In 2017 I could include record cover by two of them–Suzan Philipsz and Wolfgang Tillmans.

Susan Philipsz:
Susan Philipsz – Ziggy Stardust – Limited edition Digipak CD (500 copies)
Susan Philipsz – Stay With Me – Book / catalogue with CD
Susan Philipsz – Lost in Space –  Limited edition picture disc LP in box set (300 copies)
Susan Philipsz – There Is Nothing Left Here – Limited edition LP

In February I had the good fortune to meet Susan Philipsz at the opening of her “Lost in Space” exhibition at the Bonnier Gallery in Stockholm. She kindly signed the copy of her “Ziggy Stardust” CD and the book/catalogue from her “Stay With Me” exhibition from Malmö’s Konsthall. There was a catalogue introducing the “Lost in Space” exhibition and a limited edition box set of 300 copies that includes a 12″ picture disc of the performance. However, the box set was not available until a couple of months after the opening, so I didn’t get that signed… After considerable searching, I found the catalogue and LP from Philipsz’s 2008 “There Is Nothing Left Here” exhibition at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporaneo in San Sebastian de Compostela.

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Susan Philipsz’ “Ziggy Stardust” CD autographed by her.

Wolfgang Tillmans was another Turner Prize winner who’s records I found:
1. Wolfgang Tillmans – Here We Are – 12″ EP –  Fragile – 2016.
2. Wolfgang Tillmans – 2016–1986 EP – 12″ EP –  Fragile – 2016.
3. Wolfgang Tillmans – Device Control – 12″ EP –  Fragile – 2016.

There were diverse other covers: A limited edition LP by Gilbert & George, entitled “The Thoughts of Gilbert & George” released by MoMa:

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“The Thoughts of Gilbert & George” LP cover.

A Record Store Day soundtrack double LP release called “Ciao! Manhattan” with a cover drawing of Edie Sedgwick:

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Soundtrack LP “Edie Sedgwick: Ciao! Manhattan” has the same image as The Cult’s single “Ciao Edie”.

Having lived in Luleå, in the north of Sweden for more years than I can remember, I am acquainted with Karin “Mamma” Andersson’s art. Mattias Alkberg, poet and rocker, used her art on a 7″ single and a limite edition 12″ EP and I discovered that Beck had used her paintings to illustrate three limited edition 12″ singles, available only through his website.
1. Beck – Gimme – 2 x 12″ EP – Fonograf records – 2013.
1. Beck – Defriended – 12″ EP – Fonograf records – 2013.
1. Beck – I Won’t Be Long – 12″ EP – Fonograf records – 2013.

In my music festival days, I got to know singer Henrik Berggren, formerly front man of the now defunct Broder Daniel. Henrik released his first solo album “Wolf’s Heart” after many year’s absence from the music scene. The standard album was released on black vinyl, but six record stores each had limited editions of 300 copies on coloured vinyl. There were yellow, light blue, violet, red, clear and pink vinyl issues. Being totally obsessive I bought copies in each colour.

Well, that sums 2017 up. A record year and the last time I will be publishing a list like this, My collections are so near complete as I can make them. So I feel it’s time to stop. I will try to keep the collections up to date if, and when, any of the artists I collect release new cover art.

Classic Record Cover Design – “Turn Back” and “Sleeps With the Fishes”.

I like graphic design and for me minimalism in expression and great typography make a record cover appeal to me. I regularly get asked which is my favourite record cover design. The question is really impossible  to answer–could it be “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”? “Revolver”? “Sticky Fingers”? Something by Vaughan Oliver or Peter Saville? Nope!

Despite collecting cover art by some great designers, there are a couple of covers that always excite me. The first is the late Tony Lane’s design for Toto’s 1981 album “Turn Back”. In my book, a contender for the greatest record cover design of all time!

Turn Back-fr
Tony Lane’s cover design for Toto’s “Turn Back” album.

Tony Lane (May 2, 1944–January 1, 2016) is one of record design’s masters, though generally unrecognised. Lane was responsible for revamping the graphic style of Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. He was recruited by Bob Cato and John Berg at Columbia Records and designed covers for a wide range of artists including Michael Jackson (“Bad”), Simon & Garfunkel (“Bridge Over Troubled Waters”), Barbra Streisand (“Greatest Hits, Volume 2”), among a host of others. But for me, his greatest moment was this Toto cover!

He even managed to convince Columbia records to move their Walking Eye logo from the top left corner of the cover (where it appeared on every Columbia LP that I have seen since the early sixties), banishing it to the bottom of the reverse.

Turn Back-bk
The rear cover of “Turn Back” with Columbia’s logo at bottom centre.

What more can I say other than the calligraphic design in all its simplicity really rocks!

Close to this, and almost equally exciting, is Chris Bigg’s cover for Pieter Nooten’s & Michael Brook’s “Sleeps With the Fishes” released by 4AD in 1987. For many years Chris Bigg was Vaughan Oliver’s partner in 4AD’s design team v23. His calligraphy was featured on several 4AD covers including the promotional double CD/book “Lilliput”. The “Sleeps With the Fishes” cover stimulates my fantasy and I see all sorts of figures in the calligraphy. I’ll also admit to having a particular liking for covers that use black/red/white colour combinations. They are always dramatic as these two examples show.

NootenBrookSleepswiththeFishes (kopia)
Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook – “Sleeps With the Fishes” cover design by V23 with calligraphy by Chris Bigg.

I used to have the poster for this cover on my office wall, so I could see it every day.

Record sleeve art by artists I collect