Additions to My Collection of Andy Warhol Covers.

It has been an intensive few months on my Warhol front. I have added almost a dozen titles to my collection.

It started in July, when I finally managed to find an original copy of Aretha Franklin’s 1986 CD “Aretha”. This was the only CD with Andy Warhol’s art released in his lifetime, The CD was reissued with extra tracks as a double CD in 2014, but I wanted an original 1986 copy. They seem to be quite rare and it has taken me a long time to find one though it didn’t turn out to be too expensive.

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“Aretha” CD booklet.

The next records I found were by Diana Ross. First a rather battered copy of her 1983 single “Who / Anywhere You Run to” and a poster cover copy of “So Close / Fool for Your Love”, which was way more expensive than I really wanted to pay.

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Diana Ross “Who” 7″ single cover.

Then I found a copy of Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops’ “Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops”, which I got reasonably cheap. I already had a nice copy that with the “A High Fidelity Recording” text below the RCA logo at top right. The copy I now got hold of didn’t have that text, but instead a gold sticker with the same text. My guess is that this was an earlier printing.

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Both versions of the “Latin Rhythms” EP. On the left with the gold sticker and on the right with “A HIFI Recording just visible below the RCA Victor logo at top right.

Then I was pleased to find a reasonably priced copy of the original Skyline bootleg album on the Four Stars label that I wrote about in a previous blog post.

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The original 1978 Skyline cover.

Next up was an Austrian bootleg of The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” album with alternate takes and that used the photo of the Stones that had previously been used on the 1971 “Brown Sugar / Bitch / Let It Rock” EP and again on the numbered RSD reissue in 2011.

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The front cover of the Austrian bootleg of outtakes from the “Sticky Fingers” recording sessions.

I was in London for a few days in August and popped into HMV on Oxford Street where I found two copies of “The Velvet Underground & Nico” 50th anniversary edition, with a large black label on the shrink wrapper on the rear of the cover covering Eric Emerson’s “torso”  emulating the sticker used to cover his photo on the original 1967 release. I bought two copies in the hope that they might be the limited pink vinyl edition. Needless to say, they weren’t! However, I did manage to find a pink vinyl copy not long after. Apparently these were made in America in a limited edition of 1000 copies. The copies I bought at HMV were both pressed in Europe.

There are loads of interesting bootlegs with Andy Warhol art. I have been looking for a couple for quite some time. I have already mentioned the Skyline album with Warhol’s photo of Suzanne de Maria on the cover, another was another The Rolling Stones bootleg called “Live in Laxington” [sic] — a live recording from the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, recorded on 29th June 1978. The front cover is a typical bootleg cover picture, but the rear cover shows one of Warhol’s “biting” photos from 1975. This version has a green spatter vinyl. There is another black vinyl version with a plain cover á la Beggars Banquet.

The purchase that has given me the greatest thrill arrived at the end of September. I knew that there was a limited edition promotional folder of Miguel Bosé’s 1983 album “Made in Spain”. I had never seen one for sale until a copy appeared on Ebay in mid September. I put in a bid was was outbid. “Oh, Well…” I thought. It wasn’t meant to be. However, the following day I received a “second chance” as the high bidder couldn’t afford his final bid. So I got the set. The folder should contain white label versions of the full “Made in Spain” LP, a promo 12″ single “Fuego / Panama Connection” and a single-sided, white label 7″ single “Fuego” and an A4 booklet with a fold-out version of Warhol’s Bosé portraits. When the folder arrived, the singles were missing. The seller had another copy that also lacked the singles and couldn’t help provide them. But Discogs had a single copy of the white label 12″, which I snapped up and several copies of the single-sided, white label 7″ single, so that was easy to get and a little over a week later my foleder was complete with the LP, 12″ and 7″ and the booklet. What a great (and rare) addition to my collection. I laid out my /several) copies of “Made in Spain”, the Fuego 12″ and made a composite of Warhol’s Bosé portraits!

Another cover appeared on Ebay that was a pastiche of the “Velvet Underground & Nico” cover with a banana-shaped chocolate ice cream with “Peel Slowly and See” beside it. Peel the chocolate off to reveal the naked banana. The record is a 12″, three-track single “Family” by the Cru-el Grand Orchestra — a 1999 Japanese recording, whose cover was designed by Ukawa Naohiro (Mom’n’DaD Productions 222). Even the rear cover had a photo that I recognise from a record cover, but can’t place — perhaps a reader can help identify it.

There are several other coloured vinyl versions of “The Velvet Underground & Nico”, yellow, red and blue vinyl plus the Newbury Comics yellow/black vinyl. Now that I have the pink copy, do I have to get hold of the other colours too?

 

 

 

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Record Cover Collecting Gone Crazy.

Earlier in 2017, Mark Satlof got his 15 minutes of fame when it was revealed that he had collected 800 copies of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s self-titled debut album. Apparently his collection (as everyone else’s) started with a single copy, but his was signed by Lou Reed. I wonder if he actually NEEDS all 800 copies.

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Mark Satlof who has collected about 800 copies of the Velvet Underground & Nico album.

Then there is Rutherford Chang who collects The Beatles’ White Album. He boasts that when the article was published he had 1,845 copies of the numbered first edition which he has exhibited in Liverpool. He still buys copies in any condition and will pay up to USD 20 for each.

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Rutherford Chang with just some of the 1800+ copies of the Beatles’ White Album that he has collected.

So, that is one kind of cover collecting madness. There are others; like the chap who was prepared to fork out USD 790,000 for Ringo Starr’s personal copy of The Beatles (the White album) with number 0000001. This was named the most expensive record of all time but it obviously ain’t. In 2017 Martin Shkreli’s purchase of The Wu Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” double CD (Okay, I’ll grant that this was a CD not a RECORD”) but only a single copy was pressed (with an embargo that it could not be released commercially until 2103). Shkreli has since sold it on Ebay for USD 1,025,100 after 343 bids. I suppose he can get a tax allowance on his nearly USD 750,000 loss!

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Martin Shkreli’s sale of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time” in Shaolin CD.

But there are good reasons for owning several copies of the same record. Some collectors might want bot the stereo and mono releases, others may collect a record that has different covers–such as the six variations of the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In Through the Out Door”, while others might want various coloured vinyl releases. In some cases a record is reissued at various times in remastered form or in a different cover and these may also be collectible.

My personal madness has extended to the various releases of The Velvet Underground & Nico–an album I first bought in 1967, unfortunately even then with the airbrushed rear cover photo. Despite its poor initial sales–said to have totalled 30,000 copies in its first five years of existence–the album has seemingly never been out of print, and has had various cover designs and several varieties of coloured vinyl. I haven’t yet got anywhere near 800 copies, but have sixteen at the last count, ranging from my own 1967 original  copy, a torso cover, and the cover with the black sticker covering the torso as well as various later editions, including two picture discs and three versions of the Scepter Studios acetate recording. I bought both the 45th and 50th anniversary reissues (both the black and the pink vinyl versions of the latter). But, I still don’t have a mono copy on vinyl.

Another album I have many copies of is a recent release by Henrik Berggren. His debut solo album “Wolf’s Heart” was released on both CD and vinyl with six colour vinyl versions in addition to the standard black vinyl. Obviously I HAD to have all seven versions and so I managed to find them all. I thought they might be a good investment, but it transpires that one can still find all the various coloured vinyls.

I have four copies of The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” and “Love You Live” albums. There are different zips on the U.K. and German versions of “Sticky Fingers”and the U.S. version has the title placed differently from the European versions. I am lucky to have copies of both albums autographed by Andy Warhol, too.

Now I have at least three copies each of Miguel Bosé’s “Made in Spain” (two Spanish and a Mexican) and “Milano-Madrid” albums. I’ll be returning to the “made in Spain album in a future post.

Finally, an admission. Sometimes I have bought a record I thought I needed and when I got it home realised I already had it! That’s because I don’t carry complete lists of wanted items with me everywhere, not a sign of impending senility.

 

 

 

In Search of That Elusive Record Cover.

My collections of artists who have designed record covers seem to grow and grow. There always seems to be another cover to add to them. However, eventually I find that I have got as far as it seems possible to go and my collections just need that one elusive cover that I just cannot find.

My biggest collection is of Andy Warhol’s cover art. I have a broad view of what to include in it and have collected bootlegs, CDs and a few magazine covers, so that I currently have over 200 “Warhol covers”. However, there are still gaps that I suppose I never will fill. The main one is the NBC box set “Night Beat” – a promotional set of three EPs for a 1950s radio show – only one copy of which is known to exist. There is also a Japanese EP of Mendelssohn’s “Scherzo” with Warhol’s drawing of angels on the cover. Again, only a single copy has so far come to light. There are a couple of other albums that it may, one day, be possible to find. I’ll keep you posted on those.

I thought my collection of Peter Blake’s record covers was complete until I was tipped off about a 1983 cover for a recording of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue/An American In Paris” with a beautiful Blake painting. Luckily that was easy to find. So now I’m only waiting for him to produce his next cover.

I once had a complete collection of Damien Hirst’s record and CD cover designs. However, when I sold my main collection, I wasn’t careful enough to check what went and what stayed, with the result that the promotional booklet for The Hours’ “Ali in the Jungle” with its 3″ CD disappeared along with four of the band’s limited edition 7″ singles. At least I have been able to replace these, but the promo booklet has eluded me.

Again, my collection of Banksy records and CD covers is only missing one very rare item; the promotional 12″ single by The Capoeira Twins. A couple of copies have come up for sale recently, but way over my budget!

I thought that my collection of Klaus Voormann’s record cover art was complete with about seventy-four covers. I was mistaken. Klaus designed a cover for a jazz LP in the early sixties with artwork in the same style as his covers for the Pioneers of Jazz series of EPs on the Coral label.

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The Klaus Voormann’s cover for a German jazz album.

Unfortunately, no one can read the title. Could it be “Wir nie im Bett Programm gemacht”? That’s the nearest I can get to deciphering it. And I have asked Klaus, but he doesn’t remember the artist or the title. I’ve shown the picture to German dealers, but none has seen a copy.

Then I have a collection of record and CD covers featuring supermodel Kate Moss. I got started on collecting Kate Moss covers as I already owned Dirty Funker’s “Let’s Get Dirty” 12″-ers (both first and second versions) and Damien Hirst’s “Use Money, Cheat Death” single sided 12″ with his portrait of Kate with half her face dissected away. Kate has a musical background having cooperated with Primal Scream on their remake of Lee Hazlewood’s “Some Velvet Morning” and there are two 12″-ers that feature Kate on the covers. And also with Babyshambles while she and Pete Doherty were a couple.

Bryan Ferry used Adam Whitehead’s photos of Kate on his 2010 Olympia album and on the limited edition 12″ singles and remixes taken from the album. However, one single, “Heartache by Numbers” apparently didn’t make it onto vinyl, though I didn’t know this initially and spent some considerable time searching for a copy, obviously without success.

So collectors, it seems that completing one’s collection of a particular artist is well nigh impossible. But it is the unfinished collection that still provides a challenge. Will I ever find these missing covers?

A History of Swedish Music Posters from Gröna Lund.

Gröna Lund is a permanent attraction in Stockholm with exciting rides, restaurants, bars and an important concert stage on which most of the world’s more famous artistes–ranging from Birgit Nilsson via Chuck Berry to The Clash–have performed.

Posters for events and concerts at Gröna Lund have become highly collectible. Between 1971 and 1988 they were designed by one man, Nils Sture Jansson–who produced about 800 individual posters, sometimes with incredibly short deadlines. In 2012 Premium Publishing produced a book containing 200 of Nils Sture Jansson’s poster designs edited by Nils Sture Jansson’s son, Jonas, and Gröna Lund’s own historian Andreas Theve. The book rapidly sold out when it was published–but I was lucky to find a copy in Söders Bokhandel– a little, but extremely well-stocked bookshop in Stockholm. The book has  also become highly collectible.

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The book’s cover. The cover picture is of The Ramones (see poster below)

Nils Sture Jansson’s relatively simple illutrations capture the spirit of the artists and, according to the introduction, were much admired by them. Only a few were unhappy–and that was sometimes due to the fact that his or her name was misspellt.
Here are some samples (posters for artists I personally like):

Jansson would be supplied with photos of the artist(s) and deconstruct them to make his poster designs.

Kristian Russell has taken over and is continuing the tradition of Gröna lund posters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Warhol’s “Biting” Photos on Record Covers and Elsewhere

Finding details of where and when Andy Warhol took the nine famous “biting” photographs that were used on the “Love You Live” album cover and other items hasn’t been easy. In a recent interview (July 18th, 2017) in Interview Magazine about the origins of many of Warhol’s photographs Christopher Makos explains where many of Warhol’s photographs were taken. Towards the end of the interview, Makos mentions the photos for the “Love You Live” album.

Makos remembers that Andy was given a “point and shoot” camera sometime around 1975. And he used it constantly throughout the late 1970s, often replacing his Polaroid camera, which he primarily used for his portraits. However, the “biting” photos are nearly always shown as if they were Polaroid pictures, so I cannot be sure which type of camera they were taken with. However, the reproductions on posters and elsewhere suggest that Warhol used both Polaroids and his “point & shoot”camera.

During the summer of 1977, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards rented Peter Beard’s* house in Montauk (East Hamptons, New York State) and Andy took some of the photographs there and some additional ones at Warhol’s third Factory address at 860 Broadway in New York later. Obviously Jagger had brought his daughter Jade to Montauk as it is her hand Mick is “biting” on the “Love You Live” cover. There is also a photo of Jagger and Jade sticking their tongues out at each other.

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Andy Warhol’s photographs for the cover of “Love You Live”.

It seems eleven photographs were taken and a contact sheet produced. However the last picture int he second row shows Mick Jagger biting a child’s hand but this is  not the photo that appears on the front cover of “Love You Live“.

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The Front cover of “Love You Live” showing Mick biting a child’s hand (Jade Jagger). Jade’s arm in a different position from that in the contact sheet photo.

There are also other pictures that do not appear on this contact sheet, in particular the picture of Mick and Jade  (born 21 October 1971) sticking their tongues out at each other.
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…And here’s how it looked on the “El Mocambo 1977” box set cover.

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Mick and Jade Jagger in a picture from the “biting” session on the cover of a limited edition bootleg box set.

The photos were also used on the cover of a four-track promotional EP for the “Love You Live” album, entitled simply “The Rolling Stones” (Rolling Stones Records, EP-PR-287). In addition there was a picture disc (probably a bootleg) with the same four photos.

A new bootleg of a Stones concert, presumably from Lexington, Kentucky, was released in 1978 with the title “Live in Laxington” with a fairly traditional front cover picture of Mick and Ronnie Wood. However, one of the “Biting” photos appeared on the back cover.

The photographs were also used for other promotional items. The Rolling Stones threw a release party for the “Love You Live” album at the Trax club in New York on September 27, 1977 and the photos featured on the plastic tablecloths used at the reception. These measured 36″ x 48″ (91,4 x 121,9 cm). There were also similarly sized posters on paper. Carrier bags with the photos were also produced, I would guess as goodie bags for guests, though I don’t know if they were appeared at the launch party or later.

Andy Warhol was fastidious about typography and was annoyed by Mick Jagger’s addition of the record title and the Band’s name to the artwork for the “Love You Live” album cover and usually refused to sign the front cover, preferring to sign the inner spread.

This autographed copy of “Love You Live” is from my collection of Andy Warhol’s record cover.

*Peter Beard (born 1938) is a photographer, film director, author and artist who has lead an adventurous life. He was friends with the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and other celebrities.

 

 

Collecting Andy Warhol’s Record Cover Art. How to Credit Previously Unrecognised covers?

I curated what I thought would be the first exhibition of Andy Warhol’s record covers in Piteå, Sweden, in July 2008 I enlisted the help of fellow collector Guy Minnebach to assemble as complete a collection of record Warhol’s record covers as possible. Only later did I find out that Warhol’s record covers had been shown before-usually as part of other exhibitions of his art, and then only exhibiting a few covers. My intention with the 2008 exhibition was to try to gather together all the covers he designed or illustrated.

Just two months after the exhibition in Piteå closed, the Museum of Art in Montreal, Canada, put on a major exhibition entitled “Warhol Live!” which showed the link between Warhol’s art and music. Many of the record covers shown came from the collection of Paul Maréchal and his book “Andy Warhol – The Record Covers 1949-1987: Catalogue Raisonné” was published to coincide with the “Warhol Live!” exhibition.

Just before the Piteå exhibition, Guy Minnebach had discovered the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr.” EP and the “Warhol Live!” exhibition showed Paul Maréchal’s newly discovered “Night Beat” box set. Less than a month after the exhibition in Piteå closed, in September 2008, a friend of mine read an interview in a magazine with Tomas Alfredsson, a Swedish musician turned actor, who had been a member of a band called Roland and the Flying Albatros Band (known as RATFAB for short). In the interview he said that the cover of the Band’s second single had been designed by Andy Warhol. Thus started my search for this cover, and I quickly found three copies. The RATFAB single “Det brinner en eld / Mörka ögon” became the first Warhol cover NOT to be included in Maréchal’s 2008 book!

Since then, a number of covers, unrecognised in 2008, illustrated or designed by Andy Warhol have been identified.
1. Margarita Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish, Volume 2 (LP),
2. Vladimir Horowitz – Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Lizst (LP),
3. Mendelssohn – Wedding March / Scherzo (45 RPM EP)
4. Lew White – Melodic Magic (EP),
5. Erika Morini – Tchaikovsky–Violin Concerto
6. George Gershwin / Edvard Grieg – Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances (LP and EP box),
7. Curiosity Killed the Cat – Misfit / Man (7″ single).

And this list doesn’t include bootlegs or records and CDs that simply appropriated Warhol’s art for their covers. Nor does it include covers after 1987 that simply use or reuse Warhol’s art, such as Paul Anka’s “Amigos” or Skyline’s “Skyline” or even The Silver Apples’ “Fractal Flow / Lovefingers“.

There has been a problem in having new covers suggested to be by Warhol verified. An example is the rear cover drawing on Keely Smith’s 1957 Capitol Records LP “I Wish You Love“. By this date, Warhol was an acclaimed commercial artist and his “dot and blot” technique was being used by other illustrators. Warhol is not known to have worked with Capitol Records on any other projects, so this drawing cannot certainly be accredited to Warhol. There are similar discussions about the Tchaikovsky (No. 5 in the above list) and the Gershwin / Grieg (No. 6 in the list) designs also released in 1957, but these were at least released on the RCA Victor Bluebird label, and Warhol did many designs for RCA and its other subsidiary Camden Records. Maréchal has included the Tchaikovsky, but not the Gershwin / Grieg in the second edition of his book.

There are variations in some of the covers that Maréchal has described. There are various colour variants of the covers illustrated, starting with the first cover in the book, “A Program of Mexican Music” (Columbia Records – ML 2080). Maréchal includes the green cover variant but doesn’t mention the rarer pale blue coloured version. Similarly, there are five colour variations of the “Alexander Nevsky” (Columbia Records – ML 4247)–pale blue and a deeper, almost turquoise, blue that contained the original LP with dark blue labels. The album was re-released in the late fifties with the cover in green, orange and pink. These copies have records with Columbia 6-eye labels. Maréchal includes the green reissue cover, but not the original blue covers. Then there are minor variations such as the various printings of the “Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops” EP. Friend and Warhol expert Guy Minnebach noticed that some copies had the text “A High Fidelity Recording” just beneath the RCA logo in the upper right of the cover. Some had this text in silver and some in green. There is a minor variation in the cover of the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.” EP. Some copies have “Printed in U.S.A.” at bottom right while others do not (probably due to the way the slick was cut before being affixed to the cover.)

There are probably more cover designs by Andy Warhol waiting to be identified. A recent case in point is the sister box to NBC’s “Night Beat” entitled “Voices and Events“. As with the designs for the “Progressive Piano” EP set and 10″ LP a lithograph of the “Voices and Events” cover design exists in The Warhol Museum and was shown at the “Adman-Warhol Before Pop” exhibition in Australia early in 2017. It isn’t clear whether The Warhol Museum recognised this to be the design for an EP box set, but when I saw it I immediately saw the similarity to the “Night Beat” design with the dots on three sides. No one knows if the “Voices and Events” box was ever released. I suppose, like the “Night Beat” set, it was intended as a promotional teaser but the radio show it was intended to promote only lasted three episodes… so probably not.

By my reckoning, there are some 55 individual covers that can be attributed to Andy Warhol (I do not count different formats that use the same, or similar, designs), but there is no way that a newly identified cover can be given accreditation, other than being recognised by Paul Maréchal and included in future editions of his “Complete Commissioned Record Covers“.

 

The 50th Anniversary Box Set of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – a set I didn’t think I needed.

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The deluxe 50th anniversary box set of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with all the ‘goodies’.

It seems I’ve been writing a lot about “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” since it’s 50th anniversary on June 1st. In March, I heard about the projected release of an upgraded version of the stereo version of the album together with a variety of previously unreleased alternative takes of the songs (including “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane“, which had not been included on the final album) on double vinyl, double CD and a four CD, Blu-ray and DVD box set which included a 144-page LP-sized book, and 2 posters as well as a reproduction of the original cutout from the LP.

I decided that I already had the original LP (actually TWO copies) and didn’t think I needed to shell out £30 for the double LP or over £100 for the box set as I am not particularly interested in hearing alternate takes. And I felt I didn’t need to listen to a third re-mastering of the original, though I listened to the new stereo version on Spotify and definitely heard a new, clearer mix. My main interest in “Sgt. Pepper” extends to the cover design.

But on a visit to my favourite record store I saw a copy of the box. What first caught my eye and made me take it off the shelf was the lenticular version of the cover image, which made it appear three dimensional. Now, that was a version of Peter Blake’s & Jann Haworth’s cover that I hadn’t seen before. Then, on opening the clamshell inner box I found what I thought was a copy of the LP–but the box clearly stated that it didn’t include the LP only 4 CDs, a Blu-ray and a DVD. There were three posters and the book which had a chapter devoted to the story of how the cover came about. Now, THAT did interest me. So I decided I’d try it and the offer of a 10% discount clinched the deal!

When I got home, I removed the plasticwrap from the LP sized album and from the book. On opening the gatefold I saw the CDs, Blu-ray and DVD were housed in separate LP-style covers. Only when I started to upload the CDs onto my computer did I notice that each CD had a different version of the classic “Sgt. Pepper” photo, with the Beatles in different poses in front of the Blake/Haworth montage.

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Four different variations on the original “Pepper” cover. The one at top left is is the standard photo.

The book tells Paul McCartney’s version of how the cover art came to be. He tells that he had the idea of the “Sgt. Pepper” theme while on a flight back from America. He says that Mal Evans asked for him to pass the salt and pepper and he misheard it as Sgt. Pepper, which immediately inspired him to create an alter ego for The Beatles. He says that he mad some sketches for a possible cover scene and took them to his friend, gallery owner Robert Fraser, who proposed Peter Blake and Jann Haworth as artists to realise his ideas.

There is no mention of John Lennon’s discussions with design group “The Fool”, though the chapter ends with an interview with Marijke Koger who tells of the visits by The Beatles to their home, which inspired them to commission a design for the planned “Sgt Pepper” album cover. However, only The Fool’s design for the red, pink and white inner sleeve was used.

I have also now listened to the re-mastered stereo version included in the set as well as the original mono version. There really is a new clarity in the stereo version. But–I have lived with the original stereo version for just over 50 years and it still remains the one I probably will listen to on vinyl.

Anyway, no I can add the lenticular cover of the Blake/Haworth design and the alternative Michael Cooper photos of the “Sgt. Pepper” set to my cover collection.

Record sleeve art by artists I collect