I have been searching for record covers designed by Peter Blake for several decades, but never come across this one before. Advertised on Ebay with a starting price of £0.99, was a CD titled “Colours” by a trio calling themselves A Stranger Shadow. Never heard of them, and apparently nor have many others as I can find no information on Internet music sites such as Allmusic, Discogs or Rateyourmusic. A Stranger Shadow are/were Paul Wilby (bass guitar, piano, vocals), Diana Jones (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Anne Harris (violin, percussion, vocals). They seem onlyto have recorded this one fourteen-track album, released in 1995. Discogs lists a 1984 7″ single by Paul Wilby titled “Nobody Needs You/Animosity Crept in” but that’s all I have found.
The booklet cover, is a sort of collage, and is signed at lower right by the artist. But how did this unknown group manage to get Peter Blake to design the cover? Was their record label — Mixed Bag Records — involved?
It would be wonderful if this album had also been released on vinyl, but I suppose record companies assumed in 1995 that vinyl was dead.
I haven’t had any reason to write about Peter Blake‘s art recently. As far as I have been able to find out, he hasn’t done any record covers since Eric Clapton‘s “I Still Do” album—which was not actually designed by Peter Blake, but Clapton chose to use one of Blake‘s 2015 portraits of him as the cover art.
At last I have something to add to my collection. I saw a print of Peter Blake‘s “Live at Leeds 2” for sale on Ebay and made an offer, which was accepted. The print was an artists’ proof (No. viii/xxv).
Some background: As everyone knows, The Who played the Leeds University Refectory on Valentine’s day 1970 and the 3-hour concert was recorded and released only 3 months later on 16th May 1970 as The Who’s “Live at Leeds” album. During preparations for The Who’s upcoming 2006 tour, Andy Kershaw, an alumnus of Leeds University—and who had had a hand in booking the band to play that historic 1970 concert managed to persuade the two remaining original band members to return to the Refectory as part of their planned 2006 tour.
In February 2005 Peter Blake opened a unique gallery dedicated to his music artwork at Leeds University’s School of Music. Among the prints on permanent loan to the gallery are ”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, Band Aid’s ”Do They Know It’s Christmas”, The ”Live Aid” poster design, Paul Weller’s ”Stanley Road” cover art, The Who’s ”Face Dances” as well as albums by Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson and Ian Dury.
I haven’t been able to work out exactly how Sir Peter Blake became involved but suspect that Pete Townsend—a long-time friend of Blake’s—might have suggested that the artist design a poster for the return concert and Blake turned to the cover art of the original “Live at Leeds” album for inspiration. The gatefold cover of the original “Live at Leeds” album was designed by Graphreaks (Wikipedia credits Beadrall Sutcliffe with the design). Blake took the cover design and added the date of the original concert (14.02.70) at the top and that of the return (17.06.06) at the bottom and a large red “2” at bottom left.
Peter Blake made a limited edition print of the design–a silk screen using 14 colours plus glaze in an the edition of 250 + 25 artist proofs–and published in 2006. Peter Blake donated a copy to Leeds University’s collection of his prints.
Back to my print. The seller in the U.K. sent the print rolled, inside a large sheet of 200 g paper and wrapped in bubble plastic all put inside a wellpapp outer. There was no poster tube to prevent crushing and—not surprisingly—the package arrived crushed with the print considerably creased. After email discussions with the seller, I was advised to lodge a ”damaged item” report with Ebay, which I did sending photos of the packaging and the damaged print. And to my total amazement, the following day Ebay refunded the total cost of the print and shipping! So the print has cost me nothing!
My collection of Peter Blake prints. The ”Live at Leeds 2” print joins my collection of Peter Blake prints started in 1968 when I bought ”Babe Rainbow” at Gear in Carnaby Street for, I think, 30/- (£1.50 to those of you who don’t remember predecimal currency). Wikipedia says it cost £1.00, but I think I paid 30/-.
I went to the Tate Gallery Peter Blake retrospective in 1983 and bought the catalogue which contained a limited edition print of the ”Owl & the Pussy Cat” print, which comes in an envelope stating ”Each reproduction has been signed by the artist”! The print was only included in the first 12,000 copies of the catalogue.
In 2009, when Jan Wimander, then director of Piteå Dansar och Ler Festival, and I decided to put on an exhibition of Peter Blake’s record cover art, called ”Peter Blake ’Pop’ Art” at Piteå Museum. We wanted to show LP covers but two of Blake’s covers–The John Peel compilation album ”Right Time, Wrong Speed, 1977-1987” and The Blockheads’ ”Staring Down the Barrel” were only available on CD so we wanted larger images for the show. We found a copy of Peter Blake’s portrait of the late John Peel that he created for Warner Brothers Music for the cover of Peel’s CD on Ebay. This was a limited edition of 45 copies–we got No. 5. I also approached The Blockheads to try to get hold of a promotional poster for their 2009 album ”Staring Down the Barrel”. I was told they didn’t have one, but referred to Peter Blake’s printers The Coriander Press and after month or so an artist proof of the cover art, signed by Peter Blake, arrived just in time for the exhibition.
In 2010, the late Daniel Brant, director of the A and D Gallery in London’s Chiltern Street, contacted me and asked if I would like to display my collection of Peter Blake’s record covers in the Gallery that would be hosting the launch of a new series of Peter Blake’s prints ”I Love London” and ”I Love Recycling”. John Wimander and I both flew over for the opening and met Sir Peter, who signed my ”Babe Rainbow” print as well as a book and the catalogue of our Piteå exhibition. We were both given prints of the ”I Love London” and ”I Love Recycling”!
So now my collection contains
– Babe Rainbow
– The Owl & the Pussycat
– John Peel
– The Blockhead’s ”Staring Down the Barrel”
– I Love London
– I Love Recycling, and (finally)
– Live at Leeds 2
A further Blake record cover art.
While researching the “Live at Leeds 2” print I came across another collaboration that I probably should have included in my collection of Peter Blake‘s record cover art. In 2007 Brian Wilson recorded his “That Lucky Old Sun” album and in 2009 Genesis Publications produced a lavish box set including a CD of the album, a book signed by both Brian Wilson and Peter Blake and 12 limited edition Peter Blake prints illustrating the songs. This deluxe production was produced in an edition of 1000 copies.
I shall have to start saving my pennies to get hold of a copy.
A year ago, in June 2017, I saw a picture of what I thought must be a previously unrecognised Warhol cover in the book “Adman–Warhol Before Pop”, the catalogue of an exhibition held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2017.
Nicholas Chamber’s exhibition book published by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Page 97 in “Adman-Warhol Before Pop” with a picture of the cover slick for an recording of an NBC radio programme called “Voices and Events”.
I saw that the picture had to be a slick for a box set like the elusive “Night Beat” box owned by renowned Warhol collector and author, Paul Maréchal. His copy of the “Night Beat” box, first shown at the “Warhol Live!” exhibition in Montreal in 2008, was thought to be the only one in existence.
Having previously made mock-ups of the “Night Beat” box, I knew how I could make similar mock-ups of the, as yet undiscovered, “Voices and Events” box pictured in the “Adman–Warhol Before Pop” book.
So I started a search for RCA EP boxes to use as the basis for the new set of boxes. It took several weeks to find a seller, but I finally managed to find a record store in Minneapolis that had many and was willing to sell them. I had photographed the slick from the “Adman” book and my local printer had printed ten slicks and within days of the arrival of the boxes I had made a limited edition of the “Voices and Events” box.
In March 2018 I was contacted by Lou Mancini, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, who said he had found a couple of rarities and wondered what they might be worth. He attached photos of the “Voices and Events” box and said the other rarity was the “Night Beat” box. I was stunned! I replied that I had no idea of the value of the boxes–they were the rarest of the rare!
Lou promised med photos of the “Voices and Events” box, so that I could verify the accuracy of my mock-up. They seemed identical! In addition Lou later sent a photo of the insert inside the lid of the box, which I also managed to copy.
The boxes are complete with records and all packaging intact. A fantastic find by Lou. They are now going to be added to Guy Minnebach’s magnificent Warhol collection.
I still have two of my facsimile copies of the “Voices and Events” box if anyone would like to buy one.
The great thing about having a blog is that readers often find covers that I haven’t discovered. Super collector Stefan Thull reported that he had recently found a copy of German band Fools Garden‘s album “Who Is Jo King?“, with its “Revolverish” Klaus Voormann cover, on vinyl. I already had the CD, but I had to find copy of the vinyl. It was listed on Discogs, but there wasn’t a copy on sale there, so I took a chance and Googled Fools Garden‘s official site to see if they sold copies. Sure enough! So I ordered it. Apparently there are only 250 copies, so it is quite rare!
Then another of my record collecting friends, Thorsten Knublauch, reported that there was a 7″ single “O, Come All Ye Faithful/Jingle Bells” taken from the Les Humphries Singers‘ album “Seasons Greetings“. I’m not really wild about Christmas carols and songs but the single’s cover is a reduced copy of the Klaus Voormann‘s cover for the LP. The cheapest copies were on Ebay, so I ordered one of those, too. While searching Discogs, I noticed that there are, in fact, two variations of this cover. The one Thorsten told me about (on the left below) was the German pressing, but there was also a Belgian pressing with “Jingle Bells” as the A-side which has a blue cover.
So, that’s three more additions to my collection of Klaus Voormann covers. Now I only need the “Wer nie im Bett programm gemacht” album cover to complete my collection.
If any reader can tip me off on where to find one of these, I’d be able to complete my collection of Klaus Voormann covers.
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).
Rock Art & the X-Ray Style LP 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).
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.
Promo CD for Narcissus Road.
Promo 3″ CD in book.
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:
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.
The promo for this album came as a USB in the shape of a skull (what else?)
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, but managed to find one much later (and considerably more expensive.)
The final 7-inch single was “Big Black Hole” and, as far as I can see, the rarest of The Hours‘ five 7-inchers.
There were also several other promotional CD EPs and singles released. A card sleeve promo of the “See the Light” album, a limited edition CD only available from HMV shops and three CD-r singles from the “See the Light” album all with similar artwork to the double 12″ of remixes.
There were three promotional CD-rs released prior to the “See the Light” album. Two contained the track “See the Light” and the third had Calvin Harris remixes of the song.
There was also a digital single with yet more skulls.
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.
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.
There was also a 12″ version with a more “artistic” version of the cover image.
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.
The gatefold’s inner spread has yet another alluring photo of Sedgwick.
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.