More Warhol covers – and some that aren’t

My copy of “The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Annivesary DeLuxe 6CD Set” arrived yesterday and it is really exciting. It has a peelable banana on the cover and includes both the stereo and mono versions of the original album, as well as the 1966 Scepter Studios version previously released under the title “Unripened”. Added to this is a remastered version of Nico’s 1967 album “Chelsea Girl” and a Velvet Underground live recording from November 1966. But what I really found exciting was the 80 page book with historical photos from the band’s early days. Great! The book alone is worth the $70 or so that the set cost.
Warholcovers has previously commented on several covers purported to have illustrations by Warhol that have been for sale on Ebay. These are usually early Columbia Records LPs with Alex Steinweiss’ colour blocks and line drawings by various artists, most prolific of whom was probably Darrill Connelly who worked with Steinweiss at Columbia in the late forties, before Steinweiss moved on. Such titles as “Salome” and probably the “Elijah” three record set that are often put up for sale as being Warhol covers are by Connelly. I would also guess that the Debussy “French Song Recital” by Jennie Tourell and the Prokofiev/Respigi “Scythian Suite/Feste Romane” are also Connelly’s work – they definitely are not by Warhol.
The only genuine Columbia Warhol LP covers seem to be the Carlos Chavez “A Program of Mexican Music” and Prokofiev*s “Alexander Nevsky”. “The Nation’s Nightmare” – a classic Warhol cover – was released by Columbia Special Products, so qualifies as an early Columbia LP with Warhol art.
More covers are being suggested to be Warhol designs. Among the latest is The Darling Buds’ single “It’s All Up to You” released on both 7 and 12 inch vinyl with what looks like a variation of  Warhol’s “Flowers” design – but without the grassy background. There is an acknowledgement to Warhol’s Flowers on the rear sleeve. So I’d class this as heavily influenced by Andy Warhol, but not a true Warhol cover.

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6 thoughts on “More Warhol covers – and some that aren’t”

  1. This is an interesting post on Darrill Connelly, thanks!
    About the Darling Buds record: the complete credit on the cover is: “Warhol flowers by s. riley, photographed by s.j.b. lawrence.”
    So they make it clear that it is a new interpretation of the Warhol flowers, not a reproduction.

    1. Thanks Guy! I got the information on Darrill Connelly from Ken Halperin, who really is an expert on early record covers and has actually discussed cover art with Mr. Connelly.
      I have also noted the design credit on The Darling Buds singles.

  2. That is a clever way of ‘crediting’ Warhol but skirting a copyright problem by making it clear that the work is an interpretation. The Andi Sex Gang Blind album takes a different approach with the iconic Elvis image. Rather than crediting anyone with the design they refer to it as “An Undercover Cover”. Here the implication is that you are looking at an actual Warhol work albeit unauthorized. The other extreme is the true reinterpretation of of a classic work that could never be deemed a copy. That would be the album by Gossip , Long Distance Love. The layout mimics the original Velvet Underground design with a telephone substituting for the banana and the band name and album title substituting for the Warhol signature.
    While Warhol will (probably) never do another cover the ‘influenced by or borrowed from’ category is limitless.
    Great posts!

    1. Thanks Kevin. I checked out the Gossip “Love Long Distance” cover and agree that it must be a Warhol pastiche. How far from the original idea must a design go for it to still be called “influenced by Warhol”? Would The Dandy Warhol’s “Welcome to the Monkey House” LP qualify – after all its just a peeling banana on a black background? Would any cover that shows a banana – or an object that looks like a banana (cucumber, zucchini, yellow speckled telephone receiver etc) – qualify? As you say, the category “influenced by or borrowed from” is limitless!

      1. The Gossip cover is new to me, thanks Kevin! I also collect this kind of covers, I love them. I do not regard them as real Warhol covers or ‘influenced by’, bus some as a pastiche, and other as an hommage. In fact the cover of The Dandy Warhol’s ‘Welcome to the monkey house” is one of my favourites, a brilliant hommage. Not only is it a peeled banana, but the skin is peeled open with a (painted) zipper. A combination of two iconic Warhol covers, VU & Nico and Sticky Fingers. Beautifully painted by Ron English.

  3. Another artist whose work I frequently see, but like Connelly is only sometimes credited, is Oppenheim. I’d like to know more about this artist who often does line drawing portraits with color washes that could possibly be confused with Warhol. I’m looking at an RCAVictor LP of Rachmaninoff and Kreisler playing Grieg and Schubert sonatas. And I believe the Camden CAE 188 Miniature Masterpieces must be Oppenheim. I’m curious if anyone has any info on Oppenheim as I have not found any.

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