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.

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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.

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