Records and CDs with Andy Warhol Cover Art – Where to Draw the Line

I suppose it was the fact that a collection of 105 record covers bearing cover art by Andy Warhol or his associates is currently up for auction at Sotheby’s in London (auction date 29th & 30th September, 2015) with an estimated sale price of £30,000 to £50,000 that made me sit down and think about which covers should and should not be included in a collection of Warhol covers.

I have made a list of record (LPs, EPs and singles) and CD covers that currently includes 218 items. I have included some doubles like various pressings of Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album as well as re-issues of the Alexander Nevsky cover and various formats of fifites EPs by Artie Shaw and The Joe Newman Octet. However, I haven’t included the Liberty re-issues of Kenny Burrell’s Blue Note albums with Warhol drawings or the various Blue Note issues with different New York addresses in my list.

The collection on sale at Sotheby’s includes some covers that I have not included in my list – such as Loredana Berte’s “Jazz” album. Also included in the sale are some “replica” covers. As I know whose collection this is, I can guess that these “replicas” are a couple of the covers I made (“Progressive Piano” and “Night Beat“). I wonder how Sotheby’s views the inclusion of these “fakes”. I shall visit the pre-auction viewing and try to find out.

The collection on sale includes some very rare items including a “Giant Size $1.57 Each” cover signed by Billy Klüver (who together with Warhol silkscreened the covers) and copies of “Sticky Fingers” and “The Velvet Underground & Nico” signed by Andy Warhol. But – some rare covers, like the Lew White “Melodic Magic” and “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr.” and the rarer blue version of “A Program of Mexican Music” – are missing. It also includes the East Village Other’s “Electric Newspaper” (incidentally, also included in Paul Maréchal’s book), which has no other connection with Warhol than the record contains a track “composed” by him. The cover art is definitely not by Warhol.

My list includes more thirty-five CDs – only one of which (Aretha Franklin’s “Aretha“) was actually released in Warhol’s lifetime. Should these really be considered to be “Warhol Covers”? Just this week two more bootleg CDs arrived that use Warhol’s 1975 folio of prints of Mick Jagger for their cover art. The first is called “Marquee ’71 + Sticky Out” and the second “Raretracks+“.

The Rolling Stones' bootleg CD
The Rolling Stones’ bootleg CD “Raretracks+”.

Stones_RareTracks+_frMany of the records and CDs on my list are bootlegs – by The Velvet Underground or, like these most recent additions, The Rolling Stones. Should a serious collection include bootlegs or be restricted to officially released material?

I would be interested in reading other collector’s opinions as to where to draw the line when collecting Warhol cover art.

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2 thoughts on “Records and CDs with Andy Warhol Cover Art – Where to Draw the Line”

  1. Hi Richard,
    I have been thinking about your questions for a while and will elaborate on this later in my own blog. But in short, this is my opinion: my collection is very broad, including bootlegs, rip offs, spoofs and ‘hommages’. So I don’t think a line has to be drawn what to collect. But I also think it is not possible to make just one list with Warhol covers. Same goes for the catalogue raisonné, I’m afraid there are too much covers in it that should be in a sub-chapter. I do see a clear hierarchy and importance in the covers. And I consider covers made during Warhol’s lifetime more important than after. So from 1 to 7, in order of importance, these are the categories I see:
    During Warhol’s lifetime:
    1. Covers designed by AW
    2. Covers designed at the Factory
    3. Official releases using Warhol images (with our without permission,, that is not always clear)
    4. Bootlegs using Warhol images
    Post mortem:
    5. Official releases using Warhol images
    6. Bootlegs using Warhol images
    7. Spoofs and hommages
    Best,
    Guy

    1. Guy, you have hit the nail on the head! I cannot think of a better way to rank/classify records and CDs with Warhol art than your seven-point classification. Perhaps I should remake my list on Rate Your Music and make a different list for each of the seven headings. But, on second thoughts, I think you could do it better!
      Cheers,
      Richard

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