Tag Archives: Peter Blake

Eric Clapton’s “24 Nights” Revisited

I can’t help it but I’ve sort of become obsessed with this recording and its many versions. I must apologise to Eric Clapton‘s myriad of fans, but my interest is not in the music but in Peter Blake‘s cover art. I have described this in a previous post.

Eric Clapton performed a total of 42 shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1990 and 1991. All were recorded but Clapton was not satisfied with the 1990 concerts and “24 Nights” included recordings from various nights between 5th February and 9th March (the 24 nights in the record’s title). Its primary release form was a double CD, released on 8th October 1991, just seven months after Eric Clapton concluded the 24 shows. The album was simultaneously released on double LP and double cassette–both these being pressed in Germany.Warner Brothers Records also produced a 73 x 31 cm promotional lithograph with Peter Blake’s drawings from the “24 Nights” sessions.
24Nights-promo poster

Perhaps it is important to add that while Peter Blake did the drawings used on the cover of the album, the design group Wherefore Art (David Costa) were responsible for the final design/layout of the cover art.

I also posted a description of Genesis Publication’s boxed set “24 Nights – The Limited Edition: The Music of Eric Clapton-The Drawings of Peter Blake” published in 1991 and mentioned how this project led to a long-term friendship between musician and artist that has resulted in several more record covers. I have also just found out that David Costa‘s Wherefore Art design bureau assisted Genesis Publications in the design of the limited edition box set of “24 Nights“.
24_nights_main

My collection includes the double LP and a couple of singles from the album as well as the Genesis Publications’ Limited Edition. In 2009 I curated an exhibition of Peter Blake‘s record cover art at Piteå Museum, produced in association with Jan Wimander and Piteå Dansar och Ler festival. Sometime in the months preceding the opening of the exhibition I came across thirteen prints of drawings by Peter Blake that were obviously related to the “24 Nights” release, but I had no idea how, or where they came from.

Having only bought the Genesis Publications’ version in February 2016, I could check the prints against the pages in the Scrapbook of Peter Blake‘s drawings and photographs (by Peter Blake, Graham Salter and Brian Roylance) in the set. My thirteen prints were single-sided and were copies of pages in the “Scrapbook“. Even the paper quality resembled that in the book. However, all the Scrapbook‘s pages were printed on both sides, so my prints could not have been cut out of one of the books.

I have not been able to find out any more about the prints, or where they came from, but they make an interesting addition to my Peter Blake collection.

The Genesis Publications limited edition box also contained another book “Commentary” by Derek Taylor, a pack of memorabilia (plectra, guitar strings , badge, backstage pass etc.) and a folder with two CDs of the “24 Nights” recordings including three extra tracks– ‘No Alibis‘, ‘I Shot the Sheriff‘, ‘Layla’ – orchestra introduction’— purported not to be available elsewhere.

In my search for more record covers with Peter Blake‘s art I discovered that Reprise Records, to whom Clapton was under contract, had released a two-track 7″single from the “24 Nights” album (“Wonderful Tonight/Edge of Darkness“) with cover art by Peter Blake. A few months ago I stumbled across a six-track, “collectors edition” CD EP  “Wonderful Tonight” that I had not heard of previously that had the same cover art as the 7″ single. The remaining tracks on the CD were: “No Alibis”, “I Shot the Sheriff”, “‘Layla’ – orchestra introduction” and “Cocaine” and a second version of “Wonderful Tonight”— all from the “24 Nights” sessions! Thus it was possible for collectors to obtain the three, so called “exclusive” tracks from the Box set for a considerably more modest price.

Wonderful Tonight Collectors CD-fr
The cover of the Collectors Edition CD EP of “Wonderful Tonight”.

Just as another piece of information, Clapton had released a version of “No Alibis” recorded on his “Journeyman” tour on a single in March 1990–before his first series of Albert Hall concerts.

And, then there were two bootleg CDs of recordings from the “24 Nights” sessions. Beano records released a CD of the 5th February 1991 concert entitled “24 Nights-First Night, 5th February 1991” and another CD was issued of the fourth night’s concert at which George Harrison had been guest artist. This was a CD-ROM with no record company identified.

I think this just about exhausts what I have been able to find out about the recordings of the “24 Nights” album. I think I can now move on.

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Rare Oasis “Stop the Clocks” Memorabilia.

When Noel Gallagher was planning Oasis‘s retrospective album “Stop the Clocks” in 2006 he wanted Peter Blake to design the cover. The story that I have heard is that Peter Blake allowed Noel to select items from Peter‘s collection to fill Blake‘s Blue Cupboard–an artwork that Blake had created in 1959. Blake then placed other objects, including an antique dartboard, beside the open cupboard.

StopTheClocks-LP
The front cover of Oasis’s “Stop the Clocks” album with two dartboards behind the table on the right.

Blake designed the cover slipcase and the inner sleeves of the tripple LP set as well as using the dartboard as the cover image of the double EP also entitled “Stop the Clocks“.

OASIS-7inch
The cover of the double 7″ EP “Stop the Clocks”. This was a numbered, limited edition of 5000.

What I didn’t know until very recently (June 2016) that Oasis‘s record company (Sony Music) had produced a promotional item of the dartboard with three darts with tailfeathers bearing the Oasis logo. This would be a great addition to my Peter Blake collection.
Promo Dartboard.jpg

The dartboard is obviously a facsimile of Peter Blake‘s originals. This would look great displayed beside the record covers!

Jack O’Reilly – A Rare LP cover and its relevance to Peter Blake’s Record Cover Art

Well, well, well! This is a surprise! A record on ventriloquism! What on earth is it doing in my record collection?

Jack O'Reilly-fr

As anyone can see the cover picture is a pastiche of Peter Blake‘s and Jann Haworth‘s “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” cover, but that’s not why I bought it. I really love the “drum” with the title “Constable O’Rourke’s Wooden Hearts Club Band“! That adds something extra that is not often found on other pastiches. And there, just right of centre is Jack himself; in front of just over forty ventriloquists’ dummies.

The story begins with Chris Jagger‘s 1974 album “The Adventures if Valentine Vox the Ventriloquist“.

Adventures
Chris Jagger’s “The Adventures of Valentine Vox the Ventriloquist”. Asylum 7E-1009, 1974.

I started doing some research on Peter Blake‘s record covers and mailed Chris Jagger for details about how this LP cover came about. He told me that he had come across the book “The Life and Adventures of Valentine Vox”,  by Henry Cockton (1807-1853). The book was originally published in 1840 in installments and in 1842 in a single volume with sixty illustrations by Onwhyn) and Jagger liked the title and decided to use it for his second album. Peter Blake apparently supplied the ventriloquist’s dummy. So, I got hold of a late 19th Century copy of the book, unfortunately though not the illustrated version.

ValentineVox_cover

Then curiosity took hold. I found out that there is (or was) a ventriloquist by the name of Valentine Vox and started to search for information about him, but turned up little. But my searches did find a museum of ventriloquism at Vent Haven, Kentucky, and I contacted the curator Lisa Sweasy for information. She told be that at least six ventriloquists have used the stage name Valentine Vox, or variations on it, such as Valentine Fox or Valentine Faux and wondered which I was interested in. Of course I had no idea! So I suggested the most recent. She informed me of a Jack Riley that used the used the Valentine Vox alias and told me that he had written a book on ventriloquism called “I Can See Your Lips Moving–the History and Art of Ventriloquism“, published in 1993 under that name. However, Riley had also appeared using the stage name Jack O’Reilly and had recorded  the LP entitled “You Can Be a Ventriloquist“, in 1969. It has since been re-issued as a CD.

Now to find out more about the mysterious Jack Riley. Apparently, he was born in England in 1939. He moved to America and–at some point–to Toronto, Canada, where the “You Can Be a Ventriloquist” was released. In 2003 he married fellow ventriloquist Eyvonne Carter. That’s what I have been able to find out so far.

And, before anyone starts to ask–No, I’m not going to learn to be a ventriloquist. But researching a record cover can turn up some weird and wonderful stuff.

 

Peter Blake and Eric Clapton’s “24 Nights”

During the past few months I have been concentrating on Sir Peter Blake’s record cover art and trying to do some in-depth research to find out how his record covers came about, who made the commissions, which techniques he used, upon which photographs were illustrations based and any other facts, relevant or not. I have tried to contact the artists involved where possible. I have also nurtured a lust to get hold of the one item of Peter Blake‘s record cover art that I had not managed to find. I refer to the Genesis Publication’s set “24 Nights –  The Limited Edition. Music by Eric Clapton / Drawings by Peter Blake“. This box set included two books – a “Scrapbook“, an A4 sized book of Peter Blake‘s drawings and photographs and a 58-page “Commentary” by Derek Taylor – some “memorabilia” comprising a badge, guitar strings, four plectra and a backstage pass from the Journeyman tour and two photographs of Eric Clapton. This set was published in a numbered edition of 3,500 copies as well as a further 200 copies numbered in Roman numerals “for review purposes”. All copies were signed by both Peter Blake and Eric Clapton. Published in 1991, it soon sold out.

Genesis-24 Nights-fr.jpg

The cast:
Eric Clapton (born 30th March 1945)- legendary guitarist and lover of the Blues.
Peter Blake (born 25th June 1932) – equally legendary artist.
Derek Taylor (1932-2008) – Journalist, author, friend of the above and former press officer for The Beatles.
Brian Roylance (1945-2005) – founder of Genesis Publications and friend of all three above.
Roger Forrester (born August 1949) – Eric Clapton’s manager until 1998.

The 24 night series of concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall were to be the finale to Eric Clapton‘s “Journeyman” world tour that played 153 concerts in 78 cities around the world over 14 months and were seen by almost 2.5 million fans. The tour was a promotional tour for Eric’s 1989 album “Journeyman” and his record company Reprise Records, a Warner Brothers subsidiary, planned a live album to be released after the tour. Eric Clapton knew Brian Roylance (1945-2005) the founder of Genesis Publications and suggested a documentation of the tour. Warner Brothers commissioned Peter Blake to paint a portrait of Eric Clapton, and wanted three other artists to do the same for an album to be called “Four Faces of Eric Clapton” but in the end only Peter Blake was commissioned instead to draw four portraits. Peter Blake had not met Eric at this time.

The Journeyman tour started in Birmingham on January 14th 1990 and ended at the Royal Albert Hall on March 9th 1991. There was a break for Christmas from 13th December 1990 until 31st January 1991 when it would resume in Dublin. The band reconvened in Dublin earlier to rehearse. Brian Roylance wanted Eric Clapton‘s longtime friend Derek Taylor (1932-2008) to write a commentary to the project and asked Derek and his wife Joan to travel to Dublin to be at the rehearsals. Peter Blake arrived in Dublin around the 26th January and had dinner with Roger Forrester who asked Blake if he liked Eric Clapton’s music. Blake replied, “No, I’ve never been a fan. I hate long guitar solos.”

Peter Blake had access all areas to make his sketches and said everyone got so used to him being around that they hardly noticed him. He could sketch freely. He followed Eric Clapton back to England and continued sketching at the Royal Albert Hall and at the two blues concerts at the Brixton Academy on February 21st and 22nd, 1991. Warner Reprise Records got their cover drawing for the “24 Nights” album released on 8th October 1991.

Twenty-five years after the release of the “24 Nights” album and Genesis Publications’ box set I managed to get hold of my own copy of this wonderful set. And thanks to Derek Taylor‘s “Commentary” book included in the set and Peter Blake‘s detailed notes in the “Scrapbook” have helped me piece together this story.
24Nights_Commentary.jpg

 

 

A Review of 2015 – Covers by Warhol, Blake, Voormann, Hirst & Banksy

My collection of record cover art by my favourite five artists continues to grow. 2015 provided almost fifty new covers on record and CD. The statistics show there were:
– Twenty-seven covers with Andy Warhol‘s art (eleven on CD) and four covers that were Warhol related – more of those later.
– Five covers (well three really) with Klaus Voormann‘s art,
– Five covers with Peter Blake‘s art
– Three covers with Damien Hirst‘s art
– Two covers with Banksy‘s art
– One cover with Nat Finklestein‘s portrait of Andy Warhol
– One cover with images of diverse pop artists works.

ANDY WARHOL COVERS
There were four really rare covers that I got hold of in 2015. These were:
1. Ultra Violet‘s 1973 album “Ultra Violet“, which I bought in April,
2. A copy of The Rolling Stones‘ “Sticky Fingers” nicely autographed by Andy Warhol,
3. A copy of The Rolling Stones‘ “Love You Live” autographed on the inner spread by Andy Warhol and
4. Carlos Chavez‘ “A Program of Mexican Music” with the rarer blue cover.

Other vinyl releases that I found during the year included.
Tennessee Williams reading from The Glass Menagerie” with the alternative colour variation, I also bought two copies of The Rolling Stones‘ “Sticky Fingers“, an original US release with the title printed over the belt at the top left of the cover and the 2015 reissue with the working zipper, but with the brass drawpull in the shape of John Paiste’s “tongue” design.
Other LPs included The Velvet Underground‘s “Psychedelic Sounds From the Gymnasium” and two versions of The Velvet Underground‘s “Velvet Underground & Nico” – one a picture disc and the other the limited edition “45th Anniversary edition” with the original torso rear cover picture and a peelable banana on the front. I found a UK pressing of Artie Shaw‘s “Any Old Time“. There was also another bootleg, “In 1966 There Was…“, a double album on red vinyl and the official release “The Velvet Underground Live – With Lou Reed“. I also got hold of a Rolling Stones bootleg “Lonely at the Top“, purported to be a limited edition of only 55 copies. I happened upon a modern box set of Margarita Madrigal‘s “Magic Key to Spanish” with the original book and two LPs in a custom box that, however did not use Warhol’s art anywhere.

I also bought some vinyl singles and EPs: John Lennon‘s “Imagine / It’s So Hard” and “Jealous Guy / Going Down on Love” 7-inch singles, Debbie Harry‘s “In Love With Love” 12-inch picture disc, Diana Ross‘s “So Close / Fool for Your Love” and Paul Anka‘s “Happier / Closing Doors” 7-inch singles.

The CDs included both the Q Magazine various artists releases entitled “Lennon Covered #1” and “Lennon Covered #2“. Other official CDs were The Museum of Modern Art‘s various artists release “Open Ends: Musical Exploration in New York 1967 to 2000“, a first CD re-issue of Moondog‘s “The Story of Moondog” on the Prestige label and David Jones & Bill Shute‘s collection of children’s songs “Widdecombe Fair” with beautiful Warhol art on the gatefold cover and the CD booklet. There was also a promotional CD-r collected by MPHO (MPHO Skeef) with DJ Beware called “MPHO and the Art of Pop, Vol 1” with cover art including pictures of record covers and art works by a variety of American Pop Artists.
Sinner that I am, I also bought six bootleg CDs, three by The Rolling Stones: “Marquee ’71 + Sticky Out“, “Rare Tracks +” and “Stereo Baby“. The latter a three CD set in a foldout cover.

The Warhol-related issues included the bootleg LP of Lou Reed’s & John Cale’s “Songs for Drella” LP featuring Nat Finklestein’s Warhol portrait with tambourine and John Cale‘s live recording of “Two Songs for Drella” with cover portrait of Warhol by Robert Mapplethorpe. I also found a cheap sealed copy of “15 Minutes – Homage to Andy Warhol“. This various artists release includes four LPs, three CDs and prints by the artists featured. I am not really clear as to exactly what relationship, apart from the title,  this box set has to Andy Warhol, though.

PETER BLAKE COVERS
This was the area where I expected least and found more than I had ever expected. 2015 turned out to be an exciting year! While there was only one official release with Peter Blake‘s art I found four bootleg CDs. The official release is Mark Knopfler‘s “Tracker” LP which has a picture of Peter Blake‘s painting “I Love You” on its inside spread.

The bootleg CDs were all of concerts by Eric Clapton, who’s 70th birthday was on 30th March 2015. To celebrate this Clapton performed two concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 1st and 3rd – he had intended to play the second concert on May 2nd, but the venue was booked for the New York Rangers playoff. A bootleg tripple CD was released on the Mid Valley label with the complete playlists from both nights entitled “Eric Clapton–Madison Square Garden 2015 – 70th Birthday Celebration” with a cover picture of Eric Clapton painted by Sir Peter Blake earlier in the year. Clapton followed up with seven concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall between 14th and 23rd May. These concerts were also recorded and released in a 14 CD called “Eric Clapton–Royal Albert Hall 2015” set by Mid Valley using the same cover portrait of Eric Clapton. I managed to find the programme from both concerts on Ebay and Blake’s portrait of Eric Clapton is on both front and rear covers.
Finding these two bootlegs inspired me to look for other bootlegs of Eric Clapton’s live shows. I was amazed to find that what appears to be all of his live appearances – at least since the 1980s – seem to be available on bootlegs. However, only two of the hundreds available appeared to use Peter Blake‘s art. These are CDs of the first and fourth nights of Clapton‘s 1991 “24 Nights” series of concerts at The Royal Albert Hall. So I had to chase those, too.

KLAUS VOORMANN COVERS
I have several times thought that I had collected all of Voormann’s covers but I am continuously proved wrong. 2015 was no exception. The first cover I discovered was Harry Nilsson‘s 1982 LP “Flash Harry“, which has a 5 x 5 cm line drawing of Harry by Klaus Voormann on the rear cover. Then towards the end of the year I saw a copy of 10″ EP by Paddy, Klaus & Gibson called, not unsurprisingly “Paddy, Klaus & Gibson“. These three were the remaining members of Voormann‘s group The Eyes when guitarist/vocalist John Frankland left the band. The trio recorded three singles and it is these six songs that make up this EP. The record is a private pressing organised by orthopaedic surgeon Dr Dieter Hoffmann and only 300 copies were pressed, 100 on red vinyl, 100 on clear vinyl and 100 on back vinyl. In order to support this great effort, I ordered one copy of each vinyl colour! There is Japanese glamrock band called GLAY and Klaus drew the cover image for their 2015 CD “Music Life“.

There was, however, some not so good news – Thorsten Knublauch, from whom I had bought one of the copies of the Paddy, Klaus & Gibson 10″ – told me about a record with cover art by Klaus Voormann that I had never heard of. The record is a recording of a jazz radio programme. The cover picture is of a man lying in a hospital bed connected to drip bottles. The title is “Wer nie im Bett Programm gemacht“, or something like that. So far I haven’t been able to find a copy… So my Klaus Voormann collection is still not complete!

DAMIEN HIRST COVERS
I was surprised to see two promotional folders for Dave Stewart‘s 1992 “Heart of Stone” single appear on Ebay at ridiculously inflated prices. They didn’t sell and eventually the price came down to affordable levels when I hopped in. The CD singles came in A5 folders with slightly different texts and different catalogue numbers – explaining why I had to have both. In addition I found a promotional copy of the The HoursNarcissus Road” CD with a cover that I had not seen before.

BANKSY’S COVER ART
There do not seem to have been any new record or CD covers that use Banksy’s cover art since 2008. I did manage to get hold of one version of Blur‘s “Think Tank” CD in a box set with postcards. Then in the last days of December I saw a copy of a test pressing of Junichi Masuda’s LP “Pokémon” with a hand sprayed image of Banksy’s “Flower Thrower” but with a coloured ball substituted for the flowers. There are purportedly on 100 copies of this test pressing and I managed to get one relatively cheap-

So, another successful year’s collecting. But I still guess that none of my collections are complete yet. So I look forward to 2016.

A review of 2014 – my collections grow

Readers of this blog will by now know that it deals with collecting record cover art by five designers

  1.     Andy Warhol
    2. Peter Blake
    3. Klaus Voormann
    4. Damien Hirst
    5. Banksy

When I sat down to put my thoughts together on the past year’s collecting I could not immediately recall any real high points. Then I started to look through my list of acquisitions and soon saw that 2014 had been another successful year. Let’s take things in order.

Andy Warhol
Well, I’ve managed to add twenty-one covers to my collection of Andy Warhol sleeves – surprisingly, the majority by The Rolling Stones. I have added three variations of the “Emotional Tattoo” bootleg cover. Frank Edwards very kindly sent me his extra copy of the 1983 version on orange vinyl in exchange for a set of “Giant Size $1.57 Each” covers and I bought the two variations of the 2014 numbered reissues of the album, one on black and the other on green vinyl.

Early in the year I had decided to go for the Rolling Stones singles with variations on the “Sticky Fingers” cover art. I had previously not been interested in singles or EPs but the wonderful RCA and RCA Camden covers with Warhol art have changed my mind. Anyway, fellow Warhol Cover Collectors Club member Guy Minnebach had tipped me off about the Mexican “Brown Sugar” singles (entitled “Azucar Morena” in Spanish). One was a two-track single and the other a three-track EP that happened to pop up on Ebay soon after he had told me about them.

The Rolling Stones “Azucar Morena” single in a fold out cover.

Rolling Stones “Azucar Morena” EP.

Then I had to add the original “Brown Sugar / Bitch / Let It Rock” single and a German pressing of the single, both of which used the “Sticky Fingers” rear cover photo on their rear covers. I also found a copy of the “Brown Sugar” shaped picture disc single to complete the set.

“Brown Sugar / Bitch” picture disc single.

When it comes to “classic” Warhol covers, I – like most collectors of Warhol’s cover art – had been looking for a cheap copy of the Lew White “Melodic Magic” EP. Well, I found the single on Discogs for $3.86 plus $12 shipping. Unfortunately, the record had no cover, but I bought another RCA Camden EP with the same rear cover list of other artists on the Camden label and peeled off the cover slick and stuck a Lew White cover slick in its place and – wonder of wonders – I have the Lew White EP, indistinguishable from the real thing – as it IS the real thing (almost) and all for about $40!

The next “classic” cover I managed to get hold of was the “Alexander Nevsky” re-issue sleeve with the green colour blocks. I already had both the original “blue” and the re-issue “orange” covers. Now all I need to find is the “pink” cover variation.

My three “Alexander Nevsky” covers.

When I first started to seriously collect Andy Warhol’s record cover art I saw Wilhelm Loibner’s “Ballet From Vienna” listed as a Warhol cover. The cover is a solarised photo credited to William Hughes. The rear cover has no image. Guy Minnebach informed me that the original copies of this LP had an inner sleeve with Warhol’s drawing of part of an orchestra, the same image as used o the cover of “4 Divertimenti”. The “Ballet From Vienna” cover appears on Ebay with monotonous regularity, but almost NEVER with the inner sleeve. However, one did turn up advertised from Spain in mint condition so I added it to my collection.

“Ballet From Vienna” Front of inner sleeve and front cover.

The other Warhol covers I managed to find included Diana Ross’ “Muscles” and “So Close” seven-inch singles and Billy Squier’s “Everybody Wants You” single.

And then there was an unusual CD that came up on Ebay in August. It was a Japanese promotional double CD with a line drawing of an ear and some arrows with the sole word “ear” beside the drawing. The handwriting was so like Andy Warhol’s that I took a chance and bought the set. Guy Minnebach immediately recognised the drawing as one of a series in a Warhol portfolio entitled “Playbook of you S Bruce 2:30-4:00”.

The other covers with Warhol art were two Velvet Underground bootlegs; “NYC” and “Orange Disaster” which both had pictures from Warhol’s Deaths and Disaster prints.

Peter Blake

There were no new record sleeve designs by Sir Peter Blake in 2014 but one old one did surface – the rejected cover for the group Landscape’s 1982 album “Manhattan Boogie-Woogie”. I saw an art gallery advert for a 2009 silkscreen of the cover image. I managed to find a high-resolution copy of the image and could resize it to LP-format and get several slicks printed. I stuck one slick of the front cover to one of the rear cover from the issued album and there was (my version of) the original cover restored.

Klaus Voormann

2014 saw many additions to my Voormann collection. The first cover I found was the last cover needed to complete my set of all twenty “Pioneers of Jazz” EPs. I had managed to find nineteen previously and been searching the Internet for Volume 18, the only one I lacked. In February I finally found it.

The next cover I found was George Harrison’s “When We Was Fab” promo box with the seven inch single. I already had the twelve-inch version and this was a nice addition. I felt I had just about completed my Voormann collection when I found some purely German releases: “Stinker” LP and seven inch single “von Drüben” by Marius Müller-Westernhagen.

Klaus Voormann’s first official cover was for a band called The Typhoons about which I have failed to find any information. Klaus has informed me that he never met the band and could only say that it was a German combo active in the early sixties. Heliodor records had released their cover of “Walk… Don’t Run”, the old Ventures hit. I had made a copy of the cover from an image on Klaus Voormann’s portfolio and I have seen a cover in poor condition sell on Ebay for over €100 but never seen the record until one turned up without the cover. So, true to form I bought the single to live in the cover I had made. I’m still looking for a proper cover…

I had already bought Klaus Voormann’s album “A Sideman’s Journey” on LP with a limited edition poster and eyed the limited edition box set, which included the album on CD, a DVD of the making of the album, a book of drawings and the poster – signed by Klaus. The box was expensive and I felt I did not really need it until a second-hand copy came up for half the normal price.

My friend, gallery-owner Daniel Brant found two copies of Voormann’s poster of John Lennon and Paul McCartney eating breakfast in the Abbey Road canteen during the “Revolver” sessions and he let me have a copy.

 

The last item needed to complete my Voormann collection was the CD of covers entitled “A Guide to Modern Country Living” by The Twang. There is, however, one cover that has only been released as a digital download and that is “Picasso’s Party” by a band called The Dogs of Bali. I have the download.

So, with the exception of a proper cover for the “Walk… Don’t Run” single, my Klaus Voormann Collection seems complete – at least until Klaus produces more cover designs.

Damien Hirst

This has probably been the year when I have obtained the largest number of Damien Hirst covers. There were three covers for Babyshambles, including the LP “Prequel to the Sequel” and the two singles from the album, “Nothing Comes From Nothing” and “Fall From Grace”.

Next was The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ LP “I’m With You” with the cover picture of a fly on a medicine capsule. Then Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros promo CD “Tony Adams (The Morning Sun)” and the very rare twelve inch EP “Yalla Yalla”. Somehow, Thirty Seconds to Mars had been allowed to use one of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings for the cover of their CD “Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams”. I got hold of the limited edition box set of the album thinking the box and LP cover were also designed by Damien Hirst – but they aren’t! However, the box set did include a book with the spot painting on the cover. I had to get the CD as well for completeness. A seller in Germany advertised a twelve-inch EP of Dave Stewart’s “Heart of Stone (The Dance Mixes)” which I had never heard of. I could not find a copy elsewhere so I bought his expensive copy. Then I found out there was another remix EP of “Heart of Stone (The Sure Is Pure Remixes)”. That one was easy to find and did not cost an arm and a leg.

My final Damien Hirst find for the year was the USB promotional version of The Hours’ “See the Light” album. A nice little skull-shaped USB stick.

Banksy

I have not been able to find any new records with Banksy images in 2014. My collection of Bansky records has been touring Sweden throughout the year and I sincerely hope that they will return home in 2015.

Meanwhile, I wish all my readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year – and wish you all success with your collecting in 2015.

Damien Hirst’s record cover art 1994 – 2013

Damien Hirst in August 2008. Photo by David Bailey.
Damien Hirst in August 2008. Photo by David Bailey.

On October 25th 2013 Damien Hirst’s 22nd record cover for Babyshambles’ “Fall From Grace”, the band’s second single from their “Sequel to the Prequel” album was released on September 2nd 2013. The album cover as well as both singles had cover design by Hirst, who with this latest cover passed the number of covers designed by Sir Peter Blake. Depending a little on how one defines a Peter Blake cover, Blake has produced 21 covers in the 47 years since Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in 1967. This cover was, of course, designed by Blake and his then wife Jann Haworth – and so should be regarded as a joint effort. The cover for Madness’ limited edition CD version of “Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da” has him pictured on the cover, but the design is by Paul Agar with photography by Perou.

I do not suppose many would argue with me if I suggest that much of Damien Hirst’s art is ugly. Dissected animals or fish in formalin tanks, skulls (even when encrusted with diamonds) do not appear beautiful to these eyes. And Damien Hirst’s record covers fit the mould. His first record cover art was for Dave Stewart’s “Greetings From the Gutter” released in 1994. Hirst’s first covers are really unremarkable – the six variously coloured gas tubes with tubing attached on the Dave Stewart album and the dissection of an egg by two rubber-gloved hands on the “Heart of Stone” single from Stewart’s album are hardly design masterpieces. These are followed by Hirst’s ugliest covers; the CD for Fat Les’ “Vindaloo” with foldout poster and “Yalla Yalla” the single from Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros’ album “Rock Art & The X-ray Style” from 1999. For the album, Hirst drew a series of matchstick men reminiscent of stone-age cave paintings or aboriginal art and these figures appeared on the “Bankrobber 99” promotional single as well.

Joe Strummer & The Meascaleros' "Rock Art & the X-ray Style" LP cover.
Joe Strummer & The Meascaleros’ “Rock Art & the X-ray Style” LP cover.

In 2006, Hirst became manager for the band The Hours and designed the covers for their first album “Narcissus Road” and the singles taken from it; “Ali in the Jungle” and “Back When You Were Good”. These were released on the A & M label.
Hirst made a limited edition of 210 spin-painted skulls as holders for the CD retailing at a cool £4,500 each!
the-hours0035

Damien Hirst's spin-painted skull holder for The Hours' "Narcissus Road" CD.
Damien Hirst’s spin-painted skull holder for The Hours’ “Narcissus Road” CD.

Hirst then started his own record label “Is Good” and The Hours’ second album “See the Light” was released on the label, again with cover art by him. The album was released on gatefold vinyl and a double 12″ single “See the Light” was also released. And, as had been for the singles from “Narcissus Road”, each was decorated with more of Hirst’s skull designs.

In February 2008 the cover of TAR Magazine used Damien Hirst’s portrait of Kate Moss where the right side of her face was dissected down to the muscles. The following year, Hirst released a white vinyl, one-sided 12″ single with the same image on the cover. Hirst’s given name was misspelt on the record label: “Damian”. The single was released in a numbered edition of 666 copies and is currently very sought after.

Damien Hirst's portrait of Kate Moss from TAR Magazine to his "Use Money, Cheat Death" 12" single cover.
Damien Hirst’s portrait of Kate Moss from TAR Magazine to his “Use Money, Cheat Death” 12″ single cover.

Hirst’s next cover “I’m With You” for The Red Hot Chili Peppers (2011) revisited two of his earlier subjects, drugs represented by a coloured capsule and decay, represented by a single fly on the capsule.
Red Hot Chili Peppers' album "I'm With You".
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album “I’m With You”.

Hirst designed the cover for the band 30 Seconds to Mars’ fourth album “Love Lust Faith & Dreams” in May 2013 and used his polka dot pattern. The album was released on CD and vinyl and in a limited edition boxed set with the LP, a double CD, a book and four prints.
30 Seconds to Mars' super de luxe promo box set of Love, Lust & Faith
30 Seconds to Mars’ super de luxe promo box set of Love, Lust & Faith

Later the same year Hirst designed the covers for Babyshambles’ “Sequel to the Prequel” album and the two singles released from it that autumn; “Nothing Comes From Nothing” and “Fall From Grace”. According to Babyshambles’ bassist Drew McConnell reported in NME: “It happened kind of naturally and in the spirit you’d hope for. We asked Damien to suggest someone to put something together, then to our amazement he offered to do it himself. The fact that he used a pic taken by Pennie Smith, who shot all those iconic photos of The Clash (Damien’s old pal Joe Strummer’s band), just makes it make even more sense.
So those are Damien Hirst’s first 22 covers from his first twenty years of record cover design 1994 – 2013.

And, as is my wont, I’ll list one cover ascribed to Damien Hirst that is not by him. According to Wikipedia Hirst did prepare a design for the cover for the Band Aid 20 single “Do They Know It’a Christmas?”. His design showing the grim reaper and a starving child was considered too scary and was dropped. Mat Maitland at Big Active, a designer in his own right who has designed covers for Michael Jackson and others was commissioned to design the replacement. Rumour has it that Hirst released a limited edition print of his design for the cover. But I have, thus far, not been able to find one.