Tag Archives: Record cover art

More Kate Moss on Record Covers.

I really felt as though I had exhausted the subject of record covers showing Kate Moss‘ portrait in my previous post. No sooner had the proverbial ink dried than two more covers appeared. The first is a 7-inch single-sided EP by American punk/hardcore/grunge band Vomit, entitled “Kate Moss” on the Give Praise record label.

Now, a search of Discogs will reveal more than ten bands that have used the name Vomit. The Vomit in question seem to only have released this one “Kate Moss” EP.

Vomit-Kate-Spread
The gatefold cover of Vomit’s 7″ single-sided EP “Kate Moss” with at least thirteen portraits of Kate.

Then I was reading about the two CD and one DVD set of Bryan Ferry‘s 2010 “Olympia” album. I already have the limited edition Vinyl Factory LP version of this, that includes the cover portrait of Kate Moss but without the text–obviously intended to be framed and hung on a teenager’s wall. I hadn’t considered the box set as I felt it probably wouldn’t add anything to the LP version. Well, I was wrong. The 40-page book that houses the discs contains many more photos from Adam Whitehead‘s sessions for the album. The DVD has an interview with Bryan Ferry on the making of the “Olympia” album and the “You Can Dance” video as well as a video of behind the scenes activity in the making of the “You Can Dance” video.

Olympia box-fr complete
The box set of Bryan Ferry’s “Olympia” album contains a 40-page book and 2 CDs and a DVD.

The pictures are stunning. Here are a selection:

The CDs and the DVD included in set come in card covers, two of which have different cover photos from the LP and deluxe box.
Olympia Box CD1-frOlympia Box CD2-frOlympia Box CD3-fr

CD1 has the album cover photo, while CD2 and the DVD cover have different photos. You will have to examine the covers of the CDs to spot the very subtle difference (hint look at Kate’s right hand).

And just when the thrill of finding the box set sort of settled, I came across an Ebay ad by my least favourite seller Majestic Music & Art. I consider this seller to be quite ruthless in his (I presume it is a “he”) price-setting. Many years ago, I bought a couple of albums from Majestic Music & Art that were poorly packaged and arrived damaged. They would not discuss a return or a refund and I promised myself never to buy from them again. But in mid-March 2017 they posted this ad for a copy of the Luke Fair remix of Primal Scream‘s (and Kate Moss‘) “Some Velvet Morning” (the old Lee Hazlewood classic). This single normally comes in a plain black generic cover, but Majestic Music & Art advertised a copy with Kate Garner‘s famous 1992 portraits of an 18-year-old Kate Moss affixed to front and back covers.

Despite my promise to myself never to buy from Majestic Music & Art, I did buy the 12″ single to add to my collection. I knew of Kate Garner‘s Kate Moss portraits from an exhibition of Russell Young‘s recent screen prints at London’s Halcyon Gallery. Russell Young’s portraits are really wonderful–some are as big as 200 x 200 cm and covered in diamond dust, so they really sparkle!

Kate Moss‘ name crops up in music as a songwriter and artist–several tracks by other artists/bands are entitled “Kate Moss“. Examples include Arab Strap‘s 1996 album “The Week Never Starts Around Here” that contains a track entitled “Kate Moss“, but there is no picture of her on the record cover. German rocker Maximilian Hecker‘s 2003 CD “Rose” also has a song called “Kate Moss” as its first track. Again, there is no portrait of her on the cover. I don’t suppose these will be the only songs called with this iconic title.

Record collecting – a love affair or an addiction?

Okay, as you probably have gathered if you read my blog, I live in Sweden. This is not a very important piece of information, but it explains why this post was inspired (probably not the right word) by a recent book and a magazine number. The book, by Olle Johansson, is called “En skivsamlares memoarer” (ISBN 9789163776618, Rabarber förlag, Stockholm, 2015), which translates to “A Record Collector’s Memoirs” and the magazine is the Spring 2016 number of the Swedish music magazine Sonic–a 116 page special number entitled “Alla talar om skivsamlande“, again in translation “Everyone is talking about record collecting“.

Most people would not see any difference between a record collector and a music collector, but there is huge difference and these two publications illustrate it perfectly. Olle Johansson is a MUSIC collector. He is not interested in the format the recording is presented on. He does not care about record labels, catalogue numbers, or the cover art. He wants the music, and it doesn’t matter if it is a reissued CD or vinyl. He doesn’t search for original pressings or special editions. He just wants the music or the artist.

A record collector, however, cares about all, or at least some, of these things. There are those who collect a particular artist–and must have EVERYTHING released by that artist, including unofficial (bootleg) releases. Alternatively, the collector may collect a particular record label, quite independently of the type of music released (though the label will probably have released music that suits the collector’s taste). Then there are collectors who will collect a particular format– say 1960s EPs, or picture discs; the options are endless. And there are strange types, like me, who collect record cover art. Even here there are subdivisions; record cover art by a particular artist, cover art by any famous artist, or cover art that uses a particular design feature or a certain typography.

There are loads of books on record cover art and others on greater or lesser celebrities’ record collections. One recent, almost encyclopaedic one is Eilon Paz‘s “Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting“. Paz visited record collectors and photographed them with their hoards of vinyl–everything from rare 78s to the world’s largest collection of coloured vinyl records. Sonic magazine interviewed musicians, DJs, record collectors and record buyers at record stores. I used to have a library of books about record cover art. I have only kept a few that I really treasure. These include Nick de Ville‘s “Album: Classic Sleeve Design: Style and Image in Sleeve Design“, Richard Evans‘ “The Art of the Record Cover“, Paul Maréchal‘s “The Complete Commissioned Record Covers“, Jennifer McKnight-Trontz’ & Alex Steinweiss’For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss, Inventor of the Album Cover” and the catalogue from Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum’s 1981-2 exhibition “Ytans innehåll: utställning av skivomslag” [“The Surface’s Contents: An Exhibition of Record Covers“].

Where did my collection begin? Born in the mid forties, I was raised on vinyl records. My father loved music and had a few hundred LPs and a few 78s. In my late teens I had a friend, Chris,  who worked on Saturdays at The Chelsea Record Centre, a shop on The King’s Road, Chelsea. We used to go to pubs and listen to R ‘n’ B and, when I went to University we started going regularly to the 100 Club on Oxford Street. We could see The Pretty Things, The Graham Bond Organisation or The Artwoods. One night–I suppose in 1964 or 1965– we went to see Bo Diddley and his famous band (who I had at that time only heard of through some Buddy Holly recordings.) Well, to call that concert mindblowing was an understatement.

The first records I bought were LPs–Eddie Cochran‘s “Memorial Album“, “The Buddy Holly Story” and John Lee Hooker‘s “Don’t Turn Me From Your Door“. One evening in late November 1963 my friend Chris came home with a copy of “With the Beatles” and we spent an evening just playing and replaying the album. And almost a year later on the 24th October 1964, Chris and I went to the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn to see The Beatles–I can’t say we heard them because of all the screaming. I still have the “Four Aces” programme from the concert! I started buying records and became a regular at two of London’s independent record shops that imported American albums; One Stop Records in South Moulton Street and Musicland in Berwick Street.

In early 1967, My brother, who had been living in America, returned to England and presented me with a bundle of records including Big Brother & The Holding Company‘s eponymous first album (on the Mainstream label), Country Joe & The Fish‘s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die“, The Jefferson Airplane‘s “Takes Off” and “Surrealistic Pillow“. I  bought The Doors‘ first album, which was one of the greatest albums of 1967, at One Stop, and they recommended an album by The Velvet Underground & Nico, which I bought but didn’t really get into. I liked the cover, though. Then I discovered bluebeat, ska and reggae and for the first time bought singles. Prince Buster, The Ethiopians and Desmond Dekker before finding Phil Spector and then soul music in the form of Doo Wop with Clyde McPhatter & the Dominoes, The Coasters, The Drifters, Don Covay, Joe Tex and, of course, Otis Redding. Thus far, I was still a music collector.

Then in April 1971, I bought The Rolling Stones‘ “Sticky Fingers” with its Andy Warhol designed cover. I already had The Velvet Underground & Nico, so this was my second Andy Warhol cover. I also had two covers by Peter Blake: “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and The Pentangle‘s “Sweet Child“. So I had the beginnings of two cover art collections. In the early 1980s I stumbled across an album by The Cocteau Twins and soon started collecting albums on the 4AD label designed by Vaughan Oliver and Nigel Grierson (as 23 Envelope) and Vaughan Oliver and Chris Bigg (as v23). I also found Fetish Record‘s “Final Testament” and collected every cover I could find with Neville Brody‘s art.I also had all three of Joy Division‘s albums but didn’t start collecting Peter Saville‘s record covers in any systematic way, though a few did find their way into my collection. In the early 2000s I fell for Rob Jones‘ work–both as a poster artist for the White Stripes, The Raconteurs and Dead Weather–and for his record cover art. I also collected Swedish designer Martin Kann‘s covers for the band bob hund. All the while my collection of covers by Warhol and Blake grew. I also found that I had many covers by Klaus Voormann and then Damien Hirst produced a few record covers that found their way into my collection. In about 2008  I picked up a couple of albums with cover art by the artist known as Banksy and managed over the course of two years to collect almost all the covers bearing his art.

When I retired in 2010 it was apparent that my wife and I would have to move to a flat and that I would not be able to take my collection of records, posters and CDs with me. I had to downsize. I decided only to keep my collections of record cover art. I said “good bye” to my 4AD, Martin Kann, and Rob Jones records and kept only my Banksy, Blake, Hirst, Voormann and Warhol collections. So now I am a RECORD collector rather than a music collector. The music is secondary to the cover art.

 

 

Lou Reed & John Cale – Songs for ‘Drella’ and The Velvet Underground reunion

In 1968 John Cale and Lou Reed had fallen out during the recording “White Light / White Heat”, The Velvet Underground’s second album. They vowed not to play together again. However, they met at Andy Warhol‘s memorial service at St Patrick’s Cathedral on April 1st 1987 after having not had any contact with each other for many years. Apparently, Julian Schnabel suggested that they write a memorial album for Andy.

Warhol superstar Ondine had nicknamed him “Drella“–a contraction of Dracula and Cinderella and Reed and Cale decided to call their work “Songs for Drella“. They previewed the work at Brooklyn’s St. Anne’s Church in two concerts on January 8th and 9th 1989 before it was  complete.And these concerts were recorded and a bootleg LP appeared.
Warhol by Finkelstein

DoubleWarhol

The record cover was a silkscreened copy of Nat Finkelstein‘s 1965 portrait of Andy Warhol holding a tambourine. John Cale recorded a single with two songs from the “Songs for Drella” project live on 27th July, 1989. These were “Style It Takes / Forever Change“. The cover showed two contractions of Robert Mapplethorpe’s portrait of Andy Warhol (C The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation).

AW by RM

Cale_Drella_fr

The complete work was performed at a series of concerts in November and December 1989 and one performance filmed and released on DVD and Laserdisk. Reed and Cale recorded the work over the following two months for an album, which was released by Sire Records on 24th April 1990 on standard CD, a limited edition Digipak CD and on LP.

SongsForDrella
“Songs for Drella” CD with a Warhol self-portrait visible behind Lou Reed and John Cale.

A single “Nobody But You / Style It Takes” was released from the album.

A tour proved out of the question although Cale and Reed did perform together again in 1990 in Paris. They were joined by Sterling Morrison and Mo Tucker to play “Heroin“. This concert was also recorded and released on a bootleg entitled “Paris 1990“, with fluorescent cover art on a black background. The front cover showed a Warhol lily and the rear a portrait of Warhol in a diamond-shaped lozenge.

VU_PAris1990_fr_600

VU-Paris1990_bk

The arrival of Morrison and Tucker at the Paris concert lead to a further reunion concert in 1993 that was also recorded and released on CD and Laserdisk entilted “The Velvet Underground Redux Live MCMXCIII” and later as a four-LP set with Warhol’s banana as the cover art.

VU_1993_Laser_fr_600

 

ABSOLUT VODKA’s RECORD COVER ADVERTISMENTS

This post is not so much about record covers as much as about advertising and focuses on a campaign by Absolut Vodka.

Apparently, Absolut Vodka is the third largest spirit brand in the world. It is distilled near Åhus in Skåne, southern Sweden, and was, until 2008 owned by the Swedish state through its company AB Vin & Sprit when it was sold to the French group Pernod Ricard for €5.63 billion (55 billion Swedish Crowns). Two things – apart from the drink itself – have contributed to Absolut Vodka’s international success; the first is the design of the bottle and the second is the inventive artistic advertising campaigns. And, related to the imaginative advertising was the Absolut Art Collection, started In 1985 when Andy Warhol was approached to paint a picture of the Absolut Vodka bottle.

Exactly how Warhol came to be involved is debated. According to Finbar Krook Rosato, in “Face It! Absolut Art Collection” (2012) One story is that Michel Roux who worked for Carillion importers was a regular fixture in the New York nightlife of the 1980s. Apparently he suggested the idea to Warhol at a dinner and Warhol was enthusiastic saying “I love the bottle. I’d want to do something with it”. Another story is that Titti Wachtmeister, daughter of Sweden’s ambassador to the United States, was a close friend of Warhol’s put the idea to him. Whichever is correct, Warhol painted his portrait of the famous bottle.

Absolut Warhol
Absolut Warhol

Warhol then suggested that Keith Haring make a painting and in 1987 his contribution arrived. Between 1986 and 2004 a total of 850 works were made for the Absolut Art Collection by 550 artists. The collection is now housed at Spritmuseum in Stockholm where regular exhibitions show the varied nature of the art.

A series of one-page ads for Absolut Vodka appeared each week in Time Magazine and many appeared in other magazines including Scandinavian Airways System’s “Scanorama”. A series that was particularly special for me, was run in Scanorama from February until October 2002 and used pastiches of famous record covers to advertise the famous Vodka. You have to really search in some of the adverts to find the Absolut Vodka bottle.

The series started with a reworked version of David Bowie‘s “Aladdin Sane“:

Absolut Bowie.
Absolut Bowie. “Scanorama” February 2002.

The second cover to be manipulated was Miles Davis‘s “Bitches Brew“:

Absolut Miles.
Absolut Miles. “Scanorama” March 2002.

The third cover to be manipulated was Nina Hagan‘s “Om Namah Shivay!“:

Absolut Hagen.
Absolut Hagen.

Next up was INXS‘s album “Kicks

Absolut INXS.
Absolut INXS.

Number five was The Sex Pistol‘s “Never Mind the Bollocks, We’re the Sex Pistols“:

Absolut Pistols.
Absolut Pistols.

Then came Judas Priest‘s album “British Steel”:

Absolut Priest.
Absolut Priest.

Album number seven was Queen‘s “A Night at the Opera“:

Absolut Queen.
Absolut Queen.

The eighth and final cover to appear in the series was The Velvet Underground & Nico‘s “The Velvet Underground & Nico“:

Absolut Underground.
Absolut Underground.

A great combination of advertising and record cover art. No Beatles, perhaps, but at least there was one Warhol cover. I remember seeing a full-sized poster of the Absolut Pistols advert in Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport just when this campaign was running. I was sort of stunned as I hadn’t seen the any of the other adverts at that time! I wonder what other adverts have used record covers. Ideas, anyone?

The Velvet Underground & Nico Album Cover

The album “The Velvet Underground & Nico” is remarkable for many reasons–not least the music. a. It is one of only two albums that I know of that names the cover designer rather than the band or the record’s title on the front (the other being Swedish band bob hund‘s 1996 LP “Omslag: Martin Kann“.) b. The cover provoked two lawsuits (more on those later). c. Gatefold covers had generally only been used for double albums. Elvis Presley’s “Elvis Is Back!” from 1956 is said to be the first gatefold cover for a single LP and “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was not released until two months after the Velvets’ album.

In 1965 Andy Warhol became The Velvet Underground‘s manager and he booked them into New York’s Scepter Studios in April 1966 to record the group’s first album which was de facto produced by studio owner Norman Dolph rather than by Warhol. Warhol insisted that chanteuse Nico (real name Christa Päffgen) sing on the album and she sang on three songs. For unknown reasons some songs were rerecorded and some new songs recorded by producer Tom Wilson in Los Angeles later that year. Wilson was a staff producer for Columbia (and later Verve) Records and had produced three of Bob Dylan‘s early albums (“Another Side of Bob Dylan“, “The Times They Are A’Changin’“, four tracks on “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan“, “Bringing It All Back Home“) including the hit single “Like a Rolling Stone“. Warhol offered the album to Columbia Records, who turned it down! Then through the Andy Warhol association Verve Records agreed to release it. Logically enough, as Nico was not a member of the group the album’s title was “The Velvet Underground & Nico. The “&” emphasizing the fact.

Warhol gave his Banana painting to the band for the album cover. The removable banana on the front was difficult to produce and delayed the album’s release until March 1967. Acy R. Lehman, who designed the cover, decided on the gatefold to be able to include photos of the band members taken by Paul Morrissey, and colour photos by Verve photographer Hugo. I have seen the large band photo on the rear cover credited to Andy Warhol, so I am not sure it was by him or, as stated in the album credits, by Hugo.

The rear cover photograph showed actor Eric Emerson the lights projected behind the band with his inverted face superimposed on the picture of Lou Reed‘s head. This is commonly called the “Torso” version”. Emerson was in need of money as he had been charged with drug offenses and sued Verve Records to pay him for the use of his photograph. Verve refused to pay and recalled as many copies as it could and stuck a large black sticker over the offending photograph. On subsequent printings of the album sleeve the photograph was airbrushed to obscure Emerson’s portrait before the album could be reissued in June 1967. This delay badly affected the album’s sales; only about 30,000 copies being sold between 1967 and 1972 – I must be one of the early buyers as I bought my copy in late 1967 on the strength of the review in Rolling Stone. Brian Eno is quoted as saying in 1982 “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” – obviously, with one exception – me!

There were promo copies distributed with the “Torso” cover which had white or yellow record labels. I think all promos were mono versions with “Torso” rear cover. There are three versions of the cover of the original American release: a first state with the “torso” rear cover, a second state with the sticker over the upper part of the torso picture and the third state with Emerson airbrushed out.

The front cover of the mono version.
The front cover of the mono version.
The front cover of the stereo version. Note the lower positioning of the banana.
The front cover of the stereo version. Note the lower positioning of the banana.
The
The “first state” torso rear cover. Below: the airbrushed “third state” rear cover.

VU-Airbrush_bk

The rear cover with the sticker covering Emerson's face.
The rear cover with the sticker covering Emerson’s face.

This album has never been out of print since it was originally released. There have been several variations on the cover design and recent re-issues have once again reverted to the original “torso” rear cover photo. Some re-issues have appeared with coloured vinyl (yellow or red) and a limited edition by Newbury Comics is on black and yellow vinyl.

The original UK version was released with a single cover and the banana was not peelable. A later German re-issue showed only the peeled banana and other re-issues have added the album’s title to the front cover. There are at least three picture disc versions of the album; two from Russia on the Vinyl Lovers label (one in a die-cut card sleeve and one in a clear plastic sleeve. These have the title at upper left and “Andy Warhol” at lower right while the third picture disc has all the text at upper left, including “Andy Warhol”.

Re-issue with title on front.
Re-issue with title on front.
German 1975 re-issue with unusual cover.
German 1975 re-issue with unusual cover.

VU-PictureDisc_fr

Vinyl Lovers picture disc in die-cut card sleeve.
Vinyl Lovers picture disc in die-cut card sleeve.

I mentioned at the start of this essay that the album was the cause of two law suits. The first was Eric Emerson’s suit for compensation for the use of his face on the cover. This was resolved by Verve airbrushing out the offending face. However it seems that the hatchet has been buried since as recent re-issues have reinstated the torso picture on the back.

The second law suit was when The Warhol Foundation in 2012 licensed the banana image for use on smart phone and iPad accessories. Lou Reed and John Cale sued the Foundation, claiming that Warhol had given them the image and that The Warhol Foundation did not have the right to license it to third parties. The case was settled out of court the following year. Neither party has revealed the terms of the settlement.

The Velvet Underground & Nico is a great album with a great cover that is one of the ten most recognisable covers, alongside “Sgt Pepper“, “The Dark Side of the Moon“, “Sticky Fingers“, Nirvana’s “Nevermind“, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run“, “Never Mind the Bollocks–Here’s the Sex Pistols“–and you can name the others.

Two “New” Klaus Voormann covers

I thought I had already collected all the records and CDs with cover art by Klaus Voormann – but apparently not! Some time ago I saw an advert for a Harry Nilsson album called “Flash Harry” that I had not previously seen. The advert showed the rear cover and at the lower right was an approximately 5 cm square line drawing of Harry Nilsson signed Klaus Voormann. I finally got hold of a copy this week.

FlashHarry-frFlashHarry_bk

Klaus Voormann's portrait of Harry Nilsson.
Klaus Voormann’s portrait of Harry Nilsson.

Last month an Ebay seller advertised a CD by a Japanese band named GLAY. Voormann together with his son Max had designed the cover art at what I considered to be an exorbitant price. Luckily cheaper copies were available at Discogs.

GLAY's
GLAY’s “Music Life” CD cover.

A design that harks back to Voormann’s Revolver art.

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.