ROLLING STONES

ROLLING STONES ART: painting, photography, posters, album covers and box sets featuring – and by – the Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones exhibition: 10 reasons why Exhibitionism will be a smash hit

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog on 22 March 2016.

Rolling Stones exhibition

Rolling Stones exhibition – Exhibitionism promo

Exhibitionism, the Rolling Stones exhibition opening in London on 5 April, will attract record numbers of visitors for a rock art show. It’s set to be a smash hit – the most popular exhibition of rock art ever staged.

Here are 10 reasons why the Rolling Stones exhibition will be so successful.

#1 The Rolling Stones – the most popular musicians of all

The Rolling Stones are the most popular musicians on Planet Earth. By a mile. They appeal to people almost everywhere. Aged 8 to 80. Male and female. Early school-leavers to PhD boffins, long-term unemployed to CEOs.

#2 Fanbase – enormous, fanatical following

If you’ve ever attended a Rolling Stones arena concert, you’ll have witnessed just how fanatical are their fans. The Stones have been filling arenas and stadiums around the world with these hardcore fans for decades.

Rolling Stones fans buy just about anything bearing the Stones name (and the lips logo). Even those fans who’ve never stepped inside a museum or gallery before (and there are many) will be tempted by the Rolling Stones exhibition, if only to hoover up any merchandise.

The hardcore fans travel. And they spend big.

#3 Mick Jagger – one of the most famous

Mick Jagger is one of the most famous people in the world today. More famous than virtually anybody in music, the arts, entertainment, sport, business, politics and any other sector you might mention. If you don’t recognise a photo of Mick Jagger, you’re probably living in a place untouched by Western culture.

#4 Mick Jagger – most photographed/painted

And Mick Jagger is probably the most photographed man ever. He’s attracted leading photographers for the last half century: David Bailey… Gered Mankowitz… Annie Leibovitz… Cecil Beaton… Anton Corbijn… Terry O’Neill… to name just a few.

And Jagger has been immortalised in major series of artworks by two leading contemporary artists, Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton.

Rolling Stones exhibition - album cover

Rolling Stones Love You Live: album cover artwork by Andy Warhol © Rolling Stones Records

#5 The Rolling Stones’ superlative marketing

The Rolling Stone exhibition, Exhibitionism, will be supported by a superlative marketing machine – the best you’ll ever encounter. Whenever the Rolling Stones have a new project/product to promote, you’ll find yourself reading about them, thinking about them, whistling their tunes… and buying their product. All because of the Stones’ world-class marketing machine.

They’ve been testing the London market for a Rolling Stones exhibition for some time. Witness the pop-up shop and sponsorship of Carnaby St a few Christmases ago. And Rolling Stones 50, the wonderful small photo exhibition at Somerset House. These events may well have been dummy runs. The Rolling Stones exhibition may well be the roll-out.

And they’ll have been encouraged by the success of David Bailey’s Stardust exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, and David Bowie Is at the V&A.

Media – old and new – is a sucker for Rolling Stones stories. Expect to be reading about the Rolling Stones exhibition in the saturation media coverage throughout summer 2016.

#6 Saatchi Gallery – ideal venue for a Rolling Stones exhibition

The Saatchi Gallery is the ideal venue for a Rolling Stones exhibition. It’s accessible, high profile, hip… and enormous. It has made contemporary art fashionable in England – a tough call. People who wouldn’t normally go within a mile of an art gallery will flock to the Saatchi Gallery.

Exhibitionism at Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery, London: venue for the Rolling Stones exhibition © Saatchi Gallery

#7 London – ideal location for a Rolling Stones exhibition

London is the ideal location for a Rolling Stones exhibition. It’s the birthplace and spiritual home of the Rolling Stones. If you wanted to run a major Bob Dylan show, you’d choose New York; for an Edith Piaf show, you’d obviously choose Paris, and for a Mozart exhibition, Vienna. A major Rolling Stones exhibition has to start in London.

Remember – London is the most visited city in the Western world. Paris, Berlin, New York and LA aren’t even close. Exhibitionism will benefit from a heavy footfall.

And London is the world capital of rock art. Public museums, private galleries and pop-ups exhibiting rock art abound. The National Portrait Gallery… Somerset House… Tate Modern… Snap!… Proud galleries… Castle Fine Art… and an array of temporary exhibitions/spaces mean that there’s always some rock art worth seeing, whenever you’re in London.

#8 The sweet summertime – ideal season for a Rolling Stones exhibition

The Rolling Stones exhibition, Exhibitionism, is very well-timed, filling the whole of London’s sweet summertime of 2016, April to September.

#9 Timing – Rolling Stones exhibition catches the Rock Art wave

Rock art – album covers, posters, photos and paintings – is becoming more popular every year. As well as visiting smaller Rolling Stones shows, I’ve recently seen loads of popular exhibitions featuring David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Jam, Punk Rock, Bruce Springsteen, Blondie… the list goes on and on… .

The new Rolling Stones exhibition, Exhibitionism, is timed perfectly to catch this wave.

#10 Organisers expect big crowds

The organisers of the Rolling Stones exhibition have clearly planned for big crowds. You’ll need to book a timed entry slot to get in – even though the Saatchi Gallery is an enormous space, capable of accommodating vast numbers of visitors. And booking for the Rolling Stones exhibition nine months ago.

If the business brains who have been monetising the Stones’ global appeal for so many years think Exhibitionism will be so very popular, I’m tempted to trust their judgment.

But will the Rolling Stones exhibition be any good? Will it tour?

Exhibitionism, the Rolling Stones exhibition, will be the most important rock art show ever. But will it be any good?

To find out, please bookmark ROCK ART EDITIONS and pop in occasionally: I’ll be visiting Exhibitionism very soon, and reporting what I find.

But if you can’t make the Rolling Stones exhibition in London this summer, don’t despair. If it’s as successful as I expect, it’s likely to tour. Remember, the Rolling Stones are a truly global brand, so expect this gig to go on the road… to NYC, LA, Berlin, Tokyo… ?

Copyright: text, Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2016; illustrations as in captions. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones photos: Michael Cooper at Proud Gallery, London

First published on ROCK ART EDITIONS – WHAT’S NEW IN ROCK ART – on 13 November 2015.

Courting the Stones: Photographs by Michael Cooper is currently showing at Proud Chelsea, in SW London. But you’ll need to hurry, this recommended portfolio of Rolling Stones photos is due to close on Sunday 22 November.

Rolling Stones photos by Michael Cooper

Rolling Stones photo © Michael Cooper/Proud Gallery

Michael Cooper’s best-known Rolling Stones photos grace the front cover of their controversial 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request – nice photography, pity about the music!

In the same year, Cooper also provided the photos for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the rather better received classic Beatles album.

So he was clearly a top rock photographer. The exhibition’s odd title refers to Michael Cooper’s privileged position in the Rolling Stones inner circle (hence “Court”).

As you’ll see from their website, Proud Galleries are major global players in rock photography.

Copyright: text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS; photo © Michael Cooper/Proud Gallery, London. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones photos: new Taschen book is a must-buy

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog on 24 March 2015. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – Taschen, Gered Mankowitz and David Bailey, as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Rolling Stones by Taschen - Gered Mankowitz cover

Rolling Stones photos – Gered Mankowitz poster for new book. (Photo of Taschen, London by Gerald Smith.)

The Rolling Stones, the new book published by Taschen, is a magnificent collection of Rolling Stones photos. At £100/$150 or less, the mass market version is a must-buy.

A sumptuous large-format coffee table book, The Rolling Stones is a beautiful artefact, setting a new standard for collections of Rolling Stones photos – indeed, for photos of any rock musicians. It is now the definitive Rolling Stones photos collection.

Rolling Stones photos by top photographers

The Rolling Stones collects together an unprecedented number and range of Rolling Stones photos. Over 500 pages long, in a choice of sizes (large and very large formats), its photos document the band over half a century.

You’ll recognise many of the pictures – the book pulls together Rolling Stones photos by many of the top photographers of the rock era: David Bailey, Bent Rej, Gered Mankowitz, Guy Webster, Ethan Russell, Anton Corbijn, Dominique Tarle, Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Jean-Marie Périer, Terry Richardson… and 50+ others.

It also has Rolling Stones photos you won’t have seen before, including bonus out-takes from otherwise familiar Rolling Stones photo shoots.

The original images are high quality. Taschen have executed the project with exemplary thoroughness and panache: the reproductions are first-class.

Crucially, the book has the imprimatur of the “art world”: it includes a playful contextual essay by Waldemar Januszczak – easily my favourite art documentary-maker.  Januszczak’s endorsement is more important than that by an ex-US President Stones celeb fan, which I haven’t bothered to read.

Rolling Stones photos for investors

The Rolling Stones is offered in three versions.

Rolling Stones photos book by Taschen

The Rolling Stones – limited edition, cover photo by Gered Mankowitz

The “SUMO-size” (50cm x 50cm) limited edition of 1,600 includes an Art Edition of 450, with 75 copies fronted by covers by each of David Bailey, Bent Rej, Gered Mankowitz, Guy Webster, Ethan Russell and Anton Corbijn. Prices: David Bailey cover – £10,500/$15,000; the other five covers – £7,000/$10,000.

Copies 1-450 include a signed original print.

The other 1150 limited edition copies, numbered 451-1,600, have a striking cover photo from Gered Mankowitz’s early morning Primrose Hill shoot which supplied the cover for Between the Buttons. They are priced at £3,500/$5,000.

All 1,600 are numbered and signed by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.

Serious investors tempted by the limited edition will be reassured by the Rolling Stones’ market position, their signatures, the quality of the photographs, the renown of the photographers, the edition’s limit of 1,600 copies, the sheer bravado of the product itself, as well as the Taschen brand and its marketing clout.

Before I laid out £3,500-£10,500, though, I’d need to do some homework. I’d need some hard data on the aftermarket and resale value of comparable assets – high-end rock art limited editions, Rolling Stones collectables, as well as Taschen’s other de luxe limited edition books.

Rolling Stones photos for collectors and fans

The Sumo-size limited edition version is enormous – you’d need a very strong coffee table to hold it. It dwarfs the “XL-size” (33cm x 33cm) mass market version of The Rolling Stones, which is “merely” very big.

Rolling Stones photos - Taschen book

The Rolling Stones: Taschen’s XL-size mass market edition, cover photo by Gered Mankowitz

The XL-size has the same content, in a smaller format, and it’s priced at £99.99/$150 from Taschen and selected retailers (Hatchard’s in Piccadilly, London had stock when I visited). Amazon have been discounting what looks like the same version – though there is some confusion – to £65.

For collectors and fans of Rolling Stones photos, the XL version of The Rolling Stones is, quite simply, a must-buy.

Exhibitions of Rolling Stones photos

The Rolling Stones book was launched by a celeb-magnet exhibition, “It’s Just a Shot Away”, launching Taschen’s new Los Angeles gallery at 8070 Beverly Blvd, Hollywood.

Rolling Stones photos by David Bailey

Goats Head Soup shoot by David Bailey: cover for Art Edition 1-75 and limited edition prints

The show presented over a hundred photographs by 15 of the photographers featured in the book, with high-priced limited edition prints for sale.

When I visited Taschen London on 12 March – it’s opposite The Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square – it (and, presumably, other Taschen stores) had a selection of for-sale prints on display alongside different versions of The Rolling Stones book.

How the Taschen book of Rolling Stones photos compares

The new Taschen masterwork isn’t, of course, the only book of Rolling Stones photos you can buy.  Nor is it the only high-priced, de luxe, limited edition book of Rolling Stones photos.  I’ll be reviewing the best of the groaning shelf of Stones photo books here on ROCK ART EDITIONS soon.

Rolling Stones photos – documenting the Rock Age

Ever since the emergence of the Rolling Stones in the early 1960s, a succession of top photographers – and thousands of lesser peers – have queued up to capture them on film. And the resulting images have been powerful tools in building the Stones as a global brand.

Rolling Stones photos are a central plank of rock art. The Rolling Stones by Taschen, in documenting the premier band of the Rock Age, unwittingly documents the Rock Age itself.

More information: Taschen

Copyright: images © Taschen/Gered Mankowitz 2014 and Taschen/David Bailey 2014.  (Taschen London window display photograph by Gerald Smith.)  Text by Gerald Smith.  Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones posters: top picks from 14 On Fire

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog on 16 December 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – The Rolling Stones. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones posters are prized by fans: the best posters look as attractive now as they did when they were first printed.

You can pick them up for a song. And, after framing, a good Rolling Stones poster will grace the home of any fan, however grand or humble. If you attended a gig, the poster will always have extra resonance for you.

Rolling Stones tour posters

Rolling Stones poster, American Tour 1981

My favourite Rolling Stones poster has always been the achingly beautiful, Art Deco-inspired artwork for the American Tour 1981. You can see it on the Stones Archive website, where it’s now employed as the album cover of the “official bootleg” mp3 release of the Hampton Coliseum gig, and also on the new 2CD/DVD box of the same show.

Rolling Stones posters promoting the UK Tour 1971 (vintage sports car), and A Bigger Bang 2005-07 (Stones lips logo exploding) also figure amongst my favourites. These, and several more, are design classics.

Not all Rolling Stones posters were created equal, though. The music from the Brussels 1973 gig might be incandescent, but the cover art for the “official bootleg” mp3 release, based on the European tour 1973 poster, is, to my eyes, little more than adolescent smut.

Rolling Stones posters from 14 On Fire

The recently completed 14 On Fire tour continued the tradition of outstanding Rolling Stones posters, with some delightfully distinctive artwork promoting the individual shows.

Rolling Stones poster, Roskilde, 14 On Fire tour

Rolling Stones poster, Roskilde, Denmark, 2014

Every Stones collector will have a favourite poster from 14 On Fire. Those which caught my eye were the posters promoting the shows in Paris, Sydney (Bennelong Point ie site of Sydney Opera House), Pinkpop (Netherlands), Perth (black swan) and Roskilde.

Posters such as these immortalise a unique grand event by visually linking the location with the band’s appearance there. Essential for a promo vehicle, they make an immediate impact. And the design and execution of the artwork ensure that owners will enjoy living with the posters for many years.

Rolling Stones posters, individual 2014 shows and box sets

If you missed buying the 2014 On Fire posters at the gigs, some slightly smaller limited editions – Tour Lithos – are scheduled for publication soon, at £40 each from the official Rolling Stones website. I’d guess they’ll be snapped up quickly.

Rolling Stones memorabilia - tour poster, Perth, Australia, 14 On Fire

Rolling Stones poster, Perth W.A., Oct 2014

Although they’re being sold as “limited editions”, there’s no indication on the site of the size of the edition. Without knowing the edition size, you’d buy them for pleasure, not as “investments”.

Better-heeled collectors of Rolling Stones posters might be more interested in the De Luxe European box set (21 shows) at £630, the De Luxe Asian box set (7 shows) at £220, or the Bundle of both sets at £850. Again, there’s no indication of the size of the limited edition, though the sets are individually numbered.

Posters for the Australia/NZ shows are only available as individual Tour Lithos.

Rock show posters: worth buying?

In general, posters for rock shows can be a worthwhile, if low value, investment, though they are best seen as nice-to-have collectables.  Original posters for shows by big-ticket acts like the Rolling Stones are occasionally sold for four figure sums – but they need to be in mint condition, and to advertise shows held long ago.

You have to be careful with tour posters, though – the market is swamped by cheap reproductions, only some of which are officially sanctioned. And fakes abound; some of them look authentic.

If I were a more committed Rolling Stones rock art buyer, I’d seriously consider buying the 2014 De Luxe Bundle, alongside artworks like Richard Hamilton and Andy Warhol limited edition Mick Jagger portraits and The Rolling Stones, the new Taschen limited edition book.

The new Rolling Stones posters for 14 On Fire demonstrate once again that the Stones are the unrivalled masters at monetising talent.

The new releases continue the win-win tradition of pleasing fans and collectors while enriching the enterprise: the Rolling Stones posters for 14 On Fire will appeal to many budget collectors and not a few well-heeled investors.

Mick Jagger portraits: a guide for beginners

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog on 17 October 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – artists indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Mick Jagger portraits are everywhere.

Visit any major art gallery with a contemporary collection and Mick Jagger will probably be there to greet you. Spend ten minutes in a high street gallery dealing in art for your walls, and you’re likely to come across the Rolling Stones singer.

Mick Jagger portraits vary, both in quality and price. Here are four examples of paintings and mixed media artwork I’d consider if building an ideal rock art collection. You can see the first two pieces in national galleries in London, the other two in selected high street outlets.

Mick Jagger portraits #1: Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s Mick Jagger portraits are the pick of the crop.

Why? Because they are intrinsically attractive. And because they have the art world’s official seal of approval – I shot the photograph below in the prestigious National Portrait Gallery, London.

Mick Jagger portrait by Andy Warhol

Mick Jagger portrait, National Portrait Gallery, London © Andy Warhol

Like all artwork by Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger prints are reassuringly expensive – auctioned by leading houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s, they achieve prices of tens of thousands of pounds.

You need to do your homework, though – there are many variant limited edition prints of images from the same Andy Warhol project.

Mick Jagger portraits #2: Richard Hamilton – Swingeing London

Richard Hamilton, the leading English exponent of Pop Art, is the other top artist with Mick Jagger portraits in his portfolio.

Swingeing London, an iconic image based on a press photograph of Mick Jagger in handcuffs, was reproduced in a series of mixed media limited edition prints.

Mick Jagger, poster boy for Richard Hamilton exhibition, Tate Modern, London, 2013

Mick Jagger, from Swingeing London by Richard Hamilton. © Tate Modern, London 2014

I’ve seen variants of Swingeing London in leading London galleries such as Tate Britain, as well as smaller spaces like the Serpentine Gallery, Christie’s Mayfair and Alan Cristea.

My photograph shows the poster for the recent Richard Hamilton blockbuster exhibition at Tate Modern, London.  The inspirational exhibition has since been shown at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

Mick Jagger portraits by Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton are fundamental building blocks of any representative collection of rock art. I’ll be profiling them in more detail here on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS: you can ensure you don’t miss them by subscribing to receive new posts by email (subscription sign-up at top right of this page).

If Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton prints are beyond your budget, though, you can pick from a wide range of Mick Jagger portraits at more affordable prices. Here are two examples which caught my eye recently.

Mick Jagger portraits #3: Kate Gibb – Electric Mick – Two

Kate Gibb’s Electric Mick – Two is a striking piece. On a leisurely summer outing to Brighton, as I passed Art Republic (13 Bond St, Brighton), it almost sucked me in off the street!

Mick Jagger portrait, Electric Mick 2, by Kate Gibb

Electric Mick -Two © Kate Gibb 2014

The image here is of a signed (by the artist) silkscreen limited edition of 50. It was priced at £1100 in the shop. You can buy it online from Art Republic – directly and via Amazon.

Electric Mick also comes in several other editions, using different colours.  Electric Mick – One is presented in a blue palette, for example.  And in different sizes.

Mick Jagger portraits #4: Louis Sidoli

And Mick Jagger portraits just keep on coming. The most recent example is this giclee on paper limited edition (of 495) by Louis Sidoli (£399), which I saw last week at Castle Galleries, St Christopher Place, London W1.

Mick Jagger portrait by Louis Sidoli, Castle Galleries, London

Mick Jagger © Louis Sidolio

Any collector of Mick Jagger portraits faces an embarrassment of riches. And apart from a host of paintings and mixed media artworks like those featured here, you have to consider photographs.

Mick Jagger has few equals in attracting the camera lens, so there are probably more extant photographs of him than of any other rock musician.

I’ll be profiling the most collectable Mick Jagger photographs here on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS: if you have any suggestions, please email me and I’ll include them.

© ROCK | ART | EDITIONS 2014

Bob Dylan art good… Ronnie Wood art not so good…

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog on 3 October 2014. Copyright: text and photograph – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – Bob Dylan, National Portrait Gallery. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

A recent review of rock musicians who paint gives Bob Dylan the thumbs up. Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood isn’t so lucky.

Bob Dylan pastel portraits

Bob Dylan: Face Value, 2013 exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, London. © Gerald Smith 2013

According to Jonathan Jones’s article in The Guardian newspaper (posted on 8 September 2014), Bob Dylan art has “a basic toughness and competence to it – some of his intelligence shines through… (his art) enriches his achievement as a myth maker.”

But “There is no point at all to Ronnie Wood’s art…”, according to Jones.

ROCK | ART | EDITIONS favourite Joni Mitchell has “a style as an artist… paintings that are worth a second look. Perhaps a third… is making art that really matters to her.” Paul Simonon (The Clash) also gets Jones’s seal of approval.

Not so Marilyn Manson (the painting reviewed is “…stupid and incompetent”) or Paul Stanley of Kiss (his sample painting is “dreck… rubbish”).

There’s no mention in the Guardian article of Miles Davis or Leonard Cohen, both highly regarded here, or even Don Van Vliet (aka Capt Beefheart), seen by many as the most accomplished rock muso painter.

Art critic Jonathan Jones certainly knows far more about art than me, so I find his views well worth considering – and I recommend you to read his article. Whether you share Jones’s views is, of course, entirely up to you.

How to judge rock art

I don’t believe there are any objective criteria for assessing a painting – or any other creative work, for that matter.

Being a successful musician doesn’t mean you’ll become the next Rembrandt if you pick up a paintbrush. But it probably means that your chances are slightly higher than the Average (less creative) Joe.

And a few top rockers are demonstrably multi-talented. You want to discuss Bob Dylan’s creativity across different media? How long have you got? Bob Dylan art? I love (much of) it.

Everyone judges a painting (or a piece of music) differently. I suspect that our initial response is emotional and that we then impose intellectual criteria as a secondary process, to validate emotional preferences.

When I start to think about a painting (… music… film… novel…) I usually ask:
* does the work evoke an emotional response?
* does it say anything worthwhile? of interest to me?
* is the execution good enough to let the above shine through?

Artists covered on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS

Judged by these criteria, most rock musicians covered in ROCK | ART | EDITIONS succeed as visual artists. So, I’ll continue to favour painters like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simonon. Ronnie Wood – and even Marilyn Manson and Paul Stanley – will also be included.

I suspect you won’t be shy in letting me know if you think this is a misjudgment!

Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Van Morrison: three tempting limited edition books

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog on 20 August 2014. Copyright: text ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

A Bob Dylan book costing £450. A Rolling Stones book in a box set priced at $750. And a new book of Van Morrison lyrics retailing at £500.

What on earth is happening?

Well, the ever-innovative world of rock art is maturing, and limited edition books are taking their place alongside limited edition prints and photographs as key targets for collectors.

Here are three tempting new(ish) limited edition books by top rock musicians.

#1 Bob Dylan – Drawn Blank

Bob Dylan Drawn Blank prints catalogue

Bob Dylan Drawn Blank Series Catalogue: Deluxe Edition © Halcyon Gallery

There have been several catalogues of the releases of Bob Dylan’s Drawn Blank prints.

The latest, Bob Dylan – The Drawn Blank Series Catalogue (2013), comes in two versions: a standard version, priced at £45; and Bob Dylan – The Drawn Blank Series Catalogue Deluxe Edition, housed in a boxed package, including two limited edition pencil sketch lithographs, in a limited edition of 999, priced at £450.

Available from publishers Halcyon Gallery

#2 Rolling Stones – The Brussels Affair Box, Collector’s Edition

Rolling Stones Collector's Box Set

The Brussels Affair Box – Collector’s Edition © Stones Archive

A Brussels Affair (1973), long a key Rolling Stones audio bootleg, has been brought in-house for official release by the Rolling Stones Archive.

The magnificent album is available as an MP3 download, retailing for a giveaway $7.

The considerate folk at Rolling Stones Archive have catered for serious Rolling Stones collectors by also releasing a deluxe package, with the music presented on two CDs and as a triple set of 180gm vinyl LPs.

The highlight of the package for me, though, is the striking cased book documenting the 1973 tour, with text by Nick Kent and photographs by Michael Putland, numbered and signed by them… and Mick Jagger.

The box also has a lithograph of the 1973 tour poster (and a custom-made watch!)

The Brussels Affair Box – Collector’s Edition comes in a limited edition of 1,727, priced at $750.

Available from the Stones Archive

#3 Van Morrison – Lit Up Inside

Van Morrison lyrics Faber

Van Morrison limited edition lyrics Lit Up Inside

And on 2 October Faber are to release the selected lyrics of Van Morrison, as a trade hardback, a Limited Edition of 250 (£150) and a Deluxe Edition of 50 (£500).

Lit Up Inside is a double first. It marks the first publication of Van Morrison lyrics. And it’s the first venture into limited edition publishing in the rock market by Faber, the legendary London publisher best known for its long association with TS Eliot.

Available from Faber

These are innovative limited edition books from a trio of top rock acts … very tempting.

Rolling Stones box sets: triumph and disappointment

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog on 13 August 2014. Copyright: text ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones box sets provide handy, collectable versions of most of the albums and nearly all the singles. Some of the box sets are beautifully packaged – models of rock art. Some aren’t.

Rolling Stones aficionados disagree about the music of the different releases, as well as their sonic quality. But this post – the first of a trio – isn’t about music or sound quality. It focuses on the packaging, the commercial rock art.

Rolling Stones releases have been generally housed in outstanding album and singles covers, with designs by top artists, notably Andy Warhol, David Bailey and Gered Mankowitz. Judged as rock art, however, Rolling Stones box sets vary.

The post-1971 singles are housed in one of the best packages, while the box set of contemporaneous albums is the most disappointing in the Rolling Stones catalogue.

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set

Singles 1971-2006

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set, 2011

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set is a triumph. Two well-fitting, secure, colourful boxes, individual card sleeves for all 45 CDs – most are replicas of the originals – a helpful booklet, all make for a desirable artefact. It’s appropriate housing for the memorable music it safeguards. The strong, unified design of the box set reinforces the Rolling Stones brand – creativity, fun, vivacity. The shocking pink was a surprise, but it works. The package is visually interesting: you can spend time enjoying and decoding it. True believers buy the Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set for the packaging alone. (They already own most of the music several times over.)

Rolling Stones Box Set (albums)

Rolling Stones albums, 1970-2005, box set

The Rolling Stones Box Set, 2010

By comparison, The Rolling Stones Box Set, the package of fourteen post-1970 studio albums recorded for Rolling Stones Records/Virgin Records and released in 2010 by Polydor, is unimpressive – judged purely as packaging, of course; it houses some of the high peaks of Rolling Stones music.

The fourteen albums come in plastic jewel cases, housed in a simple, flimsy cardboard slip case. Nothing else. And even the box has minimal design. Dismal. Perfunctory. Niggardly. If someone mistakenly bought me The Rolling Stones Box Set for Christmas, I’d quietly sell it or give it away.

The other Rolling Stones compilation box sets, of the ABKCO/Decca LPs and singles, are also a mixed bag. The de luxe re-releases of individual LPs – Exile on Main St., ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’, Some Girls, and GRRR! – have the same commercial aim (enrich the musicians) but a different creative purpose. I’ll be reviewing them all in due course.

The bottom line, of course, is that, in addition to housing some of the best rock music ever released, some of the Rolling Stones box sets showcase the finest rock art. As always with the Rolling Stones, art meets commerce. They get on very well, thank you very much.

Top Rolling Stones album covers: official bootlegs

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in July 2014. Copyright: text ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones album covers rank among the strongest images in rock art.

You even find high quality album cover artwork among the lesser-known Rolling Stones “official bootlegs”.

The Rolling Stones Archive of officially authorised live sets has a couple of inspired covers. My favourite is the album cover for Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981).

Rolling Stones official bootleg 1981

Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981), Rolling Stones Archive

Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981) competes with better-known mass market releases such as The Rolling Stones or Out Of Our Heads (UK) for the accolade of top Rolling Stones album cover.

The Brussels Affair ’73 has long been a favourite bootleg recording among Rolling Stones aficionados.  The official release, the cleaned-up 2011 version, mixing both the fabled shows at la Forêt Nationale, also has a striking cover, though some might balk at its adolescent smuttiness.

Rolling Stones official bootleg, 1973

The Brussels Affair ’73, Rolling Stones Archive

The album covers of the other releases in the series – LA Friday (Live 1975), Live At The Tokyo Dome (1990), and Light The Fire (Toronto Phoenix Club, 2005) – are noteworthy, but lack the impact of the Hampton and Brussels albums.

You can download all these albums – and their fine album cover artwork – at low cost, from the Rolling Stones Archive

Rolling Stones tour posters, 14 On Fire

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – The Rolling Stones. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Rolling Stones tour posters promoting 14 On Fire in Europe were striking.

Eye-catching advertising – you couldn’t help but notice them as you passed them – they’d also adorn the walls of the most fastidious rock art collector or Rolling Stones fan.

Bold primary colours and artful designs, placing John Pasche’s Rolling Stones tongue logo in a succession of local contexts, make the posters fine collectables.

The posters for the Rolling Stones tour shows in Berlin, Paris and at Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands, are particularly attractive.

The Rolling Stones 14 On Fire tour in Europe concluded yesterday (Thursday 3 July) at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

14 On Fire poster

Rolling Stones tour poster – Berlin

14 On Fire, Rolling Stones tour poster, Paris

Rolling Stones tour poster – Paris

Rolling Stones, 14 On Fire, Pinkpop Festival

Rolling Stones tour poster – Pinkpop

The Rolling Stones in Paris: the Stones love France #2

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Rolling Stones in Paris this Friday promises to be one of the highlights of the 2014 tour.

Why? Because the Rolling Stones love France: lots of images suggest that the Stones, particularly Mick Jagger, have enjoyed a richly rewarding 50-year relationship with la Belle France.

Their most productive visit to France, in 1971, delivered Exile on Main St, one of the top Rolling Stones LPs, with its distinctive album cover.

Here are a four more illustrations of the French connections of the Rolling Stones (with apologies for the poor sizing – I’m in a rush to make Eurostar to Paris first thing on Friday morning):

#1 Mick Jagger with Francoise Hardy, 1967

The Rolling Stones in Paris

Mick Jagger with Francoise Hardy, © Jean-Marie Perier 1967

Francoise Hardy was the leading French pop singer in mid-’60s Paris, with hit singles like Tous les Garcons et les Filles. Mick Jagger was clearly a fan…

#2 Sympathy For The Devil, 1968

One + One by Jean-Luc Godard

Sympathy For The Devil, © Cupid Productions Ltd 1968

Sympathy For The Devil (aka One + One), a film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, the best-known French director of the period, has extensive footage of the Rolling Stones recording their classic song, Sympathy For The Devil.

(The DVD pictured is a freebie promo copy distributed with the English newspaper The Sunday Times.)

#3 The Rolling Stones in Paris studios

The Rolling Stones in Paris studios

Studio Guillaume Tell, Suresnes, near Paris

The Rolling Stones have occasionally recorded in Paris, most recently in 2012 at Studio Guillaume Tell in Suresnes, where they recorded One More Shot, and Doom and Gloom, for the GRRR! compilation.

Mick Jagger is thought to have laid down his vocals for Tattoo You in a studio on an industrial estate somewhere on the Peripherique.

And the rehearsals for the current tour included a set in a studio in Bondy on 14 February 2014. Other recent tour rehearsals featured a flash gig on the the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

#4 Mick Jagger, le gentilhomme francais

Chateau Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger house, Loire valley

Mick Jagger is probably the most francophile Rolling Stone. He’s owned an impressive chateau near Amboise, in la Touraine in the Loire valley, since 1980. And he’s a fluent French speaker, as you’d expect from such an intelligent man.

Yes, the Rolling Stones certainly give the impression that they love France.

The Rolling Stones in Paris: the Stones love France

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Rolling Stones in Paris: the 14 On Fire Arena Tour reaches the French capital next week. The Friday 13 June Stade de France gig will be special for the Rolling Stones: they clearly love the country, visiting throughout their 52-year career – to record, play gigs and simply hang out. Evidence? Loads – and an abundance of intriguing images.

Exile On Main St.

Remastered Exile on Main St by the Rolling Stones

Exile on Main St, © Promotone BV 2010

The best-known Rolling Stones link with France is their extended visit to the French Riviera in 1971, when they recorded Exile On Main St., released the following year.

Villa Nellcote

Villa Nellcote, rented by Keith Richards in 1971, used as studio for recording Exile on Main St.

Villa Nellcote, © Gerald Smith 2014

Villa Nellcote, Villefranche-sur-Mer, where the Rolling Stones recorded Exile on Main St.

Rolling Stones fan at Villa Nellcote, © Gerald Smith 2014

The recording venue was Villa Nellcote, a mansion rented by Keith Richards. It’s a large, secluded house, just across the bay from the picture postcard town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, a few miles east of Nice.

My photographs show Villa Nellcote from the public beach, and the imposing gates on a quiet lane adjacent to the Cote d’Azur’s main railway line.

Next week: The Rolling Stones in Paris: the Stones love France #2

Top Rolling Stones album covers: the next three

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The top three Rolling Stones album covers – The Rolling Stones, Goats Head Soup and Out Of Our Heads (UK version), reviewed here last week – packaged great music. The albums are as pleasing to listen to as the album covers are to gaze upon. By contrast, the next best three Rolling Stones album covers – Between the Buttons, It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll and Dirty Work – contain weak albums.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #4 Between The Buttons

Between The Buttons, Rolling Stones, photograph by Gered Mankowitz

Top Rolling Stones album covers: Between The Buttons, ABKCO 2002 CD version, photograph by Gered Mankowitz

Gered Mankowitz’s cover photograph of Between The Buttons magically captures a bleary-eyed dawn on Primrose Hill, north London. It must have been one hell of a night before. If only Between The Buttons sounded as good as it looks. Only one track, Back Street Girl, ever gets an airing on my iPod.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #5 It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll

It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, Guy Peelaert cover

Top Rolling Stones album covers: It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll, The Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones Records, 1974, cover art by Guy Peelaert

Guy Peelaert’s witty album cover for It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll also portrays excess. In this case, the excess in Heaven supposedly inhabited by the male rock star, with its unlimited “chicks for free”. Peelaert sets the Rolling Stones in a cod-Classical tableau, worshipped by countless garlanded women, all clearly interested. Unfortunately, with Jimmy Miller having vacated the producer’s chair, the music on It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll is inconsistent, relying on a handful of strong tracks, notably Time Waits for No One, Till the Next Goodbye and Fingerprint File.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #6 Dirty Work

Dirty Work album cover

Top Rolling Stones album covers: Dirty Work, Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones Records, 1986, photograph by Annie Leibovitz

With photography by the celebrated Annie Leibovitz, the album cover of Dirty Work contrasts starkly with the album’s music. The weakest album in the Stones catalogue – only One Hit (To The Body) ever gets a hearing here – Dirty Work has one of the most striking covers.

The Rolling Stones were middle-aged by 1986 and struggling to remain relevant. While the music on Dirty Work didn’t manage to roll back the years, the colourful album cover succeeded: “we are forward-looking and youthful, even if no longer young”. A bold idea, and outstanding execution. Just look at those primary colours and smile! To be continued: more top Rolling Stones album covers to follow here on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS. What are your top three Rolling Stones album covers?

The A-Z of Rolling Stones art: B is for … Beggars Banquet

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones, released in 1968, needed to hit the spot quickly, after the twin disappointments of Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request.

The choice of cover art for Beggars Banquet reportedly caused a stand-off between the Rolling Stones and Decca and London, their record labels, thus delaying the album’s release for several months.

The Rolling Stones apparently offered Decca and London an album cover featuring graffiti scrawled on a toilet wall, shot by Barry Feinstein in a garage workshop in Hollywood. The record labels rejected it.

Beggars Banquet - original version of album cover for

Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones, Decca 1968, original “RSVP” cover

The album was eventually released with a cover unlikely to offend, the “RSVP” cover, which bore a striking resemblance to the Beatles’ White Album.

Beggars Banquet was packaged in this way until 1986, when LP reissues and CD launches reverted to the previously rejected toilet graffiti art as the album cover. The 2002 remastered ABKCO CD retained the toilet graffiti cover.

Beggars Banquet cover art - toilet graffiti

Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones, here in the ABKCO 2002 remastered CD version

The inside of the 2002 cover has photographs by Michael Joseph documenting a “banquet” of “beggars”, staged in a venue rented for the shoot in Hampstead, north London.

Rolling Stones fans and collectors have long argued over which Beggars Banquet album cover they prefer. My view is that the conflict with Decca and London probably had deeper roots – it was really about artistic freedom, not just the right to employ a challenging, technically excellent, but essentially juvenile photograph.

With hindsight, it’s also clear that the Rolling Stones and Decca/London missed a golden opportunity. They should have compromised by using photographs from the Michael Joseph shoot for the Beggars Banquet album cover: his images are among the strongest, most beguiling, in the vast Rolling Stones photo archive.

The top three Rolling Stones album covers

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The top three Rolling Stones album covers – The Rolling Stones, Goats Head Soup and Out Of Our Heads (UK version), reviewed here last week – packaged great music. The albums are as pleasing to listen to as the album covers are to gaze upon. By contrast, the next best three Rolling Stones album covers – Between the Buttons, It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll and Dirty Work – contain weak albums.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #4 Between The Buttons

Between The Buttons, Rolling Stones, photograph by Gered Mankowitz

Top Rolling Stones album covers: Between The Buttons, ABKCO 2002 CD version, photograph by Gered Mankowitz

Gered Mankowitz’s cover photograph of Between The Buttons magically captures a bleary-eyed dawn on Primrose Hill, north London. It must have been one hell of a night before. If only Between The Buttons sounded as good as it looks. Only one track, Back Street Girl, ever gets an airing on my iPod.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #5 It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll

It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, Guy Peelaert cover

Top Rolling Stones album covers: It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll, The Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones Records, 1974, cover art by Guy Peelaert

Guy Peelaert’s witty album cover for It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll also portrays excess. In this case, the excess in Heaven supposedly inhabited by the male rock star, with its unlimited “chicks for free”. Peelaert sets the Rolling Stones in a cod-Classical tableau, worshipped by countless garlanded women, all clearly interested. Unfortunately, with Jimmy Miller having vacated the producer’s chair, the music on It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll is inconsistent, relying on a handful of strong tracks, notably Time Waits for No One, Till the Next Goodbye and Fingerprint File.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #6 Dirty Work

Dirty Work album cover

Top Rolling Stones album covers: Dirty Work, Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones Records, 1986, photograph by Annie Leibovitz

With photography by the celebrated Annie Leibovitz, the album cover of Dirty Work contrasts starkly with the album’s music. The weakest album in the Stones catalogue – only One Hit (To The Body) ever gets a hearing here – Dirty Work has one of the most striking covers.

The Rolling Stones were middle-aged by 1986 and struggling to remain relevant. While the music on Dirty Work didn’t manage to roll back the years, the colourful album cover succeeded: “we are forward-looking and youthful, even if no longer young”. A bold idea, and outstanding execution. Just look at those primary colours and smile! To be continued: more top Rolling Stones album covers to follow here on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS. What are your top three Rolling Stones album covers?

The A-Z of Rolling Stones art: A is for … Aftermath

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones sleeve art

Aftermath, Rolling Stones, Decca, 1966

A is for Aftermath, the breakthrough Rolling Stones album released in England by Decca in spring 1966.

Guy Webster and Jerrold (“Jerry”) Schatzberg shot the fine photographs which enriched the album cover. The front cover photograph is a key Rolling Stones image: it comfortably makes my top five Rolling Stones album covers.

Aftermath album cover photograph

The first thing that strikes you about the album cover is its colour. The sombre, predominant black of the first three LPs has been replaced by a lively mid-1960s colour wash.

Aftermath’s purplish colour and tone were cleverly chosen – purple, along with orange and lime green, was the coming colour in 1966, unlikely as it now seems.

But the colour tone is restrained – it’s a subtle magenta, not the then-fashionable strident deeper purple.

Aftermath, the cover implies to me, is a sophisticated product.

The intimate photograph on the Aftermath cover gives you a clue to the changing dynamics of the band. Founder Brian Jones looks to have been marginalised: he’s positioned outside the clear diagonal line made by the other four.

The graphics – a single, hyphenated word, AFTER-MATH – are subtly minimal, not in-yer-face. As with two of the three earlier (English) LPs, there’s no mention of the Rolling Stones on the album cover.

But what does the title mean? Aftermath of what? Of the Rolling Stones developing beyond the blues covers band of yore? Of four years of life on the road as priapic young pop stars? Of unencumbered youth morphing into more demanding adulthood?

Probably all three: Aftermath, the title, hints at the end of an era, and the dawning of a new phase in the creative arc of the Rolling Stones.

Aftermath: the music

Musically, of course, Aftermath, was a significant Rolling Stones release: the first collection of Jagger-Richards songs; the emergence of Mick Jagger as a lyricist with distinctive English sensibilities; and a new richer instrumentation – sitar, dulcimer and harpsichord were not too common in mid-1960s pop music!

ABKCO’s 2002 release of Aftermath

For years, if you wanted Aftermath on CD, you could only buy the US version, with a different track list and album cover. The original (“UK”) version of Aftermath didn’t appear on CD until 2002, in the praiseworthy ABKCO re-release programme.

With the welcome return of the original Aftermath to the Rolling Stones catalogue, you could hear the album’s musical richness for the first time. But the addition of the term UK to the front album cover graphics, though helpful for buyers, did no favours to the balance of the layout.

Aftermath is a key, if generally underrated, Rolling Stones album. The album cover design and photography are, as you’d hope, well conceived and beautifully executed.

You and The A-Z of Rolling Stones art

What do you think of the original Aftermath artwork? Do you prefer it to the US version? What other Rolling Stones art topics do you think I should cover in this A-Z series?

ROCK / ART / EDITIONS will carry a regular new post in The A-Z of Rolling Stones art series. Next: B is for…

Rolling Stones 50th anniversary: the top 5 photography books

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Rolling Stones 50th anniversary in 2012 generated some very collectable photography books.

Here are my top 5:

#1 Rolling Stones 50

The Rolling Stones 50 official book of photographs

The Rolling Stones 50, 2012

The official coffee table book has the richest content; it’s certainly the biggest. Unmissable.

#2 The Rolling Stones Fifty Years exhibition catalogue

image The catalogue of the official Rolling Stones exhibition, which I saw in Somerset House, London, features all of the lovely photographs on display at the show. Much slimmer than #1, above.

#3 Rolling Stones – 50 x 20

Rolling Stones photographs

Rolling Stones 50 x 20, Insight Editions

My favourite unofficial collection: the 20 in the title refers to the photographers whose work is presented, chapter by chapter. Includes photography by Michael Joseph – the front cover is from his inspired Beggars Banquet shoot – Gered Mankowitz and Barry Feinstein.

#4 The Rolling Stones Photobiographie 1962-2012

Rolling Stones photographs from Getty Images

Rolling Stones Photobiographie 1962-2012, Fetjaine

The Rolling Stones Photobiographie 1962-2012 (Getty Images; text, in French, by Francois Plassat, published by Fetjaine) is well worth checking out…

#5 Chronique

Rolling Stones images from Getty Images

Chronique des Rolling Stones, Chronique Editions

… as is a second French collection, Chronique des Rolling Stones, text by Philippe Margotin (published by Chronique Editions).

If you have a favourite book from the many other compilations of Rolling Stones photographs celebrating the 50th anniversary, please share it with fellow ROCK | ART | EDITIONS readers – please Leave a reply (at the top of the page).

Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton: 7 essential collectables – #6-7

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Swingeing London image of Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton is one of the best-known in rock art.

It’s currently highly visible on posters in London as Tate Modern promotes its Richard Hamilton retrospective exhibition.

Swingeing London, showing Mick Jagger handcuffed to a prison guard in the back of a van, is also occasionally used on book covers, employed as a metaphor for “Pop Art” or the “Swinging Sixties”.

Such books are essential collectables for many a serious Rolling Stones aficionado. Here are two examples from my collection.

Mick Jagger in Swingeing London by Richard Hamilton

The First Pop Age, 2012

Pop Art by Hal Foster is an art historical study of the work of Richard Hamilton and contemporary pop art giants Warhol, Lichtenstein, Richter and Ruscha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Fraser with Mick Jagger, from Swingeing London by Richard Hamilton

Groovy Bob, 1999

Groovy Bob is a biography of art dealer and Swinging London scenester Robert Fraser. It’s a highly regarded study of a period of rapid cultural change, as some in England started to throw off the shackles imposed by Victorian society.

Together with the five desirable artefacts covered in my two posts last week, these two books make up my 7 essential Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton collectables.

 

 

 

If you can expand my list, please share your expertise with fellow Rolling Stones art collectors by clicking Leave a reply at the top of the post.

Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton: 7 essential collectables – #3-5

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

In Tuesday’s post, I introduced the first two of my favourite 7 essential collectables of Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton, namely the poster and postcard box from the current Hamilton retrospective exhibition at Tate Modern, London.

Here are my selections #3-5.

Promo pamphlet and catalogue of Richard Hamilton exhibition, 2010

Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton in Swingeing London

Promo for Modern Moral Matters

The Rolling Stones singer is the subject of 13 illustrations in the Modern Moral Matters exhibition catalogue. Apart from the cover image, the promo pamphlet has nothing on Hamilton’s Swingeing London image of Mick Jagger.

Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton T-shirt

Mick Jagger Rolling Stones T-shirt

Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton

The T-shirt, from the National Portrait Gallery, London, reproduces a slightly different version of the Richard Hamilton artwork, viz Swingeing London 67(a). The owner of this shirt clearly values it too highly to actually wear it – it hasn’t left the bag.

Swingeing London monograph

Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton Swingeing London 67(f)

This is the most detailed art historical study of Richard Hamilton’s iconic Mick Jagger artwork, Swingeing London.

Next week I’ll be sharing my essential collectables #6-7. I’d welcome hearing about your favourite Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton images.

www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton: 7 essential collectables – #1-2

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rock art aficionados partial to images of The Rolling Stones have been queuing up at Tate Modern, London to see the current Richard Hamilton exhibition.

They’ve been paying particular attention to the wall full of different versions of Swingeing London, the iconic Mick Jagger artwork based on a newspaper photograph of the Rolling Stones singer being ferried between custody and court in 1967.

I covered the show here on ROCK ART EDITIONS – please scroll to the bottom of the blog to read the preview and review.

If you haven’t seen the Richard Hamilton exhibition yet, you’ll need to hurry: this outstanding retrospective closes on 26 May.

Swingeing London by Richard Hamilton was released both as original artwork and limited editions, in various versions. All now command the premium prices you’d expect of work by one of the key figures in Pop Art.

The celebrated Mick Jagger in handcuffs image crops up occasionally on less pricey artefacts, which interest collectors from all budget brackets. I’m reviewing seven of my favourites in this and the next two posts.

Collectors interested in my first two choices, the merchandise of the current Tate Modern exhibition – the poster and a postcard box – are advised to buy quickly. They are must-haves for any serious collector of Rolling Stones images.

Richard Hamilton – Exhibition poster

Swingeing London, Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton

Poster based on Swingeing London 67 (f), 1968-9, by Richard Hamilton. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. Owned by and exhibited at Tate, London

Richard Hamilton – 15 Postcards box

Swingeing London by Richard Hamilton, featuring Mick Jagger

Richard Hamilton: 15 Postcards, Tate Publishing, London, 2014. Cover based on Swingeing London 67 (f), 1968-9, by Richard Hamilton. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. Owned by and exhibited at Tate, London.

The box contains a Swingeing London postcard, plus 14 non-Jagger cards.

I’ll be revealing more Mick Jagger by Richard Hamilton essential collectables – #3-5 and #6-7 – in my next two posts. If you possess – or know of – other favourite versions of the iconic Swingeing London image, please share them by Leaving a reply (link at the top of this post).

www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

Rolling Stones photographs: exhibition of little-seen collection in Paris

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones in the '70s exhibition

Rolling Stones – Angie (c) Dominic Lamblin 2014, on sale at Galérie Blumann, Paris.

A new exhibition, The Rolling Stones in the ’70s, offers Stones art collectors a rare chance to enjoy little-seen work by French photographer Dominic Lamblin.

The Rolling Stones in the ’70s is now showing in Paris at la Galérie Blumann, 4 Place des Vosges, at the epicentre of the exquisite Marais district, a kilometre or so east of the Louvre.

You can see The Rolling Stones in the ’70s seven days a week until 5 May, 12h-19h.

www.galerieblumann.com

The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World’s lifelong love affair with Paris shows no signs of cooling: the Rolling Stones play le Stade de France on 13 June.

And they’ve spent a lot of time in Paris/Ile de France in the last few years. In August 2012 they chose Studio Guillaume-Tell in Suresnes, just west of the Bois de Boulogne, to cut Doom and Gloom and One Last Shot, the two new songs recorded for the GRRR! compilation.

The Rolling Stones also rehearsed in Paris for their 2013 and 2014 tours, delighting assiduous hardcore fans with tiny try-out gigs in and around the city.

Paris returns their love, of course: Rolling Stones product is almost as visible in the City of Light as it is in London.

On my last cultural rummage, I spotted a giant print of the iconic Terry O’Neill photograph of Mick Jagger on the cover of Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary, a very large format limited edition book of photographs, published by Original Editions:

Mick Jagger (c) Terry O'Neill 2013, cover of Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary, Original Editions, 2013

Mick Jagger (c) Terry O’Neill 2013, cover of Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary, Original Editions, 2013

www.originaleditions.fr

The Rolling Stones: great album cover, 50 years old today

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The Rolling Stones, great album cover

The Rolling Stones LP, (c) The Decca Record Company Limited, London 1964

The Rolling Stones released their first UK album, also called The Rolling Stones, on 17 April 1964 – fifty years ago today,

Many good judges regard The Rolling Stones on the Decca label as the finest debut LP in all of rockpop. I tend to agree.

The Rolling Stones might consist of nearly all R&B/blues cover versions, but so what? In early 1964, the Rolling Stones were still an R&B/blues covers band.

But The Rolling Stones album also has Tell Me, the first Jagger-Richards composition released by the band. It’s a classic ballad, an under-rated pop standard. And the album’s raw production aesthetic is ideal for the material.

The Rolling Stones: great album cover

The Rolling Stones album cover, back (c) The Decca Record Company Limited, London, 1964

The Rolling Stones LP was recorded at Regent Sound Studios in Denmark St, London W1, in a space I used to frequent far too often after it had become Helter Skelter, the world-class rock music bookshop, sadly now defunct.

The album cover of The Rolling Stones LP matches the quality of the music: it’s one of the finest album covers ever created.

The absence from the front of the album cover of the band’s name and the album title – indeed, the absence of any text apart from the Decca logo – was a challenging, if commercially risky, move.

The simplicity of the front cover – the five Rolling Stones shot in muted colour against a black background, lit dimly from the right side – presented the band as slightly menacing, a bit dodgy, too hairy for the prevailing fashion.

Welcome to the anti-Beatles!

Maybe unwittingly, the positioning of Brian Jones and Mick Jagger in the album cover shot set them up as the band’s joint leaders, helped by three other blokes in the background. With hindsight, you can foresee trouble ahead.

Kudos to Nicholas Wright who designed the album cover and shot the photographs.

The photos above are of my cherished vinyl copy: The Rolling Stones album has never been released on CD, unless you count a recent Japanese import.

The nearest CD is the version of England’s Newest Hit Makers The Rolling Stones, released later, as a US LP. It bastardised the album cover art by adding text over the moody photograph and tampered with the track list, substituting Not Fade Away for I Need You Baby (Mona).

The Rolling Stones is one of my favourite pieces of rock art, certainly my preferred album cover.

What’s yours?

Ronnie Wood art now on show in Connecticut

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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Ronnie Wood, Electric Horses, 2013. (c) Washington Green Fine Art 2013

Ronnie Wood, Rolling Stones guitarist, has been one of the best-known figures in rock art for many years.

While much of Ronnie Wood’s art features the Rolling Stones, he also paints many other subjects – nudes, wildlife, landscapes and jazz musicians, to name a few.

Ronnie Wood art is widely available to buy, both as original canvases and limited edition prints. Several series of his recent work are published by Washington Green Fine Art, London. (Washington Green also publish work by Bob Dylan, such as The Drawn Blank Series.)

And now a new exhibition, Ronnie Wood: Art and Music, has just opened at the William Benton Museum of Art in Storrs, University of Connecticut.

It runs until 10 August. Entry is free.

If I was within driving distance of Hartford CT, I’d regard a visit to Ronnie Wood: Art and Music as well-nigh compulsory.

www.thebenton.org

Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and John Lennon portraits in David Bailey exhibition

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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Bailey’s Stardust catalogue, National Portrait Gallery, 2014

Portraits of Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and John Lennon are the rock art highlights of a career-spanning exhibition of the work of David Bailey running at London’s National Portrait Gallery until 1 June.

Bailey’s Stardust features over 250 works by the celebrated English photographer. It includes a whole room devoted to shots of the Rolling Stones.

According to the Gallery, “Bailey photographed the Rolling Stones for a number of album and single covers and made candid portraits of the group backstage on tour, as well as formal portraits of Jagger with friends and family.”

Fellow members of the LDUFCM (Lord, Deliver Us From Celebrities Movement) will be relieved that the exhibition goes well beyond the celeb focus suggested by its title, covering, for example, Bailey’s photography of native people in Australia, Sudan, India and Papua New Guinea, as well as the badlands of London’s East End.

www.npg.org.uk

Rolling Stones 50 exhibition reaches Adelaide

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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The Rolling Stones 50 Years: a Photographic Exhibition, catalogue, 2012

After its debut at London’s Somerset House and subsequent repeats in New York, Cleveland OH and Paris, The Rolling Stones 50 Years: a Photographic Exhibition opens today in Rundle Place, Adelaide, South Australia, until Sunday 30 March.

Entry is free.

It’s a must-see exhibition for fans, with a fine array of almost 80 large format images documenting half a century of the Rolling Stones.

While some of the rock merchandise on sale might be more to your taste than mine, it has some desirable collectables. The fine catalogue, which retailed for a mere £10 in London, has a special place in my Rolling Stones collection.

www.rundleplace.com.au/rolling-stones/

Collectable Mick Jagger cover about to disappear

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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GQ March 2014, (c) The Conde Nast Publications Ltd 2014

The striking photograph of a hooded Mick Jagger adorning the cover of GQ, the monthly style mag, is about to disappear from the news-stands.

Copies of the March 2014 issue of Gentlemen’s Quarterly were still on sale in London this week, but the Jagger cover is about to be superseded by the April issue.

The photograph of the Rolling Stones singer is one of a series of six Collector’s Issues celebrating Bailey’s Stardust, the exhibition of the photographs of David Bailey, running at London’s National Portrait Gallery until 1 June.

www.npg.org.uk

Iconic Mick Jagger prints in free exhibition

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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Release, by Richard Hamilton, 1972. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. On display at Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Connoisseurs of the art associated with the Rolling Stones who are not completely sated by Tate Modern’s luminous Richard Hamilton exhibition are heading to London’s Mayfair to see a second Hamilton show.

Richard Hamilton: Word and Image, Prints 1963-2007 is showing at Alan Cristea Gallery, 31/34 Cork St, London W1 until 22 March.

It’s a splendid small exhibition with over sixty Hamilton prints, including two from the iconic Swingeing London: a screenprint version of the familiar image, entitled Release and published in 1972 in a limited edition of 150, and Swingeing London 67 – etching, published as an edition of 70 in 1968.

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Swingeing London 67 – etching, by Richard Hamilton, 1968. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. On display at Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

The Alan Cristea exhibition repeats many of the images on view at Tate Modern, but it’s smaller, being restricted to prints on paper. And it’s free.

Like the Richard Hamilton show at Tate Modern, it’s a delight, and is highly recommended.

The catalogue (£25) is a must-have for followers of this important artist.

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Richard Hamilton: Word and Image, Prints 1963-2007, Alan Cristea Gallery, London, 2014.

www.alancristea.com

Mick Jagger at Tate Modern: three desirable collectables

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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Poster based on Swingeing London 67 (f), 1968-9, by Richard Hamilton. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. Owned by and exhibited at Tate, London.

The Richard Hamilton exhibition at Tate Modern is a wonderful retrospective of the life’s work of one of the founders of Pop Art.

But what does it offer for collectors of Rolling Stones art – assuming that most readers couldn’t afford to buy an original from the Swingeing London series, featuring a handcuffed Mick Jagger?

Commendably, Tate Modern caters for Rolling Stones collectors on a budget with three very desirable products featuring the Swingeing London image.

The exhibition poster offers the collector a chance to display the iconic image in his/her own home. It costs a mere £6.99, unframed. Framed, it would embellish the living space of even the most discerning Rolling Stones collector. I’d guess the poster might sell out quickly.

Richard Hamilton: 15 Postcards binds together key pieces from the exhibition, including Swingeing London, which is also the cover image. It’s another bargain, at a mere £7.50.

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Richard Hamilton: 15 Postcards, Tate Publishing, London, 2014. Cover based on Swingeing London 67 (f), 1968-9, by Richard Hamilton. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. Owned by and exhibited at Tate, London.

Rolling Stones art collectors inspired by Swingeing London and keen to explore Richard Hamilton’s work should also consider buying the exhibition catalogue.

It’s an elegant door-stopper of a book, housed in a tough paperback binding. Its images of the Swingeing London exhibits are presented in the context of Hamilton’s wider legacy. At £29.99, it’s very good value.

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Pages from the exhibition catalogue of Richard Hamilton, Tate Publishing, 2014, (c) Tate, London 2014. Images of Swingeing London 67, 1968-9, by Richard Hamilton. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. Exhibited at Tate, London, 2014.

Diligent Rolling Stones collectors, especially those who can’t make the London exhibition, will want to buy this trio of impressive artefacts.

www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

Mick Jagger stars in magnificent new Richard Hamilton exhibition

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Mick Jagger just can’t help being a star.

His image covers an entire wall of the new Richard Hamilton retrospective exhibition now running at London’s Tate Modern gallery.

The six pictures of Jagger, from the Swingeing London 67 series, are highlights of a magnificent show.

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Poster based on Swingeing London 67 (f), 1968-9, by Richard Hamilton. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. Owned by and exhibited at Tate, London.

Hanging the six Swingeing London 67 paintings – all slightly different, taken from a larger series – side-by-side along an entire wall demands that you inspect them closely.

The series is based on a Daily Mail photograph of Mick Jagger and art dealer Robert Fraser, handcuffed in the rear of a van, being ferried between remand and the court where they were facing drugs charges.

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Tate Modern is wise to use Swingeing London 67 to promote the show: it’s probably the best-known image from rock music.

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The Mick Jagger wall is just one of the show’s many highlights: the exhibition’s 18 rooms are crammed full of them.

Trainsition paintings, Pin-Up, Hommage a Chrysler Corp, Protest Pictures, witty pastiches of brands such as Braun and Ricard, and scornful portraits of Labour leaders Tony Blair and Hugh Gaitskell stopped me in my tracks.

Disappointments? Well, the diminutive Just what is it… underwhelmed me, and I’m not persuaded of the merits of the Shit & Flowers series, regardless of Hamilton’s floral draughtsmanship.

The Richard Hamilton exhibition is the perfect size: extensive but easily do-able. My first, deliberate, circuit took an hour. Impressed, I retraced my steps – another half hour. After a pause for reflection, I worked through the 18 rooms for a third time. I’d struggle to spend a more deeply satisfying couple of hours.

Richard Hamilton is a great artist: Tate Modern’s exhibition, a high quality showcase of his life’s work, proves that beyond any doubt.

As you exit the last room of the show, glance to your right: you’ll be treated to several other masterpieces, mediaeval and modern:

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The Richard Hamilton exhibition runs until 26 May.

Mick Jagger: poster boy of new Richard Hamilton exhibition at Tate Modern

First published on the ROCK ART EDITIONS blog in 2014. Copyright: text – ROCK ART EDITIONS; images – as indicated. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger is the poster boy of Richard Hamilton, the major new exhibition of the work of one of the founders of Pop Art, now showing at London’s Tate Modern gallery.

Tate Modern is using Swingeing London 67 (f), Hamilton’s mixed media masterpiece – and arguably the most celebrated artwork in rock music – as a key image in promoting the show.

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Swingeing London 67 (f), 1968-9, by Richard Hamilton. (c) The estate of Richard Hamilton, 2014. Owned by and exhibited at Tate, London.

The image shows Mick Jagger with his friend (and Hamilton’s then art dealer), Robert Fraser, handcuffed in the rear of a van ferrying them between court and custody. They were accused of drugs offences (in Jagger’s case, the unauthorised possession of amphetamines).

Adapted from a Daily Mail news photograph by John Twine, the piece dramatises the generational clash of the 1960s. The articulate Mick Jagger proved an adept critic of conservative values.

Jagger was sentenced to three months in jail, though the punishment was reduced on appeal to a conditional discharge. The Rolling Stones singer ended up spending three nights behind bars.

The six Swingeing London 67 pieces in the exhibition are part of a larger series of slightly different pieces Hamilton created, employing an extensive range of techniques – including collage, drawing, etching, screenprinting and painting with watercolour, acrylic and gouache. Some of them were published in small limited editions.

Hamilton’s conceptualisation of the Swingeing London series is strikingly original. The work is intellectually and emotionally rewarding: Swingeing London is a collection with multiple subtleties.

Richard Hamilton was a prolific artist from the 1950s to 2011. The exhibition catalogue contains “over 250 full-colour illustrations”, including iconic works such as The Citizen (IRA prison protester), Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? and Hommage a Chrysler Corp.

The Richard Hamilton exhibition, one of London’s 2014 cultural highlights, runs at Tate Modern until 26 May.

ROCK / ART / EDITIONS: will be reviewing the show this week. Hamilton has long been a favourite, firmly embedded in my personal canon alongside better-known names such as Rembrandt and Cezanne.

www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

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