The most beautiful music covers made by Andy Warhol

by Elisa Pincini

 

The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, and Aretha Franklin are just some of the names of the artists who had the privilege to see the cover of their album signed by Andy Warhol. With colorful and funny images the king of pop art also came to the world of music.

More than thirty years have passed since his death and yet Andy Warhol continues to evoke ambivalent opinions and conflicting appreciations. Cultural conservatives despise him and blame him for inaugurating American consumer culture. On the other hand, the more far-sighted, praise him for his skills as a seer and skilled prophet. Finally, there is no lack of those who think that both judgments are true.

In the twentieth century perhaps only Pablo Picasso left such a vast and varied compendium of works. And perhaps if like Picasso he had dedicated himself exclusively to the fine arts, divided his works into periods and inaugurated currents such as Cubism, there would probably be less skepticism about the artist's work. But Andy Warhol was one of those artists with an always ambiguous personality, a deliberately mystifying attitude accompanied by a behavior of complete detachment from his own work, a monarch of passivity.

Warhol was attracted and constantly evolved in the field of commercial art and within it he reached the first and undisputed eminence, demolishing the critical and perceptive boundaries that separated visual art from applied art. A brilliant provocateur, he was the initiator and emblem of pop art, synonymous with eclecticism and versatility. We all remember the polychromatic images of Marilyn Monroe and the drawings of Campbell's Soup painted inside an art gallery. Perhaps what we know least are his transversal works, the ones that trained him to become the king of pop. Among these, the numerous covers published for famous artists such as John Lennon and the Rolling Stones certainly deserve attention.

Here are six of the most beautiful covers made by Warhol, and maybe some classics to rediscover as a soundtrack of these days:

Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

This is undoubtedly the emblem of the famous artist, so much so that the record was known to the world as "banana album". On the cover there is neither the name of the band nor the title or the name of the record company, only the signature of Andy Warhol and its fruit, the banana, which initially, through a machine, could be peeled discovering its pink color.

The Rolling Stones –Sticky Fingers (1971)

Four years later, Warhol signed another masterpiece for the band that made history. The cover comes to life from a photograph taken by the artist himself, which he then retouched with the addition of the zipper, a mechanism of his own invention. The image is certainly allusive, just think that on the LP the zipper could even open, but it manages to entertain as only Warhol knew how to do.

The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar / Bitch / Let It Rock (1971)

After the album cover, Andy Warhol could not fail to participate in the main EP of the album. So for the occasion he created a cover that took up the main background, with a clear sexual theme.

The Rolling Stones – Love You Live (1977)

With the cover of the album Love you like ends the collaboration between Rolling Stone and Andy Warhol. Guilty was Mike Jagger's decision to add titles and handwriting over the artist's drawing.

John Lennon – Menlove Ave (1986)

In the second half of the 80s it's the turn of Menlove Ave, the second posthumous album released thanks to the collaboration of Joko Ono. The cover is the artist's own signature, it just takes up John Lennon's face brightened by shades of blue, red, yellow. The result refers to the famous polychromatic serial portraits that made the artist famous all over the world.

Aretha Franklin – Aretha (1986) 

After having immortalized John Lennon's face, he couldn't miss Aretha Franklin's, a voice for which the soul world will remain eternally grateful. The philosophy is always the same: face in the foreground, primary colors in the hair and a pass of makeup on eyes and mouth, beautiful.

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