ACHOF Featured Fan Portfolio – A Tour Through Collector Richard Forrest’s Favorite Album Covers

 

ACHOF Featured Fan Portfolio – A Tour Through Collector Richard Forrest’s Favorite Album Covers

In an article published in the October 12, 2017 issue of Psychology Today, Dr. Matthew J. Edlund relates a story about a patient who’d come to him suffering from, as he described it, “art collecting induced insomnia…He could not stop thinking about modern and contemporary prints, what he possessed and more possessively what he further wished to have. A universe of potential desire awaited him each night. The prices, places, avenues of acquisition, bidding strategies, and the potential profits all negated the calm and comfort of his night-time life. ‘Is my art collecting healthy?’ he wondered.” Dr. Edlund suggests that his patient buy a book about the artist who produced a desired print in order to learn more about him/her and their motivations, allowing the collector to “connect with ideas larger than oneself”, which seems to have allowed this patient to rest more easily. After reading this article, all I could think of was that I’d simply start collecting books about artists – wait, I’ve already done that!

Suffice it to say, collectors are a funny bunch, and while I admit to suffering from this condition myself (although, I must say, it’s somewhat in remission these days, now that I’ve nowhere to store anything else), rather than live in a situation where there’s always one – or dozens – more things to add to a collection, it was intriguing to have found someone – a collector living in Sweden by the name of Dr. Richard Forrest – who approaches collecting in a way that enables him to both attain a goal and also feel some sense of achievement via his efforts. Some of you might recall that I’ve been corresponding with Dr. Forrest – also known as the “Rockdoc” – for many months now after discovering a blog he maintains (https://recordart.net/) in which he talks about his collections, one of which – his collection of all of the album covers ever created by Pop Art icon Andy Warhol – that serves as an important section of a museum on the artist that’s on display (thru September 8th) at the Moderna Museet in Malmo, Sweden.

Part of Dr. Richard Forrest’s Andy Warhol album cover collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first “met” Richard, his Warhol album art-related collection was nearly complete and he was working to fill it out in time for the museum show. Early last year, I was happy to report that he had found the few hard-to-locate items he’d needed and, after congratulating him on that achievement, I then found out that that particular collection was only one of a number of subject-focused assemblages – some album art-related, others not – he’s put together over the years (!!) which, of course, made me eager to learn more and then share that knowledge with you all. In a series of emails since then, Richard kindly relates more information (and photos – what a nice touch!) on some of his favorites from his other collections, which have included covers and prints by talented artists including Vaughan Oliver (4AD Records), Sir Peter Blake/Jann Haworth, Chuck Close, Klaus Voormann and others, along with some insights into his own life as a collector – his motivations both as a collector and as someone who has experimented in the creation of his own unique works of art. He tells us about the people he’s met and worked with along the way, what makes Bjork’s imagery so unique and compelling and, as I always like to find out, what his feelings are about album cover art/artistry and how he sees it fitting into any study of Pop Culture.  So, kindly put down that auction house catalog for a few minutes and read on while you’re taken on a guided tour of the collections of someone I think you’ll find both knowledgeable and fascinating….

And now, a tour through the collections of Dr. Richard Forrest – (as told to Mike Goldstein, via emails sent March – July, 2019):

Before I dive into the details about some of my favorites, I thought that a bit of background information would be in order. I started collecting LP records (I wasn’t interested in singles) back in the sixties—then, of course, for the music, but I realized early on that I would buy or reject a record solely on the basis of whether or not I thought the cover art was good. Thus, I never bought a Kinks LP (terrible covers), even though I liked their music. I bought The Velvet Underground & Nico when it came out on import in England in 1967, the same year I bought The Doors (and, thereafter, a whole load of Elektra label LPs because of the William S Harvey designs.) Elektra announced early in the seventies  – I think it was in 1972 – that it would be their policy to produce records featuring great design and gatefold covers, and it turned me into a dedicated Elektra buyer. In 1971, I bought the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and – WHOOPS! – I then had two Andy Warhol designs. One is nothing, two is a collection!

In the eighties, I discovered British record cover design — primarily after buying a Cocteau Twins album “Head over Heels” – after which I started collecting 4AD covers designed by Vaughan Oliver and Neville Brody (Fetish Records). I also picked up a very few Peter Saville (Factory Records) albums. Then Björk came along in the nineties with covers designed first by Me Company (I still rate their covers for her “Bachelorette” 12-inchers as the most beautiful covers she has produced), and I went on to collect over 100 of her releases.

I also had a couple of Peter Blake covers (Sgt. Pepper’s, naturally, and The Pentangle’s Sweet Child) and continued to collect other covers by him (Paul Weller’s Stanley Road, etc.). More on Blake later.

From the mid noughties (2000-2010), I concentrated on collecting early Warhol designs – they were still affordable back then – and continued to expand my Peter Blake collection. Then I picked up a couple of 12-inchers with Banksy’s cover art and rapidly collected almost all his covers (update – I think I have them all now). I also saw a cover designed by Damien Hirst showing a portrait of Kate Moss with half her face dissected away and bought several copies, some of which I sold to a dealer but, luckily, kept two for myself. That was the start of my Damien Hirst collection, which I now think is complete.

In 2003, Klaus Voormann (famed musician and an extraordinary draftsman, too) visited Stockholm for a John Lennon memorial concert. I was fortunate enough to meet him there and pulled out six or seven albums with his cover art, which he kindly signed for me. I have since collected over eighty of his covers on LP, 12″, 7″ and CD.

About 10 years ago, a group of like-minded individuals, including collector Frank Edwards, Warhol super expert Guy Minnebach, Kevin Kinney (who found a couple of previously-unrecognized Warhol covers), Niklas Lindberg and I founded the Warhol Cover Collector’s Club (WCCC). I had met Guy when he helped co-curate the Happy Birthday Andy Warhol exhibition in Piteå in 2008 and the others had corresponded with us in our search for previously unrecognized Warhol covers. Our group was responsible for identifying at least half a dozen!

In 2011 my wife and I moved from our house (where I had my own music room) to a small flat and my record collection went into storage. I had a wonderful collection of records, CDs and memorabilia — totaling nearly 6000 records (4000 on vinyl), but when my wife and I moved from our house to a flat (you’d call it an apartment), I had to downsize and I went on to sell the bulk of the collection. Out went my collections of designers including Vaughan Oliver (v23), Neville Brody, Rob Jones, etc., keeping only my Warhol, Blake, Hirst, Voormann and Banksy collections to which I have continued to add. At least the sale paid the down payment on our flat! A recent discovery is the graphic art of Robert del Naja (AKA “3D”) and I’ve added a few of his record cover designs.

So, I do not strictly collect record cover art in general – only works by these specific designers (though some other things have crept into my collection (such as covers by Richard Prince, Chuck Close). I do, however, buy books of record cover art and keep an eye on design and design trends. Interestingly – at least for me – it was when I read a list of “the best record covers of 2018” by the Vinyl Factory and noticed the cover of Low’s Double Negative among them. Only days before, I had been to an exhibition of Peter Liversidge’s art at a local gallery and recognized the mask on the album cover in the exhibition. I found that Liversidge had designed other covers and managed to get hold of four, which he kindly autographed for me when he later held a book signing at the closing of the exhibition!

I continue to be interested in the history of record cover design and collected almost 50 of Alex Steinweiss’ covers–mostly on 78s. I only kept one of these–“Smash Song Hits by Rodgers and Hart”, which is said to be Steinweiss’ first picture cover, released in 1939 or 1940.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this article, I’ve been looking through my record collection and chosen a few covers that mean a lot to me. Part of my collection of Warhol record covers is, as you know, on display at Moderna Museet in Malmö (as shown in the title image), but the major part – 45s, bootlegs and LPs/CDs released after Warhol’s death – remains securely in storage. My poster of the Love You Live cover art (by the Rolling Stones – see pic, below) didn’t find a place in the Malmö show, so that’s put away as well.

 

 

 

 

 

This shows the cover art without Mick Jagger’s addition of the artist and title – that riled Andy. My copies of Andy Warhol’s Index (Book) and the Aspen Magazine “FAB” box* are also in Malmö, as they both contain records, but I’ll discuss them later in the “rare books” section of this article.

* Editor’s note – the 3rd issue – December, 1966 – of this “multi-media” magazine – devoted to pop and avant-garde art and underground music – was designed by Warhol and David Dalton. Now a collector’s item, the issue was packaged in a box with bold graphics based on the packaging of “Fab” laundry detergent (“I’m glad, they put real Borax in you”). The box also contained a flip-book based on Warhol’s 1963 silent film Kiss and underground film-maker Jack Smith’s 1953 title Buzzards Over Bagdad; a “ticket book” with excerpts of papers delivered by Dr. Timothy Leary and others at Richard Baker’s 1966 conference on LSD at UC Berkeley and a “flexidisc” of the tune “Loop” by John Cale (of Velvet Underground fame) and “White Wind” by folk guitarist Peter Walker.

The Beatles – There are two Beatles covers that fascinate me, each one in its own way.

The first is the famous “Butcher” cover for Yesterday & Today. Ever since first seeing a ”butcher”, I knew I wanted one for my Beatles collection. Being a collector with limited financial resources, I have eyed expensive collectibles such as this with interest. I was obsessed with it and thought, as you do sometimes when looking at art, “I can do that” (or “any five-year-old could do that”). I considered the success that some quite famous artists who have used other artists’ works to make their own, such as Elaine Sturtevant, the late American artist who copied Warhol’s works in the mid sixties, and Gavin Turk, the British artist who has recently done a number of works imitating Warhol’s style.

Gauguin said ”Art is either revolution or plagiarism”, and Picasso said ”Bad artists borrow, great artists steal” and so, taking the advice of these great artists quite literally, I decided to create my own copies. At some point in the mid to late seventies, I came across a poster with the famous “butcher” picture and managed to get copies printed which I then affixed to proper sixties’ Yesterday & Today covers (one stereo, one mono) and, presto!, I then had my Butcher covers. That was my first “forgery” – oops, I mean “reproduction”, as I prefer to call them. I’ll talk about some of my other “reproductions” a bit later on…

 

 

 

 

Next is my other obsession – that with the cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I bought my first copy when it originally came out in June 1967. I also have several other record covers designed by Peter Blake and have been to several Blake exhibitions where catalogues referred to him as “the designer of the Sgt. Pepper cover”, with no mention of his ex-wife and co-designer, Jann Haworth. In 2008, I was preparing to put on an exhibition of Peter Blake’s record cover art and had got a copy of “Sgt Pepper” signed by Blake. I decided to contact Jann Haworth to sound out her feelings on effectively being removed from the cover’s design history. We had a lengthy correspondence and she kindly signed the cover I’d sent, alongside Peter Blake’s autograph. We discussed the gender and racial imbalance of the people portrayed on the cover and Jann told me about her later concerns regarding this and her attempt to redress this in a new mural work in Salt Lake City, called “Pepper SLC”, where she now lives.

The exhibition of Blake’s cover art was shown at the Piteå Museum in Sweden in July and August of 2009 and we produced a catalogue with a cover that sort of predated the Sgt. Pepper’s-style print of his friends and other artists that Blake produced in 2012 to commemorate his 80th birthday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had shown my Blake covers at the A and D Gallery in London in 2010 and Peter Blake attended and was given a copy of the Piteå catalogue. I’ve often wondered if it was this cover that inspired the 2012 print?

The fiftieth anniversary of the release of “Sgt Pepper” saw a plethora of reissues–a box set with a lenticular cover, a double LP, an LP-sized gatefold containing four CDs (each with a different Michael Cooper cover photo) and a single LP. The Japanese box set included a 10″ print of the cover image that could be made into a stage set. Once again, there was no mention of Jann Haworth’s contribution to the design, with the exception being this recognition in a 2017 BBC documentary about her –  (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3TZbNn59V1tMCx3dXXlf2BK/jann-haworth-the-forgotten-creator-of-the-sgt-pepper-cover)

I had collected all the various anniversary reissues, with the exception of the double LP, and even managed to get hold of a copy of the LP signed by Peter Blake at a Liverpool gallery, after which I decided I needed to get Jann to sign that one, too. She was most cooperative and I sent her a package with the LP; an old, original and previously-unsigned Pepper album; the cover of the gatefold with the CDs/Blue Ray/DVD and also included the four CD covers and a Japanese Pepper stage set model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jann also shared some details of the sculptures she provided for the cover. For example, the old lady sitting at the far right with the Shirley Temple doll on her lap is modeled on Jann’s grandmother, herself a seamstress. Who knew?

While on the subject of Peter Blake’s art, I would like to mention that I own three prints of his cover-related images. When I curated the Blake exhibition in Piteå in 2009, I only had the CD of John Peel’s Right Time, Wrong Speed, 1977-1987, with Blake’s portrait of Peel on the cover. I was lucky to find one of the limited edition prints (No. 5/45) online, which I bought. The other missing item was The Blockheads’ album Staring Down the Barrel, which was also only released on CD. I wrote to the band’s management to try to get hold of a poster of the cover but, apparently, there wasn’t one and I was put in touch with Blake’s printer at Coriander Press. They responded by sending me an artist’s proof of the cover image, signed by Peter Blake. I think this is might be unique!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then, last year I was browsing Ebay for Blake prints and came across a record store that was offering an artist’s proof print of Blake’s artwork for The Who’s Live at Leeds 2 for a ridiculously low price and decided to buy it. When it arrived it was battered (Ebay admitted they hadn’t handled it properly) and they refunded the purchase price back to me! It still looks good framed – see pics, below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that I’m looking at the totality of my Peter Blake collection of records, CDs, books and memorabilia, I realize that this collection is of museum quality and would make a wonderful exhibition exhibit!

Banksy – I started collecting Banksy’s art on record and CD covers around 2005-6, at a time when most could be bought at standard record prices. I found a second issue version of Banksy’s/Danger Mouse’s Paris Hilton CD and a DJ offered me his copy of the promo version of Röyksopp’s Melody A.M. album with the Banksy-sprayed cover.

 

 

 

 

I have since completed the series of Paris Hilton CDs by obtaining the first Bansky/Danger Mouse issue and by buying a copy of the original CD by Paris Hilton for comparison.

 

 

 

Back in 2012, I curated an exhibition of Banksy’s record cover art and made a digital copy of the ultra-rare Capoiera Twins promo 12″ 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out, the cover of which was also spray-painted by Banksy (it wasn’t until 2017 that I actually got hold of a genuine copy). My complete collection was shown at the major Banksy retrospective at the Palazzo Cipolla in Rome in the summer of 2016.

Another rarity I have is the printer’s proof of Dirty Funker’s 2008 remix of The Knack’s hit single My Sharona which he’d renamed Let’s Get Dirty. As you know, in 2005 Banksy made a series of portraits of Kate Moss – six in all – done in the style of Andy Warhol. Dirty Funker used two of the Bansky Kate Moss portraits – one each on the front (red background) and rear (green background) covers – for his remix, and the one I own being the rarer version without the title strip across Kate Moss’ eyes on the front.

 

 

 

 

Damien Hirst – I started to collect Damien Hirst’s record covers almost by accident. I heard somewhere about his “Use Money, Cheat Death” single-sided single (picture) when it was first released and bought five copies from my usual internet record store at the standard price of £9.99 each. I sold three copies to a dealer who has since become a friend and kept two along with a copy of the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of TAR Magazine, the cover of which had first used Hirst’s dissected portrait of supermodel Kate Moss – read on for more details.

Kate Moss portraits – As I already had both versions of Dirty Funker’s “Let’s Get Dirty” 12″ singles, I decided to start a new collection of covers with Kate Moss’s portrait when I got the Damien Hirst cover with Kate’s portrait. In early 2009, the new art magazine TAR had a feature on Kate Moss in its second issue and let Damien Hirst do the cover image of Kate, with the resulting image portraying the right side of her face dissected down to the muscles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not one to be afraid to capitalize on his work, Hirst decided to release a limited edition (666 copies) 12” single-sided single using the TAR cover image on the cover. He called it ’Use Money, Cheat Death’. The track has some murmuring, purportedly a telephone conversation by Kate Moss and is, in my opinion, unlistenable. To date, I have sixteen covers with Ms. Moss, including the Vinyl Factory limited edition releases of Bryan Ferry’s “Olympia” and the 12″ singles released from that album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and, as I am a fan of Chuck Close, a single that uses Chuck Close’s nude pics of Kate.

About my own “reproductions” – Getting into collecting Andy Warhol covers – despite getting in early, before prices really went bananas – I realized that, as I had felt when I wanted a real Beatles “Butcher Cover”, there were always going to be some covers I would never be able to afford—most importantly, Warhol’s (and Billy Klüver’s) Giant Size $1.57 Each cover. By the early 2000s, I had assembled an almost-complete collection of the then-known Warhol covers and, working together with the producers of a music festival in Piteå, Sweden called Piteå Dansar och ler (which translates to Piteå dances and smiles), decided to put them on exhibition at the Piteå Museum in 2008 to coincide with what would have been Andy’s 80th birthday. Piteå is a little town in the north of Sweden known for its music festival staged during the last weekend in July, when there’s still the midnight sun. We put together sixty-five Warhol covers for the show and, the following year, we put on an exhibition of Peter Blake’s record cover art at the museum.

It wasn’t until October, 2008, during the run of the “Warhol Live” exhibition in Montreal, that we heard about the existence of an early box set – a promo item for the 1950 NBC Radio drama titled Night Beat (with Frank Lovejoy taking on the role of Chicago Star newspaper reporter Randy Stone – that was pictured in Paul Maréchal’s 2008 book Andy Warhol: The Record Covers, 1949-1987, Catalog Raisonne. The box contained three blue 7” records and cover art by Warhol. There was only one known copy of this box set – owned by Maréchal and on display at the Montreal show – and I thought I could make facsimile copies for my collection and for each of the WCCC members. I found a number of 1950’s RCA EP boxes, made up a slick with the help of a local printer and proceeded to make a limited edition set of ten boxes.

The next reproduction was of the one Warhol produced for the cover of Billy Kluver’s Giant Size $1.57 Each album of interviews done with artists who participated in the 1963 exhibition at the Washington Gallery of Modern art titled Popular Image Exhibition, curated by Alice Denney. The LP’s cover was a silkscreen image over a background spray-painted in one of several different colors so, for the 2008 Warhol exhibition I mentioned previously, I had painted a version of the Giant Size $1.57 Each cover, in true “Elaine Sturtevant style”. But, particularly after the formation of the WCCC, I felt the time was right to make “proper” reproductions. 2013 was the fiftieth anniversary of the Popular Image Exhibition in Washington, D.C., for which Klüver & Warhol made the Giant Size $1.57 Each LP, so I enrolled in a silkscreen course and made limited-edition copies of the package in the original colors (red, green, yellow, orange and white), being sure to include a stamp on the reverse that these were “50th anniversary” copies.

My latest Warhol reproduction/forgery was in 2017 when, while perusing the catalogue for the Adman, Warhol Before Pop exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW in Melbourne, Australia, I recognized a lithograph as being the slick for a previously unknown promotional box set (for another NBC early-1950s radio show called Voices And Events) like the Night Beat box. So, I once again found ten RCA EP boxes and converted them into replicas of the then-undiscovered ’Voices and Events’ boxes. Then, amazingly, a real copy of the package turned up the following year showing that my ”forgery” matched the original exactly!

Q&A – 

Mike Goldstein – While, of course, I must thank you profusely for sharing all you have with me and my readers, as a reader of my site yourself, you know that, as it is a standard practice of mine, I have to ask you some general questions regarding album cover art, artists, your feelings about the current “state-of-the-art” in cover design and what you see for the future in this arena. I’ll start with the most-general of questions – What are your feelings in general about album artwork/packaging/promotion-related design, photography and production these days? Are there any musical acts, labels, art directors, etc. that you think are keeping the field alive or important and do you think album art and packaging – including work for “special products”, stage designs, merch, etc. – actually matters anymore?

Richard Forrest – Album art in general is wonderful. In the “old days”, the major record companies had in-house design departments that, with some glaring exceptions, produced poor quality cover art. I rate Columbia Records as one of the exceptions (Alex Steinweiss, after all, started it all, and employed Jim Flora, Neil Fujita et al. Later on came the magnificent John Berg…), along with Elektra Records. Small companies like Blue Note, Prestige, Chess, and others produced great covers by commissioning commercial artists like Reid Miles or Andy Warhol, but it was the tiny independent labels in the UK that brought in artists directly (Vaughan Oliver at 4AD, Peter Saville at Factory, Neville Brody at Fetish, and Barney Bubbles at Stiff). More recently, I have noticed that many “fine” artists are also musicians and provide covers for their own releases. Great examples of this include Robert del Naja for Massive Attack, Richard Creed, Susan Phillips and photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. I am convinced that album art and packaging are becoming increasingly important in selling records.

Mike G – Do you think that album cover art helps us document modern human history? It’s my belief that, in many ways, iconic album cover art has had a noticeable effect on Pop Culture. What’s your take on this – is the imagery and music providing the direction, or is it reflecting the culture, or ??

Richard F – Pop Culture? What is “Pop Culture”? By Pop Culture, do you mean the culture of popular music that cover art tends to reflect – the state of the music? The San Francisco of the mid-sixties produced iconic cover art by Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and others that became copied in Europe in the late sixties and early seventies. When pop musicians – at least in England – came out of art schools, they wanted to design their own covers – look at Bryan Ferry, Peter Townsend, etc. Never Mind the Bollocks: Here’s the Sex Pistols is the epitome of punk and generated a style, but I wouldn’t really have guessed that The Ramones were a punk band from their covers, and so I didn’t buy the records until much later, after I had heard the music. In my opinion cover art reflects the culture rather than providing direction. Remember my mention of Gauguin stating that “art is either plagiarism or revolution”? Well, someone like Jamie Reid, or Banksy, comes up with a design idea, and many copy.

MG – After learning more about your “reproductions”, I hope that this question isn’t too terribly offensive…While doing the research for my book and for some of the bios featured on the ACHOF site, I found examples of something that made me want to work harder to make sure that credits are given where due – those being several incidents over the years where an artist’s work had been used (and, on occasion, abused) by labels, print publishers, licensing companies and/or other musical acts without permission or without giving proper credit for the work being used. It seems that, in an age where people seem to find it permissible to “borrow” (it sounds so much better than “steal” or “plagiarize”) an artist’s/writer’s/photographer’s work to help them promote and sell their own products, folks that create original art have been forced to police the media (and, in particular, web sites) to do what they can to either stop this unauthorized use or, at least, receive credit for the work they’ve done.  Have any of the artists/producers you’ve been in contact with regarding album art notably been victimized in this way? Is there anything that can or should be done about it, or do you simply chalk it up to being one of the costs of doing business these days?

RF – Ah, the vexed question of copyright. Many designers use photos, artworks etc. without crediting the original artist. Warhol is a prime example and he got sued by Patricia Caulfield for his use of her photo of flowers without permission. But then newspapers and others didn’t seem to have been bothered that he used their photos  – or even whole front pages. Many old classical releases used paintings in the public domain as cover art. While Banksy has designed and spray painted record covers for several artists, others have appropriated his images without his explicit permission, but he seems to have a cavalier attitude to the question of copyright – you’ll recall that one of his more-famous graffiti paintings states that copyright is for losers. I haven’t personally had much contact with designers. But there are glaring examples of cover art being “borrowed”. I wonder how many Sgt. Pepper imitations there are, or, indeed, those based on Abbey Road or The Velvet Underground & Nico? The artists producing these covers seem to reckon that any buyer will KNOW the original artist and therefore not NEED to name them. As I mentioned earlier, I have been in contact with Jann Haworth, co-designer of the Sgt. Pepper cover, and discussed the fact that history has almost erased her from the design credits. She seems resigned. What can be done about misappropriation? Well, I suppose nothing unless the original artists are prepared to sue plagiarists. And in the case of pastiches – would a court grant the original artist his or her rights? I don’t know.

MG – As you astutely noted, only the well-heeled artists can assume much satisfaction when taking those who knowingly or unknowingly use copyrighted materials in making their own works. I have seen some examples – particularly, in the world of fashion – where some designers who’d originally done knock-off designs based on luxury brands actually went into business with those same brands! Where there’s a will…? In any case, here’s my final question for you – With the switch over to the electronic delivery of music products and the resurgence physical products – vinyl records and limited edition/box sets, as examples — both showing continued growth and consumer acceptance, from the vantage point of a serious record collector, are you noticing any more or less enthusiasm overall from the artists or record labels to invest time and money into retail packaging and related printed materials or merch items? With all the consideration that you’d think goes into considering how to create products that appeals to – and extends their relationship with — their fans, do you think they put enough time into thinking whether those efforts are done in ways that both helps them extend their “branding” and differentiates them from the crowd  — i.e., making them more collectible?

RF – Yes. Artists and record companies are well aware that people who grew up in the sixties and seventies have now reached a stage in their lives where they are relatively affluent and willing to buy records they might not have been able to afford when the record was originally released. “Anniversary editions” seem particularly popular, especially as limited editions with colored vinyl or when extra discs are included. Collections of an artist’s work are also popular–with expanded editions of classic albums, such as the impressive box sets of Led Zeppelin albums. Many are very beautiful.

About our interviewee, Dr. Richard Forrest –

Born in 1945 and bred in London, U.K., Richard Forrest was fortunate enough to be around the Carnaby Street/SOHO scene in the mid to late sixties. He saw The Beatles live in 1964, The Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix Experience in the same week in 1967, witnessed The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in 1969 and collected Bill Graham concert handbills (which he still has) and a few concert posters torn from walls.

He’d go on to study medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London and began working as a doctor at rock concerts and music festivals in 1970 – mainly talking people down from bad “trips”. Moving to Sweden in the late 1970s, Richard continued collecting records, going to concerts and collecting musicians’ autographs. After earning advanced specialty degrees and certifications in Internal Medicine), Endocrinology and Clinical Chemistry, he resumed his doctoring at music festivals again in 1996, which allowed him access to artists to collect autographs (he believes, for example, that he is one of the few people to have the autographs of ALL the original members of the Wu Tang Clan). Over the years, Richard amassed a wonderful collection of records and memorabilia which, as was previously mentioned, he chose to sell in 2013.

 

 

 

 

Having retired from medicine, he now lives in central Stockholm, Sweden, enjoying time with children and grand children. He also maintains the popular blog on Record Art called RecordArt.net (https://recordart.net/), which I’d suggest you bookmark and subscribe to at once.

All images are credited as noted – Copyright 2019 Richard Forrest/RecordArt.net – and are used by permission to solely to illustrate this article. All text Copyright 2019 Mike Goldstein/AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All rights reserved.

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