Monday, 16 January 2017

Andy, Madge and Sonic Youth too

I try to cover some diverse topics on here where I can: art, music, creepy crawly creatures, toffee apples, etc.  But I don't think I've ever written about Andy Warhol

nor Madonna

nor Sonic Youth

So I set myself a challenge.

When I think of Andy Warhol – and I suppose it’s inevitable – but one of the first things I think of is a big yellow banana.

And there is even a picture out there of Madonna with a big yellow banana so that’s two out of the above three in one go.

(While I’m on the subject of Andy Warhol I'd just like to use this opportunity to show a couple of lesser known album covers of his in which I find his pen and ink illustrations really fresh and charming.  Being early pieces from 1958 these are quite different to the boldly coloured screen print imagery perhaps most associated with him now.

Lovely, aren't they?  But I digress...)

Now, Sonic Youth..... When I think of Sonic Youth I think of New York.

There is even a French album called '(Les Inrockuptibles pr√©sentent) Le New York d'Andy Warhol' (if you say it out loud, it sounds great!) and Sonic Youth feature on it, so that’s also two out of the above three in one go.

Great cover pic too  (love Edie Sedgwick).

Madonna....?   When I think of Madonna, I think not only of pointy bras but also of  Into The Groove, which was a big hit in 1985, right in the middle of my stint working in a record shop, and I’m sure many dozens of copies must have passed through my hands in exchange for half a crown (or whatever it was they cost in those days, I honestly can't remember - I'd take a stab at about £1.20 but could be completely out...?)

There is even a cover version of Into The Groove, by a Sonic Youth side project, with Andy Warhol art on the sleeve.


Three out of three!
In 1986, Sonic Youth borrowed  Madonna’s surname to form Ciccone Youth with Mike Watt of the Minutemen/fIREHOSE, and they released one single and one album.  I think they had a bit of an obsession going on with Madonna and the letter y because they featured the former on the cover of their album (an enlarged, tone-reduced Xerox of her face which apparently she was fine about), and then titled it The Whitey Album, whilst their version of Into the Groove became Into The Groovey.

Ciccone Youth: The Whitey Album sleeve. 

The 12” single artwork, which I’m not sure was officially sanctioned by Andy Warhol, nevertheless used the same imagery/headline from a New York Post front page which he’d worked on as a graffitied screenprint in collaboration with fellow artist Keith Haring.  And so it seems to be pretty much credited to him.

Ciccone Youth: 12" single cover

The original newspaper page

Andy and Keith with screenprints

The 12” includes two other tracks, Tuff Titty Rap and their take on another Madonna song, ‘Burnin’ Up’.  But Into The Groovey is the one that does it for me – fast-moving and quite stripped-back with its electronic rhythm and treated vocals, still recognisable but at the same time completely, utterly different.  I like that about a cover version – when you know the song, and you know it really well, but it’s moved so far away from the original that there’s only the merest familiarity.

So here it is….  

Ciccone Youth:  Into The Groovey

I got there in the end.

The Ciccone Youth sleeve gets photobombed


  1. Nicely done C. 'Into The Groovey' is a great cover. I love those Warhol Jazz sleeves too.

    1. They're great, aren't they? I know I said over at your place that jazz isn't really my cup of tea, but jazz sleeves? - surely some of the best artwork and graphics out there. I wish I liked jazz more just so I could have an excuse to collect and pore over the covers!

  2. I'm a fan of all 3. And all of the above.

    1. Well I know you're a man of taste so I appreciate that!

  3. Those Blue Note covers are amazing. If you ever find yourself in Pittsburgh, USA, make a stop at the Andy Warhol Museum. It's really well done. I liked that Ciccone Youth album quite a bit, and I'm wondering just now what ever happened to it. Doesn't seem to be on the shelf.

    1. The Andy Warhol Museum sounds great, I know I'd enjoy it... now just have to figure out a trip to Pittsburgh!
      Re. your Ciccone Youth album, it's one of those "where do I file?" items, depending on whether you're an alphabetical / associated artist / genre filer. A few possibilities for that one!

  4. Well loads of interest in this post - Nicely linked together with all the imagery. Liked those Andy Warhol ablum covers from the '50s and very different from his later works. Not sure about Into The Groovey because I love the original by Madonna and the film it came from - The only time she really acted well in a film I think because she was essentially playing herself. Bit of photobombing going on as you say but a very nice pic from the mid '80s I'm guessing? The Tee hee post featured underneath shows that spectacular hair we've heard about also, so good on you - My very fine hair would never have played ball however much product I used so very jealous!

    1. Thanks Alyson - it was time for a few more pics as they seem to have been lacking in my last couple of months' posts. I can understand about Into The Groovey, it's a long way from the original, part of the appeal for me but a very different beast!
      Re. hair... that 'you may also like' widget is usually pretty random (I can't control its choices) so it's weird that it keeps showing that Tee Hee post, maybe there's a rather creepy face recognition thing encrypted in it?! Don't be jealous, I have very fine hair and it's also naturally wavy... it took a ridiculous amount of effort and various substances to get it to defy gravity and then a little bit of mist or rain would make it go floppy and curly within seconds of contact. Far too much of a palaver really. But compared to what some teenage girls seem to do to, and spend on, their appearances now, probably nothing in comparison!

  5. A pictorial history of New York - very entertaining

    1. Ta CC, I hadn't thought of it as a pictorial history of NY, I like that. And what isn't clear in the photo but what I've only just remembered is that the final photo was taken not long after my one and only trip to NY and I'm holding a Macy's mug I bought over there. Serendipity!


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