Legendary Jam frontman Paul Weller performed an exclusive charity gig at Pallant House Gallery on Saturday night (22 Sept 2012) to celebrate the 80th birthday of Sir Peter Blake.
The guest of honour was Sir Peter Blake himself, whose extensive musical connections are currently being celebrated at the Gallery with a major exhibition called ‘Peter Blake and Pop Music' (until 7 October 2012).
Best known for designing the iconic album cover for The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the ‘Godfather of Pop Art' has been has been closely linked with pop music since the 1950s. Not only has he painted images inspired by his musical heroes such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Sammy Davis Junior but he has also worked closely with musicians and bands including Oasis, The Who and Eric Clapton to create some of the most recognisable album covers of the last 50 years.
One of the most celebrated is Paul Weller's hit 1995 album Stanley Road which features a picture of the Modfather as a child holding up a photograph of himself as an adult, bordered by images of some of Weller's ‘favourite things' and a selection of Blake's most celebrated and copied Pop Art icons: the heart, target and star. The original collage for the cover, along with the collage for the inner sleeve of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band, can be seen in the exhibition at Pallant House Gallery.
Speaking of the Stanley Road cover Weller said: "The sleeve is iconic, isn't it? It's a work of art and a statement of its time. I loved it and always will. It captured many of the things I loved when growing up. I love the stark colours and energy it captures. It's like all great sleeves - it gives you a very clear idea of the music inside. "My choices were the mod on his scooter, Georgie Best, a very young Aretha, the Small Faces figurines, the old green bus, which reminded me of Surrey County buses from my youth, and the pictures of my mum, dad and sister from the 1950s and 60s."
Weller who recently stated that he'd had four teachers in life, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, paid homage to The Beatles with a crowd-pleasing rendition of ‘All You Need is Love'. He finished the set with ‘You do something to me' from Stanley Road.
The performance was followed by a successful auction with prizes including an exclusive limited edition screenprint of Blake's renowned portrait of ‘The Beatles 1962' which is housed in the Gallery's own Permanent Collection and can also be seen in the exhibition.
Sir Peter and guests later sat down to a dinner of the artist's favourite dishes including steak and ale pie, prepared by Field and Fork at Pallant House Gallery.
Guests included Sir Peter's daughter Rose Blake, herself an illustrator; Chrissie Blake; Vanessa Branson; Nigel Wainwright and Mark Swift of De'Longhi (Headline sponsors of the Gallery 2012); and Christian Flackett and Joe McLoughlin of GAM (sponsors of Peter Blake & Pop Music).
All proceeds raised from the evening will go towards the Gallery's Endowment Fund which was established in 2002 to generate an annual income from the interest and sustain the long-term future of the Gallery. Monies raised will be match funded up to £1m through the Catalyst Endowment Grant.