What's the best album cover of all time?

4 Answers

Melinda Moore Profile
Melinda Moore , Has a stupidly-large collection of vinyl, answered

Gosh, the best album cover of all time? That's a toughie, so I may have to cheat and choose a top five, or maybe even ten!

It's a great question, though, as I really miss being able to see cover artwork on the scale of a 12" album cover - tiny CD covers just aren't the same, and digital downloads are even worse, in terms of lacking visual imagery! 

I'm not even sure what order I'd put my top ten in, so I think I'm just going to have to list them at random. Here goes:

First up, is the cover of Grace Jones' "Nightclubbing". I love the strength of this image of Grace, who so often resembles a gorgeous, polished statuette. It's a great album, too.

My next choice is a controversial one (and I didn't much like the album itself): Bow Wow Wow's "See Jungle".

The band were created by Malcolm McLaren and the album cover - based on Manet's famous painting, "Le dejeuner sur l'herbe" - caused a major controversy when it was released. This was because Annabella Lwin, the frontwoman of the band, was only fifteen at the time she was photographed nude.

Interestingly, Manet's painting (below) also caused controversy when it was finished, in 1863, as it was considered scandalous to have a naked woman sitting next to two fully-dressed men.

My third choice is an iconic one: The Velvet Underground and Nico's album of the same name, featuring artwork by one of my favourite pop artists, Andy Warhol.

And my next choice probably won't surprise anyone, either - David Bowie's sublime, "Aladdin Sane".

Returning to controversial album covers, no list would be complete without the Sex Pistols' notorious "Never Mind The B*ll*cks". (Apologies to anyone who might be offended by this one!)

My next choice is the cover of The Clash's album, "London Calling."

Although I was a teenager when this album came out, and own a copy of it myself, I hadn't realised until researching this question that the cover seems to have been based on the artwork of Elvis Presley's self-titled album, below.

My next choice is another album that everyone seemed to own in the late '70s, The Eagles' "Hotel California".

I'm starting to struggle now, as there are still too many great album covers left to choose from, so I'm going to pick ones which I recognise without even having to look closely at them for the rest of this list - like this one: the cover of T-Rex's album, "Electric Warrior".

Next up is the cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours". As an added bonus, the album still sounds fresh today, and the cover is instantly recognisable - to anyone of my generation, anyway.

At number ten, an album that no collection of iconic album covers would be complete without: The soundtrack from "Saturday Night Fever". 

Of course, this is the one featuring John Travolta in his white suit, and doing that dance move, which has been responsible for a lot of very bad dad dancing at family weddings, ever since. 

Finally, I'm going to cheat and add just one more - taking me to a random list of eleven: The cover from Tom Wait's fabulous album, "Small Change".

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Lily Bradic
Lily Bradic commented
Ooh, "See Jungle" has a brilliant cover. I hadn't seen that one before, so thanks for sharing!
Andrea Heatherington
Wow, you picked some awesome covers. I remember the first time I saw the London Calling album cover. I was a teenager in the 1990's, and it was epic.
Melinda Moore
Melinda Moore commented
Hey, guys, thanks for the comments! I'd never thought of the difficulty of choosing tracks when DJ-ing, before, Pete - but can imagine it must be a nightmare with no visual imagery to help you along! Andrea, thanks for the comment - did you know the cover of "London Calling" was based on Elvis's album cover? I had no idea until I was researching this answer...
Dan Banks Profile
Dan Banks answered

In my opinion the greatest album cover of all time is 'My Bloody Valentine's' 'Loveless' cover. It's a simple, yet powerful image of a guitar which completely captures the vibe of the album in image form.

The cover is of a guitar (a Fender Jazzmaster I believe) covered in smoke and bathed in bright pink/purple light. The simplicity and power of the image speak volumes about the tracks on the album, and the cover certainly does one of the finest shoegaze albums of all time justice.

James Mackay Profile
James Mackay , Music Lover, answered

You can't beat the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon. Not only a brilliant album but a great album cover.

Some other great album covers in my opinion are Nirvana's Nevermind and Rage Against The Machine's self-titled album. Again these are both great albums as well as album covers.

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Melinda Moore
Melinda Moore commented
I nearly added the Pink Floyd cover, too - but didn't as I don't much like Pink Floyd, much to husband's disgust. He kept insisting I included "Dark Side of the Moon"!
James Mackay
James Mackay commented
I listened to it a lot growing up, but it wasn't until I was older that I appreciated how good an album it is.
Melinda Moore
Melinda Moore commented
I'm older than you, and still don't appreciate it...much to Pink Floyd fans' disgust!
Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered

Just in terms of the furore and controversy it created, I'm going to go with Marilyn Manson's cover for Mechanical Animals.

Due to his stage name (a yin-yang combination of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson), many people that saw this this album cover were unsure what Manson's actual gender was.

Coupled with the fact that the band had just hit MTV and reached critical acclaim in in the "mainstream" with songs like The Dope Show and Rock is Dead - I think this is a great contender for best album cover ever!

The album also deals with Hollywood culture, the rise in popularity of cosmetic surgery and designer drugs in '90s America, and themes like androgyny and iconography - all themes that are summed up pretty well in one simple, eye-catching (and shocking) photo.

The final reason I find this album art interesting is that its release was timed to follow a series of high-profile protests against Marilyn Manson's music. Provocative in the extreme.

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