In a world of disposable digital music the art of the album cover is dying a low death. To me, album cover art is one of the best parts of a new record. The art can show so much about the band and it’s music, it can also make you want to buy the record, even if you don’t know who the artist is. I am sure anyone reading this bought a new record at one point in time soely based on the cover. That being said here is a list of my ten (giver or take a few) album cover of all time. Please note: As you can see, I like the ones that cause a bit of a controversy.

Black Sabbath
(1970, Warner Bros. Records)
The scariest album cover of all time, period. Not to mention the scariest song of all time “Black Sabbath.”

Bow Wow Wow
See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!
(1981, One Way Records)
This album cover was hugely controversial because front woman Annabella Lwin was underage. Her mother even comissioned a Scotland Yard investigation for ” alleged exploitation of a minor for immoral purposes.” A deal was made with the band’s management and Levin’s mother, but it wasn’t the first or the last time the Mohawk sporting lead singer would appear naked.

The Clash
London Calling
(1979, Epic Records)
To me this is such an incredibly powerful image with the bassists Paul Simonon smashing his Fender Precision Bass at The Palladium in New York City on September 21, 1979. The photo was taken by Pennie Smith (she thought that it was too out of focus) and became one of the best album covers of all time as it paid homage to Elvis Presley’s self-titled debut album.

The Cult
Sonic Temple
(1989, Beggars Banquet Records)
I just love this cover. The picture of guitarist Billy Duffy in that classic rock pose with his Gibson Les Paul and kind of hidden in a wash of red color is lead singer  Ian Astbury. The black and red colors make the silver lettering just pop off the cover too.

Dead Kennedys
(1985 Alternative Tentacles Records)
Shriners in tiny cars wearing Poba hats? Hell yes count me in. but the real controversy was on the inside when the Dead Kennedy’s added a poster of H. R. Giger’s “Landscape #XX.” The band was taken to trial for “distributing harmful matter to minors.” Front man and Alternative Tentacles label owner won the case and became a hero for freedom of speech.

Juliana Hatfield
Made in China
(2005 Ye Olde Records)
Juliana Hatfield has always come off as a shy self conscious person, which she is truly. In the 1990s when she started her own record label Ye Olde Records she started becoming more risqué taking semi-nude and provocative images dfor her album art work, case in point Made In very sexy.

Jimi Hendrix
Electric Ladyland
1968, Track Records)
This album cover was banned as you can see why, especially when you opened the gatefold album cover and there were 19 naked ladies on the cover. The photo was taken by by photographer David Montgomery, who also shot the inside cover portrait of Hendrix. When the cover was banned the record label used a blurry psychedelic picture of Hendrix’ head.

King’s X
Faith Hope Love
(1990, Megafoce Records)
Technically called Faith Hope Love By King’s X this album cover has so much going on for a picture that looks simple. All the letters of the album title and band name has individual drawings or carvings of people, images and art work. It is very intriguing and fun to look at.

Love Gun
(1977, Casablanca Records)
This was the first piece of muic I ever owned. My Mom bought me the vinyl after seeing “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” on television. For a six-year-old boy this album cover was almost like porn with all the scantly clad women on the cover.

Jane’s Addiction
Nothing’s Shocking
(1988, Warner Bros.Records)
The one thing I never understood about this album cover was why they put cowhide as a background and made the main art smaller. The two girls should have taken up all the cover space. Perry Farrell created the cover of a pair of nude female conjoined twins sitting on a sideways rocking chair with their heads on fire.  At the time nine out of the eleven leading record store chains refused to carry Nothing’s Shocking, and the record had to be issued covered with brown paper.

Roxy Music
Country Life
(1974, Virgin Records)
Models Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald will live on forever thanks to this controversial album cover shot by Karl Stoecker. Lead singer Brian Ferry found these girls and influenced them to do the photo shoot as well as to help him with the words to the song “Bitter-Sweet.” And as you would expect the cover was censored in the United States, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Courtesy of Tory Michael & Innocent Words