In the MP3 era, we don’t really have album covers per se, anymore.

Personally, I think that this is a dang shame.

On one level, the whole “album cover” thing was a strange idea in the first place. “How do we market this song/artist?” “Well, we’re going to have a model wearing what looks like a white dress at first glance… but then, when you look closer, she’s actually covered in whipped cream that has been sculpted to look like a white dress!” “Brilliant! What’s the music on the album going to be like?” “Brass instrumentals.”

Going through any given list of the worst or weirdest album covers of all time are usually good for a chuckle or three, but if you want a list of “best album covers”, you’re stuck with lists that, for some reason, are overwhelmingly populated by albums from the five years prior to the list’s publication with the #3, #2, and #1 slots reserved for, depending on the writer, some combination of Sgt. Pepper’s, Velvet Underground, and Sticky Fingers.

None of those album covers really stayed with me, though. I mean, going back now, I can tell you that Sergeant Pepper’s cover was brilliant just because of how “busy” it was (you’d always find something new!), Velvet Underground’s was funny because, get this, it had a sticker on it… and Sticky Fingers was funny because, yes, the zipper actually worked.

The latter two didn’t translate to CD because they became mere photographs of the original covers and the former one didn’t really translate to CD because you, seriously, needed a magnifying glass to see anything more than the ability to say “yep, that’s Sgt. Pepper’s all right”.

So then I started thinking about the album covers that still stick with me, even after all these years and get me to say “you know, that really was a brilliant album cover…” and the first ones that always come to mind are the four solo albums from the members of Kiss:

What an amazing marketing gimmick. What a strange set of icons. What an amazing set of album covers…

Sgt. Pepper’s, Sticky Fingers, and Velvet Underground don’t even hold a candle.

So… whad’ya got?

Staff Writer
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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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19 thoughts on “Tuesday!

  1. Kansas – Leftoverture

    It was mom & dad’s album, but I used to stare at the art on that…

    Also, ELO had fun covers.


    • +1 for Yes album covers

      I also have to give Iron Maiden props. Their guy who did all the Eddie covers and artwork had an eye for detail that still keeps me looking at those covers.


  2. Well, I just found this, which is a takeoff on Whipped Cream & Other Delights (which you referenced in the title). I listened the hell out of that album once upon a time, and I’m going to listen to a lot more of Audrey Ochoa, I think:


  3. Agreed with the other commentators re: Judas Priest and Yes.

    A few favorites, in no particular order, across several genres, no regard given to the quality of the music inside:

    Journey, “Infinity” through “Frontiers”
    Billy Joel, “Glass Houses”
    The Rolling Stones, “Some Girls” (original LP with the cutouts for the faces)
    Curtis Mayfield, “Curtis”
    Isaac Hayes, “Black Moses” (original LP fold-out)
    Kraftwerk, “Trans-Europe Express” through “Electric Cafe”
    U2, “War”
    The Clash, “London Calling”
    Led Zeppelin, “Houses of the Holy”

    Strangely enough, I put Kraftwerk and Kiss are right up there with the Beatles in terms of successfully turning photos of the band members into lasting icons. I think that most album covers based on band photographs are awful, particularly after a few decades have elapsed.


  4. Dang, now I’m going to have to do some crate digging.

    Here’s some gooders off the top of my head…

    Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Ummagumma
    Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
    King Crimson – Lizard


    • DSotM is recognized by everyone! It’s iconic. Animals, to me, is the coolest Floyd cover. It truly conveys the brooding atmosphere of the album. Floyd paid attention to the artwork they used, and it really showed throughout its career.

      For covers with the bands faces on them, The Doors’ first really tells the tale. Pretty boy Jim Morrison bigger than life, then the out of focus ones.


  5. Rush – Exit Stage Left (front and back for full effect)
    Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – So Far (cover art by Joni Mitchell)
    The Cars – Candy-O (not as big a seller as their first album, but the iconic cover that most people associate with the band)


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