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Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1970s

The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1970s include Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention's 1970 "Weasels Ripped My Flesh," Led Zeppelin's 1973 "Houses of the Holy," Pink Floyd's 1973 "Dark Side of the Moon" and Roxy Music's 1974 "Country Life."

Andy Warhol Designed Album Covers
American artist and filmaker Andy Warhol is regarded as the father of Pop Art. In adddition to his highly recognizable consumer pop art objects, such as repeated neon soup cans or Elvis images, he designed a number of album covers.

Mati Klarwein Album Covers
Mati Klarwein's art work calls to mind psychedelic, surrealistic landscapes that became the natural choice for music in the same vein including Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" and Santana's "Abraxas."

Album Cover Spoofs
While not necessarily related musically, albums can be related visually with cover designs that imitate influential albums or famous cover designs. Try to name the original albums that these covers imitate.

Album Cover Spoofs
While not necessarily related musically, albums can be related visually with cover designs that imitate influential albums or famous cover designs. Try to name the original albums that these covers imitate.

Album Cover Spoofs
While not necessarily related musically, albums can be related visually with cover designs that imitate influential albums or famous cover designs. Try to name the original albums that these covers imitate.

Whip Cream and Other Delights
There have been several visual parodies of Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass's eyebrow raising 1965 album. Later artists experimented with other edibles such as sour cream, clam dip, spaghetti and sweet cream.

Paying Homage with Cover Art: Elvis and Bookends
Many album cover designs that leverage previously released album art typically have more to do with the similarity of the artists' statement in their respective genres than the actual similarity in musical styles. Furthermore, the similarly designed albums are often tributes and contain covers of compositions by the original artist. Two examples of cover art mimicry include The Clash's 1979 "London Calling" mimicking Elvis Presley's 1956 "Elvis Presley" and Joe Kruder and Dorfmeister's 1996 "G-Stoned EP" mimicking Simon and Garfunkel's 1968 "Bookends."

Paying Homage with Cover Art: Perspective and Sonny Rollins
Many album cover designs that leverage previously released album art typically have more to do with the similarity of the artists' statement in their respective genres than the actual similarity in musical styles. Furthermore, the similarly designed albums are often tributes and contain covers of compositions by the original artist. Two examples of cover art mimicry include Tone-Loc's 1989 "Loc-ed After Dark" mimicking Donald Byrd's 1963 "A New Perspective" and Joe Jackson's 1984 "Body and Soul" mimicking Sonny Rollin's 1957 "Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2."

Mapplethorpe Covers, Robert
Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) designed a number of album covers starting with the Patti Smith 1975 album, "Horses." He typically photographed his subjects with interesting natural lighting or shadow effects.

Liebowitz Album Covers, Annie
The American photographer Annie Leibovitz is known for her iconic portraits of celebrities. A number of album covers feature her work which typically captures some aspect of the artist's public persona. Examples include Bruce Springsteen on "Born in the U.S.A.," Cyndi Lauper on "True Colors," Mick Jagger on "Wandering Spirit" and Patti Smith on "Gone Again."

Joni Mitchell - Album Cover Paintings
Mitchell has been making art since the late '60s. Many of her album covers feature her own artwork. In particular, her paintings can be seen on "Mingus," "Turbulent Indigo", "Taming the Tiger," and "Both Sides Now."

Giger Album Covers, H.R.
The acclaimed surrealist artist H.R. Giger's style is termed the "biomechanical style" and has appeared on a handful of album covers. Giger is best known as the designer of the terrifying aliens in the "Alien" movie series.

Dylan Cover Art, Bob
Folk poet and American song troubadour Bob Dylan designed a few album covers including two of his own albums "Self Portrait" (1970), "Planet Waves" (1974) and one for the Band "Music From Big Pink" (1968).

Musician Artwork on Album Covers
The idea of providing cover artwork for L.P. (long player) records started in 1948 with the ground breaking work of Columbia Records designer guru, Alex Steinweiss. Execution of what appeared on the album cover was not typically the purview of the musician. In the late '60s and early '70s examples begin to appear where original musician artwork appears on album covers. The examples shown here are Cat Stevens' "Tea for the Tillerman" (1970) and "Mona Bone Jakon" (1970) both illustrated by Stevens, Bob Dylan's "Self Portrait" (1970) and "Planet Waves" (1974) painted by Dylan.

Americana Artwork
Americana can loosely be defined as a style that captures the essence of past American culture. Americana was never a very dominant theme for rock album covers but there are a handful of examples.

Neoclassical Cover Designs
In the '80s and through the '90s there was a return to neoclassical themes for cover design. This may have been partly as a reaction to the garrish and often simplistic punk themes and designs of the late '70s.

Varying the Album Package
Every now and then an artist releases an album or EP with multiple cover designs - usually with slight variations on a theme. A recent example is Beck's 2002 release "Sea Change."

The Golden Suit
Elvis' second compilation album released in 1958 featured multiple images of the King in a gold lame suit. The same motif has been used several times in other contexts: the German group Blumfeld's "L'Etat et Moi," Lemmy's tribute to rockabilly and a compilation by the Fall.

The Banned Beatles Album Cover
The cover of 1966's "Yesterday and Today" was the first cover to be banned in the US. The original featured the quartet in butcher smocks, doll parts and raw meat. The replacement featured the group seated on and in a trunk with a simple white background.

Jerry Hall
The supermodel Jerry Hall was featured on the cover of Roxy Music's 1975 album "Siren." At the time she was the girlfriend of Roxy Music's lead singer Bryan Ferry. She would later to go on to marry the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles' cover for their 1967 release "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is considered the turning point in album cover design. Prior to this album, record labels generally controlled the cover design. After this album, artists began to dictate the cover design.

Ringo and the Day the Earth Stood Still
Former Beatle, Ringo Starr's 1974 album "Goodnight Vienna" featured Ringo emerging from a spaceship and commanding a robot. The album cover references the 1951 science fiction movie classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still." In the movie, Klaatu is an interplanetary traveler with a robot-bodyguard named Gort.

Title Tattoos
Sensual tattoos have been used been used many times to display an album’s title or artist name, such as Annie Lennox's 1995 "Medusa," Cyndi Lauper's 2002 "Shine," Sublime's 1996 debut "Sublime," and Cerrone's 1976 "Love in C Minor." The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian noun "tatau." Samuel O'Reilly invented the electric tattooing machine in 1891, improving upon an earlier machine invented by Thomas Edison.

Little Feat Album Cover Design
Neon Park (1940-1993), aka Martin Muller, was the free spirited California designer responsible for a number of surreal and humorous album covers of the '70s boogie rockers, Little Feat. In particular, his design for their 1972 effort "Salin' Shoes" with a piece of cake on a swing is one of the most memorable album covers of the '70s. The location of the missing piece raised a few eyebrows upon its release.

Brain Salad Surgery Cover
The Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) 1973 release "Brain Salad Surgery" was tentatively entitled "Whip Some Skull On Ya." As equally provocative as the name, was the cover design featuring a triptych by the renowned Swiss artist H.R. Giger, entitled "Landscape XIX – Work Z16." Two panels of the triptych opened to reveal the third image of a woman with an otherworldly headdress. A phallic object under the woman’s chin was toned down with airbrushing before printing, much to the dismay of ELP and Giger.

Peter Max Cover Art
Peter Max is an artist that was part of the Pop Art movement which emerged in the 1950s and continued into the '60s and '70s. Pop Art celebrates the everyday and mass-produced – often drawing inspiration from media and advertising. After 1970, Max focused almost exclusively on developing his distinctive painting style found on album covers for Nicolette Larson, The Band, Badfinger and Aretha Franklin. Maxed served as an artist for the Grammy's and was the painter of the "40 Gorbys," an homage to Mikhail Gorbachov.

Fingerprints Cover Design Theme
Fingerprints offer an infallible way to identify people. Around the turn of the 20th century, fingerprints began to be used for criminal identification, first in England and then in the United States. Fingerprints became popular album cover designs in the late part of the 20th century, such as in the 1980 Chicago X1V album by Chicago, the 1995 "I Am" album by Ke and the 2003 "Keep on Your Mean Side" album by The Kills.

Lonely Hearts and Satanic Majesties
On the famous Beatles' 1967 "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" cover there is a doll wearing a Rolling Stones tee shirt. It was used as a good humor indication that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones did indeed get on well, contrary to common popular belief at the time. The Stones reciprocated by including four hidden pictures of the Beatles on their 1967 "Satanic Majesties" album cover.

Peter Blake Album Covers
The father of the British pop movement, artist Peter Blake, helped orchestrate the famous Beatles' cover for their 1967 "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The collage features the foursome among their heroes including dignitaries, friends, actors and even wax models of themselves! Blake also designed the Who's 1981 "Face Dances," Paul Weller's 1995 "Stanley Road" and illustrated Eric Clapton's 1991 "24 Nights."

Physical Graffiti and Some Girls
Both the 1975 Led Zeppelin album "Physical Graffiti" and the 1978 Rolling Stones' album "Some Girls" cover designs involved artist Peter Corriston. Both were complex productions that had sliding sleeves with windows revealing different characters. The photo for the Zeppelin album is a New York apartment in whose windows a gallery of eclectic celebrities is shown. On "Some Girls" as similar concept is used, however, images of famous people were replaced with band members in wigs due to copyright issues.

Design Similarity: Orleans and Pablo Cruise
The groups Orleans and Pablo Cruise both were predominantly active in the 1970s, releasing music in the soft rock style. Interestingly, Pablo Cruise's 1976 "Lifeline" and Orleans' 1976 "Waking & Dreaming" share a similar cover art design aesthetic as well. The groups are shown nude, in an innocent, relaxed and even confident manner. The design seems to reflect the 1970s attitudes trends towards increased sexual freedom and relaxation about the human body.

Album Covers By Frank W. Ockenfels 3
Frank Ockenfels is a popular portrait photographer who has photographed celebrity personalities such as Hilary Clinton, Tom Waits and Martin Scorcese. His work for album covers includes over 200 album covers. Examples include Everclear's 1997 "So Much for the Afterglow," Robbie William's 1999 "The Ego Has Landed," Curt Smith's 1993 "Soul on Board" and Michelle Shocked's 1991 "Arkansas Traveler." Ockenfels' approach is to use existing light, making it colloborate with the subject.

Design Similarity: Air and Command Performance
Enoch Light's early 1960s release, "Provocative Percussion Vol 3" exploited the new, stereo technology of the time to its fullest in the exotica style. The cover features the appropriately modern-feeling art from Bauhaus artist Joseph Albers. In 1999, the French duo Air released "Premier Symptomes." It reflects some of the same design aesthetic on its cover as "Provocative Percussion" did. This time around the music is instrumental, down tempo synth-pop that has a decidedly fresh and modern appeal much like Light's albums.

Vincent Van Gogh Cover Art
When musicians look to leverage famous paintings for their album art, Vincent Van Gogh (1836-1890) is popular choice. Van Gogh art pieces featured on album covers include "Wheat Field Under Threatening Skies" (1890) used by the soul/funk outfit the Blackbyrds, "Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun" (1889) used by new age artist Deuter, "The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum" (1888) used on the compilation of jazz artist Thomas Talbert and "Orchard Blossom (Plum Trees)" (1888) used on the jazz piano album by Peter Noonan.

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1960s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1960s include The Velvet Underground's 1967 "Peel Slowly and See," John Lennon's 1968 "Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins," Big Brother and the Holding Company's 1968 "Cheap Thrills" and Jimi Hendrix's 1968 "Electric Ladyland."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1960s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1960s include the Beatles' 1963 "With the Beatles," 1967 "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," 1968 "The Beatles (The White Album)" and 1969 "Abbey Road."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1970s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1970s include The Rolling Stones' 1971 "Sticky Fingers" and 1972 "Exile on Main Street," The Eagles' 1976 "Hotel California" and The Sex Pistols' 1977 "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1970s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1970s include David Bowie's 1973 "Aladdin Sane," The Ramones' 1976 "Ramones," Elvis Costello's 1977 "My Aim Is True" and The Clash's 1979 "London Calling."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1970s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1970s include Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention's 1970 "Weasels Ripped My Flesh," Led Zeppelin's 1973 "Houses of the Holy," Pink Floyd's 1973 "Dark Side of the Moon" and Roxy Music's 1974 "Country Life."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1970’s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Three of the picks from the 1970s include Marvin Gaye's 1971 "What's Going On," Yes's 1974 "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and Fleetwood Mac's 1977 "Rumours."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1980s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1980s include: Duran Duran's 1982 "Rio," R.E.M.'s 1983 "Murmur," Prince's 1988 "Lovesexy" and Jane's Addiction's 1988 "Nothing's Shocking."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1980s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1980s include U2's 1980 "Boy," Bruce Springsteen's 1984 "Born in the U.S.A.," Madonna's 1984 "Like a Virgin" and the Beastie Boys' 1986 "Licensed to Ill."

Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Album Covers, 1990s
The Rolling Stone Magazine has been covering music and music industry issues since its start in 1967 amidst the counterculture of the late 1960s. The magazine has selected its 50 favorite album covers. Four of the picks from the 1990s include Nirvana's 1991 "Nevermind," Prodigy's 1997 "The Fat of the Land," Marilyn Manson's 1998 "Mechanical Animals" and Blink-182's 1999 "Enema of the State."

Keith Haring Cover Art
Pop artist Keith Haring's (1958-1990) artwork is perhaps some of the most distinctively and widely recognized art from the 1980s. Haring's thickly outlined figures and bold colors were part of his own symbolic language which had its roots in his early experiments in subway graffiti. Before his death from AIDS-related complications, he established the Keith Haring Foundation to continue his charitable support of children's and AIDS-related organizations. Haring's art appears on a number of music compilations covers.

Never Mind Album Cover Design
The cover of the punk landmark 1977 Sex Pistol’s album "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols" features only the title written in a ransom letter-like font. The designer, British artist Jamie Reid, developed his agitprop graphics style and torn typography in the early 1970s. After the Pistol's manager, Malcolm McLaren, enlisted Reid to help on the Sex Pistols release, the style became indelibly linked to punk. The cover design was mimicked in several later albums designs related to the Sex Pistols.

Film Noir Themed Covers
With scenes that recall classic film noir movie posters of post World War II, these album covers speak of murder and mayhem. A fatal woman (of femme fatale in French) is a powerful icon often depicted in literary and film noir. Each of these album covers includes one femme fatale as the focus of attention. Quentin Tarantino's 1994 film "Pulp Fiction" used used many film noir elements. The femme fatale pictured on the soundtrack cover is actress Uma Thurman who starred in the movie.

Show Me Those Shoes
Shoes on the cover are hardly a popular theme but some interesting examples nonetheless exist. Kate Bush's "Red Shoes" 1993 references the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Red Shoes" written in 1845. ELO's "Eldorado" 1974 references the Wizard of OZ and Dorothy's ruby slippers. Joe Jackson's 1979 "Look Sharp!" is a reminder of the dress style of the emerging new wave style. On the New Radicals "Mabye You’ve Been Brainwashed Too" 1998 album cover, the shoes contain a bar code, perhaps in a cynical nod to the soulessness of the late 1990s.

Take Me Out to the Amusement Park
Pictured on these album covers are scenes one might encounter in a trip to an amusement park. On Dave Matthews' 1994 "Under the Table and Dreaming" and Kila's 2003 "Luna Park" a ride called the Wave Swinger is shown. On Emerson, Lake & Palmer's 1992 "Black Moon" a carousel is depicted. Finally, on the Red House Painters' 1993 self-titled release a rather old looking roller coaster is in the background of the photo.

Smiths Cover Designs, The
With veiled references to homosexuality and ringing guitar riffs, The Smiths' "Hand in Glove" 1983 EP became an underground sensation in the UK. This was the start of a series of EP's and albums with controversial themes that would take the group to the top of the British charts. The group's lead singer, the enigmatic Morrissey, was key to the cover design of many of the releases. In particular, the first covers featured men models and stills from movies such as Andy Warhol's "Flesh" used on their self-titled 1984 release.

Shusei Nagaoka Cover Art
The Japanese born, US-based artist, Shusei Nagaoka, designed a number of albums in the mid to late '70s and early '80s. His style is reminiscent of Roger Dean with it emphasis on illustrated, fantastical and futuristic landscapes. Examples of Nagaoka’s work includes Jefferson Starship’s 1976 "Spitfire," Electric Light Orchestra's 1977 "Out of the Blue," Earth, Wind and Fire’s 1979 "I Am" and Deep Purple’s 1979 "When We Rock, We Rock and When We Roll, We Roll."

Shusei Nagaoka Cover Art
The Japanese born, US-based artist, Shusei Nagaoka, designed a number of albums in the mid to late '70s and early '80s. His style is reminiscent of Roger Dean with it emphasis on illustrated, fantastical and futuristic landscapes. Besides illustrating covers for more well known artists like Jefferson Starship and Earth, Wind and Fire, Nagaoka created illustrations for the covers for these two lesser known albums: Munich Machine's 1977 "Munich Machine" and Parlet's 1978 "Pleasure Principle."

Annie Liebowitz Album Covers - Women
The American photographer Annie Leibovitz is known for her iconic portraits of celebrities. A number of album covers feature her work which typically captures some aspect of the artist's public persona. In particular, her photos of women musicians portray strong, confident women at the top of their professions. Examples include Dolly Parton’s "Halos and Horns," Judy Collins' "Judy Sings Dylan ... ," Barbra Streisand's "Timeless" and Ella Fitzgerald's "Things Ain't What They Used to Be."

Herb Ritts Photography
Herb Ritts (1952-2002) began to take portraits of friends in the mid 1970s as a hobby. The self-taught photographer's professional career took off after photographing then-upcoming actor Richard Gere in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, Ritts continued to build his reputation as a celebrity portraitist and worked as well in fashion photography and produced album covers and music videos. One of the common themes of Ritts' work is the nude. While not nude, the following album covers are examples of Ritts' work featuring a diverse range of musicians including Brian McKnight, Puff Daddy, James Taylor and Prince.

Herb Ritts Photography
Herb Ritts (1952-2002) began to take portraits of friends in the mid 1970s as a hobby. The self-taught photographer's professional career took off after photographing then-upcoming actor Richard Gere in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, Ritts continued to build his reputation as a celebrity portraitist and worked as well in fashion photography and produced album covers and music videos. One of the common themes of Ritts' work is the nude. While not nude, the following album covers are examples of Ritts' work featuring a diverse range of musicians including Jody Watley, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Cher.

Herb Ritts Photography
Herb Ritts (1952-2002) began to take portraits of friends in the mid 1970s as a hobby. The self-taught photographer's professional career took off after photographing then-upcoming actor Richard Gere in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, Ritts continued to build his reputation as a celebrity portraitist and worked as well in fashion photography and produced album covers and music videos. One of the common themes of Ritts' work is the nude. While not nude, the following album covers are examples of Ritt's work featuring male musicians: Harry Connick Jr.'s "25" (1992), Corey Hart's "The Singles" (1992), Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" (1988) and Kenny G's "Paradise" (2002).

Herb Ritts Photography
Herb Ritts (1952-2002) began to take portraits of friends in the mid 1970s as a hobby. The self-taught photographer's professional career took off after photographing then-upcoming actor Richard Gere in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, Ritts continued to build his reputation as a celebrity portraitist and worked as well in fashion photography and produced album covers and music videos. One of the common themes of Ritts' work is the nude. While not nude, the following album covers are examples of Ritt's work featuring male musicians: Don Henley's "Building the Perfect Beast" (1984), Corey Hart's "Young Man Running" (1989), Joe Cocker's "Ultimate Collection" (2004) and Billy Idol's "Whiplash Smile" (1986).

Herb Ritts Photography
Herb Ritts (1952-2002) began to take portraits of friends in the mid 1970s as a hobby. The self-taught photographer's professional career took off after photographing then-upcoming actor Richard Gere in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, Ritts continued to build his reputation as a celebrity portraitist and worked as well in fashion photography and produced album covers and music videos. One of the common themes of Ritts' work is the nude. While not nude, the following album covers are examples of Ritt's work featuring female musicians: Olivia Newton John "Physical" (1981), Madonna's "True Blue" (1986), Belinda Carlisle's "Runaway Horses" (1989) and Gloria Estefan's "Destiny" (1996).

Herb Ritts Photography
Herb Ritts (1952-2002) began to take portraits of friends in the mid 1970s as a hobby. The self-taught photographer's professional career took off after photographing then-upcoming actor Richard Gere in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, Ritts continued to build his reputation as a celebrity portraitist and worked as well in fashion photography and produced album covers and music videos. One of the common themes of Ritts' work is the nude. While not nude, the following album covers are examples of Ritt's work: Janet Jackson's "Design of a Decade" (1995), Elton John's "Sleeping with the Past" (1989) and Wilson Phillips' "Shadows & Light" (1992).

Lips on the Cover
Large red, female lips are often used as a visual cue aimed at male viewers to represent sex. Studies have suggested that men and women process visual sexual stimuli differently. Activation in the parts of the brain controlling emotion and motivation is higher in male than females when shown arousing images. It is believed that natural selection spurred the development of different sexual behaviors in males and females. The examples of lips shown here are Wild Cherry's "Wild Cherry" (1976), Sammy Hagar's "Three Lock Box" (1983), Yello's "One Second" (1987) and The Nickel Slots "White Lies & Cigarettes" (1989).

Musician Artwork on Album Covers
The idea of providing cover artwork for L.P. (long player) records started in 1948 with the ground breaking work of Columbia Records designer guru, Alex Steinweiss. Execution of what appeared on the album cover was not typically the purview of the musician. In the late '60s and early '70s examples begin to appear where original musician artwork appears on album covers. The examples show here are Joan Baez's "Any Day Now" (1968) and "David's Album" (1969), John Lennon's "Walls and Bridges" (1974) and the Who's "The Who By Numbers" (1975), illustrated by the group's bassist, John Entwhistle.

Barry Jackson Cover Art
After having established a reputation as a record album and movie poster artist in the 80's, Barry Jackson began working as a production designer and visual development artists in movies in the early 1990's. Some of his futuristic and fantastical designs can be seen on album covers like Dio's 1984 "Last Line," Neil Young's 1983 "Trans," ZZ Top's 1985 "Afterburner" and The Band's 1996 "High on the Hog."

Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine's debut album in 1992 was considered one of the first to successfully fuse the sounds of rap and heavy metal. In this musical fusion the group unleashed polemic lyrics against corporate America and government oppression. The rage expressed in the music is echoed in the album cover which features the disturbing image of a person on fire. The photo is an image of a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in protest in Saigon, Vietnam on June 11, 1963. The monk was protesting the rule of Ngo Dihn Diem, the American-supported and authoritarian leader of Vietnam who led an anti-Buddhist campaign.

Design Similarity: Echo & the Bunnymen and Starsailor
The Britpop group Starsailor burst on the scene with their widely hailed 2002 debut "Love Is Here." Their sophomore release "Silence is Easy" has drawn comparisons with their fellow countrymen, Echo and the Bunnymen. Even the Starsailor album cover featured the quartet in a pose by water similar to that of the Echo and the Bunnymen's 1981 release "Heaven Up Here."

Design Similarity: Perrey-Kingsley and the Beastie Boys
Perrey-Kingsley was a French/American duo that experimented in the 1960s in the emerging (and then-futuristic) electronic pop genre. Their 1966 release "The In Sound from Way Out!" featured an album cover that reflected the space age pop sensibility the duo achieved. The title of the release and the design was recycled for the Beastie Boys' 2001 release "The In Sound From Way Out!" which featured a collection of funky, keyboard-driven instrumentals. The Beastie Boys were the first major white rap group. They released a handful of influential albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The Faces of Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa was a controversial figure in music. Starting in the 1960s with the Mothers of Invention and eventually as a solo artist in the 1970s, Zappa has rarely followed form or fashion, instead charting his own musical territory. Over his very prolific career, one visual aspect that stands out is Zappa's distinctive face, and particular his moustache and goatee (or soul patch). Zappa's face has appeared on a number of his album covers. Frank Zappa passed away in 1993.

Les Baxter Cover Art
Like most musical movements of yesteryear, the motivation and appeal of the sounds of a particular time are often hard to understand later. Two of these movements are space age pop and exotica of the 1950s and 1960s. One of the most prolific artists working in these genres was Les Baxter. In particular, Baxter's exotica albums often display whimsical images meant to invoke exotic locales and customs. Exotica and space age pop were culturally and technically motivated. On the cultural side, post war American listening audiences were yearning for tastes of exotic as well as futuristic music which helped the movement gain momentum. On the technical side, advances in recording and stereo were being made which allowed musicians to experiment with the spectrum of sounds. Exotica and space age pop experienced a revival in interest in the 1990s.

Space Age Pop: Astronauts and Aliens
The idea of space travel and aliens figured greatly in the consciousness of Americans in the late 1950s and into the 1960s. The composer and arranger Les Baxter captured the essence of this zeitgeist with his famous 1958 cover of the album "Space Escapade." He used the motif again in 1961 for "The Lost Episode" – the soundtrack from a television special. The indie rock group, Heartworms, duplicated the 1958 motif faithfully for their similarly titled album of spacey indie pop music.

Like Being Born
A normal child birth occurs with the baby's head leading the way. Once the baby's head emerges from the vaginal opening and remains, it is called "crowning." The British group Chumbawamba's 1994 album "Anarchy" features a baby being born at just this phase of child birth. The group has challenged conventions throughout their career and the natural but atypical album cover image is yet another example.

Don Byrd Cover Art Homage
Many album cover designs that leverage previously released album art typically have more to do with the similarity of the artists' statement in their respective genres than the actual similarity in musical styles. Furthermore, the similarly designed albums are often tributes and contain covers of compositions by the original artist. In this example, the 1989 Tone-Loc album "Loc-ed After Dark" and the 2004 Blue Note compilation "Blue Note Revisited" revive the 1963 Donald Byrd design (originally release on the Blue Note label).

Abbey Road for Kids
The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover holds the distinction of being one of the most often mimicked album cover. Some examples of albums aimed at children and using a variation of the Abbey Road cover design include "Snoopy's Beatles" (1995), The King's Singer's "The Beatles Connection" (1988), Sesame Street's "Sesame Road" (1993) and Floyd Domino's "Baby Road" (1989). All of the examples include reinterpretations of Beatles' classics with the Sesame Street album being the most creative: "Hey Food" for "Hey Jude."

Celebrity Golden Throats Vol 1-2 Cover Parodies
Famous movie and television actors singing pop/rock favorites –if not rejected outright - certainly must appeal to the part of one's brain that processes the "that's-so-aweful-it's-good" type of entertainment. The Golden Throat series does just that. The series was kicked off by Rhino Record's release in 1988 of "Golden Throats: The Great Celebrity Sing Off." Volumes 2, 3 and 4 followed in 1991, 1995, 1997, respectively. The cover of Volume 1 is a parody of the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967). The cover of Volume 2 is a parody of the Rolling Stones' "Their Satanic Majesties Request" (1967).

Celebrity Golden Throats Vol 3-4 Cover Parodies
Famous movie and television actors singing pop/rock favorites –if not rejected outright - certainly must appeal to the part of one's brain that processes the "that's-so-aweful-it's-good" type of entertainment. The Golden Throat series does just that. The series was kicked off by Rhino Record's release in 1988 of "Golden Throats: The Great Celebrity Sing Off." Volumes 2, 3 and 4 followed in 1991, 1995, 1997, respectively. The cover of Volume 3 is a parody of the Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" (1968). The cover of Volume 4 is a prody of the Beatles' "Yesterday and Today [Original Cover]" (1966).

Sweethearts of the Rodeo Cover Design
The Byrds' 1968 album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" was a important album in the merging of country and rock. The cover design illustration of a cowgirl in a heart made of flowers had been echoed in subsequent albums. The Sweethearts of the Rodeo who named themselves after the Byrds' album use the design on their 1990 album "Buffalo Zone." The design appears again on the 1995 "Golden Throats 3: Sweet Hearts of the Rodeo Drive" – a compilation album of famous celebrities singing pop/rock classics.

Paying Homage with Cover Art: Heroes and Private Eyes
Many album cover designs that leverage previously released album art typically have more to do with the similarity of the artists' statement in their respective genres than the actual similarity in musical styles. Furthermore, the similarly designed albums are often tributes and contain covers of compositions by the original artist. Two examples of cover art mimicry include Cex's 2003 "Being Ridden" mimicking David Bowie's 1977 "Heroes" and John Auer's and Jon Stringfellow's 2003 "Private Sides [EP]" mimicking Hall & Oates' 1981 "Private Eyes."

Lips on the Cover
Large red, female lips are often used as a visual cue aimed at male viewers to represent sex. Studies have suggested that men and women process visual sexual stimuli differently. Activation in the parts of the brain controlling emotion and motivation is higher in male than females when shown arousing images. It is believed that natural selection spurred the development of different sexual behaviors in males and females. The examples of lips shown here are the Cure's "Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me" (1987), Lil Band O Gold's "Lil Band O Gold" (2000), the Holy Barbarians' "Cream" (1996) and PJ Harvey's "Dry" (2003).

Design Similarity: Elliott Smith and Madonna
Though they have very little to do with each other, one can't help notice the similarity in the swirling backgrounds on Elliot Smith's 2000 "Figure 8" and Madonna's 2002 "Die Another Day" CD-Single. Smith's "Figure 8" was his fifth album. Smith took his life in October 2003.

Design Similarity: Pink Floyd and Soundtrack of Our Lives
The Swedish band The Soundtrack of Our Lives' 2002 release "Behind the Music" cover art bares similarity to Pink Floyd's 2000 release, the live "Is Anybody Out There? The Wall: 1980-1981". Pink Floyd is considered the premier psychedelic, space rock act starting with their first release, 1967's "The Piper at the Gates of the Dawn" and continuing into the 1970s and 1980s. Their 1973 release, "Dark Side of the Moon," is a touchstone album of 1970s rock music. The Soundtrack of Our Lives formed in 1995 in Sweden and often mines the 1960s psychedelic vein of music with a modern twist. "Behind the Music" is the group's third full length release.

Michael Rios Album Cover Artwork
Michael Rios (1947- ) is a California-born artist whose colorful and psychedelic style can be seen on a number of rock album covers. Rios has worked as an illustrator, in his own commercial art and graphics studio; he has created children's books and billboards as well as working in many other artistic endeavors. In the 1970s when muralists began to work outdoors more frequently – creating public artwork, often with a political focus - Rios was instrumental in a number of murals in San Francisco's Mission District that are now an essential part of the city's character. Album covers featuring Michael Rios' work include Santana's 1993 "Sacred Fire," Carlos Santana's 1995 "Dance of the Rainbow Serpent," Steve Winwood's 2003 "About Time" and Jose Neto's 1996 "In Memory of Thunder."

The Artwork of Tamara de Lempicka
Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980) was a painter of the art deco period. She was born in Poland, lived in Russia, but eventually fled the Bolshevik revolution and wound up in Paris in 1919 with her husband and young daughter. After learning to paint she quickly established herself in Parisian high society. Her spare style often involves nudes of physically commanding, confident women - and often in erotic poses. She was sought after as a portrait artist as well. Tamara de Lempicka's work can be seen on the following album covers: Astor Piazzolla's 2001 "Astor Piazzolla in Montreal which features "Young Girl With Gloves" (1929), Astor Piazzolla's 1983 "Adios Nonio" which features "Women with Dove" (1931), Astor Piazzolla's 2004 "Vuelvo Al Sur" which features "Portrait of Ira P." (1933) and the 1994 compilation album "Romantic Approach" which features "Adam and Eve" (ca. 1932).

Rex Ray Album Cover Artwork
Rex Ray (1956- ) is a San Francisco artist who has worked as a fine artist, designer and graphic artist. His art encompasses collages, prints, and photographs and his work has been used in magazines, on posters, and on album covers. A consistent theme in Ray's artwork is his inspired use of color and composition - often described as psychedelic. Album covers featuring Ray's work include the Residents 1989 "The King and I," David Bowie's 2003 "Reality," Matmos' 2001 "Rhinoplasty" and Joe Satriani's 2000 "Engines of Creation." Ray's real name is Michael Patterson. He took the pseudonym "Rex Ray" from a vaporizer he discovered in a thrift store.

Tattoos
Tattoos were once considered only acceptable for the working class. At the turn of the millennium, tattoos could be found in all walks of society. One of the first album covers to prominently feature tattoos is Supertramp's second album, the 1970 "Indelibly Stampled." It featured the tattooed breasts of model Marian Hollier who was reported to have been paid 45 pounds for the photo. Examples of other album covers featuring tattoos include Joseph Arthur's 1997 "Big City Secrets" (tattoo on chest), Cher's 1987 "Cher" (tattoo on hand), and Nelly's 2000 "Country Grammar" (tattoo on stomach).

Owl Butterfly Wings
The owl butterfly (caligo memnon) is a large butterfly of Central America. The large eyespots on the wings are reminiscent of owl eyes and likely serve to scare a potential predator or misdirect the predator away from the butterfly's body and toward the wing. Two albums that contain images of owl butterfly wing eyespots include Dead Can Dance's 1991 compilation "A Passage of Time" and Telepathic Butterflies 2004 "Songs from a Second Wave."

Annie Lennox: Touch and Bare
On Annie Lennox's 2003 "Bare" the liner notes discuss her choice of a ghostly, submissive, androgynous pose on the album cover. Lennox considers the "Bare" cover the mature response to the Eurythmics' 1983 "Touch" album cover. On the latter cover, Lennox is picture in vivid orange/red hair and in an aggressive pose. In contrast, "Bare" offers more subdued imagery reflecting "a mature woman facing up to the failed expectation of life…".

Freddie Hubbard and Giant Steps Album Cover Art
The acid-jazz compilation "Giant Steps" released in 1993 borrows its album cover design from Freddie Hubbard's 1962 release "Hub-Tone." Freddie Hubbard is a jazz trumpeter who began his career in the late 1950s playing in the Hard Bop style. The "Giant Steps" release was released during the emergence of acid-jazz (late 1980s and early 1990s). Acid-jazz artists took a renewed interest in earlier jazz artists (like Hubbard) drawing musical inspiration indirectly and directly, through sampling. The title "Giant Steps" itself is also the title of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane's 1959 seminal album.

The Last Supper and the Raft of Medusa
One approach to album cover design is featuring the members of the band in a famous work of art. Examples of groups doing this include the Peppermints on their 2005 release "Jesus Chryst" which features the "Last Supper" – a subject painted many times but most famously by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) in (1495-8). A second example is the Pogues' 1985 "Rum Sodomy & The Lash" which features the band members inserted in the painting "The Raft of Medusa" (1816) by Théodore Géricault (1791-1824). A third example is the Crash Test Dummies' 1993 "God Shuffled His Feet" and featuring the band in the painting "Bacchus and Ariadne" (1522-3) by Titian (1490-1576).

Chelsea Girl Live and Velvet Underground
Nico (1938-1988) aka Christa Päffgen is remembered for her contribution to the Velvet Underground's 1967 classic debut "Peel Slowly and See" and her subsequent solo career as the original goth rocker. Nico's 1982 live recording "Chelsea Girl Live" was released in 1994 and features a pickle that references the same design aesthetic as the Warhol-designed banana on the Velvet Underground's debut. Andy Warhol managed the Velvet Underground and produced their debut and was also responsible for introducing Nico into the group.
Associated Albums
Weasels Ripped My Flesh Houses of the Holy Dark Side of the Moon Country Life
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