Another Top 10 Iconic Album Covers
Trivia Another Top 10 Iconic Album Covers



Another Top 10 Iconic Album Covers

VOICE OVER: Matt Campbell
Script written by Aaron Cameron.

A picture says a thousand words. Join as we count down our picks for another top 10 iconic album covers. These are the album covers that are always instantly recognizable. Throughout music history, these albums have stood the test of time and have grabbed people's attention from just the cover art.

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Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Another Top 10 Iconic Album Covers

A picture says a thousand words. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for another top 10 iconic album covers.

#10: Nothing's Shocking (1988)
Jane's Addiction

Perry Farrell may have thought nothing's shocking, but this was proved otherwise when nine major music venders in the 80s refused to stock the album solely due to its cover art. Farrell conceded and allowed the album to be sold to major retailers wrapped in brown paper. Oddly enough, the flaming figures that caused all the fuss weren't even real but instead were sculptures Farrell created based on a body casting of his then girlfriend. Years later the controversy renewed when Facebook blocked the image, leading to an edited cover for the networking site.

#9: Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
Red Hot Chili Peppers

For the artwork of their 1991 breakthrough album, the Chilli Peppers enlisted director Gus Van Sant as art designer with some additional art by Henk Schiffmacher, a Dutch tattoo artist known to his clients as “Hanky Panky”. Many photos included in the album's artwork were taken on the grounds of a mansion formally owned by Harry Houdini, where the band recorded the disc. Drummer Chad Smith refused to stay at the house as he believed it was haunted by spirits, one of which joined the band for a group photo, according to the Peppers.

#8: London Calling (1979)
The Clash

While Ray Lowry is credited with the album's Elvis influenced design the cover's iconic photo was taken by Pennie Smith. Smith herself didn't like the photo as it was slightly out of focus, however Lowry and guitarist Joe Strummer loved it instantly. The photo was taken at a Clash show at the New York City Palladium on September 20, 1979. The album art depicts bassist Paul Simonon in the midst of destroying his beloved Fender Precision Bass during the song “White Riot” out of anger of the bouncers, who were not allowing the audience to stand up out of their chairs.

#7: Doggystyle (1993)
Snoop Doggy Dogg

Iconic hip hop artwork for an iconic hip hop album. Snoop enlisted the help of his cousin Darryl “Joe Cool” Daniel to draw the cover, giving him both a break as an artist and motivation to quit hard drugs. To create the controversial image Daniel had his then girlfriend pose for him on his mother's couch in the titular style. The speech bubbles featured on the cover, meanwhile, were Cool Joe's own idea and are made of quotes from George Clinton's “Atomic Dog”.

#6: Rage Against the Machine (1992)
Rage Against the Machine

Never a band to shy away from making a statement, Rage made a powerful one with the cover of their debut, self-titled album. The cover art features a World Press Photo of the Year taken by Malcolm Browne in 1963 of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc lighting himself on fire in protest of the government's treatment of Buddhists. In 1963 the image was powerful enough to make JFK cease supporting Vietnam, while nearly 30 years later it quickly summed up Rage Against the Machine's image as a take no prisoners, pull no punches politically-minded band.

#5: 1984 (1984)
Van Halen

Van Halen originally wanted an image of four dancing, chrome women and tapped artist Margo Nahas to do the job. She declined, claiming that the project would be too much work but allowed the band to look through her portfolio. The eventual cover was painted years earlier and was based off a photo Nahas had taken of a friend's four year old son with candy cigarettes, despite rumors claiming that the artwork featured David Lee Roth.

#4: Nevermind (1991)
Nirvana The idea for this iconic cover came from Kurt Cobain who had been watching a documentary on water-births with Dave Grohl. When stock images proved too expensive and too grotesque, the label hired photographer Kirk Weddle to capture the image. The photo of a clearly nude male infant caused trouble with Geffen records who wanted to remove the offending member. The record label backed down when Kurt would only agree to a sticker accusing anyone offended as being a “closet paedophile”.

#3: Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Guns N' Roses

Although instantly recognizable, this was not the classic G'n'R album's original cover. Instead the band had used a 1978 Robert Williams painting also titled “Appetite for Destruction” however its image of a sexually assaulted woman, a rapist robot, and a revengeful creature with knives for teeth was deemed as inappropriate. This controversial cover was replaced by the now familiar cross and skulls which was created by tattoo artist Billy White Jr. That wasn't the band's only option, however, as Axl Rose at one point suggested a photo of the NASA Challenger shuttle explosion from the year prior as the cover. Class act.

#2: Thriller (1982)
Michael Jackson

Taking our #2 spot is Michael Jackson's legendary 1982 album, Thriller. Clear and a way the more memorable of Jackson's two releases that year the simple shot of MJ rocking a white suit has become an iconic due to the album's phenomenal success, which includes 29 million copies sold in the US alone. The album also spawned a number of parodies including most notably Weird Al's Eat It cover. Even the album's UPC code became the stuff of legend due to a wide spread rumour that the code contained the Prince of Pop's phone number. Needless to say, it did not.

Before we unveil our top pick here are a few honourable mentions.

Powerslave (1984)
Iron Maiden

Rust in Peace (1990)

...And Justice for All (1988)

Vulgar Display of Power (1992)

License to Ill (1986)
Beastie Boys

#1: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
The Beatles

The spark for the instantly iconic cover came from Paul McCartney, but was fully executed and designed by photographer Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth. The cover costed an astonishing £3000 at a time when artwork topped out at £50. Most of the famous faces on the cover are people the Beatles admired in some way, however Adolf Hitler, Jesus, and Gandhi were all rejected for various reasons. Meanwhile actor Leo Gorcey was painted out of the photo when he requested $400 to appear.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favourite album cover? For more artistic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to