Best Album Covers of All Times that You Should Know
Music Authority may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
The simple album cover is becoming something of a lost art with the growth of streaming music. However, the music of a generation, era, and even an entire pop genre are sometimes all defined by truly famous album covers rather than just by the albums they represent. The role an album cover has in popularizing a music album is noteworthy. A great album also needs stunning cover art. Over years, cover art has evolved from fold-out gatefolds of the vinyl era to pull-out liner notes in CD jewel cases, and still, it shapes how we view a certain album.
If you are trying to recollect the covers of some noteworthy album covers, here are our picks for the best album covers of all time.
Our List of Best Album Covers
Abbey Road (1969)
Artist: The Beatles
Album: Abbey Road
Design: Kosh/Iain MacMillan
The Beatles’ eleventh studio album, Abbey Road, has what is likely considered the music industry’s most popularly replicated album cover. The ideas and sketches for the album released in 1969 were based on ideas by Paul McCartney and it was clicked by Iain Macmillan. On the cover, you can see the members of the band crossing a street close to Abbey Road’s recording facility. While a police officer controlled traffic behind him, the photographer had just ten minutes to capture six pictures.
A fascinating tidbit is that the white VW Beetle in the picture, which is really a car, had its license plate stolen shortly after the Abbey Road album was released. Besides, it is the first Beatles cover without a mention of the group’s name or album.
The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Artist: Pink Floyd
Album: The Dark Side of the Moon
Design: George Hardie
This Pink Floyd album, released in the year 1973, is an all-time favorite among a lot of music lovers. Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, two of the key members of Hipgnosis, developed the idea for the cover of their album, The Dark Side of the Moon, and their colleague George Hardie gave life to that notion. The cover represents a prism that refracts light into six of the seven colors of the spectrum (indigo is missing).
The cover is symbolic and represents elements of the band and their music—ambitious stage lighting, and the lyrics from Dark Side. Besides, the main keyboardist of the band Richard Wright’s request that Hipgnosis produce something bold yet simple—seemed to be symbolized in the trio of the light beam, prism, and spectrum.
Never mind (1991)
Album: Never mind
Design: Robert Fisher
One of Nirvana’s most well-known albums is Nevermind, and you probably know how famous the cover is. The baby on the album’s cover is a representation of innocence, just like on The Notorious B.I.G. album. His yearning for money is a symbol of the shallow morals that our culture instills in young people, a remark Nirvana frequently conveys through their songs. According to rumors, Kurt Cobain got the idea while watching a TV show about water births.
London Calling (1979)
Artist: The Clash
Album: London Calling
Design: Pennie Smith/Ray Lowry
The Clash created London Calling as a parody as well as a homage to the iconic singer Elvis Presley. With a similar black and white action shot of them performing and a font that is precisely the same in color and design, the cover imitates the album cover of Presley’s debut album. Paul Simonon, the bassist for the group, is pictured on the cover crushing his instrument. The Cleveland Rock & Rock Hall of Fame currently has this photograph on display.
Rock and roll is depicted in this image, which is also a wonderful reflection of the scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, thanks to its rebelliousness and the guitar-smashing on the cover. The key feeling of abandonment and loss of control was also portrayed in Pennie Smith’s photography, and Lowry’s tribute to Elvis Presley, as well.
The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
Artist: The Velvet Underground & Nico
Album: The Velvet Underground & Nico
Designer: Andy Warhol
One of the most iconic covers on this list is this vintage Andy Warhol creation, the album cover of The Velvet Underground and Nico. The album cover is still considered iconic even after all these years. Some would argue that this album cover has gained more notoriety than the actual album. Well, that is true to an extent as the record didn’t exactly soar up the charts after its debut. In actuality, it was a failure and even forced the band to disband and fired Warhol as their manager. The renowned minimalism of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s peel-away banana record cover is still highly praised and believed to have influenced punk visual style.
These were our top 5 best album covers of all times! We hope this list helped you recollect the bygone musical era and the pop hits of the past. Now go play these songs, close your eyes, and groove.
Tell us which was your favorite on the list too!
More to read:
Best DAC 2022: Our Expert Opinion and Review
Best DJ Mixing Board 2022: Reviews and Comparisons