Best Album Cover Art Ever

Today I was looking at some of the covers on my CDs and LPs and was wondering if there’s an award out there for best cover design. Does anyone know?

My personal faves include:
Radiohead’s OK Computer, The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band and Jeff Buckley’s (Sketches for) My Sweetheart the Drunk.

Not to mention a whole lot of stuff done by the 4AD label.

What would you pick?

Rick Griffin. Everything he ever did, but especially the Grateful Dead’s *Aoxomoxoa.

Well, when I was 13 or 14, I’d have told you that the Ohio Players’ album covers were the greatest covers imaginable!

Overall, though, I still have a soft spot in my heart for Roger Dean’s Yes album covers in 70s.

How about “Bat out of Hell”?

I’ll second Roger Dean’s Yes covers. He did a nice one for Nightwing at some point, too.

Of course, the cover to Midnight Oil’s Red Sails in the Sunset is amazing. See it here:

Hehe I personally like the cover of Dookie by Green Day. I find it entertaining to look at the little people and animals and stuff :slight_smile:

Another vote for Roger Dean’s Yes covers. When I contemplated those incredible fantasyscapes I felt I was looking through a window into a better world. They formed the perfect match between art and music. You know what? He’s still doing them! His covers in the 90s for the new Classic Yes Lineup albums Keys to Ascension, Keys to Ascension 2, The Ladder, and *House of Yes: Live from House of Blues * are a return to his beloved style. But the classic swirly Yes logo has been replaced by a more Japanese-looking calligraphy.

Nevermind and In Utero by Nirvana

The Joshua Tree by U2
Live Through This by Hole

Funny some of you should mention **Roger Dean ** as I have scanned several covers from “Roger Dean - Views” (1975 from Dragon Dreams Limited), a large-format book which includes sketches, evolving designs, alternate covers not used and huge color renditions of album covers minus the text - they make perfect wallpaper, and I rotate several of them (my favorite being the flying elephants for Osibisa. Well worth buying if you can find it.

A good companion is “The Album Cover Album” edited by Hipgnosis and Roger Dean (1977, also from Dragon’s World). Hundreds of covers reproduced in full color and organized by categories and grouped by style. Dean is represented as well as the immortal Rick Griffin. Also well worth hunting down.

Currently I’m using Phillip Garris’ Grateful Dead “Blues For Allah” cover with the robed skeleton with red sunglases playing the violin sitting in a circular opening in a wall. It gets rave reactions from all who see it.

shoot! Preview Is Your Friend. Must remember to get that tattooed somewhere obvious.

I’d have to go with Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd. The design by Hipgnosis is a play on the four ancient elements and the pairing of effect-without-presence and presence-without-effect, ScooGuy’s opinion notwithstanding.

But the terrific thing about was the original realease was wrapped in black, opaque cellophane. To all appearances it was just a black cover with a normal, clear cover. But once you got home and ripped it open… I have seen one unripped copy of it. A great bit of fun

The Best of Rossini cover art by Ron Walotsky. Go over to and check out his art book. The image is on the cover.
The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band cover. I’ve always wondered if there was a list of all the people on this cover.

The White Album!

No, seriously, Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper are my two all time favorites in that order for album covers. Abbey Road also happens to be my favorite album – tied with Layla – but the cover for Layla is only very damn good.

“London Calling” The Clash

I would also recommend "Walk Away Rene’ " by Hipgnosis, written by Storm Thorgenson.

This is a sort of corporate history of the company, with extensive discussions of a lot of their album cover work, especially for Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd (they worked with the boys from the beginning), 10cc, Led Zeppelin (“Presence”), Paul McCartney (“Wings Over America”) and others. They discuss why some designs work and some don’t, with a goodly amount of technical detail. Lots of illustrations, lots of insight into the creative process.

That said, some of my favorite album cover / packages:

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic, particularly the comic book in the latter detailing the lads (John and Taupin’s) start.

The Police’s Spirits in the Material World is a good example of integrating music and visual images.

Sgt. Pepper is pretty iconic by now. I’ve got the New York Times Book review cover that did the same thing with the Clinton Administration. It’s a hoot.

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols is so much a part of its time that it should be a museum piece. Guaranteed to piss you off on so many levels, and you haven’t even played the album yet!

Loved London Calling and the Yes albums as well.

Rolling Stones Some Girls was a brilliant piece of art, even if you can’t really get what they’re about. Lynrd Synrd’s Street Survivors is creepy, considering the band crashed and burned as the album came out.

It’s a great pity that, for all the advantages of a CD, it killed album cover art.

The Grateful Dead’s “Blues for Allah”, Pat Metheny’s “Turn Left” and Richard and Linda Thompson’s “Pour Down Like Silver”

Jethro Tull’s ‘Stand Up’. Open the cover and cut-outs of the band members, er, stand up.

My personal favorite has to be Huffamoose- I Wanna Be Your Pants :smiley:

I really like Wilco’s Being There cover. Very simple, but just really cool. The colors, font, guitar… it’s just excellent design work.

Pesch, when you mention the flaming Skynyrd album cover, I assume you had one of the rare copies with the original cover, or the CD reissue that had the original art restored. Most LP versions had just the band on a black background, no flames.

My vote is for Metallica’s** Master of Puppets.** The crosses on strings are perfect for the imagery of “Disposable Heroes,” a cool song if you’ve never heard it.