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Top 40 Best Album Covers Of All Time

Album covers are often sadly overlooked as a source of artistic expression.

The best ones, however, are able to distill the feel of an entire album into a single image.

Throughout music history, there have been countless iconic album covers that have left a lasting impression on both fans and casual listeners alike.

From Nirvana’s Nevermind to Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, these covers have become synonymous with the albums they represent.

Our top album covers of all time are all as inspiring as the tunes they represent.

Collecting albums is also cheaper than collecting art and you can listen to them too!

David Bowie
Aladdin Sane

If you close your eyes and think of David Bowie, there’s a good chance it’s this image you see staring back at you.

Get a copy online here.

alladin sane

Miles Davis
Bitches Brew

There’s no other jazz cover like it. The blend of surrealism and African tribal art is completely unique.

One of our personal faves!

Get a copy online here.

miles davis bitches brew

The Rolling Stones
Sticky Fingers

An Andy Warhol original that won a Grammy for the best album cover. 

Get a copy online here.

sticky fingers album cover warhol

Jethro Tull
Thick As A Brick

You have to see this one to appreciate just how clever and funny album art can be. 

Get a copy online here.

jethro tull

If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late

A minimalist cover that spawned a thousand Twitter memes.

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drake if you're reading this


It’s completely iconic and back in the headlines as the baby, now fully grown, is suing for exploitation.

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nevermind nirvana

Duran Duran

Patrick Nagel’s cover art was originally done as a 5’ x 5’ canvas that blew the band away.

Get a copy online here.

duran duran rio

The Who
Who’s Next

Patrick Nagel’s cover art was originally done as a 5’ x 5’ canvas that blew the band away.

Get a copy online here.

who's next

Joy Division
Unknown Pleasures

Peter Saville opted for radio waves and it transformed this into a cult classic.

Get a copy online here.

joy division

Uriah Heap
The Magician’s Birthday

Roger Dean is an all-time great in the album art stakes and this is his most noticeable work.

Get a copy online here.

uriah heep

Judas Priest
British Steel

The pure menace of this image leaves it stuck in your mind long after viewing.

Get a copy online here.

judas priest

Disraeli Gears

Martin Sharp’s psychedelic color explosion gave Cream’s album a truly unique identity.

Get a copy online here.

cream album cover

The Roots
Things Fall Apart

Inequality defined by a single image, completely capturing the band’s message.

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Buddhist imagery and Japanese brilliance from Tadanori Yokoo.

Get a copy online here.


The Clash
London Calling

This is a huge shout out to the king of rock’n’roll Elvis Presley, while pretty much redefining rock’n’roll at the same time.

Get a copy online here.

the clash london calling

How Dare You

The “Don’t Hang Up” theme is stacked with visual gags and is unforgettable.

Get a copy online here.



A 7-year old Nas and the projects of his childhood, defined the hip hop star’s route of poverty.

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The most brutally honest cover of all time from Hipgnosis? You decide.

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Blink 182
Enema of the State

Both suggestive and literal, you can’t unsee this iconic cover. 

Get a copy online here.

blink 182

Bruce Springsteen
Born To Run

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band hired Eric Meola to photograph them for this cover.

It’s arguably the most recognizable rock album cover of the 20th century.

Get a copy online here.

born to run

Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp A Butterfly

Clever, confrontational and era-defining. A rap album can’t ask for more than that.

Get a copy online here.

pimp a butterfly


Roberta Bayley’s photo was transformed by a middle finger and the rest is history.

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Live Through This

Empathy and satire in the same shot? A rarity but it’s what makes this such a powerful image.

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Surfer Rosa

Sexy, shocking and startling and full of implicit meaning, it doesn’t get much better.

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The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

60 people plus the Beatles themselves, listen to the tunes, identify the faces.

Get a copy online here.

beatles sgt pepper


It’s fair to say that Roger Dean’s imagery became the face of prog rock and this is one of his finest. 

Get a copy online here.


Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

You may think you’ve seen this before, it’s the one that inspired London Calling, after all.

Get a copy online here.

elvis presley

Frank Sinatra
Come Fly With Me

It captures all the cool of the era and the jet-set brilliance of the artist.

Get a copy online here.


Public Enemy
Fear Of A Black Planet

When NASA’s illustrator does your cover, you know it’s going to be out of this world.

Get a copy online here.

black planet

Patti Smith

There’s no doubt that Robert Mapplethorpe’s photo defined Smith’s image for a generation.

Get a copy online here.

patti smith

Cyndi Lauper
She’s So Unusual 

Another classic Annie Liebowitz image and this time around the ultimate call to girl power too.

Get a copy online here.

cyndi lauper

Talking Heads
Little Creatures

Howard Finster’s Southern Folk Art is at its most joyous and inspiring here.

Get a copy online here.

talking heads

Pink Floyd
Dark Side of the Moon

The cover that launched a million t-shirts and remains among the most distinctive of all time, nearly 50 years later.

Get a copy online here.

dark side of the moon

John Coltrane
Blue Train

The use of blue mood lighting elevated this album’s cover and artist and showed the seriousness of the work. 

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coltrane bird blue note john

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin

This probably wouldn’t have worked today but the explosion of the Hindenburg is exactly the right metaphor for this band’s impact on rock music. 

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led zeppelin

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Whipped Cream & Other Delights

It’s not actually whipped cream but it sure looks like it, this is 60s sexuality writ large.

Get a copy online here.

herb alpert

The Notorious B.I.G.
Ready To Die

The contrast between sweet cover and the raging contents is a testimony to how our world can destroy our minds.

Get a copy online here.

BIG notorious

Big Brother & The Holding Company
Cheap Thrills

R. Crumb’s hippie comic art makes this one of the most legendary covers of the 60s scene.

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cheap thrills

The Beatles
Abbey Road

A cover that, quite literally, stopped traffic and which hundreds of people try to recreate on Abbey Road every day. 

Get a copy online here.

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Velvet Underground and Nico
Ready To Die

This absolutely astonishing Andy Warhol painting is worth the top slot but on the original pressing? You could peel off the banana and find a flesh-color one beneath. Legend. 

Get a copy online here.

velvet underground

Did we miss anything? Feel free to let us know, otherwise, we hope you enjoyed this brief tour of the best album art ever. Peace.