Music can be more than music, it can also be great art.
Our top album covers of all time are all, at least, as inspiring as the tunes they represent.
We’re sure that you’ll agree.
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.
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.
The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
Andy Warhol original that won a Grammy for the best album cover. Get a copy online here.
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.
Drake If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
A minimalist cover that spawned a thousand Twitter memes.
Get a copy online here.
It’s completely iconic and back in the headlines as the baby, now fully grown, is suing for exploitation.
Get a copy online here.
Duran Duran Rio Patrick Nagel’s cover art was originally done as a 5’ x 5’ canvas that blew the band away. Get a copy online here.
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.
Joy Division Unknown Pleasures Peter Saville opted for radio waves and it transformed this into a cult classic. Get a copy online here.
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.
Judas Priest British Steel The pure menace of this image leaves it stuck in your mind long after viewing. Get a copy online here.
Cream Disraeli Gears Martin Sharp’s psychedelic color explosion gave Cream’s album a truly unique identity. Get a copy online here.
The Roots Things Fall Apart Inequality defined by a single image, completely capturing the band’s message. Get a copy online here.
Santana Lotus 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.
10CC How Dare You The “Don’t Hang Up” theme is stacked with visual gags and is unforgettable. Get a copy online here.
Nas Illmatic A 7-year old Nas and the projects of his childhood, defined the hip hop star’s route of poverty. Get a copy online here.
XTC Go2 The most brutally honest cover of all time from Hipgnosis? You decide. Get a copy online here.
Blink 182 Enema of the State Both suggestive and literal, you can’t unsee this iconic cover. Get a copy online here.
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.
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.
Ramones Ramones Roberta Bayley’s photo was transformed by a middle finger and the rest is history. Get a copy online here.
Hole Live Through This Empathy and satire in the same shot? A rarity but it’s what makes this such a powerful image. Get a copy online here.
Pixies Surfer Rosa Sexy, shocking and startling and full of implicit meaning, it doesn’t get much better. Get a copy online here.
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.
Yes Relayer 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.
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.
Patti Smith Horses There’s no doubt that Robert Mapplethorpe’s photo defined Smith’s image for a generation. Get a copy online here.
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.
Talking Heads Little Creatures Howard Finster’s Southern Folk Art is at its most joyous and inspiring here. Get a copy online here.
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.
John Coltrane Blue Train The use of blue mood lighting elevated this album’s cover and artist and showed the seriousness of the work. Get a copy online here.
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. Get a copy online here.
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.
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 Brother & The Holding Company Cheap Thrills R. Crumb’s hippie comic art makes this one of the most legendary covers of the 60s scene. Get a copy online here.
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 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. Final Thoughts On The Best Album Covers Of All Time
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.
If you want to discover more about music, you could always check out our recommendations for essential books about music, our favorite music blogs and the best free music apps out there. Enjoy!
The first time Nicholas went to a live gig, 31 years ago, it turned out to be an Iron Maiden secret gig and he became hooked on the music scene. He was one of the founding writers for Astro Zombie a heavy metal and new world techno-inspired zine and his interview with Rob Caggiano of Anthrax brought in over 300,000 readers. He’s based out of Southeast Asia now, but his love of music is as strong and diverse as ever.
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