35 Beautiful Music Album Covers

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Album cover art is often considered to be one of the “extincted” fields in modern graphics design. In times when digital copies are cheaper and quicker to get, album covers have somehow lost their importance as less and less customers actually buy CDs and LPs in the stores. That’s a pity because album covers can be extremely expressive and convey the message of the album in a number of creative ways. This post attempts to prove exactly that.

Music and art go hand in hand. And the best way to get a potential buyers’ attention is with an eye catching album cover. We all know you can’t just judge a book by it’s cover but it doesn’t hurt to give a CD a spin based off a sexy piece of art.

Below we present 35 excellent examples of beautiful, creative and impressive album covers that will certainly inspire you to head down to the local record shop and start browsing through records and labels. We have tried to address various cover designs and present both CD covers and LP covers from 60s to 2000s, however some excellent album covers are definitely missing. Please let us know about them in the comments to the post!

This post was updated. Thank you for the comments!

Album Covers

The Mars Volta “Frances the Mute”1

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers2

Danger Doom – The Mouse and the Mask3

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers4

Michael Jackson: Dangerous by Mark Ryden5

Michael Jackson: Dangerous by Mark Ryden

Devil’s Gun – Raising The Beast6

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers - Devil's Gun - Raising The Beast7

Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist by Shepard Fairey8

Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist by Shepard Fairey9

Keane: Under The Iron Sea by Sanna Annukka10

Keane: Under The Iron Sea by Sanna Annukka11

Kisschasy: United Paper People by Debaser12

Kisschasy: United Paper People by Debaser13

Editors: The End Has a Start by Idris Khan14

Editors: The End Has a Start by Idris Khan15

Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue16

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Coldplay - Soul Wax - Nite Versions17

Ground Components: An Eye for a Brow, A Tooth for a Pick by Jonathan Zawada18

Ground Components: An Eye for a Brow, A Tooth for a Pick by Jonathan Zawada19

Arcade Fire: Funeral

Arcade Fire: Funeral

Kool and the Gang – Still Cool20

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Kool and the Gang - Still Cool21

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon 197322

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon 197323

Gallows: In The Belly of a Shark by Dan Mumford

Gallows: In The Belly of a Shark by Dan Mumford24

Muse – Origin of Symmetry25 (thanks, Paul)

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers - Muse - Origin of Symmetry26

Linkin Park – Reanimation27

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Coldplay - Soul Wax - Nite Versions28

Lemon Jelly: Lost Horizons by Airside29

Lemon Jelly: Lost Horizons by Airside

Tool: 10,000 Days

Tool: 10,000 Days30

Circa Survive: On Letting Go

Circa Survive - On Letting Go31

The Last Goodnight – Poison Kiss32

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- The Last Goodnight - Poison Kiss33

Pink Floyd – The Division Bell34

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Pink Floyd - The Division Bell35

Thom Yorke: The Eraser by Stanley Donwood36

Thom Yorke: The Eraser by Stanley Donwood37

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven38 (thanks, yaara)

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers - Muse - Origin of Symmetry39

Architecture in Helsinki: Places Like This by Will Sweeney40

Architecture in Helsinki: Places Like This by Will Sweeney

The Chemical Brothers: Push the Button by Tappin Gofton41

The Chemical Brothers: Push the Button by Tappin Gofton

Rolling Stones – Forty Licks42

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution43

Rafale: Rock It, Don’t Stop It by Akroe44

Rafale: Rock It, Don't Stop It by Akroe45

Dream Theater – Scenes from the memory46 (thanks, OverZero.it)

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers - Muse - Origin of Symmetry47

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction48

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction49

Relayer: Yes50

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Relayer: Yes51

Coldplay – Viva La Vida52

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Coldplay - Viva La Vida53

New Order – Power, Corruption and Lies54
Designed by one of today’s most influential designers Peter Saville (thanks, Shaun)

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers - New Order - Power, Corruption and Lies55

Soulwax – Nite Versions56

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Coldplay - Soul Wax - Nite Versions57

Pixies – Doolittle58

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Pixies - Doolittle59

Deerhunter – Cryptograms60

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Deerhunter - Cryptograms61

Hot Chip – The Warning62

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Hot Chip - The Warning63

Muse – Absolution64

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution65

The Police – Ghost In The Machine66

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution67

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti68

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti69

DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…70

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers71

Wow – Moby Grape72

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Wow - Moby Grape73

Genji Siraisi: Censorsh!t by Razauno74

Genji Siraisi: Censorsh!t by Razauno75

Radiohead – Hail to the Thief76

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Radiohead - Hail to the Thief77

VHS Orbeta – Bring On The Comets78

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- VHS Orbeta - Bring On The Comets79

Van Halen – 198480

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution81

Fort-Minor – The Rising Tied Front82

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers - Fort-Minor - The Rising Tied Front83

The Roots – Game Theory84

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- The Roots - Things Fall Apart85

Led Zeppelin – Mothership86

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day87

Nick Drake – Pink Moon88

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution89

The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- The Cribs - Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever

Elton John – Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy90

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution91

XTC – Drums and Wires92

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- XTC - Drums and Wires93

Queens Of The Stone Age: Era Vulgaris by Morning Breath Inc94

Queens Of The Stone Age: Era Vulgaris by Morning Breath Inc95

Beck: The Information by Big Active96 and you97
“The album was issued with a blank sleeve and booklet and one of four different sheets of stickers for fans to make their own album art. Beck explained to Wired magazine he wanted no two copies of the CD cover to be the same: “The artwork is going to be customizable. The idea is to provide something that calls for interactivity.” However, because the unique album art concept was seen as a gimmick to bolster retail sales, The Information was deemed ineligible to enter the UK Albums Chart.”

Beck: The Information by Big Active and you

Merzbow – Frog: Remixed and Revisited98

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers99

Last Click

The World’s First Album Cover100
Alex Steinwess, a then 23 years old designer, convinced Columbia’s suits to create the first true album cover. Until then, 78s were sold in generic sleeves. Please notice that there is the word “smash” on the cover.

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- The World's First Album Cover101

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- The World's First Album Cover102

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Footnotes

  1. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_the_Mute
  2. 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_the_Mute
  3. 3 http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/dangerdoom/mouseandthemask
  4. 4 http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/dangerdoom/mouseandthemask
  5. 5 http://www.markryden.com/
  6. 6 http://sleevage.com/devils-gun-raising-the-beast
  7. 7 http://sleevage.com/devils-gun-raising-the-beast
  8. 8 http://obeygiant.com/
  9. 9 http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/smashingpumpkins/zeitgeist
  10. 10 http://www.sanna-annukka.com
  11. 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Iron_Sea
  12. 12 http://www.debaser.com.au/
  13. 13 http://sleevage.com/kisschasy-united-paper-people/
  14. 14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idris_Khan
  15. 15 http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/15055055/review/15085380/an_end_has_a_start
  16. 16 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_the_Blue_(Electric_Light_Orchestra_album)
  17. 17 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_the_Blue_(Electric_Light_Orchestra_album)
  18. 18 http://www.zawada.com.au/
  19. 19 http://sleevage.com/ground-components-an-eye-for-a-brow-a-tooth-for-a-pick/
  20. 20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funeral_(album)
  21. 21 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kool_and_the_Gang
  22. 22 http://flickr.com/photos/oddsock/101131639/
  23. 23 http://flickr.com/photos/oddsock/101131639/
  24. 24 http://sleevage.com/gallows-belly-of-the-shark/
  25. 25 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_Symmetry
  26. 26 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_Symmetry
  27. 27 http://www.google.com/musicl?lid=WCbKB6P3ZTJ&aid=dl8Ji5uGeNL&sa=X&oi=music&ct=result
  28. 28 http://www.google.com/musicl?lid=WCbKB6P3ZTJ&aid=dl8Ji5uGeNL&sa=X&oi=music&ct=result
  29. 29 http://www.airside.co.uk
  30. 30 http://sleevage.com/tool-10000-days/
  31. 31 http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=240519
  32. 32 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Goodnight
  33. 33 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Goodnight
  34. 34 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Division_Bell
  35. 35 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Division_Bell
  36. 36 http://www.slowlydownward.com/
  37. 37 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eraser
  38. 38 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_Your_Skinny_Fists_Like_Antennas_to_Heaven
  39. 39 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_Your_Skinny_Fists_Like_Antennas_to_Heaven
  40. 40 http://alakazamlabel.com/index.html
  41. 41 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tappin_Gofton
  42. 42 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Licks
  43. 43 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Licks
  44. 44 http://www.akroe.net
  45. 45 http://sleevage.com/rafale-rock-it-dont-stop-it/
  46. 46 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_Pt._2:_Scenes_from_a_Memory
  47. 47 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_Pt._2:_Scenes_from_a_Memory
  48. 48 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appetite_for_Destruction
  49. 49 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appetite_for_Destruction
  50. 50 http://rockrevivaltripleh.blogspot.com/2008/05/rock-revivals-top-25-progressive-rock.html
  51. 51 http://rockrevivaltripleh.blogspot.com/2008/05/rock-revivals-top-25-progressive-rock.html
  52. 52 http://www.amazon.com/Viva-Vida-Coldplay/dp/B000RPTQ1C
  53. 53 http://www.amazon.com/Viva-Vida-Coldplay/dp/B000RPTQ1C
  54. 54 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power,_Corruption_&_Lies
  55. 55 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power,_Corruption_&_Lies
  56. 56 http://sleevage.com/soulwax-nite-versions-any-minute-now/
  57. 57 http://sleevage.com/soulwax-nite-versions-any-minute-now/
  58. 58 http://www.google.com/musicl?lid=V1ZrbpEE9IP&aid=qe-FXrQD4RF&sa=X&oi=music&ct=result
  59. 59 http://www.google.com/musicl?lid=V1ZrbpEE9IP&aid=qe-FXrQD4RF&sa=X&oi=music&ct=result
  60. 60 http://graveyardshiftshane.wordpress.com/2007/12/14/the-best-album-covers-of-2007/
  61. 61 http://graveyardshiftshane.wordpress.com/2007/12/14/the-best-album-covers-of-2007/
  62. 62 http://flickr.com/photos/typolicious/2407512767/in/pool-covercollection
  63. 63 http://flickr.com/photos/typolicious/2407512767/in/pool-covercollection
  64. 64 http://flickr.com/photos/typolicious/2407367137/in/pool-covercollection
  65. 65 http://flickr.com/photos/typolicious/2407367137/in/pool-covercollection
  66. 66 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_in_the_machine
  67. 67 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_in_the_machine
  68. 68 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Graffiti
  69. 69 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Graffiti
  70. 70 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endtroducing
  71. 71 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endtroducing
  72. 72 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby_Grape
  73. 73 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby_Grape
  74. 74 http://www.razauno.com/
  75. 75 http://www.expansionteamrecords.com/blog/?page_id=10
  76. 76 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_to_the_Thief
  77. 77 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_to_the_Thief
  78. 78 http://sleevage.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/61wslhhndyl_ss500_.jpg
  79. 79 http://sleevage.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/61wslhhndyl_ss500_.jpg
  80. 80 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_(Van_Halen_album)
  81. 81 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_(Van_Halen_album)
  82. 82 http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/6985558/a/Rising+Tied.htm
  83. 83 http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/6985558/a/Rising+Tied.htm
  84. 84 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Theory_(album)
  85. 85 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Theory_(album)
  86. 86 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothership_(album)
  87. 87 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothership_(album)
  88. 88 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Moon
  89. 89 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Moon
  90. 90 http://www.eltonography.com/albums/captain_fantastic_and_the_brown_dirt_cowboy0.html
  91. 91 http://www.eltonography.com/albums/captain_fantastic_and_the_brown_dirt_cowboy0.html
  92. 92 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drums_and_Wires
  93. 93 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drums_and_Wires
  94. 94 http://www.morningbreathinc.com/
  95. 95 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Era_Vulgaris_(album)
  96. 96 http://www.bigactive.com/
  97. 97 http://www.flickr.com/groups/theinformation/pool/
  98. 98 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog_Remixed_and_Revisited
  99. 99 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog_Remixed_and_Revisited
  100. 100 http://www.undependent.com/blog/2008/01/13/the-worlds-first-album-cover-alex-steinweiss-greatest-hit/
  101. 101 http://www.undependent.com/blog/2008/01/13/the-worlds-first-album-cover-alex-steinweiss-greatest-hit/
  102. 102 http://www.undependent.com/blog/2008/01/13/the-worlds-first-album-cover-alex-steinweiss-greatest-hit/
  103. 103 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/21/monday-inspiration-brilliant-music-videos/
  104. 104 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/06/16/beautiful-brochures-and-booklets/

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Ashley Ringrose is better known as Mr Truffle and editor of Sleevage a music design blog. He occasionally plays with Mr Potatoheads and dresses up in costumes. He is also a founding member of Soap Creative an Australian based digital agency.

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  1. 1

    There’s some great stuff here, but over all this is a terrible list. Some of the covers here are hideous. A lot of them actually.

    1
    • 302

      Agreed. Creative but most not at all beautiful. How about Journey’s Revelation?
      That & Santana’s Abraxis would top my list.

      0
  2. 603

    Hi I would like to see the development NOVEL digipack and art design from the last disc of Argentine pop band Los Rancheros created by digital marketing agency clickmind.com.ar
    Link: taringa.net/posts/musica/17054220/Lo-nuevo-en-arte-de-tapa-de-disco-y-desarrollo-de-digipack.html

    0
  3. 904

    Argee Ramos Geronca

    September 26, 2013 1:54 am

    I love Kool & The Gang as much as the rest of the Disco/Soul/Funk world but their album cover for Still Kool (2007) is a straight stock image with the band name and album titled strategically placed over the image. The image is available on shutterstock (ID#21632140). Hair has been changed and the arms thinner but everything else including the color is exactly the same. Granted that stock images are a viable source for legit designers but unless you have a famous artist attached you won’t make this list? I mean anyone else could buy that image and use it but the popularity of Kool and the Gang make it a great cover. Same as no one can use the prism image without it going back to the pink floyd cover.

    0
  4. 1205

    I am trying to find a album that has picture that shows smoke rising up out of under ground staircase like subway? Think its a 60s band? Not sure any help finding it ? Thanks.

    0
  5. 1807

    Brother by the Black Keys.

    -1

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