35 Beautiful Music Album Covers


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

Related posts

You may want to take a look at the following related posts:


  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.

  1. 1

    nice compilation. :)

  2. 2

    Some very inspiring artwork here; thanks for sharing!

  3. 3

    Nicely done, but you’re missing 10,000 Days by Tool.

  4. 4

    that’s very cool covers

  5. 5

    I thought that was a very average compilation. How on earth did that Bon Jovi cover make it? Seems like you went through your (limited) iTunes collection and picked out some random artwork.

    Disappointing SM – your articles are usually of a much higher quality than this!

  6. 6

    Cd covers will become album artwork, right? This art won’t have to die will it? It’ll just start being at 72dpi

  7. 7

    Yeah what the hell is so great about the Bon Jovi cover?

  8. 8

    What’s up with the image you put up for OK Computer? That is someone’s flickr photoshop compliation.

  9. 9

    I would also include some of the album art that 23 Envelope/v23 has done for the 4AD label, specifically for releases by This Mortal Coil, Dead Can Dance, the Cocteau Twins, and Lush, to name a few. These are some of the best examples of the artwork perfectly complementing, and even adding to, the music itself.

    You can find a lot of example here.

  10. 10

    more more

  11. 11
  12. 12

    Glad to see the Kool-Aid man made the list. Oh yea!

  13. 13

    To be honest none of these covers are very inspiring and a lot of them are very well known. For a truly beautiful/interesting piece of cover artwork you might take a look at the obscure independent band from the mid 90’s Neutral Milk Hotel and their album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516DZMQ1MGL._SS500_.jpg

  14. 14

    No idea where you got that Radiohead cover from: you can see the actual cover–which is also brilliant–pretty much anywhere on the web, including:


  15. 15

    Yay, Abby Road!

  16. 16

    My personal favorite across the years has been Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy cover. I remember being drawn into it as a kid, trying to understand what the hell was going through the mind of the person who created it. I still have no idea, but it continues to be a very intriguing cover.

  17. 17

    Thanks, I appreciate seeing music-inspired design. I noticed the album year on Dark Side of the Moon, it would be interesting to see the dates for all the other designs as well.

  18. 18

    you must be joking… some are very good indeed, some others… hmm…

  19. 19

    Rhyming Designer

    August 3, 2008 8:14 pm

    I think in a lot of cases (e.g., Pink Floyd, Beatles) you’re confusing a classic cover with great / inspiring art. Being generous, I thought six deserved to be here. But Bon Jovi? Queens of the Stone Age?? Ack!

    In fact, I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1.

  20. 20

    Agreed, Radiohead cover is whacked, and where are the tool album covers and um, that bon jovi album It’s so beautiful it makes me feel sick in the guts. : /

  21. 21
  22. 22

    A quick compilation by SM. Average collection I would say! I have seen much better covers in ASIAN MUSIC

  23. 23

    You forgot about ‘In the court of the Crimson King’ by King Crimson

  24. 24

    Hey! you chose those are the most sick designs i have ever seen!! where do u see the beauty in those covers???

  25. 25

    The Roots is wrong.

    You typed Things Falll Apart, but the image shown is the album cover to Game Theory. Two completely different albums. However, both album covers are great.

  26. 26

    Where are the classic jazz album covers? I would think Reid Miles is worth mention in any collection of artistic album covers.

  27. 27

    i almost find it offending you didn’t added sgt pepper cover of the beatles:

    I once met a graphic designer who was a great fan of the beatles. He told me there are alot of hidden secrets, also the pop-art designer of it made references to the rolling stones.

  28. 28

    What about radiohead’s Kid A?

  29. 29

    Looks like the Coldplay Viva La Vida cover is on there twice — you meant to put the picture for the New Order cover in the second instance!

    I’d argue their floppy disk art for “Blue Monday” is even more smashing, altho that’s for a single.

    And don’t forget Orbital’s In Sides… beautiful and colorful! SO MUCH GOING ON.

    BTW, where’d you get this album art? It must’ve been big enough for you to resize it uniformly, too! Awesome.

  30. 30

    Even in the world of digital, you do still get good artwork – check out the latest EP from Idiot3 for a really nice bit of “album art” – The Monster and the Grey Goose artwork

    It really does add something to the release – and I don’t think album art is dead yet – and it won’t be as long as there are computer interfaces such as coverflow, which display the artwork (albeit smaller than a 12-inch vinyl) as part of the library search / while the music is playing.

  31. 31

    It’s nice.. but.. still… i feel something is missing here, and its not the best list.

  32. 32

    I don’t know, a German blog with no reference to the great Krautrock LP covers?

    Faust (typographically correct, too!): Faust IV

    Can: Ege Bamyasi

    Neu: Neu!

  33. 33

    Good collection, but lots of great cover designs missing…
    hint: TOOL

  34. 34

    wow Gr8 album covers …

  35. 35

    Damn, really bad choices.

  36. 36

    The cover of “Weekend in the city, Bloc Party” isn’t the original. http://images.google.com/images?q=weekend+int+the+city No ?

  37. 37

    I think would be nice to have some Dream Theater’s cover listed here (Scenes from a memory, Falling into infinity, …).

  38. 38

    Ok I worked on this article and I’ll say that it was originally a complication of “illustrated album covers” so that’s why the list is missing so many good ones. SM added 15 more and made it a wider article.

    And yes TOOL is missing. I’m a huge TOOL fan too. Silly me. We have covered almost all their albums here http://sleevage.com/?s=Tool&key=Musical+Artist

    Anyway no list is perfect. It’s meant to be a “Monday Inspiration” piece not the final chosen list of albums to be sent in the next space shuttle:)

  39. 39

    It seems it would be a good idea to list the actual covers and not the first hit you get when you google for them. C´mon, the OK Computer is well-known! Hope you´re blushing now guys.

  40. 40

    Radiohead – man, that’s so way off. C’mon get it right…

    Anybody remember Roger Dean and his fantastic album covers?

  41. 41

    radiohead – ok compter is wrong although the proper album cover is in that image. nice collection though

  42. 42

    Not bad,

  43. 43

    Wow ‘Gallows – In the Belly of the Shark’ is amazing. I’m tempted to seek out a poster.
    I’d have liked to see Lemon Jelly’s Lost Horizons on there but you can’t have everything, can you. :)

  44. 44

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (here)
    The whole sleeve design, not just its cover – it is made of cardboard instead of plastic and inside there is special art too.

  45. 45

    Good list, but one amazing cover is missing…

    Muse – Origin of Symmetry

  46. 46

    yeah !!
    “in rainbows” radiohead ?

  47. 47

    this post really dated you guys.

  48. 48

    as mentioned by some readers, some of the covers are truly great pieces of art, but some are not even worth a second look.

    MJ – Dangerous and The Roots – Game Theory on the same list?

  49. 49

    Yeah man, some of these covers are amazing, but classic and beautiful are definitely not the same (although many times they walk hand in hand). I got inspired though, I’ll choose my favourite album art and post them on my blog and start a discussion with my friends.

  50. 50

    In fact, to be fair, the cover for Bloc Party isn’t even the artists original work — the album shown above uses a photograph by a popular photographer on DeviantArt. The site where the cover art was lifted for this article even acknowledges the wrong art is shown.

    I think Muse’s Absolution album should be listed as well. It has a fantastically designed cover.

  51. 51

    Great compilation, but irrespective of the music, Bon Jovi’s ‘Have a nice day’ cover isn’t that great to feature here.

  52. 52

    So many bad choices – The plagiarised piece of crap that is ‘Mothership’ over ‘Houses Of The Holy’ for example. In fact, practically every Zep cover apart from ‘Coda is better!

    I could go on, but, y’know…

  53. 53

    What’s so special on the Beatles cover? 4 hippies cross the street.

  54. 54

    perhaps # 36 Tres Hombres – ZZ Top

    I don’t care for ZZ top, all that much. The album cover is iconic, if nothing else. But the inside picture of the meal – that is an all-time classic. What do you call that? Inside the fold?

    Nice list.

  55. 55

    Not a great post this time. Seeing a lot of mediocre album covers but miss a lot of brilliant album covers.

    Where is “Tool – 10,000 Days”, “Soulwax – Nite Versions & Any Minute Now” or the new Coldplay cover “Viva la Vida”?

  56. 56

    Not up to the standards of previous articles at all… only SOME of these covers are in any way decent or groundbreaking…. EG: Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue – a gorgeously drawn piece of cover art with oodles or creativity and depth.

  57. 57

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 4, 2008 2:29 am

    Thank you for all your great comments. The post was updated!

  58. 58

    Joe | A New Band A Day!

    August 4, 2008 3:03 am

    I really love the Soulwax and Arcade Fire covers, they both convey the ethos of the bands and the albums really well and simply.

    Thanks for the list!

    Joe – http://www.anewbandaday.com

  59. 59

    Not a single (Reid Miles) BlueNote album cover made the list?! While most of their covers are fantastic, you should definitely take a look at the Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, and Jackie McLean covers from the 60’s. Their covers have inspired so many artists it’s a shame to see them missing from this list.

  60. 60

    I would love to see there cover of Merzbow “Frog: Remixed and Revisited”, Pelican “The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw” or The Mars Volta “Frances the Mute”. But the compilation is great anyway!

  61. 61

    Some are excellent (Pink Floyd – The Division Bell), some are rubbish (Motley Crue – Theatre of Pain, Earth, Wind & Fire – All’n’all). Thanks for posting

  62. 62

    No factory records releases?
    Obviously everyone knows Unknown Pleasures- but what about Atmosphere
    Transmission or Closer or Still
    (All Joy Division)
    Or the later New Order Stuff.
    And as Jason said- where is the 4AD/ Vaughn Oliver worK? (I’m not sure if that is even the best Pixies cover- let alone the best of 4AD)

  63. 63

    I love that you guys included VHS or BETA. What a great band! Great album too! They’re from my hometown too which is kind of cool.

  64. 64

    I’m sorry, this is just a collection of CD’s you probably own or know that have nice covers. It’s a difficult article to create because such a massive portion of album artwork is great – you can’t narrow it down to 35. And it seems like you just thrown some up there just because they’re hand drawn or something. Metropolis? Appetite for Destruction? They’re not particularly special.

    But hey, it’s a good idea and there are some good selections.

  65. 65

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 4, 2008 4:35 am

    @Nathan Beck (#59): our intention was not to showcase best covers, we just wanted to present some of them which we think are good and spark our reader’s interesting in designing beautiful and unusual CD covers. We are no music experts, but we appreciate the beauty of unusual approaches and creative ideas. This collection definitely does not display best covers out there (read the introduction), but we hope that it contains some examples worth learning from.

  66. 66

    Always inspiring are the illustrated covers of toy piano band Twink:

    The Broken Record
    A Very Fine Adventure

  67. 67

    I think is very hard to choose only 35. Anyway, this is a good collection, but I would have included Nevermind from Nirvana.

  68. 68

    Also a very nice cover: Page Avenue by Story of the Year

  69. 69
  70. 70

    Well, if we’re allowed to change the list:

    Peter Gabriel II;
    Peter Gabriel III;
    or pretty much anyHipgnosis cover;

  71. 71

    I’m sorry, but just one Radiohead album doesn’t do it :)

    You’d have to at least add The Eraser (it’s frickin’ Stanley Donwood, remember?!)

  72. 72

    Suprising to see the Smashing Pumpkins cover on there instead of KMFDM, they’ve been doing albums like that for years, and better ones at that.

    That said, with a catalog to choose from so big, there are bound to be covers that get missed, and everyone always has their personal favorites.

    Here’s some KMFDM covers

  73. 73

    Tim already mentioned Factory Records album covers but to add to that, most of them were designed by Peter Saville. How you can miss out one of today’s most influential designers in this list is unforgivable.

    Everyone has their favourites and will disagree over a list but how can you miss Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order, designed by Saville?

  74. 74

    And pearl jam? great examples like vitalogy or no code. And Brad Klausen is a terrific designer. Just a suggestion ;)

  75. 75

    I completely forgot about that Lemon Jelly album cover, it has such a childish quality about it. A very good album too, if you’re into the genre of music.

  76. 76

    How about giving hip hop a little bit of love. The first album cover that came to my mind is Kanye West’s Graduation

  77. 77

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 4, 2008 5:49 am

    @Shaun (#69): thank you, could you provide us with some inspiring Factory Records album covers?

  78. 78

    Check out earlier ‘The The’ records.

  79. 79

    Nice compilation. I would have included any cover from Iron Maiden in this list.

  80. 80

    tool > *


  81. 81

    If you want truly awe inspiring, look up the “Red Album” by Baroness.

  82. 82

    Love this list of album covers. Reminds me somewhat of the full size Book of Album Covers, volume 1, that I have of LP covers lying around somewhere. Not sure if it’s still in print, but it’s Paper Tiger Press, I beileve. And there are a lot of great Yes and Grateful Dead covers in it worth checking out.

  83. 83

    Hmm. My comment has been eaten twice.

  84. 84


    August 4, 2008 6:48 am

    Dream Theater! Wooohooooo! m/_

  85. 85

    What does this have to do with web design?

  86. 86
  87. 87

    What about CAKE’s CD: B Sides and Rarities. THE ARTWORK IS SCRATCH AND SNIFF!

  88. 88

    Disappointing. What’s the standard?

  89. 89

    Great list! Also check out some Marillion/Fish/Porcupine Tree album artwork.

  90. 90

    Commenter above is right — I spent hours as a child poring over Captain Fantastic.

    On the flip side, I LOVE Sleeveface :)

  91. 91

    absolutely great collection!

  92. 92

    Where’s the petition to have an Iron Maiden cover in this list ? =]

  93. 93

    Love the idea.

    Missing John Butler Trio’s Grand National though

  94. 94

    I saw someone else commented on it, but Sgt. Pepper’s by The Beatles should be on the list. Their use of cardboard models and the arrangement of those models and other items makes it a one-of-a-kind cover.
    The Rolling Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet alternate cover, though slightly disgusting, is a unique approach, as well. (Contributing to the debate about “trash as art”, perhaps.)
    Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home has that unique fading effect.

  95. 95

    Hmmm… less than inspiring. Some nice pieces for sure, but this doesn’t feel like a representative collection. This feels more like a designer went through his/her collection and picked pieces that they thought to be ‘inspiring’.

  96. 96

    my fav is the Circa Survive: On Letting Go design

  97. 97

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    August 4, 2008 8:46 am

    @Stephen (#96): could you be more specific about what you mean with “representative”? And please provide us with some excellent album covers which could serve as the inspiration for further visitors of this post.

  98. 98

    I suppose the Soulwax cover and the DJ Shadow cover are here to show what people should *NOT* do. The 1st looks like the ugly gift wrap used by my aunt, and the 2nd is just a bad photo…

    A very average compilation, there’s not many “beautiful” music album covers here, and certainly not “35 beautiful music album covers”, as the title said.
    I’m disappointed. :(

  99. 99

    I love smashing, but this post is far more subjective (and disputable) than usual…

    In the future, a sentence or two about “why” someone thought a piece was inspiring/beautiful/groundbreaking would at least make the opinion seem thoughtful and intentional vs. just picking random covers that look cool.

    People don’t have to agree, but when disputed, it makes it apparent that it was “Mr Truffle’s” thoughtful opinion, and helps insulate Smashing’s reputation from differing opinions on design.

  100. 100

    that rolling stones cover is terrible

  101. 101

    what about stone temple pilot’s “tiny music”? that would also be a nice addition to the list.

    and i know there’s already a smashing pumpkins cover, but “mellon collie…” also has great visual art all over.


  102. 102
  103. 103

    Definitely a bad compilation. Some of them are so ugly – what the hell Tool: 10,000 Days and Elton John – Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy are doing here? :(

    • 104

      Can’t believe you don’t like 10 000 days’ cover. If there is a cover I agree on that list it would be that one. Well… whatever. I also think Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs or Scary Monsters should be in there.

  104. 105

    Uhhm, the G’N’R cover is the censored one,the original looks much
    Missing ones:
    , one of the best photographies ever and

  105. 106

    Uhhm, the G’N’R cover is the censored one,the original looks much better
    Missing ones: London Calling, one of the best photographies ever and Sticky Fingers

  106. 107

    woops, thats to the “red album” by Baroness…

  107. 108

    You left out Massive Attack – Mezzanine. To get the full effect, you need to get the CD. The cover folds out, so you can see the whole bug, with cool robotic details.

  108. 110

    I think you missed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band here…


  109. 112

    I love that you included the ELO album “Out of the Blue”. I see that the CD version of the LP pictured there. I happen to own the original LP album and what you don’t get out of that album picture is that the front and back were one continuous picture and the inside also had a very neat picture. I actually took photos of it (forgive my bad photoshop skewing skills) just for SM. Not that they’re worthy of posting, but here they are. (Outside) http://img329.imageshack.us/img329/9673/elooutsidedy3.png and (Inside) http://img172.imageshack.us/img172/2024/eloinsidevl8.png

  110. 113

    Could we not have just said the name Storm Thorgerson and been done with it? Some of the best album covers of all time (including three here that I noticed) were created by this man including every Pink Floyd cover.

  111. 114

    Nice covers. I would like to add : Ultra Zone (Steve Vai)

  112. 115

    Soulwax – Nite Versions

    Very lame, look like gift wrap

  113. 116

    This one, Make Up The Breakdown by Hot Hot Heat, is my absolute favorite. IMO, it’s so much better than most of the covers here.


    Their other album, Elevator, is also really good.


  114. 117
  115. 119

    The Motley Crew album is the worst … a trite image. Sargent peppers is an iconic cover that is missing. Although I suspect this collection has more to do with musical taste than album covers. You may as well add Andy Warhol’s cover for the velvet underground’s albums if we are going by that.

  116. 120

    @ 99: Clearly, you don’t know much about music. That album cover is DEFINITIVE of a sound, a style, and a generation of music listeners. Just looking at that “bad photo” — as you so brazenly put it — gives me chills when I think about what’s on that album.

    You should probably do some homework before you open your mouth about things you’ve proven to be uneducated about.

    The Soulwax cover, on the other hand, atrocious. Not exactly amazing design there.

  117. 121

    What exactly is beautiful about the new Smashing Pumpkins cover? Not trying to be negative here, but there’s something strangely un-inspiring about it…

  118. 122

    My favorite cover has always been A Broken Frame by Depeche Mode (1982). Its a beautiful photo.

  119. 123

    None of those have Bob Dylan in drag, so what good are they?


    Also, too much color! where is Klaus Voormann’s incredible cover for Beatles Revolver?

    And why show Out of the Blue CD when the original LP was so much better looking?

  120. 124

    yeah, should have been Sticky Fingers, obviously.

  121. 125

    One of my best is the cover of the album “Romantic Warrior” by the group Return To Forever. Have a look here:
    Romantic Warrior

  122. 126

    Good post. Designing Record cover is my favorite thing.
    I agree with the comment 55. Reid Miles work is to important in Record cover artwork to not be in this list. But maybe Reid Miles would diserve an entire post of his own. The book about blue note records covers is a must have.
    If some one is curious and want to peep my record cover artwork here. peace

  123. 127

    These are all great picks. I would have liked to see any of William Schaff’s covers for Okkervil River make the list, but I understand there’s more great artwork than there is time and energy to catalog it in a blog post.

    For those interested, Schaff has a Flickr page which includes his his (embroidered) artwork for “The Stage Names” and its forthcoming follow-up “The Stand Ins”.

  124. 128

    very cool idea and collection.
    my favourite ones are missing: makossa & megablast – kunuaka , jon hassel – earthquake island . .. .

  125. 129

    Great selection of album covers, and like most commenters I could think of a few you could add (and subtract).

    I did start thinking about how we perceive about album art, especially if the album has been around for years; I wonder, if we see an album cover regularly does this impact our objective appreciation of the artwork? Do we even appreciate the artwork even more when we love appreciate the music? I wonder this because I feel the Guns and Roses “Appetite for Destruction” cover is nothing special (even though I rate this album very highly).

  126. 130

    As I’ve said it was meant to be a collection of 35 illustrated covers and their illustrators. This is easier to condense down to 35.

    When you start talking iconic vs beautiful vs well designed then it’s a whole different ball game as seen by the comments here. No one can agree on anything.

  127. 131

    You need to squint to see the cover. Or take 3 steps back formyou computer. See it?…. ahhhh now I see. Imagine that in a record shop

  128. 132

    Mr Truffle here:

    1: Soul Wax cover: Take a step back from your computer. Ahh now you see.
    2: The list started out as “25 illustrated covers” so that was easier to contain and choose. Now as you can see we’ve opened up a can of worms as what makes a good cover vs what makes a iconic cover vs what makes somethign beautiful are all different things.

    There would need to be 50 lists to cover all the different types of covers.

  129. 133
  130. 134

    i effed up the links in my comment – just delete it, whatever. poop

  131. 135

    very bad list. Nothing special with half of them.

  132. 136

    Maybe not a definitive list, I can think of a lot of other great ones. But overall, some very nice album artwork, including some of my favorites.

    There’s only one that I disagree with. Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. Doesn’t do much for me. Just some words scribbled over a famous painting. I think the others are a lot more creative personally. Just my opinion. All the others are great.

  133. 137

    Any Earth Wind & Fire album, really now.

  134. 138

    These are exactly what I would have picked!

  135. 139

    Dark side of the moon, greatest album ever.

  136. 140

    It’s nice, byt what about for example with Ayreon (The human equation) cover or Dream Theater (Octavarium) …

  137. 141

    Nice list, though some of them aren’t that nice. I think this is the most beutifull Cover I know.


    Its From ‘Kids in the Way’ and the Album is entitled ‘A love hate masquerade’.

  138. 142

    Definitely the most inspiring cover of all time is Joy Division´s “Unknown Pleasures” by Peter Saville. When I saw this cover for the first time, I realised that I would be a graphic designer. The most iconic album cover design, ever!

  139. 143

    I guess my previous comment goes to spam section because of links.

    Hmm well..
    I have some additions:

    Milosh – iii

    Foxglove Hunt – Stop Heartbeat

    Explosions In The Sky – All of Sudden I Miss Everyone

    Marching Band – Spark Large

    Bjork – Greatest Hits

    Organic Stereo – The Stories Linger in My Mind

    I guess enough although i have bunch more. Just preventive if SM put some anti-spam plugins.

    p.s : xx change to tt

  140. 144

    Sitting here looking over all the Beautiful Music Album Covers, makes me stop and think of what might be going throw each person mind when they came up with their idea. Some you can see just do it on a idea that pops up in there head. Others take time to really think hard and long an what they want to say. Why others do a play on ideas of other albums. All are great no matter how each one came up with the idea. Helps the rest of us to get motivated to do better. Thanks


  141. 145

    Where is The Flaming Lips, Amon Tobin, August Burns Red, Burial, Chevelle, Pinback, and several others that have some great album covers. Others to mention are Peter Bjorn and John and Gnarls Barkley. Fujiya and Miyagi and Deftones [White Horse] both have good examples of minimalist design. And several others that deserve recognition more than some of those.

  142. 146

    What about ALL of Stefan Sagmeister covers?

  143. 147
  144. 148

    Check Solomon Burke’s I Wish I Knew. That’s a truly awesome cover.

  145. 149

    hey, how about UnkleJam?? their covers are unique…

  146. 150

    Sure, you knew this would get a ton of comments as it becomes a musical preference vs. a design preference. Some nice choices, however, I would’ve liked to see some efforts from Hugh Syme. He does Rush album artwork and others.

  147. 151

    I own some of these albums. You have some good taste in music :)

  148. 152

    It’s great to see some australian bands up there. Speaking of which – The Grate’s new album, Teeth Lost, Hearts Won is quite addictive.

    Little Birdy’s artwork for Hollywood was created by a employee of the the clothing shop Nobody (I believe there are stores all over the world). From what the employee was mention, Nobody releases a book every where which their employee’s make. The guys from Little birdy loved it and got the guy to do all the artwork for the album. The jacket is more impressive than the album artwork.

    And then you can’t go far from Interpol’s Our Live to Admire for a cheeky laugh.

  149. 153

    63. Bruno Aleman (August 4th, 2008, 4:53 am)

    :) yeah, nevermind cover is the best!

  150. 154

    These are pretty good. Deloused in the Comatorium by TMV would have been a better choice. But overall nice selection!

  151. 155

    Nice collection. If you put all covers of Pink Floyd, you couldn’t miss though. They’re just smashing.

  152. 156

    Nice!!! a must-have article… i have a goooood one… i love the cover of “Since i left you”, from The Avalanches. I don´t know the author… nice disc too, btw.

  153. 157

    Not very inspiring for me…too old….just a few are not boring….(my opinion)

  154. 158

    My love of music combined with my love of design. Great Article.

    Smashing Magazine, you’re smashing!

  155. 159

    Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is missing, it has a freaking wikipedia entry and your going to leave it out??


  156. 160
  157. 161

    *sorry about double post, forgot to close the link. Please delete post 161.

    Completely second Luke Greenaway’s suggestion of any of the Lex records catalog, lots of embossing, foiling and attention to detail.
    Also the lettering by Alex Trochut on the Rolling stones “Rolled Gold Plus” is sexy.
    Did anyone else wonder why the hell a painting commemorating the July Revolution in france is featured on an album called “Viva la Vida”? Maybe it’s some kind of EU intergration directive.

  158. 162

    You should’ve also added Green day’s “Dookie” album cover. It’s cool!

  159. 163

    Hi, not a bad collection at all!

    How about some Mother Tongue stuff?
    They always have great cover artworks.
    i.e. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61C33IGJ76L._SS500_.jpg
    On the back of the album is a more “alive” version of the painting.

    Greetings from Cologne,

  160. 164

    You should’ve also added the most important, the cover that was the first of this art: “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

  161. 165

    Nice list. It’s a shame that you’ve missed NIRVANA’s “In Utero”, though!

  162. 166

    A personal favourite from South Africa: Underbelly – For a cynical Science

  163. 167

    nice liste
    but you missed some essentials albums.
    Just one : Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik

  164. 168

    Deftones = White Pony
    Deftones = Deftones

  165. 169

    I’m sure there’s a million better album covers out there. I’ve had more inspiration flicking through iTunes. Is this by chance just your entire collection?

  166. 170
  167. 171

    any album by the sea and cake would do!

  168. 172

    Yeah, not a huge fan of this list… some are good, but others… well… yeah… not so much!

    I’ve always been a fan of Keane’s covers though!!

    Don’t forget about Mika, or Kaskade!!!!

  169. 173

    I love the Fort Minor´s The Rising Tied Cover, as well as the album, it´s really good. Nice Job!

  170. 174

    What a shit!

  171. 175

    that Soulwax – Nite Versions is so cool. N so is Linkin Park “Reanimation” (my favourite band:) )

  172. 176

    Great post. Although, I personally feel that DJ Shadow’s Preemptive Strike album cover design is better than the Endtroducing cover :)

  173. 177

    Thats good post, but whats up with The Beatles covers? Or King Crimson? Seems to me that it.. so underrated.

  174. 178

    Don’t forget The Cult – Electric

  175. 179

    Lateralus shoulda been in there instead of 10000 days. that or undertow.

  176. 180

    Here are a few more that are pretty f#$%ing good

    Red Flags by The Provenance – http://muzon.org/uploads/posts/2008-04/1209280869_red-flags.jpg

    A Method to Feel Alive by CrowneVict – http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/505435.jpg

    Drop by Beatropolis – http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51C98Z2KJTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

    All of KMFDM album covers – http://images.google.com/images?q=KMFDM%20Album%20Cover

  177. 181

    its in there.

  178. 182

    Sgt Pepper’s has been mentioned a couple of times, and so has Sticky Fingers. Too bad they won’t work on a CD cover…

    Another one that won’t work on a CD but is IMHO one of the best vynil covers is Bob Marley’s “Light A Fire”.

    But to end this discussion of which cover should definitely be or not be in this list, why not post 35 images of “The Beatles” (the White Album) and be done with it? (Well, maybe 34 and finish it of with Spinal Taps’ unpublished “Black Album”)

  179. 183

    Not much hip hop or country or anything else. I listen to a lot of these bands you have listed, including Muse and Radiohead and Keane. These covers seem to represent a certain type of music. I really liked Kelis’ Kaleidoscope cover. Erykah Badu’s Amerikah just some examples

  180. 184

    those are some pretty cool designs. I’ve always been a big fan of album art. I designed some of my own you can check out. http://www.evanarussell.com

  181. 185

    The beauty not only concerns the senses. Also involve intelligence (concepts as: time, death, life, etc.., are present), and many seem to expect only the satisfaction of their senses (especially the visual one). For example: the cover of New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies (Peter Saville), is so beauty, I am very foolish to explain so I quote the following snippet:

  182. 186

    “The second New Order album Power Corruption & Lies (1981) simply reproduces a scintillating detail of a Fantin-Latour painting and credits its source : The National Gallery, London. To cue us in on the mode of reproduction employed, the right edge of the cover carries a colour check guide in the form of a printer’s 4-colour registration code. Here Tschichold’s theories of mechanical reproduction (designing for such processes) are collided with Benjamin’s (the delusions involved in such processes) making this a pretty clever cover.”

  183. 187

    MIGGS “UNRAVELED” should be up there. Beautiful artwork

  184. 188

    Great collection of covers!!! I love the Muse, Chemical Brothers and Mars Volta’s cover.

  185. 189

    The Best Album cover are not made for designers

  186. 190

    So happy to see my ELO recommendation got up there… Ace :D

  187. 191

    Simplemente la mejor compilación de portadas que he visto, crema en diseño!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  188. 192

    I didn’t go through all the comments but what about Axis:bold as love or Aoxomoxoa older and specific style but some great work.

    On honestly as far as stones covers and art, what about the Sticky fingers original packaging (no pun intended if you know what the original loked like) but the old first pressing album had a working zipper on the pants. That function and form, relates to this article too

  189. 193


  190. 194

    Famed sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas’ cover for Queens 1977 ‘News of the World’ is also a classic.

  191. 195

    Hannah von Vino

    August 6, 2008 9:51 pm

    Yay :D love all of these! Some of my favourite bands in there – Muse especially

    I’m surprised My chemical romance’s album ‘3 cheers for sweet revenge’ and the single cover for ‘thank you for the venom’ and even their earlier covers for example, ‘headfirst for halos’. They are all super awesome and drawn by lead singer Gerard way who also makes comics – shame about the new music >_

  192. 196

    some good, some clearly don’t belong here.

    obvious missing ones would be:

    Anything on Ninja Tune
    Most ambient albums
    Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works II, Polygon Window, Caustic Window, On Ep…
    All of Radioheads Albums, espcially OK Computer (genius!)
    every BlueNote album from 1957 – 1962
    Cream: Disraeli Gears
    Hendrix: Axis: Bold as Love
    Gorillas 1st Album
    etc etc

    the list could be endless!

  193. 197

    i’ve seen another cover which more beatifull than this. but i understand its not easy to collecting beatifull music album cover whole the world, and also dificult to make an objective judgement, i like Dream Theater cover because i’m very nuts with this band event another cover looks great (is not objective isnt it?). Over all, you guys did nice work! keep rocking Smashing ;)

  194. 198


    totally tasteless

  195. 199

    there’s a lot more… Baroness, Mastodon …

  196. 200

    you could use HISTORY INVADES “In Vision Vanish Invisible” on that list.

  197. 201

    For “Circa Survive: On Letting Go,” Esao Andrews did the cover. his link is http://www.esao.com . Amazing stuff!

  198. 202

    A fairly average collection. In case anyone was wondering – the YES cover art is by Roger Dean. I love his organic landscapes, he also designed the YES logo.

  199. 203

    trust busy house sea apple frog right boat

  200. 204

    How uninspiring. Have you, the author taken the time to contact hardcore record collectors, online record sites, I mean records, not trendy modern digital creations. Go take a look at the blue note library, or the website dustygroove.com. Come back with a better researched article, or don’t waste my precious time,

  201. 205

    Wow! A Dream Theater album made the cut! I’m impressed! :) m/

    The Odyssey or Paradise Lost by Symphony X could easily make the cut as well … same with some Ayeron ;)

    Great list!

    • 206

      Great music taste you have :D Dream Theater are my favourite band (V.I.P tickets to see them tomorrw actually :D) Symphony X’s Iconoclast is a mindblower also, however I am GREATLY surprised that Iron Maiden’s ‘Somewhere back in Time’ is not on this list it is if not THE ‘Greatest’ Album Art I’ve ever seen!

  202. 207

    this was so impressive!! thnx, i love this kida stuff!
    sawdust, has a pretty great cover art too. i expected to see it…

  203. 208

    What about NIN? The Fragile has an awesome cover, and so do many other NIN albums.

  204. 209

    No Follow? http://www.scyfox-site.com

    You missed Groove Armada – Soundboy Rock and A lot of Nine Inch Nails covers

    There is a picture of the front cover.-


  205. 210

    You missed Groove Armada – Soundboy Rock and A lot of Nine Inch Nails covers

    There is a picture of the front cover.-


  206. 211

    You should have named this post “my fav cd’s”

  207. 212

    the Soulwax cover OWNS

  208. 213

    Well not sure what this is about. I see some very average stuff that is boring and uninspiring…
    Dunno what coldplay does there? Just a painting (representing the French revolution I believe) with some letters over it… Thats not art IMHO…

    Anyways for some more original covers, check out the ones for Peter Gabriel 2 and 3 (they where mentioned earlier but I think those are very good, especially 2).

    if this was about illustrated covers then you can add anything from genesis (so tresspass, nursery crime, foxtrot, selling england by the pound, wind and wuthering, duke, we can’t dance are good choices). Of course the already mentioned “In the court of the Crimson King” from King Crimson. Marillion has some good painted covers (Fugazi, Script for a Jesters Tear, Clutching at straws, Misplaced Childhood, Curtain Call etc.) and there are a lot of other bands too I suppose. Weather Report has some, Queen (Night at the OPera or Innuendo), of course the famous Bitches Brew from Miles Davis and Im sure that mastermind Frank Zappa has something for this article too…

  209. 214

    I still think one of the best album covers, for both concept and art direction, is Supertramp’s Breakfast in America:
    Breakfast in America
    It is also a great pop album that brings back many fond memories…

  210. 215

    where’s iron maiden’s somewhere in time?!

  211. 216

    I miss Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in your list!

  212. 217

    Just in case you weren’t aware, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Mothership’ album cover was also illustrated/designed by Shepard Fairey. You’ll notice his signature ‘propaganda poster’ style not only on that cover but also with the Smashing Pumpkins most recent album ‘Zeitgeist’.

  213. 218

    Really glad to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Dj Shadow in there.

  214. 219

    linkin park and fort minor
    the best band!!!

  215. 220


    August 19, 2008 7:39 am

    s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2

  216. 221

    Gente…eo nun achei nenhum bunito…
    todos são feios, como vxs podem achar issu bunito!?
    mi poupee viiu gentee, eu prefiro mais as capas aqui do Brasil
    elas são lindass! *–*


    Bjoz pessoal!

  217. 222

    meu comentario…

    mais como diz heein ingles

    Comment =P

  218. 223

    You should of put up a bright eyes one! (esp Casadega) they are cool. also NZ band ‘Goodshirt’ had stickers long before Beck.

  219. 224

    yikes the only thing worse than this site design is this compilation!

  220. 225

    Great compilation! I am the one from flickr that did the radiohead alternate cover:
    You can put it back in, if you like.

    This is another one I did:

  221. 226


  222. 227

    I like The cover of Van Halen – 1984 … That cool

  223. 228

    Love the Keane one. The designer’s name seems like a Finnish one (not sure if it is), so here’s one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen, it’s from a Finnish band. The impact between colorful pattern of the cover and b/w imagery of the booklet is stunning (these web versions don’t look that great though)


  224. 229

    Looking for inspiration for a graphic design essay on “typography of Album covers since 1980″, please can anyone help.

  225. 230

    You should put SM Town Summer 2007 album cover on the list.. The cover contains some liquid. Very interesting.

    Here’s the link if you want to see:

  226. 231

    Nice post!!!
    Note: Yes “Relayer” by Roger Dean; Dream Theater “Scenes From a Memory” by Dave McKean; Pink Floyd “The Division Bell” by Storm Torgensen

  227. 232
  228. 233

    Wheres ‘Court of the Crimson King’ by King Crimson ?

  229. 234

    what about kanya west graduation? great graphic design

  230. 235

    what about kanye west: graduation? great graphic design

  231. 236

    Nice compilation, but I think that in that compilation you should have put some cover of Journey. All of them are so beautiful and conceptual.

  232. 237

    Surprisingly narrow and pedestrian. My, my, you ARE young, aren’t you???

    Had it not been for the Moby Grape cover, I would have completely given up on you. HINT: After Bathing At Baxter’s, Jefferson Airplane, circa 1966.

  233. 238

    very nice albums. nothing really to my taste but very very nice. i would really like to see some with grim reapers. i need some ideas for my bands album. lol

  234. 239

    Okaiz. So. Im thinkin that the new Cute Is What We Aim For “Rotation” cover should be on here because i really like the way they use the objects to make the shape of a butterfly and its really colorful. It also contrasts with the grey-ish background. I really like it.

  235. 240

    cool but u need to get death metal music covers

  236. 241

    i think these are simply beautiful,
    if you have something to complain about then why dont you start your own site.

  237. 242

    Thanks beautiful album

    subject add see http://www.opsiyonblog.com

  238. 243

    I’m missing at least one of the jazz album covers from the 50’s. Here’s a publication with a bunch of them: http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/popculture/all/01899/facts.jazz_covers.htm

  239. 244

    Ozma – Melvins

  240. 245

    first off im amazed that they would put the smashing pumpkins zeigiest album cover up , over all the other interesting ones…album art shouldnt be boreing….the zeigiest album sucks anywhoo…looks like greenday gone emo wannabe political statement .the only statement is that the album designer blows!!!!!!!!!!!IM not hating , the smashing pumpkins are awesome but , how humiliating for such a good band.

  241. 246

    You should put there one of Iron Maidens covers with Eddie – they changed the way metal-covers are designed.
    August Burns Red – Thrill Seeker… should be there also.
    And definitely Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody (the one with hands).

    Also, “Indestructible” by Disturbed is worth mentioning, i think.

  242. 247

    I am an inspiring graphic designer and I’ve always wanted to design music ablum covers (cover art for books, video games, and various covers in general). If this is what I wanted to do primarily, could anyone point me in the right direction?

  243. 248
  244. 249

    They are very good but I addit the cover of the lp Mike Oldfield’s The Complete. It´s Great photo.

  245. 250

    I liked the album art. My two favorite covers weren’t on it though: In Flames: Reruite to remain and Rise Againts: Revolutions per minute. You should check them out, they’re worth seeing.

  246. 251

    this is a really nice compilation and it has some very inspiring artwork. i just dont like elton john that much!

  247. 252

    michael jackson-dangerous album cover was very unique…

  248. 253

    I liked the end has a a start. The cover shows alot of motion. I adore the michanical look to the structure inside the wooshing motion, It is a very cool peice. =)

  249. 254

    these are some very good choices. but elton john is not good.

  250. 255

    This is super cool! I love how you worked your imagination and came up with many masterpeices! I love the Deerhunter one, it messes with your eyes! 0.o

  251. 256

    Dwayne Michael Carter III

    March 24, 2009 12:09 pm

    i think the “Nightmare” album cover by Lil’ Wayne should be apart of these album covers, it would make this page more unique

    • 257

      why don’t you spend less time d*ck riding Lil Wayne and start your own site? This way you can put all the Wayne covers that you want and stop trying to tell people what they should have on their own site. What clown! And I like Wayne.

  252. 258

    i like all of these but it shouldve included SOAD’s debut album by the same name

  253. 259

    they were very cool and interesting to look at.

  254. 260

    The album covers are TITE! i like The Mars Volta album cover!

  255. 261

    Nightmare N!cholas

    March 26, 2009 11:38 am

    There are a lot of great works and some of my favorite albums of all time are on this list. I don’t like the song that well, but I love the album cover for Gallows: in the belly of a shark. The song is decent but the album cover is amazing.

  256. 262


    March 26, 2009 11:53 am


  257. 264

    I enjoyed looking through your list, but I think KISS “Destroyer” is a serious oversight.

  258. 265

    Some criminally-overlooked covers…

    Porcupine Tree, “Fear of a Blank Planet”
    Levitation, “Need For Not”
    Andy Prieboy, “…upon my wicked son” and “Sins of My Fathers”
    King Crimson, “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” and “Discipline”
    Jethro Tull, “Thick As a Brick”
    Pure Reason Revolution, “The Dark Third”
    Barkmarket, “Vegas Throat”
    ELP, “Brain Salad Surgery” (HR Giger, for crying out loud!)
    Eloy, “Colours”
    The Mars Volta, “Deloused In the Comatorium”
    Mike Oldfield, “Tubular Bells”
    Primus, “Frizzle Fry”
    VAST, “Visual Audio Sensory Theater”
    Devo, “Q: Are We Not Men?”

  259. 266

    Lykke Li is defiantly missing, i love her album cover it’s very victorian inspired.

  260. 267

    Fabiano Melo-Natal Brazil

    August 7, 2009 12:11 pm

    Friends, I love the major of cover you have posted herr,but for me the one of the most beautiful album cover is Nirvana Nevermind.


  261. 268

    Fabiano Melo-Natal Brazil

    August 7, 2009 12:13 pm

    Friends, I love the major of covers you have posted here,but for me the one of the most beautiful album cover is Nirvana Nevermind.

  262. 269

    only one from New Order? it is clearly the band with the best covers ever, perhaps the list should have at least the Technique one
    but good list anyway

  263. 270

    Would liked to have seen Blue Note represented but your list gets mega points for the inclusion of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s, Lift Your Skinny Fists…

    Thanks for the cool article.

  264. 271

    Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What about Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips!!

  265. 272

    Absolutely wicked… Love the creative, clever and talented artwork.
    One to add… please?
    Powderfinger’s 1st? album cover… it won the Aria for Best Album Cover Art.

  266. 273

    Dunno if anyone ever posted this suggestion, but Rod Stewart’s Foot Loose & Fancy Free has the most beautiful cover art ever. Not to talk about the booklet inside. So there. I’m talking about vinyl LP cover arts. Ok? No cd’s…

  267. 274

    Dunno if anyone ever posted this suggestion, but Rod Stewart’s Foot Loose & Fancy Free has the most beautiful cover art ever. Not to talk about the booklet inside. So there.

  268. 275

    love those covers! should’ve had dookie by green day though

  269. 276

    Mansun’s ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ and ‘Six’ are both good, check those covers out.

    Blur ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’ and ‘Think Tank’

    well there’s hundreds of great album covers (and lots of bad ones).

  270. 277

    Fragile – Yes
    that’s just beaty art

  271. 278

    How did Nirvana’s Nevermind not make it on here? it’s probably one of the most iconic album covers of all time, let alone being pure genious.

  272. 279

    I liked the artwork. Suprisingly some of my personal favorites are on this list too. thanks for sharing your collection with us.

  273. 280

    I don’t know if it has been mentioned yet, but I really think “Under Byen: Af Samme Stof Som Stof” deserves a place on the list.


  274. 281

    Dust – Hard Attack should be in this list.

  275. 282

    Only ONE Roger Dean cover? (Yes’s “Relayer”). He could have easily had 5 of his covers in this top 35 list. “Tales From Topographic Oceans” alone should be in the top 5 of this list. Some great Album art here, but some great omissions, too!

  276. 283

    Talk about inspirational; music AND design together. My wife is utilizing the album covers as inspiration for her interior design stile-ings. Check these out:

    http://bit.ly/aZ9HUS (Flaming Lips)

    http://bit.ly/cClPuC (BlackStar, Bjork,
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

    http://bit.ly/avHCHH (Just Jack, The LK)

    http://bit.ly/bWpMWI (Crystal Castles, Cut
    Copy, Passion Pit, Cold Cave, Jay
    Electronica, The xx)

    Thank you very much for ‘listening.’

  277. 284

    My favorite one is Michael Jackson’s Dangerous!!! I LOVE IT!

  278. 285

    Surprised you didn’t include the album cover for Zepher’s Sunset Ride, –the blue one with the big white plane flying across an orange moon. It’s beautiful. I’ve seen the cover art many times/places, but nobody seems to have heard of the album except me : – )

  279. 286

    Few that definitely need to be mentioned:

    Tool’s Salival
    Rage Against The Machine’s title album
    Senryu’s Inkling
    Led Zepplin’s Houses Of The Holy
    Kasabian’s Empire

  280. 287

    Some brilliant album covers here.
    Other beautiful covers are:
    Gloves – Operator Please
    Like Magic (Single) – Operator Please
    Harmony – NeverShoutNever!
    Into The Blue Again – The Album Leaf
    Afterglow (EP) – For Our Hero

  281. 288

    i think “Rise or Die Trying” by Four Year Strong should be up here. its got the best album cover ever. or theire other album, im not sure what its called

  282. 289

    wow you guys suck at counting. there arent 35 albums here, theres actually 55 (not including the columbia pictures/records one)

  283. 290

    check out the cover of Rainbow – Rising and Motorhead – Another Perfect Day. Two of THE best album covers of all time.

  284. 291

    why don’t you put “a fever you can’t sweat out” from panic! at the disco.
    it’s definetly the most artistic album cover i’ve ever seen.

  285. 292

    It is a great variety, but I think there are some other albums to consider. OneRepublic has some nice expressive covers, with “Dreaming Out Loud” and “Waking Up”. Owl City has truly beautiful album covers, that perfectly convey his message of dreaminess, like “Maybe I’m Dreaming”, “Ocean Eyes”, and his new one, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. I wish you would take out the comments with expletives.

  286. 293

    awolnation’s album cover is soooo insane

  287. 294

    Can’t believe there are no Meatloaf covers in the selection! Bat Out of Hell 1 & 2, surely?

  288. 295

    The Circa Survive cover is by Esao Andrews, one of my favorite artists – http://www.esao.net/index.php

  289. 296

    Buscaba algo interesante como fondo de pantalla, gracias a esto di con Mark Ryden / I was looking for something interesting for my pc wallpaper, thanks to this website I found Mark Ryden.

  290. 297

    I’m really glad you put Beck in there.
    However I think Odelay is a classic album cover.

  291. 298

    Hi. Someone who knows who designed Buckcherry´s album cover for the album “time bomb” and “buckcherry” ??

  292. 299

    i think vampire state building by alcatraz should be in this selection!

  293. 300

    I feel that these album covers should have been mentioned:

    Telegram by Björk- http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegram_(album)

    Liquid Swords by Gza- http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_Swords

    Portishead by Portishead- http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portishead_(album)

  294. 301

    Your missing a couple of dots on Endtroducing…..

  295. 302

    I’d like to blow a couple of these (and other) covers up onto canvas to hang on the wall. You need a good digital file to blow it up much. Anyone know how to get ahold of hi res digital files of album covers (not the tiny low res ipod ones)? I’m willing to pay for them, but haven’t had much luck. Thanks.

  296. 303

    I love this post I still got Michael’s LP “Dangerous” I’m so happy to still have it.
    YOu shoulda included “Kanye West – Graduation Cover”

  297. 304

    Where is Sgt. Pepper album? :O

  298. 305

    The Afghan Whigs “Gentelman” is a fantastic cover.

  299. 306

    Still my favorite


    Needs more love

  300. 307

    Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’
    Echo And The Bunnymen – Heaven Up Hear’
    Rawradarwar – ‘==’
    Santana – ‘Abraxis’
    Kyuss – ‘…And The Circus Leaves Town’
    Sepultura – ‘Beneath The Remains’
    Jimi Hendrix – ‘Band Of Gypsys’
    Pink floyd -‘Animals’
    Neil Young – ‘After The Gold Rush’
    Miles Davis – ‘Bitches Brew’
    Mogwi – ‘Come On Die Young’
    Yes – ‘The Yes Album’
    Kyuss – ‘Blues For The Red Sun’ are just a few of the album covers i love

  301. 308

    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.

    • 309

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

  302. 310

    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

  303. 311

    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.

  304. 312

    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.

  305. 314

    Brother by the Black Keys.


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