100 Obscure and Remarkable CD Covers

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While recording artists and bands are busy recording their albums, a separate effort is usually being made behind the scenes to plan for the launch, promotion and circulation of the new tracks. The creation of CD cover art is an intergral part of this process.

Some CD covers feature heavily edited and airbrushed vanity photos of the musicians or recording artists. Thankfully, others are much more creative and work to create a cover image that reflects the mood, attitude or feel of the music it promotes. The most striking designs are those that capture both a buyer’s attention and the essense of the music.

The CD cover art designs and concepts featured in this showcase present dramatic, quirky, unusual or unique artwork. This type of cover art can make a big difference when a little-known band releases an album. Captivating or iconic cover art can make a band instantly recognizable, which increases sales, which in turn boosts airplay and subsequently demand for the music. Mainstream marketing is rarely this attractive, and the wide variety of beautiful CD cover art makes browsing CDs an enjoyable experience that reaches far beyond the music.

It must be noted that a collection of this nature is never complete, and the value of art is very personal and subjective. While we may love the familiar cover art of some classic favourites because we love the bands and the music, a critical look at the cover art can often be a disappointment. For the purposes of this cross-section of remarkable and obscure cd cover art we have chosen to ignore the musical genius of the albums in favor of showcasing brilliant cover art.

You may also enjoy this previous article:

100 Obscure and Remarkable CD Covers Link

Rush – Power Windows3 (1985)
This strange cover seems to be showing a mirrored world, where we sit and watch a window, surrounded by televisions.

Rush - Power Windows4

Osaka Popstar – Rock’em O-Sock’em Live!5 (2008)
This gruesome cover is meant to be humorous, but may err on the side of bizarre. What look to be dollish little men have lost their heads, and perhaps some sales opportunities as well.

Osaka - Popstar6

Neutral Milk Hotel – The Aeroplane Over The Sea7 (1998)
Vintage-looking and abstract, this beautiful coverart begs for an explaination.

Screenshot8

Tool – Ænima9 (1996)
One of many brilliant cover art designs for Tool, this one is also a stunning optical illusion.

Tool - Anemia10

King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King11 (1969)
The street-art feel of this cover art is both comical and slightly unsettling.

King Crimson12

Electric Light Orchestra – Out Of The Blue13 (1977)
This ELO cover art is classic and unforgettable.

Screenshot14

Jerry Goodman – Ariel15 (1986)
Who doesn’t love flying fish? This cover art is confusing without being annoying. Someone might pick up this CD just to try to figure out what is going on with the cover.

Jerry Goodman - Ariel16

Daydreamer – Dialogue17 (2008)
Bold slpashes of gold and red are used on this cd cover, which features a clever typography image. Haunting eyes peek out from beyond a mass of golden words that serve as hair.

Daydreamer - Dialogue18

Nick Drake – Pink Moon19 (1992)
A little bit of everything was thrown into this odd but intriguing cover art.

Nick Drake - Pink Moon20

Iron and Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog21 (2007)
Pop art is featured on thie cd cover. Bright colors and an abstract image are combined to create something visually stunning.

Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog22

The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute23 (2005)
This cover art photo is organized confusion that might make would-be listeners curious about the music.

New Order - Blue Monday24

Pixies – Doolittle25 (1990)
With a name like Pixies, you might expect sweet, innocent looking cover art. This is not the case.

Pixies - Doolittle26

Mimo – Hello Let’s Be Friends27
Like a trainwreck, it may be hard to look away from this cover. An alien-esque creature would like to be your friend. Would you pass it up?

Mimo - Hello Let's Be Friends28

The Roots – Things Fall Apart29 (1999)
This album was released with five different covers, each depicting a social disaster. The most striking of the five, seen here, shows African American teenagers being chased down a street in Brooklyn during the Civil Rights era.

Screenshot30

Rivermaya – Buhay31 (2008)
The art on this cd cover is a bit perplexing. The mostly monochromatic design comes to life with a pop of red and yellow. As the eye is drawn into the picture, the oddities become evident.

Rivermaya - Buhay32

Unkle – Never, Never Land33 (2003)
The hand-drawn art on this cover is stark, simple and unique.

New Order - Blue Monday34

Story of the Year – Page Avenue35 (2003)
The title and art on this cover work beautifully together.

Story of the Year - Page Avenue36

The Mothers of Invention – Weasels Ripped My Flesh37 (1988)
The cover art of this cd colorfully mocks the title.

The Mothers of Invention - Weasels Ripped My Flesh38

Circa Survive – Juturna39 (2005)
This moody cover art grabs attention and doesn’t let it go.

Circa Survive - Juturna40

Matt Elliott – Howling Songs41 (2008)
This strange, scary and truly original cover captures attenton and perfectly reflect the music’s essence (experimental rock and folk).

Screenshot42

Circa Survive – On Letting Go43 (2007)
Two years later, Circa Survive released a new album with this cover, which seems caught between a dream and a nightmare

Circa Survive - On Leting Go44

Thom Yorke – The Eraser45 (2006)
This cover, with it’s simple black, white and red hand-drawn design, is captivating.

Thom Yorke - The Eraser46

Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody47 (2007)
Taking a more classical route on this cover art, Black Light Burns manages to catch a browser’s eye.

New Order - Blue Monday48

KMFDM – Hau Ruck49 (2005)
Harsh, abrupt, and loud, this KMFDM cover art gets in your face.

KMFDM - Hau Ruck50

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band51 (1967)
Some say no collection of cover art is worth mentioning without this cover.

The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band52

As Cities Burn – Hell or High Water53 (2008)
Both Hell and high water make their appearance in this album cover by As Cities Burn, and the heavy relief styling mated with macabre humor do well to quickly catch your eye.

54

Bring Me the Horizon – Count Your Blessings55 (2006)
Good photographic composition draws the viewer’s eye to the little girl immediately in this cover from Bring Me the Horizon, only to then take it on a tour all over the picture.

56

Deftones – Deftones57 (2003)
Relaxed and friendly typography tops this self-titled album’s cover art, while perfectly over-contrasted colors surround the skull in the center. This cover stands out anywhere.

Massive Attack – Mezzanine58 (1998)
The idea of such a limited color scheme and so much white space may seem boring on paper, but the execution of this album’s cover art was flawless and the image has been burned to memory for millions of fans world-wide ever since.

59

Frank Zappa – Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch60 (1995)
This cover combines a silly title with a Swedish-looking font and an imaginatively simple drawing that, once we’ve read the title, really does look like a drowning witch and a ship’s keel.

61

Toad the Wet Sprocket – Coil62 (1997)
This album cover, while very full of activity, manages to pull off a gorgeous, monochromatic glow that draws the reader in from the start.

63

The Rippingtons – Modern Art64 (2009)
While the typography on this cd cover could be much better, the “cool cat” and his art seem to make up for it.

The Rippingtons - Modern Art65

The Van Buren Regulars – 14 Minutes ’till 3 (2007)
Beautiful lighting and a good setting make the photograph in this cover art perfect for what it’s been used for. The title of the album serves as a seat to the band-name and the reader feels relaxed, as though peering over the railing and looking down the stairwell like a child might.

Norma Jean – O God the Aftermath66 (2005)
Like viral marketing, Norma Jean’s album is made to stop a browser in their tracks and force them to wonder what happened on the cover. Did somebody write on it? Is this a used cd? This kind of extended attention is exactly what album art should get.

Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown67 (2009)
Warm and grungy, this cd cover art also captures a tinge of teenage angst.

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown68

Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons69 (2002)
Looking for a lost horizon is exactly what the viewer winds up doing when looking at this album cover, due to the flow given it by the artist.

Out of Enemies – Into the Darkness70 (2009)
Good use of artist rendering here shows a surrealistic scene in modern manga-style illustration. We don’t know what’s in the woods, or why the hero needs to enter. We just know he’s Out of Enemies.

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots71 (1988)
This cd cover art is unique and interesting, and with a pink robot, how could they lose?

New Order - Blue Monday72

Adagio – Archangels in Black73 (2009)
Dark and moody, this cover art composition was designed to highlight key features. Mystery and anquish draw the listener to this cover.

Adagio - Archangels in Black74

The Prodigy – Music for the Jilted Generation75 (1995)

The Prodigy - Music for the Jilted Generation76

Sepultura – Roots77 (1996)
Hot colors with a tribal infusion decorate this cd cover. The disconnect between the head and neck make this image even more interesting.

Sepultura - Roots78

Junkyard – The Birthday Party79 (1982)
This cd cover art is macabre and humorous at the same time. There is a little bit of everything in the image, and with each look one might see something that went unnoticed before.

Junkyard - The Birthday Party80

Caged81
A budding artist created this image in hope that it would be used as cd cover art. It’s frightening and striking at the same time. The two faces could represent may things and may make an excellent cover image for the right band..

Caged82

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero83 (single, 2009)
Some covers totally mess with your mind. This is one of them. The bright blue eye seems to be staring out from a pair of shiny red lips. This is an unexpected composition, to say the least, and has helped propel the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s from unknown independents to household names.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero84

Muse – Origin of Symmetry85 (2001)

MUSE - Origin of Symmetry86

Anew Revolution – Rise87 (2008)
This cd cover art is simple and basic, yet incredibly striking. The edges look charred already, while a hand holds a match in the foreground. While the overall color scheme is subdued, even cold, the flame is embellished to give the illusion of heat.

Anew Revolution - Rise88

Further Seems Forever – Hide Nothing89 (2004)
Matching the cover in metaphor to the name of the band is a common trick in album art, but the more abstract the band-name the more difficult it becomes to accomplish. This cover managed to do pretty well in its attempt.

Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On90 (2008)
A startling image, front and center on this cd cover commands attention. The red and black contrast also serve to draw eyes. However, a human heart clenched in a fist may be a bit too strong, and many potential listeners may keep walking.

Eagles of Death Metal - Heart On91

Ninja Academy – bra’ka dOm92 (2005)
Ninjas are rarely seen, and conjoined-twin ninjas are even more of a rarity. The pair gaze into a crystal ball in an attempt to determine if this cover art will be of any interest to potential listeners.

Ninja Academy - bra'ka dOm93

The Gossip – Live in Liverpool94 (2008)
This cover is simple, bold and effectively conveys the message in an instant. The dirty laundry pictured is a clever play off the band’s name.

Gossip - Live in Liverpool95

More Skin With Milk-Mouth – Giraffes? Giraffes?96 (2007)
Nothing seems to make sense here, yet it works on this cd cover. More flying fish, an invasion of ladybugs and a Roman statue all fit together in this intriguing, colorful mess.

More Skin With Milk-Mouth - Giraffes? Giraffes?97

Alpha Rev – The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Learned98 (2008)
Another approach to grunge is seen in this cd cover artwork that succesfully combines a retro feeling and a modern touch.

Alpha Rev - The Greatest Thing I've Ever Learned99

Cuerpo Meridian – 69100 (2006)
The artwork here is so beautifully abstract that we hardly notice the psuedo-twins crouching at the bottom. A deeper look reveals more embedded messages within this cd cover.

Cuerpo Meridian - 69101

RIDE! – The Last of the Bad Men102 (2008)
This is another example of simple, yet striking cd cover design. Colors and effects were expertly applied to create artwork that is stunning enough for a frame, yet is used to promote another form of art instead.

RIDE! - The Last of the Bad Men103

faux pas’ – europa104 (never released)
This interesting cd cover brings the unexpected into the artwork. While not conventionally attractive, it is interesting and worth a closer look.

faux pas' - europa105

Systemania – I Say Yeah106 (2007)
Black with white and red usually make for a stunning visual combo. This cd cover uses black and white photography with red accents to create a masterpiece.

Systemania - I Say Yeah107

Systemania - I Say Yeah108

Mark Cool & the Folk Stars109 (2007)
This charming folk-art cover works perfectly for this folk music cd.

Mark Cool & the Folk Stars110

Destruction – Release from Agony111 (1988)
This cs cover has more creep factor than a vintage horror flick, yet is strangely fascinating.

Destruction - Release from Agony112

Coldplay – Viva LaVida113 (2008)
A vintage French battleground is the scene for this cd cover. Smear and splatter bring it to life.

Coldplay - Viva La Vida114

Motorhead – Orgasmatron115 (2006)
A cd cover that could inspire nightmares is not quickly forgotten. This Motorhead cd cover features an image that makes an impact.

Screenshot116

A Perfect Circle – Mer de Noms117 (2000)
Simple and elegant artwork can also make a great cd cover. This design is particularly attractive because all of the elements work together perfectly to create a memorable and uncluttered cover.

 A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms118

Arcade Fire – Funeral119 (2004)
Completely vintage in appearance, this Arcade Fire cd cover art is nearly monochromatic and simplistic in design.

Acarde Fire - Funeral120

Arcade Fire121 (2005)
The creative use of typography and white space sets this cover art apart.

Screenshot122

Evanescence – The Open Door123 (2006)
A moody and romantic tone is set with this cd cover art design. The mystery lies on the other side of the door.

124Evanescence - The Open Door125

The Postal Service – Give Up126 (2003)
This extremely simple cd cover design is also extremely memorable and effective. Soft focus on the background photo give the cover an understated elegance.

The Postal Service - Give Up127

Bjork – Medulla128 (2004)
Bjork covers are generally extremely eye-catching. Rather than straight glamour shots, her cover art generally reflects a unique style that is all her own.

Bjork - Medulla129

Bjork – Wanderlust130 (2008)

Bjork - Wanderlust131

Bjork – Cocoon 2132 (single, 2002)

Bjork - Cocoon 2133

Cocteau Twins – Treasure134 (1991)
The music on this album has been described as sensual and timeless, and the cover art also falls in line with that description. Its simplicity allows it to withstand the test of time.

Screenshot135

Radiohead – OK Computer136 (1997)
The music on this album is about machines dehumanizing people, and the cover art seems to touch on the speed and technology of modern life.

Screenshot137

Radiohead – In Rainbows138 (2007)
Taking the rainbow theme to task, the artist used an interesting background and multi-colored text with random keystrokes inserted to create this cover art.

Radiohead - In Rainbows139

She Wants Revenge140 (2005)
This self-titled album made a splash with this striking cover art.

Screenshot141

She Wants Revenge - back142

Wet143
Striking and self-explanatory, this cd cover art stands out in a crowd.

Wet144

Shoutin’ – Don Wilkerson145 (1963)
Classic art from the Miles Davis era, when great cover art was in its infancy.

Shoutin146

New Order – Blue Monday147 (1988)
New Order departed from its usual style of cover art in favor of this symbolic design for Blue Monday.

New Order - Blue Monday148

Hard-Fi – Once Upon a Time in the West149 (2007)
A new approach to cover art from Hard-Fi. This is pretty self-explanatory.

Hard-Fi - Once Upon a TIme in the West150

Fucked Up – Year of the Rat b/w First Born151 (2009)
The combination of the image, colors and use of white space make this cover hard to resist.

Fucked Up - Year of the Rat152

Pixies – Come on Pilgrim153 (1987)
This bold and shocking imagery appeared on the cover of the Pixies’ 2003 release, Come on Pilgrim.

Pixies - Come on Pilgrim154

Supertramp – Breakfast in America155 (1979)
Classic cover art no collector should be without.

Supertramp - Breakfast in America156

Orbital – In Sides157 (1996)
Chaotic and colorful cover art decorated the cover of this Orbital cd.

Orbital Insides158

Baroness – The Red Album159 (1988)
This gorgeous cover art was created by Baroness lead singer John Dyer Baizley. Baizley does all of the band’s artwork and has also worked on art for other bands.

New Order - Blue Monday160

The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness161 (1995)
The cover art on this cd looks vintage, but was produced for the 1995 release of this much-loved album.

Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie162

The Beatles – Revolver163 (1966)
This album took place during confusing time for the Beatles, when they were in a state of flux and trying many new things; this cover art conveys the idea of just that.

New Order - Blue Monday164

Pink Floyd – The Darkside of the Moon165 (1973)
Voted and declared on many lists internationally as the greatest album cover art in history, The Darkside of the Moon stands the test of time as it’s still wildly popular in its simplicity.

Pink Floyd - Darkside of the Moon166

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures167 (1979)
Joy Division, being known for their commitment to music, as well as being very dark, are personified in this very minimalistic cover.

New Order - Blue Monday168

Chevelle – Wonder What’s Next169 (2002)
This cover shows a glass of milk crashing to the floor, the title Wonder What’s Next leads the reader to think of the proverb.

Chevelle - Wonder What's Nextts Next170

Devin Townsend – Ziltoid the Omniscient171 (2007)
This extremely humorous cover mimics classic sci-fi B-movies. Someone browsing the record store might stop just to see if it’s a misplaced DVD. Covers like this serve to pique curiosity, and often succeed.

Keane – Under the Iron Sea172 (2006)
Using the old imagery of the “Iron Horse” in this cover, Keane manages to make both the name of the album and the cover art flow together as a complimentary pair.

Lee Morgan – The Rumproller173 (1965)
Using extreme distortion on the typography in this cover art causes the reader to pause and pay attention, only to be greeted by the full artist and album information off to the side.

Marylin Manson – Mechanical Animals174 (1998)
Always one for shock value, Marylin Manson made sure he would grab eyeballs with this album cover; the cover was so effective that it had to be altered just to be taken off ban-lists.

Menomena – Friend or Foe175 (2007)
This clever album cover actually housed a several-disc set, and depending on which disc was placed in front, the art would change accordingly, with the disc number visible in the strange being’s hand.

The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols176 (1977)
Always out to make a statement, the Sex Pistols used this album cover to not only get a laugh out all who came across it, but also to raise brand-awareness. If you’re going to self-title an album, this is a good way to go about doing it.

Tiger Lou – Partial Print177 (2008)
Typography carries this with creative vignetting, as Tiger Lou catches the reader’s attention instantly.

Beck – The Information178 (2006)
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

Opeth – Ghost Reveries179 (2005)
Opeth wants to haunt you in this album cover, to make you stop and think, and wonder. It’s hard not to, as it’s very artistically done so as to draw your attention.

Sila – Imza180 (2008)
Normally a photo shoot of the artist winds up somewhat plain; Sila does things differently in this shot, as it barely looks real. The feathers reminds us more of a cinematic trailer for a fantasy movie or video game, the brightness draws us into the center where her eyes anchor the canvas.

The Darkness – One Way Ticket to Hell… And Back181 (2005)
Wraparound covers, while not quite rare, aren’t common either. So when a good one comes up, it’s always a nice thing to see, and this one is simply amazingly well done.

The Who – Then and Now182 (2004/2006)
This album art showcases the fact that The Who have been around since before most of us were born. The vintage styling makes every piece of information “pop” and the whole thing comes together to look like a concert poster.

Tool – 10,000 Days183 (2006)
While the cover itself is not amazing, it’s what Tool have done with the packaging that makes it worth a mention. Tool raised the bar with digipacks by including a set of stereoscope glasses to view the accompanying artwork.

Tool: 10,000 Days184

The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – It’s Blitz185 (2009)
Doing what they do best, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s give another great example of how to turn heads. Upon seeing this, most everyone tends to stop and look.

Further Resources Link

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/03/35-beautiful-music-album-covers/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/24/billboard-top-40-design-showcase/
  3. 3 http://www.rockline.si/forum/viewtopic.php?t=108&start=15&sid=be3020c4fa9e0709773fdb9fe0d6dc92
  4. 4 http://www.rockline.si/forum/viewtopic.php?t=108&start=15&sid=be3020c4fa9e0709773fdb9fe0d6dc92
  5. 5 http://www.poundart.com/art/cds/OsakaLiveCoverRGB_72.jpg
  6. 6 http://www.poundart.com/art/cds/OsakaLiveCoverRGB_72.jpg
  7. 7 http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/5758-in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea/
  8. 8 http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/5758-in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea/
  9. 9 http://sleevage.com/tool-aenima/
  10. 10 http://sleevage.com/tool-aenima/
  11. 11 http://www.taringa.net/posts/musica/1459135/King-Crimson---In-Court-Of-The-Crimson-King.html
  12. 12 http://www.taringa.net/posts/musica/1459135/King-Crimson---In-Court-Of-The-Crimson-King.html
  13. 13
  14. 14 http://www.jefflynnesongs.com/sweettalkinwoman/
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/exquisitur/2552642830/
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/exquisitur/2552642830/
  17. 17 http://celiacalle.com/daydreamer_cover.jpg
  18. 18 http://chengis.me/
  19. 19 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  20. 20 http://media.photobucket.com/image/Nick%20Drake%20-%20Pink%20Moon/the_poetmaster/NickDrakePinkMoon.jpg
  21. 21 http://sleevage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/61bdgfbcctl_ss500_.jpg
  22. 22 http://sleevage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/61bdgfbcctl_ss500_.jpg
  23. 23 http://www.fanpop.com/spots/the-mars-volta/images/410400
  24. 24
  25. 25 http://www.diskull.com/blog/category/uncategorized/
  26. 26
  27. 27 http://www.myspace.com/mimo_tv
  28. 28 http://www.myspace.com/mimo_tv
  29. 29 http://www.popphoto.com/Features/The-Stylishly-Alternative-Covers/The-Roots-Things-Fall-Apart-1999
  30. 30 http://www.popphoto.com/Features/The-Stylishly-Alternative-Covers/The-Roots-Things-Fall-Apart-1999
  31. 31 http://purpleturtlealien.deviantart.com/art/Rivermaya-Buhay-Album-Cover-75740484
  32. 32 http://purpleturtlealien.deviantart.com/art/Rivermaya-Buhay-Album-Cover-75740484
  33. 33 http://thelephants.net/imagini/unkle
  34. 34
  35. 35 http://image002.mylivepage.com/chunk2/37220/24/SOTY.jpg
  36. 36
  37. 37 http://sleevage.com/the-mothers-of-invention-weasels-ripped-my-flesh/
  38. 38
  39. 39 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/32.jpg
  40. 40 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/32.jpg
  41. 41 http://www.discogs.com/Matt-Elliott-Howling-Songs/release/1518195
  42. 42 http://www.discogs.com/Matt-Elliott-Howling-Songs/release/1518195
  43. 43 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/81/Onlettinggo.jpg
  44. 44 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/81/Onlettinggo.jpg
  45. 45 http://likeonlymusiccan.blogspot.com/2008/07/thom-yorke-eraser.html
  46. 46 http://likeonlymusiccan.blogspot.com/2008/07/thom-yorke-eraser.html
  47. 47 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  48. 48
  49. 49 http://www.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=26516683&page=0&prev_button=1
  50. 50 http://www.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=26516683&page=0&prev_button=1
  51. 51 http://www.sonyinsider.com/2009/03/19/sony-and-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band/
  52. 52 http://www.sonyinsider.com/2009/03/19/sony-and-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band/
  53. 53 http://www.amazon.com/Hell-High-Water-Cities-Burn/dp/B001UJIMNW/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242241604&sr=8-1
  54. 54 http://www.amazon.com/Hell-High-Water-Cities-Burn/dp/B001UJIMNW/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242241604&sr=8-1
  55. 55 http://www.amazon.com/Count-Your-Blessings-Bring-Horizon/dp/B000TE8BRG/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242242919&sr=1-1
  56. 56 http://www.amazon.com/Count-Your-Blessings-Bring-Horizon/dp/B000TE8BRG/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242242919&sr=1-1
  57. 57 http://www.amazon.com/Deftones/dp/B00008YJQW/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242243518&sr=1-1
  58. 58 http://www.amazon.com/Mezzanine-Massive-Attack/dp/B000006045/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242244998&sr=1-1
  59. 59 http://www.amazon.com/Mezzanine-Massive-Attack/dp/B000006045/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242244998&sr=1-1
  60. 60 http://www.amazon.com/Ship-Arriving-Late-Drowning-Witch/dp/B0000009T4/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242246994&sr=1-1
  61. 61 http://www.amazon.com/Ship-Arriving-Late-Drowning-Witch/dp/B0000009T4/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242246994&sr=1-1
  62. 62 http://www.amazon.com/Coil-Toad-Wet-Sprocket/dp/B000002BR9/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242247154&sr=1-1
  63. 63 http://www.amazon.com/Coil-Toad-Wet-Sprocket/dp/B000002BR9/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242247154&sr=1-1
  64. 64 http://concordmusicpress.com/releases/Modern-Art/
  65. 65 http://concordmusicpress.com/releases/Modern-Art/
  66. 66 http://www.amazon.com/O-God-Aftermath-Norma-Jean/dp/B0007GAE0S/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242245587&sr=1-1
  67. 67 http://productshopnyc.com/htdocs/mccainpalin/
  68. 68 http://productshopnyc.com/htdocs/mccainpalin/
  69. 69 http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Horizons-Lemon-Jelly/dp/B00006C77O/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242244742&sr=1-1
  70. 70 http://www.amazon.com/Into-Darkness-Out-Enemies/dp/B001EWOK6S/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242245887&sr=1-3
  71. 71 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  72. 72 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  73. 73 http://www.7sdesign.com/index2.html
  74. 74 http://www.7sdesign.com/index2.html
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/exquisitur/2551756359/
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/exquisitur/2551756359/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/photos/heavy-metal/1346898715/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/heavy-metal/1346898715/
  79. 79 http://angryfix.blogspot.com/
  80. 80 http://angryfix.blogspot.com/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/azredheadedbrat/145482178/
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/photos/azredheadedbrat/145482178/
  83. 83 http://www.culturebully.com/yeah-yeah-yeahs-zero
  84. 84 http://www.culturebully.com/yeah-yeah-yeahs-zero
  85. 85 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  86. 86
  87. 87 http://kochrecords.gluenow.com/images/cover%20art%20RISE.JPG
  88. 88 http://kochrecords.gluenow.com/images/cover%20art%20RISE.JPG
  89. 89 http://www.amazon.com/Hide-Nothing-Further-Seems-Forever/dp/B0002M5UGA/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242244238&sr=1-2
  90. 90 http://www.zmemusic.com/rock/new-eagles-of-death-metal-album-art-for-heart-on/
  91. 91 http://www.zmemusic.com/rock/new-eagles-of-death-metal-album-art-for-heart-on/
  92. 92 http://www.ninjaacademy.com/goods.php
  93. 93 http://blog.justswell.org/
  94. 94 http://www.girlieaction.com/thegossip/
  95. 95 http://www.girlieaction.com/thegossip/
  96. 96 http://lovesinheatrecords.com/releases/more-skin.htm
  97. 97 http://lovesinheatrecords.com/releases/more-skin.htm
  98. 98 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbdh/406005590/
  99. 99 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbdh/406005590/
  100. 100 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossinabossio/303218805/
  101. 101 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossinabossio/303218805/
  102. 102 http://www.flickr.com/photos/55378591@N00/2405105383/
  103. 103 http://www.flickr.com/photos/55378591@N00/2405105383/
  104. 104 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizfox/1061562257/
  105. 105 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizfox/1061562257/
  106. 106 http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotologic/2514443832/
  107. 107 http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotologic/2514443832/
  108. 108 http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotologic/2513618971/
  109. 109 http://www.flickr.com/photos/9921959@N02/2345612244/
  110. 110 http://www.flickr.com/photos/9921959@N02/2345612244/
  111. 111 http://www.flickr.com/photos/heavy-metal/1346898947/
  112. 112 http://www.flickr.com/photos/heavy-metal/1346898947/
  113. 113 http://blogs.villagevoice.com/statusainthood/
  114. 114 http://blogs.villagevoice.com/statusainthood/
  115. 115 http://www.flickr.com/photos/heavy-metal/1347786230/
  116. 116 http://www.flickr.com/photos/heavy-metal/1347786230/
  117. 117 http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/213498
  118. 118 http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/213498
  119. 119 http://www.mp3.com/off-topic-discussion/best-album-cover/topic/15-123272/msgs.html
  120. 120 http://www.mp3.com/off-topic-discussion/best-album-cover/topic/15-123272/msgs.html
  121. 121 http://cdn.pitchfork.com/media/453-arcade-fire-ep.jpg
  122. 122 http://cdn.pitchfork.com/media/453-arcade-fire-ep.jpg
  123. 123 http://blog.news-record.com/staff/musiccan/archives/evan.jpg
  124. 124 http://blog.news-record.com/staff/musiccan/archives/evan.jpg
  125. 125 http://blog.news-record.com/staff/musiccan/archives/evan.jpg
  126. 126 http://www.yorkblog.com/teentakeover/img/Barnes%20%20Noble.com%20-%20Image%20Viewer%20Give%20Up%20The%20Postal%20Service%20CD.jpg
  127. 127 http://www.yorkblog.com/teentakeover/img/Barnes%20%20Noble.com%20-%20Image%20Viewer%20Give%20Up%20The%20Postal%20Service%20CD.jpg
  128. 128 http://www.thetripwire.com/tag/bjork/
  129. 129
  130. 130 http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=429062
  131. 131 http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=429062
  132. 132 http://www.bjork.fr/IMG/jpg/cocoon_cd1.jpg
  133. 133 http://www.bjork.fr/IMG/jpg/cocoon_cd1.jpg
  134. 134 http://www.evo.org/html/wrap/CocteauTwins.Treasure.cd.jpg.html
  135. 135 http://www.evo.org/html/wrap/CocteauTwins.Treasure.cd.jpg.html
  136. 136 http://thatgirlkate.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/radiohead-ok-computer-87768.jpg
  137. 137
  138. 138 http://hitsonglyrics.blogspot.com/2008/02/radiohead-in-rainbows-album-lyrics.html
  139. 139
  140. 140 http://cdn.pitchfork.com/media/7843-she-wants-revenge.jpg
  141. 141 http://cdn.pitchfork.com/media/7843-she-wants-revenge.jpg
  142. 142 http://a940.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/93/l_9c0640bf370051f694dfaf8880d03c5b.jpg
  143. 143 http://www.alphabeticadesign.com/storage/Wet_Album_Art.jpg
  144. 144 http://www.alphabeticadesign.com/storage/Wet_Album_Art.jpg
  145. 145 http://media.photobucket.com/image/Reid%20Miles%20Blue%20Note/ladylexx/nbn2144.jpg
  146. 146 http://media.photobucket.com/image/Reid%20Miles%20Blue%20Note/ladylexx/nbn2144.jpg
  147. 147 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  148. 148
  149. 149 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  150. 150 http://sleevage.com/xtc-go-2/
  151. 151 http://www.matadorrecords.com/fucked_up/
  152. 152 http://www.matadorrecords.com/fucked_up/
  153. 153 http://quimby.gnus.org/4ad-pics/Pixies.ComeOnPilgrim.lp.jpg
  154. 154
  155. 155 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Supertramp_-_Breakfast_in_America.jpg
  156. 156
  157. 157 http://www.maniadb.com/album.asp?a=179654
  158. 158 http://www.maniadb.com/album.asp?a=179654
  159. 159 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  160. 160
  161. 161 http://dingle.vox.com/library/posts/tags/smashing+pumpkins/
  162. 162 http://dingle.vox.com/library/posts/tags/smashing+pumpkins/
  163. 163 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  164. 164
  165. 165 http://www.worldinmotion.net/neworder/discography/singles/1988/BlueMonday88.jpg
  166. 166
  167. 167 http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlepixel/3388123008/
  168. 168 http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlepixel/3388123008/
  169. 169 http://i34.tinypic.com/n2l301.jpg
  170. 170 http://i34.tinypic.com/n2l301.jpg
  171. 171 http://www.amazon.com/Presents-Ziltoid-Omniscient-Devin-Townsend/dp/B000P2A4FY/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242243823&sr=1-1
  172. 172 http://www.amazon.com/Under-Iron-Sea-Keane/dp/B000FBHT1C/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242244403&sr=1-1
  173. 173 http://www.amazon.com/Rumproller-Lee-Morgan/dp/B00000K4GN
  174. 174 http://www.amazon.com/Mechanical-Animals-Marilyn-Manson/dp/B00000AFGM/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242244863&sr=1-1
  175. 175 http://www.amazon.com/Friend-Foe-Menomena/dp/B000LP6KKS/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242245133&sr=1-1
  176. 176 http://www.amazon.com/Never-Mind-Bollocks-Heres-Pistols/dp/B000002KIE/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242245300&sr=1-1
  177. 177 http://www.amazon.com/Partial-Print-Tiger-Lou/dp/B001EI5OHQ/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242246884&sr=1-2
  178. 178 http://www.amazon.com/Information-Beck/dp/B000HIVO64
  179. 179 http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Reveries-Opeth/dp/B000AA7D8C/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242245754&sr=1-5
  180. 180 http://www.sonymusic.com/
  181. 181 http://www.amazon.com/One-Way-Ticket-Hell-Back/dp/B000BP86OG
  182. 182 http://www.amazon.com/Then-Now-1964-2004-Who/dp/B0001IXTMW/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242246756&sr=1-1
  183. 183 http://sleevage.com/tool-10000-days/
  184. 184 http://sleevage.com/tool-10000-days/
  185. 185 http://www.amazon.com/Its-Blitz-Yeah-Yeahs/dp/B001UJIMF0/ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1242247260&sr=1-1
  186. 186 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/03/35-beautiful-music-album-covers/
  187. 187 http://www.sleeveface.com/

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Gerri Elder is a content producer and social media strategist who has worked full-time on Internet development and marketing since 1997. Her current projects include ChicagoNow, GreenBiz and ProspectMX. Gerri can be reached on Facebook or Twitter and is often found on the Web under the username "absolutelytrue".

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  1. 1

    Obscure indeed! I love the one from Keane, Under the Iron See.
    the Marylin Manson one is definetly a classic.
    The DIY kit from Beck was clever.
    Yey! F1rst!

    -1
  2. 2

    HAHAHAHA!!!! TOOL’s “ANEMIA”!!! …LOL… they should eat more!!!

    -2
  3. 3

    Where’s Aphew Twin ?

    2
  4. 4

    Not much in the way of obscure here. Remarkable, also questionable. Most of these don’t stand out thrown against even a dozen other pieces of cover art from their respective albums. Guess I was hoping for too much from the title. Smashing is really starting to slide of late.

    A note on the Osaka Popstar cover — it’s a throwback to Garbage Pail Kids, so it’s a stretch to think that it would somehow adversely affect sales other than people crying “kitchy, but unoriginal”.

    And as for this Yeah Yeah Yeahs comment:
    “This is an unexpected composition, to say the least, and has helped propel the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s from unknown independents to household names.”

    Unknown? Really? What CAVE are you living in? They are one of my favorite bands, but it’s hard to call you unknown when you spent the last 3 albums with your face plastered all over music magazines.

    -1
  5. 5

    Baroness “red album” is released in 2007 not in 1988. (great great great album!!!) :)

    1
  6. 6

    Cool! some of my all time fav albums are on that list.
    ROCK ON!

    0
  7. 7

    This is freeeeaking aawwweeesome collection! SM ROCKS!

    0
  8. 8

    As soon as I saw the list title, I knew that the Aenima album from Tool would be on. All these are amazing!

    0
  9. 9

    Where’s Abbey Road?
    Where’s the Beatles self-titled (white) album
    Where’s Nevermind?
    Where’s In Utero
    Where’s
    Where’s
    Where’s . . .
    hahah,

    ad nauseum

    anyway, “It must be noted that a collection of this nature is never complete, and the value of art is very personal and subjective.”

    so, yes.
    you guys are safe

    good job!

    0
  10. 10

    Nice list, save a few. (Steve Vai? Really?) I would have liked to have seen some more Blue Note covers, though.

    0
  11. 11

    Where’s Matt Elliott’s “Howling Songs”? Awesomest cover art EVER.

    0
  12. 12

    Good to see Muse there ^_^

    Anyone know what font is used on the “Sila – Imza” cover?

    0
  13. 13

    Peter Greathead

    May 13, 2009 3:20 pm

    On the Zappa cover, it should be “ship’s bow approaching the witch’s hat.” The ship’s keel is underwater.

    1
  14. 14

    What a great collection! Thanks!

    0
  15. 15

    the mimo link is just a link to some guys myspace.

    here’s the actual link:
    http://www.myspace.com/mimo_tv

    0
  16. 16

    What about Zeitgeist by Smashing Pumpkins?

    1
  17. 17

    You should totally check this photographer out if you liked Sıla’s album cover shot.
    http://mehmeturgut.deviantart.com/

    0
  18. 18

    I like Miles Davis “Bitches Brew” Pic

    0
  19. 19
  20. 20

    The Van Buren Regulars – 14 Minutes ’till 3, kind of a alternative view from one far better.Talking about “Swing the heartache: the BBC sessions”, by Bauhaus.

    And well, “i care because you do” – Aphex Twin, “Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun” – Dead can Dance, and actually, most of the 4AD editions, along with all those alternative 80’s record companies….but that’s me ;)

    0
  21. 21

    I really miss a cover from porcupine tree in the list. There are really some great covers. Check out lightbulb sun, in absentia (the guy on the cover is the actual creator of the cover) or fear of a blank planet. Especially the last one freaks people out though its only a boy in blue light.

    Also need for inclusion is a cover from Genesis. Their early albums have beautiful painted covers and resemble the stories in the song well. Same as with the early albums of Marillion who are also painted (but in a very different style).

    And as someone commented earlier, the Bitches Brew album from Miles Davis is very good too.

    Dream Theater have some nice covers aswell.

    1
  22. 22

    what about the strokes room on fire, or their album is this it.

    0
  23. 23

    Death leprosy: link

    0
  24. 24

    Sorry, but lots of largely uninspired covers amidst this 100 (some classics though) and couldn’t help but feel that many were chosen for their music rather than the quality or merit of their design.

    BTW they’re album covers not CD covers! Lots of these were released on LP (vinyl) and would originally have been designed for that format.

    /pedant ;)

    0
  25. 25

    It should be noted that Osaka Popstar’s “Rock’em O-Sock’em Live!” album art is an homage to The Garbage Pail Kids Link. And Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown Could also be seen as a reference to “The Watchmen”.

    Points for including Frances the Mute by The Mars Volta.

    0
  26. 26

    Joe Brightwell

    May 13, 2009 5:53 pm

    Fully agree with Cole. The music genres tend to be biased towards rock n roll and metal as well.

    0
  27. 27

    Since when is Power Windows, Out of the Blue, Anema, or 10000 Days obscure?

    0
  28. 28

    Apparently I was suffering from the delusion that Rush, Tool, Beck and The Who were something less than “obscure.”

    Good collection nonetheless.

    0
  29. 29

    With all the gothic covers here, I’m surprised there’s no mention of the cover from Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Brain Salad Surgery”, with art by H. R. Giger.

    0
  30. 30

    Wow, truly amazing covers!

    RT

    0
  31. 31

    This just in from somebody who, uh, was born before 1964: Junkyard’s “The Birthday Party” pays homage to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Look him up. He created some classic art in the 60’s – all by hand, of course.

    Thanks for the interesting collection.

    0
  32. 32

    Not a single hip hop album cover. Disappointing. (Not to say that these are no good, most of them are pretty amazing)

    0
  33. 33

    You have my favourite on here so 10 points. The King Crimson. And don’t forget when some of us bought it it was an LP cover – looks great at the large size!

    0
  34. 34

    Those “dollish little men” on the Osaka Popstar album are Garbage Pail Kids. I think that album cover is 20 or so years too late. ;)

    1
  35. 35

    Nice list – Thanks to Last.FM I recognize more than half of the list. Although, you are missing out a bunch :/

    0
  36. 36

    The Zappa cover featured a drawing from the Droodles (drawing/doodle) series by Roger Price which was in the newspapers and books in the 50’s. The simple drawing illustrates the silly caption. It was big at parties many years ago. Little kids love ’em.

    Check out droodles.com

    0
  37. 37

    the pixies ep “come on pilgrim” was released in 1987 not 2003. please do your homework. also to the comment about the birthday party album cover “junkyard” being inspired by ed roth…it is, uh, ed roth. anyway thanks for the remarkable although by no means obscure images. great picks all around.

    0
  38. 38

    Hey! what about Steely Dan’s first album? “Can’t Buy a Thrill” 1972
    http://crocmusic.com/images/albums_large/634/steely_dan_cant_buy_a_thrill.jpg

    and yes, like the guy way above said, what about x and x and y and z and all the others ;)

    0
  39. 39

    This seems to be a list of your favorite 100 albums, nothing to do with good cover art. What a cop-out

    0
  40. 40

    Looked through the list again, and decided I have to amend my previous comment.

    Multiple entries for Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and Bjork? What, these were just the first 100 CDs the author grabbed off her shelf?

    Fail.

    0
  41. 41

    Seems to me the authors idea of good cover art is intrinsically linked with their taste in music. 90% this music generally fits in the same genre and has good indie cred. I would bet this collection rather mirrors the authors music collection, and I suspect more than a couple of these were added just because the music is good.

    Wheres the Pop, Country, and Hip Hop cover art? Definitely underrepresented.

    0
  42. 42

    Missing all Captain Beefheart’s covers, a few more from Zappa, the Blind Faith album cover, the Faith no More Angel Dust cover/backcover, sorry not be helpfull before.

    0
  43. 43

    Carlo Castillo

    May 13, 2009 9:22 pm

    @MattChandler, I bet the author hasn’t even heard of Rivermaya. “Buhay” (Life) is an album from a Filipino band. They actually have good stuff, if you should come across them

    0
  44. 44

    theres 100 album covers you could say are missing and 100 people could say the same thing and the list still wouldnt be complete. iconic album covers would be a somewhat easier task (not really). lets just enjoy that someone is showing us what they like.

    0
  45. 45

    I really think the Job For A Cowboy and Chimaira album covers should have been on this list.

    0
  46. 46

    Please do something about the “CD” categorizing. They are ALBUM covers. Hello, Beatles, “Revolver” and, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” were originally released on vinyl. But they shouldn’t be called “Record” covers either. Albums are a collection of things, be it photos, songs, etc. So it’s more sensible to call them “Album” covers.

    Just my two cents.

    JDR

    0
  47. 47

    Great covers, but no way Sgt. Pepper is obscure!! I think you need another adjective.

    0
  48. 48

    if you include Postal Service’s album, then might as well give credit to their singles series which feature a very cute series of covers in cartoon/comic style

    also, Keane’s singles series off “Under The Iron Sea”, which follows the same design as the album

    0
  49. 49

    You can also add “King for a day” from “Faith no more” to your un-finishable list.

    0
  50. 50

    And not even one Mastodon album cover? I would suggest their classic:
    Leviathan

    0

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