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35 Beautiful Music Album Covers

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Album cover art is often considered to be one of the extinct 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 fewer customers 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 some 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 its cover, but it doesn’t hurt to give a CD a spin based on 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 the 60s to 2000s. However, some excellent album covers are missing. Please let us know about them in the comments to the post!

This post was updated. Thank you for the comments!

Album Covers Link

The Mars Volta “Frances the Mute”

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers

Danger Doom – The Mouse and the Mask

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers

Michael Jackson: Dangerous by Mark Ryden

Michael Jackson: Dangerous by Mark Ryden

Devil’s Gun – Raising The Beast

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

Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist by Shepard Fairey

Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist by Shepard Fairey

Keane: Under The Iron Sea by Sanna Annukka

Keane: Under The Iron Sea by Sanna Annukka

Kisschasy: United Paper People by Debaser

Kisschasy: United Paper People by Debaser

Editors: The End Has a Start by Idris Khan

Editors: The End Has a Start by Idris Khan

Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue

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

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

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

Arcade Fire: Funeral

Arcade Fire: Funeral

Kool and the Gang – Still Cool

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

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon 1973

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon 1973

Gallows: In The Belly of a Shark by Dan Mumford

Gallows: In The Belly of a Shark by Dan Mumford

Muse – Origin of Symmetry

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

Linkin Park – Reanimation

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

Lemon Jelly: Lost Horizons by Airside

Lemon Jelly: Lost Horizons by Airside

Tool: 10,000 Days

Tool: 10,000 Days

Circa Survive: On Letting Go

Circa Survive - On Letting Go

The Last Goodnight – Poison Kiss

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

Pink Floyd – The Division Bell

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

Thom Yorke: The Eraser by Stanley Donwood

Thom Yorke: The Eraser by Stanley Donwood

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

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

Architecture in Helsinki: Places Like This by Will Sweeney

Architecture in Helsinki: Places Like This by Will Sweeney

The Chemical Brothers: Push the Button by Tappin Gofton

The Chemical Brothers: Push the Button by Tappin Gofton

Rolling Stones – Forty Licks

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution

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

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

Dream Theater – Scenes from the memory

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

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

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

Relayer: Yes

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Relayer: Yes

Coldplay – Viva La Vida

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

New Order – Power, Corruption and Lies
Designed by one of today’s most influential designers Peter Saville

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

Soulwax – Nite Versions

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

Pixies – Doolittle

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Pixies - Doolittle

Deerhunter – Cryptograms

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Deerhunter - Cryptograms

Hot Chip – The Warning

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

Muse – Absolution

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution

The Police – Ghost In The Machine

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

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

DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers

Wow – Moby Grape

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

Genji Siraisi: Censorsh!t by Razauno

Genji Siraisi: Censorsh!t by Razauno

Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

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

VHS Orbeta – Bring On The Comets

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

Van Halen – 1984

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution

Fort-Minor – The Rising Tied Front

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

The Roots – Game Theory

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

Led Zeppelin – Mothership

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

Nick Drake – Pink Moon

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution

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 Cowboy

Showcase of Beautiful Album and CD covers- Muse - Absolution

XTC – Drums and Wires

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

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

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

Beck: The Information by Big Active and you

“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 Revisited

Last Click Link

The World’s First Album Cover
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

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

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

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  1. 1

    nice compilation. :)

    -1
  2. 2

    Some very inspiring artwork here; thanks for sharing!

    1
  3. 3

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

    -3
  4. 4

    that’s very cool covers

    1
  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!

    -1
  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

    1
  7. 7

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

    0
  8. 8

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

    -1
  9. 9

    more more

    -1
  10. 10

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

    1
  11. 11

    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:

    http://thatgirlkate.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/radiohead-ok-computer-87768.jpg

    1
  12. 12

    Yay, Abby Road!

    -3
  13. 13

    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.

    -1
  14. 14

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

    1
  15. 15

    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.

    1
  16. 16

    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. : /

    1
  17. 17

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

    1
  18. 18

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

    1
  19. 19

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

    -2
  20. 20

    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.

    0
  21. 21

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

    1
  22. 22

    What about radiohead’s Kid A?

    1
  23. 23

    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.

    1
  24. 24

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

    0
  25. 25

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

    0
  26. 26

    wow Gr8 album covers …
    http://www.netbulls.co.cc

    0
  27. 27

    Damn, really bad choices.

    0
  28. 28

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

    0
  29. 29

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

    0
  30. 30

    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:)

    0

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