Happydesigner’s favourite Vinyl Album Artwork Covers

I live and breathe music, I first got in to Vinyl records as a young child. I would visit my dad on a weekend and trawl through his collection. Album artwork has appealed to the masses ever since the very first musical album was released. It is not only the art / skill of music which gathers my attention, but also its attempt to be unique, the way a band or artist uses their sound as their trademark. Then coupled with the magnificent art work, covers to make a statement, portray a message or just to stand out from the crowd, interest me as  much as the music. Always being a visual person, I have always looked and treasured albums.

The majority of classic albums have spoken volumes through the years! Some of these album artworks lie amongst the finest and most recognized album artworks ever made worldwide. Please bear in mind that these are placed in no particular order at all. They are basically all MY favourites, from my ever growing collection!!

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The Velvet Underground & Nico // Released 1967

The Velvet Underground & Nico

Simplicity can sometimes be truly the best of options. When it comes to The Velvet Underground & Nico album the simple banana on the plain background album art goes to convey a lot in actuality. Enriching the theme of looking beneath the cover to truly understand anything, the album contains songs about addiction and drugs that alter one’s perception. The prior versions of the very same art reveal a peeling banana sticker revealing a pink inside alongside the quote “peel slowly and see”.

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Wish You Were Here – by Pink Floyd // Released 1975

Wish You Were Here - by Pink Floyd

Who can miss out the classic Pink Floyd album with the singular album artwork which is remembered to this very day? Rondell and Rogers can be seen shaking hands while the latter wore a suit that was aflame. Despite the fact that both these stuntmen have been in a slew of Hollywood’s finest films, they still remain best known for this singular photograph.

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Revolver – by The Beatles // Released 1966

Revolver - by The Beatles

Need one say more when it comes to The Beatles? Out of the many albums released by this iconic band, the finest album artwork needs to be handed over their album “Revolver”. Combining pencil sketch art and photography, the German artist Klaus Voorman, created a masterpiece which truly brings to light the avant-garde persona of the band members.

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London Calling –  by The Clash // Released 1979

London Calling -  by The Clash

Capturing one of the most intense moments for the band, picturing Paul Simonon crashing a guitar on stage in a fit of rage as the audience failed to respond to their efforts at entertaining them. Classifying himself as a switch that goes “off and on”, Paul stated that he almost always keeps himself in check but when he breaks lose, it even scares him. That precise emotion can be summarized in that singular photograph which is what makes it all the more popular. There is no posing or faking in it. It is like catching an animal in the wild, in its natural habitat.

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Rides Again – by James Gang // Released 1970

Rides Again - by James Gang

This was James Gang’s second album. Under the direction of guitarist Joe Walsh. The album appeals to me with its ‘simplicity’ The font used on the front is clear, a true great but simple cover which burns brightly and powerfully on the hardest level.

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Oldies but goodies – by The Beatles // Released 1966

Oldies but goodies - by The Beatles

The Beatles eighth official album release. After the release of Revolver late in 1966. The colours used on this album cover are stunning! bright, capturing the times (60’s flower power style) and also a pure eye catcher on ANY record shelf.  The front cover artwork was by David Christian.

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My PeopleWere Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair… But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows – by Tyrannosaurus Rex // Released 1968

My PeopleWere Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair... But Now They're Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows - by Tyrannosaurus Rex

This is one of the most insane acoustic albums made and is completely a product of its time; The early Tyrannosaurus Rex material. there is no way ANYONE today could even attempt a sound similar.  The Artwork used on the cover is a pure representation of Marc Bolan’s  fantastic, fairytale lyrics, purely capturing the magic and story. It’s an interesting little album, and also a very beautiful one.

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Some Other Morning – by Cair Paravel // Released 1976

Some Other Morning - by Cair Parabel

This is an exceptional record, A very rare album nowadays. Only 250 copies made worldwide. I LOVE the cover on this album, illustrated by  Pete Ryder(band member) Its a beautiful, puzzling piece to look at. Are the characters looking at the view or are they the view?? see it as you will. It is very Narnia-inspired, to which the group’s name is derived from The Chronicles Of Narnia! A truly beautiful delicate British progressive folk band.

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Out The Blue – by Electric Light Orchestra // Released 1977

Out The Blue - by Electric Light Orchestra

Now I’m a HUGE ELO fan, and this album is a favourite of mine for LOTS of reasons but one of them reasons is the daring album design. Featuring a large spaceship, now a symbolic image used by the group. It was designed by Kosh with art by Shusei Nagaoka.  ELO’s space theme was and is still, carried onto the live stage in the form of a huge glowing flying saucer stage set.

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Never For Ever – by Kate Bush // Released 1980

Never For Ever - by Kate Bush

This is a stunning little cover. It is an illustration (in pencil) by artist Nick Price, who had also designed the cover for the programme for her 1979 tour. The design is complex, it shows a multitude of animals and monsters emerging from under the woman’s skirt, depicting good and bad things that emerge from inside you as a person through life.

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The War of the Worlds – by Jeff Wayne // Released 1978

The War of the Worlds - by Jeff Wayne

A classic. Theres not much i can say about this album cover as it speaks for itself very well. The official complete album comes with several paintings by Peter Goodfellow, Geoff Taylor and Michael Trim that help to illustrate the story from beginning to end.

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The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars – by David Bowie // Released 1972

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

The album tells the story of David Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. The photograph was taken outside furriers “K. West” at 23 Heddon Street, London. Another great iconic cover, as he had several around the time.

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Deep Purple In Rock – by Deep Purple // Released 1970

Deep Purple In Rock - by Deep Purple

This cover has a wrap around sleeve, featuring an illustration from Hieronymus Bosch’s painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights. The original painting is in colour. Strangely it appears on the cover to be monochrome. This was due to a printing error for the original layout and the band opted to keep it that way. The actual cover design/LP ran into confrontational difficulty, it was said that it used a Museo del Prado-owned painting, and it was incorrectly perceived as being anti-religious; featuring “immoral scenes”, it was then rejected in the U.S.

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Innuendo – by Queen // Released 1991

Innuendo - by Queen

This is another classic! Typical of Queen, renowned for their love of modern design and techniques! The album cover was designed by Queen and Richard Gray.

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Hotel California – by The Eagles // Released 1976

Hotel California - by The Eagles

The front cover artwork is an actual photograph of the Beverly Hills Hotel by David Alexander. Again this was a Kosh design (born John Kosh) He is an English album cover designer, graphic designer and art director. He is mostly known for his work on the ‘Abbey Road’ album by the beatles! 

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An Electric Storm – by White Noise // Released 1969

An Electric Storm - by White Noise

A random one to throw in here! yes its most defiantly not everyones cup of tea is this one. From the musical genius’ behind the Dr Who music/soundtracks of 60’s. But with cutting edge design techniques, pushing the boundaries of the usual normal covers, Like so many ambitious albums of the time.

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News of the World – by Queen // Released 1977

News of the World - by Queen

This Album cover has to be near the top of my favourite list!!!! Absolutely love it, yet another of Queens album covers, typical of the band, wanting new out-there ideas! It features a painting by American sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas. The idea came from Roger Taylor originally, He had an issue of ‘Astounding Science Fiction’ (October 1953) The cover featured a giant intelligent robot holding dead bodies. It was from there the band decided between them to contact Freas. The painting was changed specifically for the new album cover, instead of having dead bodies of strangers, it was to feature the four “dead” band members.

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The release of every production, media or any form of art is most definitely met by a throng of critics and their varying personal remarks tend to set the basis for future perceptions. However as those are generated by mere personal opinion, when it comes to selecting the world’s best creative creations, the public opinion is opted for. As far as the world’s best album artworks is concerned, there have been hundreds of thousands of such releases some of which left us awestruck while others took our breath away. So choosing a minut selection of the finest has been tough, but I hope you enjoyed having a good look through at some of my favourites!

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