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  1. FernLaPlante says:

    So basically you like any album with breasts on it.

  2. Keek says:

    FYI, the woman is Cassandra Peterson otherwise know as “Elvira” from her younger days…

  3. Lin Brehmer says:

    These album covers were taken from a 4-part series of Lin’s Bins. It was an historic retrospective of the album cover as a marketing tool and as an art form. In one part I took the time to mock some of the rock albums that used sex and questionable taste to sell the music. So the Humble Pie and Montrose album covers would actually be on my worst list.

  4. Dennis says:

    Never Mind The Bullock’s Here’s The Sex Pistols. Mott The Hoople Live (1974), Mick Ronson, Play Don’t Worry, Paul Anka, Headlines (1979) New York Dolls (first LP), Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pendulum, The Who, Who’s Next, PIL, Album, and The Damned, Damned, Damned, Damned.

  5. Tim says:

    Poi Dog Pondering is gonna be at the Sheffield Garden Walk, July 23-24. Its gonna be a blast hope everyone can make it. Its $10 donation at the gate, So in other words SAVE your hard earned money and tell them you wish not to donate. They make TONS of $$$$ off the sale of beer and food. They will let you in FREE anway! Party hard and tons of babes there!

  6. John Heckler says:

    “On his Majesty Satanic Request”….rolling stones….when my now 25 year old daughter was about ten years old she looked at the cover and said”are these boys or girls/”

  7. Brian Watt says:

    You left out “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators.”

  8. Ron says:

    H. R. Giger’s famous double cover for ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery

  9. Katie Jones says:

    Lin – SO glad you clarified in your blog followup on 05/19 that some examples on the WXRT “Best/History” list were mocking inclusions, as drawn from Lin’s Bin. I suspected that all reason had abandoned you and the whole thing was a joke. The heavy undertow of sarcasm is now noted…, but I don’t think it came across that way billed as “Best” or “History.” You’re just a slick teaser here. Given WXRT’s diverse format and audience, plus a great rep, I expected something more. Perhaps this was a missed opportunity for real, meaningful, thoughtful review that could both entertain and educate, especially if someone had just stumbled on it on the Web and it introduced WXRT. Not funny.

    I F T H I S W A S S E R I O U S,,,
    There actually were some gems here…agreed with a few, confounded at any “best” tag for many others. Of course, album art as a marketing tool did what music videos do now, but in very concentrated, concise form…a one-shot deal. One thing that stood out in the WXRT list – besides just plain bad art – was a huge age and gender gap. Rocking out is not just a young “guy thing.” Us gals bought rock LPs, too – in my case thousands of them starting in the 60s. Then, slightly clad women just didn’t sell the album to us…if anything we avoided it as an insult, and probably missed some great music. The concept of wet dream just ain’t the same, dude. Whipped Cream and Other Delights triggers our pleasure senses very differently. Bad taste all the way around on that one.

    (NOTE: Due to space, I will address only early albums of which I had direct experience as a buyer…just my opinion…seriously. Ok, I may be old but I’m gray and proud! )

    There was one genuine marketing masterpiece there. The Rolling Stones’ “STICKY FINGERS” (1971) working zipper cover sold A LOT of records. It was totally NOT politically correct, but as a 12×12 LP cover and reflection of cultural liberalism, it was stunning, ballsy art that grabbed and shook you silly from record store displays —- it could NOT be ignored, no matter how you felt about it or the Stones. In 1971, blatant sex used for marketing was still fairly rare and risky…but boy, did it do the job with “Sticky Fingers”!! It was IMPOSSIBLE not to pick up this nearly life-sized art off the LP shop wall display runners and run a finger over the working zipper through the shrinkwrap. (Yeah, OK, it was a little kinky.) It was a successful seduction–you just HAD to take it home. But the reasons some gals bought it and most guys bought it because of the artwork were very different. For some gals (and not few guys), it represented anticipation of whatever was inside, for most guys the sweaty delivery. It was a design masterstroke. (But weren’t we all, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation, a tad disappointed to find underwear when peeling back the fly?). The difference with the “Sticky Fingers” cover and others you compiled as “best” was that the music fully satisfied whatever expectations the cover stirred. With the non-zipper LP and flaccid CD cover, a whole dimension of that album is lost. (Lin – don’t know if you’ve seen it, but some European “Treacle” versions of “Sticky Fingers” featured a front color cover picturing a can opener and women’s fingers in an opened tin can filled with what looked like blood. It does NOT invite one to buy the album for what’s inside, music or otherwise. Revolting. )

    LACKING THE STONES…Speaking of Stones, I noted the inclusion of “SATANIC MAJESTIES” (1967) on the WXRT “Worst LP Covers” list. Actually, the original 12×12 3-D lenticular version was likely the best thing about that dubious anomaly in the Stones’ catalog. I wouldn’t consider the cover “best” in any format, but the original version with the historic 3-D panel was then fascinating enough to spur sales, and has some fabulous graphics buried in the photo, however cheesy it now appears. Many of us bought the LP BECAUSE of the cover. (I still have mine, on the wall!) Too bad the music bombed…too much promise, not enough delivery. Ironically the flat 2-D LP and tiny CD covers more closely signal the flat character of the music inside.

    GRIT: While the Stones’ U.S. “DECEMBER’S CHILDREN” (1965) [Titled “Out Of Our Heads” in the UK and elsewhere] may not be one of their strongest albums, Gered Mankowitz’ stark and moody B&W cover portrait taken in a brickyard successfully sold the Stones as hard, gritty and tough. A very influential photo for me; it actually helped (along with Beatles’ lensman Robert Freeman’s work) launch my adventures as a press photographer. LP covers COULD actually change one’s life back then!!
    King Crimson’s “COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING” was another cover that was impossible to ignore on record shop displays in 12×12 format — it literally screamed at you from across the room! The art just sucks the viewer right down the throat and into wondering what the music of this new band was about. Good cover/music match (i.e. “21st Century Schizoid Man”), and art that still has some integrity in CD format…but not the same as life sized! Rather disturbing, but effective.
    Cream’s “DISRAELI GEARS” (1967) was also a 12×12 slab of “psychedelic” hipness way back in the old days, especially under blacklite. Heavy Cream…but psychedelic??? Good for 13th Floor Elevators maybe…
    Finally…I’m surprised if some of your colleagues – and Terri in particular – haven’t boxed your ears over this list, on a number of accounts, at the very least for misrepresentation (or lack thereof) of key Beatles LP covers . Given what IS on the list, maybe we should count our blessings. Perhaps because people are so accustomed to seeing Beatles covers in all formats, the uniqueness and utter freshness the art had at the time of LP release has been diluted almost to the point of blandness.
    Odd that you highlighted one single Beatles LP cover in “MEET THE BEATLES” (1964) featuring the ubiquitous Robert Freeman half-face shadow photo, but the impact of the similar original British “WITH THE BEATLES” (1963) 12×12 glossy cover is much punchier, with better gray scale. (I recall that Freeman referred to the U.S. version as the “coal bin” faces.). It was unique cover at the time, its effect mysterious, drawing us all in. My first rock album…and yeah, “Combo” was legitimate in 1964, i.e. The Bill Black Combo. We also called ‘em “Groups” back then, sonny!!
    “RUBBER SOUL” (1965) – Robert Freeman’s stretched, moody, slightly muted color shot of four shaggy, aging, rather tired looking Beatles and Pop Art lettering was fresh at the time and signaled the transition from cute “Moptop” boys to serious men – accurately reflecting the reality-bending fluctuations going on in The Beatles heads’ that fans had not caught up with yet. The cover accurately conveyed change in both Beatles and musical direction, verified by the tracks therein.
    “REVOLVER” (1966) – There was NOTHING in the record shops like it in 1966. Klaus Voormann’s B&W collage was punchy from across a room, very persuasive in convincing a buyer that something wonderfully strange and complex was inside. It stood on its own as art. Especially since Voormann was/is a Beatles friend who knew them well from way back in Hamburg, his literal cutting up of the “Moptop” photos in the collage was right on the mark symbolically, tangled up in newly-drawn Beatles. The music fit.
    “SGT. PEPPER” (1967) – Obviously, whole books have been penned on this LP, now imitated to death. With Peter Blake’s design and brilliant photography by Michael Cooper, the artwork and gatefold packaging were absolutely revolutionary at the time, changing the way the record industry presented albums and how the public perceived them. Surreal set, saturated color, varied texture, sly illusions, suspicious little plants…all pointed to massive change, delivered in the music. The whole package was thrilling to see, purchase, open, and hear for the first time…and we even got a life-sized cardboard mustache!
    Now that I’ve said all that, there isn’t room to list more nominations for a SERIOUS “Best/History of Covers” list. In general, I most miss the LP format not because of the vinyl, but because of the 12×12 art, included goodies, and the pure tactile sensation of popping the shrinkwrap for the first time (symbolic?). Do miss colored vinyl and picture discs with which you could decorate a dull turntable, even though they sounded worse than black vinyl. The CD format was convenient, but shrank all the art. MP3? Dead fish out of water…can’t imagine the gut-punch of The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life” anywhere but at the end of “Sgt. Pepper.” Even there LPs had an edge, because after that final chord, at least on the U.S. pressing, there was no more –- just oblivion. (A loop of gibberish sounded after the chord on some pressings and the CD – irritating!) The record just sat on the manual turntable until you took it off. Interesting how the plain white cover of The Beatles (White Album) visually followed that void.

    So…is that where “Album Art” is heading? Seriously?

    — Katie Jones, Aurora, IL (

  10. Katie Jones says:

    I’d like to offer an apology to Lin Brehmer for harshly judging him as the sole source of this list. Though I stand by basic principles stated in my previous post, further research has revealed that the finished product only partially represented Lin’s expansive and serious work on the subject and that the compiled list was taken out of context. The finished product had his name on it – thus the critique – but one “Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover,” which would have been a more accurate and appropriate tagline. So Lin, my bad!!! Thanks for taking time to respond and revise my perception of reality.

    We audience members, in all our passive (and sometimes aggressive) anonymous glory, often have no concept of the hours of hard work WXRT on-air staff commit relative to minutes of airtime, compounded by off-air duties (blogs, e-mails, etc.) that take incredible amounts of their time, blood, sweat and tears. That doesn’t even take into consideration corporate responsibilities and outside work. So much for rock’n’roll glory – it just ain’t so. I for one appreciate that, as you enrich our lives while giving us yours. Thank you.
    — Katie Jones, Aurora, IL (

  11. Dave Stock says:

    Was always partial to Aqualung myself.

  12. NYmike says:

    Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

    Greatest album cover ever.

  13. Pete says:

    Blodwyn Pig – Ahead Rings Out
    Great cover, but never got around to actually listening to the album.

  14. Wellswho says:

    A man named Peter Whorf shot that picture for the cover of Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”. I love it!

  15. Mandy says:

    I was going through some of my parents old albums and if I remember correctly, my dad had this one! Hahaha! I hope I didn’t give it away…now I should sell it!

  16. Jules says:

    What about Dookie or Insomniac?

  17. David says:

    There was a Dutch act called Solution that had two great Hipgnosis covers in the 1970s, but they are not likely to be discussed as they moved few copies.

  18. Kevin says:

    I like the Stairway to Heaven cover.

  19. Leo says:

    Dookie! Also RATM self titled burning Munk album cover anyone?

  20. Its like you learn my mind! You appear to grasp so much about this, like you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with a few percent to force the message house a little bit, but instead of that, that is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

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