When I was a small kid I remember going into the music section of the department store and looking at all the album covers. I didn't know any of the bands, but I was totally fascinated by the various artwork. It's something that is sadly missing from today's music packaging. Anyway here is a list of my top 10 favorite album covers.
  1. Eagles - One Of These Nights
    Gary Burdon was responsible for the art direction of many of the Eagles earlier work, which I think helped to brand them as much as the music did. The original cover was stippled and I remember teaching the outlines with my fingers.
  2. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
    Created by the legendary designer Peter Seville, the cover of Unknown Pleasures is arguably even more popular/recognizable than The band's music. Hell, even Disneyland once spoofed this design.
  3. KISS - Destroyer
    KISS is still one of my all-time favorite bands, and I dig pretty much all their album covers (up to Alive II anyway), but there's just something about the Destroyer cover that resonates with the fans. Not only did artist Ken Kelly really do a fantastic job capturing each band member's stage persona, he set it amongst a backdrop of a ruined wasteland which made the whole thing really bitchin.
  4. Sex Pistols - Nevermind the Bollocks...
    English designer Jamie Reid is another example of someone whose art was instrumental in establishing a band's brand. With its minimalist approach of using ransom note lettering and shockingly bright colors, the album was as much a statement as the band themselves.
  5. Ramones - The Ramones
    Roberta Bailey's photo for The Ramones first album was a perfect WYSIWYG for the band
  6. Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
    Craig Braun's decision to incorporate a real zipper into this record sleeve was the difference between Sticky Fingers being another ho-hum album and it becoming an iconic piece of rock and roll history.
  7. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
    I think I owned this cd for something like 10 or 15 years before I found out that the cover photo was actually a Gerhard Richter painting.
  8. The Black Angels - Passover
    This avant album of underground fuzz rock featured visually challenging graphics by guitarist Christian Bland and Brian Jones. The complex line art was stippled into the record/cd cover, adding a sublime textile effect.
  9. Patty Smith - Horses
    The Robert Mapplethorpe shot cover is elegant in its simplicity, yet there's an unmistakable element of disruption. This duality would eventually grow to define much of Mapplethorpe's work.
  10. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
    One of my all-time favorite covers. The colors, the Cooper font, the photograph, the proportion... all perfect.