Looking at the upcoming new album cover for Wishbone Ash‘s Blue Horizon (which I like a lot), I’m reminded of all of the great album covers there were out there during the Golden Age, and today.  We are awash in not only great designs and album cover art, but iconic ones as well.  For example: The cover of London Calling from The Clash is forever attached to the band and their legacy.  Couple that one with The Dark Side Of The Moon, with its prismatic cover, and we getting the ball rolling. Add to those,  Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Exile On Main Street, Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, Live Dates (Wishbone Ash – it IS a great cover), and others, then it’s easy to see how not only great music came from those bands, but also great art.

Wishbone Ash Live Dates LP

Design-wise, I love the coin-shaped E Pluribus Funk from Grand Funk Railroad.  I’m sure that we can sit here and reel off numerous mentions, some even obscure.  For example, I love Greenslade artworks found on their albums.  Dean’s work for YES is excellent. The list is long.


And then there are varying artwork for different countries.  Personally, I don’t know how any of those happen (I do for novels…but not albums).  But one that stands out for me is Sense Of Direction by Climax Blues Band.  That album sported a UK cover (on right, below), and a US one (on left, below) , both as different as different can get.

ClimaxBluesBandSenseOfDirection  ClimaxBluesBandSenseOfDirectionUK

And then, there were awful, awful ones.  Now, I’m not talking the ones that are found all over the internet, on sites dedicated to crazy cover shot selections (those are givens).  I’m talking head-scratching, WTF deliveries from well-known bands.  I can easily look the other way for art that was minimal, or average at best.  But to see awful designs, one has to wonder why.

One of those, for me, is the album cover for The Man Machine by Kraftwerk.  I LOVE the music in the album, but really wonder what kind of designer drugs they were all taking at the time.


Love Beach from Emerson, Lake & Palmer was an all for one effort.  And not one of them said, “Uhhh, I don’t think so?!”

Then there was Lennon‘s Two Virgins.  But he was always a rebel, right?  Pet Sounds was an awful generic cover for such a brilliant album from The Beach Boys. Annnddd, if you were to ask me, I’d also wondered WTH Black Sabbath was thinking with its cheap looking Paranoid cover.

Off the top of my head, that’s what comes to the forefront.  But I’m betting you have some good ones in your own mind.

By MARowe

2 thoughts on “Cover Art: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”
  1. I’ve always felt the cover of The River was lazy and tossed-off. I don’t think it’s an entirely successful record but it’s undeniably ambitious. The cover almost makes it look like a bootleg.

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