The recent release of The Strokes new album ‘The New Abnormal’ features a small portion of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s larger painting ‘bird on money’ as the album artwork. This got us researching what other album covers feature artwork produced by famous artists. So, here’s our top 5 favourite album art covers…
1: Sir Peter Blake – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
This is probably one of the most famous album covers of all time. Created by the collage master Sir Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, this iconic artwork features 88 figures including the fab four. The album was released in 1967 and both the music and the artwork become cult classics.
Urban artist Pure Evil produced his own version of the sleeve art replacing the figures with rather more sinister people including Hitler…
2: Banksy – Think Tank by Blur
Although Banksy has claimed he doesn’t do commercial work, he also admitted hew did this to help pay the bills… something we’re sure he doesn’t need to worry about any more.
3: H.R Giger – KooKoo by Debbie Harry
From the first time we sat and watched Alien (H.R Giger created the alien for the movie franchise), we fell in love with H.R Giger‘s dark and twisted world, and this album cover is classic Giger. Dark, eery and sinister.
Released in 1981, KooKoo was Debbie Harry’s debut solo album. She hired Giger to create something completely different to help break her sex symbol image. In fact, she was so impressed she then went on to hire him as a director for 2 of her music videos.
4: Damien Hirst – I’m With You by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Damien Hirst is one of the UK’s richest living artists, achieving notoriety and fame with his formaldehyde animals including sharks and cows.
‘I’m with you’ by the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers was released in 2011 with artwork for the album created by Hirst. Unlike other artists on this list, Hirst has produced numerous album covers with many of them for the band ‘The Hours’.
5: Shepard Fairey – Zeitgeist by the Smashing Pumpkins
Shepard Fairey aka Obey used his distinctive style to create the artwork for the Smashing Pumpkins 2007 album Zeitgeist.
Featuring a drowning Statue of Liberty in his iconic red, black and white colour palette, the album design makes a bold statement on environmental issues that are still worrying many to this day.
What’s your favourite?
There are many more artists who have used their skills to create beautiful album art. From Salvador Dali, Jeff Koons and Gerhard Richter to Andy Warhol’s iconic Velvet Underground album cover, the list is an impressive one.
As human’s we are drawn towards beautiful things, towards things that make us feel something and album art is no different. Whether the music within is to our own personal taste, the cover artwork can catch our attention. In fact, certain album covers have gone on to become highly sought-after iconic pieces in their own right, cementing them in pop culture.
We’d love to know what your favourite album cover is, even if its not by a famous artist.