The weirdest album covers of all time

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The weirdest album covers of all time

weirdest album covers of all time
Image: Guy Peellaert
Words by Kate Streader

The weirdest album covers of all time post the question: who allowed these to go ahead?

As the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. While that’s all well and good in theory, questionable cover art can certainly do a disservice to what lies inside. The vinyl hey-day definitely brought some winners (and losers) to our collections in terms of cover art, many of which only grow more confusing as the years go on. Here are five of the weirdest LP sleeves that make you wonder what the hell these acts were thinking.

Life In A Tin Can by The Bee Gees

Life In A Tin Can

In a move that’s totally on the nose and pretty corny, The Bee Gees appear on the front cover of Life In A Tin Can literally inside a tin can. Let’s face it, the trio made some pretty weird cover art choices during their career (Cucumber Castle, anyone?) but this one totally takes the cake. A sign of the times, this album is like a vintage record player – and the perfect partner for one – in that it sparks a sense of nostalgia and just gets better with age.

Live It Up by Crosby, Stills and Nash

Live It Up

This is the kind of image that’s too specific and strange to not have some kind of meaning — or so you would think. Apparently, not even Crosby, Stills and Nash know what the cover for Live It Up is all about, and they’ve been vocal about their regrets in emblazoning space snags on their album sleeve. Internet speculation over this one is rampant, with many claiming that the hotdog floating off away from the others represents Neil Young who had recently left the band to pursue his solo career. Whatever the case, it’s still a pretty peculiar choice.

Yesterday and Today by The Beatles

Yesterday and Today

Butchered babies hardly seemed on brand for The Beatles, but somehow that’s what ended up on the cover of Yesterday and Today. Well, until the label received complaints about the graphic shot and swiftly swapped it out for another image. There are many explanations for the use of Robert Whitaker’s photograph which sees The Beatles dressed in butcher smocks and covered with hunks of meat and dismembered plastic babies. In one possible interpretation, Paul McCartney explained it was intended as a comment on the Vietnam war. Others have suggested the image is a metaphor for Capitol Records ‘butchering’ the band. Still, why do they look so happy?

Diamond Dogs by David Bowie

David Bowie was constantly inhabiting characters for his albums, so appearing on the sleeve of Diamond Dogs as a man-canine hybrid shouldn’t cause so much as a raised eyebrow. That said, there’s something unsettling about the Guy Peellaert painting featured on the cover of Diamond Dogs. Original copies of the LP depicted the creature’s genitals on the back cover, though they were airbrushed out for subsequent copies. While it may look a little creepy, this album isn’t one to skip. A word of advice, though: listen to it on a turntable with separate speakers, because this glam-tinged, politically-fuelled record might just melt them.

Bubbling Over by Dolly Parton

Bubbling Over

The only thing better than one Dolly Parton is two. Well, except when the second one is just a dismembered head atop a shooting jet of water. What? Not sure who designed this artwork and then thought, ‘Yep, that’s the shot’, but here we are. The creepy smile on Parton’s floating head just takes this one to a whole new level of weird. God bless the ’70s.

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