LP Cover Art - Top 5




One of the reasons that convinced the boys in the 70s to invest their money (not so little) to buy a vinyl LP was represented by its cover. Originally it was only a protection for the vinyl record inside. But in the '60s, first in jazz and then, even more, in the rock, the cover has become a specific form of art. Reaching the maximum with the great gatefold covers, that led to a unique conclusion: you could not miss to buy that LP.
It's very difficult to choose the most beautiful, those with the greatest impact. But we try with our personal Top-5.
If you think of any other, or if you want to propose your own personal ranking, you need not do anything but contact us.



Top-5 "fantasy"






Apotheosis of the imagination and best evidence of the potential of the cover art for a vinyl LP. The cover, in gatefold format, is based on a painting by Mati Klarwein (Annunciation, 1961). Bob Venosa for the graphics, photos (inside cover) by Joan Chase. Great impact: the Madonna is black, and not only, and the image shows as best you can the kaleidoscope of sound that the group of Carlos Santana presented to its new listeners.
By the same artist was painted the beautiful cover of Miles Davis' masterpiece, the prototype of the jazz-rock: Bitches Brew.


Pink Floyd



Simplicity for the best results. A photo that looks like a picture of a science fiction movie, instead it is a coal power plant (Battersea Power Station, built in 1939, is the largest brick building built in Europe), which is still in the outskirts of London, brilliantly photographed and with only an insert, one of the pigs cited in the album (which is a tribute to "Animal Farm" by George Orwell). The graphic idea is of Roger Waters.



Shady Groove


From a painting by L.K. Hollister, graphically post-edited, a dreamy cover and effective, in shades of relaxing green, out of time, as the endless guitar rides of the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Wonderful effect in the gatefold format.


Big Brother

Cheap Trills


For the wonderful album that marks the maximum capacity of Janis Joplin to involve her audience, as front-woman here of a band at its peak, Big Brother & The Holding Company, the album cover art was created by cartoonist Robert Crumb, well known for the irreverent cartoon Fritz the Cat. Here he draws a series of pictures specifically dedicated to each of the songs on the album. The mere pleasure of the sight and the time required to read the cover art of this LP justified completely the price.


Rolling Stones

Sticky Fingers


Here is involved a great artist and talent manager, the well-known Andy Warhol. It's not his first experiment in the world of LP cover art, the first album of The Velvet Underground, the famous banana, was created by Wharol, too. But here we have a 3D art cover, with a real zip made ​​of cardboard, and opening it ... the mocking tongue that later became the logo of the Stones. In the subsequent issues of the album the zip was reduced to an image printed, but I remember the first edition and my schoolmate Sandro inviting boys and girls to find out what was underneath.


Roxy Music



Indolent glamorous, sexy unwittingly, boredom exposed together with a careless beauty, memories of past eras and gone luxury years, elegance on dirty bare earth. All the ingredients of The Roxy Music of Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno in their heyday, are effectively present in this famous cover art, using once again the size of the double gatefold format (60 cm) to get the maximum impact from the image of the languid half-naked woman.
(photo by Karl Stoeker, design by Nicholas DeVille, concept Roxy Music)





The progressive-rock was not only a source of ideas and influences for music and poetry, but also a school of creativity in the field of images and cover art. Arriving to overturn the format, go beyond what can be done in typography, using new materials and combinations. You could do a lot of alternative choices, but we choose the elegance and creativity of the cover arts painted by Roger Dean for The Yes British group, and in particular the one of their most successful album, an illustration that comes from an imaginary world.



The House on The Hill


Few remember the Audience, sophisticated art-rock group active between the '60s and '70s, characterized by the originality of the arrangements which widely used the sounds of acoustic guitar and sax (two virtuosos of the instruments were part of the group) but combining them with the energy of rock. Great cover art, nostalgic and evocative of a situation that could have any development, deliberately inspired to a '40s movie. The cover art was created by the design studio Hipgnosis, very active at the beginning of the 70s in the "cover-art" in UK.


Top-5  LP "portrait"



Bob Dylan

The Freewheelin' B.D.


We need a separate ranking for those albums that do not use the free the imagination, but the effectiveness of a simple photo of the musicians.
The best example can be surely the famous cover art of the second album by Bob Dylan, the one that made great the American songwriter, the one with Blowin 'In The Wind. One shot in New York in February, after a light snowfall, taken with a Rolleiflex camera. Dylan walks chilled and happy with his girlfriend Suze Rotolo. An image (by Don Hunstein) with many symbols in it, probably without an explicit will, that nevertheless induced in the boys of the time an irresistible urge to freedom.



Abbey Road


Another famous shot, this time slightly more designed (the clothes, subject of many speculations in the following years) but always very simple. The walkway is in fact just outside the Abbey Road studios where the Beatles were recording their latest masterpiece with the group yet united. One image (photo by Ian McMillan) imitated many times, and that has given rise to one of the oldest urban legends of the entire history of rock: the alleged death of Paul. Something in common with the previous cover art? Of course, here in London there is a Volkswagen parked, in New York a Volkswagen van.


Carole King



An image at home, relaxed. A young woman in her simple house, traditional, comfortable, barefoot, in the foreground his gray cat, her eyes are straight and firm, she's happy, aware, a woman who knows who is presenting a group of songs that will always remain classics of today's music, starting from You've Got A Friend and then Natural Woman, The Way Over Yonder and many others.
A cover that testifies to the great evocative power of a simple photograph.



Crosby, Stills and Nash


Harry Diltz took the photo of the cover art of the first album of the most famous supergroup in rock history. A picture taken in a location identified by chance, an old sofa left out of a cottage for sale, perfect location for the west coast sound of the three new friends. In addition, an image that seems to go in deep in the characters of the three, that allow to know what would be revealed later. The shy and restrained Stills, Nash ambitious and idealistic, the distant look of the explorer of artificial paradises, Crosby. The cover gatefold contained another picture in poster size of the three musicians.


Incredible String Band

The Hangsman's Beautiful Daughter


A collective image, a simple group photo (taken on Christmas Day, 1967), which portrays not only the musicians of the psychedelic folk British band, but also their friends and their children, dressed in timeless suits, in a forest that we can imagine to be close to their homes, in the new world described in the acoustic ballads of Robin Williamson and Mike Heron, for an album that has proven over time to be a perfect transposition in music of the hippie culture.





With a musician with the appearance of Sade Adu is not a difficult task to obtain an image for the cover art of his second (and excellent) album. The very refined photo (by Toshi Yajima, design by Graham Smith), enhanced by a slight grain effect, tone on tone, is something more than a pretty picture, is a perfect introduction to the sophisticated music of the beautiful and talented Anglo-Nigerian singer.


Joan Armatrading

Back To The Night


A simple profile portrait, a strong backlight (not a photo effect) for a very effective result, essential and direct as the songs on this album, one of the best of the Anglo Jamaican singer, to which M&M have presented over time translations of many albums and many songs.
Photo by Clive Arrowsmith, design by Flavio Nicoli.


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Music-Graffiti - Alberto Truffi  2013