The role of cover art in making great music cannot be underestimated. The music combines sound and other elements to give listeners a comprehensive listening experience. Competition is rife in the music industry and only the most creative and brilliant piece of art comes on top. If asked which album covers they love most, more than 80% of listeners would quote albums from the 60s and the 70s. The development of MP3 is largely to blame for the gradual reduction in creativity surrounding album covers. It has rendered the cover art a lost art, quite literally. However, cover art still occupies a spot in the music industry. Below is a list of the five greatest album covers, according to critics.
- Pink Floyd, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’
Created by the British group the Hipgnosis, this iconic cover is among the greatest arts of all time. The creative duo comprising Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell came up with the cover concept. The actual design was done by George Hardie. The cover’s spectacular prism reflecting light into rainbow colors minus indigo is a breath-taking sight to behold. It was revealed that the prism, light beam, and spectrum represented the three aspects of the band’s music; unique stage lighting. Many people may not know it, but the iconic cover we see today was not the creators’ initial idea. A black and beam passing through a prism that stood on top of some sheet were. The current cover was then developed from that.
- The Beatles, ‘Abbey Road’
Abbey road’s funeral-procession-like cover was first thought to represent Paul McCartney’s death. A license plate in the background written 281F added gasoline to the fire. One theory suggested that the plate meant McCartney would have been 28 had he not died. The group came out to refute these claims, stating that the cover didn’t have any specific meaning. Despite the controversy surrounding it, this cover remains an unparalleled art form of an album. The spot where the cover was shot is still flocked by tourists for whatever reason. Many other artists have parodied the cover many times, including some members of the group themselves.
- Roxy Music, ‘Roxy Music’ (1972)
Roxy Music album cover is different from most covers of the same period (the 1970s) because it was simple. The cover draws its uniqueness by appearing like a 60s casual photoshoot. Glamorous imagery employed by the designer creates a romantic mood not often seen in many album covers.
- Nirvana, ‘Nevermind’
Probably the hilarious cover image ever produced, the naked baby toddler seems to have a message to pass across. Spencer Elden, the baby appearing on the cover, admitted the image makes him feel weird. Elden has recreated the cover several times nevertheless, but with a swimsuit. However, this is not a feeling with other people. Most music lovers find the cover very creative. You may not believe it, but Elden’s parents got paid only $200 for the session at the time. Elden, on the other hand, has been paid more money on several occasions.
- Fleetwood Mac, ‘Rumours’
Fleetwood’s album cover for his most selling album appears simple at first. If you take a closer look, you will find many possible interpretations of the image. The pair of balls dangling between his legs got people thinking of their possible significance. But one can see afterward that the balls are toilet chains Fleetwood tied around his manhood. The dangling ‘balls’ raised concerns about the safety of drummers. The drummers often stayed close to him during live performance. The cheeky stunt could just be the reason Rumours has one of the best cover arts of all time.
Despite the loss of relevance, album covers continue to evolve and add spice to the entertainment industry. It is important to note that every music genre has its cover arts. This list is just an overview of the most influential covers, mostly surrounded by some sort of controversy.