An album cover can make the transition from famous to iconic for many reasons. Popularity of the music is only one of many contributing factors that can make album covers as important as the music behind them, and the following albums with their respective covers are the five I feel to be the most iconic.

 

5. The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

5  Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

The crude words of this album artwork sparked court cases regarding where it could be displayed, with the word “bollocks” considered too obscene to be shown in shop windows. The fame garnered by the controversy only increased the success of the album, and it’s still referenced today in the title of the BBC show Never Mind the Buzzcocks – a combination of the album name and the punk band Buzzcocks.

 

4. David Bowie - Aladdin Sane4  David Bowie – Aladdin Sane (1973)

Aladdin Sane’s artwork is iconic in the way that the image on the cover is the one most typically associated with Bowie – with the dyed red hair and the lightning bolt makeup, the image from the midst of his Ziggy Stardust tour is practically his trademark, still being associated with him almost 40 years later.

 

 

3  The Beatles 3. The Beatles - Abbey Road– Abbey Road (1969)

The Beatles have had many famous album covers, but Abbey Road has to be the most iconic. The image of the four members was one of the final album artworks for the band, and it has become one of the most copied album covers in history, with the zebra crossing outside the Abbey Road Studios in London becoming a place for the public to stop and attempt their own version of the image.

 

2. Nirvana - Nevermind2  Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)

The controversy surrounding the cover of this album almost became more famous than the music itself – Nirvana’s biggest hit Smells Like Teen Spirit came from this record, but when someone mentions the Nevermind album, it tends to be the album artwork you think about. The scandal surrounding the image came from the featured baby’s exposed genitalia, with debate over the image remaining to the present day, such as when Facebook removed the Nevermind artwork from its website, stating the nudity violated terms of use. For one image to have such long lasting and famous controversy firmly earns it the status of iconic.

 

1  Pink Floyd1. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

The Dark Side of the Moon owns the number one spot simply because it is the first album cover I thought of when I began this list – it has become almost more popular than Pink Floyd themselves. The band has become practically eponymous with the cover of The Dark Side of the Moon, with the image the main point of reference when mentioning Pink Floyd – “Oh you know, the band with the triangle and the rainbow”.

 

Amy McLelland