Banned on the Run: 20 Shocking Classic Album Covers [NSFW]
Join us as we take a look at 20 of the most shocking, banned classic album covers of all time.
In the sanitized world of Walmart and iTunes, you’ll never see album cover images that are even remotely offensive. But it wasn’t always that way. The storied histories of rock and metal are filled with episodes in which sordid album art made its way out of record company art departments and onto store shelves, where it caused an outcry until the record company repackaged the album in a more shopper-friendly guise. Ah, those were the days...
Join Guitar World as we take a look at 20 of the most shocking banned album covers of all time.
Alice Cooper - Love It to Death (1971)
The original artwork for Alice Cooper's Love It to Death featured the front man engaged in the classic prank of poking his thumb through the fly of his pants. For the revised sleeve, Alice's main "member" was airbrushed out.
The Beatles - Yesterday and Today (1966)
Meat the Beatles. For their 1966 album, Yesterday and Today, the Beatles presented themselves as grinning butchers, complete with raw beef and dismembered baby dolls. The image didn't jive with the Fab Four's squeaky clean public image (or anyone's public image, for that matter). Upon receiving advance copies, radio DJs (always arbiters of good taste) were outraged, and Capitol Records quickly repackaged the record with what was apparently the only image of the band it had available.
The Black Crowes - Amorica (1994)
The cover image of the Black Crowes third album, Amorica, featured a closeup shot of a woman wearing a U.S. flag bikini that was brimming with pubic hair. But after some commotion, the record company blacked out the offending elements and reissued it. Who’d have thought an image from Hustler’s 1976 U.S. Bicentennial issue would’ve cause so much controversy?
Blind Faith - Blind Faith (1969)
Featuring Traffic’s Steve Winwood, Family’s Ric Grech and Cream’s Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, Blind Faith are widely considered to be one of rock’s first super-groups. There's less agreement over whether the British version of their debut album—featuring a topless girl (Baker's daughter, according to some sources) holding a vaguely phallic airplane—was in good taste. The nays won out at the time, and the debut was repackaged in U.S. with the shopper-friendly band photo.
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986)
Bon Jovi's third album, Slippery When Wet, was so popular that it secured the band's position as one of the most successful hair metal acts of the Eighties. What you may not know is that the wet, black abstract theme of the final cover was second choice. The first, rejected option was a buxom woman whose attributes were nearly bursting out of her Slippery When Wet T-shirt.
Bow Wow Wow - See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah! City All Over, Go Ape Crazy! (1981)
Bow Wow Wow, the English no-wave band put together by Sex Pistols' Svengali Malcolm McLaren, featured teenage frontwoman Annabella Lwin. Controversy arose when, for their 1981 album See Jungle!, the then-15-year-old Lwin was posed as the nude woman in a recreation of Manet's famous painting The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe).
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