Hitting the right beat: the coolest album covers

Music has come a long way over the years and although today’s modern tastes lean more towards digital music, the role of the album cover is far from obsolete. Over the years, a number of album covers have been the talk of the town – providing a very physical representation for the word iconic. Here we look at the album covers that certainly struck the right chord and earned the title of some of the coolest covers!

Perfectly British: Abbey Road by The Beatles

Designed by Kosh and photographed by Iain MacMillan, The Beatles’ Abbey Road album sleeve is one that is loved by many. The image on the cover is nothing but iconic, boasting the fab four at the height of their fame – Paul stands barefoot while John dazzles in a white suit.

The road crossing featured on the sleeve even became famous and was awarded a Grade II listed status in 2010.

Controversial: 1984 by Van Halen

Designed by Pete Angelus, Richard Seireeni, David Jellison and Margo Zafer Nahas, Van Halen’s album 1984 is another renowned cover featuring none other than a mischievous baby angel complete with cigarette in hand.

Many say this was the cover that proved rock ‘n’ roll could corrupt anything or anyone but that didn’t stop it from attracting plenty of fans!


Musical symmetry: ÁgætisByrjun by SigurRós’

Sometimes a picture says so much more than words and designer Gotti Bernhöft perfectly captured SigurRós’ unique sound. Using just a ballpoint pen, he created a distinctive alien foetus for the album ÁgætisByrjun – a faultless representation of music that is described as haunting, otherworldly and delicate.


Legendary: The American Series by Johnny Cash

A favourite of the old and the young, Johnny Cash was a star in his own right. Instead of an illustration, all five of the covers for Johnny Cash’s last era of recordings (The American Series) showcase simple typeface and dramatic photographs.

Shot by Martyn Atkins, the bold and unassuming typeface emphasises the strength of the icon’s name while the most talked about album cover – The Man Comes Around – perfectly reveals the visible weakness of the ‘man in black’.

Approaching death and reflecting on his life, his downward look captivates the audience as Cash prepares to fade into the black.


Iconic: Tusk by Fleetwood Mac

Standing as an iconic cover for one reason alone, Tusk by Fleetwood Mac is an obvious inclusion to this list. It was released at the exact moment the band set out to redefine themselves in 1979 and instead of the usual Gothic witchcraft they were famed for, the cover features an aggressive, snarling dog.

Set against a blank white background, this album cover was said to be a warning – ‘don’t expect the expected.’


Embracing your love of music

While album covers were originally developed as a protective tool to keep delicate records safe from harm, their development over the years has turned them into a statement of style and art.

If you have a keen love of music then it’s important you embrace this at every turn – seeking your own favourite album covers or creating a playlist of your favourite tunes.

It’s important to remember that music spans the generations and older individuals with an interest in album covers can connect with like-minded individuals on McCarthy and Stone’s Facebook page and other pages just in the same way youngsters discuss these issues on forums.

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