A collection of bad album covers that are both hilarious and awkward, 1960s-1980s

An album’s artwork represents the first impression to many fans and it creates an aesthetic vibe about its music. In the days before the internet, bands would have to rely on their covers to catch the eye of any potential fans.

And many people discovered their favorite bands by simply picking up an album simply because it looked cool. Unfortunately not all the bands or singers were able to pull off a good album cover.

In this photo collection, you can see some of the worst album covers of all time. Everything from rock and metal bands to country, gospel comedy, and jazz by artists from around the world are all right here in their everlasting glory.

Let’s talk a little bit about history. There are various ways in which an album cover is visualized. Some examples include artists choosing to put a photo of themselves, which is one of the factors that add to the observation of the band, the musician, and the music.

The album cover eventually became an important part of the culture of music. Under the influence of designers like Bob Cato, who at various stages in his long music career was vice president of creative services at both Columbia Records and United Artists, album covers became renowned for being a marketing tool and an expression of artistic intent.

During the early 1960s, the Beatles’ With the Beatles, Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ and the Rolling Stones’ self-titled debut album each contained a cover photograph designed to further the musical artist’s public image.

Author Peter Doggett also highlights the cover of Otis Redding’s Otis Blue, containing a photo of a young white woman, as a design that “played a dual role: she represented the transcendent power of the music, and obscured the race of its creator.”

The standard portrait-based cover was further challenged over 1965–66 by Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, through the inclusion of symbolic artifacts around the singer; the artificially stretched faces of the Beatles shown on their Rubber Soul album, and the darkened hues applied to the Rolling Stones on Aftermath.


(Photo credit: The Guardian / Wikimedia Commons / Pinterest / Flickr).