The Best Album Covers of all Time: 40 Coolest Album Covers!

Music doesn’t mean to come alone. Of course, the sounds are certainly the essential element, but the role of cover art in making an outstanding album can’t be ignored. Over the years, cover art has changed from the fold-out vinyl gatefolds to the pull-out liner notes for CD pieces of jewelry to the small icon of a digital player, yet it defines how we look at a certain album. Photo portraits and paintings are all on Billboard’s list of the 50 best records ever, reaching back to the self-titled debut of Elvis Presley and continuing until today.

The rise of digital music endangers the record sleeve of one of the greatest pictures of art seen in the 20th century. It soon developed into an artistic expression space for itself and became very often as important as the music itself as an original protection cover for fragile, crackled goods. Here we chose 40 of the coolest designs ever made for the album. Get them on your wall and turntable. We want to know the ultimate cover of the album you think was so attractive, so do comment for your favorite designs too.

1. Dark Side Of The Moon

Artist:Pink Floyd
Album:Dark Side of the Moon
Designer:Storm Thorgerson

The eighth studio album was released on 1 March 1973 by Harvest Records by the British rock group Pink Floyd. The band first developed during concerts several months before the recording was started, primarily during live shows. Roger Waters, bassist, and singer of Pink Floyd suggested that he might not use a photo to cover the Dark Side of the Moon. “What do you mean?” he answered. This is what I do. I don’t make graphics, pictures.” 

Fortunately, he accepted the challenge for the history of rock album cover design. With twin inspirations from the live light show of Floyd and a triangle – a thought and amb symbol, he designed its cover. That’s why we ranked this album cover on Number one of our list of the coolest album covers ever made.

Dark Side Of The Moon

2. Abbey Road

Artist:The Beatles
Album:Abbey Road
Designer:Kosh/Iain MacMillan

Abbey Road is the 11th studio record of the Beatles English Rock band, published by Apple Records on September 26, 1969. The name of the cover is given to the EMI Studios location in London and is named after the group that crosses the zebra passage, an image that is one of the most popular and imitated ones. 

Initially, mixed reviews of the album were contrasting with the immediate success of the business, which led to records in the USA and the UK. In October, the lead single “Something” / “Come Together” was released and was published in the United States. Simply, with the Fab Four in their coolest position: a completely iconic image, In a white suit, Paul barefoot, glowing John is the cover of this album.

Abbey Road

3. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Artist:The Beatles
Album:Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Designer:Sir Peter Blake

The eighth studio record of the English rock band Beatles is the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was published on 26 May 1967 for the Record Retailer Chart in the UK for 27 weeks and the Billboard Top LPs in the United States for the first time, for the first time 15 weeks. It was an obvious choice, but we may be so used to it – it was referenced and parodied so heavily – that we forgot how brilliant it would be as a cover. Hitler, Gandhi, and Jesus did not make their last cut, as did Karl Marx, Marlon Brando, and Marilyn Monroe. 

Jesus was too soon after Lennon’s assertion that the band was bigger than the God Son and Gandhi was removed to ensure Hitler was considered too controversial. However, it depicts it as an amazing cover. That’s why we ranked this album cover on number three of our list of the coolest album covers ever made.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

4. Wish You Were Here

Artist:Pink Floyd
Album:Wish You Were Here
Designer:Storm Thorgerson

Here’s the ninth studio album released on 12 September 1975 by the English rock band Pink Floyd through Harvest Records and Columbia Records. Wish You Were Here was recorded during numerous sessions in Abbey Road Studios in London throughout 1975 based on material composed by Pink Floyd during a show in Europe. How are you following the iconic work of Dark Side of the Moon? Set a guy on fire, and it’s like that. 

Thorgerson focused on the whole concept of lack, with the album wrapped up in a dark color to hide the artwork – A slightly pearly idea when it was cool – with a handshake gesture between the two men, inspiring them to welcome and have a cigarette and to hide a true feeling (the shrinkwrap) from fear of “getting burned” (the cover). EMI was initially unhappy with the “non-cover,” but, Storm says, “they knew that it was hard to do anything with Pink Floyd after we stuck a cow on the front of Atom Heart Mother.

Wish You Were Here

5. Nevermind

Designer:Robert Fisher

Nevermind is the American rock band Nirvana’s second studio album released by DGC Records on 24 September 1991. It was the first release on the DGC label of Nirvana, produced by Butch Vig, and the first one with Dave Grohl, a drummer. Nevermind has a more polished, radiological sound than the band’s earlier work, making it an important deviation from its debut album, Bleach. 

In May and June 1991, Nevermind recording was conducted at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California, and Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin, completing the mastering in Hollywood, California, in August of that year. The iconic picture of an innocent baby bath is the amazing cover of this album that suits all its records. That’s why we ranked this album cover on Number four of our list of the coolest album covers ever made.

Nirvana Nevermind

6. London Calling

Artist:The Clash
Album:London Calling
Designer:Pennie Smith/Ray Lowry

In August, September, and November 1979, after a change in the administration and the period of block writing for songwriters Joe Strummer and Mick Jones Clash, the album was recorded by producer Guy Stevens in Wessex Sound Studios in London. London Calling bridges a typical punk rock sound with a new post-punk aesthetic and reflects a growing interest in styles beyond its punk roots, including reggae, rockabilly, ska, North Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and Hard Rock. 

The cover of this album somehow depicted social displacement, unemployment, racism, drug use, and adult responsibilities. The album cover for London Calling was among the ten chosen by the Royal Mail for a set of “Classic Album Cover” postage stamps issued in January 2010. 

London Calling

7. Unknown Pleasures

Artist:Joy Division
Album:Unknown Pleasures
Designer:Joy Division, Peter Saville & Chris Mathan

Unknown Pleasures is the first rock band, Joy Division’s studio album, released by Factory Records on June 15, 1979. The album was taped and mixed at the Strawberry Studios in April 1979 on three weekends, and Martin Hannett made it. He incorporated a series of unconventional production techniques into the sound of the group. The artist Peter Saville has designed the cover artwork with a data track of the radio pulsar. 

It is the only album released by Joy Division during the lives of lead singer Ian Curtis. From the decision to have no album title or band name to the cover on the new brand to using such an abstract image as the core piece of the storyline, everything about this cover is cool. This picture is not a mountain range or several waves but rather a series of successive pulses discovered by PSR from the first pulsar. After viewing it in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy (1977), drummer Stephen Morris from the Joy Division suggested it, and the image is, therefore, copyright free.

Unknown Pleasures

8. Rage Against The Machine

Artist:Rage Against The Machine
Album:Rage Against The Machine
Designer:Malcolm Browne

An American rock band from California, Los Angeles, is Rage Against the Machine. The bassist and supporting vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk formed in 1991 and included vocalist Zack de la Rocha. Their songs convey political revolution. A political and radical Call-To-Arms soundtracked by focal metal riffs, Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut album in 1992 had become incendiary. 

The cover was no less than a confrontation. The photographer of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thích Qu Simon Jones, the Associated Press correspondent, Malcolm Browne, was burned in 1963 and protested in Saigon against the Vietnamese religion’s oppression by the Vietnamese administration. A powerful image of one man, which was both shocking and inspiring and two ingredients for a legendary album cover, demonstrated his ultimate sacrifice for his faith. That’s why we ranked this album cover on Number eight of our list of the coolest album covers ever made.

Rage Against The Machine

9. Queen II

Album:Queen II
Designer:Mick Rock

Queen II is the British rock band Queen’s second studio album. EMI Album in the UK and Elektra Records in the US published it on 8 March 1974. It was recorded with co-producer Roy Thomas Baker and Robin Geoffrey Cable and engineered by Mike Stone at Trident Studios and Langham 1 Studios, London, in August 1973. Queen invited Rock, following his work on David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop, to photography for their second record and to take pictures of some of the glam-rock kudos he had after their first album failed to disappear as they hoped.

They initially found that this shot was too pretentious, yet Rock convinced them to do so. It made them look much bigger than they were at the time, but it was a true reflection of their music, and Rock proved 100% correct, of course, with the range of faces truly iconic when used one year later in the video percussion of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Queen II

10. Who’s Next

Artist:The Who
Album:Who’s Next
Designer:Ethan A. Russell

The ones who always made odd but brilliant covers, and this was no exception: The band, which seemed to have urinated at Easington Colliery, an old charcoal mining town, on a massive monolith. It is perhaps a refusal of development — coal representing industrialization — that refers to the monolith created on the moon in 2001: A Space Odyssey (director Stanley Kubrick had turned away the chance to direct the movie version of Tommy’s band, maybe this was a repayment); maybe it was just a payback! 

The significance of the monolith, or “desecration,” is unknown. It’s a memorable, cool image anyway. That’s why we ranked Who’s Next album cover on Number ten of our list of the coolest album covers ever made.

Who's Next?

So, these are all about The Best Albums Covers of all Time! If you want to take a glimpse of all the further 30 Ranked Albums covers with their respective details, then have a look below:

RankAlbum NameArtistDesigner
11.The Velvet Underground & NicoThe Velvet Underground & NicoAndy Warhol
12.Houses Of The HolyLed ZeppelinAubrey Powell/Storm Thorgerson
13.Never Mind The BollocksThe Sex PistolsJamie Reed
14.Is This ItThe StrokesColin Lane
15.Parallel LinesBlondieRamey Communications/Edo Bertoglio/Peter Leeds
16.Back In BlackAC/DCBob Defrin
17.Bat Out of HellMeat LoafJim Steinman/Richard Corben
18.American IV: The Man Comes AroundJohnny CashMartyn Atkins
19.The RamonesThe RamonesRoberta Bayley
20.Number of the BeastIron MaidenDerek Riggs
21.Born in the USABruce SpringsteenAnnie Leibovitz
22.Definitely MaybeOasisBrian Cannon/Microdot
23.Elvis PresleyElvis PresleyWilliam V. ‘Rd’ Robertson
24.Island LifeGrace JonesJean-Paul Goude
25.The Man-MachineKraftwerkKarl Klefisch/Günther Fröhling
26.The Freewheelin’ Bob DylanBob DylanDon Hunstein
27.Straight Outta ComptonN.W.A.Helane Freeman
28.1984Helane FreemanPete Angelus, Richard Seireeni, David Jellison, Margo Zafer Nahas
29.John ColtraneJohn ColtraneReid Miles
30.Music for the Jilted GenerationThe ProdigyStuart Haygarth
31.The Stone RosesThe Stone RosesJohn Squire
32.Power, Corruption and LiesNew OrderPeter Saville
33.HomogenicBjörkAlexander McQueen
34.TutuAlexander McQueenEiko Ishioka/Irving Penn
35.Ogden’s Nut Gone FlakeThe Small FacesMick Swan
36.Lost HorizonsLemon JellyFred Deakin/Airside
38.Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in SpaceSpiritualizedMark Farrow
39.MutterRammsteinDirk Rudolph/Daniel & Geo Fuchs
40.Pills ‘n’ Thrills and BellyachesHappy MondaysCentral Station Design


In the MP3 age, the album cover is a lost art – which probably explains why 90% of the albums selected by readers come from the 1960s and 1970s, although London Calling is a bit grey. In December 1979, it was released in Europe, but only in January 1980. However, this list definitely will give you a nostalgic feeling to rewind every time the Top 40 albums cover.

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