The ugliest albumcovers


As a sequel to the (popular) post The greatest albumcovers, this post contains the ugliest albumcovers.

This post, for the first time, shows the limitation of my only (self-imposed) condition: I must (physically) own the music I write about. This post violated that condition; not on the regular list, but still…

I do own a couple of albums with ugly covers, but there is a complete universe of tasteless, intensely unattractive, even (unintentional) scary albumcovers out there. Many websites exist, devoted to this subject alone. One of the first (and comprehensive) ones I encountered was Bad Record Covers.

As a tribute to the albumcover, I present the ten ugliest albumcovers.


The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds


Brian Wilson wanted to create the greatest rock album ever made. He almost succeeded.

Within the band disagreement arose about the cover, which was even called ‘crazy’: the art department screwed up pretty badly on that one. No disagreement there.


Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup (

The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup


The cover was designed by Ray Lawrence and photographed by David Bailey. The intent was to make Mick Jagger look like Katherine Hepburn in the movie The African Queen.

I don’t see it. According to different sources Mick Jagger himself seemed ambivalent to the cover. He should have acted on his instincts in this case, for the cover is extremely ugly.


Andre Hazes - 'n Vriend (

André Hazes – ‘n Vriend


Maybe more camp than ugly, and maybe not completely fair to André Hazes (a famous Dutch singer), not one of the world’s most attractive men. The cover probably fits the music, but still…

By the way: it was his second album and contains a lot of classics: Waarom, Het Is Koud Zonder Jou en ‘n Vriend. My favorite André Hazes album.


Malcolm McLaren - Duck Rock (

Malcolm McLaren – Duck Rock


The album heralds things to come and was way ahead of its time.

Despite the designteam behind the cover (Dondi White and Nick Egan) and Keith Haring’s drawing, the cover wasn’t awarded with follow-ups or tributes; rightfully so.


Michael Jackson - HIStory (

Michael Jackson – HIStory


Well, my ‘problem’ with Michael Jackson perfectly on display on this cover. His megalomania reaches new heights here.

If you live up to your own aspirations (like James Brown did) it’s okay, but proclaiming to be the King Of Pop and not prove it (especially in a live setting), makes it pathetic.

One of the worst concerts (if not the worst) I ever witnessed was Michael Jackson: September 30th 1996 (Dutch), accompanying this album, which contains two outstanding songs: Scream and, especially, Stranger In Moscow.


Beck - Midnite Vultures (

Beck – Midnite Vultures


The fantastic Beck album, his best in my opinion, that contains gems like Sexx Laws and Debra, is unfortunately wrapped in an extremely ugly, plastic looking cover, that leaves the impression that the contents are limited to prefabricated formula music.

Nothing could be further from the truth.


Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist (

Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist


This album was available in the colors green, orange, silver, purple, blue and (mostly in stock) red.

The cover is supposed to portray the Statue Of Liberty in New York, drowning in the Hudson river, its waterlevel dramatically rising, due to ‘global warming’…

It is said that Billy Corgan was very pleased about the cover. I am not.


R.E.M. - Accelerate (

R.E.M. – Accelerate


R.E.M.: major supplier of ugly covers, goes for gold, and succeeds: monstrous cover.


Sufjan Stevens  - The Age Of Adz (

Sufjan Stevens – The Age Of Adz


The cover contains a work of art by Royal Robertson, a self-proclaimed prophet from Louisiana, holder of the (self-imposed) title: ‘Libra Patriarch Prophet Lord Archbishop Apostle Visionary Mystic Psychic Saint Royal Robertson’.

I think the cover is extremely ugly, but, in his own words, inspired Sufjan Stevens hugely. The (electronic) album contains beautiful songs, so it must be my limited understanding/taste…


Van Halen - A Different Kind Of Truth (

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth


The Van Halen comeback album, the comeback with David Lee Roth as a singer anyway. The album contains worked out songs that, in some cases, date back to the days before their debut album from 1978.

Why did the cover have to be this ugly? No idea, I can’t imagine the band not knowing this themselves. On the other hand, the same theme is repeated on the 2015 release of Tokyo Dome Live In Concert.


Below the cover that doesn’t live up to my own term (as outlined in the preface). In my search for ugly albumcovers this was the first one I saw. I could never top it. Be warned!


In closing

These are my 10 ugliest albumcovers.

Do you have other candidates? Let me know by leaving a comment and I will add the cover!
Given the filth you can come across: I retain the right to block candidates. My 8 year old son also reads this blog.



The Dick Handler Quartet – I Should Have Been Crucified


From Dutch Facebook group De Platenkast

Dick Handler Quartet - I Should Have Been Crucified (



Madonna – Hard Candy


From cinthia (see comments on Dutch site)

Madonna - Hard Candy (


Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!