Friday, October 12, 2012

Some of the most controversial album covers ever

1. The Black Crowes, ‘Amorica’ (1994)

Amorica depicted a closeup of a bathing suit with pubic hair showing.The picture was from a 1976 United States Bicentennial issue of ‘Hustler’ magazine and caused quite a controversy. The record company ended up putting out an alternative cover that blacked out the offending image. They loved it in Brazil though.

2. Bow Wow Wow, ‘See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah! City All Over, Go Ape Crazy!’ (1981)

The singer for Bow Wow Wow was only 15 years old when this album was released. Lwin’s covered-but-naked body on the album cover, prompted her mother to accuse band manager Malcolm Mclaren of exploiting a minor. Scotland Yard even investigated the case.

3. Cannibal Corpse, ‘Butchered At Birth’ (1991)

This was the death metal band’s second album, and was quickly banned in Germany until June 2006. The very grotesque cover art featured a slaughtered mother-to-be being cut up by a zombie, with her baby apparently about to be slaughtered by another zombie

4. Chumbawamba, ‘Anarchy’ (1994)

This one doesn’t need any explanation as to why it caused problems. The anti-establishment rockers, whose guitarist Danbert Nobacon very famously drenched Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott at the 1998 Brit Awards, actually intended to cause outrage with this sleeve. Many stores refused to stock it and others covered it with a plain wrapper.

5. David Bowie, ‘Diamond Dogs’ (1974)

On Diamond Dogs, Bowie was pictures as a man-dog, whose genitals were clearly visible on the reverse sleeve. When record executives realized that this would cause a major stir, they had the offending area airbrushed out. The original albums now command thousands of dollars from collectors.

6. Guns N’ Roses, ‘Appetite for Destruction’ (1987)

This very disturbing picture of an alien and robot rape scene was the original graphics for the for the cover of Guns N’ Roses’ debut album. In the end they decided to use a completely different image, although this picture did still appear on the inside sleeve of the album.

7. The Five Keys, ‘On Stage!’ (1957)

The Five Keys were big in the 50′s, which just so happens to be a time when over-prudence was the norm. Rudy West (far left) had his right thumb just barely visible on the record jacket for this release. Of course everyone got really excited about it, because what if someone mistook it for some ahem, other body part? As a result, on later pressings the offensive digit was covered up.

8. Roger Waters, ‘The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking’ (1984)

When this album (a really under-appreciated album, by the way) was released, complaints that it could be seen as encouraging rape meant that subsequent pressings were changed to have a black bar across the hitch-hikers’ bum.

9. Jimi Hendrix, ‘Electric Ladyland’ (1968)

Obviously this much nudity wouldn’t do in 1968 – the sleeve as it appears here was banned. Even now, the version you’ll see in the shops features Hendrix’s face covering the album. I guess they ran out of black bars to cover up the bad bits. If you like this album, you should definitely check out the “making of” DVD.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘Street Survivors’ (1977)

In a fairly ironic twist of fate, only three days after this album came out several members of the band, including lead vocalist and primary songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, died in a plane crash. Suddenly the flames on the sleeve seemed insensitive to everyone, so for many years the flames were airbrushed out.

The Mamas and the Papas, ‘If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears’ (1966)

The original album cover showed a dirty toilet in the bottom right hand corner. The one that was released (shown) was ‘sanitized’. A dirty toilet was obviously way too unsavoury for the general public in the 60′s.

Poison, ‘Open Up and Say… Ahh!’ (1988)

Somehow some retailers objected to this sleeve on the grounds that it was too “raunchy”.

Nirvana, ‘In Utero’ (1993)

America’s biggest retailers K-Mart amd Wal-Mart threatened not to stock the record unless the back of this sleeve was altered and the song ‘Rape Me’ changed to ‘Waif Me’. Go figure.

The Residents, ‘The Third Reich N’ Roll’ (1976)

The swastika on this cover caused quite an upror in Germany, where retailers refused to stock it. It wasn’t actually intended as a political statement, more of a cultural one – the figure in the foreground is Dick Clark.

The Rolling Stones, ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971)

A lot of people got pretty excited about this record cover because of the zipper. Many thought it was too racy. That being said, it only ever got banned in Spain, but not because of any moral issues – the zipper tended to scratch the records racked in front of it.

The Rolling Stones, ‘Beggars Banquet’ (1968)

Another toilet cover that caused an uproar in the 60′s. Th early versions of this sleeve were completely plain as pictures of public toilets were unforgivably vulgar in 1968.

Roxy Music, ‘Country Life’ (1974)

In some areas in the US and other parts of the world a different version of the sleeve was used – the women were airbrushed out completely, leaving only the green backdrop and the band logo.

Scorpions, ‘Lovedrive’ (1979)

Often featured in ‘worst album covers ever’ lists, this bizarre sleeve was replaced in some markets with a more sensible black sleeve featuring a blue scorpion. The album’s artwork was named “Best album sleeve of 1979″ by Playboy magazine.

The Beatles, ‘Yesterday And Today’ (1966)

After a public outcry over the “butcher” cover, the record company recalled copies of this record sleeve

Bruce Springsteen, ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ (1984)

Patriotic Republicans had a major fit over this album cover, thinking that Bruce was shown to be urinating on the US flag.

U2, ‘Achtung Baby’ (1991)

You’d have to study the back cover of this album very closely to discover that bassist Adam Clayton’s penis is visible. The US version of the album featured an ‘X’ over the genitals.

White Zombie, ‘Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds’ (1996)

Once again wal-mart comes to the rescue of the prudish american public – in American stores this model’s modesty was covered by a blue bikini.

The Beautiful South, ‘Welcome to the Beautiful South’ (1989)

This debut album sleeve featured a picture of a woman with a gun in her mouth. After protests, in some markets the sleeve was changed to feature two cuddly teddy bears instead – an ‘in-your-face’, sardonic move by the band.

Tin Machine, ‘Tin Machine II’ (1991)

On the US version of this David Bowie sleeve, the statues’ penises were airbrushed out … all in the name of public decency.

Jane’s Addiction, ‘Ritual de lo Habitual’ (1990)

Perry Farrell freaked out when people started calling for this cover to be banned. To voice his outrage he had it replaced with plain white cover, blank except for the text to the First Amendment to the US constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ (1968)

Many retailers stocked the album inside a brown paper bag. Even the band was divided as to whether or not to release this album cover.

Andrew W.K., ‘I Get Wet’ (2001)

W.K. initially initially said that he struck himself in the face with a small piece of cinder block during the photo shoot, but later it was found out that the blood is actually that of an animal which he got from a butcher’s shop.

Alice Cooper, ‘Love It to Death’ (1971)

“I see penises everywhere!” Just like the Five Keys controversy, everyone thought that the thumb was a penis, and was subsequently airbrushed out.

Blind Faith, ‘Blind Faith’ (1969)

This image accompanied the debut album by the band (which included Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker). The sleeve started bizarre rumours, including that the girl was Baker’s daughter or was a groupie kept as a slave by the band. In the US it was replaced with a photo of the band.

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