The Art of the Record: A celebration of music's greatest album art
Album covers can define a band or artist almost as much as the music itself. Sure, the sounds are certainly the most essential element, but you can't ignore the role of cover art in making a brilliant album. Originally a protective cover for the fragile goods below, the album sleeve soon evolved into an area of artistic expression in its own right. Strong album covers make a statement, entice the listener, create a first impression but with the rise of digital music, the great art of the record sleeve is under threat. We want to celebrate the best in album design so you can put this great art on your wall as well as in your record collection. Our collection includes some of the most iconic and memorable covers ever made including a fantastic selection of Storm Thorgerson classics and alternative versions. Enjoy!
The album art for Queen's classic album 'Queen 2' is almost as recognisable as the music itself and synonymous with their hit 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
Mick Rock recalls '"Queen 2 was the second studio shoot I did with them, in February 1974. The brief was that it had to be a gatefold – which shows how ambitious they were, because they hadn’t sold any records yet. It had to feature the band, and it had to have a black and white theme on the cover"
Cover artwork for The Rolling Stones album 'Out Of Our Heads' taken in Ormond Yard, London in 1965. Gered Mankowitz recalls, "I was still only 18 years old and to have my first Stones cover was a turning point in my career".
The most famous Jimi Hendrix album cover shot created for 'Are You Experienced' - often regarded as the greatest debut album of all time. Karl Ferris recalled, "When everything was ready, we hired a Rolls Royce limo and drove down to Kew Gardens, where I found the perfect tree which had foliage that reached the ground. I had the guys stand back inside the leaves and shot them through the fisheye lens from a low angle, to emphasise Jimi’s hands".
Alternative version cover art for Pink Floyd's fifth studio album 'Atom Heart Mother'.
Storm Thorgerson recalled, "Since wire frames are so important in contemporary CGI it seemed only appropriate (to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Atom Heart Mother) to make the sculpture of our new cow out of wire. We took it back to the original location to shoot it. A sculpture of a cow made of wire, in the same position in the same field as the orginal, slowly disappearing."
Cover art for the live single of 'Wish You Were Here'. Storm Thorgerson recalled "What you see is what you get - 'Two lost souls, swimming in a fish bowl'. A dour couple, their faces trapped in a world of their own, confined within the fish bowls, intense and distorted in their separateness. No retouching here, no clever tricks, no pretence. Like the words of the song."
The cover art for The Cranberries single 'Promises' designed by Storm Thorgerson in 1999. Storm Thorgerson recalls, "The image of a burning teddy bear was used as a single by the Cranberries called Promises. and I found myself interested in the promises made by parents to children and by society to children, not by one adult to another, and how they are so often broken. especially the unspoken ones. Rather than represent this notion by a scene of domestic or parental negligence I thought of a teddy bear, the comforting toy that any child might cling to at times of stress and loneliness."
We hoped you've enjoyed our online exhibition 'The Art of the Record'. If you want to put one of music's iconic images on your wall, then see below to buy any of the prints featured in the exhibition or other classic images from our Album Covers Collection.