Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Foster The People’s Supermodel. Michael Jackson’s Dangerous. These album covers are truly beautiful; blending art and color in a way to form an image that is not only memorable and visually pleasing, but also one that represents the album’s contents perfectly.
Unfortunately, I’m here to cover albums on the opposite end of that spectrum. Lo and behold, the 15 Worst Album Covers of All Time! From men seducing farm animals to preachers practicing karate in the name of God, these album covers are so bad that they’ll make you wonder if any of them are actually real. The sad truth is, yes… they are very real, and I had the misfortune of listening to some of them just so that you’ll never have to.
Granted, some of the music isn’t bad, which makes it even worse, because why would anyone package good music inside a lousy sleeve like that? Maybe it’s true that we shouldn’t judge a book (or album) by its cover, but if the cover was even close to being as ugly as any of these covers, I sure as hell wouldn’t be picking up that book (or album) to begin with.
15. Devastatin’ Dave, The Turntable Slave – Zip, Zap, Rap
I swear, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say this guy was going to run out to loud music and pyrotechnics at the Royal Rumble of 1987. But instead of being awesome at pro-wrestling, Devastatin’ Dave decided to fail spectacularly at making music instead. “Zip Zap Rap” is basically an anti-drug song targeted at kids. And suddenly, the fact that “Zap” is plastered on Dave’s crotch is doubly weird.
Not much is known about Dave, other than no one cared about the song because a) it was the 80s and, you know, drugs, and b) it sucked. A word to the wise… if you’re going to make a song telling kids not to do drugs, at least make it a good song, not something that would cause more numbness to the listener than cocaine ever could. The good news is that there’s no real age limit in wrestling, so if Dave can bring some of that devastation to the ring, and I don’t mean just from a fashion standpoint, there’s probably a WrestleMania or two waiting with his name on it.
14. Tino – Por Primera Vez
Ah, Constantino Fernandez aka Tino. Truth be told, except for those unbelievably tight shorts, the creepy glare, and the atrocious album sleeve itself, nothing is too bad about Tino’s first attempt at a solo career.
Por Primera Vez, meaning “For The First Time”, actually did fairly well and 16-year-old Tino didn’t have a half bad career. Although, whether or not most of his stalkers fans owned a combination of minivans, mustaches, and mullets is a different story altogether.
13. The Handsome Beasts – Bestiality
Nothing sells albums like the picture of a man cozying up to his pet pig. How romantic. The Handsome Beasts were a part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal back in the 80s and gathered an impressive following with their music. As a fan of good metal myself, I can say that the band isn’t bad at all, which explains why they’ve been enjoying a resurgence since 2012.
This album cover though, will continue to live in infamy as one of the worst decisions a band could make when trying to come up with good sleeve art. You’re edgy, we get it, calm down.
12. Jim Post – I Love My Life
Sarcasm, genuine statement, or desperate cry for help? These are the questions I ask myself every time I see Jim Post being ambushed by the heavy stream of a waterfall. The first line of lyrics in the titular song go “My mama and daddy, they did not plan me, they said I was an accident…” which clearly indicates fantastic parenting that no doubt contributed to Jim’s euphoric state of mind.
In all honesty though, the album itself isn’t bad for its genre and Jim Post, now 76, has had a pretty cool career as a musician and popular Mark Twain impersonator. That second part isn’t a joke. It’s just a shame that he looks like Jeff Foxworthy was robbed and left naked under a waterfall on the cover of his most popular album.
11. The Ministers Quartet – Let Me Touch Him
No, how ’bout you four gentlemen keep your filthy hands to yourselves instead? Possibly recorded after a string of restraining orders, “Let Me Touch Him” refers to the spiritual touching of God… or so I assume. I can’t know for sure because, judging by the creepy stares these wannabe quadruplets are giving me, they could be talking about anything.
It’s good to know that the sequel to this album is called Then I’ll Settle Down, which sounds a lot like what an addict would say just to have that “one last fix” for the millionth time. The whole vibe here is iffy and has me feeling nauseous so I’m just going to move on to our next terrible cover.
10. Brooke Hogan – The Redemption
I might have spoken too soon. The daughter of wrestling icon Hulk Hogan unleashed her magnum opus onto the world with artwork that could rival the works of Leonardo Da Vinci himself. Just look at that cover! I’m not sure what’s worse… the fact that this is her second album meaning all six of her fans bought the first, or that this piece of work looks like it was slapped together by an intern who loves royalty-free Photoshop brushes and catalogue-ready car decals.
All that has to happen now is for someone in his late-30’s, who possibly sports a cap from senior year and wears sleeveless flannel shirts all the time, to get a tattoo of this and the circle shall be complete.
9. Kjell Kraghe – Vind I Seglen
I’m pretty sure “Vind I Seglen” is Norwegian for “Godzilla is coming!” because that’s exactly what this looks like. Only, I suppose Norwegians have good fashion sense so their Godzilla would look more like a strikingly-blonde man with huge glasses.
So, what’s really going on here? People are having fun on a Sunday, taking their yachts out to sea, when suddenly a large man with an even larger collar rises from the depths of the ocean to sing to them? I guess if the music is good, it’s worth the chaos and initial shock, right?
8. Gary – Getting Down To Business
Check out those sweet bellbottoms, man. Groovy, baby, yeah! Hands off the merchandise, ladies! I’m pretty sure those were the lines running through Gary Nolastname’s head when he posed for this horrendous cover. Unfortunately, the fact that he’s alone outside what looks like a very boring storage depot means none of those lines worked on anyone.
Looks like Gary will be getting down to business all by himself, and I don’t want to stick around to find out what that means. And is that a passport shoved under his belt? What’s he doing with a passport in front of a phone booth? Oh my God, is Gary stranded overseas and is desperately trying to call home? Seriously, Gary… stop dancing and get to the embassy or something.
7. Freddie Gage – All My Friends Are Dead
Freddie’s that guy who’ll show up (uninvited) at a perfectly good birthday party and drop this bombshell on everyone without second thought. Our obvious, sympathetic response would be “Jeez man, that sucks but, you know the thing about friends is… you can always make new ones.” Of course Freddie won’t listen and will go on a two-hour history lesson commemorating how it all happened, and by the time that’s over everyone’s too morbided-out to have another glass of punch so they all leave.
The good news is if you have absolutely no friends, you don’t have to care if they’re dead, so this album’s wonderful in that sense. Joke’s on you, Freddie!
6. Mike Crain – God’s Power
He may look like Ricky Gervais’ Derek, but this is in fact the “karate preacher” Mike Crain displaying the power of God by breaking a lot of plywood. I’m very confused by this.
What does karate have to do with anything? And how will he show his karate moves through an audio recording? Did God ask him to learn karate, and if so, why? Is he saying God’s power is actually karate in which case… that’s friggin’ awesome but also obviously insufficient when it comes to battling the forces of Hell and whatnot. Unless it’s a karate tournament. Either way, Mike Crain we get it, you’re good at karate. Now quit being a show-off.
5. Eilerts Jul – Christmas Album
Just in case adulthood hasn’t already diminished whatever childlike Christmas spirit you once had, here comes this guy to finish the job. What is he… an Elvis impersonator, or just a lazy Santa Claus? Is he pointing at us or asking us to pull his finger? And why does he look like he’s being forced to do this?
How do you expect us to feel the joy of Christmas if you look like you’d rather be anywhere else than dressed up as the Honky Tonk Man on your own album cover? Get it together, Eilert!
4. Dick Black and His Band – A Taste of Dick Black
Okay, there’s no way Dick Black couldn’t have known this was a double entendre, or that it at least sounded like one. I refuse to believe he’s just an elderly accordion player who thought the words “taste” and “Dick” could be used in the same sentence without it sounding like sexual innuendo. Or maybe it’s just me possessing the humor of a 12-year-old who giggles at the word “cockpit”. Hehe, cockpit.
Either way, it’s a funny title for an album. The music itself is, surprisingly, really good. I mean you’d have to be into accordions to actually appreciate it, but I did some light sampling of his work and Mr. Black seems to be one very talented Dick.
3. Herbie Mann – Push Push
Boy would Sigmund Freud have a field day with this album! Nude man who looks like Nicolas Cage, the words “push push”, and a flute – a stereotypical phallic symbol. This album has sex written all over it, or at least I hope it does. Otherwise, why is Herbie Mann all sweaty like that on the cover? On second thought, I don’t want to know.
With all due respect, Herbie Mann was an excellent musician, usually dabbling in jazz among other genres. Push Push itself is a pretty good album featuring some excellent collaborations with other musicians. Often referred to as being “ahead of the curve”, Mann crafted a wholesome career for himself as a skilled flutist… it’s just unfortunate that this album cover is difficult to take seriously.
2. Swamp Dogg – If I Ever Kiss It, He Can Kiss It Goodbye
Since Jerry Williams Jr. started calling himself “Swamp Dogg” back in 1970, can we assume that Snoop Dogg lied to us about being the original doggfather? Apparently Jerry is famous for having bizarre album covers (there’s one where he’s riding a giant rat), but even then, this album cover is just ugly. There’s a difference between being unorthodox and just looking like you don’t know what good design is, and this weird Rolling Stones-esque mouth-covered artwork is definitely the latter.
The music is alright if you’re into 70s rap, but then again I didn’t listen to much so don’t take my word for it. I wasn’t even born in the 70s so what the hell do I know. I’m not going to try and guess what all those mouths and tongues mean, or what Swamp Dogg is about to kiss. I’ll leave that to the more courageous analyzers out there.
1. Millie Jackson – Back to The Sh*t
Let’s cap things off with quite literally the sh*ttiest cover on this list. Imagine taking an absolute gem out on the first date. You’re both back at the apartment, the sexual tension is palpable, so you do the only thing there is left to do; pull out a CD of Millie Jackson looking like she’s on a brochure that reads “Having Trouble with Constipation?” But don’t worry… if your date leaves, it’s only because you’re still fiddling with an actual CD player and uttering words like “old school rules”.
Back To The Sh*t is Millie’s attempt at mixing her pretty good soul music with her pretty bad stand-up comedy. The results are very awkward and made me cringe a few times. Putting a picture that ruins appetites on the cover doesn’t really help her cause either. Now for goodness sake will someone give that woman some laxatives because that clearly isn’t a face you make when taking a dump!