10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Adrian Skenderovic of BETC

Grace Jones, Placebo, Geto Boys and more

The Beatles
(self-titled, aka the White Album, 1968)

The cover by Richard Hamilton is a total departure from the colorful design of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. That was McCartney's brief. With time, this radical minimalism takes on a lot of meaning as it becomes a blank canvas for the fans, who scribbled all over the cover, making it their own. I love the art project from Rutherford Chang "We Buy White Albums." He has collected thousands of original copies of the White Album, always looking for the most unique drawings.


Chicago
Chicago 13 (1979)

This one is special to me. As a teenager, when I was digging crates at early hours in flea markets, I was always looking for the cover with the building on it. I managed to finally find it. It was a bit like my Holy Grail. I really love the idea and the execution, both very strong. The song "Street Player" on this album was later sampled for “The Bomb” by Bucketheads, a house-music classic.


Placebo
Ball of Eyes (1971)

No, it's not the Placebo group that everyone knows. This Placebo is actually a jazz/funk project launched by Belgian Marc Moulin in 1971. The name of the title is absolutely weird and its literal visual reproduction makes for a striking surrealist image.


Geto Boys
We Can't Be Stopped (1991)

The most crazy album cover of all time. The album cover is a graphic picture of band member Bushwick Bill in the hospital. Bill was shot in the eye as he and his girlfriend tussled over a gun. Bushwick Bill supposedly wanted her to kill him, and during the altercation he was shot as both hands were on the gun. The other two Geto Boys members and the group's management team took Bill out of the hospital room in order to take the picture.


Miles Davis
Bitches Brew (1970)

German painter Mati Klarwein was behind this gatefold cover that served as an embodiment of Davis’s creative manifesto. The surreal and complex renderings mirror what Davis does with the music itself—challenging traditional notions of structure and juxtaposing concepts of passivity and aggressiveness, anger and love.


Grace Jones
Island Life (1985)

Before he tried to “break the internet” with a nude Kim Kardashian on the cover of Paper magazine, Jean-Paul Goudetook some of the most memorable images, like this one for Grace Jones. She appears on the cover in what looks like an impossible pose; it is, in fact, a composite of her in different positions, cut and stitched together for one of the most striking images in music history.


Steve Kuhn
Playground (1979)

I love photography and especially Joel Meyerowitz's work. I stumbled across this cover in a record sale somewhere. I immediately loved this picture and was surprised to learn it was shot by Joel Meyerowitz. I really dig this quiet scene of a baseball game. Typically American.


TTC
Bâtards Sensibles (2004)

I always found this 2004 French rap album cover to be particularly creative. The sunglasses of the members of the band are in fact cut out, letting the actual CD shine behind. It gives the cover a weird retro-futuristic vibe that matches perfectly with the alternate spirit of the group.


Run-DMC
My Adidas (1986)

Simple. Impactful. Iconic. Sometimes, a few words are worth a thousand images.


K-Rob, Rammellzee
Beat Bop (1983)

Like everybody else, I guess, I love the work of Basquiat. But this cover is simply great. He was really into jazz and hip-hop and produced the record himself on his own label. One of my dreams would be to get an original copy to hang on my wall.

Profile picture for user Adrian Skenderovic
Adrian Skenderovic
Adrian Skenderovic is a copywriter at BETC. He owns more than 500 vinyl records and is also passionate about photography and publishing small-edition zines. Find him on Instragram at @adrian_skenderovic.

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