5 album covers you probably didn′t know were designed by famous artists | High Five | DW | 01.07.2016
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High Five

5 album covers you probably didn't know were designed by famous artists

Album covers not only give a first impression, they become an icon of the music they accompany. Some famous covers were designed by established artists. Which legendary photographer signed this artwork for the Scorpions?

Until 1940, vinyl records used to be packed in plain white jackets, without a label or a cover design. Then the American illustrator Alex Steinweiss came up with the idea to create artwork for records. He figured the images could give listeners an idea of the sound of the music on the record.

Music producers were initially skeptical, but they were easily convinced when they realized the sales of the colorful covers increased. Since then, albums have featured an incredible variety of designs. This artwork not only serves as a marketing tool for the records, it conveys the image of the musicians as well.

Icons of design

Bands now outdo each other with increasingly creative artwork. Some covers have turned into cultural icons, from Nirvana's diving baby on "Nevermind" or the prism on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon."

Many people do not know that some famous covers were created by established and renowned artists, as was the case for the "White Album" by The Beatles, considered by some critics as the best record of all time.

If this claim can be disputed, the album nevertheless established an official record in December 2015: It became the most expensive vinyl of all time. At an auction in Beverly Hills, California, a music lover paid $790,000 (nearly 700,000 euros) for an original pressing of the album from 1968. That's 10 times more than the auction house expected. Before the copy was auctioned, it was stored in a safe in London owned by The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

The first copies of the "White Album" were numbered, and that one was identified as number 0000001 - the very first printing. Apart from that number, the cover features a very simple white artwork, designed by a major Pop Art painter. Find out who it was by clicking through the High Five gallery above.

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