10 Best Rock Album Covers Ever

Wondering what the 10 best rock album covers ever are? Long before the days of viewing artwork the size of a thimble on our iPods, one of the greatest pop culture achievements was the creation of a bitchin' album cover. In the good old days, a good album cover could propel an album higher on the charts and increase sales based on the curiosity of what's inside. Here's what we think are the 10 best Rock album covers ever.

  1. "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" – The Beatles: Bow down and show respect to the greatest album cover ever! The Beatles could have put out a plain white cover and it would sell millions (oh wait, they did) but they didn't play it safe with this masterpiece of music, art, and history all rolled into one and dressed in neon military outfits. All those famous folks standing with The Beatles? They weren't Photoshopped in (it didn't exist back then, duh). Those were cardboard standees that were meticulously built by designer Peter Blake. You can't look at this album cover and not smile. 
  2. "Killers" – Iron Maiden: Picking one Iron Maiden album cover to put on this list of the greatest rock album covers was a tall order but we went with "Killers." Maiden mascot Eddie is an iconic character that rock fans immediately recognize and is beloved among metal-heads.
  3. "Abraxas" – Santana: Back before we had to deal with the pop wankery of duets with Michelle Branch and that moron from Nickelback, Santana was a pretty kickin' band with lots of great songs. The cover for their "Abraxas" album is as creative as the music that lies within its grooves. Artist  Mati Klerwein created the piece long before the album was recorded, but there's something so "right" about the pairing.
  4. "A Night at the Opera" – Queen: As if knowing how fantastic this record was even before release day, Queen handed us an album cover that just screams "You are in for something big and amazing." A true royal rock masterpiece.
  5. "10,000 Days" – Tool: Artist Alex Grey gave Tool-heads something to talk about with his artwork for "10,000 Days." The hypnotic eyes that propel the many faces give the viewer a depth of feel similar to that of the music contained on the album.
  6. "Theatre of Pain" – Motley Crue: This album cover represents the 1980's quite well with its use of airbrush art as well as the comedy and tragedy aspect that pretty well sums up the decade when thinking about our hair and wardrobe decisions.
  7. "Ramones" – Ramones: In an era where everyone was busy fighting for equal rights, learning macrame, and deciding which shade of brown to wear that week, a group of four weirdos from Queens put out an apologetic, in-your-face tome that either enchanted or revolted you. The simple, yet striking, cover loudly proclaimed "Here we are, deal with it."
  8. "Highway to Hell" – AC/DC: Christian fundamentalists didn't quite know what to do about an album on the subject of a trip to Hell with a rowdy bunch of Australian troublemakers; one of which that is dressed as a Satanic school boy. We know what to do with it. Admire it.
  9. "Tattoo You" – Rolling Stones: Designer Peter Corriston won a Grammy award for his stylized portrait that makes the subject almost look reptilian. Regardless, it's a very memorable cover and leaves its mark (pun intended) on your soul.
  10. "Rock and Roll Over" – KISS: As with Iron Maiden, it's hard to pick just one KISS album cover for this list by virtue of the visual nature of the band but we won't be greedy. We went with this one because it really has an indelible 1970's comic book feel to it. Artist Michael Doret has done many other works in this vein including the NY Knicks logo. 
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