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(Credit: Mark Solarski)


RECORD STORE DAY: A Look Back at Some of the Most Iconic Vinyl Sleeves

There are loads of reasons that the vinyl is well and truly on its way back, some have attributed this to hipster types and their need to have a non-conventional way of listening to music. But we now know that can’t be true, since the ‘vinyl revival’ started, it is now more popular than ever – leaving us to conclude that such types have terminated their relationship with these beautiful plastic round things in search of something even more unpractical and harder to get your hands on – we think 8-track-tapes are still up for grabs.

But that aside, vinyl sales are up 60% in Britain in the last year – with almost all artists opting for a wax release these days.

And for good reason, nothing is more satisfying that holding your newly purchased album in your hands, many argue that it sounds better – but we’ll not go there…

Something just as charming though about owning vinyl is the artwork, since the inception of the album cover we’ve seen sleeves live to become just as iconic as the wax they’re wrapped around.

Vinyl lets us enjoy this incredible artwork exactly how it was intended to be, in glorious 12’’, here are some of the best.

David Bowie – Diamond Dogs

It’s literally the dog’s bollocks of album covers. Released in 1974 the cover featured a half Bowie/half dog type creature, lay on its side with its dick and balls hanging out. As it happens not many people wanted to see this harrowing beast in all its glory and quickly a censored version of the cover was released. Balls or no balls, it’s still a pretty cool cover.

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

What can we say, this one speaks for itself. Sit back take another look…

Velvet Underground and Nico – Velvet Underground and Nico

It helps that this album is fucking brilliant, because this is a vinyl cover that has become just as iconic as the album it surrounds. The sleeve had to be manufactured using a special machine in order to attach the peel-able banana skin to the front.

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

Joy Division gave us so much in such a short time. Despite failing to chart upon release, the raw, emotional angst of Unknown Pleasures serves as a constant reminder of what could have been, had Joy Division not ended so tragically.

The vinyl sleeve was designed by Factory designer Peter Saville, and depicts the first pulsar ever discovered (that’s a short pulsating radio star apparently).

Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley

This cover of the self-titled studio debut for many signifies the true inception of rock n roll. The King had been born and he was to reign supreme. Not only did this album influence every single bit of guitar music for the next 50 years, the sleeve was a direct point of reference for sleeve of The Clash’s seminal album London Calling.

The Who – Who’s Next

The Who’s fifth studio album Who’s Next was the only one to reach the top UK charts. The story behind the vinyl sleeve though was slightly less conventional. In picture here the band had just pissed all over the big stone thing you can see in the background.

Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine are a band that will always be remembered for their (ofen controversial) leftist political stance

The album sleeves of their 1992 debut pictures Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức, setting fire to himself in protest of Ngô Đình Diệm’s (the first Vietnamese president) oppression of the Buddhist people.

Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy

“Freezing rain, bad food and turpentine – a nightmare” – is exactly how one of the models off of the sleeve of Led Zep’s 1973 Houses of the Holy described his experience shooting this album cover.

Inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End, the shoot for this sleeve involved three adults and two children being sprayed silver from head to toe, then forced to crawl along rocks at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, 4am, for TEN DAYS STRAIGHT! Still it looks pretty fucking sweet now.

Strokes – Is This It?

It’s come to define a generation. The Strokes kicked started 00’s guitar music with a fucking massive band and unlike many doing the rounds at the same time, have genuinely stood the test of time. This gem of an album cover was actually banned in the States, along with album track ‘New York City Cops’. Clearly the Yanks aren’t fans of naked ladies and decent tunes?!

Will De Nardo