Photo by Dorien Monnens on Unsplash

Top 10 Vinyl Records Known for Their Beautiful Album Art

The bigger covers make room for artwork that feels a bit more impressive.

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Photo by Dorien Monnens on Unsplash

The bigger covers make room for artwork that feels a bit more impressive.

Vinyl has come back and it’s stronger than it ever was.

Though its market size is far smaller compared to music streaming sites, its popularity in the current music industry cannot be denied.

A factor that contributes to that popularity would be the cover art printed on vinyl record jackets. If you’re looking for vinyl record albums with jackets featuring beautiful album art for your collection or for inspiration, then you’re looking in the right place.

You might be wondering which is better for your vinyl release between single jackets vs gatefold jackets — there’s really no difference. It all depends on you and your album. And now, here are 10 vinyl record jackets with the most beautiful album art pieces:

10. Opeth — Morningrise

Opeth is a Swedish progressive metal band from Stockholm and their album “Morningrise” is their second studio album. The album art on the cover is Prior Park’s Palladian bridge in Bath, England. It was a shot from the colored-version postcard sent by the head of Candlelight who sent it to Akerfeldt. The black and white version of the shot makes it look more solemn and sorrowful to an extent, successfully communicating the less heavy style of the album.

9. Deafheaven — Sunbather

“Sunbather” is Deafheaven’s critically acclaimed second studio album released in 2013. The album’s vinyl record jacket features the cover artwork designed by Nick Steinhardt from American band Touché Amoré who also designed their debut album “Roads to Judah.”

The hues of orange and pink on the cover resemble the colors seen on a person’s eyelids when they lay under the sun and the title is printed in block formation inspired by Pulp’s “We Love Life.” Aside from the cover art, it includes a portrait-oriented poster featuring a man’s silhouette in pink and orange hues with foil streamers.

8. The Mars Volta —  Frances the Mute

The Mars Volta’s second studio album “Frances the Mute” is a classic album of the rock genre. The band has claimed this album as the soundtrack to a film that has never been released since they spun its story on their own. One of its themes was addiction, where the one facing it is “all right and is in control, he thinks he knows where he’s headed even though still addicted.” This can also be seen in their album’s vinyl record jackets where drivers have red bags over their head, which may also symbolize addiction.

7. Sonic Youth — Sonic Nurse

For Sonic Youth’s 13th studio album, “Sonic Nurse,” they worked with artist Richard Prince and used his “Overseas Nurse” artwork from his successful Nurse Painting series. In addition to using his painting, the band also had a track with the title “Dude Ranch Nurse,” which is named after another painting from Prince’s series.

6. New Order — Power, Corruption & Lies

The artwork is a work of Peter Saville for New Order’s second studio album, “Power, Corruption & Lies.” It was an edit of Fantin-Latour’s “A Basket of Roses,” which was pointed out by Saville’s girlfriend when they left the National Gallery with nothing but a gift shop postcard. He said that flowers represented how power, corruption and lies infiltrate our lives in a seductive way.

5. Steely Dan — Aja

Jazz rockers Steely Dan released their sixth studio album “Aja” in 1977 but it’s still as relevant as it was before. The vinyl record jacket is printed with what seems to be a simple piece of artwork with the band’s name, the album title, a small portion of a face and a trail of red and white color strip. The face is of Japanese model and actress Sayoko Yamaguchi taken by Hideki Fuji.

4. Coldplay — Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends

Coldplay’s fourth studio album, also referred to as “Viva La Vida,” is composed of tracks that were all written by the band’s members. But aside from their musical input, they also helped with the visual side of the album. They designed the album’s vinyl record jacket together with Tappin Gofton. The album features a very famous painting from the July Revolution of 1830 in France, titled “Liberty Leading the People,” overlaid with the text “Viva La Vida” which translates to “Long Live Life.”

3. King Crimson — In the Court of the Crimson King

“In the Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson is the band’s debut album released in 1969. The cover art printed on the vinyl record jacket is a giant psychedelic cartoon drawing by Barry Godber of a face in between shock and horror. It’s hard to quite determine the source of the emotion expressed but one could guess it has to do with being in the court of the Crimson King.

2. Michael Jackson — Dangerous

For his eighth studio album, “Dangerous,” Michael Jackson had Mark Ryden paint the cover. It features both the King of Pop and P.T. Barnum with only Jackson’s eyes visible through a masquerade mask. This led McAlpine from BBC Music to conclude that Yrden was depicting Jackson as a “guarded circus artist who has seen glory and the machinery involved in making it happen.”

1. Miles Davis — Tutu

“Tutu” is jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’ 54th studio album released in 1986 by Warner Bros. Records. The vinyl record jacket is just a simple photograph of Davis and the words “Miles Davis TUTU” printed on the left side of the jacket. The photo was taken by famous photographer Irving Penn.

That’s all folks — the top 10 vinyl records known for their beautiful album art.

What album caught your attention? Would you buy them? Or have you found inspiration from this list?

Good luck with your vinyl collecting or vinyl designing journey.

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