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7 Album Covers With Musicians Who Aren't On The Album: The Beatles, The Smiths, And More

By Joey DeGroot j.degroot@musictimes.com | Oct 10, 2014 11:56 AM EDT

Putting yourself on your own album cover is a pretty simple concept: if people see you on the cover, they'll assume you're the person singing on the album. However, these seven artists included musicians on their album covers that didn't appear in the album at all.

1. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

The Beatles had plenty of iconic album covers, but perhaps the most iconic was the brightly psychedelic cover to their 1967 masterpiece Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Among the dozens of famous faces depicted on the cover, a few of them are musicians, including Bob Dylan, composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Dion DiMucci.

2. Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money (1968)

When an album cover becomes as iconic as Sgt. Pepper's, it's bound to be parodied relentlessly, and one of the most famous parodies came in 1968 from Frank Zappa for his album We're Only In It For The Money. The cover follows the same template at Sgt. Pepper's, with the Mothers of Invention standing in front of an assortment of cardboard cutouts, including musicians such as Elvis Presley, Captain Beefheart, Nancy Sinatra, and David Crosby. Jimi Hendrix also makes an appearance, though this was the real Jimi Hendrix, not a cardboard cutout.

3. The Residents - Meet The Residents (1974)

Just one more Beatles parody: for the cover of their 1974 debut album Meet the Residents, avant-garde rock band the Residents simply took the cover of the Beatles' 1964 album Meet The Beatles! and doodled over their faces. It is rumored that either George Harrison or Ringo Starr loved the cover and bought a copy, though the Beatles' label EMI wasn't happy about it.

4. The Smiths - "Shoplifters of the World Unite" (1987)

The Smiths never appeared on their own album and single artwork, opting instead to use duotone photographs of celebrities, often actors. However, for the sleeve to their classic 1987 single "Shoplifters of the World Unite," the band went with a black-and-white photograph of Elvis Presley, which probably tricked at least one or two Elvis fans into buying it.

5. Elliott Smith - Roman Candle (1994)

Late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith appeared on nearly every one of his studio album covers, except for one. His 1994 debut Roman Candle featured a cover photograph of his Heatmiser bandmate Neil Gust with their friend Amy Dalsimer.

6. Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People (2010)

For the cover of his 2010 EP All Delighted People, Sufjan Stevens went the collage route, and assembled a cluttered collection of photographs featuring people's faces. Though there are bound to be a few famous musicians on there, one of them is definitely folk musician Joanna Newsom (Andy Samberg's wife, for people who may not know who she is). Leonardo DiCaprio's face is also included, but he's not a musician, so let's just forget about him.

7. Dads - American Radass (2012)

The person featured on the cover of Dads' 2012 album American Radass was probably a friend of the band's, but there's another face on the cover that's immediately more recognizable: Miley Cyrus, who appears on a poster from her Hannah Montana days.

What are some other album covers with a different artist on it? Let us know down in the comments section!

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