November 19, 2017 / 6:05 AM

Stay Connected

5 Album Covers That Use Famous Photos: The Roots, Led Zeppelin, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Sep 22, 2014 14:33 PM EDT

Close
Fallen soldier's widow Myeshia Johnson says Trump call 'made me cry even worse'

A strong, eye-catching album cover is pretty difficult to come up, but these five artists got around this problem by using well-known photographs on their album sleeves. Here are five album covers that use famous photographs.

1. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969)

If you've named your band after an image as specific as a "lead zeppelin" and then give the same name to your debut album, you pretty much don't have a choice but to use an image of a crashing zeppelin for your album cover. Luckily for Led Zeppelin, a famous photograph of such an image already existed: the 1937 Hindenburg disaster in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in which the Hindenburg airship caught fire and crashed.

2. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine (1992)

Rage Against The Machine were famous for their radical left-wing politics, which poured over from their lyrics into their album artwork. The cover to their 1992 self-titled debut features the famous photograph of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk named Thích Quảng Đuc setting himself on fire in 1963, in protest of the South Vietnamese government's persecution of Buddhists. The photo won photographer Malcolm Browne a Pulitzer Prize.

3. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (1999)

When it was first released, the Roots' 1999 classic Things Fall Apart came with five different album covers, all of which were famous photographs depicting scenes of great violence, oppression, and destruction. Perhaps the most famous of these is H.S. Wong's 1937 photo of a crying baby amidst a pile of rubble in Shanghai, though the album's default cover is an image of two black teenagers being chased by police in Brooklyn during the 1960s.

4. Antony and The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now (2005)

The album artwork for baroque pop band Antony and the Johnsons is usually hauntingly beautiful, and the cover to their 2005 Mercury Prize-winner I Am A Bird Now is no exception. It features a black and white photograph of transgendered actress Candy Darling on her deathbed at age 29, taken by photographer Peter Hujar. Darling was best known as one of Andy Warhol's superstars, and was the inspiration for the Velvet Underground song "Candy Says."

5. The Lovely Bad Things - The Late Great Whatever (2013)

The cover to the Lovely Bad Things' third album The Late Great Whatever isn't strictly a photograph like the other covers on this list, but it's still based on a famous photo. The album cover features an image of Bigfoot, as depicted in a frame of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film, which claimed to have depicted the mythical creature.

What other album covers use famous photographs? Let us know down in the comments section!

Real Time Analytics