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8 Artists Who Basically Used The Same Album Cover Twice: Nas, The Ramones, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Sep 1, 2014 10:49 AM EDT

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Trying to come up with a captivating album cover is pretty difficult work, so some artists have cheated a little bit by basically reusing their album cover concepts, sometimes even three or four times. Here are eight artists who basically used the same album cover twice.

1. Minor Threat

One of the most famous images in all of hardcore punk is the photo of Ian MacKaye's brother Alec sitting down with his head buried in his arms. This photo was used as the cover to three separate Minor Threat releases: 1981's Minor Threat EP, 1984's Minor Threat compilation, and finally, 1989's Complete Discography compilation. Making matters more confusing, none of these album covers have titles written on them, simply the photograph with "MINOR THREAT" written down the side.

2. The Ramones

The cover for the Ramones' debut album features a black and white photograph of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy leaning against a brick wall in their signature jackets. The cover of the band's third album Rocket to Russia, however, is pretty much the same thing, with the main difference being the angle of the photograph and the pink text.

For two different albums during the ‘00s, Ease Down The Road and The Letting Go, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy used a photograph of a unpaved road running alongside the ocean. They’re beautiful photographs, but I don’t think both of them were necessary.

4. Nas

Nas' debut album Illmatic pretty much started the trend of rappers using baby pictures on their album covers (later copied by Biggie, Lil' Wayne, and Drake), but the cover's basic template of superimposing a face over gritty Queens landscape was copied by Nas himself three more times, for 1996's It Was Written, 1999's I Am..., and 1999's Nastradamus.

5. Sonic Youth

For the cover of their 1983 album Confusion is Sex, Sonic Youth used a crude black and white sketch of what looks like someone simply looking down with something on their head (maybe it's hair, I can't really tell). The sketch was reused later that year for the cover of their EP Kill Yr Idols, only this time is was red and blue rather than black and white. In fact, the title Confusion is Sex can still be clearly read on the Kill Yr Idols cover.

6. The Cranberries

The cover of the Cranberries' debut album Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We? features a dark photograph of the band sitting on (or next to) a couch, with the album's title handwritten along the bottom. The reused this concept for their second album No Need To Argue, only this time they turned the lights on and wrote the album title closer to the top.

7. Henry Cow

British experimental rock band Henry Cow used a image of a knitted sock as the cover for three of their albums during the '70s: 1973's Legend, 1974's Unrest, and finally, 1975's In Praise of Learning.

8. Queen

Perhaps wanting to replicate the success of their previous album A Night at the Opera, Queen used both a similar title and album cover for their follow-up A Day at the Races. Both albums are named after Marx Brothers films, and both of their covers feature an image of what looks like a swan, two pixies, and two lions wearing crowns around a "Q."

See More Queen, henry cow, the cranberries, the ramones, Nas, Sonic Youth, bonnie 'prince' billy, Will Oldham, minor threat

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