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9 Albums With More Than One Cover Design: Kanye West, Radiohead, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Sep 10, 2014 17:43 PM EDT

Whether we like it or not, an album cover greatly influences the way we hear the music held inside of it (it's why the guitars on My Bloody Valentine's Loveless sound "pink" to me). However, there are some artists who have release albums with more than one cover design, either due to arguments with their label, legal troubles, or simply their own artistic vision. Here are nine albums with more than one cover design.

1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)

Jimi Hendrix's third album Electric Ladyland was issued with different covers in the US and UK, though neither of them were what Hendrix actually wanted. Hendrix initially requested a photo of he and his band sitting around a sculpture in Central Park, but the US cover simply featured a close-up photo of his face, while the UK cover featured a photo of 19 nude women, which Hendrix found "disrespectful."

2. The Smiths - "What Difference Does It Make?" (1984)

The original cover to the Smiths' 1984 single "What Difference Does It Make?" featured an image of actor Terence Stamp holding a chloroform pad. However, when Stamp denied the use of his image, the photo was reshot with lead singer Morrissey holding a glass of milk. It was the only Smiths single or album cover that any band member appeared on.

3. New Order - Low-Life (1985)

Though the default album cover of New Order's Low-Life is an image of drummer Stephen Morris, the album's CD versions came with photos of all four band members that could swapped out and used for the cover as well.

4. Radiohead - Kid A/The King of Limbs (2000/2011)

On two occasions, Radiohead had designed two different covers for their albums. The original cover of Kid A features an illustration of a mountain range, while its special edition features a painting of what looks like a forest fire on top of a hill. Their most recent album The King of Limbs also features two covers, both of which are colorful yet ghostly abstract paintings.

5. The Strokes - Is This It (2001)

The original cover for the Strokes' debut album Is This It featured a photo of a nude woman resting her gloved hand on her lower back, which obviously wasn't going to fly in the United States. For the album's US release, the cover was replaced by a blue and yellow photo of subatomic particle tracks.

6. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

Much like the cover for Is This It, the cover of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy had to be redesigned due to its highly sexual nature. The original cover painting of West having sex with a nude angel (or something like that) was replaced with a painting of a ballerina. Though West claimed to be outraged that the original cover was banned in certain stores, artist George Condo claimed that West wanted the original cover to be banned, presumably to drum up publicity.

7. Death Grips - No Love Deep Web (2012)

Death Grips was an aggressively controversial band, so it makes sense that they would design an album cover with a close-up photo of an erect penis on it (warning: link NSFW). After this cover was predictably banned, another cover was designed, featuring a photo of a man wearing socks with the phrase "SUCK MY D**K" written on them.

8. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks (2013)

For their most recent album Hesitation Marks, Nine Inch Nails designed four different covers, one for each format the album would be released on: digital, CD, deluxe CD, and vinyl.

What other albums have more than one cover design? Let us know down in the comments section!

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