- Artist: Robert Frank
Performer: The Rolling Stones
Title: Exile on Main St
Originally, the Rolling Stones had commissioned Man Ray to do this cover, but once it arrived at Total Records headquarters, the famous surrealist photographer’s work did not please the band at all.
So, they asked Robert Frank to undo the “damage”; the artist – a friend of the band – created an impactful and striking collage of vintage photos, causing the album’s sales to skyrocket.
- Artist: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Performer: Rammellzee vs. K-Rob
Title: Beat Bop
The Bohemian artist from NY has done only two album covers in his career; one of them is for Rammellzee. Only 500 copies were produced at the time, of which only about 100 survived over the years. This cover is extremely rare, which increases its value from both a financial and sentimental point of view.
- Artist: George Condo
Performer: Kanye West
Title: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
When Kanye West phoned George Condo to ask him to create the cover art for his fifth album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” the rapper had in mind a work that would visually represent the music contained in his record work: maximalist, hedonistic, reflective and downright bold.
Condo made five versions of the record, the main cover of which depicts the singer under a naked winged harpy, a cover that was banned by several retailers.
- Artist: Takashi Murakami
Performer: J Balvin
Colombian reggaetón singer J Balvin has always been a big fan of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s colorful and positive work; once he achieved success, he naturally asked the artist to make the cover of his album, called, precisely, “Colores.”
The bright and bold sound of his music was perfectly explicated by a layered bed of Murakami’s signature 3D smiling flowers in dynamic shades of pink, blue and yellow.
- Artist: Jeff Koons
Performer: Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga‘s provocative and bold message was perfectly explicated by the work of America’s most irreverent contemporary artist, Jeff Koons, who curated the cover of her album “Artpop.”
The cover features a Gaga covered in a large ball of electric blue glass and many overlapping colors.
- Artist: Keith Haring
Performer: David Bowie
Title: Without You
The famous New York street artist collaborated with several musicians on various album covers throughout the 1980s, among them, David Bowie.
The cover of “Without You” illustrates two typical Haring characters embracing, against an orange background and bold lines.
- Artist: Richard Prince
Performer: A Tribe Called Quest
Title: We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.
Little known is the cover artwork created by Richard Prince for A Tribe Called Quest, and yet, this artwork has to be counted among the most beautiful artist covers ever made.
Against a black background stands a stylized hominid, with exotic features and colors reminiscent of African colors: grass green, fiery red. Behind, cubes recall an improvised sound system.
- Artist: Gerhard Richter
Performer: Glenn Gould
Title: Bach: The Goldberg Variations.
Gerhard Richter‘s is considered one of the most beautiful works made for an LP, as it is an original painting affixed to the surface of the vinyl.
Richter explored the theme of abstract painting to represent represent Glenn Gould’s exemplary record work. Only 100 copies produced worldwide.
- Artist: Futura 2000
Title: The Time Has Come
Let’s close on a high note with one of the most beautiful LP covers ever made, by an artist who took his steps on NY subway cars and then exhibited with Basquiat and Haring: Futura 2000.
In 1994, the artist made a work for the up-and-coming group Unkle, propelling them straight into legend.