The 10 Worst Album Covers of All Time

In a few days, we’re going to be talking a bit about some of the most iconic album covers of all time but before we get into that, I thought it would be fun to go a different way with it and talk about the worst album covers of all time. I had to be pretty picky when it came to creating this list because, in all honesty, there are a whole lot of terrible album covers out there that probably could’ve made it here. From current pop superstars to rock and metal bands, there really was no shortage of album covers to choose from. To choose, I went with my own personal reaction to each of the covers. I’m sure some will disagree with some of the choices I’ve made but that’s the way it goes with opinions – everyone has one and everyone has the right to theirs. If you know of an album cover you believe belongs to be mentioned among the worst album covers of all time, make sure you let me know in the comments section below. I’ll add it in a special section at the bottom. I also didn’t feel it was fair to just put up the album covers so each entry on this list has the release date and the track listing. Enjoy!

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Live it Up
Image Via Atlantic Records

Wieners in Space

Album Title and Artist: Live It Up by Crosby, Stills & Nash
Release Date: June 26, 1990
Track List:

  1. Live It Up
  2. If Anybody Had a Heart
  3. Tomboy
  4. Haven’t We Lost Enough
  5. Yours and Mine
  6. (Got to Keep) Open
  7. Straight Line
  8. House of Broken Dreams
  9. Arrows
  10. After the Dolphin

There is a trend that runs throughout the article and this is the first example of that. A trend should have a name. Let’s call it the “When Bad Album Covers Happen to Good Bands” trend. Little wordy, but it works. Crosby, Stills & Nash is a great band and this is a pretty good album but good heavens – what is going on with this album cover. Truth be told, I actually kind of love it. Then again, I love hot dogs way more than any adult should so perhaps I’m biased. In any event, it’s no small surprise that this one consistently shows up on lists of the worst album covers of all time. It makes no sense at all – which I think is part of what I like about it so much. Wieners in space … Pigs in Space … connection? Perhaps.

Prince - Love Sexy
Image Via Paisley Park/Warner Brothers

Naked Man In Bloom

Album Title and Artist: Lovesexy by Prince
Release Date: May 10, 1988
Track List:

  1. Eye No
  2. Alphabet St.
  3. Glam Slam
  4. Anna Stesia
  5. Dance On
  6. Lovesexy
  7. When 2 R in Love
  8. I Wish You Heaven
  9. Positivity

I have to confess something that has been weighing heavily on me since I first saw this album cover. I find Prince unspeakably sexy for reasons I cannot explain and don’t even want to begin to explore. He’s a strange, tiny man with really weird facial hair. I guess I have a type. Even with my unusual attraction to Prince in mind, this album cover freaks me out. I think it’s the hand on the chest thing. It just looks … I don’t know what it looks like. To be honest, this one leaves me a little speechless. Let’s move on.

Image Via Creation Records
Image Via Creation Records

Kevin Rowland Does Drag

Album Title and Artist: My Beauty by Kevin Rowland
Release Date: September 21, 1999
Track List:

  1. Greatest Love of All
  2. Rag Doll
  3. Concrete and Clay
  4. Daydream Believer
  5. This Guy’s in Love with You
  6. The Long and Winding Road
  7. It’s Getting Better
  8. I Can’t Tell the Bottom from the Top
  9. Labelled With Love (I’ll Stay With My Dreams)
  10. Reflections of My Life
  11. You’ll Never Walk Alone

Yeah … because this one’s so much better. I don’t understand the thinking here. I don’t understand why the photo looks so dated when the album was released in 1999. I don’t understand anything about this whole thing in general. You know what freaks me out most about this? I actually kind of like the album. I picked it up a few years back on the advice of a friend and it really surprised me. I’m not a big fan of Kevin’s band, Dexy’s Midnight Runners (or just ‘Dexys’ now) but I liked Kevin’s first solo record and I like this one too. It’s just … that album cover, man. I can’t. Nope. I can’t even. 

cover photo by Lynn Goldsmith
cover photo by Lynn Goldsmith

Guitars for Hands!!

Album Title and Artist: Scream Dream by Ted Nugent
Release Date: June 1980
Track List: 

  1. Wango Tango
  2. Scream Dream
  3. Hard as Nails
  4. I Gotta Move
  5. Violent Love
  6. Flesh and Blood
  7. Spit It Out
  8. Come and Get It
  9. Terminus El Dorado
  10. Don’t Cry (I’ll Be Back Before You Know It Baby)

There’s this crazy old dude down the street from me that hates absolutely everyone – except me. He’s always ranting and raving about something – waving his arms around and yelling until he’s all pink and sweating – and I find all his anger absolutely charming. I do worry that one day his heart is just going to explode as that kind of thing can’t be good for the ticker but mentioning this just makes him more angry. I mention this guy because he reminds me so very much of Ted Nugent – kinda old, enraged for no reason and way too hilariously overboard to be taken seriously. By anyone. Ever. That’s about all I have to say about this one.

Image Via Casablanca Records
Image Via Casablanca Records

Remember She-Ra?

Album Title and Artist: Take Me Home by Cher
Release Date: January 25, 1979
Track List:

  1. Take Me Home
  2. Wasn’t It Good?
  3. Say the Word
  4. Happy Was the Day We Met
  5. Git Down (Guitar Groupie)
  6. Love & Pain (Pain in My Heart)
  7. Let This Be a Lesson to You
  8. It’s Too Late (To Love Me Now)
  9. My Song (Too Far Gone)

Now, it’s not like we expect super classy album covers/videos/red carpet dresses from Cher but for me, this one kind of takes the cake. The whole costume just reminds me so much of She-Ra: The Princess of Power or whatever that whole thing was. When I came across this album cover, I had to go dig out my old She-Ra dolls and books just to see if I was right. If she had a white bathing suit on with a little gem between her boobs, this album cover would look exactly like She-Ra after a quick dye job.

Image Via Harvest/EMI
Image Via Harvest/EMI

Um … Ew

Album Title and Artist: Lovedrive by Scorpions
Release Date: 1979
Track List:

  1. Loving You Sunday Morning
  2. Another Piece of Meat
  3. Always Somewhere
  4. Coast to Coast
  5. Can’t Get Enough
  6. Is There Anybody There?
  7. Lovedrive
  8. Holiday

Just what in the heck is going on here? Are her nipples made of gum or did he just stick a big old wad (of gum, people) on there? It’s just so wrong and so unnerving. I don’t … even have the words. I guess it probably played well to their audience but the rest of us just didn’t quite get what was going on here. Or maybe their audience didn’t either. I don’t know. My husband loves these guys and he’s the one that suggested it for the list so maybe they missed the mark all around. Yikes.

Image Via Asylum Records
Image Via Asylum Records

Whatcha Lookin’ At?

Album Title and Artist: Waking and Dreaming by Orleans
Release Date: 1976
Track List: 

  1. Reach
  2. What I Need
  3. If I Don’t have You
  4. Waking and Dreaming
  5. Sails
  6. Still the One
  7. The Bum
  8. Golden State
  9. The Path
  10. Spring Fever

There’s so much wrong with this one I’m not even sure where to start. I guess we’ll start with the beardy guy in the front that kind of looks like Mr. K from Go On. There is no way anyone is going to convince me he isn’t looking at that other guy’s junk and judging by the expression on his face, he’s pretty into what he sees – either that or he’s amused by it. Perhaps the photographer could’ve warned them he was about to snap a picture so Mr. Beard could’ve turned his eyes away. Second, it always freaks me out when a bunch of guys decide to take their shirts off for a band photo and allow the photo to be cut off before any kind of pants are visible. I mean, come on – everyone thinks you’re naked! You have to know this! I get that the photo was probably a play on the “I had a dream that I was standing in front of my class only to suddenly realize I was naked” thing but there must’ve been a better way to illustrate that point. A less … hairy way.

Image Via Jive Records
Image Via Jive Records

Should We Come Back Later?

Album Title and Artist: Back to the S**t by Millie Jackson
Release Date: 1989
Track List:

  1. Hot! Wild! Unrestricted! Crazy Love
  2. Getting to Know Me
  3. An Imitation of Love
  4. Love Stinks
  5. Muffle That Fart
  6. I’m Waiting Baby
  7. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  8. Investigative Reporting
  9. Love is a Dangerous Game
  10. Sho Nuff Danjus

I love Millie Jackson. I’ve loved Millie Jackson since the first time I’ve heard her and I don’t think anything could ever change that – not even this album cover but come on, let’s be honest, it’s pretty terrible. At the same time, it totally makes sense for her. She’s known for having a pretty interesting sense of humor and not being afraid to infuse her albums and live performances with that humor. Even so, this album cover is a little … off putting, especially if you’re not familiar with Millie’s work. I felt better about it after I realized the object in her hand is her shoe and not something much different but I still have to wonder why she’s holding her shoe. Ya know what? Maybe some questions are just better left unanswered.

Image Via Mountain Railroad
Image Via Mountain Railroad

The ‘Stache

Album Title and Artist: I Love My Life by Jim Post
Release Date: 1978
Track List: 

  1. Hot Summer Night
  2. I Love My Life
  3. Comfortable Feeling
  4. Crystal Ocean Tides
  5. Billie Jean Rose
  6. Stanley and Henry
  7. My Dreams Never Come True
  8. Grab Your Life and Run
  9. Waterfall Dream
  10. One Blessed Hour

For reasons I can’t entirely understand or explain, this one really, really creeps me out. I think it’s the wet, limp mustache. Or the eyes. Or the whole thing in general. I get that the big ‘stache was all the rage back them and I do have a special appreciation for a good soup strainer but come on – the album is called I Love My Life. Unless the title is completely sarcastic, you could at least try to crack a smile for the cover. The guy doesn’t look like he loves his life at all. He looks kinda miserable and depressed. I have to admit though, it’s a damn good album – just a fantastically frightening cover.

Image Via Geffin
Image Via Geffen

Oh … Lord.

Album Title and Artist: Hefty Fine by The Bloodhound Gang
Release Date: September 27, 2005
Track List: 

  1. Strictly for the Tardcore
  2. Balls Out
  3. Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo
  4. I’m the Least You Could Do
  5. Farting with a Walkman On
  6. Diarrhea Runs in the Family
  7. Ralph Wiggum
  8. Something Diabolical featuring Ville Valo
  9. Overheard in a Wawa Parking Lot
  10. Pennsylvania
  11. Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss featuring Natasha Thorp
  12. Jackass
  13. No Hard Feelings

Oh come on – like I could do this list and not put Hefty Fine on here! I worked in a music store with this album hit the shelves and got to witness first hand the reactions this cover got. There was a lot of laughing. There was a lot of complaining. One thing was for sure though: this was an impossible cover to forget – no matter how badly you wanted to. If you don’t understand why The Bloodhound Gang would put this image on the cover of their album, you probably aren’t familiar with The Bloodhound Gang. Even so – definitely one of the worst album covers of all time, even if that was exactly what they were going for.