Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.” And over the years, many album covers were censored due to inappropriate artwork. Creativity in the music industry is limited when it comes to album covers. FDRMX has picked out seven controversial album covers that had to be altered one way or another. (Warning: NSFW, Graphic Images)
Number Seven: Artist Robert Williams’ popular, yet controversial artwork was Guns N’ Roses’ 1987 album cover for Appetite for Destruction. It’s a graphic description of rape and was considered a huge problem for retailers. When they refused to stock the band’s album on their shelves, the record’s cover was changed to a much simpler artwork.
Number Six: The Black Crowes’ Amorica (1994) showcases a model’s junk covered with a string-like bikini of the American flag. The image was first seen on the cover of Hustler Magazine in 1976. The cover later changed to a blacked-out version with a triangular snippet of the Stars-and-Stripes bikini.
Number Five: Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven (1994) portrays a giant drill-bit “far beyond driven” into a dark, dark place. Pantera’s album cover was changed to an image of the drill-bit impaling a skull, which is apparently less controversial.
Number Four: Holy Wood In the Shadow of the Valley of Death was Marilyn Manson’s first release following the Columbine High School shooting massacre. Manson was deemed an inspiration to the killers by the press, which was later proven false. The album cover was essentially a “f*** you” to the nation and its hypocritical, conservative values. Manson fully explained that the photo depicted on the album cover “was to show people that the crucifixion of Christ is, indeed, a violent message.” He further added that the censoring of the image and “those offended by my album cover have successfully proven my point.”
Number Three: Alice Cooper’s 1971 album, Love it to Death, was deemed inappropriate due to Vincent Fernier poking his thumb through a tiny opening in his cape, which made it look like it was his junk. Warner Brothers soon re-issued the album with an altered version of the cover. Fernier’s thumb-penis was airbrushed out.
Number Two: Belgian artist Guy Peelheart painted Bowie as a half-man, half-dog creature for the singer’s Diamond Dogs album (1974). The bottom half was anatomically correct where the dog’s genitalia could be seen. RCA Records demanded that the creature’s private part be airbrushed out. A few copies of the original version are valuable to this day.
Number One: The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today album is probably the most well-known banned cover of all time. It could also be the most valuable. This original album cover was not sold to the general public, but a few were sent to retailers and radio stations. Capitol Records was infuriated, so they used a much more appropriate photo which was put over the original artwork. A seasoned collector probably acquires all three types of the album. The uncovered original version was called “First State;” “Second State” was the paste-over version, and the peeled-off copies were “Third State” copies. “First State” albums with the “butcher baby” cover are known to sell for more than ten thousand dollars.
FDRMX Eyes: eRRdeKa is a hip-hop artist from Germany. Check out his rap music video entitled “Atme Ein Atme Aus.”