There are many ways album cover art can go wrong, from trend-chasing and rushed deadlines to record-company interference.
Bon Jovi skipped right past Plan B to Plan C during the rush to release their 1986 commercial breakthrough Slippery When Wet. The first problem occurred when they saw the results of a cowboy-themed photo shoot that was originally meant to yield the cover art. “It looked a little bit put on, and we were kind of unhappy with it,” guitarist Richie Sambora later told VH1.
Inspiration struck, as it so often does, during the band’s next visit to a strip club, after which they recruited a female model to wear a torn, wet T-shirt featuring the album title. After censors put a stop to that idea, and with time running short, bandleader Jon Bon Jovi came up with the idea to write the title on a wet trash bag. More than 12 million people now have this unappealing and illegible artwork in their record collections.
Guns N’ Roses Blame Their Label for ‘Chinese Democracy’ Art Problems
Soon after the 15-year wait for Guns N’ Roses‘ 2008 album Chinese Democracy ended, singer Axl Rose made it clear that he wasn’t happy with the album artwork, which features an uninspired photograph of a bicycle, claiming that his label released it in “unapproved and unseen” form. “They ripped it away from him, right at the last second,” bassist Tommy Stinson later explained to Billboard.
READ MORE: 40 Stars From Famous Album Covers
Bon Jovi’s and Guns N’ Roses are among the wretched artwork that shows up in the below list of Rock’s Worst Album Covers.
Rock’s 20 Worst Album Covers
From weenie roasts on the moon to gigantic floating carrots, there are some real misfires here.
Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening