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The Most Controversial Album Cover Art

You’ve probably seen your share of album artwork—all the good and bad that rock ‘n’ roll has to offer. But what about the artwork that shamed, offended and disgusted? Well we’ve got our list of most controversial album cover art. Warning: Some artwork NSFW.


the_rolling_stones_-_sticky_fingersThe Rolling StonesSticky Fingers

The Art: A close-up of a crotch in a pair of jeans

The Rating: X

The Verdict: Yes, there’s bulging going on, but c’mon, guys. It’s the Stones. Are you really surprised? Plus, the cover featured an actual working zipper. You really can’t get much better than that.


Jane’s AddictionNothing’s Shocking

The Art: Naked Siamese twins with their heads on fire sit on a rocking chair

The Rating: XXX

The Verdict: This title is a lie. There are a lot of shocking things in the world, and this is one of them.

NSFW: See it here


pixies-surfer-rosaPixiesSurfer Rosa

The Art: A topless dancer poses against a wall with a torn poster and crucifix

The Rating: X

The Verdict: Despite the bare chest, this cover still looks pretty tasteful. Seductive? Yes. Scandalous? Not so much.


Roxy MusicCountry Life

The Art: Two women posing in barely-there lingerie

The Rating: XX

The Verdict: Yes, some parts were bared, but this is not the most offensive or controversial cover by far. If you’re in doubt, just keep on scrolling down the list …

NSFW: See it here


220px-Roger_Waters_Pros_Cons_HHRoger WatersThe Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

The Art: The back of a naked female hitchhiker

The Rating: XX

The Verdict: We’re not sure if this is the most effective way to hitchhike …


Open+Up+And+Say+Ahh+PoisonOpen_Up_and_Say_Ahh_OrigPoisonOpen Up and Say … Ahh

The Art: A red, tiger-striped demon with crazy eyes, a scary manicure and a long tongue that would make even Gene Simmons stop and stare.

The Rating: X

The Verdict: It may give you nightmares, but so might Gene Simmons. It’s not the worst thing we’ve seen.


3413293_38David BowieDiamond Dogs

The Art: David Bowie as an incredibly creepy half-dog, half-man hybrid

The Rating: XXX

The Verdict: The controversy with this one involved the visible canine genitals of the Bowie-dog. We mostly gave this one an extra “X” because this is straight-up creepy.


imagesnirvana-nevermindNirvanaNevermind; In Utero

The Art: The infamous naked baby swimming toward a dollar bill; an anatomical depiction of a woman with angel wings

The Rating: X; X

The Verdict: Maybe the effect of these album covers have been diluted by the fact that they have become so popular and accepted over the years. Yes, there’s baby genitalia and an image of a woman that looks like it may have been taken out of your high school biology class, but that’s not even close to some of the other stuff we’ve seen.


imagesGuns N’ RosesAppetite for Destruction

The Art: Based on Robert Williams’ painting, the cover depicts a giant, menacing alien-thing on the attack while a robot approaches a partially dressed woman who looks like she’s been raped

The Rating: XXX

The Verdict: It’s not so much the giant alien creature or the robot as it is the depiction of the woman with the torn dress and her panties around her knees.


isThe StrokesIs This It

The Art: A naked butt with a gloved hand resting on it

The Rating: X

The Verdict: Can we just stop and point out the number of bare butts on this list?


imagesThe Black CrowesAmorica

The Art: A view of a very patriotic crotch … and pubic hair

The Rating: XXX

The Verdict: We gave another “X” just for the skeeviness factor. Wax, anyone?


beatles-yesterday-today-butcherThe BeatlesYesterday and Today

The Art: Called the “butcher” cover, it depicts the Fab Four holding broken baby dolls and slabs of meat

The Rating: X

The Verdict: There’s just something unnerving about seeing the cheery faces of the Fab Four juxtaposed with the meat and decapitated doll heads.


Mechanical+AnimalsimagesMarilyn MansonHoly Wood, Mechanical Animals

The Art: A rotting, wounded torso with a missing bottom jaw splayed out crucifix-style; a naked, full-body, airbrushed view of a sexually ambiguous-looking Manson

The Rating: XXX; XXX

The Verdict: Manson consistently takes the prize for creepiest, most disconcerting artist to have ever haunted your nightmares.


Blind FaithBlind Faith

The Art: A young, naked girl (a minor) holds a phallic airplane

The Rating: XXX

The Verdict: A minor. A naked minor. She wasn’t even old enough to vote. Really, guys?

NSFW: See it here



The Art: A baby coming out of a woman’s vagina

The Rating: XXXX

The Verdict: Thanks, guys, for the dreaded flashbacks to middle school health class. It’s The Miracle of Life all over again!

NSFW: See it here


John Lennon and Yoko OnoUnfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins

The Art: Lennon and Ono totally in the buff

The Rating: XXX

The Verdict: We’re not surprised, but we really didn’t need to see that much of the couple

NSFW: See it here


Hipgnosis_-_Led_Zeppelin_-_Houses_of_the_HolyLed ZeppelinHouses of the Holy

The Art: Naked little blond children climb up a bunch of rocks into the distance

The Rating: XX

The Verdict: This is just feels creepy and cult-ish. Also, rockers, what’s with the naked children?


Dead KennedysFrankenchrist

The Art: A close-up of a bunch of penises mid-coitus

The Rating: XXXXX

The Verdict: Um … yeah.

 NSFW: See it here



The Art: A naked Prince sits among a background of flowers—with one awkward stamen sticking out in the background

The Rating: XX

The Verdict: We get it, Prince. Now, how about you throw some clothes on? Thanks.


red-hot-chili-peppers-mothers-milk-1989Red Hot Chili PeppersMother’s Milk

The Art: Miniature versions of the band sit and stand in front of the naked torso of a woman

The Rating: XX

The Verdict: Mother’s Milk. Anthony Kiedis standing in front of a woman’s breast. You can add those up.


imagesThe ResidentsThe Third Reich N’ Roll

The Art: Smiling, dancing Nazis

The Rating: XX

The Verdict: We don’t remember the Nazis being such a jolly bunch …

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