10 album covers that were changed for unusual reasons
17 January 2021, 19:00
Radio X looks at the times the cover art has been messed with - for censorship, taste or more obscure reasons...
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
Bowie's 1974 album certainly wasn't "the dog's bollocks" as the half-man, half-canine hybrid of Belgian artist Guy Peellaert's cover painting had its knackers airbrushed out for British audiences.
If you buy the record today, of course, the balls are all present and correct.
Morrissey - Viva Hate
The singer's first post-Smiths solo outing in 1988 had this moody shot by noted photographer Anton Corbijn, but when the album was reissued in a special edition ten years later, the image was replaced by this rather pedestrian snapshot. Why? Nobody knows. When the album was reissued again in 2012, the original photo was reinstated... but the title font was changed. Again, nobody knows why.
The Strokes - Is This It
America couldn't, er, face the naked rear end of the original UK album cover, so the NYC band's debut was dressed in the most un-Strokes-like design ever conceived.
David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World
A lot of people were taken aback by the sight of Bowie reclining on a chaise lounge in a "man's dress", especially the American label who rejected the shocking (for 1970) image. They used a cartoon instead. When Bowie had become a superstar in 1972, the album was reissued with a black-and-white glam-era shot of the musician.
The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet
Decca Records were appalled at the filthy, graffitied toilet wall that the Stones wanted for their 1968 album. They substituted it with a fake dinner invitation and it wasn't until the 1980s and the CD era that the original bog-based art was used.
Pink Floyd - Relics
Drummer Nick Mason drew the intricate pen-and-ink artwork for this 1971 collection of tracks. When the album was remastered in 1996, designer Storm Thorgerson created a 3D model of the contraption and photographed that.
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
The original edition of this landmark piece of electronica featured a charming painting of the titular highway, complete with both ends of the German motoring experience: VW Beetle on one side, Mercedes on the other. The UK version went for a more graphical approach, which was later adapted for vinyl reissues in the 2010s.
The Beatles - Yesterday And Today
The Fab Four collaborated with photographer Robert Whitaker on a series of weird "pop art" photographs, but one of the series was plucked out of the set and plonked on the latest collection of pop tunes for teenagers - without any context our explanation. Retailers recoiled from the grotesque image of "dead babies" and raw meat, so the "Butcher cover" was hastily withdrawn with a more boring design.