10 album covers that were changed for unusual reasons

24 May 2020, 17:00 | Updated: 24 May 2020, 17:01

Radio X looks at the times the cover art has been messed with - for censorship, taste or more obscure reasons...

  1. David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

    David Bowie - Diamond Dogs: the front cover
    David Bowie - Diamond Dogs: the front cover. Picture: Press

    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.

    David Bowie - the back cover, minus canine testicles
    David Bowie - the back cover, minus canine testicles. Picture: Press

    If you buy the record today, of course, the balls are all present and correct.

    David Bowie - the back cover, plus canine testicles
    David Bowie - the back cover, plus canine testicles. Picture: Press
  2. Morrissey - Viva Hate

    The original 1988 edition of Morrissey's Viva Hate.
    The original 1988 edition of Morrissey's Viva Hate. Picture: Press

    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 1997 reissue of Viva Hate by Morrissey. What was wrong with the original?
    The 1997 reissue of Viva Hate by Morrissey. What was wrong with the original? Picture: Press
  3. The Strokes - Is This It

    The UK edition of Is This It by The Strokes: contains buttocks
    The UK edition of Is This It by The Strokes: contains buttocks. Picture: Press

    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.

    The US edition of Is This It by The Strokes: buttock-free
    The US edition of Is This It by The Strokes: buttock-free. Picture: Press
  4. Guns N'Roses - Appetite For Destruction

    Guns N'Roses - Appetite For Destruction original edition
    Guns N'Roses - Appetite For Destruction original edition. Picture: Press

    The original edition of the LA rockers' debut album featured a tasteless painting by artist Robert Williams depicting a woman about to be raped by a robot - there was a political subtext, apparently. US stores were shocked, so the sleeve was replaced with the more familiar "skull-face" logo.

    Guns N'Roses - Appetite For Destruction reissue edition
    Guns N'Roses - Appetite For Destruction reissue edition. Picture: Press
  5. David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World

    David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World: MAN IN A DRESS
    David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World: MAN IN A DRESS. Picture: Press

    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.

    David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World: MAN IN TROUSERS
    David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World: MAN IN TROUSERS. Picture: Press
  6. The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet

    The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet: the band's choice
    The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet: the band's choice. Picture: Press

    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.

    The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet: the label's choice
    The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet: the label's choice. Picture: Press
  7. Pink Floyd - Relics

    Pink Floyd - Relics: 2D version
    Pink Floyd - Relics: 2D version. Picture: Press

    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.

    Pink Floyd - Relics: 3D version
    Pink Floyd - Relics: 3D version. Picture: Press
  8. Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

    Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland: the design nobody wanted
    Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland: the design nobody wanted. Picture: Press

    Even by the standards of the let-it-all-hang-out, casual sexism of the late 1960s, the UK edition of Jimi's landmark double album is crass: 19 naked women, some holding Hendrix records. The musician hated it, but it wasn't until 2018 - 50 years later - that his actual suggestion for the sleeve was used a photo of the band taken by Linda McCartney.

    Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland: what Jimi actually asked for
    Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland: what Jimi actually asked for. Picture: Press
  9. Kraftwerk - Autobahn

    Kraftwerk - Autobahn: deutsches plattenalbum design
    Kraftwerk - Autobahn: deutsches plattenalbum design. Picture: Press

    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.

    Kraftwerk - Autobahn: British album artwork
    Kraftwerk - Autobahn: British album artwork. Picture: Press
  10. The Beatles - Yesterday And Today

    The Beatles - Yesterday And Today "bucther" cover: what were they thinking?
    The Beatles - Yesterday And Today "bucther" cover: what were they thinking? Picture: Press

    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.

    The Beatles - Yesterday And Today: the boring alternative
    The Beatles - Yesterday And Today: the boring alternative. Picture: Press