fleetwood mac vinyl packaging

20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Art album covers illustrate how musicians often have a hand in creating these iconic visuals that go hand in hand with their music.

This article is a list that dives into the world of 20 artists who decided to take the reins, showcasing their artistic talents alongside their musical prowess.

From hand-drawn masterpieces to conceptual photography, get ready to see a fresh perspective on some of your favorite albums, all created by the very hands that brought the music to life!

#1. DEAD MILKMAN – EAT YOUR PAISLEY ALBUM COVERS ART

the dead milkman Art album covers

The Dead Milkmen’s 1986 album, Eat Your Paisley!, is a genre-bending punk rock masterpiece known for its absurdist humor and catchy tunes.

This cult classic features tracks like The Thing That Only Eats Hippies and Beach Party Vietnam, perfectly capturing the band’s offbeat sensibilities.

Adding to the album’s unique charm, the cover art was even drawn by the band’s drummer, solidifying Eat Your Paisley! as a true DIY effort.

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#2. BLUR – 13

blur Art album covers

13 is the sixth studio album by British band Blur, released in 1999.

The album cover features an artwork of a half-naked man looking away seemingly shy in what seems to be a cave. The number 13 is then written at the top left corner in childlike handwriting.

It is a very well thought out cover for the album’s title as well as the music it presents to its listeners.

As the album marked a departure from Blur’s previous Britpop sound, incorporating elements of experimental rock and electronic music.

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#3. THE STONE ROSES – THE STONE ROSES ALBUM

the stone roses Art album covers

The Stone Roses’ self-titled 1989 debut album is a landmark of British rock music. Blending psychedelia, Madchester grooves, and indie swagger, it established the band as one of the most influential groups of the era.

The instantly recognizable album cover, a Jackson Pollock-inspired splatter painting titled Bye Bye Badman, was created by none other than the band’s guitarist, John Squire.

This artistic touch further cemented The Stone Roses’ reputation for defying convention and creating a truly cohesive musical and visual experience.

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#4. DEAD MEADOW – DEAD MEADOW ALBUM COVERS ART

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Hailing from Washington D.C., Dead Meadow is a psychedelic rock band who has been laying down fuzzy riffs and lysergic soundscapes since 1998.

Drawing inspiration from the likes of 70s heavy metal and 60s psych rock, their music conjures hazy desert jams and epic jams perfect for getting lost in.

The artwork for their 2000 self-titled debut album, a record that set the tone for their career, wasn’t outsourced – it was created by the band’s bassist, Steve Kille.

This DIY spirit is a hallmark of Dead Meadow, making their music a complete sonic and visual experience crafted by the band themselves.

Related Article:

25 Of The Best Album Covers Of The 2000s Ranked Based On Popularity Among Music Lovers

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#5. CONVERGE – JANE DOE ALBUM

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Converge’s Jane Doe, released in 2001, is a landmark metalcore album known for its raw emotional intensity.

The vocalist and lyricist, Jacob Bannon, also created the haunting album cover art, which has become an icon of the band.

The lyrics themselves delve into the fallout of a dissolving relationship, mirroring the album’s brutal yet beautiful soundscapes.

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#6. PAUL MCCARTNEY –  EGYPT STATION

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station is an amalgamation of genres, drawing on rock and pop influences.

The music takes listeners on a metaphorical journey, with each song serving as a different “station” along the way.

The title and cover art both come from a painting by McCartney himself, creating a unified artistic vision.

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#7. FLEETWOOD MAC – KILN HOUSE ALBUM COVERS ART

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Fleetwood Mac’s Kiln House marks a transitional period for the band.

Recorded after the departure of founder Peter Green, it features a blues rock base with touches of folk and rock and roll.

The album cover, a whimsical drawing of two girls in a fenced field, was created by Christine Perfect, who provided vocals and keyboards but wouldn’t officially join Fleetwood Mac until shortly after the album’s release.

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#8. GEORGE HARRISON – ELECTRONIC SOUND 

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

George Harrison’s Electronic Sound released in 1969 is a pioneering work of electronic music. 

Released on the Beatles’ short-lived Zapple label, it features two extended pieces exploring the sounds of the Moog synthesizer.

The album cover, painted by Harrison himself, depicts the very Moog he used, offering a visual window into the experimental sounds within.

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#9. DEVENDRA BANHART – APE IN THE PINK MARBLE 

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Devendra Banhart did a lot of his own album covers and the 2016 album Ape in Pink Marble did not escape him.

Just like the cover, the album itself evokes a relaxed, introspective journey. Marcy Donelson of AllMusic described it as akin to “strolling along a seaside path.”

The music offers a tranquil escape, perfect for unwinding in a faraway haven.

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#10. THE FALL OF TROY – MANIPULATOR ALBUM COVERS ART

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

The Fall of Troy’s Manipulator is a genre-bending exploration born from a period of personal darkness for vocalist/guitarist Thomas Erak.

Illustrated by bassist Tim Ward, the album cover hints at the band’s desire to push boundaries. 

Musically, Manipulator throws out the rulebook, incorporating elements beyond their mathcore roots for a truly eclectic experience.

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#11. THE LEMONHEADS – CAR, BUTTON, CLOTH

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

The 1996 album, Car Button Cloth, by The Lemonheads with cover art by frontman Evan Dando himself, marked a shift from their earlier commercial success.

While initially met with mixed reviews, the album’s raw energy and introspective lyrics have garnered a devoted cult following in recent years.

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#12. THE FLAMING LIPS – YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

The Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is a masterpiece.

It has a deceivingly whimsical title paired with an equally whimsical art cover painted by frontman Wayne Coyne himself.

Despite the fantastical cover art and title character inspired by a fellow musician, the lyrics delve into profound themes. Expect melancholic reflections on love, mortality, and the complexities of existence, interwoven with the epic battle against the pink robots.

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#13. GERARD WAY – HESITANT ALIEN

gerard way Art album covers

Gerard Way’s 2014 solo debut, Hesitant Alien, was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 16 on the US Billboard 200.

The album marked a departure from his work with My Chemical Romance, with a sound that drew influences from alternative rock, Britpop, and even pop music.

Despite not achieving the mega-platinum status of his previous band, Hesitant Alien was well-received for its fresh direction and emotional depth.

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#14. EMINEM PRESENTS – THE RE-UP

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Eminem Presents’ The Re-Up started as a gritty underground mixtape project, envisioned as a raw, self-produced collection of tracks.

However, the quality of the music, featuring Eminem alongside Shady Records artists like 50 Cent and D12, was so strong that it evolved into a full-fledged album.

Eminem himself even created the album cover art, adding a personal touch to this potent collection of hip hop.

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#15. YARDBIRDS – ROGER THE ENGINEER

yardbirds Art album covers

The Yardbirds’ Roger the Engineer, featuring a quirky cover designed by guitarist Chris Dreja, was a commercial breakthrough for the band.

While not topping the charts, it became their highest-ranking studio album in both the US (peaking at #52) and the UK (#20).

This psychedelic rock masterpiece showcased the innovative guitar work of Jeff Beck, particularly on tracks like Over, Under, Sideways, Down and The Nazz Are Blue, solidifying their place as pioneers of the genre.

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#16. SUPERCHUNK – FOOLISH ALBUM COVERS ART

superchunk Art album covers

Superchunk’s 1994 album Foolish features a cover painting by bassist Laura Ballance.

Despite sparking interpretations of hidden meaning, Ballance describes it as a casual homage to an American Music Club cover, painted with herself as the sole available model. The addition of the dead rabbit came later, inspired by the Michael Moore documentary “Pets or Meat.”

This detail hints at the album’s potential for deeper themes, but the artwork’s origins are surprisingly down-to-earth.

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#17. LUPE FIASCO – TETSUO & YOUTH

lupe fiasco Art album covers

Tetsuo & Youth by Lupe Fiasco marked a critical return to his former sound, debuting at #14 on the Billboard 200.

The album is a concept piece with Lupe himself wielding the paintbrush for the cover art.

Praised for its lyrical complexity and unique soundscapes, “Tetsuo & Youth” delivered a potent dose of conscious hip hop, solidifying Lupe’s reputation as a creative and insightful artist.

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#18. Public Image Ltd. – Paris au Printemps

20 musicians designed their own album covers art, 20 musicians designed their own album covers art

Public Image Ltd’s Paris au Printemps is a live album capturing the band at their peak, featuring frontman John Lydon’s own artwork on the cover.

The painting depicts Lydon, guitarist Keith Levene, and bassist Jah Wobble, the band’s core lineup at the time.

Released to combat a flood of unauthorized live recordings, Paris au Printemps offers a taste of PIL’s raw energy and genre-bending sound, fusing post-punk, dub, and experimental elements.

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#19. NIRVANA – INCESTICIDE ALBUM COVERS ART

Nirvana Art album covers

The 1992 Nirvana album Incesticide is a compilation album featuring a cover designed by frontman Kurt Cobain himself.

Cobain’s artwork reflects the album’s eclectic nature, as the music itself includes B-sides, rarities, and outtakes from various recording sessions.

This compilation brought together songs featuring four different drummers across Nirvana’s evolution, including Dave Grohl who would become their permanent drummer shortly after.  

Incesticide offers a glimpse into Nirvana’s creative process and raw energy, showcasing the band before they hit mainstream success.

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#20. OPERATION IVY – ENERGY ALBUM COVERS ART

Operation Ivy album cover art

Operation Ivy’s Energy is the only studio album by this pioneering ska punk band.

The iconic cover art was created by their vocalist Jesse Michaels, adding a personal touch to this genre-defining record.

Despite a legal dispute with their original label leading to the band reclaiming the rights in 2006, “Energy” has remained in print thanks to re-releases on frontman Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records.

The album’s infectious energy and blend of ska and punk influences continue to inspire musicians and fans alike, solidifying its place as a cornerstone of the genre.

Related Article:

The Most Iconic Album Covers Of The Eighties

These 20 album covers we’ve listed showcase the power of music and art working together.

From dark beauty to playful whimsy, they offer a deeper look into the artist and enrich the listening experience.

So next time, don’t forget to admire both the music and the visual story it tells.

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James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.

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