The worst record covers ever

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The worst record covers ever

Hi all,

Gramophone is working on a feature about the worst record (and CD, and DVD etc) covers ever and we'd love to have your contributions, some of which could be included in the final article in the magazine. So feel free to post to this thread to let us know those "collectors' item" covers you love to hate...

All the best,

James Inverne

RE: The worst record covers ever

How about the presence of "Flat Eric" on the cover of a disc of Mozart Overtures? Is it so bad that it's good, or just so bad that it's, well, bad?

RE: The worst record covers ever

There are of course all those gloriously awful Westminster covers - and I say 'gloriously' because some are so funny and bizarre that they almost come full circle to the surreal and thought-provoking.


RE: The worst record covers ever

I agree, Westminster Gold have the field almost to themselves here. Spiderjon posted some of their worst/best a while back. The Planets is a particularly memorable one. It´s strange as the original Westminster LPs I have were very nice to look at, not to mention very well made and recorded.


Almost all LPs and CDs which pictures of the artists on the cover I find unattractive, and I wish record companies would put a stop to it. In Karajan´s heyday you get the feeling that he was more important than the composer due to the fact that his face adorned almost everything he recorded. Interestingly the recordings he made that didn´t have his portrait on the sleeve, are some of the most beautiful sleeves ever printed.

RE: The worst record covers ever

I seem to remember one where Lang Lang posed looking like a rock star, not a classically trained pianist on the DG label. I also agree on the Westminister Gold label covers. Also any covers where the female artist is posed not as an artist, but someone's idea of a "pin up" girl. The same for male artists who are posed this way. Bryn Tefel's picture for Mendelssohn's "Elijah" He looks like he is trying out for Fiddler on the Roof, and not in a good way. Most of the Opera d' Oro covers that do not seem to have anything to do with the titles. 

RE: The worst record covers ever

One more thought all the companies that overuse someones paintings

such as all the ones the past couple of years that used Caspar David Freidrich's " Wanderer Over a Sea of Fog." I saw that on at least three different recordings use it or their own versions of it.

RE: The worst record covers ever

Almost all LPs and CDs which pictures of the artists on the cover I find unattractive 


Jeez Dubrob, take it easy.  Us ugly people deserve a chance in the spot-light too. I mean, not everyone can be blessed with good-looks as you have been. Lol


Anyways back in the day, I had a bad habit associating rock albums with their covers. It got so bad, that I couldn’t even listen to music without thinking of the album cover and essentially ruining the listening expririence.  I don’t know about you guys, but when I listen to Boulez’s amazing interpretation of Mahler’s 9th, the last thing I want running through my mind is some dinky album cover. So therefore I completely disregard the covers. You can look through my IPod but you won’t find a single album cover(covers are a waist of space on an IPod anyways). I devote my attention entirely to the content of the music and nothing else. Just like the old saying “never judge a book by its cover”; the same applies to music.


RE: The worst record covers ever

Anybody remember the original cover for the Bernstein Mahler 6 with the NYPO? A sort of blood-covered (Hollywood-style blood, i.e. ketchup) statue with its head at its feet.

Awesome performance though.

RE: The worst record covers ever

While not casting aspersions on her as an artist, Lara St. John has had a few album covers that probably chased off more than a few potential buyers.


RE: The worst record covers ever

I tend to love the alternative CD covers, like the Alessandrini Brandenburg Concertos CD with the stag in the car park, but it's the ones that are so earnest that I can't stand.  For your consideration:

- the Sylvia Sass sings Wagner Arias album where she's done up look like an angel but comes off looking suicidal (

 - the Jessye Norman Christmastide album where the wreath behind her merges with her hair to make it look like she has grown bizarre antlers (

- Adagio Karajan - the seagulls, that cardigan, that wistful/bored look in his eyes - aaarrgghhh

- Von Karajan "Karajan Gold" DG edition of Beethoven Symphonies 1 and 2 with the Berlin Phil where he looks very very peeved? (

- Roberto Alagna Verdi Arias for EMI - put it away Roberto! (

- Don Giovanni (Solti for DECCA) - Bryn Terfel is ... a pirate! (

Love the idea of a feature in Gramophone Magazine.  Oh and finally what's with the weird art work for the current Sony/BMG opera re-releases with the dripping paint type fonts.  Not sure they fit all the works.




RE: The worst record covers ever

Surely, some of these covers are touched by genius? The Westminster cover of the streetseller with the lining of his coat covered in photos, for example. Clearly, an American in Paris. I like the open locker with Flat Eric and I can still remember the advert.

I'd buy the disc.

I agree that, for the most part, pictures of the artistes are among the worse, not because the artistes are ugly (Anna Netrebko, Joyce Di Donato, Florez are certainly not that) but because it shows a laziness and a numbing lack of imagination by the record company.

What about the embarrassing Baroque artwork of naked laydees that seems to adorn the covers of every Hyperion disc of music before 2011?

Is there any evidence that cover design actually helps sell a disc? I know that everything Sir Simon Rattle records recovers its costs quicker than anything by any other artiste and, therefore, it could be argued that putting his smiling visage on every one of his recording signals to the public quite clearly who it is.

What about "I-know-it's-awful-but-I-like-it" covers?



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