10 Amazing Stories Behind Famous Rock Album Music Covers

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, and there's certainly a lot to say about these images.

ziggy stardust
RCA Records

Album covers are, honestly, sometimes more enjoyable than the music they are supposed to represent.

From early crooner compilations to the rock 'n' roll explosion of the 1950s and 60s to modern Spotify set dressings, the humble piece of album artwork has taken its place as one of the most beloved forms of art in existence today, with a history as deep as any great painter's.

Though it may seem like a simple matter of "find a picture, slap it on the front of a record", the process behind constructing an album cover is often painstaking, as the right image can turn a musician into a superstar, whilst the wrong one can relegate them to total obscurity.

The stories behind how these ten famous pictures came to be are all fascinating, worthy of documentation in the most prestigious of history books (or on some weird pop culture website, as it turns out).

Disastrous photoshoots, accidental inspirations, tinned foodstuffs, this list has it all and more, as it takes a deep dive into some of the most recognisable visuals to accompany some of the most famous audio of all time.

10. A Giant Headache (Houses Of The Holy - Led Zeppelin)

In 1973, after their previous four albums were either eponymous or untitled, Led Zeppelin finally got their act together and pulled an absolutely stonking album name out of the bag.

Houses of the Holy opened to tepid critical reception, but it has since been included on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list thanks to tracks like The Song Remains the Same and No Quarter.

For the cover, Led Zep wanted to recreate a scene from Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 novel Childhood's End, and so headed to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

One of the child models, who would be photographed climbing up the causeway nude, would grow up to be TV presenter and author Stefan Gates. The more you know.

To get the photo he wanted, Aubrey Powell of the famous art collective Hipgnosis had to start work very early in the morning, but his progress was halted by inclement weather. What was supposed to be a simple shoot ended up taking ten days to complete.

Furthermore, the image was originally supposed to be in black and white, but the photos were so bad that they ended up using a tinted one instead!

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Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.