Every picture tells a story

The allure of album artwork

Truth: the term rock n’ roll is a thinly veiled metaphor for sex dating back to blues artists of the early 20th century. It’s no wonder then that countless rock songs pay homage to all manner of extracurricular activities and the music itself has driven countless generations wild with carnal desire. With the advent of the 33 1/3 LP as the format of choice in the 1960s, the opportunity to adorn this new canvas with visual interpretations of the music contained within were not lost on musicians and record labels alike. In fact, the phrase, “Sex sells” was actually coined during an undisclosed record label meeting sometime in the 1960s. True story.

The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

You know what’s sexy? The word “association.” Because it contains “ass.” Also, an association can get you hot and bothered. Just as peanut butter makes you think of jelly, “sticky fingers” makes you think of “crotch.” Just try to deny that. Among other things, this fact proves that the Rolling Stones and their associates were, for a brief period at least, the satanic majesties of sexual marketing. Hot stuff! –Benjamin Smith

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Mother’s Milk  

 The Mother’s Milk album cover shows the Chili Peppers hanging out in the arms of the proportionally larger and relatively more naked model, Alaine Dawn. It’s really too bad they forgot to tell her she was going to be on the cover – or that there would be additional posters of her exposed chest without a flower or Anthony Kiedis to cover up the important bits. Dawn got a little upset and hired an attorney. – Sarah Sidlow

Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland 

 Turns out, Hendrix didn’t even want all those bare-breasted ladies on his album. Regardless, the original UK cover art done by Track Records is now the stuff of legend. There’s a total of 19 nudies on the cover, and everyone looks bored and/or stoned. Either way, sex sells and so does good music. Electric Ladyland is a jam-packed double-disc affair that took a deep look inside the hazy genius of Jimi’s psyche.   –Zach Rogers

2 Live Crew – As Nasty as they Wanna Be

 Nasty indeed. That adjective is easily the most succinct way to describe the music and lyrical content of Miami rap group 2 Live Crew’s 1990 double platinum selling horndog symphony, As Nasty As They Wanna Be. And for good measure, the group placed a quartet of fine sexual chocolate ladies to grace the disc’s album cover. No doubt about it, these sweet young thangs are the foremothers of what being bootylicious should look like at a time when Beyonce was probably rocking pigtails and braces in her grill. With posteriors lookin’ like they’ve got those g-strings in a chokehold, it’s hard for one not to exclaim “me so horny!”
– Gary Spencer

Roger Waters – The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking 

 Roger Waters’ The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is a roadside ditch filled to the brim with rants about infidelities and ravings about Arabs. (Please don’t ask.) But no matter. Look at that cover. Rather, look at that ass. Sure, I prefer brunettes, but I’m also an ass man from way back – and I give the backside of this vagabond a thumbs-up. As Roger himself might say: “A nice bit o’ crumpet, that.” –Benjamin Smith


Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass – Whipped Cream and Other Delights

Wow. In 1965 A&M Records blessed the world with what has to be one of the all-time sexiest album covers. For their then newest LP of Mexican-flavored ’60s pop instrumentals, Herb Alpert and company got a deliciously delightful young brunette out of her skivvies and into an evening dress of gooey, white whipped cream. Her “come hither” eyes cast a gaze of tantalization as she lifts her cream covered fingers near her mouth in one of the most overtly subtle teases. You can get into a staring contest with this young lass all you like, for even if you lose you’ll still feel like a winner. – Gary Spencer


Ohio Players – Honey 

 The Ohio Players were no strangers to sex. The group’s 1975 album is famous for its risqué cover, a highly suggestive image of a woman holding a jar of honey in one hand while swallowing a big spoonful of the sticky stuff in the other. Fun fact: the woman is Ester Cordet, 1974’s Playmate of the Month for October, and something tells me this wasn’t her first time covered in honey …  -Zach Rogers

Blink 182 – Enema of the State


You might be startled to learn that the nurse in Blink’s Enema of the State cover isn’t really a medical professional – she’s exotic dancer and adult film star Janine Lindemulder. Lindemulder also appeared in the music videos for “What’s My Age Again?” and “Man Overboard.” More recently, her likeness has appeared on a few unfortunate mug shots. But one thing is for sure: she has some very impressive … tattoos. –Sarah Sidlow

Reach DCP freelance writer Benjamin Smith at BenjaminSmith@DaytonCityPaper.com

 Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at ZachRogers@DaytonCityPaper.com

 Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com


Reach DCP freelance writer Sarah Sidlow at Sarahsidlow@DaytonCityPaper.com




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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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