9 Rejected Album Covers of Classic Records

For better or worse, these front covers never made the cut.

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It's interesting how some of the most prominent images in the history of rock nearly never made the cut.

For better or worse, a portion of albums that are universally considered as classics could have been awarded a different front cover.

Check out the nine examples below and see which versions you prefer.

Jimi Hendrix - "Electric Ladyland"

The boobie-fueled cover of the iconic "Electric Ladyland" was originally a subtle cover of the boys hanging out with three young kids, supposedly representing their inner children.

Original cover

Warning: NSFWCheck out the artwork here

Alternate cover

The Who - "Who's Next"

Why on earth would you want to avoid this masterpiece?

Original cover

Alternate cover

The Beatles - "Yesterday and Today"

The infamous "Butcher Cover." At the peak of Beatlemania, the Fab Four wanted to present the world with a gruesome cover (especially for that day and age) of the band surrounded by baby meat basically.

Some sources claim the cover was supposed to be a war comment, and ultimately it was replaced by the "trunk" cover.

Original cover

Alternate cover

Metallica - "Kill 'Em All"

Not only did team 'Tallica have a different cover in mind, but they also intended to name their debut album differently too. Gaze upon "Metal Up Your A-s" below.

Original cover

Alternate cover

The Rolling Stones - "Beggars Banquet"

For some reason, the label found a toilet offensive, leaving the crowd with the alternate cover.

Original cover

Alternate cover

Bon Jovi - "Slippery When Wet"

No legal issues, no label pressure, no public outrage, it's just that Mr. Bon Jovi hated the pink border very much.

Original cover

Alternate cover

Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Street Survivors"

Designed before the plane crash that claimed lives of Lynyrd Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines, the original cover of "Street Survivors" featured the band surrounded by flames.

It was the band that decided to censor the album, ultimately presenting the flame-free version of the cover.

Original cover

Alternate cover

Guns N' Roses - "Appetite for Destruction"

The original cover of Guns N' Roses' debut album was supposed to depict a "robotic rapist" about to get butt kicked by a "metal avenger." Ultimately, the image was deemed too kinky and we ended up with the sleek version everyone knows about.

Original cover

Alternate cover

Michael Jackson - "Ben"

It would seem that the label's intervention came as a good thing this time around.

Original cover

Alternate cover

Got more to share? Do it in the comments below.

45 comments sorted by best / new / date

    LazerMoose420
    I had appetite for destruction on cd in the 90's and it actually had the alternate cover on the insert!
    MrWeatherHead
    Holy shit that Who's Next one is hilarious, most of these you see similarities between, bloody hell not that one though.
    PiercedBand
    Ghost/Ghost B.C. had to censor the deluxe edition of their latest album in America but you can still get the artwork on the vinyl editions of an import. The fact that America allows films like Cannibal Holocaust in-store yet a 16th century painting of an orgy on an album cover isn't is beyond me.
    explosteveo75
    You should be used to US censorship by now. You can buy softcore Italian and Latin movies at the Walmart down the road from me but no W.A.S.P. albums.
    theogonia777
    I actually the original better for all of them. Also Spinal Tap's "Smell the Glove" is another that comes to mind.
    TJasper
    I just want to throw Liebe ist fur alle da by Rammstein out there.
    MikeBTE
    That Metallica cover is amazing
    Ougagagoubu
    Yeah I think so too! They were very limited in their choices back then. I oncce saw a video of a concert from that time. Hetfield said their new record is called kill em all. But that's not how they wanted to name is so everybody should just call it "metal up your ass" xD
    Rotenn
    I have the "Ben" LP, the mouse is still inside the gatefold, dont really know whats wrong about it?
    Northernmight
    I know that the rat is named Ben. It's from an old show or movie, and Jackson made a song about Ben the rat. Which i think is rather cute. I guess it's just easier to market without affiliation with anything else. As soon as you know it's about a rat, it's hard to pretend it's about anything else.
    JohnnySardine
    The Beatles "Yesterday and Today" Butcher cover was the photographer`s (Robert Whittaker) idea. The Beatles loved it of course, cos it was different.It was originally meant as one of three photos to form a gate-fold album cover.
    Hence My Name
    The original Electric Ladyland cover, the one in the right reminds me of Michelle Obama for some reason.
    TheLiberation
    Not so much "rejected" as "pulled out in the last second", but there's the sad story of Dream Theater's "Live Scenes From New York". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Scene... "Coincidentally, it was originally released on September 11, 2001, but when it was noticed that the logo on the cover artwork depicted the skyline of New York, including the twin towers of the World Trade Center, in flames, it was recalled and re-released a short time later with the Majesty symbol instead."
    Marauder02
    I've actually got the original Slippery When Wet. A few thousand were released in Japan, and I got an import.
    DimeOFlage420
    I remember a buddy of mine awhile back sayin somethin bout a W.A.S.P. cover being banned something bout it having dicks or dildos on it...Wasnt Motley Crues "Shout at The Devil" changed too?
    stevethulhu
    I had Appetite for Destruction on vinyl with the Robot Rape cover. And no Parental Guidance sticker. This was in 1988 or 89.
    fokkertism
    TISM - Australia the Lucky Cunt EP The original version had a koala with a syringe on a pink background. Ken Done, a famous Australian artist, felt his copyright was infringed, as the artwork of the ATLC EP was similar to his style. TISM caved, recalled all unsold stock of the EP and released a modified cover with four images of Sinead O'Connor tearing up a sign with "TISM - Censored Due to Legal Advice" written on it. The inside of the CD insert was a parody of the Guns 'N Roses logo with the text altered to say "Respect Your Parents". It was changed to a man's beer gut on the reissue.
    explosteveo75
    I always liked the original cover for Roxy Music's Country Life. Too bad they re-mastered the album on cd with the original ladies on the cover though. Now my lp isn't worth much.
    maguri
    Bob Dylan: Down in the GrooveArtist Rick Griffin, responsible for many of Grateful Dead's logos and posters created a drawing of Bob Dylan playing guitar while riding a horse backwards. But the intricate drawing ended up not being used for the album and Columbia Records featured a photograph - somehow out of focus - of Dylan on stage for the album. Wish I could embed the pictures here. Can I?