We’re looking at some iconic album covers and lifting the lid on exactly who the stars of the sleeves are, starting with: The Smiths, ‘The Smiths’ (1984). Morrissey designed the artwork for The Smiths’ eponymous debut; it features bisexual actor Joe Dallesandro in a still from the Warhol film Flesh.
U2, ‘Boy’ (1980). The boy featured here is a brother of Bono’s artist friend Guggi, Peter Rowan, now a renowned artist. He was taken off the US release of the album for fears of accusations of paedophilia.
Vampire Weekend, ‘Contra’ (2010). The girl on the cover is still just known as a “mystery blonde”, but her image was haunting the internet for days until the band revealed she’s their cover star this week.
The Smiths, ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’ (1987). Another Morrissey effort, this shows ‘East Of Eden’ actor Richard Davalos, who was looking at James Dean (cropped out) at the time.
The Beatles, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967). Far too many to name here, but some of the luminaries immortalised on the album are Mae West, Aleister Crowley, Fred Astaire, Tony Curtis and Karl Marx. Designed by Jann Harworth and Peter Blake, it won a Grammy.
Rage Against The Machine, ‘Rage Against The Machine’ (1992). Thích Quảng Đức stars on the cover of Rage’s incendiary debut. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk burnt himself to death in Saigon in 1963 in protest against the president’s oppression of monks.
Pulp, ‘This Is Hardcore’ (1998). American painter John Currin designed this famous cover. He’s renowned for his provocative and satirical sexual images and this particular piece of work offended many tube passengers in London, who defaced the album poster with accusations of sexism.
The Smiths, ‘The Queen Is Dead’ (1986). Another Morrissey masterpiece and another film still; this time it’s French actor Alain Delon in a scene from the film ‘L’Insoumis’.
Oasis, ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ (1995). This iconic snap was taken on Soho’s Berwick Street, and the two men are art director Brian Cannon and Sean Rowley, a man most famous for his Guilty Pleasures club night.
The Rolling Stones, ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971). Our friend Joe Dallesandro rears his crotch again. The Warhol muse posed for the cover and the vinyl version even featured a working zipper!
Nirvana, ‘Nevermind’ (1991). Originally conceived after Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl watched a programme on water birthing together, this shot features three-month-old Spencer Elden, who was paid $200 to show his cock to the world.
Arctic Monkeys, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ (2006). Reverend Jon McClure’s brother Chris stars in this picture, which was shot in the early hours at Liverpool’s Korova venue. The head of Scotland’s NHS criticised the image for glamorising smoking.
Black Grape, ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ (1995). Shaun Ryder’s underrated ’90s party band chose a shot of terrorist Carlos The Jackal for their debut album, and coloured him in Pop Art style.
Super Furry Animals, ‘Fuzzy Logic’ (2004). Another criminal glamorised on an LP, this debut effort showed the various aliases of drug smuggler and stoned raconteur Howard Marks.
Ian Dury & The Blockheads, ‘New Boots And Panties’ (1977). Ian Dury and his six-year-old son Baxter pose outside a branch of the now-defunct shop Woolworths.
The Last Shadow Puppets, ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ (2008). The girl here is a model shot in Johannesburg in the ‘60s from ‘Five Girls’, a book by photographer Sam Haskins that Alex Turner’s girlfriend Alexa Chung found in a market.
Pantera, ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ (1992). Apparently the guy having his face kneadled on the cover was paid $10 a punch to take part. It took 30 punches to get the right shot.
Pixies, ‘Surfer Rosa’ (1988). The cover for Pixies’ first full-length album features a “friend of a friend” posing topless as a flamenco dancer. Photographer Simon Larbalestier, who did most of the band’s artwork, took the snap.
Pink Floyd, ‘Wish You Were Here’ (1975). This shot – one of the most famous album covers ever – was taken in the back lot of the Warner Brothers studio in LA and featured two stuntmen in fire-retardent suits, both shaking hands and afraid of “getting burnt” by the other.
Radiohead, ‘The Bends’ (1995). Artist Stanley Donwood morphed Thom Yorke’s face with a medical dummy for this memorable shot.
Led Zeppelin, ‘Physical Graffiti’ (1975). New York-based artist Peter Corriston took photographs of two buildings on St Mark’s Place for this iconic cover. Incidentally, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are filmed in front of the same buildings for the Stones’ ‘Waiting On A Friend’ video.
Roxy Music, ‘Country Life’ (1974). Bryan Ferry met models Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald in Portugal and persuaded them to pose for this album’s memorable shot.