The Five Keys, ‘On Stage!’ (1957). This ’50s vocal group found themselves unwittingly courting controversy with this sleeve. Some people looked at Rudy West (far left) and assumed the finger of his right hand was in fact another body part entirely. As a result, on later pressings the offending digit was covered up.
Chumbawamba, ‘Anarchy’ (1994). The anti-establishment rockers, whose guitarist Danbert Nobacon famously drenched Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott at the 1998 Brit Awards, intended to cause outrage with this sleeve – and succeeded. Many retailers refused to stock it. Others stocked it in a plain sleeve.
Andrew W.K., ‘I Get Wet’ (2001). Not banned, although some retailers put a sticker over the blood. To achieve the effect, W.K. initially said that he struck himself in the face with a small piece of cinder block during the photo shoot, but later denied this. The blood is actually that of an animal which he got from a butcher’s shop.
Jane’s Addiction, ‘Ritual de lo Habitual’ (1990). Frontman Perry Farrell was incensed when moral guardians called for this sleeve to be censored. To voice his outrage he had it replaced with plain white cover, blank except for the text to the First Amendment to the US constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech.
The Beautiful South, ‘Welcome to the Beautiful South’ (1989). The Hull-based piano balladeers were unlikely controversialists. Their debut album sleeve featured a picture of a woman with a gun in her mouth. After protests, in some markets the sleeve was changed to feature two cuddly teddy bears instead – a typically sardonic move by the band.