10 Album Covers That Have Been Banned [NSFW]

Categories: Lists
A few weeks ago Kanye West announced on his Twitter page that the original artwork for his upcoming album My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy had been banned here in the US.

Technically, the artwork wasn't banned. Instead Kanye's record label, strongly suggested that the album artwork be replaced for fear that major retail outlets like WalMart wouldn't carry the record.

It's probably pretty unlikely that Kanye has the WalMart demographic in mind when making his records, but there is still no denying that the mega-retail-chain still accounts for a good portion of record sales.

But 'Ye shouldn't feel too bad about the whole situation. It's not like he is the first and will probably not be the last artist to run into the censorship issue. It seems like just about everyone from The Beatles to Bon Jovi have had concerns raised about their art work.

In fact, compared to some of the more sexually explicit and down right crazy artwork that has been banned in the past, Kanye's album cover is pretty tame. It's still pretty bat shit crazy but comparatively it's not nearly as bad as what we've seen before.

So here is a look at some other album covers that have been banned for pretty obvious reasons and some that may be a little questionable. While this list only talks about a few of the more noteworthy albums that have had their artwork banned there is a pretty extensive list of records that have had some controversy surrounding the artwork which can be found over at Wikipedia here.

10. Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet
The album cover for Bon Jovi's third record seems pretty tame compared to today's standards. It's pretty tame compared to some other albums that came out in the 80s, also. But apparently the photo on the cover, which looks to have been taken at a bad wet t-shirt contest, was too racy for some when the album came out back in 1986 and the artwork was changed.

9. The Beatles - Yesterday and Today Yes, even The Fab Four have had the ban hammer brought down upon them by The Man before. The cover of their 1968 album featured the group in butchers coats surrounded by raw meat and dolls head. The image caused an outrage and the artwork was quickly changed to a much more wholesome image of the group.
8. Lynrd Skynryd - Street Survivors Just three days after this album was released a plane carrying the band crashed while they were on their way to Baton Rouge, LA. Three band members, including singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines along with with Skynrd's assistant road manager and the pilots of the plane died. Out of respect to the surviving families the flames surrounding the band on the cover were removed.

7. Marilyn Manson - Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)
Feeling sufficiently crucified in the media following the the shootings in 1999 at Columbine High School shock-rocker Marilyn Manson released his record Holy Wood... with the image of himself crucified. As you can probably imagine this didn't go over well with most critics and most major retail outlets refused to stock the album without an alternative cover.

Marilyn_Manson - Holy_Wood_.jpg

6. 2 Live Crew - As Nasty As They Wanna Be
Although a lot of the controversy surrounding 2 Live Crew's 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be was centered around the controversial lyrics featured on the record, the album cover itself wasn't a favorite of most critics, either. Eventually the group released an alternative version of the record called As Clean As They Wanna Be which cleaned up the lyrical content and placed a banner of the cover models backsides.

2 Live Crew.jpg

5. Roger Waters - The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking
For his first solo effort after Pink Floyd, Roger Waters caught the unwanted attention of feminists who claimed that his album cover for The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking was both sexist and encouraged rape. Waters and his record label caved to the pressure and a black bar was placed over the offending derriere.


4. John Lennon - Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins
It really does seem as if post-Beatles era John Lennon sure had no problems with showing off his junk. There was the famous cover of Rolling Stone magazine in which Lennon appeared in the nude while Yoko remained clothed and then there was this cover to his 1968 album where both he and Yoko appeared on the cover in their birthday suits. Sure, the sixties may have been a pretty liberal time but this was too much for censors and as a result a brown cover was placed over top for sales purposes.


3. Cannibal Corpse - Butchered At Birth
With a name like Cannibal Corpse you can't really say you'd be all that surprised to see this as the album cover. And looking at some of the other artwork featured other the bands other records it's hard to believe that they haven't had more banned. But the artwork particularly ruffled some feathers in Germany where the album was banned and in Canada it was not allowed to be sold to anyone under the age of 18.


2. Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Judging by the album cover to Hendrix's third and final album this one should've been called "Electric Naked Ladyland." It's pretty obvious why this one got banned and was replaced with a head shot of Jimi Hendrix.


1. Black Crowes - Amorica
Lifted straight from a 1976 cover of Hustler magazine the image of the cover models pubic hair poking out of her American flag bikini bottoms caused quite the controversy back in 1994. The record label eventually blacked out the offending images and the album went on to reach number 11 on the Billboard 200.


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Cream Disreali Gears ~ Was that banned too?


Seconded on the Blind Faith mention, and I'd add the Scorpions' 1977 Virgin Killer as well. Hard to imagine how either of these got left off!


"Yesterday and Today" was released in '66, not '68.


Blind Faith - Blind Faith (1969)

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