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100 Greatest Album Covers of All-Time Print-ready version

Rolling Stone
November 14, 1991

In November 1991, Rolling Stone magazine surveyed a panel of distinguished art directors, designers, photographers and editors for an admittedly highly subjective list of the 100 greatest album covers of all time. Below are their 54 selections from the 1970s. Commentary has been stricken from all but Hejira.

1. Never Mind The Bollocks... Here's The Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols
2. Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones
3. Exile on Main Street - The Rolling Stones
4. Hotel California - The Eagles
5. Hejira - Joni Mitchell

I was a painter first," says Joni Mitchell. "I trained as a commercial artist, as well as a fine artist. So when I began to record albums, I thought album art was a great way to keep both careers alive." Hejira may be her most haunting cover. "It represented the work pretty well," says Mitchell. Appropriately for an album whose title means "journey," the making of the cover was a long, strange trip. The front art was stripped together from a number of different photos, which resulted in what Mitchell calls "an incredibly difficult printing job." A studio portrait by Norman Seeff was combined with shots by Joel Bernstein taken on a frozen lake -- "a classic Hans Brinker," as Mitchell puts it.

"Norman used a very difficult and strange psychological process," says Mitchell. "He'd shoot forever and tried to get a shot of everyone he worked with crying. A lot of people cracked and didn't go back. He could be a cruel overlord, but he took great photographs.

"At that point my stock was up," Mitchell says. "They let me do all sorts of expensive things in terms of art. I think back now to an album like Hissing of Summer Lawns, when we did all this fancy embossing for the cover. Even Madonna couldn't get embossing these days."

6. Into The Purple Valley - Ry Cooder
7. Abraxas - Santana
8. Candy-O - The Cars
9. Relayer - Yes
10. Sailin' Shoes - Little Feat
11. Playing Possum - Carly Simon
12. Look Sharp! - Joe Jackson
13. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
14. Horses - Patti Smith
15. Live Peace in Toronto 1969 - The Plastic Ono Band
16. Weasels Ripped My Flesh - The Mothers of Invention
17. Ooh La La - The Faces
18. Breakfast In America - Supertramp
19. Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
20. The Slider - T. Rex
21. London Calling - The Clash
22. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
23. Fear of Music - Talking Heads
24. Catch a Fire - The Wailers
25. Metal Box - Public Image Ltd.
26. Country Life - Roxy Music
27. Aladdin Sane - David Bowie
28. Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin
29. Cats Under the Stars - The Jerry Garcia Band
30. American Beauty - The Grateful Dead
31. The Ramones - The Ramones
32. Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants - Stevie Wonder
33. Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
34. The Parkerilla - Graham Parker and the Rumor
35. There's A Riot Goin' On - Sly and the Family Stone
36. Self-Portrait - Bob Dylan
37. Diamond Dogs - David Bowie
38. The Idiot - Iggy Pop
39. Cosmic Slop - Funkadelic
40. Bitches Brew - Miles Davis
41. Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin
42. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - Traffic
43. Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. - Bruce Springsteen
44. The Joker - The Steve Miller Band
45. Hardcore Jollies - Funkadelic
46. Honey - The Ohio Players
47. Atom Heart Mother - Pink Floyd
48. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
49. Never A Dull Moment - Rod Stewart
50. Eat A Peach - The Allman Brothers Band
51. Welcome To My Nightmare - Alice Cooper
52. One Step Beyond - Madness
53. Some Girls - The Rolling Stones
54. Who's Next - The Who

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