Featuring the smutty, the classy and a veritable plethora of nudity...
On the eve of the release of Madonna’s brand-spanking new album ‘Hard Candy’ - featuring a highly sexed up cover of the scantily clad, aging singer posing in an extremely compromising position - we at Gigwise thought that we would search through the bowels of time to bring you the 50 dirtiest and sexiest album covers of all time (okay there are a couple of singles too). Every trick in the book is used here - from blatant nudity to the simple power of suggestion - proving perhaps that sex does indeed sell. Don’t worry, Liars aside, there are no overly gratuitous sex scenes here… you can get your kicks for that elsewhere!
You can check out our other hard-hitting albums galleries by clicking these links:
The WORST album covers of all time
The WEIRDEST album covers of all time
The most CONTROVERSIAL album covers ever
The band manage to get a lady with barely there clothing to get her 'Balls Out' for their album, erm, 'Balls Out'.
Three semi-naked women and a cobra snake. It's got to be the cover for Limp Bizkit's album 'Gold Cobra'.
The cover for Kanye West's fifth album 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' was banned in the US, according to the rapper, because it depicted him having sex with a phoenix. Tough lovin'.
Katy Perry - 'Teenage Dream' (2010) - Nestled on a cotton-candy cloud on the cover of her new album 'Teenage Dream', Katy Pery certainly knows how to play the provocative card. Painted by Will Cotton, the album, which was released in August 2010, won't feature any text.
Madonna: Hard Candy - Wearing aChampionship belt and with her legs completely akimbo, Queen Madge is clearly trying to deceive her years with this sexually suggestive cover. It's an image that's already proving divisive, with one side of the camp claiming she looks great and the other mocking the woman old enough to be a granny.
Blink 182: 'Enema of the State' - The now demised band drafted in adult actress Janine Lindermulder (who went on to date Vince Neil of Motley Crue fame) for the sleeve of their most successful studio album in 1999. Dressed as a nurse, the actress is pictured inspecting the semi-naked Blink 182 on the back sleeve. Early editions of the album featured a Red Cross symbol on Lindermulder's cap - this was later removed after the aid company complained vehemently.
RATT: Invasion Of Your Privacy - San Diego glam-metallers personally invited Playboy model Marianne Gravette to appear on the cover to their second full-length in 1985, who had previous appeared in their promo videos.
Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet - Soft-rockers Bon Jovi decided to be all controversial with their third album opting for a woman in a wet t-shirt competition to adorn their front page. Sadly, they ditched it just before it hit the shelves in favour of a drab black cover. The reason? They didn't like the pink border.
Scorpions: 'Love At First Sting' - The provocative cover of 'Love At First Sting' shows a couple in embrace but suggests much more. It was banned in several stores because of its risque nature and later replaced by a simple shot of the band. Just one of a number of controversial albums by the metal outfit.
44. The Cars: 'Candy-O' In 1979, Cars drummer David Robinson came up with the ingenious idea of tempting artist Alberto Vargass out of retirement at the ripe old age of 83. Amazingly, his first few paintings were turned down by the band's record label Elelktra who insisted on him removing the pubic hair and nipples.
Queen Adreena: 'Drink Me' - Katie-Jane Garside is naked in foetal position, not exactly sexy but with the album title of Drink Me' a different connotation could be suggested for the image. Are we being encouraged to consume Garside in a sexual manner?
Morrissey: 'Your Arsenal' - The homo-erotic connotations of the cover for 'Your Arsenal' are palpable. Morrissey appears topless and vulnerable, neither dispelling nor confirming rumours surrounding his sexuality as his posture is effete while his body toning is masculine. His microphone looks extremely phalic too.
Grace Jones: Island Life - A collection of Grace Jones' greatest hits taken from her albums for Island Records, 'Island Life' sees multi-talented Jones in athletic mode on the cover. Her body glimmers with toned allure and she contorts herself into an awkward stance.
Goldfrapp: 'Supernature' - Covering her breasts with her left arm and hand, Alison Goldfrapp cuts an alluring figure on the cover of 'Supernature'. On the US version of the album we also get to she her great legs, while a tail of peacock feathers act as a mating call to the listener.
REO Speedwagon: 'Hi Infidelity' - A scantily clad lady applies her make-up while a man, who we can only assume is her lover, puts on a record. While the 'Hi Fidelity' may reference the vinyl being played, it could also be attached the sexiness oozing out of the woman.
Deftones: 'Around The Fur' - Released in 1997, Deftones' second album grabbed attention not only because of the searing music, but also the album cover; an aerial shot of a moistened woman in a bikini. Subsequent albums from the Sacramento rockers featured images of skulls and white ponies - not quite the same.
Buckcherry: 'Buckcherry' - A painted lady adorns the cover of Buckcherry%u2019s self titled album which was released in 1999, but has more a feel of 1967 with the psychedelic patterns which swirl around the models naked torso. To appreciate the image fully, you'd have to buy the gatefold vinyl where it shows her bottom half.
Rollins Band: 'Nice' - The legend that is Henry Rollins drafted in a naked woman for the sleeve of his 2001 album, only the dollar notes concealing her private parts. Sadly, the cover failed to attract the attention of the public - the record only reached number 178 in the American Billboard Chart. Ouch.
Queens of the Stone Age: 'Queens of the Stone Age' - The debut album from Josh Homme and company sports a cover that could have been stolen from a Prince record. A model suggestively holds her underwear as if ready to remove them and unveil the prize below.
The Strokes: 'Is This It' - The New Yorkers' debut in 2001 is in Gigwise's humble opinion one of the greatest covers of all time. Featuring a female figure (something which has since been contested by some claiming it%u2019s a man) resting a leather glove on her behind, it perfectly complemented the scuzzy, dirty indie music it contained. Sadly, it was deemed too racy in the US and an alternative sleeve was issued.
Wild Cherry: 'Wild Cherry' - Perhaps one of the most sexually suggestive fruits out there, the cherry, was used to great effect on this 1976 sleeve. Subtlety is the name of the game on a sleeve showing a pair of plump red female lips about to devour the cherry. The mind does indeed boggle.
Hinder: 'Extreme Behaviour' - They may make completely turgid Nickelback-esque music, but Hinder certainly know how to gain some much-needed attention with their album sleeves. This one featured a woman in red lacy underwear perusing over photos of the band themselves. It's no wonder that it went platinum, then.
Catherine Wheel: 'Adam & Eve' - With their 1997 album, Great Yarmouth's Catherine Wheel transferred art into reality when they took the naked models of the cover art and welcomed them on stage during their live shows to promote the record. The type of people you often find in the Green Fields of Glastonbury, then.
Herbie Mann: 'Push Push' - From a heterosexual male perspective, it's hard to see what could possibly be rousing about Herbie Mann's 1971 record with Duane Allman. Flouting his thick curly chest hair and ominously holding his flute as if it's some kind of sex toy, to us at least, it's stomach-churningly cheesy. Mr Mann seems to be pleased with himself. The dirty bugger.
27. Slunt: 'Get A Load Of This' - If a woman in a bikini dripping ice cream down her chest isn%u2019t the sign of a band desperately trying to grab some much-needed attention, then we don%u2019t know what is. Then again, if you were a young teenage lad with awful music tastes, 'Get A Load Of This' would be perfect for the ole wank bank.
Lords Of Acid: 'Crablouse' - The Belgian acid house outfit became infamous for their obsession with sex throughout the early nineties. Their album covers were bad enough %u2013 see 'Lust' in our Controversial Album Covers gallery %u2013 but 'Crablouse' perhaps takes the biscuit. A curious male naked form, with a female hand seemingly coming out of nowhere and grabbing the genital region, it%u2019s just plain baffling.
Dwarves: 'Come Clean' - Like so many of the covers on this countdown, 'Come Clean' plays on the sexual fantasies of the red blooded male - this time it is the wet body of a naked lady and we have two to feast our eyes on but also the disturbing dwarf like figure to put us off.
Louis XIV: 'The Best Little Secrets Are Kept' - They're a chauvinistic band who treat women as sexual objects through their lyrics - ie "Pull your skirt up a little bit / Pull down your top and show me a little tit" - so it's only natural that their 2005 featured a naked female behind. We reckon they'll go full frontal for album number two.
Bob Geldof: Sex, Age & Death - If you thought the belligerent rocker has only been interested in saving planet earth is recent years, then think again. Just six years ago he released this album featuring a raunchy cover of a woman presumably riding on something. Despite glowing reviews, the album flopped and Sir Bob moved back into the ego-boosting world of politics.
The Black Crowes: 'Amorica' - The sexually ambiguous pubis on show in the cover of The Black Crowes' 1994 album 'Amorica' caused trouble for the band's label, Universal, who later changed it for a blacked out image. The artwork originated from the cover of the adult magazine Hustler, pubic hairs and all.
Roxy Music: 'Country Life' - Widely regarded as one of their finest works, Roxy Music's 1974 album also featured the most iconic cover - one that has young lads flicking through their Dads' record collection still salivating to this day. Featuring models Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald in their under garments, several countries including the US and (somewhat bizarrely) Holland banned it.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: 'Abbey Road EP' - The Californian funk rockers paid dirty homage to the original Beatles image of crossing the West London road at the famous studios with the help of their infamous 'socks on cocks' routine (repeated a number of times by the band). We just wonder what they're hiding?
Kid Loco: 'Jesus Life For Children Under 12 Inches' - Monsieur Jean Yves Prieur, aka French electronic producer Kid Loco, has produced some outstanding critical acclaim over the years, yet it's this remix album that he's infamous for. We wonder why?!
Prince: 'Lovesexy' - The site of Prince unclothed is enough to send many-a-woman or gay man weak at the knees, and that's exactly what we got back in 1989: the pint sized music icon completely bollocks naked. As with many albums on this list, a number of stores refused to stock it, while others covered it in a black sleeve.
Ice-T: Gangsta Rap - The rapper star's latest album, released in 2006, features Ice-T and his Playboy model wife Nicole Coco Austin complete naked sprawled across a bed presumably after the act of love-making. Unsurprisingly, some sales companies and stores objected to the artwork and refused to stock the record.
Pulp: This Is Hardcore - Accompanying an album that, at times, dissected the seedy, grimy side of the sex business, Jarvis Cocker and co. opted for a sleeve of a porn star in mid-act. At first, it looks like a highly erotic cover, but when you couple it with the album title track's lyrics and the vacant expression on the said woman's face, it takes the sting out of it.
Sugar Ray: Lemonade and Brownies - Kind of a sexier, less seedy version of Pulp's 'This Is Hardcore' released some three years later, Sugar Ray's 1995 effort features actress Nicole Eggert (of Baywatch fame) on the cover. Despite the attention-grabbing cover, the album was ultimately a critical and commercial flop. Perhaps, in this instance, sex doesn't sell.
The Rolling Stones: 'Sticky Fingers' - One of the most infamous album covers of all time and an irrefutable classic. Conceived by Andy Warhol and executed by Billy Name and Craig Braun, early editions actually included a working zip. The well-endowed chap in question is apparently Joe Dallesandro and not Mick Jagger who is apparently hung like a mouse. The sleeve was later parodied by Motley Crue on their debut album Too Fast For Love in 1981.
While many claimed it was merely a publicity stunt, the former Dexys man denied saying he was trying to display his 'soft, sexy, feminine side'. It sold about two copies upon its 1999 release. Literally.
The 2 Live Crew: As Nasty As They Wanna Be - The hip-hop outfit notorious for their highly sexed up, horny-as-fuck songs upped the stakes with their third album in 1989. Featuring the four members ogling over four women in leopard skin bikinis, it became a cult classic.
Spank Rock: Bangers & Cash - Heavily influenced by The 2 Live Crew's infamous cover (okay, they actually copied it), in 2005 Spank Rock parodied it with this hilarious offering in 2007. The overweight, cellulite-ridden podium dancers add to the hilarity of it all.
Devo: Hardcore Devo Vol 1 - General madcaps Devo haave always been a band that have loved to play with imagery and Hardcore DevoVol 1 is no different. In some kind of S&M ritual a naked woman goads the band members who are in full body strait jackets writhing on the floor. Very disturbing stuff!
Herb Alper's Tijuana Brass:Whipped Cream & Other Delight - Released way back in 1965, Herb Alpert's album has since shifted 6million copies and has garnered a legendary status thanks to its extremely risqu%uFFFD cover of a woman doused in whipped cream and sucking suggestively on her finger. It's no wonder that it has been parodied a number of times since.
Burana in Brass: Carmana Burana & Other Delight - Of the several paradies of Herb Alpert's original, this is our personal favourite. A simple-looking monk greedily devouring some pastry and a mug of ale, covered in the obligatory whipped cream.