From the strange to the hilarious to the outright wrong...
GIGWISE
16:20 8th July 2008
  • 50. Wire: 'Take a Terrifying Trip to the Past!' - A bootleg release from a show at the Palais des Artes, Montreaux in 1979, we only wish that Wire's official albums had covers as disturbing and gloriously weird as this. A sleeve that's nothing short of genius... whoever made it.

  • 49. Ben Arthur: 'Edible Darling' – Like something lifted straight from the Little Shop of Horrors, folk singer Ben Arthur's cover is basically a grinning tomato complete with dazzling white teeth. An impressively weird image, we're damn certain that the tomato in question has had his teeth bleached.

  • 48. The Doors: 'Strange Days' – Photographer Joel Brodsky originally wanted Jim Morrison and the band on the cover, but the frontman refused. Instead, Brodsky opted to do something completely different and drafted in an acrobat, two dwarves, a strongman, a juggler and a trumpet player for this highly curious image captured in a New York street.

  • 47. The Flaming Lips: 'Oh My Gawd' – A collage of seemingly unconnected photographs and cartoons that centres on two giant skulls, the artwork to 1987's 'Oh My Gawd' may be nonsensical, but it's also extremely likeable. Just like The Flaming Lips themselves really.

  • 46. Picastro: 'Whore Luck' – A simple pencil drawing, on first glance it looks as though the cover the Canadian band's 2007 album is just a couple kissing. On closer impression though, their faces are disturbingly merged into one indistinguishable mess. At the centre it almost resembles female genitalia. Very weird.

  • 45. The Cranberries: 'Bury The Hatchet' - Voted one of the worst albums of all time by a rival publication, we'd hasten to disagree with them; but it's surely one of the weirdest. Designer Storm Thorgerson depicted a massive floating eye looking down upon a naked figure cowering in the desert. It's just as striking as it is strange. A shame the music is completely forgettable though.

  • 44. Penguin Café Orchestra: 'Signs of Life' – As their name suggests, this vast musical collective are obsessed with the flightless birds. So much so, that all of their album sleeves feature bizarre penguin/human hybrids going about everyday situations. This one is our favourite, thanks to the penguin-headed monkey with a gun. Genius.

  • 43. Genesis: 'Nursery Cryme' – They've produced some seriously deranged music in their time (especially when Peter Gabriel was still a member until 1975), so it's perfectly natural that their artwork is twisted too. 1971's 'Nursery Cryme' was designed by Paul Whitehead and recreated themes within some of the album's songs – presumably about clubbing baby dolls' heads. Hmm.

  • 42. Bjork: 'Volta' – The Icelandic singer is completely off-kilter and unpredictable in everything she does, so it's only natural that the artwork to 'Volta' is stark-raving bonkers too (differing greatly from her more serious previous efforts). Exactly what she's wearing is a mystery, but one thing's for sure; we love it.

  • 41. Debbie Harry: 'Koo Koo' - In 1981, while still in Blondie, Debbie Harry drafted in Swiss artist H R Giger to design the sleeve for 'Koo Koo' after seeing his work on the movie Alien. The resulting image featured the singer with skewers through her face. Unsurprisingly it was pulled from a number of advertising campaigns, including on the London underground. Kebab anyone?

  • 40. Led Zeppelin: 'Houses of the Holy' - Best enjoyed when the gatefold vinyl cover is fully spread out, the ambiguous, nymph-like crawling children, the orange Mars-esque glow and the scene of Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland combine to mark a strikingly original work. Another of Storm Thorgerson's outlandish creations.

  • 39. The Billy Cobham, George Duke Band: 'Live On Tour In Europe' - Unlike others on the list that exhibit a certain seriousness and gravity, this is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Basically Cobham and Duke's heads suspended on walking hands, we at Gigwise want to know exactly what drugs this duo were taking on their travels.

  • 38. Elephant's Memory: 'Elephant's Memory' – The band performed live with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the 1970's, but before this in 1969 they unveiled this curious album. The sleeve depicts the band in tribal paints superimposed onto an elephant's body. Unlike elephants, you're unlikely to forget seeing it in a hurry.

  • 37. J-Zone: 'Music For Tu Madre' – The rapper, producer and DJ may be a talented artist, but he clearly doesn't take himself too seriously with releases like 'A Bottle of Whupp Ass EP' under his belt. His inane 1999 debut album features the most memorable artwork though – basically an alcoholic OAP with anger management issues.

  • 36. Cloud Cult: 'Advice From The Baby Hippopotamus' – We could have included a host of futuristic, acid-tinged artwork on this countdown, but frankly there were too many to choose from. So we've opted for this low-key 2004 release which seems to pay homage to themes of outlandish prog-rock albums of the past.

We've already shown you the best, the worst and the most controversial album covers of all time, now it's time for Gigwise to unveil the Weirdest! Here are 50 of the most strange, ridiculous or just plain grotesque album covers that we've ever set our eyes on. Some of you may find a few of them slightly disturbing – you have been warned!