Controversial Album Art : 1960s

List of Controversial Album Art : 1960s

The following is a list of notable albums with Controversial Album Art 1960s (based on nudity and sexuality / religion / copyright / violence & others), especially where the controversy resulted in the album being banned, censored or sold in packaging other than the original one.


The Beatles – Yesterday and Today (1966)

Controversial Album Art 1960sIn early 1966, photographer Robert Whitaker had the Beatles in the studio for a conceptual art piece titled ‘A Somnambulant Adventure’. For the shoot, Whitaker took a series of pictures of the group dressed in butcher smocks and draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls. Although not originally intended as an album cover, the Beatles submitted photographs from the session for their promotional materials. A photograph of the band smiling amid the mock carnage was used as promotional advertisements for the British release of the “Paperback Writer” single.

In the United States, Capitol Records printed approximately 750,000 copies of Yesterday and Today with the same photograph as “Paperback Writer”. Reaction was immediate, as Capitol received complaints from some dealers. The record was immediately recalled under orders from Capitol parent company EMI chairman Sir Joseph Lockwood and all copies were ordered shipped back to the record label, leading to its rarity and popularity among collectors.


Jimi Hendrix – Axis : Bold as Love (1967)

Jimi Hendrix_AxisHindu groups in Malaysia expressed anger at both the David King illustrated poster and cover which shows Hendrix and his bandmates as the deity Vishnu. The Malaysian government’s Home Ministry instituted a ban on the artwork in June 2014 to protect religious sensitivities.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1968)

Jimi Hendrix_Electric LandladyThe intended artwork for the UK version of the album did not arrive in time to press the album, so a cover of naked women lounging in front of a black background was issued in its place. Hendrix expressed displeasure and embarrassment with this “naked lady” cover, much as he was displeased with the Axis : Bold as Love cover which he found disrespectful. The cover was banned by several record dealers as “pornographic”, while others sold it with the gatefold cover turned inside out.


John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Unfinished Music No.1 : Two Virgins (1968)

John Lennon_Unfinished MusicThe front cover displayed Lennon and Ono frontally nude, while the rear cover featured them from behind. Distributors were prompted to sell the album in a plain brown wrapper and copies of the album were impounded as obscenity in several jurisdictions.


Blind Faith – Blind Faith (1969)

Blind Faith_Blind FaithThe cover featured a topless pubescent girl, holding in her hands a silver space ship, which some perceived as phallic. Photographer Bob Seidemann used a girl, Mariora Goschen, who was 11 years old. The US record company issued it with an alternative cover which showed a photograph of the band on the front.


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