Famous First Drafts: Rejected First Versions Of 15 Iconic Album Covers

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9.Who’s Next by the Who (1971)

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[Photo: Track Records]

With tracks salvaged from the fruitful but chaotic sessions for Pete Townshend’s sprawling epic Lifehouse, Who’s Next was destined to become one of the greatest albums of the classic rock era. The classic cover of the guys having just peed on a massive stone monolith was meant to be a cheeky take on Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as a giant rock ‘n’ roll “F U”. But it started life a little differently…

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Apparently this collage was briefly considered early in the process, but discarded for the obvious censorship reasons. It was relegated to being used in promo ads instead. They also did a photo session featuring eccentric drummer Keith Moon in S&M drag…

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But it too was abandoned and saved for use in ad campaigns.

 

8. Ben by Michael Jackson (1972)

[Photo: Motown]

[Photo: Motown]

12-year old Michael Jackson sang the theme to the film Ben so well that we completely forgot that he was crooning about a rat. But record execs didn’t, and sought to remind us on the original cover of the album.

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WAHHHH!!!!! KILLER RAT ARMY!! This early printing went out in stores, but was deemed too terrifying for little MJ’s teenybop audience. The more common edition features the rats cropped out entirely.