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

by (@JordanRuntagh)

1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (2010) 

[Photo: Rock-a-Fella Records]

[Photo: Rock-a-Fella Records]

Yeezy was very vocal about the struggles he went through over the cover of his 2010 opus. Artist George Condo listened to the rough tapes of the record and then created eight or nine paintings that he felt reflected the music. The original first choice for the cover was the above image of a decapitated king, but Kanye was even more fond of the painting that showed a man (presumably Kanye himself) having sex with a phoenix. Despite the fact that it looked like a vaguely obscene finger painting, the cover was banned by Wal-Mart and other major retailers. “Banned in the USA! They don’t want me chillin on the couch with my phoenix!” he angrily tweeted.

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In the end, they went with this painting of a ballerina as the main cover, but four of the other paintings were included in the record sleeve. *Kanye Shrug*

 

BONUS: Party Music by the Coup (2001)

[Photo: Warner Brothers Records]

[Photo: Warner Brothers Records]

It’s fair to say that Party Music by hip-hop group the Coup isn’t exactly an iconic album on par with the rest of the ones on this list. But just wait. Originally due out in early September 2001, the first version of cover art makes it about as notable (and subtle) as a kick in the crotch.

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Ooof. Yup, this already-questionable cover (shot in June 2001) took on totally new degrees of offensiveness in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. The album release was delayed until November, obviously featuring a new cover.