Who’s That Lady, Again: Still More True Stories of Women on Classic Album Covers

Iconic models on immortal albums: more of what’s behind who’s up front.

Everyone has a favorite rock album that sports a larger-than-life female figure on the cover, be it the pin-up from Candy-O by the Cars, the waitress from Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, or familiar models such as Tawny Kitaen on Ratt’s Out of the Cellar or Janine Lindemulder affixing her rubber glove on the front of Blink 182’s Enema of the State.

Fascination with these visual sirens has made two of our previous articles extremely popular: Who’s That Lady? The True Stories of 15 Iconic Women on Classic Rock Album Covers and Who’s That Lady, Too? More True Stories of Iconic Women on Classic Rock Album Covers.

In fact, your feedback’s been so strong on those pieces, that we’re back now with round three. So without further ado, get the scoop on ten more factual tales of the ladies who emblazon immortal LPs.

  • Angela Chidnese – Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi (1986)

    Bruce Springsteen is not the only classic rock icon to hail from the Asbury Park, New Jersey. The scenic seaside town also begat Angela Chidnese, whose buxom bikini body so beguiled her fellow Garden State native Jon Bon Jovi in 1986 that he invited her to liven up the cover of his group’s multi-platinum breakthrough LP, Slippery When Wet.

    Now, the most familiar version of the Slippery When Wet album artwork features the title written in water drops on what is actually a black plastic garbage bag. Such was not originally the case. Angela’s busty t-shirt was slated to be the official cover image until the very last minute when censorship concerns prompted the switch. Nonetheless, the photo of Angela appeared on the record overseas and was used extensively to promote Bon Jovi’s sudden hit-machine.

    Once the of original Slippery When Wet image went public, Angela guested on The Howard Stern Show and appeared in one of the King of All Media’s vaunted VHS productions. In 1991, she captured the Miss Raceway Park crown on the pay-per-view special, Bikini Open 4.

    At press time, records indicate that Ms. Chidnese was never called on to abdicate her throne, which makes her not only the aerobicized bod that moved millions of Bon Jovi platters, but the still-reigning Miss Raceway Park. Now and forever!

  • Dolores Erickson – Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (1965)

    We initially by passed highlighting Dolores Erickson because the Latin-jazz-pop record that she made famous bears only a tangential relationship to rock. Regardless, there’s no denying Dolores’s rightful place high atop of the pantheon when it comes to the most enduring, indelible, and incandescent models to ever ignite a bestselling album cover.

    In fact, the Seattle-born stunner posed for other LP covers prior to Whipped Cream and Other Delights, including Sold Out by the Kingston Trio (1960), The Touch of Your Lips by Nat King Cole (1961), and Piano Witchcraft by Cy Coleman (1963).

    Finally, at age 28 and while three months pregnant, Dolores permanently rendered herself pop culture’s reigning dairy queen by getting covered with a massive mound of shaving cream and stupefying the universe as the visual centerpiece of Whipped Cream and Other Delights.

    The album itself sold six million copies powered, in part, by instrumental smashes such as “A Taste of Honey” and “Whipped Cream,” but it was Dolores who really moved all those units. In concert, Herb Alpert himself would always joke, “Sorry, we can’t play the album cover for you!”

    In the fifty years since Dolores (and A&M art director Peter Whorf) first changed the LP cover art game, the Whipped Cream and Other Delights package has been parodied by everyone from ’60s comedian Pat Cooper to ’90s alt-rockers Soul Asylum. As a work of 20th century American art, the photo is on par with Andy Warhol’s soup can and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.” Elevating the original image above all else, though, is Dolores Erickson. No other delight is necessary.

  • Tuesday Weld – Girlfriend by Matthew Sweet (1991)

    Alt-rock guitar guru Matthew Sweet scored his biggest success with Girlfriend, a fifteen-track power pop wallop delivered just as grunge hit.

    Hollywood ingénue Tuesday Weld illuminates the cover in a photograph from the late 1950s, back when she portrayed dream babe Thalia Menninger whose mooned over by the titular teenage hero of the innovative TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Tuesday’s gorgeous ice queen visage appearing just under the word “Girlfriend” remained intoxicating all those years later.

    The album cover almost didn’t happen, though. Sweet, who was sweet indeed on Tuesday, originally titled the record Nothing Lasts. Weld, thinking that that phrase would be perceived as a comment on her career, beauty, and/or overall existence, refused permission to use the pic if that’s what the record was going to be called. Matt relented and the far more impactful moniker Girlfriend came to be.

  • Ali Laenger – Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins (1993)

    Two little girls adorn the front of Smashing Pumpkin’s mainstream breakthrough effort, Siamese Dream. The blonde kid, on the left, remains a mystery. The dark-haired youngster, on the right, is model and designer Ali Laengar, and her identity may well have remained a mystery, too, had Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan not jokingly about the image on Twitter back in 2011.

    It happened when bassist Nicole Fiorentino joined the Pumpkins, after which Billy tweeted: “Just found out the weirdest news: our bass player Nicole just admitted she is one of the girls on the cover of Siamese Dream.”

    Corgan’s claim prompted Ali to go public, pointing out how Nicole would have been fourteen when Siamese Dream came out. Clearly, the kid on the cover was, like Nicole, around seven.

    In the end, it was just another bit of rock-and-roll mythmaking. Now we’re off to track down the other girl for Who’s That Lady 4….

  • Laurie Carr – Stick It to Ya by Slaughter (1990)

    In keeping with the rich tradition of Playboy models Marilyn Cole on the cover of Roxy Music’s Stranded, Ester Cordett on the Ohio Players’ Honey, and Marianne Gravatte on Ratt’s Invasion of Your Privacy, August 1986 Playmate of the Month Laurie Carr emblazons the front of Stick It to Ya by hair metal heroes, Slaughter.

    Speaking of Ratt, ravishing Laurie was briefly married to the group’s troubled guitar ace Robbin Crosby in 1987, before appearing on TV’s Full House and playing a nurse in the horror comedy Mortuary Academy in 1988. In addition, she appears, from behind, on the cover of Slaughter’s concert LP, Stick It Live, which came out shortly after Stick It to Ya.

    At present, Laurie is a successful chiropractor.

  • Ashley Savage – Chocolate and Cheese by Ween (1994)

    Dean and Gene Ween of, indeed, Ween claim they initially planned “a gay sailor theme” for the cover of Chocolate and Cheese, the closest these beloved, Zappa-esque art pranksters have come to a mainstream hit.

    Somehow, that resulted in an eye-popping, pulse-pounding photo of model Ashley Savage bearing underboob and brandishing a title belt emblazoned with the band’s name and a crazy-mouthed mascot.

    In 2002, Ashley’s Chocolate and Cheese image topped Playboy’s poll of The Sexiest Album Covers of All Time, meaning, as noted, she beat out a bunch of actual Playmates for the title.

    Alas, Ashley herself remains elusive, having appeared only in a handful of film and video projects in the years since Chocolate and Cheese—and certainly that effort alone is enough.

  • Ann Kirsten Kennis – Contra by Vampire Weekend (2010)

    Acclaimed indie-popsters Vampire Weekend garnered worldwide attention with Contra, most of it in the form of glowing reviews, sold-out concerts, and a #1 spot on the Billboard chart.

    One non-fan who got in touch, however, was veteran fashion model Ann Kirsten Kennis, whose 1983 Polaroid image graced the LP’s cover with neither her knowledge nor permission.

    Vampire Weekend multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij discovered Ann’s pic while searching through what he thought were licensed image archives. He and his bandmates were struck by the look on Ann’s face, with vocalist Ezra Koenig noting, “Wrapped up in her expression is this question: ‘What is she feeling?” He also added: “Some people get very mad when they see a white blonde girl in a Polo shirt.”

    Ann says her daughter alerted her to the album cover, thereby kicking off an immediate lawsuit. In 2011, Vampire Weekend settled out of court with Ann, and she’s remained the Contra cover muse ever since.

  • Ksenia Sobchak – This Is Hardcore by Pulp (1998)

    Britpop superstars Pulp aimed to rock deeper and darker on This Is Hardcore (beginning, as you might guess, with the album title), so to handle the visual component of the LP’s packaging, they hired controversial painter John Currin.

    Currin’s artwork specializes in exaggerated female forms and explosive sexuality.

    Working with Pulp leader Jarvis Cocker and esteemed designer Peter Saville, Currin oversaw photos of models hired for their “super real” body attributes before deciding Russian socialite Ksenia Sobchak would be shockingly perfect for the cover.

    Posed like a mannequin who had perhaps toppled over, the image of Ksenia kicked up quite an outrage for its time (one shudders to imagine how our present-day Online Moral Guardians would have reacted).

    Feminists, in particular, expressed anger, claiming that Ksenia looked dead and/or as though she’d been assaulted. Posters in London for This Is Hardcore were routinely graffiti-adorned with phrases such as “This Is Sexist” and “This Is Demeaning to Women.”

    The end result only sold more copies of what would quickly be known as one of the defining LPs of its era. Ksenia, for her part, said, “The shoot was fun. Jarvis is very nice, very shy.”

  • Lisa M. Hughes – Around the Fur by Deftones (1997)

    Sacramento scorch-squad Deftones broke free from the nü-metal underworld to extreme rock legend status with Around the Fur.

    The platinum LP established the band as a unique force and its cover, which features enticingly sweaty, bikini-topped model Lisa M. Hughes viewed from a uniquely intriguing album, remains one of the ’90s most towering rock images. Lisa continues to model today.

  • Lung Leg – Evol by Sonic Youth (1986)

    Musically, the public has never taken the bait thrown out relentlessly by rock journalism’s self-anointed tastemakers regarding Sonic Youth, but there’s no denying the visual impact of what’s up front on their acclaimed-in-the-usual-circles 1986 effort, Evol.

    On the cover, a snarling, crazily-made-up, feral-looking girl lunges toward the camera. The model is New York art-scene star Lung Leg, and the photo is a still from the underground film Submit to Me Now, directed by Cinema of Transgression icon Richard Kern.

    Lung Leg appeared in numerous incendiary films made by Kern before dropping off even the most underground-directed radar in the 1990s. Unexpectedly, she returned in 2005 to star in the gross-out fright flick Sewer Baby. In 2011, she acted opposite American Movie’s Mark Borchardt in The Hagstone Demon.

Mike McPadden is the author of the book "HEAVY METAL MOVIES: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos, and Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big Scream Films Ever!" (Bazillion Points, 2014).