Who’s That Lady? The True Stories Of 15 Iconic Women On Classic Rock Album Covers

Not every rock star is a musician. Some don’t even say an actual word, let alone sing a note. Yet, the rock-and-roll icon status is indisputable among the following females who emblazon landmark album covers. Their images exude the ideas and energy of the music contained within, as well as each embodying a very specific time and place in rock history.

Still, while fans may obsess over chords and lyrics and who played what instrument on which track, the facts regarding many of rock’s most toweringly totemic album-topping sirens remain unknown or unsung.

Let us now lift the veil, then, and crack open the backstories of 15 iconic women on classic rock album covers.


Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)
The mystery woman on the cover of Black Sabbath’s debut remains just that—a mystery. Her green-tinted skin, witchy frock, and (super)naturally radiant air of high spookery all serve brilliantly to make her stand out against the already sufficiently creepy 15th century Mapledurham Watermill. She may or may not also be holding a black cat. From the photo’s overall look, though, it seems just as likely this sorceress had suddenly just shape-shifted herself from being a black cat.

Rumors have abounded through the years as to the woman’s identity. For a time, it was thought to be drummer Bill Ward’s wife. Others believe it to be Ozzy Osbourne in drag! A one-time popular legend states that there was no model at all; that the shot was just taken of the building and the woman appeared in the foreground during development. The strongest reports, however, identify her as a model named Louise who was hired for the day, played her role quietly and professionally, then disappeared.

Of course, it’s in Black Sabbath’s—and our—best interests for this vision to remain shadowy and unknowable. Piling heaviness on top of heaviness is what that band has always done better than any other entity in our particular cosmic realm.

“Evil Woman”

Candy Moore

Candy-O – The Cars (1979)
The painting by Playboy and Esquire pin-up artist extraordinaire Alberto Vargas on the cover of the Cars’ 1979 new-wave smash Candy-O depicts a volcanically enticing redhead in high heels and a black leotard ecstatically sprawled out on the hood of a partly-drawn sports car. For an entire generation of young record store browsers, puberty kicked off immediately upon first sight of the Candy-O packaging.

The many listeners who presumed that Vargas’s scarlet vision was “Candy-O” herself were correct The model who posed for the image was grown-up TV child actress Candy Moore, whose previous greatest exposure came by co-starring as Chris Carmichael Lucille Ball’s teen daughter on The Lucy Show from 1962-65.

Immediately following Candy-O, Candy M. played Linda, a bit part in the Scorsese-De Niro boxing classic Raging Bull, after which she co-starred as buxom bikini beach body builder Deidre in the 1981 cult teen comedy, Lunch Wagon. From there, clearly, all Candy could do was go out on top, and she subsequently retired from show business.


Lisanne Falk

Head Games – Foreigner (1979)
The cover of Head Games by Foreigner boasted of the most instantly scandalous and unforgettable images in the history of rock LPs. It depicts a panicked, sexily attired young girl getting caught in a men’s room, squatting on a urinal as she frantically attempts to scrub her graffiti-scrawled name off a stall wall with toilet paper.

The hand-tinted photo scared up enough controversy its own, but it swelled into a minor (pun intended) cause celebre when the girl was revealed to be Lisanne Frank, a Ford Agency model who had come up alongside Brooke Shields. Also like Brooke Shields, when Head Games came out, Lisanne was all of three years shy of even meeting the age laid out in the album’s FM-radio hit, “Seventeen.”

Still, it was the ’70s, so the Head Games brouhaha barely cut through the anything-goes culture of the moment. A couple of years later, Lisanne embarked on a successful acting career, most notably co-starring as Heather McNamara in the 1989 high-school-set black comedy classic, Heathers. Ironically, Lisanne was 24 at the time and, in the movie, plays a seventeen-year-old.

Sharona Alperin

 “My Sharona” (single) – The Knack (1979)

Unlike the Jenny of Tommy Tutone’s hit “867-5309/Jenny,” the Knack’s “My Sharona” actually drew inspiration from a real Sharona. The subject’s full name is Sharona Alperin, and she was seventeen when she met the Knack’s lead singer and songwriter, Doug Fieger.

“He was nine years older than me,” recalls Alperin, now a highly regarded L.A. real estate agent, “and within a month or two later, he told me that, ’I’m in love with you, you’re my soulmate, you’re my other half, we’re going to be together one day.’”

Fieger kept us his semi-jailbait passion for a year, and eventually won Sharona’s suddenly legal heart. It was his girlfriend, then, that Sharona posed, looking chilly, in a sheer tank-top while holding the Get the Knack album for the jacket of the smash #1 single that forever immortalized her name.

“My Sharona”

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