Best Album Covers of the 70s

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Explore the best album covers of the 70s, the post-Beatles era that saw legends like The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd rise, leaving a lasting impact. Our selection, from the grandeur of "London Calling" to simpler designs, showcases the best graphic design that defined this revolutionary decade in music history.

This week’s special post marks the second ‘episode’ of a series exploring the greatest album covers in the last 50 years of music history. This time, we’re delving into the 1970s. A popular saying about the decade goes, ‘If you remember the 70s, you weren’t really there.’ And indeed, its meaning is well-known to all.

Our selection of the best album covers of the 70s

After The Beatles’ breakup in 1970, other music legends ascended and reached the international stage, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. 

These icons significantly contributed to making the 1970s one of the most remarkable music decades ever. We must confess that our selection has been partly influenced by the grandeur of certain albums, such as London Calling, but even if an album isn’t as ‘graphically elaborate’, it still holds a significant place in history and merits inclusion in this collection. 

Enjoy!

The Rolling Stones, Some Girls

best album covers of the 70s

The cover art mimics pop art aesthetics with vivid colors and repetitive motifs. Faces are paired with satirical ad texts, critiquing consumerism and the commodification of women. Cut-out silhouettes add anonymity, playing with themes of identity and interchangeability in a bold graphic style.

Supertramp, Breakfast in America - 1979

Supertramp, Breakfast in America - 1979

This album cover features a cheerful waitress posing as the Statue of Liberty, blending American diner culture with iconic imagery. The playful use of perspective and proportion, with the New York City skyline fashioned from diner paraphernalia, creates a whimsical and satirical twist on American ideals.

Kraftwerk, The Man-Machine - 1978

Kraftwerk, The Man-Machine - 1978

Striking a balance between human and robotic elements, the album cover for The Man-Machine by Kraftwerk is a testament to the band’s pioneering electronic sound. The stark, red color palette and the band members’ stoic expressions against a futuristic backdrop encapsulate the concept of humans intertwined with technology. This cover remains a hallmark of graphic design, embodying the album’s themes and solidifying its place among the best album covers of the 70s.

Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food - 1978

best album covers of the 70s

More Songs About Buildings and Food by Talking Heads showcases a distinctive cover that reflects the band’s unique approach to music. A mosaic of tiled photographic portraits creates a larger, coherent image, playing on themes of unity and fragmentation. This design captures the essence of the late ’70s new wave era, merging art with music and standing out as one of the best album covers of the 1970s. It mirrors the band’s innovative style and the album’s eclectic sound.

David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - 1972

David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - 1972

Captured in the dim light of a London backstreet, the cover of David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust is a seminal image of the 70s. Bowie, dressed as his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, stands under the “K. West” sign, which became iconic in itself. The juxtaposition of an otherworldly figure in a starkly real urban setting alludes to the album’s themes of glam rock and science fiction. The image is both of its time and timeless, marking it as one of the best album covers of the 70s, and reflecting the daring, transformative nature of Bowie’s artistry.

Alice Cooper, Welcome to my Nightmare, 1975

Alice Cooper, Welcome to My Nightmare, 1975

This album was designed by the great film poster artist Drew Struzan at the beginning of his career. It was 1975 and Struzan was just out of school and starting in the world of illustration and advertising. The first gigs he had? Drawing posters for underground rock bands, like Alice Cooper, the Black Sabbath and many more.. the typical style of Drew portrays is already there, and the album is now in Rolling Stones’ 100 Best Album Covers of All Time!

Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy - 1973

Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy - 1973

The album cover of Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin captures the surreal and mystical quality often associated with the band’s music. The use of multiple exposures to create a sense of movement and the vivid, almost supernatural colors set against the ancient, stark rocks create a striking visual metaphor for the band’s exploration of new territories in rock music during the 70s. The cover art successfully merges fantasy with the band’s iconic status, making it one of the best album covers of the 70s.

Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon - 1973

best album covers of the 70s

With its iconic prism design, this album cover for The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd stands as a testament to minimalist design’s powerful impact. The light refracting through the prism creates a spectrum of colors against the stark black background, symbolizing light from darkness, complexity from simplicity, and diversity from unity. This design not only encapsulates the album’s themes but also remains an enduring symbol of the 70s and is often celebrated as one of the best album covers of that era.

David Bowie, Aladdin Sane - 1973

seventies best album covers

Aladdin Sane captures David Bowie’s alter ego with a lightning bolt across his face, a vivid representation of his innovative and boundary-pushing music. The juxtaposition of a calm expression with the dramatic, electric imagery encapsulates the album’s energetic eclecticism. It’s a brilliant visualization of Bowie’s creative genius and stands out as one of the seventies’ best album covers, reflecting the era’s exploration of identity and extravagant self-expression.

Ramones, Ramones - 1976

best punk rock albums of the 70s

Iconic in its simplicity, the Ramones’ debut album cover is a stark embodiment of punk’s raw ethos. The black and white photograph captures the band in their natural state, exuding a cool indifference. Their leather jackets and jeans became as legendary as the music itself, making this cover an emblem of punk and an image of the 70s music scene.

Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures - 1979

best album covers of the 70s

The cover of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, famously designed by Peter Saville, is a masterclass in visual minimalism and mystery. Its enigmatic white-on-black waveform captures attention, embodying the post-punk ethos and the album’s introspective nature. The design, devoid of the band’s name and album title, invites interpretation, much like the haunting tracks it encases.

The Clash, London Calling - 1979

The Clash, London Calling - 1979

The cover of London Calling by The Clash is an iconic representation of rebellion and energy. Capturing Paul Simonon mid-smash on his bass guitar, the image is a stark portrayal of punk’s raw power. Its overexposed photograph against the bold, pink-and-green typography creates a striking contrast that is as urgent and impactful as the music itself.

Pink Floyd, The Wall - 1979

seventies best albums

The album cover for Pink Floyd’s The Wall is a masterclass in minimalist design. Against the stark backdrop of white bricks, the title’s scrawled graffiti-style font suggests dissent and the breaking down of barriers. This visual simplicity serves as a compelling entrance into the album’s themes of isolation and resistance.

Paul McCartney, McCartney - 1970

Paul McCartney, McCartney - 1970

At the break of the 70s, Paul McCartney presents “McCartney,” an album cover with a quaint domestic scene that stands out for its simplicity and personal touch. The spilled bowl of cherries against the stark white background juxtaposes the messiness of life with the purity of creative expression.

Blue Öyster Cult, Secret Treaties - 1974

Blue Öyster Cult, Secret Treaties - 1974.

In the midst of the 70s, Secret Treaties by Blue Öyster Cult showcases an enigmatic album cover that merges the cosmic with the geometric. The stark contrast of the starry night sky against a seemingly infinite, checkerboard landscape captivates the eye, while the centered emblem hints at the band’s interest in mysticism and the esoteric. This cover perfectly embodies the experimental spirit of the decade.

Pink Floyd, Meddle - 1971

Pink Floyd, Meddle - 1971

Hailed as one of the best album covers of the 70s, Meddle by Pink Floyd presents a cover that is a sonic enigma, visualized. The blurred ear underwater speaks to the album’s exploration of sound and the idea of auditory immersion. It is an abstract representation of the album’s experimental nature and the band’s dive into the depths of progressive rock.

The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main St. – 1972

The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main St. – 1972

Exile on Main St. by The Rolling Stones stands out as a quintessential piece of the 70s. The design eschews conventional glamour and instead opts for a gritty collage of snapshots that reflect the chaotic and raw energy of the era and the band’s music. The seemingly disorganized array of images captures the spirit of the times, with an almost tactile quality that invites the viewer to look closer. It’s a visual cacophony that perfectly encapsulates the album’s eclectic sounds.

Nick Drake, Pink Moon – 1973

best album covers 1970s

Pink Moon by Nick Drake is a surreal masterpiece that evokes a sense of otherworldly introspection, aligning perfectly with the haunting and delicate nature of the music. The juxtaposition of a ripe moon with a classic teacup presents an enigmatic tableau that beckons the observer into a dream-like state. This cover remains one of the best of the Seventies, merging the abstract with the familiar to create a lasting visual metaphor for Drake’s poignant acoustic melodies

LED ZEPPELIN III (1970) - LED ZEPPELIN

indieblog best album covers 70s 18

Led Zeppelin’s III album cover is a masterpiece in 1970s graphic design, featuring a collage of seemingly random images that create a tapestry of whimsy and intrigue. The illustrations are playful and eclectic, ranging from butterflies to zeppelins, encapsulating the experimental and boundary-pushing ethos of the decade.

The Wailers, Burnin' - 1973

1970s best album covers

This album cover stands as a quintessential emblem of 1970s graphic design, encapsulating the raw energy and revolutionary spirit of the era. The choice to overlay the band’s portrait with a woodgrain texture adds an organic, almost tactile quality to the visual. The typography, burned into the wood as if branded, suggests a sense of permanence and enduring impact. The sepia-toned palette echoes the cultural and historical gravitas of the music within, making it a standout amongst 1970s best album covers.

Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes - 1975

Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes - 1975

This album cover for “The Basement Tapes” communicates a sense of casual camaraderie and creative spontaneity, capturing a moment that feels both candid and carefully orchestrated. The vintage, cluttered basement scene filled with musicians, instruments, and a dog, alongside the casually placed album name, evokes the impromptu and collaborative nature of the recordings. The warmth of the image and its composition hearkens back to an era of raw and authentic music-making.

Donna Summer, Four Seasons of Love - 1976

Donna Summer, Four Seasons of Love - 1976

Four Seasons of Love captures Donna Summer in a glamorous pose against a crescent moon backdrop, symbolizing the celestial and cyclical themes of the album. The design is a sleek representation of the disco era’s fascination with space, fantasy, and romanticism.

The London Symphony Orchestra, Tommy - 1972

best album covers of the 70s

This cover features an intriguing spherical design, which immediately catches the eye with its layered shades and tones. The white curved bands striking through the darker background suggest a sense of motion, and the central black rectangle adds a mysterious element, possibly an entry point into the depth of the music within. Its design cleverly plays with perspective and depth, hinting at the orchestral reinterpretation of a rock opera where layers of sound are as complex and nuanced as the visual layers, resulting in one of the best album covers of the 70s. 

Rush, Hemispheres - 1978

Rush, Hemispheres - 1978

Hemispheres album cover by Rush exhibits a surreal juxtaposition of a brain landscape under a clear blue sky. A nude man represents the free spirit of humanity, pointing towards the infinite, while a clothed man with a cane stands grounded. The contrasting imagery symbolizes the struggle between reason and feeling, intellect and emotion. The vivid red of the band’s name adds a striking splash of color that stands out against the serene blue, emphasizing the album’s title and reinforcing the duality theme.

Jefferson Airplane, Thirty Seconds Over Winterland - 1973

Jefferson Airplane, Thirty Seconds Over Winterland - 1973

The cover for “Thirty Seconds Over Winterland” by Jefferson Airplane is whimsical yet profound, featuring a flock of toasters with wings flying amidst a dreamy sky. The juxtaposition of domestic appliances and the symbol of freedom through wings reflects a surreal escape from the mundane. The soft pastel clouds contrast with the mechanical toasters, suggesting a blend of the ordinary with the fantastical. The design captures the era’s experimental spirit, with a touch of humor and a nod to the band’s psychedelic roots. This imagery leaves a lasting impression of the album’s innovative and unconventional nature.

Gloria Gaynor, Park Avenue Sound - 1978

Gloria Gaynor, Park Avenue Sound - 1978

The album cover for “Park Avenue Sound” by Gloria Gaynor features a colorful aerial view of New York City, with a distinctive neon yellow-green trail blazing through the buildings. The radiant hue starkly contrasts with the grayscale cityscape, symbolizing the vibrancy and energy of disco music cutting through the urban environment. This visual metaphor captures the essence of Gloria Gaynor’s music, which brought life and color to the dance floors of the late 70s. The bold use of color and perspective makes the cover a memorable emblem of the disco era’s exuberance.

Sweet, Off the Record - 1977

Sweet, Off the Record - 1977

The “Off the Record” album cover by Sweet features a striking image of a futuristic record player with sleek, metallic surfaces and sharp angles, set against an orange sky. The design evokes a sense of advanced technology and high energy, fitting for the band’s innovative approach to rock music. The diamond stylus touching down on the vinyl record not only alludes to the act of playing music but also suggests precision and clarity in the album’s production. The cover’s modernist aesthetic is a visual parallel to the band’s forward-looking sound.

Sweet, Off the Record - 1977

Little Feat, The Last Record Album - 1975

With The Last Record Album, Little Feat presents a cover that is a surreal take on an urban desert landscape, where Hollywood itself seems to have melted into the background. A lone, seemingly contemplative jackrabbit sits in the foreground, juxtaposed with the chaotic melting scene, suggesting a narrative of nature versus commercialism. The vivid, almost psychedelic colors give a nod to the band’s eclectic and genre-blending music style. 

Spinners, The Best of Spinners - 1978

1970s best album covers

The Best of Spinners album cover art features a stylized vinyl record and a tonearm, with a striking close-up of a finger poised to drop the needle. One of the best album covers of the 70s, its use of colors and the metallic sheen on the tonearm evoke the energy and polish of the Spinners’ soulful music. The image cleverly plays on the band’s name with the spinning record, while the red fingernail adds a touch of glamor. 

Grace Jones, Fame - 1978

Grace Jones, Fame - 1978

The album cover for “Fame” is a stunning visual of Grace Jones that captures her iconic, bold presence. The artwork features a collage-like composition with colors and abstract shapes, reflecting the dynamic and avant-garde spirit of Jones’s music and fashion sense. The juxtaposition of the sharp geometric forms with her soft, yet intense facial expression creates a powerful contrast, emphasizing the duality of her music. 

Commodores, Natural High - 1978

Commodores, Natural High - 1978

Natural High, one of the best album covers of the 70s, features a three-dimensional, metallic logo, soaring through a serene sky. The logo’s sleek, chrome finish and dynamic form convey a sense of modernity and movement, reflecting the band’s smooth yet upbeat sound. 

Chicago, Chicago XIV - 1979

Chicago, Chicago XIV - 1979​

This 1970s album cover exhibits a textured, embossed look that gives a tactile sense to the iconic Chicago logo. The partially revealed chocolate bar underneath torn foil adds an element of surprise and whimsy, implying perhaps a hidden sweetness or richness analogous to the music within. This design departs from the band’s more traditional aesthetic, suggesting a new layer of creativity while maintaining the instantly recognizable cursive branding. 

Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell - 1977

Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell - 1977

Bat Out of Hell  by Meat Loaf is a dramatic and dynamic illustration that perfectly encapsulates the theatrical rock for which Meat Loaf is known. The image of a motorcycle bursting out of the grave, with a bat-like figure looming in the background, sets an intense and otherworldly scene. The fiery colors and movement suggest a wild escape and an unbridled spirit of rock and roll. This cover is not just an image but a story, one that invites listeners into Meat Loaf’s epic, larger-than-life musical saga.

Roxy Music, Country Life - 1974

Roxy Music, Country Life - 1974

The “Country Life” cover by Roxy Music is an evocative and theatrical portrayal of a bustling scene, rich in detail and character. The artwork, reminiscent of a classical painting, captures a vibrant social gathering with a multitude of expressions and interactions. This carefully composed tableau is reflective of the album’s intricate and layered sound. The cover’s vivid realism and the sophisticated attire of the figures suggest a narrative depth, paralleling the band’s complex musical arrangements and lyrical sophistication. It’s a visual feast that invites the viewer to explore the scene as one would the album’s tracks.

Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells A Story - 1971

Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells A Story - 1971

The album cover for Every Picture Tells A Story by Rod Stewart is designed with a striking Art Deco-inspired frame, centering on an image of Stewart in a passionate vocal moment. The earthy color palette and textured appearance give it a vintage feel, suggesting the timeless and narrative-driven nature of the music. The concentric geometric shapes draw the eye inward, focusing attention on the emotive performance captured at the cover’s heart, symbolizing the depth and layers of the stories told within the album.

The Tubes, Young And Rich - 1976

The Tubes, Young And Rich - 1976

The album cover features a close-up of a hand holding a stylized credit card, indicating the themes of consumerism and excess. The bright, contrasting colors and playful lettering reflect the band’s satirical approach and theatrical style. The cover cleverly uses the credit card as a symbol of the album’s title, suggesting a critique of the era’s materialistic culture. 

Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath - 1970

Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath - 1970

The Black Sabbath self-titled album cover portrays a haunting figure standing in front of an old building amidst a bleak landscape, setting a chilling tone for the music. The grainy, almost ethereal quality of the image gives it a ghostly ambience, complementing the band’s pioneering heavy metal sound. The gothic font of the band’s name adds to the mysterious and eerie atmosphere, hinting at the dark and groundbreaking themes explored in the album. This cover is as iconic as the revolutionary music it encases, surely one of the best album covers of the 70s. 

Squeeze, Packet of Three - 1977

Squeeze, Packet of Three - 1977

The “Packet of Three” EP by Squeeze is depicted with a bold, graphic design that captures the essence of the band’s early days. The cover features a photograph of the band members with a vibrant red backdrop, overlayed by striking blue typography that conveys the EP’s title.

The Cars, Candy-O - 1979

The Cars, Candy-O - 1979

The Candy-O album cover by The Cars features a provocative pin-up style illustration by artist Alberto Vargas. It combines sexuality with the sleek lines of a classic car, symbolizing the band’s sleek, polished sound and the era’s fascination with both rock-and-roll and automotive design. The cover art is both striking and evocative, reflecting the album’s energetic and stylish new wave rock.

Traffic, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - 1971

Traffic, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - 1971

This cover uses abstract shapes and a stark, contrasting checkerboard pattern to create a sense of movement and optical intrigue, reflective of the album’s progressive rock sound. The ethereal cloud-like forms add a dreamy quality, encapsulating the band’s explorative musical nature.

Commodores, Midnight Magic - 1979

Commodores, Midnight Magic - 1979

Midnight Magic uses radiant beams emanating from a stylized moon to symbolize the Commodores’ shining impact on the funk and soul genres. The gradient from twilight to the dark horizon sets a mood of smooth nocturnal vibes, apt for the album’s title and sultry tracks.

Electric Light Orchestra, Out of the Blue - 1977

Electric Light Orchestra, Out of the Blue - 1977

The “Out of the Blue” cover art is a vibrant representation of ELO’s innovative rock sound, featuring a spaceship with a retro-futuristic design, symbolizing the band’s pioneering synthesis of classical and rock music with a space-age twist.

Wishbone Ash, Live Dates - 1973

Wishbone Ash, Live Dates - 1973

Live Dates by Wishbone Ash captures the essence of live performance with its vibrant, sun-soaked design, featuring an airplane’s shadow over a tropical setting, symbolizing the band’s extensive touring and the energetic spirit of their shows.

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, Sex Pistols - 1977

Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols - 1977

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” features bold, ransom-note style typography against a stark yellow background, embodying the rebellious spirit of punk. The design is confrontational and in-your-face, mirroring the band’s raw, provocative music.

XTC, Drums and Wires - 1979

XTC, Drums and Wires - 1979

The “Drums and Wires” album cover by XTC uses primary colors and bold shapes to create a stark, graphic portrait, reflecting the band’s angular and inventive new wave sound. The cover’s minimalism and visual punch match the music’s energy and innovation.

T. Rex, Electric Warrior - 1971

T. Rex, Electric Warrior - 1971

The “Electric Warrior” album cover captures T. Rex’s essence with a silhouette of Marc Bolan in a halo of light, embodying the electrifying energy of glam rock. The stark contrast and monochromatic scheme highlight the album’s raw power and mystique.

Miles Davis, Bitches Brew - 1970

Miles Davis, Bitches Brew - 1970

Bitches Brew by Miles Davis features surrealistic artwork that mirrors the album’s innovative jazz fusion sound. The juxtaposition of a serene face against a chaotic, abstract landscape echoes the complex and explorative nature of the music.

The Velvet Underground, Loaded - 1970

The Velvet Underground, Loaded - 1970

The “Loaded” album cover by The Velvet Underground showcases a subway sign melting into a vibrant, abstract shape, reflecting the band’s transition from the avant-garde towards more mainstream rock. 

Need More Inspiration?

If this selection of iconic Seventies album covers has captured your interest, be sure to check out our other articles  in the album covers series! Each piece offers a unique perspective on album cover art, exploring different genres, eras, and artists. 

Here they are, enjoy!

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Indieground Design

We are a team of designers, developers & photographers from Italy and we love to create striking graphic resources! Have a look around our website to discover more about what we do and the services we offer!

Picture of Indieground Design

Indieground Design

We are a team of designers, developers & photographers from Italy and we love to create striking graphic resources! Have a look around our website to discover more about what we do and the services we offer!

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