Entertainment & Culture Music

The Most Recognisable Album Cover Revealed

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Whether you have albums on vinyl or see the album covers online, some are immediately recognisable, writes Tim Barnes-Clay.

 A recent study asked 2000 British people to decide which album covers are the most recognisable, choosing from a list of over 60 albums which feature in round up lists for their covers.

The results showed that despite being 54 years old, the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album cover is the most recognisable, with 48% of all respondents choosing it as artwork they could immediately recognise.

Surprisingly nearly half (45%) of those aged 16-24 claimed to be able to recognise this cover, demonstrating its timelessness.

abbey, road, crossing

The album is the reason many tourists and music fans visit the zebra crossing outside the Abbey Road Studios in north west London, to recreate the famous cover to this day.

Next on the list was the 1987 album “Bad” by Michael Jackson. Despite the cover being simplistic (featuring Michael on a white background with the title spray painted in red), 43% of British folk said this was one of the most identifiable covers.

The Beatles make another appearance in the top three, with 37% choosing the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” LP cover as one of the most recognisable. The cover for the 1967 album features the likes of Mae West, Edgar Allan Poe, Fred Astaire, Bob Dylan, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, and Oscar Wilde, along with other people and objects in a collage style.

The top five also featured “Nevermind” by Nirvana, which was voted as one of the most iconic album covers by 34% of people while “Never Mind the B*llocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” was voted for by 29%.

The top 20 most recognisable album covers

RankAlbumYear% who recognise the cover
1Abbey Road – The Beatles196947.9%
2Bad – Michael Jackson198743.3%
3Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles196736.7%
4Nevermind – Nirvana199134.1%
5Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – Sex Pistols197729.3%
6Aladdin Sane – David Bowie197327.9%
7The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd197327.1%
8The Wall – Pink Floyd197922.7%
9Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – 50 Cent200319.6%
10American Idiot – Green Day200419.5%
11Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen198416.5%
12Rumours – Fleetwood Mac197716.2%
1325 – Adele201515.7%
14Definitely Maybe – Oasis199413.9%
15Back in Black – AC/DC198013.5%
16True Blue – Madonna198613.2%
17Enema of the State – Blink-182199912.6%
18The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill199812.2%
19Ramones – Ramones197611.9%
20Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends – Coldplay20089.8%

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