On Wednesday night (July 21), Katy Perry unveiled the album cover for her upcoming LP Teenage Dream (which is set to hit store shelves on August 24). In typical Perry fashion, the cover is eye-catching, provocative and sexy, featuring a nude Perry ensconced in pink cotton candy (a continuation on the themes set up in the video for her chart-topping single “California Gurls”). Perry is no stranger to nudity (she is starkers in the “California Gurls” clip and once tweeted a photo of herself eating a pizza while soaking naked in a bathtub), so the cover isn’t a surprise.
But the practice of putting naked people on album covers is as old as rock and roll, and though there are a handful of classic nude covers, Perry’s tops them all. Here are her new peers. (Obviously, all of the links below lead to some level of nudity, so click with caution.)
Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland
The guitar legend’s final album (during his life, at least) originally had a cover that featured a series of nude women. Though that cover was actually released in the U.K., the United States version was changed to a blurred image of Hendrix’s head because the other was considered indecent.
Though cover model Spencer Elden was only three months old when his photo was taken for the cover of Nirvana’s breakout album, his exposed genitalia was still considered inappropriate for mass consumption. When retailers refused to stock the album because of the image, Nirvana’s label prepared an alternate version that airbrushed out Elden’s tiny penis.
Is it any wonder that Prince took everything off for his 1988 album Lovesexy? It was an appropriate cover, as the tracks on Lovesexy (especially “Alphabet St.” and “Glam Slam”) are particularly carnal.
Afghan Whigs, Congregation
Greg Dulli’s first band’s 1992 album Congregation (their last for Sub Pop before they headed for a major label) features a real double-whammy, as it features a nude woman whose naughty bits are only partially covered up by a nude baby. It kicked up less dust, but there remains an alternate version of the cover where the woman is less exposed.
Luke, In the Nude
Could an album made by former 2 Live Crew provocateur Luther Campbell called In the Nude — which features tracks called “Bust a Nut,” “Wear a Rubber” and “We’re F—in'” — have anything else on the cover except for Uncle Luke in a tub full of naked ladies?
What is your favorite nude album cover? Let us know in the comments!