This is the pixelated cover of The Hotelier's 2006 album 'Goodness.' The original cover features a photograph of middle-aged nudists posing outdoors.

Censored album art is nothing new. Long before Kanye was a wannabe provocateur, controversial rock album covers were getting attention.


I got to thinking about this as I was checking my big list of album anniversaries and saw Led Zeppelin‘s Houses of the Holy pop up. “That’s the one with the weird cover with the naked kids on it,” I said to myself. The one that Facebook banned, then reversed the ban on, back in 2019. It’s cringey, sure. But it’s not as bad as that Blind Faith album cover. Oof.


But that’s the push-and-pull of a list like this and the discussion that follows from it, right? We’re talking about censored album art. And art is subjective. So where does one draw the line? And should the powers that be that exist outside the creative process be allowed to draw the proverbial line and pull a controversial rock album cover from the shelves?

Censored Album Art from The Hotelier's Controversial Rock Album Covers

This is the pixelated cover of The Hotelier’s 2006 album ‘Goodness.’ The original cover features a photograph of middle-aged nudists posing outdoors.


Censored Album Art: 13 Controversial Rock Album Covers

I don’t have answers to these questions. I just bring them up in the hopes that you, the reader, give them some thought as you peruse the list below. Does censorship have a place in art? When does an artistic creation like an album cover become “controversial?” My take? People that have no appreciation for art and/or music should have no say in the matter.


And please, don’t call me out for censorship if I’ve left what you feel to be an obvious choice off of my list below. This list could easily be 50 albums long. I don’t have time for that. I chose these 13 examples primarily because they’re artist that I play on ROCK 92.9. I’m on weekdays 11 a.m. ’til 4 p.m., by the way. If you ever want to tune in and talk music and art.

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