In today’s video, I thought it would be fun to depart from our usual in-depth musical discussions. I came across some very bizarre and entertaining Classical music album covers, and thought that you guys would appreciate them.
Today’s episode is about the 12 weirdest album covers in Classical music that I found in this go-around – there are almost definitely many, many more. Most are from the 70s and 80s (perhaps unsurprisingly). Let’s just jump right in!
01 Erik Satie and his friend Darius Milhaud
This is the album cover that started my quest when it was shared on Reddit. Released in the 70s, this fishy collection is actually musically interesting, in that it features music by Eric Satie that ISN’T his Gymnopedies. It also contains a suite of dances by Milhaud.
It’s also very charming that these composers are referred to as friends, instead of “featuring” or some other such casual and cold comparison.
02 Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade
In a completely different vein – perhaps an 80s video game vein – is Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. You’d be hard-pressed to find the vinyl containing this image (perhaps because people who own it refuse to give it away because of how awesome it is).
03 Gustav Holst – The Planets
Most covers for Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” involve celestial imagery. Makes sense, right? When your collection is about Planets, show an image of outer space, or some planets.
Not so in this 1959 album cover. The only connection I can make to planets here are that they’re about to go battle aliens on another planet. In very impractical clothing, with what look like very impractical weapons.
04 Steven Mead – Euphonium Magic vol. 1, 2 and 3
Now I have a three-in-one to share with you – Steven Mead’s Euphonium Magic series. These are the only modern album covers – my favorite, the third one, was released in 2007.
For those of you who are wondering what a Euphonium is and why you should care, it’s basically a smaller tuba. And you should care because of Steven Mead’s album covers.
Volume 1 starts out quirky, with this whole musician theme. The second one is wondrous and magical. But the third one? The third one truly takes the cake, and needs no explanation.
05 JS Bach – Sonatas for Cello and Piano
Is this a glass half full metaphor? We’re trying to decide whether or not to be optimistic about these sonatas? But maybe it’s the glass half full because it’s wine? I really don’t know if I’m going in the right direction here, but I like that I’m intrigued.
06 Brahms Sonatas
What’s with weird album covers and piano/cello sonatas? This Brahms sonata album cover is like the most passionate Christmas ornament. I can see the telenovela unfolding now.
07 Anna Moffo sings Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi
The cultural bias could not be more apparent in this album cover of opera. Italian music? Giant plate of pasta. You have to appreciate how plain and brazen it is.
08 Beethoven Piano Concerto no. 3
Well they say sex sells. But I have so many questions! Who is this woman, and why is she there? This clearly was the product of a conversation on how to sell more records. This was 1964, after all. Can’t you tell from the hair? Worth it for the Barenboim, though.
09 Treasures for Horn and Trumpet
I think there must be something about horn players having an awesome sense of album cover style. I love this for so many reasons. Why does he look like Freddy Mercury as a pirate? What’s with the sly looks? Is that a boat? I need to know what’s going on!
10 Dvorak: The Water Goblin
First of all, it’s nice to see an album of Dvorak that isn’t his New World Symphony. The Water Goblin, The Noon Witch and Husitska are all compositions I’ve never heard of, but with this cover I definitely want to.
One of the best parts of retro album covers is the commitment. Nowadays we can just Photoshop, but this guy went ALL OUT to be a scary goblin. What’s all that stuff all over him, sea garbage?
11 Beethoven Piano Sonatas
There’s something so simple and wholesome about this album cover of Beethoven piano sonatas. Alfred Brendel is like, “yup, these are my piano hands.” He looks so earnest. With all of the weird covers we’ve seen so far, this one is refreshingly simple.
12 Julian Lloyd-Weber – Travels with my Cello
And last but not least, Julian Lloyd-Weber’s Travels with my Cello. Who knew that Andrew Lloyd-Weber of The Phantom of the Opera fame had a younger brother? First of all, you know this is an old album cover because of how much room he has on that plane. Second of all, it’s almost romantic. Him and his cello look like they’re in an old and loving relationship, comfortable enough with each other to just chill. #relationshipgoals
Where you can find more
I had a lot of fun browsing through weird and ridiculous album covers, so here are some sources if you’d like some laughs: