Big Maceo Merriweather and John Lee Hooker (Fortune, 1963)
"I've never even heard this LP, but the cover is so anti-art, it's incredibly endearing. I get the impression Fortune hated LPs and thus put zero effort into their design."
Demolition Doll Rods, Tasty (In the Red Recordings, 1997)
"I don't know what this record cover really means, but Mick Collins eating a hot dog with the Doll Rods as a topping is infinitely wonderful."
Billboard Cover: Jack White on Not Being a 'Sound-Bite Artist,' Living in the Wrong Era and Why Vinyl Records Are 'Hypnotic'
The Gories, Give Me Some Money (Sub Pop, 1991)
"[This] photo was shot in the building where Harry Houdini's body was embalmed. I probably stared at this more than any other cover in my life -- a quintessentially perfect band photo."
Liars, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (Mute, 2004)
"For a spell in the mid-'00s, it seemed like a lot of records I liked had covers that were fabric (Joanna Newsom, Milk-Eyed Mender; Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Show Your Bones), but Liars were -- and still are -- a godhead. The art here is so fragile (made on gauze), so confusing, so indecipherable -- it's the counterpart to the music it contains. So perfect."
The True Story of How Vinyl Spun Its Way Back From Near-Extinction
Sonic Youth, Murray Street(DGC, 2001)
"The childlike innocence projected from this album cover is comforting, especially in light of the post-9/11 world in which the record was released. The net is -- I'm not quite sure what it is, but I like it."
The Upholsterers, Your Furniture Was Always Dead…I Was Just Afraid to Tell You (2004)
"Artwork done by the inimitable Gordon Newton and printed on transparency paper. Only 100 copies were made and hidden in furniture reupholstered by drummer Brian Muldoon. [Editor's note: Two copies were discovered in furniture last year.]"
An edited version of this story originally appeared in the March 14 issue of Billboard.