Out of the ten album releases, the band actually only appeared on the cover of their second album. On their third record, the band appeared on the inner pinwheel mages on the limited run issues of that amazing record. But for the rest of the catalog, it was just a series of images that we stared at for hours listening to the greatest rock band of all time.
Top 10 Led Zeppelin Album Covers
# 10 – Coda
Starting out on the Top 10 Led Zeppelin Album Covers List is the band’s final issue Coda. It was an album of outtakes and unreleased material. The album was released on November 19th, 1982. One of the most interesting facts about the Coda album cover was that it was designed by the art firm Hipgnosis. The company Hipgnosis were responsible for hundred of legendary rock album covers. Their Pink Floyd covers were among some of the firms greatest artist accomplishments. Fittingly so, Led Zeppelin’s Coda was not only Led Zeppelin’s so-called final album, it was also the last album cover ever designed by Hipgnosis. Their first was Pink Floyd’s Saucer full of Secrets.
# 9 – The Song Remains the Same
Led Zeppelin’s first live album was supposedly hated by the band when it was released. In many press releases, the band made sure to note that it was more of a soundtrack album than an official live record. Regardless, of the band’s views, most Led Zeppelin fans loved the double record set. The cover art depicted the hall in which the band rehearsed for their 1977 tour. The gate-fold record also included a multiple page insert inside the gatefold. The recently released deluxe version of Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains The Same on CD includes more songs than the original release and is a must have for Led Zeppelin fans.
# 8 – Led Zeppelin I
How many times have you seen this image printed on t-shirts, posters, magazine ads, coffee mugs and every printable item in human existence? We had no idea where to place this one on our Top 10 Led Zeppelin Album Covers list because it could have easily also been No 1. It’s an image permanently ingrained in the brains of any Led Zeppelin fan that grew up in the 1970’s. The cover art was taken from a photo of the “Hindenburg Disaster.” The Hindenburg crashed on May 6, 1937. The Led Zeppelin album was released on January 12, 1969, in the United States.
# 7 – Presence
The first time I saw this album in the record store when it was first released, I immediately thought of the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Although it may seem like that movie came out so long ago the fact is the Led Zeppelin Presence album was released less than 10 years after Stanley Kubrick’s film first hit the theaters. after the movie was released. So the image and concept of the monolith were still fresh in popular culture.
The use of what Zed Zeppelin termed as the Object was, in essence, a spoof on the monolith. It seemed to really be just a joke that of course was over-scrutinized by millions of Led Zeppelin fans. Or so it seemed….. Some fans may have been correct when they argued that the title Presence and the Object were tied together.
It seemed that there was an attempt to argue that on some sort of universally level every society feels the presence of some superior force that is present in everyday life no matter where one may be. It seemed it was Led Zeppelin’s way of reacting to the concept of the divine without pulling in the aspects of religion. In interviews over the years, there has been mention of this intent by the band. Led Zeppelin’s Presence was released on March 31, 1976.
# 6 – In Through The Out Door
Although Coda was the last official album released by Led Zeppelin, In Through the Out Door stands as the last studio album released by the band before the death of John Bonham. In essence, it truly was the band’s last album of newly recorded material together as Led Zeppelin. The album was released with six different covers.
The original issues were wrapped in a genuine brown paper bag sleeve. The brown paper bag cover has since become a highly collectible item since many fans simply threw it out. The album was released on August 15th, 1979. John Bonham died just a little over a year later on September 24th, 1980. Bonham was only 32 years old when he passed away.
# 5 – Led Zeppelin IILed Zeppelin II was the only album to feature the band on a front cover. The cover art was taken from a famous picture of German soldiers during World War I. The picture was originally titled “The Flying Circus.” The group of soldiers were led by Manfred von Richthfen. The man was also known as the “The Red Baron.” The faces of the Germans were removed and replaced with the four members of Led Zeppelin. The cover also featured the faces of actress Glynis John, and Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Green, and tour manager Robert Cole. The album was released on October 22nd, 1969.
# 4 – Physical Graffiti
What we loved about the iconic Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti cover was the use of the windows of the building. Since the album was a two-record set, fans were able to line up one of four sleeves to match up different faces in the windows.
The band continued the concept of using well-known personalities on their covers like they did on the Led Zeppelin II album cover. In some of the windows of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album, there were pictures of manager Peter Grant, various band members dressed a bit differently so shall we say, Laurel and Hardy, Charles Atlas, Lee Harvey Oswald, Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, King Kong, and Judy Garland.
The building used as the template for the cover was actually a five-story building which was cropped down to a four-story building for size purposes on the front cover. The building was located at 98 St Marks Place in New York City. The building still stands there in the present day.The above picture depicts the original building used for the Led Zeppelin Album Cover of Physical Graffiti. The location of the building was on St Marks Place in the East Village of New York City
# 3 – Led Zeppelin IV
Well, its a picture of a picture on a wall. Just kidding, ITS FREAKING LED ZEPPELIN IV !!!! If we had to pick a top 10 list for the most famous covers of all time this one would have to be on it just for the sheer popularity of the album. Well, first the facts Jack. The album was released on November 8, 1971.
Most fans allude to this album as Led Zeppelin IV. Even we labeled as it Led Zeppelin IV on our Led Zeppelin Albums Covers list. The truth of that matter is the album has no title. It’s simply their fourth album. Why did the album have no title, well because Jimmy Page once said just before the release of their fourth album, “Names, titles and things like that do not mean a thing.”
Now we know old time Led Zeppelin fans are just laughing at this discussion as being a bit trivial. However, this is a history website and there are many young fans who need to be educated properly about one of the most important albums in rock and roll history….LED ZEPPELIN IV
Now as far as the cover goes. Robert Plant explained the meaning behind the cover It represented the change in the balance which was going on. There was the old countryman and the blocks of flats being knocked down. It was just a way of saying that we should look after the earth, not rape and pillage it.
1.Dave Schulps, Interview with Jimmy Page, Trouser Press, October 1977.
# 2 – Led Zeppelin III
If you purchased Led Zeppelin III in the early to mid-seventies chances are you secured a copy with the pinwheel. And that in essence is what made this album score so high on our Top 10 Led Zeppelin Album Covers list. The cover was designed by Richard Drew who was also known as the artist Zacron. The man was known as an innovator in graphic techniques. What else can we say about this cover? It’s a pinwheel, it makes you happy, and it’s fun to play with while listening to the Immigrant Song.
# 1 – Houses Of The Holy
If you grew up listening to Led Zeppelin in the 1970’s you would understand the mystique that surrounded the band. There was always some rumor about this or that circulating among Led Zeppelin fans. Almost all talk of Led Zeppelin was done by word of mouth or listening to the radio. They were not on TV. No bands were on TV We had only 10 channels. It was a different world. And adding to the mystique of the band were covers like Houses of the Holy . WTF! At least that was our original reactions.
The album Houses of the Holy was released on March 28th, 1973. The artwork for the album cover was designed by the art firm Hipgnosis who later went on to design Presence and In Through the Out Door. Because of the children pictured on the cover, the album was originally released with a slim 2-inch white sleeve that featured the title of the album that was not present on the cardboard cover or sleeve. But it was the mysticism of Led Zeppelin that was further fueled by brilliant covers like Houses of the Holy that lands this one as our top choice on the Top 10 Led Zeppelin Album Covers List.
Updated January 19, 2021
Top 10 Led Zeppelin Album Covers article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2016
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