Van Halen Album Covers Ranked

Van Halen Album Covers Ranked

Photo: Craig ONeal, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Van Halen Album Covers Albums Ranked article takes a look at all the Van Halen Album covers and puts them in order of our favorites. This Van Halen Album Covers Albums Ranked article will combine all three versions of the band that included the three lead singers David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and even Gary Cherone who only released one Van Halen album with the band entitled Van Halen III. Van Halen was a band that released their first album in 1978 entitled Van Halen. It was at a time before CDs were even a thought on any rock and roll fan’s mind. At the time one would either buy a new album on vinyl or cassette. 8 tracks were pretty much dead by 1978. So Van Halen still celebrated the importance of album covers. Interestingly, every Van Halen album that was released on vinyl was issued in a single sleeve jacket. Van Halen did not release gatefold albums. Warner Brothers music kept the cost down by releasing all the Van Halen albums in really cheap packaging. But the packaging does not take away from the artwork and that’s what this article is based on.

With the exception of the Van Halen logo, there really was no continuity between album covers. Unlike bands like Yes, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd and many others that had long running similarities between their albums covers or used the same artist to work on their album covers, Van Halen album covers were all pretty unique among themselves. It possible that the band didn’t recall give that much thought in the Van Halen album covers because the music they were releasing on every album was so spectacular and the fans were just itching to hear it that the album covers were not as important. Additionally there was so much personality in the band  especially during the David Lee Roth years, the visual presentation of Van Halen resonated so deeply with fans that the album covers just did not seem as important

In the end, of course what matters most is the music, but album covers are an art form in it selves. At times Van Halen released some great covers and at times just soo covers. Below is our list and presentation of all the Van Halen album covers ranked in order of our least favorites to our favorites.

# 12 – Diver Down

The weakest Van Halen album also had the worst cover. Not much going on here. The cover is just a depiction of the diver down sign. Diver Down was released in 1982.

# 11 – For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Does For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge really stand for what the band thought it stood for?  I really don’t think so. Just like Diver Down, not much going on, but the logo is cool. For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was released in 1991

# 10 – Van Halen II

Anther album cover with just the logo, but this one just looks cooler than the previous two. And what a logo that was. Plus it’s Van Halen II. The album was released in 1979

# 9 – Van Halen III

Its amazing what some people used to do for fun. A legendary circus type photo of Frank “Cannonball” Richards, graces the caver of Van Halen III. Interesting, but the album left a bad tastes in the mouth of many Van Halen fans.

# 8 – A Different Kind Of Truth

The final Van Halen album had a really well designed cover that seemed to compare the power of Van Halen to that of a locomotive. And in this instance a New York Central Railroad J-3A Dreyfuss Hudson steam locomotive to be exact. Fait comparison. A Different Kind Of Truth was released in  2012. It doesn’t seem like its been almost 10 years since this album was released.

# 7 – 1984

The final David Lee Roth album until the reunion on a A Different Kind Of Truth. The 1984 album that was so successful was released in 1984. The 1984 album cover was designed by Margo Nahas. Because of the cigarette in the baby’s hand, a sticker was forced to be placed over the cigarettes on the cover on albums sold in the UK. 

# 6 – OU812

At the halfway point on our Van Halen Albums Covers Ranked list we present the OU812 Album. Van Halen pays tribute to The Beatles album With The Beatles or Meet The Beatles depending n whether you like the US or UK version better. The OU812 Album was released in 1988.

# 5 – 5150

5150 was the Van Halen album that presented the debut of Sammy Hagar as Van Halen’s new lead singer after David Lee Roth left the band. The album cover showcasing Atlas was trying to define how powerful and strong the bad was with Sammy Hagar taking over the lead vocal spot. 5150 was released in 1986.

# 4 – Balance

I am still trying to figure this one out. Something about the duality of man and the kids forming Van Halen logo.

# 3 – Fair Warning

Van Halen’s best album had a somewhat disturbing cover that really defined the heaviness of the music within. This album cover bothered me and also fascinated me at the same time. There was a also a grittier texture to this album cover when it was first released, Fair Warning was released in 1981. I don’t know what disturbed me more, the guy punching or the kid pointing? The art was taken from Canadian artist William Kurelek.

# 2 – Van Halen I

The perfect cover to introduce the band to the word. The individual images defined an excitement that was met time 100 when you listened to the album for the first time. Stared at this cover for hundreds of repeated listens. Van Halen I was released in 1978.

# 1 – Woman And Children First

In the number one spot on our Van Halen Album Covers Ranked list is the outrageous cover to Woman And Children First. Like we said before, the David Lee Roth years had so much personality besides all that great music. The photo that graced this cover is one of the best shots ever taken of Van Halen. The design that went along with it was just perfect!

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  1. Avatar Kevin Shanley May 17, 2021

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