The Best Album Covers Of The Eighties

During the seventies, we saw the rise of some of the most spectacular and glorious album art ever. When the eighties dawned we witnessed a grand revolution in music and the birth of a pop culture. Countless artists released hundreds of songs, paving the way for the best decade in music. Together with this surge in music, album art took a leap in creativity. The eighties is a treasure trove of album designs and art, too many to mention. Here are some of the best album covers of the eighties.

A Broken Frame

Album Cover

The second album by Depeche Mode. Originally a photo it was artistically altered and designed to look like a painting. Depicting a woman cutting grain in a field.

Brothers In Arms

Album Cover

The “Brothers in Arms” album cover features an image of Mark Knopfler’s guitar. A 1937 14-fret National Style “O” Resonator. The photo was taken by Deborah Feingold.

Album Cover

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” remains the best-selling album of all time. The cover features a young Michael dressed in a white suit, lying down. The photo was taken by Dick Zimmerman. two more photos were taken with a Tiger Cub. Not a very significant album cover, but thanks to its success, it remains one of the most recognizable albums to date.

Songs From The Big Chair

Album Cover

The 1985 studio album by Tears for Fears. The photo of the pop duo was taken by Tim O’Sullivan. A strong yet uncomplicated front cover for the album, featuring the group’s two members. One of their most successful albums.

Hot Space

Album Cover

Queen’s 1982 release called “Hot Space” followed the direction music was taking in the early eighties. With the synthesizer making its mark on music, and the rise of pop culture, Queen joined the craze with a fitting album cover. Their music, however, still featured guitar-centered rock and strong vocals.


Album Cover

Duran Duran’s “Rio” was released in 1982. Cover art was designed by Malcolm Garrett. The artwork was done by Patrick Nagel. The image portrayed “the quintessential 1980s woman”.


Album Cover

Van Halen’s sixth studio album. It was released in 1984 featuring artwork on the cover created by graphic artist Margo Nahas. The image was chosen by the band after paging through her work. It shows a putto holding a cigarette. The artwork was initially censored in the UK, with stickers applied over the cigarettes. The child drawn is Carter Helm, the child of one of Nahas’ friends, holding a candy cigarette at the time. One of Van Halen’s best-selling albums.


Album Cover

One of the best-selling albums by the Irish rock band U2. Telling the story of early 1980s Ireland, this “war” album features an angry young boy. Representing the effect of war.

True Blue

Album Cover

Madonna’s “True Blue” album was released in 1986. Her side profile was photographed by Herb Ritts. The image helped make this one of the most memorable album covers by the artist.

Album Cover

Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” must be one of the most iconic album covers from the eighties. Also known as “The Buttshot”, it resembles the daily lives of Americans in the USA.


Album Cover

“Actually” is the second album by Pet Shop Boys. The duo was photographed by Cindy Palmano. The photo, ironically, portrayed the band’s poor stage presence. Nevertheless, you don’t need to read the cover to know who the artist is.

The Trooper

Single Cover

Iron Maiden’s artwork was unique. The heavy metal band’s single “The Trooper” is my favorite of all their covers. The single formed part of the album “Piece of Mind” was released in 1983. The illustration was done by Derek Riggs.

She’s So Unusual

Album Cover

Cyndi Lauper was photographed by Annie Leibovitz on Henderson Walk, Coney Island, New York. She is wearing a prom-style outfit that she bought at Screaming Mimi’s. A vintage items shop she used to work at. She also holds a flower bouquet that she bought from a flower vendor. Posing barefoot, heavily laden with jewelry, this album cover fittingly describes Lauper’s free spirit and music.

Original Sin

Album Cover

Original Sin is the only album released by Pandora’s Box. Most of the songs were written by Jim Steinman, including the hit “It’s all coming back to me now”. The cover is reminiscent of the Rock ‘n Roll culture of the era.

Licensed To Ill

Album Cover

The debut album by The Beastie Boys was released on 15 November 1986. The front and back of the album show a Boeing 727 that crashed into the side of a mountain, resembling an extinguished cigarette.

The artwork was created by Stephen Byram and World B. Oomes.

The band’s logo is painted on the tail of the jet. Inspired by the biography of Led Zeppelin called “Hammer of the gods”.


With the coming of music streaming and the ultimate demise of CD sales, the art of album covers is gone for all practical reasons. Hold on to those LPs, tapes, and CDs. For holding that record in your hand and reading the inlays while simmering to the music is no more.