Some album covers are so iconic that you can immediately picture them in your mind, even if you've only seen them as tiny icons on your Spotify playlist (you'd recognize that Nirvana baby anywhere). Well, we've told you before how some of the most recognizable album covers in music history narrowly avoided being disgusting, confusing, and otherwise traumatizing images that might have ruined the band's legacy (or at least gotten them banned from Walmart).
So if cooler heads hadn't prevailed, history might remember all of these differently ...
6Kanye West Was Going to Have Sex With a Winged Woman
The Album Cover We Saw:
The Cover We Almost Saw:
He didn't let her finish.
Time.com has called Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy "his most mature work," which might explain why, for the front cover, he went with a sober painting of some Olive Oyl lookalike dressed in a tutu. It's simple, elegant, and ... boring. This would be fine for a late-era Eric Clapton album or something, but we're talking about Yeezy here. Where's the gold-plated cheetah eating a Kanye West-brand Candye Bar? Why isn't there a cutout of Kanye's face on Elvis' body with James Brown's actual feet stapled to the jewel case? WHERE'S THE CRAZY, WEST?
And then you see the original cover. Behold, a nude phoenix with a polka-dotted tail and a severe case of gingivitis straddling a similarly nude, crazy-eyed Kanye(?) with either a beer or a bowling pin in his hand.
Which is, like, the 974th craziest sentence ever written about him.
For some reason, big market stores like Walmart allegedly threatened to ban the record if it was released in that form. Naturally, Kanye was appalled when he found out his record label was neutering his vision: "Banned in the USA!!! They don't want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!" he tweeted, comparing the cover to the baby nudity on Nirvana's Nevermind and pining for the free-spirited culture of the '70s. He also said:
"Target, on the other hand, they get me."
Which, of course, is complete bullshit. The guy who painted the cover said Kanye specifically asked for something that would be banned, while his record company clarified that they were prepared to stand behind him if he had his heart set on the drunken demon fucking the firebird with the gross teeth. But, apparently, he didn't. It's almost like he just wanted the publicity or something.