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Kanye West's 'Dark Twisted' Cover Art 'Banned'

Painting of nude Kanye and his 'phoenix' deemed too risque for forthcoming album.

October 18, 2010 1:17 PM ET

Kanye West may have finished work on his forthcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, due November 22, but the battle over the cover art has just begun: On his Twitter last night, West revealed the painting he hoped would be Twisted Fantasy's cover, only to tell fans that the cover was "banned in the USA," although it was unclear exactly who had banned it.

The cover art, designed by painter George Condo, depicts a nude Kanye, bottle in hand, having what looks like intercourse with a winged female figure with a polka-dot tail.

"They don't want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!," Kanye wrote. "In all honesty... I really don't be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers. I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity."

Kanye West's Surprise Visit to Rolling Stone

West then launched into a Twitter diatribe about how album covers have become more censored over the years. "In the 70s album covers had actual nudity... It's so funny that people forget that... Everything has been so commercialized now," West wrote. "So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they cover [Nevermind] but I can't have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings." While West wrestles with the powers that be about his album cover, there was some good news on the Kanye front this weekend: His 40-minute "Runaway" video will debut October 23rd on MTV and BET.

Keep up with rock's hottest photos in Random Notes

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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