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As Nasty as They Wanna Be: The 20 Dirtiest Album Covers of All Time

Racy images that pushed the boundaries of art — and taste

Pixies, ween, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Pulp, The Strokes, Prince, Ohio Players, Scorpions

Years ago, before American society had achieved full pornofication, the raciest image in a teenager's room might be an album cover. And many musicians (and record-company art departments) had figured out that an easy way to goose sales was to slap a photo of a half-naked girl on the cover, until the borderline between "sexy" and "sexist" was obliterated. But these 20 covers went above and beyond the normal level of titillation, overloading a nation's brain cells with an unusual level of nudity, kinkiness, or general raunch (and so many of them duly got censored). Without apology: 20 of the dirtiest album covers ever.

Strokes

The Strokes, ‘Is This It’ (2001)

Americans got a trippy picture of subatomic particle tracks, but Europeans got the sexy version of the album art for the Strokes' debut: a leather glove resting on a shapely female hip. The picture, reminiscent of Helmut Newton, was actually by Colin Lane, and is dirty for the pervy situation it implies as much as for what it shows.

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