This list breaks down the best Pink Floyd album covers from the band’s extensive discography. From their earlier works to their more contemporary offerings, we take a look at the artwork as a stand-alone piece as well as how it relates to the content of the album.
Pink Floyd are well known for their experimental approach to creativity, which often comes through in their album artwork. Often discussing heavy themes about the human experience, the imagery chosen to represent each album wasn’t often a frivolous choice, but was carefully selected.
Let’s learn more about the most iconic Pink Floyd album covers in existence.
15. Endless River (2014)
Endless River is Pink Floyd’s fifteenth studio album and would ultimately be their last. The album received mixed reviews with praise directed at the nostalgic sound the band curated.
Endless River’s album cover comes from the mind of Egyptian graphic artist Ahmed Emad Eldin. The image asks the question of what’s beyond our world. It depicts a man in a small boat sailing out into the sunset. Eldin’s image resonated with Pink Floyd’s creative director Aubrey Powell who reached out to the artist asking for use of the design.
14. A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the first album to be recorded without founding member Roger Waters. Despite Waters’ exit, the album was a comeback for the band, reaching No. 3 in the UK and US.
The album cover depicts an endless collection of hospital beds assembled in Devon. A Momentary Lapse of Reason deals with a number of themes including the intention of not turning away from those in need. The use of recurring hospital beds suggests that there may be a time when you end up in one and to consider how you would want to be treated by others when you do.
13. The Final Cut (1983)
The Final Cut is comprised of unused material from the iconic album The Wall as well as new recordings. It is also the last Pink Floyd album to feature founding member Roger Waters and became one of their lowest-selling albums.
The album cover is an abstract design, a homage to World War II, during which Waters’ father died. A remembrance poppy is seen in the top left against a black background. Along the bottom are several stripes representing medals: the 1939–1945 Star, the Africa Star, the Defence Medal, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
12. Ummagumma (1969)
The first disc in the double album Ummagumma features live recordings from concerts the band used to play while the second consists of solo compositions written by each band member.
On the cover, we see a photograph of the young band lounging in the sunshine with the band’s name printed on the carpet. To the left, there is a frame containing the same large photograph with a different band member in the foreground. This continues through each image perhaps alluding to each member’s equal contribution to the album.
11. More (1969)
More was used as the soundtrack for the film of the same name and is the third studio album by Pink Floyd. It was also the band’s first album without Syd Barrett, the group’s former leader.
This Pink Floyd album cover was designed by Hopgnosis, an English art design group from London. It features two people dancing around a windmill and has been over-processed to give it that psychedelic look with highly contrasting colours, representative of the genre the band are experimenting with. The shot is a still from the film.
10. A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
A Saucerful of Secrets is Pink Floyd’s second studio album and is iconic guitarist David Gilmour’s debut. Upon first release, the album received mixed reviews and only retrospectively has it been praised for its gentle ambience.
Although perhaps not deliberately, the disorientating cover reflects the troubles the band was facing at the time of release. With Syd Barrett leaving before the completion due to mental health complications, the noisiness featured on the cover exhibits how he may have been feeling.
9. The Division Bell (1994)
Pink Floyd’s fourteenth studio album, The Division Bell, reflects on the idea of how talking can solve multiple problems. Despite Gilmore’s denial, some interpret the album as the band’s feeling towards estranged member Roger Waters.
The cover features two giant metal heads, facing each other in an otherwise empty field. This represents the theme of communication laced within the album and the importance of human connection. The heads also make up two sides of a broken heart.
8. Obscured by Clouds (1972)
Obscured by Clouds serves as the soundtrack to La Vallée, a french film written and directed by Barbet Schroeder. An under-appreciated record in the band’s catalogue, Obscured by Clouds takes elements of the band’s late 60s writing style.
The cover was designed by Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis and comes from a still in the film. It’s distorted to the point of complete non-recognisability and does, in fact, depict a man sitting in a tree.
7. Atom Heart Mother (1970)
Atom Heart Mother was the first of the band’s albums to reach No. 1 in the UK. It discusses themes of nature and humans’ effect on it. Despite its popularity, both Waters and Gilmore have expressed contempt for the record.
This cover features a cow standing in a field looking back towards the camera. It’s the first Pink Floyd cover not to feature the band’s name or image anywhere. The simple image represents the album’s themes of the natural world.
6. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is the debut album from Pink Floyd. Multiple publications have hailed it as a masterpiece with The Rolling Stone and Q both giving it a 5-star rating.
This iconic Pink Floyd album cover was shot by Vic Singh, an established photographer and well-known within the industry. According to Singh, neither the band nor management had any idea what they wanted so the artistic direction was left up to him. Tuning into their psychedelic sound, Singh used a prism lens to create an image of the band overlapping each other.
5. Meddle (1971)
With no musical direction, Meddle is comprised of experimental pieces and marked the transition from Syd Barrett-led musicality to Roger Waters-led. The album received positive reviews with notable mention of David Gilmour’s force within the group.
This cover, created by Storm Thorgorson and shot by Bob Dowling, features a human ear underwater, taking in the sounds of the waves – you may need to look at the image on its side in order to see the ear. Despite Thorgorson and his team expressing dislike towards the image, fans consider the cover one of their favourites.
4. The Wall (1979)
The Wall explores themes such as isolation and abandonment. Many of the songs make references to Pink Floyd’s former member Syd Barrett, discussing his health issues, both mental and physical.
The Wall features one of the most iconic music covers of all time. It displays simply a white brick wall with no text and no other imagery. This image is an undisguised metaphor for the themes found within the album, the wall acting as a barrier between each of us, deliberate or not.
3. Animals (1977)
Pink Floyd’s Animals features elongated progressive rock compositions which focus on the social politics of Britain in the 1970s. The album is now considered one of the band’s finest works despite initial mixed reviews.
Animals describe classes in the UK through animal metaphors. The cover features an inflatable pig floating above Battersea Power Station, symbolising the weakness of some when compared to the mightiness of industry. Both the cover and music work as a critique of capitalism and how only a few benefit from it.
2. Wish You Were Here (1975)
Pink Floyd’s ninth studio album Wish You Were Here criticises the music business and how the industry can alienate and degenerate the artists that they need. Ironically, upon release, the album wasn’t loved by critics but has since become a rock classic.
This album cover features two men shaking hands at Warner Bros. studio complex, one of them on fire, the other unphased by the burning man, symbolizing the music industry’s tendency to exploit artists. The image, photographed by Aubrey Powell, is inspired by the idea of people concealing their true feelings.
1. The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Are you surprised? The Dark Side of the Moon is widely considered one of the best albums of all time. It acts as the crescendo for all of Pink Floyd’s music up to that point encapsulated in an experimental concept album that talks about death, mental illness, time, greed, and conflict.
The album cover has become an iconic piece of imagery not only for the band but for progressive/psychedelic rock as a whole. It features a prism refracting light, symbolizing the album’s themes of light and dark, good and evil, and the overall human experience. Although simple, the design is striking and memorable and perfectly represents the listening experience you’re about to undergo.
Pink Floyd have many great album covers, but The Dark Side of the Moon arguably tops the lot as the most iconic of all.
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