As a teenager I got to see Rob Reiner’s fantastic “mockumentary” film, This Is Spinal Tap. I thought it was utterly hilarious. Mainly due to its similarity to some actual hard rock acts I knew and loved. One of the things that stood out was their so-called album covers. In the film the band were attempting to release an album called Smell The Glove featuring some rather inappropriate cover art. I now think I know which band specifically inspired this part of the story. Although I am sure the inspiration was probably more general relating to the genre itself, I think German hard rock act, Scorpions, are prime contenders as the main influence.
There are many bad album covers out there and many websites dealing with those album covers so I’m just going to concentrate on Scorpions. In 1975 Scorpions changed their musical style to the hard rock sound to which their fans have become accustomed with the release of their third studio album, In Trance.
In Trance was controversial for its cover art and the first of several risque, inappropriate or just plain weird album covers. When it comes to weird though nothing can surpass their 1979 album, Lovedrive. What on earth inspired such ludicrous artwork?
I think the album that is most likely the direct inspiration for the scene in the This Is Spinal Tap film as described earlier is none other than 1980’s Animal Magnetism. Is it meant to suggest that the woman depicted is of the same status as the man’s dog or something more sinister?
Scorpions then seemed to have a rather sedate series of album covers over the next few years by comparison with their earlier albums. But they weren’t quite done yet. Just look at Pure Instinct from 1996.
I do think however that their most tasteless album cover has to be the original cover art for their 1976 album, Virgin Killer. But I’ll let you Google that one yourself rather than reproduce it here.