Top 10 Music Album Covers with Hidden Images or Messages

Metal_Treasure
Some details on the covers are hidden in plain sight: symbols, cryptic messages, in-jokes, secret love notes, optical illusions, images visible only under a black light, and many more variations of "hidden".

The Top Ten

1 Boston - Boston

Yes, there are four strings of the guitar. Without any bridge. And a part of the headstock could be seen. With three visible tuning keys. - zxm

It's not only a spaceship, it's an acoustic guitar turned upside down. Can't see the guitar? Try harder. Actually there are also several smaller guitars that look like spaceships (click on the image to zoom it).
They replicated the same visual trick on the cover of their second album. - Metal_Treasure

Wow - SoldierOfFortune

2 Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

1) the interior gatefold depicts a lantern-bearing hermit atop a rocky summit that when held vertically against a mirror reveals the face of a beast.
2) there are 4 glyphs created by each band member - their "personal symbols". For example, drummer John Bonham's glyph contains 3 interlocking rings representing the mother-father-child triad. But when inverted, it's the logo for Ballantine beer! Cheers! And R.I.P. John. - Metal_Treasure

3 Somewhere in Time - Iron Maiden

Just behind Eddie's right leg there's a banner reflected in the windows of the Bradbury Towers Hotel International. If you reverse it, you will read this message “THIS IS A VERY BORING PAINTING”.
It's with capital letters. The cover was created by artist Derek Riggs. Great sense of humor, Derek! - Metal_Treasure

4 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

That is amazing. - naFrovivuS

Under the palm trees on the right edge, there's a Shirley Temple doll clad in a sweater emblazoned with the cheery greeting "Welcome The Rolling Stones Good Guys." The "Good Guys" part is on the left sleeve of the doll while the main message is on the chest and the tummy.
Photographer - Michael Cooper.
Several months later The Stones returned the favor (below you'll see how). - Metal_Treasure

5 Santana - Santana

Within the lion drawing there are actually several hidden images. The head is made up of 9 faces and the chin is a hula skirt, with the dancer's legs evident below, and so on. - Metal_Treasure

6 White Light / White Heat - The Velvet Underground

This black cover was created by Andy Warhol and has 2 hidden elements:
1) a skull tattoo with the word "Death" under it but it can only be seen under a black light or when closely examined at an angle. The tattoo belonged to Joe Spencer, star of the 1967 Warhol film "Bike Boy."
2) if you hold the vinyl edition's gatefold cover up to the sun or a strong light, a field of stars emerges.
Because of that, some believe that David Bowie paid tribute to the concept of this album cover on his final album, 2016's "Blackstar". I am not sure about it but can't deny it either.
(click on the image - you'll see the skull tattoo) - Metal_Treasure

7 Ghost in the Machine - The Police

The digital display has 2 visual tricks:
1) it's a computerized caricature of all three band members' hairstyles (Sting is in the middle with his spiky hair)
2) if you hold the image up to a mirror, the figures reveal a devilish message: 666. - Metal_Treasure

8 Retro Active - Def Leppard

Look at the cover at a distance - it's a skull made up of the woman and her reflection. - Metal_Treasure

9 Mob Rules - Black Sabbath

You can see the Satan's face if you look closely at the canvas in the center of the painting. - Metal_Treasure

10 Abbey Road - The Beatles

The Beatles continued with the ruse that Paul McCartney had died and was replaced in the band by a fictional look alike. Crossing the street, the band is aligned in a funeral procession. John is dressed in white and represents a Preacher, Ringo represents a Pallbearer, Paul, with no shoes, represents the deceased, and George represents the Gravedigger... In addition, the license plate on the VW reads LMW 28IF, which was meant to stand for Linda McCartney Widowed, 28 (IF Paul had lived)... Along with many other clues on earlier albums and songs (Play Revolution #9 backwards, for instance) the band made millions as many followed the clues... The band later admitted the whole thing was a ruse. - Ned964

Thanks for this addition, Ned. Funeral procession... seems this album cover is darker than I thought. - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

11 Their Satanic Majesties Request - The Rolling Stones

In the flowers and fabric in the foreground you can see the headshots of the Beatles members - Paul and George are on the left, Ringo and John on the right.
The Stones just returned the favor I described in the Sgt. Pepper's comment section above.
But did The Rolling Stones mean the Beatles were Satanic Majesties?
Both album covers were created by the same photographer - Michael Cooper. - Metal_Treasure

12 Train of Thought - Dream Theater

If you look closely at the eye there is the Dream Theater logo. Dream Theater has been known to hide their logo on their album covers, and this on was the best. - naFrovivuS

13 Ram - Paul & Linda McCartney

On the right edge of the zigzag artwork created by Paul McCartney, he wrote "L.I.L.Y." that stands for "Linda, I Love You."
If you click on the image here, you can see it. - Metal_Treasure

14 Licensed to Ill - Beastie Boys

The serial number 3MTA3 read backward (if you read it from right to left) spells out "EAT ME." - Metal_Treasure

15 Don't Look Back - Boston

Again, the spaceship is also an acoustic guitar turned upside down. - Metal_Treasure

If u look close enough there's a space ship - EliHbk

16 Revolver - The Beatles

Klaus Voormann, who created the artwork, placed a small image of himself and his name inside of George Harrison's hair (on the right-side of the album cover, underneath John’s mouth). - Metal_Treasure

17 She’s So Unusual - Cyndi Lauper

On the back are depicted legs with shoes. On the soles of the shoes is actually Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. - Metal_Treasure

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