One of the most explosive bands in rock’n’roll, Van Halen defined the sound and style of hard rock as the 70s rolled into the 80s. Across a career that spans almost five decades, all 12 Van Halen album covers are as much a reflection of the group’s legacy as they are a window into its mythology. From stunning works of graphic design to censors-baiting obscenities, we rank and review each one.
Listen to the best of Van Halen here, and check out the stories behind all 12 Van Halen album covers, below.
12: ‘Van Halen III’ (1998)
Eleven albums in, and with grunge music having completely changed the rock landscape, Van Halen chose an action shot of Frank “Cannonball” Richards for their Van Halen III album cover. Richards made a vaudeville career out of taking blows to the stomach – first from ordinary people, before graduating to sledgehammer hits and, as his nickname suggests, iron balls launched from a canon. Twenty years on from the release of Van Halen’s self-titled debut album, was this a comment on the resilience needed to maintain a long-standing career in rock music?
Art director: Stine Schyberg