Given that Gibson guitars are themselves works of art, it’s hardly surprising that various Gibson instruments have been featured prominently on countless album covers. Below are 10 such albums, each of which should be part of any Gibson fans record collection.
Jeff Beck: Blow By Blow (1975)
The starkly elegant cover painting of Jeff Beck playing his beloved 1954 Les Paul “Oxblood” was the perfect image for this landmark disc. One of the most famous all-instrumental albums in history, Blow By Blow remains the go-to recording for any fan of contemporary jazz-rock guitar.
Chuck Berry: St. Louis to Liverpool (1964)
It’s fitting that the album widely regarded as Chuck Berry’s best should be housed in a sleeve that showcases the guitarist’s legendary ES-350 — one of the first models Berry used. Released in 1964, the album reasserted Berry’s songwriting and six-string prowess just as Beatlemania was taking hold.
Peter Frampton: Frampton Comes Alive! (1976)
The two-disc set that launched Peter Frampton to super-stardom also happened to sport one of rock and roll’s most memorable cover shots. Non-guitar-playing female fans were drawn to Frampton’s golden locks, but guitar players of both sexes honed in on the beautiful black Les Paul Custom that graced the gatefold sleeve.
B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)
No B.B. King album is more revered than this disc, which captures the legendary blues artist in prime form. Fittingly, King’s cherished “Lucille” graces the cover. Through the years King has played both ES-335s and an ES-355s – fabulous guitars, each.
Mick Ronson: Play Don’t Worry (1975)
Hoping to capitalize on David Bowie’s success, Mainman founder Tony DeFries pushed a reluctant Mick Ronson toward a solo career in 1974. Ronson soon returned to his true calling as one of rock’s all-time-great sidemen, but not before releasing two glam-guitar classics. This one showcased his legendary ’68 Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” stripped to its natural wood finish.
Joan Jett: Album (1983)
Strange that one of the best albums of Joan Jett’s career often gets lost in the shuffle. Along with delivering original material, Joanie delivers top-notch covers of Sly Stone’s “Everyday People” and the Rolling Stone’s ode-to-groupies classic “Star Star.” A double-cutaway Melody Maker – splashed across the album cover – was Jett’s instrument of choice.
Kiss: Alive! (1975)
One of the hardest-rocking live albums of all time, this two-disc set catapulted Kiss to multi-platinum fame. On the cover, Gene Simmons' classic Gibson Grabber bass, Ace Frehey’s ever-present Les Paul and Paul Stanley’s Firebird upstaged the band’s cartoon-glam makeup and platform shoes.
Emmylou Harris: Angel Band (1987)
A devotee of Gibson acoustics, Emmylou Harris cradled one of her many beautiful and beloved J-200s on the cover shot for this underrated 1987 disc. A collection of gospel songs performed in acoustic settings, the album remains one of Harris’s sparest, most sublime recordings.
Lenny Kravitz: Baptism (2004)
Lenny Kravitz brazenly opened this 2004 album with a song titled “Minister of Rock and Roll.” Some might call that cocky, but Kravitz’s deep assimilation of classic rock and psychedelic pop has yielded great music. His beloved Flying V – featured on the cover – is rarely far from his side.
Bob Marley and the Wailers: Live! (1975)
This 1975 recording is widely regarded as one of the greatest live documents ever committed to tape. Capturing the Wailers at an early zenith, the album played a pivotal role in making Bob Marley a worldwide superstar. The cover shot featured his flailing dreadlocks and his trusty mahogany Les Paul Special, which he dubbed “Old Faithful.”