Awesome Album Covers: Beastie Boys And “Licensed To Ill”
A few weeks ago when we considered [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Beastie Boys[/lastfm]‘ Licensed To Ill as a Best Seller From the ’80s, we noted it was considered either trash or innovative at the time, depending on your point of view.
Of course, now the Beastie Boys are due to be inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, so obviously opinions are shifting in the “innovative” direction.
As for the cover of the album, whether or not it’s truly “awesome” is up for debate, too, along with the question of what it all means.
“We kind of carefully assembled the plane from photographs,” designer Steve Byram is quoted as saying The Greatest Album Covers of All Time. “A bit like the way air accident investigators reassemble a crashed plane.”
Created with ink and collage, before computer graphics were prominent, the front cover of the record depicts the tail end of the Beastie Boys’ jet (or at least their fantasy idea of a jet). The plane raps around the cover then wraps itself, figuratively, around a mountain side.
Was it where the Beasties thought their careers were going at the time? Or was it a graphic depiction of the impact the record would make on the world.
The latter is more likely as the record broke down boundaries between rock and rap, achieved mass popularity inside of two months and the Boys are headed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.