Sex and rock 'n' roll go together like insanity and reality TV. Many musicians' best work has been inspired by their desire to get laid. So, when they're looking to visually represent their work, naturally the physical act of love (or, at the very least, some lusty imagery) comes into plays. Sometimes beautiful, often trashy, they provide a window into the minds of rock stars, which are quite similar to those of teenagers. Here is a list of the ten best visual intersections of music and sexuality.
10. O'Donel Levy
Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky
Baltimore soul-jazz guitarist O'Donel Levy was known in the '70s for greasy licks and loose interpretations of standards and pop hits. Nowadays he's mostly known for one of the straight-up nastiest album covers of all time. If you ever wondered where the term “booty juice” originated, this ass-tastic photo should provide you a pretty good idea.
Sexiness Factor: 2 (big cheeks)
This Is Hardcore
This group of louche Sheffielders broke into the Britpop scene in the mid-1990s after a decade of catchy, literate tunes about being too smart, class-conscious and awkward for their own good. After hitting it big with 1995's “Common People,” Jarvis Cocker became one of pop's most unlikely sex symbols. How did he respond? By getting into cocaine and lots of kinky creepiness. This cover depicts a model who looks either dead or made of plastic, but the odd angles and declaration that album title more than makes up for the abused RealDoll aesthetic.
Sexiness Factor: 7 (deadly sins)
8. Louis XIV
The Best Little Secrets Are Kept
Naked women with writing all over their backs are quite sexy. It helps that Louis XIV wrote a bunch of testosterone-fueled garage ditties about naked women who like writing all over their backs. While the mentality is juvenile and some of the lyrics sexist and culturally insensitive, the record (and cover) remind us that rock 'n' roll is, at its core, about being young and horny.
Sexiness Factor: About 17 (Standin' next to the record machine)
Celibate, my ass. The notoriously intercourse-eschewing Moz was at his pirate-shirt sexiest on this album cover. The face, tongue, abs and phallic microphone probably caused fainting spells. The music inside was loud, vital and rockabilly-influenced, and it contained his best spate of songs since The Smiths' epochal The Queen Is Dead. The total package was enough to get women and men of all predilections hot and bothered.
Sexiness Factor: 0 (Because “look but don't touch” is just frustrating)
6. The Black Crowes
This patriotic photo celebration of bush debuted as part of a bicentennial spread in Hustler. Really, this isn't sexy so much as sex-positive, but that can be the same thing. Especially when it seems like 2012 is way more uptight than 1976. The Black Crowes, for their part, jammed out on the record like they were still firmly ensconced in the Dazed and Confusedera South.
Sexiness Factor: 76 (Duh)
5. Lil' Kim
La Bella Mafia
Suspenders aren't just for your grandfather, it turns out . Kim, who at 4'11″ actually has greater boob circumference than height, looks like some kind of Cabaret-obsessed hooker on this quite-solid album. In this case, the breast-fest on the outside was matched by some pretty raunchy music inside. “Magic Stick” became a huge hit, and it will no doubt disturb the next generation to think of their parents grinding to it at dances. Kim celebrated her good fortune by promptly being convicted of perjury and heading to prison.
Sexiness Factor: 5 to 15 (time off for bad behavior)
4. The StrokesIs This It
This album cover is, like the music it encases, both timeless and goofy, like the masterpiece of an indie-rock Spinal Tap. The gorgeous lily-white ass is matched by the BDSM-suggestive black leather-gloved hand casually placed above it, almost inviting us to, well, stroke something. As for the band, several albums and side projects followed, but never again were the Strokes so musically or pictorially interesting.
Sexiness Factor: 2001 (An Ass Odyssey)
3. Sugar Ray
Lemonade and Brownies
This band is anything but sexy. Even if you thought Mark McGrath was hot, the fratty rich-guy attitude (and admittedly small genitalia) would be turn-offs in the long run. Like most famous skirt-chasers, he had better taste in album cover models (Nicole Eggert) than one-night-stands (Paris Hilton… ew). Eggert is lying naked with her ass in the air, ready for doggy-style action. Even a hetero woman like myself will say “Damn!”
Sexiness Factor: 14:59 (They were right on the money with that later album title)
2. Roxy Music
The original '70s rock 'n' roll sexiest album cover. Despite losing Brian Eno to solo work and producing gigs, Roxy Music may have hit their musical peak with this 1974 album. The jeans of their entire male fanbase probably peaked upon sight of models Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald barely containing their assets. Singer Bryan Ferry met the two on holiday in Portugal, which goes to show that everyone should follow the simple rule “Always do what Bryan Ferry does.”
Sexiness Factor: (Disco) 2000
Chocolate and Cheese
Ween + model Ashley Savage's underboob and bare midriff + wrestling championship-style belt = sexy awesomeness. The freaky musical geniuses from New Hope, PA had a history of silly sexual references and innuendoes in their music, but they upped the ante with this joyously inappropriate cover pic, which would have been even more so if the bottom (Savage's bare naked lady parts) hadn't been airbrushed. This cover would have gotten the album sold even if it were not chock full of dementedly great music.
Sexiness Factor: ∞ (infinitely sexy)