In a classic Saturday Night Live Sketch in 2000, the show satirised the game show Celebrity Jeopardy â€“ skewering both Robin Williams and Catherine Zeta Jones. But the breakout star of the sketch was comedian Darrel Hammondâ€™s Sean Connery, who introduced the term â€œanal bum coverâ€ in this memorable exchange:
Alex Trebek: For the last time, that is not a category. Sean Connery, why don’t you pick?
Sean Connery: Well, the game is afoot. I’ll take anal bum cover for 7,000.
Alex Trebek: That’s “An album cover”, not anal bum cover.
Sean Connery: I can read, Trebek. That says Anal bum cover. I’ve spent five years of my life trying to invent an anal bum cover, failing to do so is my greatest regret.
So in tribute to this obscure but resilient meme, we celebrate 7 great covers with backsides on the brain. Bottoms up!
Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA (1984)
The undisputed heavyweight of album covers with bottoms on their front belongs to The Boss.
Born in the USA was the best-selling album of 1985 and shares the record for the most top ten hits from a single release. Springsteen was already a big star but, as one commentator puts it, it wasnâ€™t until he â€œhit the gym to get buffed up and showed off his rear end in Annie Leibovitzâ€™s famous cover photo for Born in the USA that he became an American pop icon.â€
Springsteenâ€™s new image came at just the right moment, as Rambo was hitting cinemas and Reagan was ushering in a period of muscular nationalism.
The irony that underscores this cover is that the vast majority of Springsteenâ€™s new fans radically misinterpreted his lyrics and ideology. The patriots that packed stadiums and cheered on his anthems were blissfully unaware that they may as well have been nuns at a Madonna concert, delighted to see so many crucifixes on stage.
The contradiction was certainly not lost on Springsteen, who had to be convinced to use Leibowitzâ€™s photo for the cover. Ultimately he did and the image was also incorporated in the video for the title track.
Born in the USA is one of the most imitated covers of all time. (The following examples were all found on music site AMiRIGHT)
The 2 Live Crew â€“ As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989)
Rarely was an album so aptly named, or a band so enamored by the backside. This cover is not what youâ€™d describe as a design masterpiece, nor is the photograph anything less than ridiculous. And funnily enough, the bling and bum combo on the cover is the chastest thing about As Nasty As They Wanna Be, which was declared by more than one local court to be â€œobscene and illegal to sellâ€.
While their LA contemporaries were terrifying the moral majority with gangster rap, the Miami-based 2 Live Crew achieved it with pure filth. The single â€œMe So Hornyâ€ features a raft of romantic lyrics sure to melt the heart of any young lady:
â€œI wonâ€™t tell your mama if you donâ€™t tell your dad
I know heâ€™ll be disgusted when he sees your pussy busted
Wont your mama be so mad if she knew I got that ass?
Iâ€™m a freak in heat, a dog without warning
My appetite is sex, cause me so hornyâ€
In a later verse, Fresh kid ice adds:
â€œYou said it yourself, you like it like I do
Put your lips on my dick, and suck my asshole tooâ€
The band also released a PG-version, As Clean As They Wanna Be, which came with the cute disclaimer “This album does not contain explicit lyrics.”
While the controversy surrounding As Nasty As They Wanna Be contributed to sales of over 2 million units, As Clean As They Wanna Be stayed on the shelves.
With battles over both censorship and copyright issues, The 2 Live Crew is one of the few bands to have their case taken to the Supreme Court.
Echoing their enthusiasm for both pop-culture references and female buttocks, the next release was a cheeky tribute to Born in the USA.
Loverboy â€“ Get Lucky (1981)
Loverboy spent the eighties creating anthems that make you feel like youâ€™re flying down a freeway.Â Even the titles of Get Luckyâ€™s hit singles scream epic good times: Working for the Weekend, Lucky Ones, Gangs in the Street and Take Me to the Top.
Get Luckyâ€™s cover, featuring a confusing image from photographer David Kennedy, is striking in its simplicity. Thereâ€™s something genuinely charming about the crossed fingers, which perfectly bring to life the hopeful optimism of the albumâ€™s title.
According to Wikipedia, the famous derriere belongs to the photographerâ€™s daughter Tymara Christen Kennedy, which is not at all creepy.
Various Artists â€“ Ripper â€˜76 (1976)
I know very little about this hits compilation, except for the fact that its cover is amazing. It also must have shifted a few copies, as the motif was repeated the following year.
Eagles of Death Metal: Death by Sexy (2006)
They got their name when frontman Jess Hughes heard bandmate Josh Homme describe death metal group Vadar as â€œThe Eagles of death metalâ€. The striking turn of phrase inspired Hughes to consider what that mix would actually sound like.
This enthusiasm for pastiche continues on the cover of Death by Sexy, the bandâ€™s second album. Recognisable influences for this anal bum cover include the Stoneâ€™s Sticky Fingers, Too Fast for Love by Motley Crue, Get Lucky and Born in the USA.
In many ways, itâ€™s a perfect companion piece to the cover by The Donnas.
The Donnas â€“ Bitchinâ€™ (2007)
Read a previous Sleevage entry about this cover here
Sigur RÃ³s – MeÃ° suÃ° Ã eyrum viÃ° spilum endalaust (2008)
The latest album from everyoneâ€™s favourite Icelandic post-rock band features a photograph by contemporary artist Ryan McGinley. Itâ€™s taken from a 2008 series of his called I Know Where the Summer Goes (the title of which was taken from an early B-side by Belle & Sebastian).
McGinleyâ€™s primary artistic focus is youth and for this series he traveled America with a troupe of models. He photographed them sometimes clothed and sometimes naked, frolicking across vast, sunlit landscapes. The cover image evokes a feeling of freedom and joy, which is perhaps why the band chose it for an album titled (in English) â€œWith A Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlesslyâ€.
Strokes: Is This It (2001)
Yes, this is it. This is the sexiest Anal Bum cover in the history of mankind. The Strokeâ€™s debut was that rare beast â€“ an album that exceeded its considerable hype musically and then matched its sonic genius with an iconic cover.
The image was the result of an impromptu photo shoot by photographer Colin Lane. His girlfriend at the time possessed the fetching figure you see on the cover. As she tells it: â€œI walked out of the shower and I was completely naked,â€ she recalls. â€œI was walking around the house â€“ he was like, put this glove on. I walked over, boom, that was the shot.â€
Lane told NME that â€œa stylist left the glove in my apartment. I begged my girlfriend at the time to do it. We did about 10 shots. There was no real inspiration, I was just trying to take a sexy picture.â€
He succeeded and, he says, his â€œex-girlfriend was thrilled – she was a very rock ‘n’ roll girl so itâ€™s a big feather in her cap to have her ass on The Strokesâ€™ cover.â€
She tells the story herself in this video, originally posted by Goldenfiddle.
Call out: If you know of any Anal Bum Covers we’ve missed out on, please let us know. It’s important this list grows.
Not a fan of the rear? Check out the flipside here