The most popular album cover of all time

A recent survey has named Ariana Grande’s album Positions as the most popular album cover of all time. The album cover received an average of 34,800 throughout 2021, according to Google data. This is Grande’s sixth studio album, having been released in 2020. It features a close-up black and white beauty shot of the 28-year-old-singer.

Three different versions of the iconic album cover were posted on Grande’s social media accounts in preparation in connection to the album’s release. Songs featured on the album include the titular track, ’34+35′ and ‘Nasty’. The single ‘Positions’ debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The findings are based on a survey conducted by SVG resource Design Bundles. The most iconic album covers from each decade since the 1960s were analysed to find which covers had the highest number of online searches around the world in 2021.

In second place is Donda, the latest album by Ye (commonly known by Kanye West). Donda, which is named after the rapper’s mother, received 27,600 online searches around the world in 2021. The volume of online searches is likely to be due to the lack of cover art when the album was first released on streaming platforms in August 2021.

Ye tweeted two versions of the album art in the lead up to Donda’s release, including an adaptation of a painting by artist Louise Bourgeois. However, Ye ultimately decided on a plain black square for the cover’s artwork.

Donda is Ye’s tenth studio album and contains 27 tracks, including ‘Off The Grid’, ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Pure Souls’.

Whilst Ye is a veteran of the music industry, it was a newcomer that claimed third place on the list of most popular album covers in 2021. Olivia Rodrigo is only 18-years-old and has already topped music charts around the world. Her 2021 debut album Sour, features cover art of Rodrigo in front of a purple background with her face covered in stickers and her tongue out. It was subject to 22,800 online searches around the world in 2021 after being released in May of the same year.

Rodrigo’s music has a cult following on Tiktok, where her single ‘Driver’s License’ went viral at the beginning of 2021. The album was recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown in the US and features songs such as ‘Deja Vu’ and ‘Brutal’.

What are the most popular album covers of all time?

English rock band Pink Floyd has the fourth most popular album cover, according to the survey. The band’s album cover for Wish You Were Here was googled 21,600 times over the course of 2021, over 46 years after the album was released. It features an image of two men shaking hands, whilst one of the figures is on fire. The two men in the photograph were stunt actors that were trained to work with fire, as one of the men was actually doused in gasoline and set alight.

Wish You Were Here was the ninth studio album by Pink Floyd and reached number one in both the US and UK. It has since sold over 20 million copies. Some of the acclaimed songs that feature on the album include ‘Have A Cigar’, ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Welcome To The Machine’.

Thriller, an album by the King of Pop in 1982, is in the fifth position of the most popular album covers rankings. Michael Jackson is pictured on the album cover in a white suit and reclining in front of a black background. Whilst it might not stand out as a great album cover on its own, fans might choose to google it to see the album cover of arguably the most popular album of all time.

Not only has album artwork proven to be popular nearly 40 years after its initial release, but the album itself has become the best-selling album of all time in the US. There have been over 70 million copies of Thriller sold, which means it has been certified platinum 34 times.

The table below shows the ten most popular album covers in 2021, based on Google searches from around the world.

Album  Google Searches in 2021 
Ariana Grande – Positions 34,800
Ye (Kanye West) – Donda 27,600
Olivia Rodrigo – Sour 22,800
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here 21,600
Michael Jackson – Thriller 18,000
Drake – Views 18,000
Taylor Swift – 1989 18,000
The Beatles – Abbey Road 16,800
Adele – 25 16,800
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours 15,600
Taylor Swift – Folklore 15,600

Canadian rapper and singer Drake has also proven to have a popular album cover. Views, the fourth album by Drake, was googled 18,000 times in 2021. The cover features a photograph of the singer sitting atop the CN Tower in his hometown of Toronto. The tower is 550 metres tall and was the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years. It has since been revealed that Drake was photoshopped on the album due to safety constraints, as well as to appear larger on the artwork.

Along with Views, cover art from Taylor Swift’s album 1989 also received 18,000 Google Searches in 2021. The 2014 album was titled after Swift’s year of birth and features a Polaroid-style image of the singer, from the nose downwards, along with her initials and the title at the bottom.

Abbey Road, The Beatles 1969 album, received 16,800 online searches in 2021. The album’s iconic cover shows the four band members of the band walking in a line across the zebra crossing outside of Abbey Road Studios. This image has become one of the most famous images in history and has often been imitated and parodied.

Songs on the Abbey Road album include ‘Here Comes The Sun’, ‘Come Together’ and ‘Something’. It has often been cited by critics as The Beatles’ best album, as well as one of the most memorable album covers of all time. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was the band’s eighth studio album, is also considered one of The Beatle’s greatest album covers. It features a crowd of famous faces standing behind the four Beatles.

Adele’s album titled 25 was also subject to 16,800 Google searches, which was the same volume as Abbey Road. The album cover features a black and white photo of the British singer staring directly at the camera. The album title for Adele’s third studio album was given its name as the album reflects the period of Adele’s life when she was 25-years-old.

Commenting on their findings a spokesperson from Design Bundles said “It’s been fascinating to see which album cover has been the most popular this year.  All album covers are a part of the artist’s story and can help the audience to form an understanding of their personality, as well as the album’s concept that the artist wishes to translate to the world. “

Fleetwood Mac have created many classic albums over the years, which is why it’s little wonder that their album cover is considered one of the most popular of all time. Their album, Rumours, was googled 15,600 times in 2021. The album cover shows a stylised photograph of Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood in front of a cream background.

Taylor Swift’s cover for her 2020 album Folklore was also googled 15,600 times in 2021. Swift is famous for pop and country rather than rock music like Fleetwood Mac. The album cover features a black and white image of the singer standing alone in a wood. Folklore was a surprise album that Swift recorded and released during the COVID-19 pandemic. The album was announced through a series of nine photos on Instagram that formed the album cover in full when viewed on her profile.

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