So. Today in the UK - f America, right? - Prince releases yet another tinny album with terrible artwork. There was a time when not only was his music the best in the world, but the accompanying album packaging was stunning. In the 80's, Prince had the finest production team in popular music. His album art was usually done by Warner Bros. creative director Jeff Ayeroff and Jeri McManus Heiden, who were always able to merge something really cool with something iconic and commercial.
In 1985, Prince followed up his breakthrough Purple Rain with an enigmatic album (Around The World In A Day) that had cover art casting him as Hendrixinan-neo-urban-folkie-spiritualist. Which is a wordy way of saying it's very 60's:
In 1986, he made a U-turn toward complete fashion glamour with Parade:
In 1987, he released the double LP opus, Sign O' The Times, which has this mysterious image, again kind of mining psychedelic rock imagery:
And in 1988, he shocked everyone with a (literally) cheeky, phallic Jean Baptiste Mondino image. There was a time when Prince was inspired by something other than his Photoshop skills at home in Minnesota.
Even his Paisley Park label cohorts received gorgeous visuals. The Family - in this case, Susannah Melvoin and St. Paul Peterson - were photographed by legendary fashion photographer Horst for this elegant album cover. Like a 1940's dream.