On May 9, 2006, Red Hot Chili Peppers released the amazing 28-track double album “Stadium Arcadium”. The album features some of the Peppers biggest hits and is infamous for being the last album featuring John Frusciante on guitar. The music on the album is timeless and memorable but the album cover itself, featuring yellow “Superman” lettering and a blue background is anything but.
Initially, legendary artist Storm Thorgerson, known for providing iconic album artwork for numerous bands including just about every Pink Floyd album cover along with T. Rex, Led Zeppelin, Muse & countless other bands was asked to create the cover art for “Stadium Arcadium”. Thorgerson provided at least three possible covers for the album, however, his ideas were ultimately rejected.
Thorgerson publicly denounced the chosen artwork, stating:
“For the Stadium Arcadium cover they elected to feature the title in ‘superman’ lettering which was already old fashioned in itself, plus some “planetary embroidery” and that was it! It was trite, dull and derivative completely unlike the music, which was colourful, eclectic, imaginative, positive, and endlessly inventive. I am not often inclined to publicly criticise the work of others for I see little purchase in it, but there is, in this instance a vested interest, for the Peppers turned down our offerings in favour of this piece of unadventurous graphics. How could they?”
Here are the Thorgerson “Stadium Arcadium” offerings he spoke of.
The last rejected sketch (shown above) did end up becoming an album cover but it was for the album “Mode. Set. Clear” by New Zealand rock band Villainy.
The inside of the “Stadium Arcadium” album did include a cool photo of Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Frusciante & Chad Smith recreating the classic “football helmets” album cover of “Odds & Sods” by The Who. Click photo or link below to read about the Peppers homage to The Who.