Well, I posted what my favorite Heavy Metal album cover, (ever), is on March 25, just a few days ago. Iron Maiden’s debut album – Iron Maiden was/is my choice. Now, for my favorite Hard Rock album cover, (ever), that I would like to share to all, on the planet we call… Earth. Nazareth – No Mean City. This incredibly underrated Rock meets Hard Rock album was released back in January of 1979. May The Sunshine has it’s unique style – from a folk chorus to it’s overlay of genuine Nazareth Rock, it’s a fun filled listen for me always. The ballad Star is another tremendous listen, showing just how Nazareth could diversify their sound with the upmost credibility. Just To Get Into It is indicative of Nazareth Hard Rock, with Dan McCafferty’s vocals spilling out in all of his raspy splendor.

This unreal great cover art on No Mean City just screams Heavy Metal… only this is seriously a Rock colliding with Hard Rock album, in my Metal opinion. Rodney Matthews is the artist/illustrator for this incredible No Mean City album cover. In doing my Metal research, Rodney Matthews has quite the illustrious career in illustrating album covers for many bands of notoriety: Scorpions, Magnum, Thin Lizzy, Tygers of Pan Tang and Diamond Head… just to name a few. I applaud this fantastically talented artist, he gets a Metal Odyssey nod of Metal approval – multi-tenfold!

A long time ago, in a Metal year far, far, away, I bought this No Mean City album from a “cut-out” bin at a record store called Strawberries Records & Tapes. If you like, you can check out the post I did on this legendary album, with a more detailed review, by clicking on the header below:


What is your favorite Hard Rock album cover? No Mean City just takes the Hard Rock cake for me.



  1. Hard to believe that is a cover from a hard rock album. The cover is so METAL.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      I agree! The songs are Hard Rock on No Mean City… and I still agree with anyone who wants to say Nazareth helped “shape” the “sound” of Heavy Metal. I’m not double talking, this is 1979 here, Heavy Metal was still being “unraveled” into what it had eventually become.

      If you listen to a Nazareth song like… “Hair Of The Dog”, I can slap “Metal” on that song for sure. Yet, the overall result of this particular album is Hard Rock greatness with some straight ahead Rock thrown in. A Classic.

      Plus… it looks like it’s out of print too! There are expensive imports out there for sale though.

  2. Didn’t realize this one was out of print….good lord! It is almost $90.00 at
    Good Music should not cost this much.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      My “No Mean City” is on vinyl… so I wonder what it is probably worth. It has a “cut-out” on the top right corner, so that probably devalues it a “tad”… otherwise, the rest of the album jacket and the vinyl itself is ultra excellent!!

      You are right on… good music should not cost so much. Good music should not be out of print!!

  3. Best “Hard Rock” album cover this time?
    Well…let’s see.

    I like the artwork of
    Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” (original cover),
    Helix “No Rest For The Wicked” (or would they be considered ‘metal’?),
    Great White “…Twice Shy”,
    Meatloaf “Bat Out Of Hell”, and

    probably the best…
    Molly Hatchet debut album

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Molly Hatchet… unreal great choice. I can’t get enough of the vintage Molly Hatchet. “The Creeper” is legend. I confess, staring at the debut Molly Hatchet cover is easy to do. Very dark and sinister it is. I always considered Helix as Heavy Metal… yet once a ballad kicks in, it’s basically Hard Rock time with them.

      Meat Loaf… that “Bat Out Of Hell” cover is easily anyone’s favorite. These are enormous covers you have mentioned.

      I chose “No Mean City” for it really screams horror to me. The artwork could work for any of the last four decades and now. The imagery of this artwork really camouflages the music that is actually on the album. (I guess the same can be said for “Bat Out Of Hell” too).

      I chose the album cover that has truly “stuck” inside my mind for years. I want to eventually frame and hang some of my albums… only this one I don’t have on any other medium besides vinyl and I still play it.

      Thanks for your list… it enriches the discussion of great Hard Rock album covers.


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