It looks like Kanye West is getting quite a bit of publicity from his claim over the weekend that the cover for his forthcoming album was banned. It is one of the hottest stories on music and entertainment blogs today.
In his numerous tweets about the album cover yesterday, West complained that there were album covers in the 1970s that featured nudity. However, West doesn't seem to realize that most of those album covers were either censored at the request of retailers by placing them in plain brown wrappers or by having stickers placed on the offending parts of the cover.
Two Virgins: Untitled Music No. 1, the 1968 experimental album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (above right) is an excellent example. While the album cover that features Lennon and Ono in full frontal nudity is commonly displayed online today, it was not displayed in retail stores when it was released.
In fact, entire shipments of the album were seized by authorities as obscene material in several US jurisdictions. It was one of several album covers by Lennon and The Beatles that were censored over the years. There is very little risk of Kanye West having the same experience as Lennon and Ono.
West's record label has clarified that the album cover was not banned. They simply suggested that it be changed in order to prevent retailers like Walmart from refusing to display the album face out on store shelves.
I think that West should use the cover and place it in a brown wrapper similar to the one used for the classic Two Virgins album. It could look something like the image below. It would also be a fitting tribute to John Lennon and the countless other artists who have had their album covers censored in the past.