The worst record covers ever made? See for yourself at Williamson Art Gallery exhibition

From the unintentionally funny to the completely bizarre, Steve Goldman’s collection of more than 500 record covers is something to behold.

Collected over a seven-year period from charity shops and online marketplaces, Goldman’s selection criteria is stringent: Is this one of the worst record covers in the world?

Visitors to Birkenhead’s Williamson Art Gallery & Museum will be able to make up their own minds when they go on display in November. Worst Record Covers is a unique celebration of some of the most questionable design choice in music history.

Goldman explains that to get into his collection, a cover “has to make me laugh! There are plenty of covers which are bad for the wrong reasons – sexist, homophobic, racist, gory etc,- you won’t find any of these. I want records where the designers have tried to do something that’s gone horribly wrong.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to have their say on which is the best – or worst – via a public vote to select a favourite. This is an exhibition which can be enjoyed by the whole family, and younger visitors can enjoy games and activities, including designing their own worst record covers.

Goldman is a stroke survivor and is staging the exhibition in aid of Different Strokes, a charity helping younger stroke survivors.

The exhibition’s opening will also mark the publication of Goldman’s book “The Art Of The Bizarre Vinyl Sleeve”, published by Easy On The Eye Books. The text is written by Simon Robinson at Easy On The Eye, who has produced many sleeve designs himself (happily none of which feature in Steve’s collection!) with a foreword written by comedian Stewart Lee.

The exhibition is open 15 November 2023 – 27 January 2024 at the Williamson Art Gallery.

On Friday 15 December, the Williamson will be holding a very special Worst Records Christmas Party. In the spirit of the show, the team from Birkenhead’s own Skeleton Records will be spinning the best, worst and most unexpected records to get you in the festive spirit, with a bar by Homebrew Bottle Shop, Oxton. Free tickets are available to book here

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