The image for The Black Keys album, El Camino is anything but.◊ No vintage muscle car is visible, only a rusted, white van with faux wood paneling.
The band Roxy Music always used women on their album covers despite the fact there were no women in the band. They did this because they wanted to evoke exotica covers and magazine covers of the 50s. The fact that Roxy is also a woman's name led a lot of people to buy the albums thinking it was female sung exotica from Latin America, not male sung art rock from England.
If you saw the cover for the 2003 album Bananas◊ by Deep Purple without knowing who the band were, you could be forgiven for thinking it was some sort of reggae/world music album instead of the blues based hard rock the band are known for performing.
This cover◊ for the album Share the Fantasy by Godheadsilo makes it seem like a Black Metal-esque cover, but the music is really psychedelic noise rock.
This cover◊ for the album Visit Me by R&B group Changing Faces. Which would suggest a lot of sex driven songs. It's not... the album has nothing to do with sexual themes or topics. The album consists of Lighter and Softer R&B songs about relationships and the inherent drama.
The Kinks' album Face to Face features an iconic 60s cover that includes a white background, and some pretty psychedelic colors and art. The Kinks' frontman, Ray Davies, has stated that he was never happy with the cover, and that he thought a simple black cover much better suited the style of the album itself.
Nearly every single Super Eurobeat cover lives and breathes this trope, quite notably in Super Eurobeat 175◊, which features upbeat and fun tunes such as this.
Famously, the cover for Led Zeppelin IV (which doesn't even feature a title!) shows a significantly weathered image of an old man on a rural road, suggesting that the record was going to be nothing but hippie folk music. While there is some of that ("The Battle Of Evermore," for instance), the tracks that most people remember from this album are the heavy metal standards "Black Dog" and "Rock and Roll" - and "Stairway to Heaven," which actually starts out as a medieval ballad, but has morphed into a full-blown headbanger by the climax.
This was entirely intentional, as was leaving out the band's name entirely from the cover. They wanted to show the critics their music could stand on their own without all the hype surrounding them. Of course, everyone knew who made that album anyway, so...
Some album covers, such as certain editions of Front Line Assembly's Civilization, list the tracks in the wrong order.
My Brightest Diamond's album A Thousand Sharks Teeth consists of a photo of Shara Worden playing an accordion. There's no accordion to be heard anywhere on the album.
A Canadian band who called themselves the "Rainbow Butt Monkeys" released their sole album "Letters from Chutney" with an extremely odd photo of three 50s looking women on lawn mowers. A total lack of monkeys is noticeable, as well as the fact that you would have no idea that this is a straight up grunge record until you started it up. though seeing the band in the inlay may give you a hint◊. The band later changed their name to Finger Eleven and still release albums.
Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed shows Reed posing in a leather jacket, sunglasses on the nose, looking badass. So you would expect this album to be a rock record, right? Wrong, it's nothing but droning and screeching guitar feedback that is Sensory Abuse to the ears!
The cover for the single release of the Genesis song "The Knife" is a group picture of the classic line-up, including Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, who don't perform on the track in question (the album it came from, Trespass, was made before either of them joined the band, and it featured Anthony Phillips and John Mayhew on guitar and drums, respectively).
Some editions of Horrendous Disc had the wrong track listing. The initial pressing for the Canadian market just reused the same sleeve and track listing as the original US version—even though the Canadian version had one less song.
While shooting the cover photo for Vox Humana, the keyboardist Rob Watson wasn't available. The band got Leo Sorentino (tour manager for The Choir) to stand in for Watson—even though the two don't look very much alike.
When "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" was first released as a single on Sugar Hill Records, the cover credited it to Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel: In reality, Melle Mel was the only one of the two credited artists who appeared on the song, as Grandmaster Flash had already left the label a year earlier. That said, there is a version of the song that features both Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash - both rappers made guest appearances on Duran Duran's Cover Version.