We have a look back at the fascinating tales behind some of our favourite album covers. This month: Hole’s Live Through This (1994).
Elated and bawling, the cover girl on Hole’s second album Live Through This is clearly living her best life… isn’t she?
In the year of its release, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love told MTV she “wanted to capture the look on a woman’s face as she’s being crowned… this sort of ecstatic, blue eyeliner running, kind of ‘I am, I am – I won! I have hemorrhoid cream under my eyes and adhesive tape on my ass, and I had to scratch and claw and f-ck my way up, but I won Miss Congeniality!”
The model is Leilani Bishop, captured by photographer Ellen von Unwerth, who has snapped the cover images for several albums by notable female musicians including Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope (1997), Britney Spears’ Blackout (2007) and Rihanna’s Talk That Talk (2011). The Hole logo, appearing for the first time on this cover, resembles that of Mattel’s Barbie doll.
The artwork reflects Live Through This’s themes of motherhood, beauty standards, violence against women, and anti-elitism; ironically, Love has fielded accusations that the album (and subsequent Hole releases) was actually written by her late husband Kurt Cobain – the record hit the shelves just one week after Cobain’s untimely death.
Live Through This reached position 13 in the Australian and UK charts, but its sales eventually reached platinum status in Australia, Canada and the States, and gold status in the UK.