I mean its clear what Queen’s Greatest Hits Volume III was trying to tell us: they did not have that many hits. Brian May’s ad jingle (Driven By You), The Great Pretender and some Wyclef Jean old man rap cover barely pads the thing out. But sometimes album covers have secrets, which need to be teased out*. Take Queen’s Greatest Hits (as an example, though feel free to shoplift it and then destroy in the usual manner):

Greatest Hits

Pretty cheap graphic design as befits the early eighties, yes? The four stations of this anti-crucifix, vaguely reminiscent of the horrible Bohemian Rhapsody video, but on the whole just a cheap cash in disk with a knocked off cover. THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK. But look closer. The disembodied diamond, at a slight angle, what does that remind you of? Anything? How about…

General Zod in the Phantom Zone

Yes, clearly this album cover is telling us that rather than a somewhat fey rock band, Queen were actually intergalactic super-villains. Clearly the designer is suggesting that rather than being allowed to unleash their super-powered guitar rock evil anthems on the world, they should be imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. Surely the name Freddie Mercury was a hint to his extraterrestrial origins (I believe he also reveled in the supervillain name “Mr Farenheit”).

Leaving them at large was clearly risking the kind of destruction witnessed in Superman II. One can only be thankful that the President of the USA was never made to “Kneel before Mercury”. One can only imagine the horrors what would have ensued.

*Don’t even start with Abbey Road. There are no hidden secrets on the Abbey Road album cover, and the only significance of Paul in no shoes is that someone should have strewn the zebra crossing with broken glass.