71 Cringey Vintage Album Covers From Yugoslavia

Having visited most of the countries of the former Yugoslavia, I was interested and rather shocked to find that there is quite a lot of nostalgia for those times among certain members of the population, who look back fondly at a time of peace and relative prosperity under strongman leader Josip Tito.

Tito’s death, followed by the eventual dissolution of the country into 6 independent states, reopened deep ethnic tensions that sparked a bloody conflict, the aftermath of which is still felt today.

Music was a great source of unity for the Yugoslavs, with people enjoying genres from folk to disco and heavy metal performed by artists from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Bosnians and Montenegrins shared the stage to create beautiful music, alongside soulful Roma and Albanian artists who brought even more exotic and unique sounds.

This era is gloriously captured in these cheesy album covers, which, like most of the 70s and 80s stuff we see from any country, looks just ridiculous now. Back in those days, it was all about the music, you could be famous without needing to look a certain way, like pop musicians seem to now. And while it’s tempting to scroll through and mock these artists for their cheesy and ‘ugly’ looks, I urge you to at least check out the work of Šaban Bajramović. Time Magazine voted Bajramović in the top 10 best jazz musicians ever, and his soulful voice, full of anguish and emotion, is a joy to behold. Known as the ‘King of Romani Music,’ Šaban’s work has been copied and stolen countless times, and you have undoubtedly heard him sing if you have seen any of Emir Kusturica‘s classic films Time of the Gypsies, Underground or Black Cat, White Cat.

So scroll down to check out these classic (and hilarious) album covers for yourself, and check out some of the amazing music behind them!

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