This gallery doesn't include every significant album to feature the flag on its cover, but it constitutes a healthy cross-section. Is your favorite here? The albums are shown in chronological order.
Sly & the Family Stone, There's A Riot Goin' On. The group's fourth studio album topped The Billboard 200 for two weeks in December 1971. It included the #1 hit "Family Affair." The waving American flag, with suns in place of stars, seems ironic, given how fractured the country was at the time.
Don McLean, American Pie. McLean's second album topped the chart for seven weeks in early 1972. The title track hit #1 on the Hot 100 and became one of the most talked-about singles of its time.
John Wayne, America, Why I Love Her. The Duke released this album in the spring of 1973, when such unabashed displays of patriotism were seen as uncool. Wayne, who had won an Oscar for True Grit three years before, was at the peak of his iconic fame. The album, which included "The Pledge Of Allegiance" and "Taps," climbed to #66.
Curtis Mayfield, Back To The World. Mayfield's third regular studio album topped the R&B Albums chart for two weeks in July 1973. It peaked at #16 on The Billboard 200. The album, which addressed the concerns of a Vietnam veteran coming back to the States, featured the top 40 hit "Future Shock."
Johnny Cash, Ragged Old Flag. The country music legend took this issue-oriented album to #16 on the country chart in 1974. It was Cash's first album on which he wrote all the songs by himself.
Berlin's #1 hit "Take My Breath Away," which won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Cruise's co-star Kelly McGillis is also seen on the cover.
Beastie Boys, Licensed To Ill. The flag is painted on the airplane on the cover of the trio's debut album, which logged seven weeks at #1 in 1987. It spawned the top 10 hit "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)."
Ice Cube, Death Certificate. The flag is draped over a corpse in the morgue on the cover of Ice Cube's third solo album. The album topped the R&B chart for three weeks in December 1991 and reached #2 on The Billboard 200. The toe tag reads "Uncle Sam."
Lee Greenwood, American Patriot. Greenwood's album contained his 1984 recording "God Bless The U.S.A." The album didn't chart when it was first released in 1992, but it had a huge impact after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. It topped the Catalog Albums chart for nine weeks.
Everclear, Songs From An American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time For A Bad Attitude. The rock trio's fourth album reached #66 in 2000. It featured "When It All Goes Wrong Again."
Brooks & Dunn, Steers & Stripes. The duo's seventh studio album topped the Country Albums chart in May 2001. It reached #4 on The Billboard 200. The title, a play on "Stars & Stripes," addresses two key aspects of country culture-cowboys and patriotism. The album spawned three top 40 hits, including "Only In America."
Martina McBride, Greatest Hits. McBride's first hits compilation topped the Country Albums chart for three weeks in October 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks. It reached #5 on The Billboard 200.
Darryl Worley, Have You Forgotten? Worley's third album topped the Country Albums chart for four weeks in May 2003. It reached #4 on The Billboard 200. The title song, which referenced the 9/11 attacks, became a top 30 hit.
Saving Abel, Miss America. The rock band's second studio album reached #24 in 2010. It featured "The Sex Is Good."
Hinder, All American Nightmare. The rock band's third album reached #37 in 2010. It featured "Life." The tattered flag reinforces the album's title.
Rise Against, Endgame. The rock band's sixth album peaked at #2 in April 2011. The traditional image also features amber waves of grain and a farmhouse.
- Lee Greenwood
- Ice Cube