In the mockumentary, the original cover, according to recording company representative Bobbi Fleckmann (played by Fran Drescher), featured "a greased, naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck and a leash, and a man's arm extended out...holding on to the leash and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it." Fleckmann suggests that the cover is sexist, leading Nigel Tufnel to wonder, "what's wrong with being sexy?" The production company, Polymer Records, ultimately refused to release the cover because of pressure from retailers such as Sears and Kmart and gave the album a solid black cover instead.
Upon learning of the concerns of Polymer, David St. Hubbins said, "You know, if we were serious and we said, ‘Yes, she should be forced to smell the glove,’ then you’d have a point, but it’s all a joke." Bandmate Nigel Tufnel replied, "It is and it isn’t. She should be made to smell it, but..." which David clarified with the statement, "But not, you know, over and over." Fleckman responded that it was now the 1980s, and the band needed to stop trying to shock audiences like it was the 1960s.
Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith claimed to have censored the album himself, saying "You should have seen the cover they wanted to do. It wasn't a glove, believe me!" The black sleeve prompted guitarist Nigel Tufnel to utter the now-famous quote, "It's like, 'how much more black could this be?' and the answer is 'None. None more black.'" In an early piece of publicity for the film, a 1982 ad in Billboard magazine plugged the album and displayed the original "naked woman" cover. Tap returned to this idea in 1992 with the picture sleeve from the promo CD of Bitch School, which pictured a woman dressed in black vinyl with a mortarboard.