The cover was designed by Beadrall Sutcliffe and resembled that of a of the era, parodying ' . It contains plain brown cardboard with "The Who Live At Leeds" printed on it in plain blue or red block letters as if stamped on with ink (on the original first English pressing of 300, this stamp is black). The original cover opened out, gatefold-style, and had a pocket on either side of the interior, with the record in a paper sleeve on one side and 12 facsimiles of various memorabilia on the other, including a photo of the band from the photoshoot in March 1965, handwritten lyrics to the "Listening to You" chorus from , the typewritten lyrics to "", with hand written notes, a receipt for smoke bombs, a rejection letter from EMI, and the early black "Maximum R&B" poster showing wind-milling his . The first 500 copies included a copy of the contract for the Who to play at the .
After Tommy it wasn't so risky and it was time for it. They did a gig at a college in England, recorded it, dug it, and came up with The Who Live At Leeds. , who is the best critic of rock and roll in the world (his two interviews in Rolling Stone, at any rate, are the most brilliant and provocative dissertations on what rock and roll is, how it works, and what it's for that I've ever read), packaged the record in such a way as to heighten its function as a document (included are a lyric sheet for "My Generation" in Townshend's own hand, rejection slips from record companies and cancellations of gigs, old pay sheets, a great poster from the Marquee Club in London, circa about 1964, a receipt for smoke-bombs, a line-up for a strings-and-flute band called Brian Carroll and the Playboys affixed to a few lines from Tommy . . . wonderful stuff). Townshend also arranged the cover in such a way as to satirize, take advantage of the commercial potential of, and avoid – bootlegging. It's a tour-de-force of the rock and roll imagination.