Photo Of The Day

Photo/Storm Thorgerson Burning Man is literally burning, but is wearing an asbestos suit and asbestos wig. Pink Floyd:  Wish You Were Here/vinyl front, 1975. EMI.

Photo/Storm Thorgerson
Burning Man is literally burning, but is wearing an asbestos suit and asbestos wig.
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here/vinyl front, 1975. EMI.

Storm Thorgerson, Pink Floyd Album Art Designer

The death of Storm Thorgerson was both the end of an era and the reminder of the end of another era. Thorgerson was one of the premier rock-album designers of the seventies.

Thorgerson’s death is a reminder of a larger transition in popular music: the fact that the visual accompaniment has changed drastically. During the nineteen-fifties and early nineteen-sixties, the dominant language for LP cover art was portraiture.

Things changed in the late sixties, when Peter Blake created the high-concept cover for the Beatles’ ”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and even legitimate Pop artists like Andy Warhol supplied covers or concepts for bands like the Velvet Underground and the Rolling Stones. Thorgerson and other top designers of the seventies (Peter Corriston, for example, who was perhaps the most innovative of all, with his die-cut work for Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” and the Stones’ ”Some Girls”) built on the backs of these innovations, and they paved the way for New-Wave and post-punk starts like Peter Saville.

Storm Thorgerson, was a British graphic designer who created album covers for Pink FloydLed ZeppelinMuseGenesisPhish and many other major rock bands, he died after a long battle with cancer, when  he was 69, in 2013.

Thorgerson is most well-known for his long relationship with Pink Floyd, designing the vast majority of their album covers, including Dark Side of the MoonWish You Were Here and Animals.

“We first met in our early teens,” David Gilmour said in a statement.  “We would gather at Sheep’s Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge and Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has ever really changed. He has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend.  The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work.”

Thorgerson grew up in Cambridge, England and initially dreamed of being a filmmaker, but around the age of 15 he decided to focus on art. He met Roger Waters, Syd Barrett and David Gilmour in grade school and they remained very tight friends, and Thorgerson was a constant presence during the early days of Pink Floyd.

He formed the graphic art group Hipgnosis in 1967 with his friend Aubrey Powell in 1967. Their first major work was the cover for Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets the following year. It was a huge success and more work came his way, including Led Zeppelin’s PresencePeter Gabriel’s first three solo albums and Black Sabbath’s Technical Ecstasy. In more recent years he created art for MusePhish, The Cranberries, Biffy Clyro, Anthrax and Megadeth

Thorgerson spoke with Rolling Stone in 2011 about working with Pink Floyd. “I don’t have much to say about music,” he said. “Usually I like it, and I just absorb it. I don’t have much to say, and they ain’t let me say anything anyway. They say ,’For God’s sake, Storm, do not harm our song. Do not murder our tune.’ So I never say anything, really, about the music. I just let it go over, really, I suppose. It’s my job to reinterpret it, really.”

His famous Dark Side of the Moon prism and rainbow design is probably the most enduring image from his career. “It related mostly to a light show,” he told Rolling Stone. “The other thing was the triangle. I think the triangle, which is a symbol of thought and ambition, was very much a subject of Roger’s lyrics. So the triangle was a very a useful – as we know, obviously – was a very useful icon to deploy and making it into the prism – you know, the prism belonged to the Floyd.”

Despite all the changes that Pink Floyd went through over the years, they continued to work with Thorgerson until the very end of their career, even bringing him back to design the covers of their compilations, live albums and box set.

In another 2011 interview, Thorgerson estimated that he had designed over 300 albums. “I don’t really keep count,” he said. “I’m privileged to work with music, so I’m happy to work . . . As long as I can keep working, and paying the rent as they call it over in England, then I’m relatively happy.”

Rolling Stone

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