You May Not Know His Name…



The name “Storm Thorgerson” either means something to you or it doesn’t. Those of you in the know may recall that Storm Thorgerson is one of the handful of famous album cover designers. In fact, most of you would be hard-pressed to name another one. Thorgerson, who would have been 73 this February 28th, (he died in 2013), is responsible (both as a solo artist or with his graphic arts group Hipgnosis) for a staggering amount of classic album covers.

This one’s probably the most famous. I’ve never heard this album. Is it any good?

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Here’s Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, supposedly inspired by the end of Childhood’s End, a book by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke.

 

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Here’s Deloused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta. Thorgerson would explore the idea of strange variations on the human form in a number of his covers.

 

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For example, here’s another Floyd one, The Division Bell. Notice how the two faces appear in profile, but taken together they create the illusion of another face looking straight at the camera. Also, I don’t care what anyone says. This album is pretty good.

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Here’s one that’s loads better than the actual music within. The cover of Audioslave’s debut album plays with the human form in its own way; notice how the lone person is dwarfed by both the landscape and the golden fire.

Audioslave - Audioslave.jpg

Those are just a few examples. Thorgerson’s body of work spans decades and is always thought-provoking. Album art isn’t as iconic or essential as it used to be, and your mileage may vary on whether or not that’s a bad thing. If album covers become extinct, at least we’ll have had pioneers like Storm Thorgerson, artists who elevated the album sleeve to exhilarating heights.

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