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Friday, April 26, 2013

In Memoriam: Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013)

Written by Jon Williams

Think of your favorite album. No doubt your mind turns first to all the great songs it contains, and to the hours of enjoyment you’ve gotten from listening to it, to say nothing of the memories associated with it and the joy of sharing it with others. And chances are good that you can also picture it in your mind, the vibrant colors or stark design of the album cover being as much a part of the experience as the music itself.

Recently the music industry lost an icon. You haven’t heard Storm Thorgerson’s work, because he wasn’t a musician himself, but if you’re a rock music fan at all, you’ve almost certainly seen some of it. Thorgerson was a visual artist responsible for some of the most well-known album covers in rock history. He worked primarily with hard rock and prog rock bands, coming up with surreal cover visuals that complemented the songs to be found inside.

Thorgerson’s most famous work graces the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1973 masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon. His work with Pink Floyd began with their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets (1968), and continued throughout the band’s career, up through their 2007 compilation album Oh, by the Way. He also worked on the cover for Floyd guitarist David Gilmour’s 1984 solo album About Face.

It was his friendship with Gilmour and other members of Pink Floyd that gave him his start designing album covers, but they were by no means the only famous band Thorgerson did work for during his long and illustrious career. His art adorns the cover of Black Sabbath’s 1976 album Technical Ecstasy. He did three albums for Led Zeppelin (including In Through the Out Door, their last album of all-new material), as well as three albums for Peter Gabriel as a solo artist and one during his time with the band Genesis. He also worked with more modern rock bands, such as Muse and the Mars Volta. His most recent design was for the Biffy Clyro album Opposites, which released in January.

Click here to browse a more complete list of albums sporting Thorgerson’s memorable artwork.

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