Storm Thorgerson, the king of rock album covers

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Few other visual artists have been so important for the evolution of rock like Storm Thorgerson: his covers are now part of the collective imagination, especially thanks to the originality and expressive force that have often made famous the music in those albums. He was not scared to show explicit inspirations from the works of Magritte, Kandinsky or Picasso. And he had the ability to hit the viewev with the strength of a single image: something that is often enough to let him buy a record.

His method of work was based on listening to the albums and on studying the lyrics of the songs, which were often coupled with long conversations with the artists: only after having understood the real nature of the record, Thorgerson translated what he considered the musical meaning in the visual aspect.

His career is mainly related to Pink Floyd’s album covers, with which he began to collaborate since their second LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets.. The partnership with the band founded by Syd Barrett was born from Thorgerson’s friendship with David Gilmour, who signaled the work of the young photographer. The contribution of Storm Thorgerson to Pink Floyd works led to the realization of some of the most iconic covers ever made, like the ones of Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Division Bell and of course his most famous work, The Dark Side Of the Moon.

Storm-Thorgerson
Led Zeppelin were also his customers: they asked Storm to design the covers of Houses of the Holy, In Through the Out Door and Presence, albums that were characterized by disturbing and mysterious covers, the real trademark of the British photographer.

Many other artists collaborated with Storm Thorgerson: AC/DC, Peter Gabriel, Black Sabbath, Nice, Yes, 10cc…

And more recently, the photographer created also the covers for Muse, Mars Volta, Audioslave, Cranberries, and Phish.

Storm Thorgerson, after several years of illness, passed away in 2013: considered universally the best cover designer in the world, he brought a surreal creativity in pop imaginary, working in years when covers and packaging were very Important for the success of a record. Today, in a historical period where music business changed so much, many people buy a song online ignoring what the cover of that album means. In the case of Storm Thorgerson, they are missing something meaningful.

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Luca Divelti writes stories of music, cinema and TV on Rock’n’Blog and Auralcrave. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Telegram.

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