The Art of Storm Thorgerson Part 1 of 2

Although I hadn’t planned on writing a blog post today, when I saw the terrible news that Storm Thorgerson had died, I just had to make time. However, I fear RockAtlantic could start to look like an obituary if I’m not careful, so I shall make this post a bit different compared to Monday’s ‘Remembering Chi Cheng’.

Storm Thorgerson was arguably the greatest album cover artist ever and whilst he isn’t a household name like Picasso or Van Gogh, one of his works most definitely is. He designed the iconic ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album cover which is the Mona Lisa/Campbell’s Soup Can of rock and because of its brilliant simplicity and impact, it is probably the most recognisable album art ever made.

However, instead of mourning his death, I plan to use this post to celebrate his impact on the world of music and popular culture. In this first part I shall be listing my five favourite album covers by him and in my second article I shall be listing my five favourite albums for which he did the artwork.

So here are my five favourite Storm Thorgerson album covers:

Five: Audioslave – Audioslave – Audioslave is the result of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) joining the remaining members of Rage Against the Machine after vocalist Zach de la Rocha left in 2000 following a dispute involving the bands decision making processes. Although Audioslave’s first eponymous album was received to very mixed reviews, which ranged from “gibberish” to worthy of Led Zeppelin, Thorgerson’s art really is cleverly crafted.

Four: Pendulum – Immersion – Pendulum are an Australian electronic rock group who were propelled by the success of the single ‘Propane Nightmares’ in 2008. Their third and potentially last (for they are currently on an indefinite hiatus) record features a beautiful under water scene by Thorgerson and also collaborations with Steven Wilson, Liam Howlett (The Prodigy) and In Flames.

Three: The Cranberries – Bury The Hatchet – This is the fourth studio album from The Cranberries, who are an Irish alternative rock band. Although I can’t say I particularly like the album itself, I do love the album artwork which portrays a giant eye hovering above a naked person. The design is so simple, yet strangely intriguing.

Two: Pink Floyd – The Division Bell – Storm Thorgerson was a long time contributor to Pink Floyd, starting with ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’ in 1968 and finishing with the compilation box set ‘Oh, by the Way’ in 2007. Again, like Audioslave’s debut album, this album wasn’t well received, but the art work is supreme like on all Floyd works and is my personal favourite. ‘Animals’ is a close second.

One: Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door – This album cover could perhaps be one of the most creative of all times, yet from a quick glance looks like the most boring, especially compared to the other covers in this list. The outer sleeve looked like brown paper, but when it was removed it showed one of six possible covers. All of the images showed a picture of the same man sitting at a bar, but they were all from different people’s perspectives. The magic part of the cover occurred when you put water on the images, which would turn them from the sepia shade to pastel-coloured images and Led Zeppelin didn’t even tell the fans about it. Genius!

R.I.P Storm Thorgerson. You will be remembered and dearly missed.

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