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Storm Thorgerson Has Died
April 18, 2013 4:43 PM   Subscribe

Storm Thorgerson, famous graphic designer, has died of cancer age 69. As a member of Hipgnosis and later Storm Studios, Thorgerson created or assisted in creating some of the most iconic album covers in rock history.

Here's a blog that takes an excellent look at Hipgnosis' graphic history:
1968-1973
1974-1976
1977-1982
posted by Palindromedary (46 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by iviken at 4:47 PM on April 18, 2013


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posted by davebush at 4:49 PM on April 18, 2013


Well, I had every Dead Kennedys studio album lined up for the evening, but suddenly looks like it's an all-Floyd kind of night. RIP, Storm Thorgerson. How we wish you were here.
posted by Shepherd at 4:53 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by Thorzdad at 5:03 PM on April 18, 2013


Quite likely my favorite Hipgnosis cover. Stunning.
posted by davebush at 5:06 PM on April 18, 2013


Easily one of my favorite covers of all time.
posted by anazgnos at 5:15 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this bad music news week or something? Whoever's responsible has to stop for a while. It is not good for the rest of us to keep hearing about our favorite artists dying.
posted by ardgedee at 5:20 PM on April 18, 2013


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Oh, no. I was obsessed with Pink Floyd as a teenager, and his covers were part of the lore. I vowed, if I ever published a book, that I would get him to do a cover. What a visionary.
posted by oneironaut at 5:20 PM on April 18, 2013


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When I was growing up this book was around the house, and I would stare at it for hours at a time
posted by Artw at 5:22 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


His imagery is basically inseparable from the music which it was wrapped around. You don't see that happen much anymore. He defined so much of more than a few eras, and we won't see his sort again.

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posted by hippybear at 5:30 PM on April 18, 2013


Jeezus, one group did all those different covers? I never would have believed it.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:36 PM on April 18, 2013


One reason to mourn the end of the LP is the loss of the album cover. For a while there, a lot of really awesome art and design went into them.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:45 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


My brain parsed this as "Strom Thurmond has died" and I thought "Isn't he a hundred and seventy years old?"
posted by DWRoelands at 5:54 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


-△<
posted by w0mbat at 6:02 PM on April 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


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posted by tychotesla at 6:03 PM on April 18, 2013


Along with Roger Dean and John van Hamersveld, Thorgerson (and Hipgnosis) was one of my favorite album cover designers. An album with one of their covers just seemed to sound better than other albums, like the graphic design somehow enhanced the overall quality of the listening experience.
posted by motown missile at 6:09 PM on April 18, 2013


I'm glad I don't have to pick just one to love. There is so much brilliance here.
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posted by iamkimiam at 6:13 PM on April 18, 2013


These album covers were the first time I was aware of design, or design as art, or something. Probably when I realized that there were actual people involved with making things like album covers and recognized their names.
posted by bongo_x at 6:25 PM on April 18, 2013


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posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:26 PM on April 18, 2013


ARGUS
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:26 PM on April 18, 2013


like the graphic design somehow enhanced the overall quality of the listening experience

Yes. I'm always surprised when I hear someone say they've ripped all their CDs and tossed all the packaging. So much great art and design, just thrown away.
posted by davebush at 6:34 PM on April 18, 2013


Such a great loss. I wonder how many joints have been rolled on Storm Thorgerson's artwork.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:49 PM on April 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, there will be some Pink Floyd getting pulled out tonight in our house. I spent a long time staring at some of those album covers when I was a younger man.

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posted by deadwax at 7:13 PM on April 18, 2013


I used to stare endlessly at so many of those covers as a kid and I freaked a bit when I started learning they were all coming from the same place. It's easy now to forget that most of those covers were actually built, staged, and/or photographed rather than done on a computer at a desk.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:22 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Zeppelin and Floyd album visuals on which he worked are as hardwired into the Boomer consciousness as any visual image. I loved looking at Hipgnosis album covers, and, yes, they amplified one's enjoyment of the music. Nthing the early impact/awareness of design.

aav.
posted by the sobsister at 7:30 PM on April 18, 2013


Occasionally I forget I don't really like an album, but love the Hipgnosis cover so much it blurs my memory of the actual music. One example is the Strawbs' Deadline album . I wasn't a big fan of the album, but I bought it for the album cover alone. Then I rebought it years later on CD thinking I liked it, but later realized that it was just the cover I adored. The fabulous Hipgnosis coffee table book discusses how difficult this cover really was to pull off (including getting the stuntman positioned correctly, timing the natural light correctly and the phone box glass breaking from the water pressure).
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:33 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:35 PM on April 18, 2013


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posted by fatbaq at 7:37 PM on April 18, 2013


It's easy now to forget that most of those covers were actually built, staged, and/or photographed rather than done on a computer at a desk.

Yes, that is an actual pig balloon floating around those smokestacks. Amazing.
posted by hippybear at 7:37 PM on April 18, 2013


Easily one of my favorite covers of all time.

That one and I believe all of the Peter Gabriel covers were done by Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson, originally of Hipgnosis, later of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV and Coil.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:39 PM on April 18, 2013


Christopherson also did most of the work on Animals and Wish You Were Here for Floyd.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:40 PM on April 18, 2013


So I clicked on the link that hippybear posted, and when I saw the floating pig I immediately heard the opening four notes from "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" playing in the back of my head. Okay, wrong album, but the images actually invoke the sound.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:56 PM on April 18, 2013


Yeah, Syd's Theme is pretty iconic. But really, they should be triggered by this image.

And yes, that man was really on fire for that photograph.
posted by hippybear at 8:35 PM on April 18, 2013


Blog guy kinda rips on the Styx "Pieces of Eight" cover:

"Old women standing around looking statuesque with Easter Island statues for earrings. This probably means something, though for the life of my I can't guess quite what. Old... The Easter Island statues are old. The River Styx is old. The women are old."


I loved that cover. Sure it didn't make any sense. But it's stark and beautiful and weird.

I'd guess it's a riff on (or just copying) the Stones' Black and Blue cover. Which means nothing except they're sort of similar.
posted by wallabear at 8:47 PM on April 18, 2013


I was a huge, huge fan. Storm Thorgerson and Roger Dean pretty much designed the sets of my dreamscapes growing up. I almost went into graphic design based on my love of their work, but I didn't have the discipline to perfect my technique. Much love and gratitude and some hazy nostalgia.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:51 PM on April 18, 2013


A massive character who worked incredibly hard to get his visions just right. Loyal and inspiring to the team who assisted him.

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posted by colie at 1:04 AM on April 19, 2013


Ugh... Explosions, death, war and my favorite people dying is keeping me in bed this weekend. That is, in bed with my signed S.T. silk print of Peter Gabriel's III (sorry for the scoreboarding, probably the only time in my life I'll ever be able to do that in regards to that print). Anyway, here's wishing safe travels to my favorite album-artist *ever*.
posted by NoRelation at 5:10 AM on April 19, 2013


Storm and Hipgnosis were partly responsible for my early love of photography and design. I bought this book as a teenager and spent hours lost in the imagery. Although my musical talent was limited, I wanted to start a band just so I could have a cool album cover.
posted by The Deej at 5:29 AM on April 19, 2013


Thanks for helping me get accepted to university, Mr. Thorgerson.

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posted by ersatz at 6:03 AM on April 19, 2013


I was at a music awards event last fall and he was meant to be there. I was so excited to meet him. His assistant came instead and said heeh couldn't make it because of health reasons. I'm sad to hear this, he's been a huge influence to me for many many years. RIP.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:18 AM on April 19, 2013


RIP

There's a worthwhile documentary about him: Taken By Storm.
posted by muckster at 6:56 AM on April 19, 2013


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Damn. For The Love of Vinyl is a great book that tracks the design history of Hipgnosis with comments on each project (and the bands / management / labels involved) by Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell. It's a great book on design, rock, and a deep love of aesthetics we seem to be sorely lacking these days.

Hipgnosis' dedication to the execution of an idea looms in almost every design decision I make. If only I had their budgets.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:00 AM on April 19, 2013


Hipgnosis' dedication to the execution of an idea looms in almost every design decision I make. If only I had their budgets.

Storm actually did most things on a shoestring... which is another tribute to his energy and commitment. No matter how wealthy whichever band in question might be, record companies are never keen to spend anything they don't have to, which includes arty stuff.
posted by colie at 10:37 AM on April 19, 2013


Storm Thorgerson's final secret.
posted by Artw at 3:55 PM on April 20, 2013


It occurs to me that a lot of people under 30 or so really have very little idea except theoretically what it was like for your music collection to consist of a bunch of one-foot-square pieces of art. We're now really two generations removed from that era. Picking up and studying an album cover was a qualitatively different experience from when they became one-tenth-foot-square pictures inside a jewel case, and now an "album cover" is basically just an icon. I spent a lot of time looking at album covers at a kid in a way that doesn't have much of an analog today.
posted by dfan at 6:00 PM on April 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


'RIP, Storm Thorgerson, Legendary Album Cover Artist' - Steve Hyden
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:19 PM on April 22, 2013


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