April 18, 2013

Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013)

Last month was the 40th anniversary of the classic Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon. Today, Storm Thorgerson, the key figure of the graphic arts group Hipgnosis and the designer of Dark Side's iconic album cover, died at the ripe old age of 69.

Thorgerson was the designer of the majority of Pink Floyd's covers, but also designed the artwork for albums by Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Dream Theater, the Cult, and many others. Doing a quick count down the list in Wikipedia's entry on Thorgerson, I counted 19 albums that I owned featuring his artwork.

Thorgerson's designs were more than just something to make an album look attractive in the record store. They were an integral part of the experience. As often as not I would have the album in my lap as I listened.

Of course, with the shift from LPs to CDs and now downloadable music, the graphics have arguably become redundant. I wonder whether we will see the likes of another Storm Thorgerson again.