Creator of album art
for Pink Floyd, Zeppelin
Storm Thorgerson, 69, an English graphic designer whose eye-popping album art for Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin encapsulated the spirit of 1970s psychedelia, died Thursday. In a statement from London, his family gave few details but said that the artist, who suffered a stroke in 2003, had cancer.
Thorgerson, whose art tended toward the unsettling or the bizarre, was best known for his surreal Pink Floyd covers, which guitarist David Gilmour said had long been "an inseparable part of our work."
Thorgerson's designs for the band included a stark prism featured on "Dark Side of the Moon," the disturbing image of a burning man in a business suit on "Wish You Were Here," an inflatable pig flying over the Battersea Power Station for "Animals" and hundreds of iron hospital beds lined up on a beach for "A Momentary Lapse of Reason."
Another Pink Floyd album cover — which Thorgerson said had left the record company "completely berserk" — featured nothing more than a picture of a cow staring out from a field for "Atom Heart Mother."
For Led Zeppelin in the 1970s, Thorgerson designed the album covers for "Houses of the Holy," showing naked children climbing up the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, as well as "Presence" and "In Through the Out Door," with its six alternate sleeves and plain brown wrapper.
Peter Gabriel, Phish, Styx and Muse were among the many other rock bands that hired Thorgerson to create album covers.
Storm Elvin Thorgerson was born Feb. 28, 1944, in Potters Bar in the Middlesex region of southeast England. He attended school with Pink Floyd bandmates Roger Waters and Syd Barrett.
After studying English at Leicester University and film at the Royal College of Art in London, Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell founded the graphic arts firm Hipgnosis in 1968 to design album covers.
"People pay me for my thoughts and my dreams," Thorgerson told the BBC in 2010. "I think in that sense I'm very fortunate."
Times staff and wire reports