Remembering the Man Behind Pink Floyd’s Iconic Album Covers

Storm Thorgerson’s work is some of the most recognizable of our time. The British artist, who died on April 18 at age 69, conceived the provocative artwork that graces the covers of numerous Pink Floyd albums, including the seminal 1973 recording The Dark Side of the Moon.

On the band’s website, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason described Thorgerson, in part, as a “defender of art over commerce at all times.”

In addition to The Dark Side of the Moon, Thorgerson conceived the artwork for such iconic Pink Floyd album covers as Animals (1977) and Wish You Were Here (1975). With his colleagues at the since-dissolved design firm Hipgnosis, Thorgerson produced album art for many influential bands, including Led Zeppelin.

Before it became the norm to download music onto various digital devices, people like me purchased albums at what were then known as record stores, after which we hurried home to listen to whatever music we’d just bought, while studying the accompanying artwork and poring over the album’s liner notes. This exercise usually served to prepare us for a band’s concert tour in support of that album, after which we’d look forward to the band’s next recording. It was all part of how we experienced music, with an album’s artwork providing visual identification for that particular collection of music.

When we think of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, we think of the iconic prism design that appears against a black background on the album’s cover. The artwork, in other words, is part of that record.

Fittingly, on the Pink Floyd website, guitarist David Gilmour wrote of Thorgerson’s designs: “The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work.”

Thorgerson’s artistic contributions will be remembered.

Explore Storm Thorgerson’s work here.

David Brensilver

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