Storm Thorgerson has designed sleeves for Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta and Muse. An exhibition of his work is currently being held at the OXO Tower, London. Pictured here is the sleeve for Alan Parsons’ 1993 album ‘Try Anything Once’. It was shot in Spain’s Larva Valley (“a magical spot”, according to Storm.
The Mars Volta, ‘Amputechture’ (2006): “The band told me the album was inspired by a story they’d seen on television about the crucifixion of a Catholic fun by fellow Catholic priests who thought her beliefs were heretical. She claimed to have visions which were god speaking to her directly. And here is her vision.”
Pink Floyd, ‘Ummagumma’ (1969). “This was the second design for Pink Floyd after ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’.
It was an attempt to represent the many different layers in their
music. No ephemeral pop band this, therefore no trivia, instead wheels
within wheels, layers beneath layers, tunes replete with meaning and
all this, for heaven’s sake, in the same music.”
Muse, ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ (2006). Storm says: “This started out as four men carved from wood sitting on each other’s laps. Gradually it became patterns of girls in circles, by which time the plot was lost and the band had gone off the idea. I wasn’t surprised or upset, some ideas just don’t make it.”
Scorpions, ‘Love Drive’ (1979). This is often included in rundowns of the worst ever album sleeves (although Playboy magazine voted it the best sleeve of 1979) – but Storm is unrepentant: “Not exactly the most politically correct scene you’ve ever seen, but I
thought it was funny. Of course, women read a different inflection into it now.”
Pink Floyd, ‘The Division Bell’ (1994). Storm says: “I consider this to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not so much for the implication of a third absent face, ie that of Syd Barrett, formed by the two eyes looking at you, rather than each other, but because the statues themselves are very imposing in their own right.”
Led Zeppelin, ‘Houses Of The Holy’ (1973). “Good grief, how do you come up with ideas for the biggest band in the known universe. We shot this at the Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland. The weather was grey and flat so we shot it in black and white, then coloured it in by hand. It’s a tad garish, if not kitsch, but mostly it works – though they didn’t think so in Oklahoma, where the cover was banned.”