Legendary Designer Storm Thorgerson Recalls ‘Climbing Towards A Fiery Dawn’ With Led Zeppelin Album Cover
Through the years, artist Storm Thorgerson has contributed a lot to musical pop culture with his album artwork pieces designed for a wide variety of artists and bands such as his more recent work with bands like the Mars Volta and Audioslave and most notably, his classic sleeves for Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Genesis.
Some of Thorgerson’s best work is the subject of a new London exhibit featuring pieces he has constructed, including a newer piece which was rejected by an unnamed record label who didn’t feel that it was “commercial enough.”
It must take quite a set of stones to reject artwork from the man who brought you the album art for Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Houses of the Holy.’ Those did okay, right?
Thorgerson recalls that for ‘Houses of the Holy,’ the band embraced an idea that he had conjured after reading ‘Childhood’s End’ by Arthur C. Clarke.
He tells Classic Rock that in the book, “kids from the future were imagined to coalesce spiritually in mass mutation and leave the Earth as a tower of flaming energy. Yup, that should be big enough for Zeppelin. Our variant was to have blonde and blue-eyed kids (Midwich Cuckoos) clambering across the rocks in some magical location, Giant’s Causeway, climbing towards a fiery dawn.”
‘Houses of the Holy’ was one of three album covers which Thorgerson would design for Led Zeppelin, with his memorable design work also gracing the covers for ‘Presence’ and ‘In Through the Out Door.’
The artwork for ‘In Through the Out Door’ contains a bit of an Easter egg that many might not be aware of. As Thorgerson shares in his book ‘Eye of the Storm,’ if you applied liquid to the album cover, such as spittle or a few drops of water, the cover would change color. It was a secret design element that Thorgerson didn’t even share with the band.
Thorgerson’s London exhibit runs through the end of next week and admission is free.