Think of iconic album covers, and one name immediately springs to mind – Hipgnosis.
This book catalogues every single one of the 372 covers they designed, going right back to their inception in 1967 all the way through to their final bow in 1984.
Looking back through these works of art, for that is what many of these photographs are, is like turning back the pages of your own teenage years and beyond – so many memories are evoked, not just of music but also of one’s life and friends, relationships and circumstances through those years.
Of course the most familiar images are the ones created for the big beasts of the rock world such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, but the variety of artists they worked with took me by surprise – who knew they did covers for The Hollies and Hank Marvin for instance. Let’s also not forget the work they did during the punk/new wave era – who remembers the ground-breaking cover of XTC’s Go 2 album for example.
Of course, the advent of the compact disc, and then later of downloads, saw the end of the era of the blank canvas available to designers and artists to create album artwork such as is catalogued here, no more gatefold sleeves to allow them to stretch their imagination, and that of their audience, to its maximum potential.
Peter Christopherson passed away in 2010, and Storm Thorgerson followed in 2013, leaving Aubrey Powell as the sole surviving member of the partnership. He has put together this beautifully crafted and presented book, which has everything you need to know about this astonishing creative team – every cover is here, beautifully reproduced in crystal clear images on top quality paper, and for the more significant ones ‘Po’ has provided in depth detail about the ideas behind the images and the process by which the projects were carried out and their visions achieved.
As the author says in his lengthy introduction ‘our mantra was that a good design would always create interest, whether or not it had anything to do with the lyrics, the band image or the music.’
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
If, like me, you are a fan of Hipgnosis artwork, if you want to relive the days when album covers had a life of their own, then this is the book for you. It is surely the definitive work on the subject – I really enjoyed it, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
One thing you’ve learned
We’ll not see their like again.