Hipgnosis and the art of the album cover

Today is my 60th birthday, and we threw a big party at my house yesterday (Saturday, August 8th.) It was a lot of fun, and my dear wife was instrumental in organizing the gig. It was vinyl themed, and my friends and family brought my a pile of mostly interesting records. Yesterday I took my birthday cash and had a field day, sprinkling my ill gotten gains around three local record stores.

As I explained in my last post, my mass purchases of records has kind of gotten out of hand.  So it’s my intention for a while to avoid Goodwill, garage  and estate state sales, and thrift shops (except for an estate sale on Friday where a guy is truly selling off 20k records.  There will be reports.) As I said before I really need something to focus my record buying and I’ve chosen a few areas to aim for. The first is the Steve Miller Band, and the second is Miller’s early vocalist, Boz Scaggs.

But I’m choosing one more collecting draw, and that is album art.  Specifically that is the art of Storm Torgerson and Aubrey Powell.  Their cover art design group became known as Hipgnosis and together they designed about 190 album covers between 1968 and 1982.  Here are a few I have

It seems all the covers are for British bands, and there are many of them.  The best known is Pink Floyd and they designed most of that bands covers from Saucerful of Secrets to A Collection of Great Dance Songs. They did many of the later Led Zeppelin Albums, including Houses of the Holy, Presence and CODA.  Some of the bands, like Deep Purple, The Alan Parsons Project and Bad Company are well known, others, like Toe Fat, Audience and Flash are less so.

Focusing on album covers is a little weird, but just another way to access the music I don’t know.  It means as much attention gets paid to the condition of the cover as it does to record.  Picked up a copy of Five Bridges by The Nice (featuring Keith Emerson) yesterday.  Love the cover photography but also noticed one of the album corners seemed to have been chewed on by a small creature.  Not so good.

Just another way to enjoy record collecting.  12 down, 178 to go.


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