Pink Floyd’s album sleeves explained

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‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ (1973). The concept of this cover, according the artist Storm Thorgerson, was to try and connect with Pink Floyd’s live shows; “famous for their lighting, ambition and madness… hence the prism, the triangle and the pyramids. It all connects, somehow, somewhere.”

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‘Wish You Were Here’ (1975). Designer Storm Thorgerson says: “The theme for this album was absence. We couldn’t do a blank cover as The Beatles had already done it with ‘The White Album’ so we shrink-wrapped the LPs in black and opaque cellophane. Some fans cut the sleeve with a blade and slid the record out so have never seen the burning man cover.”
08724_101824_pinkfloyalbumsleeve14L06060Wish You Were Here’ (1975) album liner bag, designed by Storm Thorgerson. During the making of the album, Thorgerson claims that Pink Floyd were “not entirely together as a band”, which is where the concept of absence for the album came from.
08724_100612_pinkfloyalbumsleeve12L24070‘Ummagumma’ (1969). Designer Storm Thorgerson recalls:. “The 3D illusion,” created by the sleeve having two rooms on each half of the sleeve, “served to illustrate the simple idea that Floyd music was multilayered, more intricate than most. I didn’t like this record much”.
08724_100427_pinkfloyalbumsleeve11L24070‘Atom Heart Mother’ (1970). The title was taken from a newspaper headline and had no ostensible links with the album. “The Floyd were deep in experimental mode,” recalls sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson. “The band had no title, no definite theme, no great concept so I wanted to design a non-cover – not shocking, just unexpected.”
08724_100244_pinkfloyalbumsleeve9L240608‘Echoes – The Best of Pink Floyd’ (2001). This cover features images and concepts from previous albums: the pig from the ‘Animals’ album, the cow from ‘Atom Heart Mother’, the swimmer and liner bag from ‘Wish You Were Here’, the maid from ‘A Momentary Lapse Of Reason’ and the masks from ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’.
08724_100210_pinkfloydalbumsleeve2L06060‘A Momentary Lapse Of Reason’ (1987). This was the first album after Roger Waters left and Pink Floyd continued as Nick Mason and David Gilmour. Thorgerson was brought in to give it a ‘Floyd look’. “This ‘divorce’ was marred by such bitterness and acrimony , and the aftertaste lingered for some years. It still does, in my opinion.”
08724_100139_pinkfloyalbumsleeve15L06060‘Sound of Thunder’ (1988). This image is inspired by surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim’s sculpture ‘Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure)’ – otherwise known as a cup and saucer covered in fur – as well as the disturbing dreamscapes of Salvador Dali. Sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson claims, “it also comes from being at a gig and thinking how can I sum up Floyd live – Mr Light meets Mr Sound”.
08724_100107_pinkfloyalbumsleeve10L06060This image of a swimmer in the Yuma Desert, titled ‘The Meaning of Life’, was first seen in Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ songbook designed by Storm Thorgerson. “It shows an absence of purpose – he just swims on going nowhere.”
08724_95934_pinkfloyalbumsleeve8L240708This image, ‘Interstellar Poster’, featured in Pink Floyd’s ‘Interstellar’ exhibition (taken from the album ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ (1967)) at Le Cite De La Musique in Paris in 2003. The balls represent infinity and multiple layers. “I fancifully imagined that the secret of the Floyd was contained therein,”
08724_95743_pinkfloyalbumsleeve7L240708A poster for Pink Floyd’s ‘Back Catalogue’ advertising campaign in 1996 to launch a series of CD reissues. The covers were hand painted onto the bodies to reflect the curves and light, no computers were used. It was released along with a TV commercial called ‘Art Gallery’.
08724_95556_pinkfloyalbumsleeve6L240708Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here (Live)’ (1995) single cover showing “two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl”, designed by Storm Thorgerson. The artist wanted the image to show “no retouching, no clever tricks, no pretence. Like the words of the song”.
08724_95426_pinkfloyalbumsleeve5L240708‘Animals’ (1977). The image shows the now infamous pig, which is synonymous with Pink Floyd’s live shows, floating over Battersea Power Station in south west London. It took three days to get the shot which was used, and on the second day the pig escaped and floated into the path of planes bound for Heathrow Airport. Thirty years later the porcine gadabout escaped again, this time at Roger Waters’ performance at Coachella Festival.
08724_95254_pinkfloyalbumsleeve4L240708‘The Division Bell'(1994). The album sleeve shows two faces talking to each other, thus creating a third face. A major theme on the album is communication, which gave artist Storm Thorgerson his inspiration. “It was intended that the viewer should not see both at the same time. One saw the single face, or the two profiles which meant that they were then communicating with the image.”
08724_95010_pinkfloyalbumsleeve3L240708This image is taken from Pink Floyd’s thirtieth anniversary super audio CD release (SACD) in 2003. In the CD booklet there are a total of 30 images each connected to the prism design including a traffic lights sign, a samosa and a snooker triangle.

Storm Thorgerson

NME

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