You have definitely seen the album art of Hipgnosis, the now-revered British design group that created the art for most of your favorite classic records of the 1970s. Houses Of The Holy, Dark Side Of The Moon — both theirs.
Much has been published about the work of Hipgnosis’ co-founders Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, whose photography backgrounds fueled their work. However, For The Love of Vinyl documents over 60 of their projects in detail — offering insight into the environment in which these works were produced. These histories are often as interesting as the album art.
The founders write in the introduction:
Most the work in [For The Love of Vinyl] was executed in Denmark Street, where we had a makeshift studio and a smelly but serviceable darkroom. The great virtues of Denmark Street were its central location, its cheapness, and its funky setting amongst guitar shops and rehearsal rooms in a maze of back alleys.
Contributor Adrian Shaughnessy writes:
Aubrey Powell recalls the moment Johnny Rotten — the king of artful-dodger pop — and his manager (Malcom McLaren) turned up on Denmark Street. “The music that inched out of their thick studio door clashed horribly with the delicate harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash emanating from ours. Daily, I sensed a malignant attitude in McLaren’s mission — we were out, they were in.”
McLaren’s Sex Pistols helped usher in a new sound, putting many of Hipgnosis’ clients out of work. In 1982, the graphic design agency closed.
To the record company’s surprise, in 1975, Hipgnosis wrapped Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd’s follow-up to the wildly successful Dark Side of the Moon, in opaque black plastic.
Below, Powell discusses For The Love of Vinyl.