Hipgnosis

Rainbow Difficult To Cure Hipgnosis album sleeve Rainbow Difficult To Cure Hipgnosis album sleeve

Even if you don’t know the name Storm Thorgerson, you know his work. From 1968 onwards Storm, who has just died aged 69, and his Hipgnosis design partner Aubrey Powell put together many of the classic album covers of that era. Their work certainly had a big impact on me as a teenager, with cover images the like of which you didn’t really see anywhere else. Hipgnosis did get involved in a few Deep Purple-related covers. Nobody’s Perfect, the muddled live reunion album, was done by Aubrey Powell from the partnership, but he and Storm also did the Rainbow Difficult To Cure cover, which was an obscure take on a medical problem not unknown to rock musicians! Hipgnosis set up a number of studio photos for the cover, and I seem to recall there was some unresolved debate about whether one of the masked up doctors on the front was actually Blackmore himself. There were certainly two slightly different versions of the cover, depending on whether you got the American or British pressing.

Quatermass Hipgnosis

For me one of their greatest covers was the sci-fi montage for the one and only Quatermass album, which fascinated me back in 1970, though it was ages before I discovered that album’s connections with the Purple family through drummer Mick Underwood, Episode Six and Black Sheep Of The Family (and even longer before I managed to secure a nice original gatefold copy).

Hipgnosis were also involved in Buddy Bohn’s Drop In The Ocean sleeve on the original Purple label.

For anyone interested in seeing more, I’ve put together a collection of some of my favourite sleeves by the designers on my album art site ST33.

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14 Responses to “Hipgnosis”

  1. DMBrock Says:

    Simon, I’m wondering where I read that from about the Sabbath album. Is it possibly in Roy Davies’ Rainbow book.

    • simon robinson Says:

      I’ll take a peek (or Roy, can you confirm?)

      • Roy Davies Says:

        Yes, I was told (can’t recall who by – all my book research notes are now achived!) it was rejected for Black Sabbath’s ‘Never Say Die’ a few years before. Despite the rumours none of the band are featured in the photo.

      • simon robinson Says:

        I suspect Hipgnosis kept a stock of ideas ‘just in case’, though hadn’t heard this was originally pitched for Sabbath. M<ind you I did learn recently that the tomato on the Yes Tormato sleeve was one Wakeman threw at the cover mock up in disgust!

  2. Adrian Says:

    I seem to remember Aubrey Powell doing one of Cozy Powell’s album covers. I remember reading it in the credits on the sleeve and wondering, at the time, if he was related to Cozy. Obviously, before I found out Cozy’s real name was Flooks!

    • simon robinson Says:

      I’ll have to dig them out and check Adrian. Both the Hipgnosis guys did ‘solo’ work when asked.

  3. DMBrock Says:

    I seem to remember the DTC cover was actually rejected by Sabbath for Never Say Die? Wiki seems to think so too. I guess being able to pull covers out of the old portfolio like that is what made Storm and his team a cut above the average…

  4. Bruce Metcalfe Says:

    Wish You Were Here – the ultimate work. The Nice LP on your site is also good!

    • simon robinson Says:

      Yes, you have to hand it to them for that Floyd cover! Though The Nice one I do remember so clearly from my early rock days.

  5. Gabriel Says:

    QEPD Storm! Your fantastic art will live with us.

  6. Steve Lakey Says:

    Brought back some memories. My first ever concert was Rainbow, on the Difficult to Cure tour at Bingley Hall, Stafford!

  7. Peter Wolff Says:

    Simon, Iconic, legendary some of the best album covers we will ever see.

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