The cover of the Pink Floyd album, Dark Side of the Moon, is near perfect. However, they almost went in a completely different direction. Surprisingly, they almost put the Marvel Comics character, Silver Surfer, on the cover.
“We were all into Marvel Comics, and the Silver Surfer seemed to be another fantastic singular image,” said Aubrey Powell. Powell was a principal at the design studio Hipgnosis. “We would never have got permission to use it.”
Hipgnosis is responsible for countless iconic album covers.
An Effort To Showcase Marvel’s Silver Surfer
“We liked the image of a silver man, on a silver surfboard, scooting across the universe. It had mystical, mythical properties,” said Powell. “Very cosmic, man!” The artists also liked the idea but they ended up going another way.
This was a long time before Marvel became the powerhouse it is today. At the time, it was mainly just Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Kirby, the illustrator, is actually the man who created Silver Surfer to go along with Lee’s story.
However, 15 years later Joe Satriani did license the Silver Surfer for his album, Surfing With the Alien.”
Hipgnosis Has Designed Countless Iconic Records
Over the years, Hipgnosis has worked on records for T. Rex, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Yes, Def Leppard, Paul McCartney (Wings), The Alan Parsons Project, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, the Police, and countless other bands.
The illustrations and designs mainly came from Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, until Peter Christopherson joined the duo. The company dissolved in 1983, but Thorgerson continued to work on designs until he died in the Spring of 2013.
As the legend goes, the company began when Thorgerson and Powell were approached by some of their friends (who made up the band, Pink Floyd). The band wanted the duo to design a cover for their second album, Saucerful of Secrets.
Perhaps the most unique thing about their business is that they simply asked for artists to pay what they thought the image was worth, rather than a set price.
What is your favorite album from the designers at Hipgnosis?