Iconic Rock ’n' Roll Images
By Ann Taylor (Aug 19, 2010 )
Before MP3s, CDs, cassette tapes, and even 8-tracks, there was vinyl. And during the reign of vinyl, album covers were high art, often rivaling the very music they encased.
Annie Liebovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, H.R. Giger, even Andy Warhol have put their hand to the design of album covers, the large format providing a perfect canvas for some of the most well-known images in the world.
An even closer examination discloses a subtle change in each subsequent reframing of the scene: the band members are switching positions. Roger Waters now sits slumped on Gilmour’s stool, Nick Mason has taken Waters’ old position on the floor with knees bent, Richard Wright assumes Mason’s former standing pose with arms akimbo, and Gilmour now scissors his legs in the air in the background, where Wright is in the larger frame. And so on. It is little surprises like these that make even the mundane remarkable in Thorgerson’s work.
However, his covers are not just interesting but empty images; they also tend to point to an idea, a story, or even a joke (see the Steve Miller Band’s Let Your Hair Down, Baby cover). Most, if not all, of Thorgerson’s breathtaking compositions are backed by thoughtful concepts, and depict visual representations of those concepts, such as the artwork for The Mars Volta’s Frances the Mute album or Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound of Thunder — you can read about them for yourself at the show.
Forty years of rock ’n’ roll history is bound up in stunning visuals in Lovers of Covers, reminding us of the power of the image even in the world of music. This show is not to be missed.