Thorgerson in 2010
|Born||Storm Elvin Thorgerson
28 February 1944
Potters Bar, Middlesex, England
|Died||18 April 2013
|Known for||Graphic designer, music video director|
Storm Elvin Thorgerson (28 February 1944 – 18 April 2013) was an English graphic designer and music video director, best known for his work for rock artists such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Nik Kershaw, Black Sabbath, Scorpions, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Yes, Al Stewart, Europe, Catherine Wheel, Bruce Dickinson, Dream Theater, Anthrax, The Cranberries, The Mars Volta, Muse, The Alan Parsons Project, Helloween, Biffy Clyro and Rival Sons.
Thorgerson, who was of Norwegian descent, was born in Potters Bar, Middlesex (now part of Hertfordshire), and he attended Summerhill School, Brunswick Primary School in Cambridge, and the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys with Pink Floyd founders Syd Barrett, who was in the year below him, and Roger Waters, who was in the year above him. Thorgerson and Waters played rugby together at school, while Thorgerson's mother Vanji and Waters' mother Mary were close friends. He studied English and Philosophy at the University of Leicester, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours, before studying Film and Television at the Royal College of Art, where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree.
In 1968, along with Aubrey Powell, he founded the graphic art group Hipgnosis, and between them they designed many famous single and album covers, with Peter Christopherson joining them for their later commissions. In 1983, following the dissolution of Hipgnosis, Thorgerson, and Powell formed Greenback Films, producing music videos.
In the early nineties, Thorgerson inaugurated StormStudios along with Peter Curzon—a loose group of freelancers. The line up included Rupert Truman (photographer), Finlay Cowan (designer and illustrator), Daniel Abbott (designer and artist), Lee Baker (creative retoucher and designer), and Jerry Sweet (designer) along with Thorgerson's personal assistants, Laura Truman (prints), and Charlotte Barnes, and then later Silvia Ruga (designer).
Perhaps Thorgerson's most famous designs are those for Pink Floyd. His design for The Dark Side of the Moon has been called one of the greatest album covers of all time. Designed by Thorgerson and Hipgnosis, the artwork for the cover itself was drawn by George Hardie, a designer at NTA Studios. Many of Thorgerson's designs are notable for their surreal elements. He often places objects out of their traditional contexts, especially with vast spaces around them, to give them an awkward appearance while highlighting their beauty. To quote Thorgerson, "I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing which is unreal. I like to mess with reality ... to bend reality. Some of my works beg the question[sic] of is it real or not?"
Over the years, Thorgerson and his team designed and released several books about their work. The Gathering Storm – A Quartet in Several Parts was the final book Thorgerson worked on with his team and it was completed just before his death in April 2013. The book was released in September 2013 and includes album covers artwork, photographs, and anecdotes, spanning five decades from his early work with Hipgnosis through to StormStudios.
In 2013, Prog Magazine renamed its Grand Design Award after Thorgerson. It is now known as the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award and will be given to the designer of the year's best-packaged product. Thorgerson had won the 2012 award for his continued work with Pink Floyd.
Health problems and death
In 2003, Thorgerson suffered a stroke, from which he was partially paralysed. He was later diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer, which he battled for several years, but which eventually led to his death in London on 18 April 2013, at the age of 69. After Thorgerson's death, David Gilmour released a statement describing him as "a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on, and a great friend". A post on the official Pink Floyd website called him a "graphic genius". Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason said that he was a "tireless worker right up to the end".
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Album cover designs (1968–2014)
- For Thorgerson's work with Hipgnosis, see Hipgnosis discography
- Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976) (international edition)
- Alan Parsons:
- The Alan Parsons Project
- Al Stewart
- The Answer
- New Horizon (2013)
- Stomp 442 (1995)
- Audioslave (2002)
- Bad Company
- Biffy Clyro:
- Puzzle (2007)
- Only Revolutions (2009)
- Opposites (2013)
- Black Sabbath:
- Brand X
- Bruce Dickinson
- Skunkworks (1996)
- Catherine Wheel:
- The Cranberries:
- The Cult:
- Electric (1987) (credited on the picture sleeve as "Art Direction by Storm Thorgerson")
- David Gilmour
- Def Leppard
- High 'n' Dry (1981)
- Deepest Blue
- Late September (2004)
- Disco Biscuits:
- Planet Anthem (2010)
- Dream Theater:
- Edgar Broughton Band
- Electric Light Orchestra
- Ellis, Beggs, & Howard
- Homelands (1989)
- Home Is Where The Head Is (2002)
- Secret Society (2006)
- The Gods
- The Greatest Show on Earth
- Greg Friedman
- Can't Talk Now (2013)
- If (2014)
- Synrise (2012)
- Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991)
- Herman Rarebell
- Ian Dury and The Blockheads
- Mr. Love Pants (1998)
- Led Zeppelin
- The Mars Volta:
- Rude Awakening DVD (2002)
- Mike Oldfield
- Mike Rutherford
- The Nice
- Nick Mason
- Fictitious Sports (1981)
- The Offspring
- Splinter (2003)
- Peter Gabriel:
- Immersion (2010)
- Slip Stitch and Pass (1997)
- The Pineapple Thief
- Someone Here Is Missing (2010)
- Pink Floyd:
- A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
- More (1969)
- Ummagumma (1969)
- Atom Heart Mother (1970)
- Meddle (1971)
- Obscured by Clouds (1972)
- The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
- A Nice Pair (1973)
- Wish You Were Here (1975)
- Animals (1977)
- A Collection of Great Dance Songs (1981)
- A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
- Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988)
- Shine On (1992)
- The Division Bell (1994)
- P*U*L*S*E (1995), including the blinking LED light that was featured in early CD packaging.
- Relics re-release (1996)
- Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81 (2000)
- Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd (2001)
- Oh, by the Way (2007)
- The Best of Pink Floyd: A Foot in the Door (2011)
- Robert Plant:
- The Plea
- The Dreamers Stadium (2012)
- Golden Rule (2009)
- Program the Dead
- Program The Dead (2005)
- Rick Wright
- Rival Sons
- Pressure & Time (2011)
- Roger Taylor
- Fun in Space (1981)
- Roy Harper
- Sammy Hagar
- Steve Miller Band:
- Slow Earth
- Latitude and 023 (2013)
- Deadlines (1977)
- Toe Fat
- Danger Money (1979)
- Umphrey's McGee
- Mode. Set. Clear. (2012)
- The Mollusk (1997)
- Wishbone Ash
- The Wombats:
- This Modern Glitch (2011)
- Go 2 (1978)
- Yumi Matsutoya
- Sakuban Oaisimashō (1981)
- Younger Brother
- Paul Young – "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" (1983)
- Rainbow – "Street of Dreams" (1983)
- Robert Plant – "Big Log" (1983)
- Yes – "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (1983)
- Kevin Kitchen – "Tight Spot" (1984)
- Nik Kershaw – "Wouldn't It Be Good" (1984)
- David Gilmour – "Blue Light" (1984)
- David Gilmour – "All Lovers Are Deranged" (1984)
- Nik Kershaw – "The Riddle" (1984)
- Nik Kershaw – "Wide Boy (1984)
- Nik Kershaw – "Don Quixote" (1985)
- Belouis Some – "Some People" (1985)
- Glass Tiger – "Thin Red Line" (1985)
- Glass Tiger – "Someday" (1985)
- The Cult – "Love Removal Machine" (1987)
- Pink Floyd – "Learning to Fly" (1987)
- Pink Floyd – "The Dogs of War" (1987)
- Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe – "Brother of Mine" (1989)
- Bruce Dickinson – "Tattooed Millionaire" (1990)
- Bruce Dickinson – "All the Young Dudes" (1990)
- Helloween – "Kids of the Century" (1991)
- Alan Parsons – "Turn It Up" (1993)
- Pink Floyd – "High Hopes" (1994)
- Richard Wright – "Night Of a Thousand Furry Toys" (1996)
- Sweeting, Adam (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson dies aged 69: 'the best album designer in the world'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Storm Thorgerson on Magritte at Tate.org.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2013
- Graff, G (February 1998). "The Eye of the Storm". Guitar World. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Turner, Tonya (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson's album covers are works of art". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Hough, Andrew (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson: Pink Floyd album cover designer dies". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Farrell, Charlie. "Storm Thorgerson – Taken by Storm". Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Samson, Polly (18 April 2013). "Best man at our wedding". Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- The photodesigns of Hipgnosis The Goodbye look. Vermillion Hutchinson Publishing Group. 1982 ISBN 0-09-150641-7
- "Article on Storm Thorgerson", Q magazine, 1992
- The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd's Iconic Album, BBC
- Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson, Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, No. 10
- "Design award renamed after Storm Thorgerson". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Storm Thorgerson Has Grand Design Award Named in His Honour". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Storm Thorgerson: Graphic designer whose art was central to the work". 19 April 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- "Storm Thorgerson". Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Tributes paid to Pink Floyd album artist Storm Thorgerson". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- "Singles Page 8". Storm Thorgerson. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd – The Music and the Mystery. London: Omnibus. ISBN 978-1-84938-370-7.
- Sutcliffe, Phil (July 1995). "The 30 Year Technicolor Dream". Mojo Magazine. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
- Official website
- Storm Thorgerson at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview with "Floydian Slip" host Craig Bailey, September 1997
- BBC Feature and audio interview
- BBC Article on Thorgerson's work: Audio slideshow: Storm's sleeves
- TateShots: Storm Thorgerson on Magritte The artist talks about the influence of Magritte on his work. 21 July 2011
- on YouTube
- on YouTube by Younger Brother (video, 8 mins, 2010)