Storm Thorgerson

Storm Thorgerson passed away this afternoon, at the age of 69.

He was, as nobody in their right mind could ever dare argue, quite brilliant. A childhood friend of Pink Floyd’s, with Aubrey “Po” Powell as Hipgnosis his genius visions graced the covers of many a Floyd album, their first commission being A Saucerful of Secrets, the most famous being The Dark Side of the Moon. There are so many more besides and not just for Pink Floyd (just take a look at Storm’s website for a portfolio that is far beyond compare): remember with great fondness the Atom Heart Mother cow, the Animals pig, the Wish You Were Here diver, the giant Division Bell heads, the Momentary Lapse of Reason beds – all 700 of them.

These images were and will for ever be as much a part of Pink Floyd as the music or the lyrics, the lights or the lasers, and how we have all spent so many long hours gazing in awe at the record sleeves in our hands or the posters on our walls.

Thank you for your brilliance, Storm. Rest in peace.

We first met in our early teens. We would gather at Sheep’s Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge and Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has ever really changed.

He has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend.

The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work.

I will miss him.

— David

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

61 thoughts on “Storm Thorgerson”

  1. Wanted to pass on my thoughts to David and all Pink Floyd fans during this time of mourning of Storm Thorgerson’s passing.

    Simon J

  2. It is sad Storm has passed away, nevertheless his artwork shall never pass.

  3. Very sad about this. I took huge inspiration from Storm’s work when painting…I loved how his photos “spoke” to me.

    Rest in peace Storm Thorgerson. My deep condolences to his family and people who knew him.

  4. Storm’s iconic imagery was an integral part of the mystique of Pink Floyd. Having just passed the 40th anniversary of DSOTM, he can be assured that his canon of work will endure through this striking emblem, which is instantly recognisable the world over.

    Shine On Storm…

  5. So brilliant this man was. It’s so hard to make as big of an impact in art in such a small medium as he did, I cannot imagine how he did it.

    My thoughts and prayers with his loved ones.

  6. Thank you Storm for your Brilliance, Creativity, and Wonderful Imagination. Such a massive contribution to a Massive Band.

    Deepest sympathy to your family, and David, Nick, and Roger. RIP.

    Damian.

  7. I’m so sorry FEd,

    A friend of Pink Floyd for all time.

    My thoughts are with his Family and Friends.

    Very sad news.

  8. The bulb man on Delicate Sound LP cover, my first PF record in 1988. Unforgettable.

    Thank you genius.

    1. Love that image. There are so many more, each of them unique and so typical of Storm. In fact, how many album covers of more recent years have we seen in passing, possibly from artists we have no interest in or knowledge of, and somehow immediately know that if Storm wasn’t responsible, he was the obvious inspiration.

  9. From his early work with Hipgnosis through his more recent work on his own, Storm always did wonderful work. His designs were groundbreaking and many of them have become cultural icons. He will be missed by Floyd fans, as well as the fans of artists ranging from Led Zep to Peter Gabriel. His passing leaves a huge void in the world of graphic art.

    1. Actually, I had a paperback of Douglas Adams’ “Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” with a strange cover designed by Hipgnosis. This was printed in the early 80s, a couple years before the book was published here in the USA. I do not know if this was Storm’s design (it was not typical of his style) or from someone else at Hipgnosis like George Hardie or Po Powell.

  10. RIP Storm. Hipgnosis says it all in one word. You were truly “A Man Outstanding in His Field”. Pun very much intended!

    1. Bravo, what a wonderful quote…Syncopa. A Nice Pair is where I learned of his fabulous speaking pictures…and they still do. ‘Pass With Flying Colours’…

    2. Finally… a like mind. 😉 I only wish I could have experienced the sense of humor that he didn’t share with his public, as he must have been the supreme jokester.

  11. How can one calculate the impression Storm has made in the minds of millions? If you look just within the Floyd universe, where the music and his visual art are indelibly linked, you couldn’t begin to fathom the degree to which minds have been shaped by his images. The imaginations that have been inspired, the trains of thought unleashed, can one measure those accurately?

    I’m trying to measure my words here so as not to succumb to hyperbole, but, when you consider his body of work, I don’t think it would be a stretch to proclaim that Storm’s visual art has and will forever endure throughout human history en par with The Masters.

    The world is lessened by his absence.

    My condolences to those who knew and loved him.

  12. It’s such a sad thing that someday all things must pass.

    RIP. Thank you for all the great works of art you leave behind.

  13. … I was reading a book of his the other day and I’m sad to read that he passed away.

    My deep condolences to his family, friends and fans. Another creative mind lesser on this planet. 🙁

    Taki

  14. IT’S VERY SAD NEWS ABOUT STORM, I’M SHOCKED RIGHT NOW. THE GENIUS OF HIS MIND CREATED FOR THE PLEASURE OF OUR EYES A BEAUTIFUL WONDERFUL WORLD THAT FOR ME REPRESENTS THE EXCELLENCE OF THE HIGH STATE OF SURREALIST ART. HE WILL BE FOR EVER IN MY HEART, AND THE BEST IS THAT HE WON A PLACE IN THE HISTORY SINCE HE CREATED THE PERFECT FUSION OF CONCEPTS AND IDEAS TO MAKE COMPLETELY POWERFUL COVER ART AND VIDEOS THAT COMPLETELY CHANGED THE WAY TO MAKE THE DREAMS COME TRUE. I REALLY LOVE HIS ART.

    MY CONDOLENCES TO HIS FAMILY… I FEEL A DEEP PAIN IN MY SOUL, R.I.P STORM, THE COSMIC DREAMS OF THE SOLAR WINDS WILL BRING US FOREVER THE POWER OF YOUR INFINITE IMAGINATION…

    RESPECT. MAX.

  15. I remember watching the London Olympics Opening Ceremony and thinking that, really, Storm Thorgerson should have got some credit for it too as it looked as if Danny Boyle had based the whole thing on Pink Floyd album covers. Probably why I liked it so much.

    Best wishes to those he loved and who loved him.

    1. I remember watching the London Olympics Opening Ceremony and thinking that, really, Storm Thorgerson should have got some credit for it too as it looked as if Danny Boyle had based the whole thing on Pink Floyd album covers. Probably why I liked it so much.

      Ain’t that the truth?

  16. RIP Storm, truly legendary album cover designer. Whenever a new Floyd album was due, my first thoughts were always ‘what is the cover art going to look like?’ His creations never ceased to astonish me.

  17. What sad news. Our sympathies to Storm’s family and to David and Polly who knew him so well. So much better than well.

    What can we do but remember the extraordinary body of work that he leaves. The audacity, the colour, the richness, the imagination. He truly “got” Pink Floyd.

    Take up Fed’s invitation to visit his website. Grab a copy of “Mind over Matter”. You’ll see that he also wrote brilliantly; self-deprecating, inciteful, witty. He went to extraordinary lengths to achieve authenticity – ask the frozen diver, the pig-startled pilot, the poor sods who had to make those beds – and whilst he saw the World as nobody else quite could, he was above all a friend of the truth.

  18. Very sad. The man was a talented visionary. May he rest in peace.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  19. So sad about Storm. We always made a point of going up to London when he had exhibitions on at the Oxo Gallery etc. and admiring all these wonderful album covers. You could always tell a Storm shade of desert, tree, blue sea and sky so very vivid. We especially loved the Division Bell with the kites and heads, the diver on Wish You Were Here but best of all the iconic simplicity of Dark Side of the Moon and all the early black and white photos he took.

    He and his work will always be remembered.

    Condolences to all his family, friends and all those who worked with him.

    Heather

  20. Before I ever heard my first Floyd record – way, way, back in the seventies – I admired that beautiful sleeve in the record store. And every time I bought the latest one you I would turn it over and over and over while listening to the record with my headphones on, trying to figure out what those cows and pigs and burning men were all about, devouring every photo, letter and symbol. Great times, thanks Storm!

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  21. My more sincere condolences to his family and to his followers in the whole world. Another light that goes out here to continue shining beyond our history. From Costa Rica!!

    Mi más sinceras condolencias a su familia y a sus seguidores en todo el mundo. Otra luz que se apaga aqui para seguir brillando mas alla de nuestra historia. Desde Costa Rica.

  22. How sad, especially for his family and friends.

    It seems to me that, besides being a creative genius, he was also a good person, a loyal friend.

    The foreword of his book ‘Mind Over Matter – The Images of Pink Floyd’, written by David (I have the 2003 edition) says it all, I think:

    Storm has always had a big mouth. When I first met him he was fifteen and I was in short trousers. I still have a picture in my mind of this schoolboy holding forth to a group of similar-minded teenagers his views on things like Art, Drugs, the Meaning of Life and Immortality. Nothing much has changed (apart from my trousers). I am enormously fond of Storm. He has been my friend, my conscience, my therapist and of course my artistic advisor for over thirty years.

    There was a time – during the making of the Momentary Lapse Of Reason album – that we were persuaded to consider other artists for the cover. The ideas presented by these ‘proper’ designers seemed to be based on purely commercial terms which didn’t fit what we were about. It was with relief that we went back to the devil we knew. Storm’s ideas are not linked to anyone’s ideas of marketing: that they are atmospherically linked to the music is a bonus. I consider what he does to be art.

  23. Such a legacy is worthy of living, a contribution as we all make to society. Let’s not be sad, that’s for those that don’t appreciate the true meaning of life. If I was called Storm, I would love to be buried in a tea cup, but then for some that would be surreal. Can one ever be too surreal?

    Let us never forget eh?

    You all doing OK I hope.

    Ian x

  24. Its really hard to hear that Storm was only 69. He was truly a great artist and will be missed by many.

    Take Care, Thomas

  25. He will live forever in the hearts and minds of billions of people. His work will be remembered till the end of time.

  26. Apart from any loss being a sad occasion, did I read right that his Mother is still alive? If true, how must she feel.

    One of Storm’s final album art creations was for a band I have mentioned on here several times, The Pineapple Thief. He did the cover for their album ‘Someone Here is Missing’. Kind of a poignant title I guess.

  27. I just learned of his passing a few moments ago. Yesterday, while running errands and listening to The Division Bell, I paused while at a traffic light to look at the CD cover. Ironic. Had no idea. I am fortunate that I grew up in an era where album art was in full force and got to really experience it. Today’s youth isn’t as lucky.

  28. After the death of Richard Wright, another huge loss for Floydians and the music world, his art had been such an inspiration.

    My sympathies and condolences are going out to his family and friends, especially also to David.

  29. I’m sorry to hear about Storm. I think he was a genius.

    My best wishes to Storm’s family and friends.

    ash

  30. So sad to hear of Storm’s passing. What an incredibly talented and interesting man.

    My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. He will be missed.

    Peace and love always!
    Gabrielle

  31. R.I.P. Storm.

    I still love the diver photo on the WYWH album, how did he stay still for so long? LOL.

    DSOTM is my ultimate fave artistically for sure.

  32. Although Storm designed covers and artwork for many bands beside Pink Floyd, to me he seems to be connected to PF the most. As far as I am concerned, he was a member of the band as much as Syd, David, Roger, Richard and Nick.

    Part of the Pink Floyd experience is to put the album on and just gaze at the artwork inside and out. It’s the way it was done, particularly in the days before music videos. The music and the artwork would help your mind create its own video.

    Rest in peace Storm, may your soul take you to the Dark Side of the Moon.

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  33. When an artist’s time to go comes; we can find comfort in the works that they have left behind for us to continue to enjoy. And for those yet to come will be able to glimpse at who was behind the creations: a good soul.

    I have always enjoyed his work. I found the “river bed” very creative. The diver is a beautiful piece of work. I was wondering; I have the “Pink Floyd – Shine On ” and there are a couple of the water. They must also be Storm’s work. The one of the droplets of water in the form of a human is beautiful. Heather. you are fortunate to have seen his art in a museum.

    With a wonderful name like Storm; perhaps, he rode a lightening bolt out of here. I am sure he would want David and everyone to hold onto the happy times. Thank you for sharing the heartwarming memory by the river…of creative young men embarking on a journey to grace the world with thought provoking music/art; even if they did not know, at the time the journey ahead…

  34. Went to see his exhibition in Oostende last year and I remember almost bumping in to him at the Royal Albert Hall.

    Very sad news. My condolences to his family and friends.

    Farewell, Storm.

  35. R.I.P. Storm. His artwork is immediately recognizable, so unique, so beautiful. I am always amazed at the genius of artists, I am jealous of his talent, it is breathtaking. He will always be remembered, as long as those albums are out there.

    My condolences to his family. I am sure they are very proud of their Storm.

  36. Thank you Storm for leaving this earth a better place than you found it. No more pain, see you on the other side one day.

  37. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried when I heard.

    The prism was iconic. There was no equal!

    I love every surrealistic, ingenious and whimsical image Storm Thorgerson produced for Pink Floyd, but the prism and its conversion of light to its individual wavelengths, slicing through the void? Unforgettable.

    He was a visual genius! The Madcap Laughs cover, The Wish You Were Here cover, The Mono Lake Diver, Tree of Half Life, The Division Bell, the Inside Out Contortionist, the Ummagumma cover, and Lulubelle (III) the Cow were and still are my favorites. Most of those images have followed me throughout my lifetime, marking time and influence with each new work of art. My throat still catches when I see Syd Barrett crouching pantherlike in the corner. Long before I heard his voice, I saw that image: THAT crouching figure was lodged deep into my visual cortex, thanks to a University art poster sale in Texas.

    Storm Thorgerson’s friendship and all of his clever and beautiful work with Pink Floyd made Hipgnosis into the visual art power house that made for a giant sized portion of the visuals that were Pink Floyd. They were and are my favorites.

  38. ‘Lo All. FEd.

    So sad. The vision of a empty bed… Sums it up. Final. Loss of another. 🙁

  39. Only today I read the sad news: this is all part of our lives and, yes, of course we have to accept it, but the strength and impact of the artistic message of this great personality are indelible and shall remain forever linked to the strength of that music that we all deeply love.

    R.I.P. my condolences to families, to David and the bandmates.

    Love, Elisabetta

  40. I try to remember if Mum and Dad were more puzzled by the sounds they were hearing on their radiogram, or the cow on the front. Dad would say the music is the dung of the photo.

    Later I remember being astounded by a ginormous pig floating across us in the agricultural hall in Stafford in a mid-seventies concert (the pig seemed at home there).

    After a longish period of disconnection from English music, one day a friend gave me a CD to listen to. The two heads on the front fascinated me almost as much as the bell in high hopes.

    It’s uncanny to realise just how much one man’s inspiration can remain a part of one’s life, an artist is a memory maker, a mind filler, dream-maker, invaluable.

    Although I never met him, I can say wholeheartedly that David is not the only one who’ll miss him.

  41. I really, really, am going to miss him. He was the music for our eyes. This is seriously depressing. Future PF products/compilations won’t be the same without him. I hope someone finishes his Barrett film–Po? I think the write up about Storm on this site is gorgeous. Wonderful. And I hope David considers Po for future PF products–if there are any.

  42. I only heard the sad news earlier in the week – where have I been?

    My condolences to all, a great mind and a great artist lost but through his marvellous imagery he will always be remembered. RIP Storm.

  43. Hi all,

    very sad period: in the last two months my beloved husband, two my great English friends, a great part of PF spirit (Storm and his genius) passed away after long, short, even terrible straight against a cancer.

    Sorry for my absence in the blog and my sadness.

    We were so young and now are shadows!

    Music and art are some keys of the life… let’s go but it is as climbing up a huge mountain.

    diana

    1. Oh, Diana. I am so very sorry for your loss. I realise that death is a part of life, yet isn’t life so unforgivably cruel sometimes?

      My condolences.

    2. “And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
      And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
      Get over your hill and see what you find there,
      With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.”

      Mumford & Sons ~ After the Storm

  44. I know there’s nothing we can offer to comfort you, Diana. Please just accept a big hug.

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