We've been trying to wrap our minds around Picturebox's For the Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis for a couple weeks now. Like, is this the most awesome shit ever, or was it just a bunch of dudes getting stoned and obsessing over the best way to illustrate a literal version of an album title? Either way, they created some of the most iconic covers ever: Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin's House of the Holy and T. Rex's Electric Warrior are just a few. That's a pretty good resume for anyone, even if you're responsible for some duds like Bad Company's Straight Shooter, which seems to be designed solely because the dudes figured out how to make 3D dice on an old-timey '70s computer. But if we went through and criticized or praised all the covers here, we'd be missing the point. Hipgnosis may have done some work that is dated now, but they were blasting through boundaries at the time. As a history of what the hell was going on with major rock albums in the '70s and early '80s, this coffee table book/oral history is pretty indispensable. Only Hipgnosis could predict what the entire aesthetic of the '80s would be in 1974 by putting a naked man in the middle of a bunch of imposing buildings on Yes' Going for the One.
December 11, 2008