Friday, November 20, 2009


by Greg Colfaz (NWM Staff Writer)

Hey from Cottonwood, Idaho. So I've always considered myself a fan of classic rock. I’d say my favorite albums of all time are VH’s Diver Down and Zep II. Aside from being drawn to the “balls to the wall” sound, the one other thing (which you don’t see that much of anymore) are album covers with a concept. 3 cases in point.

HOUSE OF THE HOLY (1973) “The Song Remains the Same” is my favorite track off this one. This cover is probably the oddest of them all, which is saying something. The image was actually inspired by the ending from Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood End. How they did it was simply combine a collage of photos of just two kids (brother and sister) Stefan and Samantha Gates. The pictures were shot at the Giant Causway in Northern Ireland, by Aubrey Powell. Unfortunately the weather was an overcast for ten straight days, so picturesque sunrises and sunsets were pretty much out. Though as luck would have it (caused by some accidental tinting effects in post-production) the final album visual had quite a bit more color and contrast than they thought it would.

PHYSICAL GRAFFITI (1975) Kashmir is the one that does it for me. The cover shot is of a New York City tenement block on St. Mark’s Place. Here’s what photographer Peter Corriston had to say about it…

“We walked around the city for a few weeks looking for the right building. I had come up a concept for the band based on the tenement, people living there and moving in and out. The original album featured the building with the windows cut out on the cover and various sleeves that could be placed under the cover, filling the windows with the album title, track information or liner notes.”

LED ZEPPELIN II (1969): Can't pick a favorite on this one. The concept credit for this album cover goes entirely to designer David Juniper. He was tasked by the band to simply come up with something interesting. The base of David's visual was an old photograph of Jasta II, a division of the German Air force from WW I led by the famed Red Baron (Manfred von Richthofen). To start, Juniper did a little sepia thing to the photograph in post production. He then airbrushed in faces of the band members, the manager (Peter Grant) and tour manager (Richard Cole). He also added a woman in (Glynis Johns, the mom from Mary Poppins). The inside joke here is she has a similar name to the recording engineer Glyn Johns. The other face included was blues man Blind Willie Johnson. The background is a silhouette outline of a Zeppelin (for obvious reasons).

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