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The Pagemeister

Houses Of The Holy Cover: Mystery Solved

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Solved: Mystery of the iconic Led Zeppelin album cover and its golden-haired children

By RICK HEWETT - More by this author »

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/arti...in_page_id=1773

Led Zeppelin's surreal cover for their Houses Of The Holy album, featuring golden-haired children crawling across an apocalyptic landscape, is one of the most iconic images in rock history.

But while the sleeve design is familiar across the globe, what no one knows is that the young boy who appears in the photo montage is now a well-known television presenter.

Stefan Gates, of BBC2's Cooking In The Danger Zone, was just five when he and sister Sam were innocently snapped in the nude for the shoot on the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

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Model behaviour: Stefan and Sam posed for knitting patterns and appeared in TV dramas, including Poldark

His role is revealed as Led Zeppelin prepare for their historic reunion concert at London's O2 arena tomorrow night – which has seen one million fans battle for 20,000 tickets.

Stefan, 40, has travelled to some of the world's most dangerous regions fronting his show. But the photoshoot over ten rainy days in County Antrim remains prominent in his mind.

He had followed Sam, now 42, into child modelling after she was spotted by a talent scout. They posed together for knitwear patterns and appeared separately in commercials and TV dramas, including Poldark.

Stefan said: "We only got a few quid for the modelling and the chance to travel to places we had never been before.

"Our family wasn't well off, we certainly couldn't afford holidays, so it worked out great for us.

"For the Zeppelin cover we went to Ireland during the Troubles. I remember arriving at the airport and seeing all these people with guns.

"We stayed in this little guest house near the Giant's Causeway and to capture the so-called magic light of dawn and dusk we'd shoot first thing in the morning and at night.

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Naked ambition: Stefan and Sam Gates on the album's cover, crawling over the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. Several multiple-exposure shots give the impression of lots of children

"I've heard people saying they put wigs on several children. But there was only me and my sister and that's our real hair.

"I used to love being naked when I was that age so I didn't mind. I'd whip off my clothes at the drop of a hat and run around having a great time, so I was in my element.

"My sister was older so she was probably a bit more self-conscious."

The cover art was the brainchild of Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson of legendary album-sleeve designers Hipgnosis. They took several multiple-exposure shots of Stefan and Sam to create the image of more children clambering over the rocks.

There is endless debate among rock fans over the significance of the image.

Powell has claimed he was inspired by the science-fiction book Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke, in which children climb off the end of the world.

Stefan – who lives in North London with wife Georgia and daughters Daisy, four, and Poppy, two – is sceptical of all the theories about the artwork's meaning, including Powell's.

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You've come a long way baby: Stefan Gates, who now presents Cooking In The Danger Zone, says the Led Zeppelin photo-shoot made him seek out more adventurous experiences

He said: "In a lot of cases with graphical design work it's an evolving process and they think up the explanation later. I personally have no idea what it means.

There's something about it though that is disturbing and haunting, perhaps more so because I am in it."

Although a fan of Led Zeppelin, Stefan confesses he has never listened to Houses Of The Holy, which was released in 1973.

"It carries too much significance for me," he said. "A part of me wants to go out to the Giant's Causeway with a big pair of speakers, strip naked and play it just to see if I have some kind of great epiphany."

Sam moved to Cape Town, South Africa, four years ago with husband Andrew Hamilton Barr and they have a daughter, Tallulah.

The screenwriter, who also features on the inside sleeve as the child being sacrificed at the top of a mountain, said: "I remember the shoot really clearly, mainly because it was freezing cold and rained the whole time.

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Still on the rocks: Sam, who now lives in Cape Town with her husband and daughter Tallulah

"We were naked in a lot of the modelling shoots we did, nothing was thought of it back then. You probably couldn't get away with that now."

Stefan has just finished filming the third series of Cooking In The Danger Zone, which included a visit to Palestine.

He believes shooting the album cover 35 years ago has subconsciously played a huge role in his life.

He said: "Although it's just my naked behind you can see, perhaps being a part of something like that at a young age made me seek out more ambitious and adventurous experiences."

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Pagemeister: A fantastic find! And isn't it great their lives turned out so well.

Edited by SteveAJones

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Good find, funny I just read this a few weeks ago on http://www.thisdayinmusic.com

The young girl featured on the cover of the Led Zeppelin album ‘Houses Of The Holy’ climbing naked up Giants‘ Causeway in Northern Ireland is Samantha Gates who was 6 years old at the time of the photo shoot.

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if there was a boy and a girl, why does it look to me like it's all the same kid, and a girl at that? I can't really tell which ones are Stefan. either they did a great job making him look like a girl or he wasn't in the final image. can anyone point him out?

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Wow! That is fantastic. Just imagine being able to tell people that at dinner parties! :lol: "I was on the cover of Houses of the Holy....naked!" :lol:

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That's an interesting claim "I'm on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Houses of The Holy."

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Interesting article and thanks for posting. but what was the -mystery solved....that the kids grew up to successful adults?

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This pair were interviewed for Q mag's LZ Special Edition in 2003. According to this one Plant suggested the other end of the Causeway at Staffa in Scotland but the blokes from Hipgnosis decided to go to Northern Ireland despite The Troubles at the time, apparently there were run-ins with British Army border guards to go along with the rain beset shoot and the Printing disasters that led to the delay in the album's release. There were 3 unnamed adult models involved in the shoot as well but only one of them made it on to the sleeve on the inside of the gatefold holding the child up.

Samantha was also on the back cover of Presence, the ringlet haired girl in the 'schoolteacher' photo and Stefan apparently featured on Pink Floyd's 'Division Bell' cover.

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This pair were interviewed for Q mag's LZ Special Edition in 2003. According to this one Plant suggested the other end of the Causeway at Staffa in Scotland but the blokes from Hipgnosis decided to go to Northern Ireland despite The Troubles at the time, apparently there were run-ins with British Army border guards to go along with the rain beset shoot and the Printing disasters that led to the delay in the album's release. There were 3 unnamed adult models involved in the shoot as well but only one of them made it on to the sleeve on the inside of the gatefold holding the child up.

Samantha was also on the back cover of Presence, the ringlet haired girl in the 'schoolteacher' photo and Stefan apparently featured on Pink Floyd's 'Division Bell' cover.

Great info Sam - thanks...

Dig the avatar as well.

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You're Welcome!

The av was a B/W photo from a book on the Hindenburg that I hand tinted in the computer for a home-made LZ compilation a few years back, I'm glad I've found another use for it. I thought it was quite appropriate, the cute little girls waving goodbye to the Big Bad Zeppelin!

Edited by sam.e138

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Interesting article and thanks for posting. but what was the -mystery solved....that the kids grew up to successful adults?

Well, it gives you an idea of who they were, seeing as how that specific cover was always a bit mysterious. "Oh my God, why are there naked children on that album cover???" rolleye0013.gif

It was very interesting Pagemeister, thanks for posting!

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"Although a fan of Led Zeppelin, Stefan confesses he has never listened to Houses Of The Holy..."

A contradictory statement if I've ever read one, lol...

;^)

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