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JimmyPageZoSo56

Houses of the Holy album cover

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heres a trivia question and I was surprised when I read this in my December 1993 issue of Guitar World all about Led Zeppelin.

Who were the people that designed the Houses of the Holy album cover and what was the first idea for the album cover?

(hint: they make Pink Floyd's album cover)

Edited by JimmyPageZoSo56

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Who were the people that designed the Houses of the Holy album cover and what was the first idea for the album cover?

THE PROJECT: Jimmy Page called the studio one day and asked Hipgnosis if they were the guys who had done the ARGOS album cover for WISHBONE ASH (another great cover) and would they want to do the next Zeppelin Cover? Considering the fact that by now Zeppelin had become one of the biggest acts in the world Hipgnosis be lined right to the management’s office.

They were met by Page, and the band’s intimidating manager Peter Grant. Asking them what ideas they had, Peter Grant was physically massive, suspicious, intimidating, and excited all at the same time. Pulling out a pack of cigarettes that had their ideas scribbled on the back, HIPGNOSIS had two concepts. The first one was to plow the plains of NAZCA with the ZOSO symbol in Peru. The other was to have silver painted family climbing a mystical place to a power source (LED ZEPPELIN) The idea based on ARTHUR C. CLARKE’S CHILD HOOD’S END. Arthur in latter years said that he was flattered that his book was the inspiration for HOUSES OF THE HOLY as ZEPPELIN was one of his favorite bands.

Their response was unanimous, do them both!!! Hignosis explained that this would cost a lot of money, “We don’t give a F#%k about money!” Peter Grant said. (Ah! those were the days). HIPGNOSIS were never given such carte blanche, “ we are leaving for Japan to tour” Page said” if you don’t want to do both then pick whichever you think works best.”

Not wanting to piss off archeologists world wide and governments by scarring up the plains of NAZCA (remember this was before Photoshop, and HIPGNOSIS liked doing it for real!) and not really wanting to be climbing the foothills of PERU, they went for the other idea. The location they chose was THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY IN NORTHERN IRELAND. They also figured that Irish mysticism was just as good as Peruvian mysticism and was closer to Zeppelin’s roots.

Originally the idea was of a family climbing the rocks, they decided on just the children in the end as a more powerful statement. Although during the shoot there were five models, three adults and two children (actual brother and sister.) So every morning at 4:00 am for a week the models were painted gold and silver and driven to the location from the hotel to be photographed during a glorious sunrise that never happened! It was cold and wet and it rained all week, a nightmare. Hot coffee, brandy, tranquilizers, turpentine to wash off the car paint as the make up ran out, misery, damp beds, and “in the end I was never used!!!” one of the adults said although they gave me 100 pounds.

In the end HIPGNOSIS shot it and realizing the color photos unusable had them processed as black and whites. They then did a collage (sticking the same various poses of the same two children in different ways) re photographed it then toned it in sepia and had their associate PHIL CRENNEL airbrush it with color and retouch it to produce the desired look. This was a process they had perfected and used a lot of times in the future.

The presented the finished art to the band when they returned, they had caught lightning in a bottle the results although accidental at points were amazing. The band’s name and album title appeared in a Japanese paper obi (basically a ribbon that was wrapped around the album that you had to break to open the cover and get to the record.) So that the cover was pure and appealed to Zeppelin’s anti commercial attitudes.

It also concealed the children’s naked bums, which became a problem later on. Jimmy Page thought that it really captured the moment, and that is the highest compliment you can get earn as a designer.

AFTERMATH AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW:

When the proofs came back from the printer they looked awful, the cover had this day glow orange and the children were purple. An angry Peter Grant had Atlantic fly Hipgnosis to NY and put up in a luxury hotel where they stayed for weeks until the cover looked perfect. (like I said those were the days.)

The album was banned in Franco's Spain (because of the naked kids) and the American Bible belt (on the other hand some things never change!)

Simon Gates (the little boy in the photos) later laughed and said as to how he use to pick up girls as a teen by taking them to the record store showing them the album and saying “Yep that’s my butt right there!”

Even though they did not do Physical Graffiti the follow-up Zep album which ironically had the title track of HOUSES OF THE HOLY Hipgnosis did all the ZEP albums afterward including CODA and the live album.

After disbanding in the early 1980’s and getting into the MTV VIDEO biz, Aubrey Powell worked with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant again by directing NO QUARTER the VH-1 special.

Storm exhibits and still does the occasional record cover (AUDIO SLAVE, MEGADETH, MARS VOLTA, PINK FLOYD, CRANBERRIES) his stuff still is incredible.

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yea, Hipgnosis made the cover, but the first idea was one guy named Storm had a picture of an electric green tennis court and and a racket. and Jimy said "whats does that go to do with anything?"

and Storm said said "Racket? Get it?" and Jimmy said "Are you calling our music racket? GET OUT!" and Storm left and so they got another guy to make the cover.

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Storm Thorgerson released a book with some of his work in it, and anecdotes about their creation. His collaboration with Zeppelin extended several years and they had a good working relationship, which makes your story a little implausible.

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yea, Hipgnosis made the cover, but the first idea was one guy named Storm had a picture of an electric green tennis court and and a racket. and Jimmy said "whats does that go to do with anything?" and Storm said said "Racket? Get it?" and Jimmy said "Are you calling our music racket? GET OUT!" and Storm left and so they got another guy to make the cover.

Did I leave that out? Well, Storm Thorgerson was also working for Hipgnosis at the time. I've heard the story before but it sounds hard to believe to me.

Edit: Aubrey Powell also came up with the concepts for The Firm's five promo videos.

Edited by SteveAJones

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Storm Thorgerson released a book with some of his work in it, and anecdotes about their creation. His collaboration with Zeppelin extended several years and they had a good working relationship, which makes your story a little implausible.

I'm not lying.

thats not what Jimmy Page said in the interview i read.

Edited by JimmyPageZoSo56

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Did I leave that out? Well, Storm Thorgerson was also working for Hipgnosis at the time. I've heard the story before but it sounds hard to believe to me.

heres what it says in the interview (from Guitar World December 1993 Jimmy Page interview).

This is what Jimmy had to say:

"...But it is no worse than my first meeting with an artist from Hipgnosis, who were the people who designed Pink Floyd's covers. We has commissioned them to design House of the Holy, and this guy Storm came in carrying this picture of an electric green tennis court with a tennis racket on it. I said, "What the hell does that have to do with anything?" And he said "Racket-don't you get it?" I said, "Are you trying to imply that our music is a 'racket'? Get out!" We never saw him again. We ended up dealing with one of the other artists. [laughs] That was a total insult-racket. He had some balls! Imagine. On the first meeting with a client!"

Edited by JimmyPageZoSo56

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Did I leave that out? Well, Storm Thorgerson was also working for Hipgnosis at the time. I've heard the story before but it sounds hard to believe to me.

Storm Thorgerson released a book with some of his work in it, and anecdotes about their creation. His collaboration with Zeppelin extended several years and they had a good working relationship, which makes your story a little implausible.

ok Cactus, read this:

heres what it says in the interview (from Guitar World December 1993 Jimmy Page interview).

This is what Jimmy had to say:

"...But it is no worse than my first meeting with an artist from Hipgnosis, who were the people who designed Pink Floyd's covers. We has commissioned them to design House of the Holy, and this guy Storm came in carrying this picture of an electric green tennis court with a tennis racket on it. I said, "What the hell does that have to do with anything?" And he said "Racket-don't you get it?" I said, "Are you trying to imply that our music is a 'racket'? Get out!" We never saw him again. We ended up dealing with one of the other artists. [laughs] That was a total insult-racket. He had some balls! Imagine. On the first meeting with a client!"

Edited by JimmyPageZoSo56

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Edit: Aubrey Powell also came up with the concepts for The Firm's five promo videos.

Aubrey Powell ("Po") is a great mate to the guys, who love and respect him, and also worked with Robert solo, for example on the "Heaven Knows" video.

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Well what Jimmy said is not accurate then (not the first time either).

Storm worked closely with the band on the covers for Presence and In Through the Out Door.......

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Aubrey Powell ("Po") is a great mate to the guys, who love and respect him, and also worked with Robert solo, for example on the "Heaven Knows" video.

There's a great little snippet of Po being interviewed on an MTV special on Robert and Now and Zen in 1988 talking about the making of the "Heaven Knows" video. Did he work on other videos as well? I seem to recall he did in the earlier days.

Edited by ninelives

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There's a great little snippet of Po being interviewed on an MTV special on Robert and Now and Zen in 1988 talking about the making of the "Heaven Knows" video. Did he work on other videos as well? I seem to recall he did in the earlier days.

I seem to remember the racket cover idea being for Presence, so maybe there were just certain people at Hipgnosis that Zep would work with, after that incident.

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Storm Thorgerson was directly involved in the conception and production of all the Led Zeppelin covers done by Hipgnosis. Each of the different members had different areas of expertise and all collaborated on each design.

I think you guys have to let it go the idea that Jimmy threw a fit and got rid of Storm, it didn't happen, either it was a mis-quote, or Jimmy was exaggerating and it is being taken out of context......

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I think you guys have to let it go the idea that Jimmy threw a fit and got rid of Storm, it didn't happen, either it was a mis-quote, or Jimmy was exaggerating and it is being taken out of context......

It's just like his patently false comment he didn't pick up a guitar for 18 months after Zeppelin. When he said it he probably forgot about his jam in Hammersmith with Jeff

Beck in March 1981.

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I seem to remember the racket cover idea being for Presence, so maybe there were just certain people at Hipgnosis that Zep would work with, after that incident.

Sorry, I realised I was unclear in my post. I was wondering if Po ever did any other of Robert's solo videos.

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yea, Hipgnosis made the cover, but the first idea was one guy named Storm had a picture of an electric green tennis court and and a racket. and Jimy said "whats does that go to do with anything?"

and Storm said said "Racket? Get it?" and Jimmy said "Are you calling our music racket? GET OUT!" and Storm left and so they got another guy to make the cover.

dont know the answer to your question but i would have loved to have seen that argument!

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I read an interview back in September I think with the two children that did the pictures for the album cover. Ill see if I can find a link to it

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I read an interview back in September I think with the two children that did the pictures for the album cover. Ill see if I can find a link to it

They were used by Hipgnosis on several different projects and did a lot of modelling for other things too.

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