Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

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Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here
Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

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Steve Fairclough reveals the story of the iconic image of Pink Floyd’s 1975 album cover Wish You Were Here

Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

Musicians: Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, Dick Perry (saxophone, Shine on You Crazy Diamond), Roy Harper (lead vocals, Have a Cigar), Venetta Fields and Carlena Williams (backing vocals).

Still Shining After All These Years

Interesting fact: Powell left a party with assistant Peter Christopherson at 4 pm on the evening of the cover shoot and noticed fog in front of the Cadillac. ‘Peter said, “Your car’s on fire”, Powell revealed. I stopped the car and we jumped out. The car exploded and burned to the ground. We did this dangerous fire stunt and here we were coming from a party and the car caught fire.

Wish You Were Here, the ninth studio album by legendary rock band Pink Floyd, explores themes of absence, transcendence, and the band’s depression following the departure of former guitarist Syd Barrett in 1968 due to mental health problems with lead singer Roger Waters. It was seen that, in places, it was also a sharp criticism of the cynical music business.

Like the iconic light prism design of Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon, the design was handled by the Hipgnosis agency, co-founded by the late Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell. ‘I took all the photos for the album,’ explains Powell.

These were shot during Pink Floyd’s US tour in ’75. We flew to California and Storm had already presented the band’s ideas at Abbey Road Studios, which were sketches I had made. He was too nervous to show them but when he finished the performance he received a standing ovation from the band.

Release “wish You Were Here” By Pink Floyd

‘We heard the track at Abbey Road Studios and we knew what Roger Waters had in mind,’ Powell revealed. We knew his thoughts were about absence and Shine On You Crazy Diamond actually came from the loss of Syd Barrett. Barrett’s ghost still haunts Pink Floyd – the fact is that he went mad overnight and left the band to fend for themselves only five or six years ago.

On Dark Side of the Moon Roger wrote about madness, loneliness, life on the road and all these darker themes which turned into Wish You Were Here – it’s a very dark album.’

Storm Thorgerson said the faceless man is a ‘salesman selling his soul’ and has features on his back. It was shot in the Yuma Desert. Said to represent the Earth, the absence of wrists and ankles marks him as an ’empty suit’.

Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

In a 2012 TV documentary, The Making of Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour recalled, ‘We mostly, in those days, left it to Storm to come up with things [design ideas]. ..our two minutes of mixing time to say, “Maybe that one, that one, not that one, not that one”. He came up with these [ideas]…from the song, this theme of absence.’

Black Background, Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, Album Covers, Cover Art, Band

The main idea of ​​the album cover was to reflect the cynical nature of the music business at the time. ‘The album, about absenteeism and dishonesty, sparked the idea of ​​Storm having two businessmen join hands – one of them was dishonest and the other got burnt in the deal,’ explains Powell.

I said to Storm, “How are we going to do this?” Because these were not the days of digital retouching. He said, ‘I guess you really have to burn a man.’

When he arrived in LA, Powell interviewed stuntmen and hired expert fire stuntmen Ronnie Rondell and Danny Rogers Jr. Powell recalls, ‘Rondell was the chief “fire man” and had great charisma and strength of character. When he saw the [cover concept] drawing he told me, “I never stand up to do fire stunts. You have to move to keep the fire behind you… running, jumping or whatever.”

I said, “Okay, it’s going to be two men shaking hands over fire.” He said, “I can’t guarantee it. I’ll try to make it work and more. I didn’t want to lose her, so I agreed and thought I’d have to book it that day.”

Wish You Were Here

Rondell utilized his own expert team of fire stunt experts and shooting was scheduled for the following Saturday at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. ‘It was a dangerous shoot,’ Powell admitted. We started making pictures of him running towards the burning camera and that was not what we wanted.

It was a surprisingly calm afternoon, so, after lunch, I said, “I’d really like to shake your hand. There’s no wind, it’s still.” Ronnie said, “Okay. We’ll try it.” They covered it with flammable material and set it on fire. I had three cameras shooting one after the other. Jeff [Smith] shot one, Powell’s assistant Peter [Christopherson] shot one. ‘And I was shooting at Hasselblad – we just shot and shot.’

Powell was using Kodak color transparency film and explains, ‘It was probably at a fairly high shutter speed as some of the shots were in sunlight and some in light shade. It was very bright with a clear blue sky, so I must have been shooting at at least 1/250 sec to get the fire going. I also wanted depth of field so that the buildings would be clearly visible in the background.

Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

Half a stop can make a big difference, so we used parentheses. I’m shooting it in 20 seconds, so I’m going half a stop down, half a stop over, one stop under, one stop over and back to center. ‘Each time the fire lasted for about 20 seconds because it flew so fast. “I wasn’t that happy with it,” Rondell said the second time around. “I think we can do better.”

Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here Album Cover Tattoo By Facundo Pereyra On Deviantart

So we did it again and it was really good. For the third time a light gust of wind came on his face. He threw himself on the ground and his team was on top of him with blankets, fire extinguishers and pulled him out.

He burnt his eyebrows and scorched his mustache – he was lucky not to burn his face. He stood up and said, “Enough.” Not anymore.” But I knew I had a shot – it was fantastic. I was happy and he went away happy.’

The final design twist on the theme of absence came with the decision to shrink-wrap the album in black, leaving the cover inconspicuous. This decision was not very popular among the American record firm Columbia Records, but it was widely praised. EMI in the UK (of which Harvest Records was a subsidiary) was less concerned.

Powell explains, ‘Storm was always quick to come up with interesting ideas and he convinced the band why not come up with material for the album.’

Wish You Were Here (2011 Remaster)

He adds, ‘In big record stores where you had 10,000 albums, you had to stand out and, of course, a black shrink-wrapped cover with a colorful central logo stood out.

Apart from the label, there was no band’s name on it. George Hardy, who did all the graphics, designed that robotic handshaking, cold, AI type image (for the circular labels). All these factors were the cause of shrink-wrapping. Many people tore the wrapping and later regretted not keeping it. I have one at home, which is intact.

The album’s classic photography also adopted the theme of the four elements – fire, earth, air and water – for the four images. The cover was fire, the splashless diver was water, an invisible naked model with a red scarf was air and a salesman standing in the desert was earth.

Album Cover Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

‘I’m very proud of the cover image but my favorite picture is the diver. I still get goosebumps thinking about that shot because it was a magical moment. I knew I was going to get a great shot.

Pink Floyd “wish You Were Here” Album Cover For Nathanfo24 ⋆ Studio Xiii Gallery

Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell began his career as a set designer in the mid-1960s. He shared an apartment with Storm Thorgerson in 1967, and the two co-founded Hipgnosis. Hipgnosis flourished and produced several LP covers. He created music videos, TV commercials, documentaries and corporate films but returned to album design in 2014 for Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell 20th Anniversary box set.

An unforgettable moment in my career was photographing David Gilmour in rehearsal doing a different version of Wish You Were Here. The disturbing original image perfectly captures the eponymous song about founding member Syd Barrett (who became a drug addict) –

It remains as popular as the sleeve music. The spontaneity of the pose reflects the growing tension between the artist and management. It reflects the outward appearances and personal pain and, possibly, the combustible relationship between Gilmore and Waters. It’s a wonder it didn’t slip out of your hands!

Wish You Were is a perfect example of how music evokes thoughts, questions, emotions

Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here Illustrierter Album Cover

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