Aubrey Powell,: Memoirs of the man behind the iconic Pink Floyd album artwork

Aubrey Powell, known to his pals as Po has some fascinating stories to tell from his life in music imaging creating album artwork from rock’s golden age.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 2:12 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 2:14 pm

In 1968 he founded Hipgnosis with Storm Thorgerson and together their designs became universally recognised in record shops and homes.

Speaking to Po this week we went through his new book Through The Prism (Thames & Hudson, £30.00), and found a wealth of untold rock stories dissecting almost my entire LP collection.

His work involved Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, 10cc and Pink Floyd to name just a few.

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The groundbreaking artwork Hipgnosis created came in the heyday of album covers as an art form, and I had to ask him about Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother which features a large cow photographed from behind just as the animal turns to look at the camera.

Taking the drafts to the band for approval was met with complete trust and the insistence that no album title or band name would appear on the sleeve.

It all began when Aubrey had a market stall with pop art in Cambridge when he was just 17.

Syd Barratt album cover

Syd Barrett came past, and they started a friendship, making music together with mates that became Pink Floyd.

They moved to South Kensington, but Syd became involved in hallucinatory drugs and his personality changed and returned to Cambridge as a recluse.

For their reunion Po took photos of Syd in yoga positions which became the sleeve for his solo album The Madcap Laughs.

The book title refers to the prism on the sleeve of Dark Side Of The Moon released in 1973 and went on to sell in excess of 65 million copies.

In the US the album charted for 962 weeks and for the sleeve Richard Wright told them he wanted something simple like the Black Magic chocolate box. Storm had the idea, Aubrey sketched it with crayons and the band loved it.

As creative director with Pink Floyd the work continues and in March 2023, we can look forward to the 50th anniversary.