Hipgnosis' Life in 15 Album Covers: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and More

Upon release of new book 'Vinyl . Album . Cover . Art,' studio co-founder Aubrey "Po" Powell unpacks striking images created for Wings, AC/DC and more

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AC/DC, 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' (1976)
Photography: A. Powell © 2017 Hipgnosis Ltd11/15

AC/DC, 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' (1976)

I remember two skinny little Australian guys coming into Hipgnosis' studio, and I thought, "These guys aren't going to amount to a hill of beans." I really did. They were funny little guys and they started saying, "We need an album cover." I was going to L.A. the next day and I said, "Well, why don't I shoot something in L.A.?" And Storm called me when I got there and said, "I've got an idea. Remember those exposé magazines like National Enquirer, where they used to black out people's eyes so you wouldn't know who they were but you did really?" I said, "I'm just down the road from Sunset Strip where there's sleazy motels. Why don't we shoot something there and we'll get a load of characters?" I shot the background there, flew back to England, and we hired a bunch of models and dressed them up in different stuff, outfits, put them in Hipgnosis studios and then created this collage all the way across, as they are standing in front of it. And it's absolutely a perfect example of Hipgnosis work where everything is shot front to back, not how the eye sees it. So everybody is in sharp focus, yet the composition is as if they were there for real. That's what gives it that surreal, almost painted kind of atmosphere to it. 

And again, I don't think these two Australian kids, Angus and Malcolm, really understood it, and in fact they changed the cover later on to something that I would consider a bit more vulgar, a bit more obvious. But nevertheless, for me it went pretty well. It sold six million albums [in the U.S.]. 

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