Obituary: Storm Thorgerson, designer of Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon album cover, dies

Designer Storm Thorgerson, whose album cover artwork included Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon

Designer Storm Thorgerson, whose album cover artwork included Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, has died. Picture: PA/Yui Mok - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Pink Floyd album artist Storm Thorgerson has died at the age of 69 after suffering from cancer.

He was responsible for designing some of Pink Floyd’s best known artwork – including the prism on the cover of The Dark Side of the Moon, one of the best-selling records of all time.

Known for his distinctive and surreal imagery, Mr Thorgerson also created designs for Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel and Muse.

Born in 1944 in Potters Bar, he went to school in Cambridge with Pink Floyd founders Roger Waters and Syd Barrett.

He later became the band’s designer-in-chief and worked from his studio in Belsize Park from the 1970s until his death.

Last week his family announced he had died peacefully on April 18.

Tributes from members of Pink Floyd describe Mr Thorgerson as a “champion of bands” and a “tireless worker”.

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Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason said of him: “Defender of art over commerce at all times, and tireless worker right up to the end.

“Two days before he passed away, and by then completely exhausted, he was still demanding approval for artwork and haranguing his loyal assistants.

“Dear friend to all of us, our children, our wives (and the exes). Endlessly intellectual and questioning. Breathtakingly late for appointments and meetings, but once there, invaluable for his ideas, humour and friendship.”

Mason added he was “irreplaceable and unforgettable but leaving a wonderful legacy of ideas, film, writings and artwork”.

Mr Thorgerson had been ill for some time with an undisclosed form of cancer and had also suffered a stroke in 2003.

Bursting with ideas

Pink Floyd’s lead singer Dave Gilmour said: “We first met in our early teens. We would gather at Sheep’s Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge, and Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has ever really changed.

“He has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend.

“The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work. I will miss him.”

Other Pink Floyd covers designed by Mr Thorgerson included a cow on the front of Atom Heart Mother and the burning businessman on the sleeve of Wish You Were Here.

Mr Thorgerson later revealed the idea for his best-known cover for The Dark Side of the Moon was inspired by a physics textbook.

He also designed artwork for Ian Dury’s album Mr Love Pants, which features a dog on a beach wearing swimming shorts.

Close friend of the late Dury and Hampstead resident Rainbow George Weiss said he met Mr Thorgerson several times at Ian Dury’s house.

On one occasion, Mr Dury was looking at a photo on the inside cover of Mr Love Pants, which featured an old man in a sailor’s hat.

The man, it turned out, was Irish singer and Hampstead local Ronnie Carroll, who Mr Dury was listening to at the time.

Mr Weiss told how the picture was taken. “Storm was sent out to find a photo of an old boy wearing a sailor’s hat, so he went to the betting shop and spotted Ronnie and offered him £5 to have his photo taken.

“When Storm was round at Ian’s he showed him the photos while Ronnie’s record was playing. I remember Ian trying to get Storm to guess who we were listening to and he couldn’t guess it. It was such a bizarre coincidence.”

Thorgerson is survived by his mother Vanji, son Bill, wife Barbie Antonis and her two children, Adam and Georgia.