Dark Side of the Moon Artist Storm Thorgerson Dead at 69

The influential designer created more than 300 album covers in a career that spanned more than 45 years

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Storm Thorgerson next to his cover of the Pink Floyd album 'The Dark Side of the Moon' in 2008

Storm Thorgerson, the British artist and graphic designer who created iconic album covers for such bands as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and Phish, has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 69.

His work, both as an individual and as part of Hipgnosis, a design group he co-founded, was usually characterized by a striking image or concept — and was hugely influential in defining an LP cover as a canvas on which musical artists could make a statement. He created, by his own count, more than 300 albums over a career that lasted nearly five decades, but it’s his work with Pink Floyd for which he’ll likely be best remembered.

Thorgerson completed 15 albums for the band, from 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets to 2007’s Oh, By the Way. Several of them, including 1975’s Wish You Were Here (depicting a businessman aflame), 1977’s Animals (a pig floating serenely between the smokestacks of London’s Battersea power station), and 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon, are highwater marks in album-cover art.

Dark Side of the Moon‘s elegantly simple prism-and-rainbow design certainly belongs among the top 5 album covers of all time. (He told Rolling Stone in a 2011 interview that the Moon design came from a light show — and that an early version of the cover featured the comic-book character The Silver Surfer.)  On the band’s website, Pink Floyd guitarist-vocalist David Gilmour remembered Thorgerson as “a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend.”