Call it the perfect Storm.

The Pink Floyd album A Momentary Lapse of Reason was released on this week back in 1987 and the album cover designed by the late, great artist, Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) still stands as one of the most intriguing in rock history.

What makes it even more fascinating is the story behind it. In a time when the images we see can easily be made to look real with some photoshop trickery, this is a piece of art that was meticulously created by the hands of real people, not computers. And as you are about to read, this was not such an easy task.

Here is an excerpt from Thorgerson’s 1987 book, Mind Over Matter: The Images Of Pink Floyd that gives some insight into where the idea for the artwork came from:

The idea for the beds comes from two sources. The first was a lyric line from ‘Yet Another Movie’ which read “A vision of an empty bed”. David [Gilmour] had drawn a picture for this which I liked, but not madly, so I rearranged the words to become “a vision of empty beds” and that’s it.


The second source was a lonely rower, or sculler, rowing himself down a dry cracked river bed. This was a reworking, I realize, of the swimmer in the dunes for "Wish You Were Here." The beds then became arranged in a gentle curve stretching away from the camera, like a river, as in ‘river bed’!  The same rower, Langley Iddens, occupied a fast moving bed for the concert film for ‘On The Run’ from Dark Side [of the Moon], a hospital bed like one from the cover. It all connects, somehow, somewhere.

This part of the book goes on to explain the near impossible task of finding the 700 beds, and how the location in the album cover was also used for the military sequences in Pink Floyd's film version of The Wall. 

Of course, back in the days before CGI and Photoshop, a shoot like this was very reliant on the weather, but that's okay, because they were in Los Angeles, and it never rains in SoCal, right? WRONG. Thorgerson’s Mind Over Matter: The Images Of Pink Floyd says that, as soon as the 700 beds, three tractor-trailers, all of the dogs, models, and photographers were in place, it started to pour! Can you believe they had to set up that entire elaborate scene again two weeks later?

Well, it's a truly fascinating story, and a great look into what creating art like this was like back in the day -- you actually had to create it.


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