How a Marvel hero almost appeared on a Pink Floyd album

(Credit: Harvest / Capitol)


When one tries to decode the unimaginable genius of Pink Floyd, it is a usual phenomenon that unusual incidents arise. One of those weird connections to pop culture comes through while deciphering the band’s most famous album, The dark side of the moon. The LP is often considered the best of the group and fully recognized as an essential part of 20th century rock history. Famous with an all-black background with a light prism on the front of the cover art, the record was meant to feature another towering figure of the era: a Marvel superhero.

The album is not only a conceptual masterpiece, but the band also features some of their best singular songs. In addition to “Money”, “Time” and “Breathe”, the album contains perhaps one of their most beloved tracks of all time in “The Great Gig in the Sky”. They are bright individually, but when the songs are sewn together the tapestry created is that of the legend. But the brilliance of the album is not limited to the songs recorded on tape, but to the whole essence of the LP.

There is a lot of iconography attached to The dark side of the moon and it looks like everyone in the band also agrees on its validity as their biggest album. “I think when it was done, everyone thought it was the best thing we’ve ever done to date, and everyone was very happy with it,” recalls Nick Mason.

Wright said of the album, “It felt like the whole band was working together. It was a creative time. We were all very open. It is this openness and this thoughtful sound that made Pink Floyd pioneers of progressive rock, true rock icons, untouchable. It was also what allowed the band to adopt different ideas and styles when deciding on the artwork for the record, which at the time was as vital a part of the album’s ultimate success as the music contained in its gatefold.

Once again drawing on the talent of design studio Hipgnosis, the group approached Aubrey Powell with the idea of ​​including Marvel superhero Silver Surfer on the cover of the LP. With most studios okay with the idea, having enjoyed the comics as children, Powell and the rest of the team tried to capture the mystery and magnetism behind the iconic character. Ideas floated around the office including using a Marvel comic as an overlay or photographing a model disguised as a silver surfer, however, things quickly got shot.

Accessing the licensing rights for the artwork was much more difficult than expected, and Marvel quickly ended the process. Hipgnosis determined that it was not possible to access the image of the Silver Surfer, although many people subsequently reported that Joe Satriani used the image of the character a few years later for his own album. Surf with the alien.

In the end, everyone was happy with the final album design, with David Gilmour commenting, “It’s a brilliant cover. You can look at it after that first moment of brilliance and think, “Well, it’s a very commercial idea: it’s very simple and austere; it will look great in store windows. ‘ It quickly became one of the most iconic album covers of all time, even without the Silver Surfer.

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