Original Album Artwork For Led Zeppelin’s 1969 Debut Up For Auction
Album cover for Led Zeppelin's debut by George Hardie - Led Zeppelin / Youtube
The original album art for Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album of 1969 will be auctioned off via Christie’s in a sale scheduled from June 2 to 18.
The album art was designed by George Hardie, which is based on the infamous 1937 still of the Hindenburg Disaster taken by photographer Sam Shere. Experts estimate that the artwork will go for about $20,000 to $30,000, with Christie’s senior specialist of Books and Manuscripts Peter Klarnet telling Rolling Stone, “In terms of rarity, this is a unique object — I don’t think you can get rarer than that.”
Hardie designed the said cover while he was a graduate student at the Royal College of Art in London after he was recommended to Led Zeppelin by his friend, photographer Stephen Goldblatt. Jimmy Page rejected a couple of Hardie’s ideas and suggested the Hindenburg photo to work on instead. Hardie used tracing paper and recreated the image by way of stipple, which is a style of drawing comprised of small dots to give it a low-resolution newspaper photo vibe.
Hardie was allegedly paid £60 for his work, although it was revealed when he uncovered the original stipple tracing years later that a note was attached to it, reading: “George’s pension fund.”
Klarnet says, “The historical significance of this album cover cannot be understated. It marked a major turning point in the history of pop music, heralded by the debut of Led Zeppelin. It was louder, bolder than what had come before and would come to define the shape of hard rock for generations. This simple rendering of the Hindenburg exploding over Lakehurst stands as a monument to that important historical moment. And the image has endured in a way that most other album covers have not — it very much has taken on a life of its own.”
Hardie’s stint with Led Zeppelin made him quite known in the scene, making album covers for bands like Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd.