“No one has come close to John Bonham in the last 25 years. Absolutely no one …”
On two successive weekends in August 1979, Led Zeppelin performed their legendary concerts in the grounds of Knebworth House in Hertfordshire. These would become their last-ever live shows in the UK. Following the untimely death of John Bonham these shows and the album, In Through The Out Door, would become their unintentional swansong.
The partners at Hipgnosis Studio, Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson, had already worked on the album cover art for Houses Of The Holy, Presence and The Song Remains The Same. It was natural therefore that Aubrey Powell, ‘Po’ to his Led Zeppelin friends, was thus asked to capture the band with his camera for posterity during the days surrounding the Knebworth event. The original approved photo was transferred to flat artwork at Hipgnosis and then carefully filed by Aubrey Powell in his West London archive.
Whilst reviewing the original artwork for the new Rockoptic limited edition Led Zeppelin fine art prints, Aubrey Powell again came across the Knebworth piece, duly preserved and intact. Recently, with all of their original artworks paraded in the studio side by side, Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell surveyed the designs for Knebworth.
The result is a completely new artwork that incorporates the classic Knebworth band shot with the celebrated icons from the album, In Through The Out Door, and a watermark effect created by underlaying all of the recorded song titles in chronological order across the background. Set against the sky in the landscape is the celebrated label artwork for Swan Song, the band’s record label. Also a Hipgnosis creation. Visually constructed with the help of long time Hipgnosis colleague, Richard Evans, the new art was delivered to Brad Faine at Coriander, for him to proof the fine art print.
“I’d had this crazy dream since I was a kid that I would play drums for Led Zeppelin. I really thought I could do it. It would be ridiculous to even try. No one has come close to Bonham in the last 25 years. Absolutely no one.” Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters, Q Magazine 2003.