Friday, January 29, 2016

Fossils: Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy (1973)

Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy
[click to embiggen]
Sitting on top of the world in 1973, Jimmy Page and his fellow gang members in Led Zeppelin felt little need to follow the rules of polite society. When the label pressured them to come up with a name for their untitled fourth album, Page provided them with a set of cryptic runes. The album sold millions of flapjacks in spite of its anonymity, as fans figured it out anyway. Zep’s fifth album, Houses of the Holy, was its first in four years to not receive a numbered title.

The album was not without its own controversy, however – the imaginative cover art, created by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis, features a number of apparently naked children crawling across the stones of some ancient, arcane temple. Some retailers, especially in the Southern U.S. states, refused to stock the album because of its cover (relax, people – the kids were wearing body suits). Like its predecessor, neither the album’s title nor the band name adorned the cover of Houses of the Holy, although a paper wrapper with the info was strategically-strapped around the cover to block out the horribly naked (and oddly colored) children.

Also like Led Zeppelin’s fourth effort, fans promptly figured out the ruse, and Houses of the Holy would eventually move better than ten million copies worldwide, topping the charts in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. The print advertising for Houses of the Holy eschewed the album’s brilliant cover artwork in favor of cool Victorian-era styled B&W pen-and-ink art that showed a bound man’s head being squeezed in a viselike contraption between two railway cars. A simple tagline beneath the album’s title read “does things to people…” For Zep’s legion of rabid, cash-toting fans, nothing else needed to be said…

1 comment:

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