I met Storm Thorgerson in 1972 when I was employed by Ronchetti and Day, a top class art studio at 115 New Bond Street, London.
Terry Day, who I had worked with previously at Chamberlain Art Studios, 146 Holborn, London and Meyer Arton 219 Oxford Street, London, was a quite brilliant retoucher and artist. Storm was using Terry to retouch album sleeve artwork and as I was now employed at this studio, I retouched my first sleeve ELO2, a black and white front and back space view looking between a girls legs to her private parts. I drew a lightbulb on the front travelling into a void, and drew a planet on the back and put in a galaxy and hand coloured the whole image.
I was only there for 10 months and left to go freelance in June 1973, and within a month Storm phoned me to say, as much as he liked the work Terry was doing, he didn't like his prices and did I want to do some work for them. I did not need asking twice. Little did I know by that decision, a working relationship with Hipgnosis and particularly Storm was to last to 1999. It is always the most insignificant conversations and chance meetings that can have the most dramatic effect in your life. This was one of those times.
Quite often I would do some work on roughs and presentation ideas for no money, but Storm would ask what album I might like as some token reward. That's how I got my Beatles collection and a few others besides. I was freelance at Bill Marriner Associates, 142-146 New Cavendish Street, London, with about 20 other artists, some of whom told me I should charge a lot more for working on top bands sleeves. I ignored them. I knew at the time I was privileged to be working with Storm and Po(Aubrey Powell) and the work was a complete departure from a lot of the advertising work I was doing.
It wasn't always a smooth relationship, we had some extremely heated discussions and Storm was always right. I mean, Storm and Po were the designers and I was just the retoucher. Shutup and get on with it. I learnt so much about composition of a subject and principles of design from this association, and although, of course, I was well paid for the majority of the work I was asked to do, I did realize the importance of the work and that here was something to be really proud of irrespective of the money, and these images would be talked about and looked at for evermore. I left school on Monday March 1st and started work Tuesday March 2nd 1964. No Art School training, so I am eternally indebted to Storm and Po for opening my mind in the way that their work and attitude and attention to detail has.
The purpose of these pages is to explain, as best as I can, what part I played in helping to produce some of the most iconic sleeves of a generation. I have devoted the 'retouching' section to explain the processes involved and materials used, so that they can be used as reference when I talk about certain things for each album sleeve. If there are some things not explained fully, I apologise and will willingly try and answer any query about the sleeves shown. Some Sleeves I have omitted as my input was minimal. In all I was used on perhaps over seventy Sleeve Artworks. I am a very fortunate chap.
Some images do not appear too sharp as the only reference I was able to use were low resolution, so please accept my apologies.