The world of rock & roll is frequently packed with unnoticed behind-the-scenes activities. One such incident is Jimmy Page, the guitarist for Led Zeppelin, who was unhappy with the record’s cover art because it didn’t live up to his standards, and the band’s third studio album, “Led Zeppelin III.”
The band, or more precisely, Page, had a definite idea for the album’s cover while “Led Zeppelin III” was in the works. But for a variety of reasons, this vision didn’t come to pass as planned, leaving us disappointed.
In a direct admission made in a 1993 interview with Guitar World, Page said that the album cover image wasn’t exactly what he had in mind. Led Zeppelin III’s cover image did not be the only aspect of Page’s dislike for it. It was also about how it was made, how the artist and creator interacted with one other, and the final product, which was not what Page had first imagined.
Regarding the work for which he accepted responsibility, Jimmy Page said:
“A disappointment. I will take responsibility for that one. I knew the artist and described what we wanted with this wheel that made things appear and change. But he got very personal with this artwork and disappeared off with it. We kept saying, ‘Can we take a look at it? Can we see where it is going?’ Finally, the album was actually finished, and we still did not have the art. It got to the point where I had to say, ‘Look, I have got to have this thing.’
I was not happy with the final result — I thought it looked teeny-boppers. But we were on top of a deadline, so of course, there was no way to make any radical changes to it. There are some silly bits–little chunks of corn and nonsense like that. But it is no worse than my first meeting with an artist from Hipgnosis, who were the people that designed Pink Floyd covers.”
He also added, “We had commissioned them to design ‘Houses of the Holy,’ and this guy Storm came in carrying this picture of an electric green tennis court with a tennis racquet on it. I said, ‘What the hell does that have to do with anything?’ And he said, ‘Racket — don’t you get it?.’ I said, ‘Are you trying to imply that our music is a racket? Get out!’
We never saw him again. We ended up dealing with one of the other artists [laughs]. That was a total insult — racket. He had some balls! Imagine. On a first meeting with a client!”
Page’s remark made it plain that he was dissatisfied with how the album cover turned up in the end. He was dissatisfied with the cover’s teeny-bopper aesthetic since his vision for it was not accomplished. His connection with the artist, who turned the piece into something personal then vanished, only made things worse. Furthermore, it was unable to make any substantial alterations to the artwork due to the tight schedule.
Not only were they dissatisfied with the cover art for “Led Zeppelin III,” but they were also unhappy with the artwork for “Houses of the Holy,” where they were called “racket” by the artist. ‘Led Zeppelin III’ is still a masterpiece, and its cover image is essential to its identity, despite the displeasure with it.