A tale of two magazine covers

Rolling Stone continues its investigation into the exciting, glamorous, dangerous world of this new music called “rock and roll” with their blistering expose of a band that broke up before most of their readers were born. As they did last September with their revealing “Led Zepplin Was A Good Band” story, RS pushes constantly forward through seas of journalistic valor, delivering us the news on the excessive lives of 70s rock stars.  To whom the story “Pink Floyd Did Not Get Along All The Time” is news is a mystery yet to be solved by this humble investigator.  Is there a new Pink Floyd album on the way?  An important new book?  Did Mikal Gilmore (who really should have better things to do) honestly want to write a report on how Pink Floyd broke up, or did orders come from above that this important, emerging story demanded the attention of Rolling Stone?  And the cover is, perhaps, the worst in the magazine’s history.  I know the guys in Pink Floyd were ugly, but is that really the best available photo of them?  It doesn’t even have a credit, only that it is from the Michael Ochs Archives and is owned by Getty Images.  The flames in the background, however, are credited, to one Michael Elins. 

Jann Wenner: Can you do something to jazz up this drab, ugly photo?  We really need it for the cover.  People have a driving need to know why this band broke up 25 years ago, and no one else will tell this story.  Can you help me?

Michael Elins: Is that Lynyrd Skynyrd?

JW: No, it’s Pink Floyd.

ME: Oh.  Damn.  ‘Cause, you know, if it was Lynyrd Skynyrd, I could put, like, flames or something in the background.

JW: I like it.  Flames, right.  Because it’s Pink Fl — wait.

ME: What?

JW: That doesn’t make any sense.  Pink Floyd, flames, it doesn’t — we need something else.

ME: Hm.  Well, flames is what I’ve got.  Hang on.  (ME, who has never heard of Pink Floyd before, checks their discography at CDNow)  I see one of their albums has a cartoon brick wall on the cover.  How about if they stand in front of a cartoon brick wall?

JW: No, no, I like the flames, I just — it needs something else.

ME: How about that prism thing?

JW: Prism?

ME: Um, okay, um, how about a floating pig?

JW: Perfect!   Where?

ME: I dunno, stick it on the logo or something.

JW: I love it.


I’m sympathetic to the plight of the American soldier, but this cover falls like a lead piano.  And it’s by Barry Blitt, who should know better.  Remnicked again!
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28 Responses to “A tale of two magazine covers”
  1. curt_holman says:

    Maybe Pink Floyd is hot with the young people now because there’s a Roger Waters song in ‘The Last Mimsy.’ And the ‘Animals’ flying pig has a cameo in ‘Children of Men.’

  2. mcbrennan says:

    I’m guessing they used the Pink Floyd picture because it makes…um, whoever that is? Waters? look pretty much exactly like Kurt Cobain. Which equates to “cool” to the young folk, if my 15-year old nephew is any indication. I’m not a big Floyd enthusiast (like all effete music snobs I must note with disdain that I only like *sniff* the Syd Barrett material) and I can’t imagine why anyone under the age of 45 would even remotely care why they broke up. “Madness and excess”? from a 70s stadium rock band? Heavens. I’m getting the vapors, I’d better sit down. I eagerly await their expose on how intemperance and discourtesy threatened to cause minor dischord within Toto.

    Plus, bonus! Jann Wenner solved the Kennedy assassination!

    • Todd says:

      Roger Waters is the ugly guy to the far right. The ugly guy who looks like Kurt Cobain is guitarist Dave Gilmour.

  3. craigjclark says:

    You know what would have made a modicum of sense? Getting a picture of the band that hails from the period when they were actually breaking up. Of course, the problem with that, I guess, is that by the early ’80s they weren’t as apt to pose for publicity photos as they were when they were just starting out.

    By the way, I don’t know if you noticed, but they did put some bricks in — they’re in the bottom right corner of the image.

    • Todd says:

      So they did! Kudos, Michael Elins!

      • craigjclark says:

        I have a book on Pink Floyd that was published in 1987, the second half of which is given over to lengthy interviews (or, more to the point, pissing matches) with Gilmour and Waters in which they slag each other off in the service of hyping their latest records (Momentary Lapse and Radio K.A.O.S., respectively). Both claimed to be carrying the mantle of Pink Floyd forward, even if Waters didn’t want anybody using the name Pink Floyd.

        Twenty years on, the only real news is that they buried the hatchet long enough to perform together at Live 8. Whoop-de-damn-doo.

  4. teamwak says:


    Nice to see Rolling Stone is on top of this breaking story, lol.

    I had the immense pleasure of seeing The Floyd live at Earls Court in 1994 (the day after the stand fell down injuring 20 people!). It is, along with The Chemical Brothers at Glastonbury 2000, the greatest gig I have ever seen! Absolutely stunning, but I had arranged my mind to be receptive to them 🙂

    • Todd says:

      I’ve got nothing against Pink Floyd, but their relevance to the contemporary American music scene is marginal at best. And, as I say, the cover does not sell the story.

  5. teamwak says:

    As for the military hospital scandals, the UK isnt doing so well either. We’ve closed so many military hospitals, we’ve been having to put young soldiers on gereral wards in public hospitals. We#ve had young men waking up from comas as amputees surrounded by pensioners and civilians. Fucking shameful!!

    • Todd says:

      So, what you’re saying is, the British left doesn’t support their troops either, eh?

      • teamwak says:

        LOL. Very good.

        Actually nobody in the UK is against the troops, just against the war. It is not a charge that ever really gets levelled against anyone serious. I suspose its becuase the left is in power at the moment. In the UK it was the left that went to war, and the right supported them! The ultra-left, The Liberal Democrats, occasionally get it levelled at them; but one of the previously leaders was a colonel in the SAS so you cant really get them either.

        I must admit I find it terrifying when I hear Cheney say if your not with us you must be against us. I think history is going to judge him most harshly. Bush is an incompetent, Cheney is a bad ol’ bugger.

        • Anonymous says:

          The left?

          I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration to call Labour “left”, even if they’re left of the Tories. And I refuse to believe the Lib Dems are “ultra-left”.

          • teamwak says:

            Re: The left?

            I was painting with fairly broad strokes there, but thats how the partys roughly lay. Some of the Lib Dems tax policies are a bit soviet cloud-cuckoo.

          • greyaenigma says:

            Re: The left?

            Hell, these days Democrats are barely left of center, no matter what histrionics the right puts forth to the contrary.

            • teamwak says:

              Re: The left?

              It reminds me a that Futuarama episode A Head In The Polls.

              The election race for President of Earth is in full swing, with two clones (Jack Johnson, and his “bitter rival” John Jackson) serving as candidates for the dominant Tastycrat and Fingerlican parties.

              John Jackson: “It’s time someone had the courage to stand up and say: I’m against those things that everybody hates.”
              Jack Johnson: “Now, I respect my opponent. I think he’s a good man. But quite frankly, I agree with everything he just said.”
              John Jackson: “I say your three cent titanium tax goes too far.”
              Jack Johnson: “And I say your three cent titanium tax doesn’t go too far enough.”

  6. gdh says:

    Rolling Stone has been irrelevant since… probably before I was born.

    I wonder if Pitchfork is my generation’s Rolling Stone? I apologize to the future if this is the case.

    • Todd says:

      I had never even heard of pitchfork and I’m 45 years old, so you are probably correct. In any case, thanks for “turning me on” (60s slang for offering me LSD) to it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pitchfork? Not even necessary to discuss here. This is print-world. The magazine kiosk is a deadly fight over “faces”. The leading music magazine right now for OUR age group among others, is MOJO, with its historical features. Rolling Stone is essentially stealing their article and cover, trying to cash in on that audience, the mid-to-late 40s… yeah sad.

    • Todd says:

      Funny, I notice Mojo but I will actively seek out Uncut, which I find has a much higher standard for its writing. The British music press, in general, has a lot to answer for.

      • Anonymous says:

        As I used to travel alot on trains in Europe, I went by what was available in the trainstation magazine stands, in English. First there was “Q”, which seemed sort of fun, then suddenly “MOJO” with its themes and so on, and one could feel like an adult although the name was kind of odd to carry around. Then in desperation I discovered “Record Collector” which is like, a cheap looking, cheap printed “MOJO”. It focuses on the commodity in that fetish for detail on collectors can, but that also means finding some odd stories. “Rare Colored Vinyl Stones Collectibles” and the like. “Uncut” when it first came out, I thought was a “lads” magazine so I didn’t take it serious. Now I know.

        • Todd says:

          Yes, Uncut is a “serious” music magazine. The prose is excellent and the reporting is exhaustive and comprehensive. I used to enjoy Q but I don’t really respond to current popular music that much as I get older.

  8. adam_0oo says:

    Why does the New Yorker cover fall so flat? I mean, it is a bit unsubtle, but after the lengthy critique of the much deserving Rolling Stone, could I have a bit more on your disklike of the New Yorker cover? Thanks.

    • Todd says:

      The New Yorker has a long history of great covers dating back eighty years. A New Yorker cover should represent the epitome of wit and invention. This is an obvious, flat-footed political cartoon rendered by a master illustrator.

  9. Anonymous says:


    that cover really does not fit the band