Battersea Power Station
The spring of 1976 is marked by the beginning of the work sessions for the new Pink Floyd album. The group is then on the roof of the world. Just before the punk explosion, each of his releases creates the event and the last record to date, Wish You Were Here is a success all over the world. Now enjoying a studio that they have shaped to their image, the musicians record serenely until December of the same year. Drummer Nick Mason later said of the sessions, “Animals was more fun than Wish You Were Here. The spirit of the band was back.”
Already popular for its very marked and worked graphic universe, Pink Floyd wants to offer to its newborn a cover with the height of its investment. Once again, the group called upon the Hipgnosis collective to imagine a concept capable of illustrating the newly recorded tracks. But the idea finally retained is of Roger Waters: a photograph of the power station of Battersea with a balloon in the shape of pig hung on one of the chimneys.
The group then contacted Ballon Fabrik, a German company, and ordered a kind of giant airship of twelve meters long. The pig is affectionately named Algie. On December 2, 1976, the animal was hung at the Battersea Power Station. Eleven photographers and eight cameras are on hand to capture the moment. A sniper was also dispatched to shoot the ball in case it came loose. Unfortunately, bad weather in London delayed the session by one day and the shooter in question was not informed of the postponement. The next day, the worst possible scenario happens: the pig breaks loose and flies away into the English sky. It then passes over London Heathrow airport and causes the cancellation of several flights, then it lands quietly in a farm in Kent. On the third day, the balloon is back and photographers can capture it floating lazily above the chimneys of the Battersea Power Station. However, the result is disappointing and Hipgnosis ends up embedding the pig on one of the shots taken on the first day during the location scouting.
Several times later used by Roger Waters, including in 2018 during his tour, the inflatable pig has become one of the symbols of Pink Floyd. As for the cover, it has made its way into the collective unconscious. In 2006, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón even made a nod to it in his film Sons of Man, where the Battersea Power Station also plays a role.
The members of Pink Floyd came up with seven band names before adopting their final identity.
Battersea Power Station
Imposing and in its own way majestic, the Battersea Power Station holds a special place in the London skyline. This former coal-fired power station is a favorite of musicians, filmmakers and artists from all cultural fields.
When it came into operation in 1933, Battersea Power Station was one of the first major coal-fired power stations in England. Located on the south bank of the Thames, it stopped production for good in 1983. Since then, it has appeared in films such as Children of Men and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, but also in series such as Doctor Who. At the center of all the attention, she was resold in 2018 and is at the center of an ambitious rehabilitation project.
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Cult! music: 100 mythical music places [French Edition]
Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists!
Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.
Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! musictells the secrets of the places that made the history of music.
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By Gilles Rolland
Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.