Battersea Power Station

Music Animals Pink Floyd (album - 1977)
Legend of the British progressive rock, Pink Floyd imposed new standards but also a most striking imagery. The cover of Animals, the band's tenth album, remains the most remarkable in this respect. At least that's the one everyone remembers.
Battersea Power Station London
Battersea Power Station London

“I’m in competition with myself and I’m losing.”

Roger Waters

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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By Gilles Rolland

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

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.

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