Led Zeppelin IV: a researcher discovers the identity of the man on the cover

Music news

More than 50 years after a photograph found by Robert Plant in an antique store ended up on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV, the identity of the man has been revealed.

A half-century-old mystery has finally been solved: researchers have discovered the identity of the man on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s album IV.

The story goes that singer Robert Plant discovered a photo of the elderly man carrying a bushel of branches on his back in an antique store. This photo was then colorized, framed and placed on the wall of a dilapidated house to create the image that adorns what is now considered one of the greatest albums in rock history.

However, the real identity of the man on the 1971 record remained unknown for 52 years, until a University of the West of England researcher (and Led Zeppelin fan) , Brian Edwards, working on another project, found the same photo in an album titled “ Reminiscences of a visit to Shaftesbury. Whitsuntide 1892. A present to Auntie from Ernest », which features the work of photographer Ernest Howard Farmer, reports the BBC.

The caption for Farmer’s photo simply stated that the man was a ” Wiltshire thatched cottage “, but further research in the area discovered that the man was Lot Long (or Longyear), a widower in Mere who died in 1893, just a year after the photo was taken. Long was around 70 years old when the photo was taken.

Led Zeppelin created the soundtrack that has accompanied me since my teenage years, so I really hope that the discovery of this Victorian photograph will please and amuse Robert (Plant), Jimmy (Page) and John Paul (Jones) ” said Mr. Edwards Guardian.

Farmer, the photographer, died in 1944, decades before his image appeared on IV. Before his death he became the first director of the photography school at Regent Street Polytechnic. Following the discovery of the photo album, Wiltshire Museum will host an exhibition of Farmer’s work, including Long’s original photo.

The exhibition will show how Farmer captured the spirit of the people, villages and landscapes of Wiltshire and Dorset, which contrasted so much with his life in Londonsaid David Dawson, director of the Wiltshire Museum. It is fascinating to see how this theme of rural and urban contrasts was developed by Led Zeppelin and became, 70 years later, the theme of this iconic album cover. »


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Christopher Johnson

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