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  Neil Armstrong and Led Zeppelin's album art

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Author Topic:   Neil Armstrong and Led Zeppelin's album art
413 is in
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Posts: 421
From: Alexandria, VA USA
Registered: May 2006

posted 07-29-2013 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, being a child of the 60's, I have always been an uber-fan of Led Zeppelin from the beginning with the release of their debut album in January of 1969. As such, until recently I thought I knew even the most esoteric nuggets of trivia involving the band.

After all these years I was quite surprised to learn (via Wikipedia and other sources) that Neil Armstrong's likeness appears on the cover of Zeppelin's sophomore effort, "Led Zeppelin II." I guess I wasn't paying attention in class that day.

The timeframe for Armstrong's appearance makes sense seeing that the album was released in October 1969 shortly after Apollo 11.

I did know that the second album was designed around a 1917 photo of Manfred von Richthofen and his notorious Flying Circus. Also that some of the original faces in the photograph were altered and some replaced with a handful of other celebrities including the band members themselves. I've long since abandoned my record player but nonetheless maintain my original copies of the Zeppelin catalog.

I dusted off my copy of the album and made a hi-res scan to verify that Armstrong was indeed pictured with the band in the iconic cover art. There he is standing in the top row (second from right), next to drummer John Bonham and behind Robert Plant.

This begs the question, did NASA give permission to the record label for the use of Armstrong's likeness for strictly commercial purposes? It doesn't seem likely to me. Also, wouldn't it be cool to own an Armstrong signed copy of the album.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 28119
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-29-2013 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cover art was created artist David Juniper, who has a website.

Maybe contacting him would result in his sharing more details about how Armstrong came to be part of the design?

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 07-29-2013 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks more like Frank Borman to me.

mach3valkyrie
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Posts: 243
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-29-2013 10:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like Frank Borman from his early NASA business suit photo, the one with the Gemini-Titan model on the desk and him leaning on his right elbow.

mode1charlie
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From: Honolulu, HI, USA
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posted 07-29-2013 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I third the motion. Borman.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-29-2013 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, the artist thought he was using a photo of Armstrong:
In amongst the four band members (airbrushed in from a publicity photograph) are Miles Davis (or was it Blind Willie Johnson?), a girlfriend/muse of Andy Warhol (perhaps Mary Woronov) and the astronaut Neil Armstrong.

413 is in
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From: Alexandria, VA USA
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posted 07-29-2013 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmm... I have to agree, it does look more like Borman.

Jurg Bolli
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From: Albuquerque, NM
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posted 07-30-2013 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No question about it, Borman came to mind instantly!

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 07-30-2013 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Definitely Borman.

One small mistake for an album cover designer, one giant leap for Borman in pop-art lore!

(Wonder if he'd agree to sign the album cover at his upcoming appearance in Tucson!?)

Glint
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From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 07-30-2013 11:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jurg Bolli:
No question about it, Borman came to mind instantly!

Same here. Talk about artistic license.

Would make an interesting item for Astronaut Central's 2013 Frank Borman signing. Does Jimmy, Robert, and John P.J. charge a premium for completions? Just need to find one previously signed by John B.

By the way. All these years I've always thought that that "muse" on the cover was Lucille Ball. Could the artist have made a second mistake as well?

"Miles Davis (or was it Blind Willie Johnson?)" After all, it doesn't seem as though he is/was really sure who is who.

413 is in
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From: Alexandria, VA USA
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posted 07-30-2013 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can you imagine how surprised Borman would be if handed this album to sign? I would love to have my copy signed.

You guys are most likely the first people to uncover this mistake on a classic album cover dating back to the age of Apollo. Mad props to you. Now that's a piece of Zeppelin trivia!

LM1
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From: New York, NY USA
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posted 07-30-2013 11:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I go to thrift shops and garage sales, there are often many boxes of old record albums. Usually I look for the music from the "2001" movie or "Star Wars". Now, I have another album to add to my search.

David Bryant
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From: Norfolk UK
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posted 07-31-2013 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Bryant   Click Here to Email David Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm amazed! My friends and I recognised Frank Borman on that album sleeve on the day it came out!

stsmithva
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From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-31-2013 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll be mailing my items to Astronaut Central for the Borman signing in a couple of days, and I've printed out these pictures to include for his amusement.

Joel Katzowitz
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From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 08-01-2013 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also instantly saw Borman. Despite the portrait controversy that's nice detective work Bill.

413 is in
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Posts: 421
From: Alexandria, VA USA
Registered: May 2006

posted 08-01-2013 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Joel. Even though I don't collect astronaut portraits, when I first scanned the cover I immediately recognized the face as very familiar. I did spend some time looking for the actual photo that was used in the artwork, but alas, I was looking for the wrong astronaut. When I posted the images and saw that everyone was seeing Borman, I knew exactly why the face was so familiar to me.

Thinking about it now, I can see a possible reason why Borman's image may have been used. The Zeppelin album was released in October of 1969 between the Apollo 11 and 12 missions. However, the concept and sleeve design would have been put together well in advance of the album release in October, possibly even before Apollo 11 made it into the history books. Indeed the recording sessions for the album itself began in early 1969.

As commander of the first mission to the moon in late December 1968, Borman was arguably the most visible astronaut in the public's eye at the time the album artwork was created. Also, with the album's release just three months after Apollo 11, this might help explain how Armstrong's name has erroneously been attached to the artwork. Just a theory. I do know that for a Led Zeppelin and Apollo fan the whole thing does make for an interesting story after all these years!

413 is in
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Posts: 421
From: Alexandria, VA USA
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posted 08-03-2013 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now here's a bit of Led Zeppelin trivia that I was previously aware of that has now become even more interesting in light of the recent discovery of the Armstrong/Borman misidentification. With the release of Zeppelin's sixth record, Physical Graffiti (1975), artist Peter Corriston with designer Mike Doud made an attempt at incorporating Armstrong's image into the sleeve design for the album.

As can be seen, the well-known and iconic image of Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface appears in the upper right window of the building on the album's cover. References to the album's design again incorrectly identify the image as that of Neil Armstrong. Perhaps this time it could be argued that this is not a mistake, as we all know that Armstrong is clearly visible in Aldrin's visor.

413 is in
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Posts: 421
From: Alexandria, VA USA
Registered: May 2006

posted 08-07-2013 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
All these years I've always thought that that "muse" on the cover was Lucille Ball.

That's funny, I always thought that it was Robert Plant's doppelgänger.

Aztecdoug
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From: Huntington Beach
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posted 08-08-2013 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw this building front in the East Village of the Lower East Side of Manhattan courtesy of a useful Fodor’s guide. I didn’t see Buzz in the window though.

fredtrav
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From: Birmingham AL USA
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posted 08-08-2013 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He was probably on a book signing tour at the time.

Spacefest
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From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 08-20-2013 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can confirm that is a younger Frank Borman on the Led Zeppelin II album cover. Personally, I like the first album. Bluesier. Time for me to ramble on.

413 is in
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Posts: 421
From: Alexandria, VA USA
Registered: May 2006

posted 11-12-2013 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just arrived today!

A sincere thanks to the fine folks at Astronaut Central for a job well done and to the collectSPACE community for identifying Borman as the honorary Led Zeppelin band member. My record jacket is from the first American pressing of the album, released in 1969. I hate to say it but I purchased this album in the same year. Although I'm feeling a bit old, I'm also proud, thrilled, and happy with the results of this signing.

Grounded!
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From: Bennington, Vermont, USA
Registered: Feb 2011

posted 11-12-2013 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Grounded!   Click Here to Email Grounded!     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ditto to everything 413 just posted. My almost one-of-a-kind album cover also arrived today. A special thanks to Rob who called when this knucklehead from Vermont forgot to enclose his order form!

I wonder if David Juniper is aware of all this attention his artwork has been getting on collectSPACE?

dss65
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Posts: 842
From: Sandpoint, ID, USA
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 11-12-2013 09:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool, guys. I guess I'll show my own age here and reveal that Led Zeppelin II was one of two albums that seemed to be owned by at least one person in every single room on my dorm floor when I was a freshman at college. (The other was the sound track to Easy Rider. It seemed like you could walk down the hall and hear the music from one or the other blaring from just about every room. What a time to be alive!) What a score to have your signed album covers!

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