Album Cover of the Week: Pink Floyd, Obscured by Clouds

For a long time I thought of Pink Floyd’s Obscured by Clouds as little more than the album that came before The Dark Side of the Moon. And while it certainly doesn’t nearly measure up to the latter, it has its own charms — not the least of which is its album cover.

Pink Floyd - Obscured by Clouds

For reasons unknown to me, this is actually an intentionally out-of-focus photograph of a man in a tree — not, in fact, clouds. The sleeve design is by Hipgnosis, who of course designed several other Floyd albums throughout the years. I really like this one because it suits the rather hazy nature of some of Obscured by Clouds.

The album was intended originally to be the soundtrack for a French film called La Vallée (The Valley). When Pink Floyd later had a falling out with the film company, they decided to call their album Obscured by Clouds. In response, the company re-titled the movie as La Vallée (Obscured by Clouds) to maintain the connection.

The soundtrack reached #1 in France, which is why I’ve chosen the French album cover (Harvest Records 2C 064, 1972). It’s basically the same as the other versions, except for the slightly obtrusive Harvest logo in the upper left. The British version, by contrast, has a much more subtle, green-tinged logo in the same place and no “stereo” marking at all on the front.

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