The Man on the Led Zeppelin IV Cover Has Been Identified

Music News Led Zeppelin
The Man on the Led Zeppelin IV Cover Has Been Identified

According to The Guardian and The New York Times reports, the identity of the man emblazoned on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth studio album has been released. The classic artwork features an older man who is seen hunched over and carrying a bale of twigs on his back. University of the West of England research fellow Brian Edwards discovered that the photograph is a black and white still from the Victorian era and depicts a Wiltshire thatcher by the name of Lot Long. Long was born in Mere in 1823 and later died in 1893. According to The Guardian, he was a widower “living in a small cottage in Shaftesbury Road” at the time the photo was taken.

Edwards discovered the photograph while combing through the Wiltshire Museum’s photo archives. As any cultured person is wont to do, he immediately recognized Long as being the man on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV, which was released in 1971. According to Edwards’ report, Ernest Farmer took the picture and is currently the subject of a photography exhibition at the museum where it was found. Much to my own surprise, and likely that of many others, the cover of Led Zeppelin IV is not a painting. Rather, it’s a colorized version of the photo Edwards found. The framed photo on the cover was reportedly found by Robert Plant in a Pangbourne antique shop near Jimmy Page’s home in Berkshire. It’s pretty cool that we now have a name to pair with the face that immediately elicits fond memories of songs like “Stairway to Heaven,” “When the Levee Breaks” and “Black Dog.”

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