Pink Floyd’s burning man: Aubrey Powell’s best photograph

Pink Floyd’s burning man: Aubrey Powell’s best photograph

August 13, 2020

‘A gust of wind blew the fire into the stuntman’s face. His team piled in with blankets to put him out – but he still lost an eyebrow and some of his moustache’

Storm Thorgerson and I had created most of the artwork for Pink Floyd’s albums, including Dark Side of the Moon. One day we were asked to Abbey Road Studios to listen to tracks from the band’s new record. The lyrics were mostly about absence, and the album’s title, Wish You Were Here, was a reference to Syd Barrett, who had left the band some years earlier due to issues with LSD. They were also making a statement about record company executives who regarded musicians as money-making machines, demanding one hit song after another – an absence of a different kind.

We were talking late one night with our friend George Hardie, kicking around ideas. Storm said: “Have a Cigar [the album’s third track], is about insincerity in the music business. What about an image of two businessmen, and one of them is getting burned in a deal?” We all thought the image was a good idea, and I remember saying to Storm: “How are we going to do that?” He replied: “Set a man on fire.”

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