Pink Floyd Nearly Put the Silver Surfer on ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ Cover
The cover of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is so perfect that it's difficult to conceive of the band ever going in a different direction. Other ideas were considered first, however — including a version that would have featured the cosmic Marvel Comics character known as the Silver Surfer.
That's just one of the tidbits turned up in a recent Rolling Stone feature unearthing an assortment of little-known trivia about the classic LP. As Aubrey Powell, a principal at legendary design studio Hipgnosis, recalls the situation, the idea proved short-lived — but it was definitely in line with the interests of the company's artists at the time.
"We were all into Marvel Comics, and the Silver Surfer seemed to be another fantastic singular image," Powell said. "We never would have got permission to use it. But we liked the image of a silver man, on a silver surfboard, scooting across the universe. It had mystical, mythical properties. Very cosmic, man!"
This was long before the Marvel brand was leveraged into the blockbuster cinematic universe currently dominating the box office. At the time, comics and comic book characters were seen as distinctly niche — a viewpoint that still persisted nearly 15 years later, when Joe Satriani licensed an image of the Silver Surfer for the cover of his Surfing With the Alien album. As Satriani later recalled, he wasn't overly familiar with comics in general before he saw the cover mock-up, but the album's unique look played an integral role in helping launch his career.
"I was unaware that there was such a thing as a Silver Surfer," said Satriani, crediting designer Jim Kozlowski with the idea. "He sent me a couple of the original comic books, and I loved them. And he was able to obtain a license from Marvel and, before you know it, the second science fiction tie-in happened, and that sealed my fate."
The Surfer, meanwhile, remains one of Marvel's fringe characters, at least in terms of his presence outside the comics world — his highest-profile screen appearance came in 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, a movie all parties involved would probably rather forget.
But with the MCU as popular as ever, studios continue to be eager to mine the publisher's properties for franchise potential — and Fox, the company that currently owns the character's film rights, is currently developing a standalone Silver Surfer feature. Here's hoping for Pink Floyd and Satriani on the soundtrack.