A Researcher Identifies the Old Man on the Iconic Cover of Led Zeppelin IV, 52 Years After the Album’s Release

Who’s that beard­ed man on the cov­er of Led Zep­pelin IV, the one hunched over, car­ry­ing a large bun­dle of sticks? Bri­an Edwards, a researcher from the Uni­ver­si­ty of the West of Eng­land, has solved the 52-year-old mys­tery. Look­ing through a pho­to album while con­duct­ing research, Edwards spot­ted a pho­to­graph and, being a Led Zep­pelin fan, “instant­ly recog­nised the man with the sticks.” “It was quite a rev­e­la­tion, he told the BBC.” From there, he fig­ured out who took the pho­to­graph in 1892 (Ernest Howard Farmer), and even­tu­al­ly iden­ti­fied the fig­ure in the pho­to itself: Lot Long, a thatch­er from Mere, a town in Wilt­shire, Eng­land. You can see him above.

Decades lat­er, Robert Plant appar­ent­ly found a col­orized ver­sion of the pho­to­graph in an antique shop. On the 1971 album cov­er, we see the pho­to turned into a framed paint­ing and lay­ered onto the wall of a drab home. The rest, as they say, is rock ’n’ roll his­to­ry…

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Decon­struct­ing Led Zeppelin’s Clas­sic Song ‘Ram­ble On’ Track by Track: Gui­tars, Bass, Drums & Vocals

William S. Bur­roughs Reviews a Led Zep­pelin Con­cert for Craw­dad­dy! Mag­a­zine (1975)

Hear Led Zeppelin’s First Record­ed Con­cert Ever (1968)

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