The story and images behind Led Zeppelin’s III album cover

Zacron, real name Richard Drew, best known as the sleeve designer for Led Zeppelin III died earlier this year, but strangely, his estranged family only heard about the news 6 months later. Zacron was born in Sutton, Surrey in 1943, and studied with Eric Clapton and members of the Yardbirds at Kingston College of Art between 1957-60. During this time he met fellow art student Jimmy Page and the pair reconnected in 1969 when Zacron was commissioned to do the sleeve for III. The artist took four months to complete the distinctive sleeve, featuring a rotating cardboard disc that revealed different images through holes in the sleeve as it was turned. The idea originated with Jimmy Page (based on a crop rotation volvelle) but the guitarist has since commented that he thought the finished product “very teeny-bopperish”.

In 2007, Zacron designed the cover of Classic Rock’s special issue dedicated to the Led Zeppelin reunion and talked through the genesis and meaning of the album cover.