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Saturday, June 29, 2024

Mr. Lot Long and Led Zeppelin IV


An Accidental Rockstar: Lot Long, the mystery man on Led Zeppelin IV

For years, the enigmatic image of a man hunched under a bundle of wood on the cover of Led Zeppelin's fourth album, known as "Led Zeppelin IV," has sparked curiosity. Thanks to the research of Brian Edwards of the University of West England, we can now give this man a name: Lot Long.

Born in 1823, Lot Long was not a rock celebrity, but a seasoned thatcher from Wiltshire, England. The photo, taken by Ernest Howard Farmer, the first director of the university's School of Photography, shows Long with a bushy beard, loaded with wood – probably material for his work as a thatcher.

This image impressed the designer of Led Zeppelin, who purchased the rights to use it on the cover of their fourth album. Released in 1971, the album, known as "Led Zeppelin IV," featuring Long on the cover, became one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Lot Long died a widower in 1893. Although he did not live to see the fame his image of him would achieve, his photograph is a fascinating example of the unexpected ways in which lives can intersect with history. The next time he listens to Led Zeppelin IV, spare a thought for Lot Long, the involuntary rock star.

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