For the cover of its 1969 debut, Led Zeppelin went with a striking image: the Hindenburg engulfed in flames, crashing into New Jersey. To follow this, another stock image was considered in the design of Led Zeppelin II. This time, the artist decided to play with a photo of First World War pilots.
David Juniper, who designed the LP cover, began with a sepia-tinted image of pilots in “Jasta 11”, a high-performance squadron in the German Air Force. Obviously, Juniper began by moving headshots of members of the Zeppelin band onto pilots’ bodies. (John Bonham is the only one standing, far right.)
After Juniper got the faces of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones (hugging up front), he was left with several heads to work with. And the artist slipped in a few obscure figures, some of which remain difficult to identify to this day.
‘Led Zeppelin II’ Features Zep Band Members And Less Recognizable Characters
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With the members of Zeppelin out of the way, Juniper went to work on the other six heads. He left none unchanged. For the figure second from left, Juniper responded to a request from Page and added the face of Blind Willie Johnson. But it’s hard to confirm
In a 2007 interview with Hall of Fame album cover, Juniper identified this character as Miles Davis (although he said there was a possibility that it was Johnson). Either way, one would assume that Juniper added another beard to this character’s face, just like he did to the three pilots he kept in the picture.
This leaves the two figures to Bonham’s left (and above Bonham’s bandmates) in the picture. Again, Juniper definitely went with a number it hadn’t originally planned. Speaking to the Album Cover Hall of Fame, the artist identified the man as astronaut Neil Armstrong.
As those who know the astronaut will realize, the photo is not of Armstrong. Juniper somehow used a photo of astronaut Frank Borman instead of Armstrong. And the artist couldn’t remember who he used for the only woman on the cover of Led Zeppelin II.
The woman on the ‘II’ cover could be Glynis Johns or Mary Woronov
In his album cover Hall of Fame interview, Juniper couldn’t name the woman he used on the Zeppelin II blanket. (In all fairness, it had for 38 years.) He simply remembers using “a girlfriend/muse of Andy Worhol (possibly Mary Woronov).” Yet he may have included someone else entirely.
Many guessed the woman to be Glynis Johns, the actor who appeared in Mary Poppins. If so, Page and his bandmates could very well have been referring to Glyn Johns, who engineered the band’s debut. (Page declined to give Johns producer credit on this record.)
But Juniper was just getting started. The artist brought the flaming zeppelin back behind the pilot’s photo. (The front of the zeppelin extends to the back cover when you open the gatefold.) Then he created the image from inside the gatefold. When it came to this part, Juniper had a clear intention: “full-on psychedelia,” he told the Album Cover Hall of Fame.