Richard Drew, known to the art world as Zacron, apparently passed away in January after a bout of bowel cancer. His death is just now being reported.
Zacron, born in 1943, studied art at Kingston College in London, and crossed paths with Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, two students there. Zacron's art revolved around rotating art - haha, I make funny - and when Jimmy Page contacted him for ideas about a sleeve for the third Led Zeppelin album, Zacron came up with the album cover that so fascinated me back then - a gatefold sleeve with round holes cut in the front and a wheel with an eyelet in the center between the two layers of cardboard, so that the wheel could be rotated around its center. As you did so, different pictures appeared in the punch-outs. This way of displaying certain pictures of a set in a relation to each other is called a volvelle, and is considered to be a type of computer. Jimmy was said to have been thinking of a crop rotation computer for farmers when he gave Zacron the idea for Led Zeppelin III's cover.
Jimmy and Zacron (still no idea of photographer, sorry)
The pictures included Led Zeppelin snapshots, zeppelins and, because Zacron was thinking of a crop rotation chart, the odd vegetable. I pulled mine apart to find out what was in the invisible spaces that were never uncovered by the holes in the sleeve, hoping for a hidden message, and was disappointed not to see any. When I glued it back together I needed something to free up the mangled hub, so I used butter. For years afterwards, I associated Gallows Pole with the smell of rancid butter.
Zacron took reels and reels of photographs for the disc, and in December 2007, the Mail on Sunday Magazine, Live, ran a spread of his unused photos.
Supine Jimmy, by Zacron from Live magazine
Furry Jimmy, by Zacron from Live magazine
Apparently Jimmy wasn't very impressed with the sleeve, but used it anyway because time was short. Most references say he found it "teeny-bopperish", whatever that might have meant, but I vaguely remember reading him saying, "Corn? Is he trying to say our music is corny?" I might be mixing it up with something else.
Zacron on what the cover pictures really mean. (Classic Rock Magazine)
Edited 08/07/2012 as one of the photos was not legit and was removed. Jimmy and Zacron, Supine Jimmy and Furry Jimmy were added.