Baron Wolman's book is a Who's Who of rock'n'roll photography
Friday 05 August 2011
When the photographer Baron Wolman joined the new Rolling Stone magazine in 1967, he was the only staff photographer. "I wasn't paid. I said I'd shoot for free because they had no money. I didn't know where it would lead to, but in hindsight it worked out well. I had some unforgettable encounters."
Now Wolman has collected together many of the photographs taken over his three-year tenure at the magazine for a coffee-table book. A skinny Pete Townshend is grinning at the piano recording parts of Tommy. "He had a real sense of humour, which is captured in this shot," says Wolman.
Frank Zappa is peeking out through caves at the back of his Laurel Canyon house in LA, as well as looking very eccentric posing on a nearby tractor. "He was as creative on the photo shoot as he was with his life and music."
George Harrison is reading a book about Bob Dylan at London's Apple Corps offices. "This sums up George. He was so peaceful and thoughtful." A fresh-faced Joni Mitchell is snapped at her Laurel Canyon home. "Her small cabin in the hills was like a little sanctuary."
Jeff Beck is playing guitar at the Chateau Marmont in LA. "He always had a music player and would practice guitar along to the music." Pink Floyd pose on a Sausalito hotel fire escape in San Francisco on their first American visit. "Syd Barrett looks so joyous and full of life here."
Wolman also found some unexpected photographs while he was trawling through his archives. "The photo of Jerry Lee Lewis playing guitar live in New York City surprises people because he was a pianist."
Wolman was living in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district working as a photo-journalist when he met Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine. "The Who were my first live concert assignment," says Wolman.
After shooting a roll call of stars, also including Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin, Wolman decided to call it a day at Rolling Stone. "Even though I loved music and I still love music, it doesn't begin and end my day. I left the magazine to expand my horizons – first I explored the world of fashion photography and then other topics for photography books, from American football to aviation."
'The Rolling Stone Years' by Baron Wolman is published in hardback by Omnibus Press, £24.95
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