During his short lifetime, the musician Nick Drake was known to be an extremely shy and reclusive figure. So reclusive in fact, that not a single image of the celebrated songwriter performing live exists in an archive.
Now fans of Drake, as well as other musicians and groups, are being encouraged to open their attics and picture albums after a call went out to the public to unearth photographs from “lost” gigs.
Today, cameraphones mean even the smallest gig in the backroom of a pub is recorded. But there are no known photographs for some defining performances in British rock and pop music history from earlier decades – such as the Sex Pistols’ stage debut or Radiohead’s first gig in an Oxford pub.
Getty Images has called on the British public to search their attics, garages and archives to fill in the gaps of great gigs that have no known photographic record.
The photo agency has teamed up with Endeavour London, a publisher which specialises in books with images from Getty’s archives, and live music subscription service Jukely for the drive.
Charles Merullo, owner of Endeavour, said: “Images can pop up in the most surprising ways. It is amazing how much many people know about individual concerts. We hope this will capture people’s imagination.”
Drake died of an overdose from anti-depressants at the age of 26 in 1974. He largely failed to find an audience in his lifetime but posthumously built up a cult following and influenced musicians including R.E.M. and Robert Smith of The Cure – who named the band after a line in one of Drake’s songs. Brad Pitt also numbers himself as a fan.
It is estimated he played fewer than 20 live performances at venues including The Roundhouse in London, Birmingham Town Hall and the Goodwill to All pub in Middlesex, but Getty hopes the Drake fanatics may have photographed him.
There are significant gaps in the archives for popular music history, according to Getty, and if people come forward with photos for gigs that are not covered, they could be added to its archive. Getty will then licence and monetise the image worldwide on behalf of the owner.
Among the images sought are of The Who playing at the Marquee Club in London in 1965, Otis Redding at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London in March 1967, and Pink Floyd at the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream at Alexandra Palace the following month.
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