Its Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (photography).


This year Santa rocked my house – literally.

I found a copy of The Rolling Stones 50 under the tree. Santa (my family) knows me all too well.

I saw The Rolling Stones in ’64 and again in ’75. My cover band of forty-plus years had Stones classics (“Gimme Shelter”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Honky-Tonk Woman”) cemented in our playlist. So, needless to say, the Stones have been a part of my life forever.

The book is a Stones fanatic’s joy. It is big, heavy, and loaded with enough photos of the good old days to make this AARP member misty eyed. It is also a Photoweenie’s joy because it is big, heavy, and loaded with superbly reproduced black and white and color photographs. For a book at this price, the packaging is superior. The design is smart and strong. The photos immaculately reproduced. This book is both prodigious and built to last.

As the title states, the photos chronicle the Stones through their 50 years. From the Marquee Club, to Altamont, to Wembley Stadium. The earliest photos are run-of-the-mill public relations shots but, over the years, the photos get progressively more and more raucous as the Stones outlaw rock band image solidifies.

One particular aspect of the book that I found fascinating was the inclusion of contact sheets and outtakes. The outtakes from the “Between the Buttons” album cover photos in particular fascinated me. They show the band at a moment where it appears they are extremely tired or high or both. Their eyes are ringed with dark circles. Charlie is caught mid yawn. Shot in muted color using a gauzy filter. Much like my memory these days.

From the Thames & Hudson press release:
Curated, introduced and narrated by the band themselves, The Rolling Stones 50 is the only officially authorized book to celebrate this milestone. With privileged access to a wealth of unseen and rare material, it is packed with superb reportage photography, contact sheets, negative strips, outtakes and so much more, from every period in the band’s history.

With more than 1,100 illustrations, it also features some of the most rare and interesting Stones’ memorabilia in existence; international posters, draft record cover art, bubblegum cards, jigsaws and other previously unpublished treasures specially photographed for this volume. The ephemera come from the greatest Rolling Stones collection in the world, which belongs to Ali Zayeri.

Featuring photography from the Daily Mirror’s archive and with contributions by photography legends Gered Mankowitz, Jean-Marie Périer, Dezo Hoffman, Michael Cooper, Terry O’Neill, Bent Rej and Philip Townsend and many others, this is the definitive celebration of fifty years of the Rolling Stones. From Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie – here is one spectacular thank you to their fans all over the world.

The facts about the book:
The Rolling Stones 50
With over 1000 illustrations in color and black & white
£29.95, $34.97 at Amazon