In 1974, guitarist Keith Richards wore a tee shirt to a press conference that read
Who the Fuck is Mick Jagger?
Time is on the side of The Rolling Stones, because even today, fifty years after the band released their their first album, most people know the answer to that question, and The Rolling Stones still remain in the forefront of modern cultural history. (If you don’t know the answer, PROJECT Gallery’s current show “50 Years of The Rolling Stones: A Rock and Roll Retrospective” can fill you in!)
The Rolling Stones, world’s greatest rock band? Discuss. Musically, people can argue Beatles vs Stones vs The Who vs Led Zeppelin vs Grateful Dead (dude, you are tripping!). Juggalos will drool that Insane Clown Posse the best band in the world; somebody somewhere will claim Maroon 5 or their boyfriend’s band. (U2 wins World’s Greatest Rock Band That Never Broke Up, with All Members Still Alive. And managing that in and of itself astounding).
The Stones have been playing since 1962 when they appeared on London music scene, darker, more transgressive than the Beatles. Moody, threatening, sexy, the Stones and their music were hedonism personified. Drug raids, arrests, censorship, scandal-filled romances, an apparent embrace of the darker aspects of the occult, the death of founder Brian Jones, a murder during their (filmed) concert at Altamount, self-imposed tax exile in the South of France, more drugs–and that was just in their first decade as a rock band!
The never-before-seen photos at PROJECT Gallery show the band in their goofy matching suits (mandatory for bands in the early 1960s), through their transition to the decadent and glamorous stars with private jets. (One thing you’ll notice is, that once the band ditched the dorky suits, they set the tone for rock and roll style, a look that has um, been set in stone for decades). Neal Preston, Barrie Wentzell, Philip Townsend Ken Regan and Lynn Goldsmith have captured the band in all their glory.
These photos, taken on onstage, offstage and backstage are astounding, powerful, gripping and at time humorous, often accompanied by an anecdote about the the situation surrounding the snapping of the image. If you love rock n roll and pop culture history and appreciate photography, head on down to see “50 Years of The Rolling Stones: A Rock and Roll Retrospective”. This is the debut of the exhibition in the United States, right in the heart of Hollywood.
50 Years of The Rolling Stones: A Rock and Roll Retrospective
Through April 21
1553 Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Top photo: Mick Jagger backstage, by Ken Regan