Editor's note: The Rolling Stones are on their 50th anniversary tour through June 24. This rare look at the band in 1972 was published by CNN in 2012.
Legendary rock-and-roll photographer Jim Marshall spent time with musicians in a way that journalists could only dream of today. Before his death in 2010, he captured some of the most influential and personal moments in music history, including these previously unpublished images of the Rolling Stones on tour in 1972.
Working in a different era, Marshall became friends with the musicians and gained access that other photographers could not. He was proud of the fact that “in his 52 years as a photojournalist he never got a complaint from any subject, manager or record company,” he said in his first book, “Not Fade Away.”
Marshall had a “fly on the wall” approach during sessions with a band – sometimes they almost forgot he was in the room.
“Once Jim was in, he was another Stone,” Rolling Stones band member Keith Richards says in the foreword of Marshall’s posthumous book, “The Rolling Stones 1972.”
“I get so immersed in it that I become one with the camera,” Marshall said in “Not Fade Away.” “I’m 95 percent involved in the moment and the other five percent of me is working the camera, being the mechanic. … I want someone to see those people, not my picture of them.”
According to his assistant and the beneficiary of his estate, Amelia Davis, if Marshall was having a hard time getting the subject to loosen up, he “would say something so outrageously offensive” it usually worked to break the ice.
Marshall considered himself a reporter with a camera who documented history without knowing it at the time, Davis told CNN in an exclusive interview.
In “Not Fade Away,” he described what it was like to be a photographer and likened it to being a sniper waiting for the shot: “Steady, aim, focus, squeeze...”
One of Marshall’s fondest stories is one of his encounters with Miles Davis, blogger and writer Michelle M. Margetts said on her blog.
During this particular encounter, Margetts recounted Marshall telling her he approached Davis, petrified because of a previous quarrel, and handed him a photo of John Coltrane, one of Davis’s favorite musicians.
When Davis saw the print, he looked Marshall straight in the eye and asked him, “Why don’t you ever take pictures like that of me?” to which Marshall replied, “Why don’t you let me?”
The American photographer was famously known for carrying a Leica camera because of his admiration for photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Ernst Hass and David Douglas Duncan. The camera was a part of him, according to Amelia Davis, and he didn’t leave home without it for fear of missing an important moment.
“Jim seemed to be everywhere that mattered,” said Davis, Marshall’s assistant for 13 years. He photographed major historical events throughout the 1960s, including anti-war and anti-nuclear protests, Broadway stars for Life Magazine and moments of the first African-Americans voting in 1964. He was at Monterey Pop when Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar and traveled with Johnny Cash during his prison reform concerts at San Quentin and Folsom.
While Marshall never had children, he claimed his photographs were his children and legacy.
“A lot of the kinds photographs I took in the past I can’t get anymore,” Marshall said in his 1997 publication, “Not Fade Away.” “No one can, because bands are not granting that kind of access, and if there’s no access, there are not as many revealing portraits.”
His legacy may also be that he was able to capture personal moments, like the ones shared with the Rolling Stones, that future music photographers won’t even have the option of taking.
- Tim Lampe, CNN
Photo of Jim Marshall copyright and courtesy Baron Wolman.