Andrew Smith Gallery at welcomes in Spring with an exhibit by Baron Wolman titled The Rolling Stone Covers, featuring photographs of rock and roll stars of the 1960s. During the opening reception for Mr. Wolman on Friday, April 25 from 5 to 7 p.m., classic rock and roll will be performed from 5:30 to 6:30 by guitarist Phil Brown. The "after party" will be at the Santa Fe Brewing Company and will feature The Wailers (of Bob Marley fame) and Phil Brown again.
Baron Wolman was the chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine during rock music's heyday in the 1960s. In an era when photographers and musicians were part of the same explosive scene Wolman had virtually unlimited access to his subjects. He made the most of it, photographing the royalty of the 60s pop and rock world.
The Rolling Stone Covers features 21 original issues of Rolling Stone magazine with Wolman's photos on the cover. Each of these is paired with a silver gelatin print of that photograph. An exhibit catalog features a reproduction of each magazine cover, along with a reproduction of the contact sheet with the cover image circled in color.
Rolling Stone helped define that generation. The magazine was the brainstorm of 21-year old college student and freelance writer Jann Wenner who invited Wolman, already an established photo-journalist, to join the staff of the fledgling publication. Wolman's first assignment was to cover the Grateful Dead pot bust. He was onstage with Jimi Hendrix, backstage with Creedence Clearwater Revival, in the recording studio with The Who, at Woodstock and Altamont and on Haight Street for the daily Summer of Love celebration. Baron's photos appeared regularly in the magazine for more than three years - beginning in October 1967 with issue Number One.
Wolman's recollections of shooting the cover photographs are worth quoting:
•The photos I made of Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore West and at Winterland – one of which is on the cover of Issue No. 7 – are some of the best live-action pictures in my entire rock and roll archive. I was onstage with the band, really connecting with the music and Jimi’s movements. Now, somewhat pretentiously, I often say I was playing my Nikon in harmony with Jimi and his Gibson and Fender guitars.
•For Issue No. 11 I had made some lovely photos of Johnny Cash and B.B. King, both of whom were featured in that issue. I had also recently shot one roll of pictures of my then-wife Juliana; I made a few prints and brought them into show Jann and Janie with whom we were social friends. For some reason I must have left the photos at the office because when the issue appeared a few days later, there was Juliana on the cover!
•It was not much different when writer Jerry Hopkins and I traveled to Laurel Canyon to interview and photograph Frank Zappa at his mountaintop aerie for the Issue No. 14 cover story. Zappa was as unique as they come, and once again I was apprehensive about the pending encounter. I shouldn’t have been. Frank was in one of his moods – Frank being Frank – performing for me and my camera without direction. I made many memorable photos that afternoon.
•Before his San Francisco concerts in February, 1968, we met Jimi at his motel on Fisherman’s Wharf. As the writer was interviewing a surprisingly quiet Jimi, I shot some informal portraits, one of which appeared on the cover of Issue No. 26. It was impossible to take a bad photo of Hendrix; he was the most photogenic musician I ever encountered whether he was in motion on the stage or at rest with his friends.
•I spent a delightful afternoon drinking tea with Joni Mitchell in her home in Laurel Canyon, the house allegedly for which Graham Nash wrote the lyrics to “Our House.” Our house is a very, very fine house, with two cats in the yard…. Et cetera. We made some lovely photos that afternoon, both in color and black & white, one of which appeared on the cover of Issue No. 33.
•It’s a bit strange that the only time I photographed Chuck Berry was not onstage but as he was giving a lecture at UC Berkeley. Nevertheless, I’ve always found something compelling about the image of the man on the cover of Issue No. 35 where he appears to be something more than a musician. As if being a musician were not enough….
•Even though most San Franciscan’s considered The Grateful Dead to be the hometown musical heroes, it wasn’t until Issue No. 40 that Jann featured the band in any meaningful way. For their portraits, the band members and their managers came to my Belvedere Street studio where I photographed them one by one, simply against a plain background, in the manner of one of my heroes, Richard Avedon. It was also the day that Jerry Garcia openly flashed me his hand with the missing digit in a photograph which has subsequently achieved iconic status, one which I call “Jerry waving.”
•In a New York City press conference and on the cover of Issue No. 49, in November of 1969, Mick Jagger promised San Francisco a free concert. Altamont Speedway, not San Francisco, got the concert and the result was a well-attended gathering at a dirt track in the hills east of the city, a concert which might have been “Woodstock West” but in the end is remembered for the violence and the accidental deaths which occurred on that cold, damp day.
•In December 1967, Little Richard and his band played a concert in the TV studios of KPIX in San Francisco and I was there with my cameras. The ever-expressive face of the former gospel singer on the cover of Issue No. 59 was a photographer’s dream subject. He was widely acclaimed by his musical peers; James Brown said of him that Little Richard was the “first to put the funk in the rock and roll beat.”
•In the summer of 1969, the “other” San Francisco music photographer – the extraordinarily talented Jim Marshall – and I toured the country making photos for a book called “Festival: The Book of American Music Celebrations.” We attended every sort of concert imaginable from jazz to blue grass to rock to blues to country to folk. It was at the Newport Folk Festival that I shot this picture of James Taylor in which his intense eyes stare out from the cover of Issue No. 76.
ANDREW SMITH GALLERY, INC.
Masterpieces of Photography
All photographs are copyrighted by artist unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.
© Andrew Smith Gallery, Inc. Artists survive from their copyright which represents
their creativity. Please respect their rights by not copying or otherwise using their work
without their permission. No part of this site may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner.
Licensing agreements for commercial use are available. Contact us for information.