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Linda McCartney, Rolling Stones, The Doors

Magical History Tour Vol 3

In this part I’m moving to Linda McCartney’s coffee table book of photographs she took from 1966 to 1969, called “Sixties: Portrait of an Era.” On the cover is a head shot of a smiling Jimi Hendrix in black and white, as are most of the pictures in the volume. The book was published in 1992 by Bullfinch Press, and is divided into three sections: East Coast, West Coast, and England. Most of the photos are black and white, as Linda was very new to the business, and black and white was easier to shoot in low light to get candid shots. The Doors, The Who, The Beatles, Traffic, Eric Clapton, The Yardbirds, and many others are featured.

Linda got her start in the industry because she was working in New York City at Town and Country, who had put the Rolling Stones on their cover issue. Two of the Stones were in the famous cover, shot by well-known photographer, David Bailey, and they were pictured with an innocent model. Keith Richards had a leather jacket and Brian Jones was smoking a cigarette, and apparently this impressed the Stones enough to give the magazine an invitation.

So Linda “liberated” the invitation the magazine received for their press conference on a boat in the Hudson River. When she got there, there were throngs of press members, but she got onboard, she was the only photographer there. Linda thought it was combination of two things, the Town and Country cover, and being the only young and blonde photographer (gee, that’s a hard choice for the Stones). She said the Stones were very flirtatious, especially Mick Jagger. Apparently, the band cursed extensively, according to one of the journalists onboard, Lillian Roxon, especially Brian Jones.

One of the best shots was of Brian Jones lying back in the cabin, yawning, with his legs apart, wearing striped pants and a polka dot shirt. Brian Epstein loved this one, and bought it from Linda, which led to her fateful meeting with the Beatles later in England.

Others show Brian, Keith and Mick together, and Linda said Jagger was highly aware of the camera, but Bill Wyman couldn’t be bothered. After the boat docked, she was besieged for the photographs, and later, Allan Klein tried repeatedly to buy the negatives, wishing he had hired a photographer instead.

These photos led to much more work, and soon Linda was working as a freelancer. Not long after this, she went to a small club called Ondine to photograph The Doors, with lead singer, Jim Morrison. They had never played outside of Los Angeles, and Elektra Records had just signed them. Linda was taken by him, especially the poetry of his lyrics, and how got completely into the music, cupping his hand behind his ear to hear better. These shots were taken not long after James Fortune filmed them at Sunset Sound recording their first album.

The pictures show a tiny club, that’d be a great place to see a band like The Doors in their early stage. Linda said Paul Newman came down to see them for a film project, but nothing came of it. After a couple of pictures of the band, she then presents a series of images of just Morrison’s face while singing. After this, they became friends, and Morrison would visit her and meet for various photography sessions, and discuss visual images, as Morrison had just graduated from film school.

Morrison was enjoying the increasing popularity of the band, but was uncomfortable with some aspects of the frenzy. A childhood friend spotted him on the street in Greenwich Village, and went crazy over him. A photograph of him bare-chested had really made the beefcake circuit, and Jim hated being a sex object, unlike many other rock stars.

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  1. Brooke says:

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