A Rolling Stones Photo Exhibition is a wonderful thing. There’s rock history seeping from every image.
Once the place where every proud father in London would go to register the birth of his new-born child, this most British of institutions, Somerset House, just off The Strand, has begun to get a bit more rock n roll in recent years. There’s the summer series of outdoor concerts they hold – I saw Blondie there last year – and one way or another it is a grand setting for a gig (see what I did there).
On Thursday Somerset House was visited by four men whose own fathers may have last visited Somerset House seventy years ago to register their births. It is the fiftieth anniversary of the Rolling Stones this year (in case you hadn’t noticed) and to celebrate the fact a superb exhibition of vintage (and not so vintage) photographs is running between now and 27th August. Jagger and co went along to open the exhibition and to reflect on fifty years of success.
The band said: ‘This is our story of fifty fantastic years. We started out as a blues band playing the clubs and more recently we’ve filled the largest stadiums in the world with the kind of show that none of us could have imagined all those years ago’.
It was the 12th July 1962 when the Rolling Stones went on stage at the Marquee Club off Oxford Street. To commemorate this, the band posed in front of a mock up of the old club to replicate a picture taken 50 years before…
Having paid a visit, I can confirm highlights of the Somerset House exhibition include an image of Keith Richards rehearsing for a Saturday Night at The London Palladium, cigarette hanging lazily out of his mouth, albeit the instrument he is playing is Wyman’s bass guitar. Other great shots include Mick being nicked by a police officer after putting a big dent in his Aston Martin, Mick walking past a couple of police officers whilst wearing a suit and tie on his way to court (they have printed that image onto a T-Shirt) and a bemused Keith shortly after his drugs bust at Redlands. I also enjoyed the image of the band glamorously disembarking from a TWA flight in ’67.
It might have been nice to have more of the band at Nellcote during the Exile sessions, but Dominique Tarle has those pictures (there is one photo but as with most of the images, this was taken by The Daily Mirror).
Admission is free, so there’s no excuse not to pop along if you are in the area. You can buy limited edition prints from £150 and a catalogue for £10. A book, also called Rolling Stones: 50 has been published alongside the exhibition which contains hundreds of images and looked very nice indeed, containing a foreword from each of the band members.
I know. It’s only Rock and Roll. But I like it…
Exhibition pictures used with permission of Somerset House
Record #73: The Rolling Stones – Have You Seen Your Mother Baby (Standing In The Shadow?)