The Rolling Stones | Icons

With six decades of music, tours, and beyond, The Rolling Stones: Icons is the definitive tangible gallery that shows exactly why they are the greatest band in the world — all with the help of the most prominent names in photography.

The Rolling Stones are a band that is synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll. Since their formation over 60 years ago, the band has gone from strength to strength — even with the tabloid fodder, fan hysteria, and more — to become the greatest band in the world. Now, fans and music lovers have the opportunity to hold a piece of music iconography with The Rolling Stones: Icons, a book comprising of rare and never-before-seen images photographed by by 17 photographers that worked with the band throughout their long career.

In a world where so much of what we have is digitized already, having a physical, tangible collection of images compiled and curated helps demonstrate just the impact the band has had in music through the lens of photographers. The sprawling hardcover book contains over 300 pages of photos and tales from the band’s 60+ years making music, including snapshots by Terry O’Neill of their earliest beginnings in Tin Pan Alley to photographs by Greg Brennan of the band’s stadium tours they perform today. Many of the rare images that feature Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and the late Charlie Watts provide more context and colour to specific eras of their lives — from their historic rise in the ’70s to modern day moments.

What makes this book much more than just something to sit atop your coffee table are the stories, memories, and reflections from the photographers themselves, touching on everything from the era they photographed the band in to the impact the photos had on their own careers. Photographers include Terry O’Neill, Michael Ward, Gered Mankowitz, Michael Joseph, “Spanish Tony” Sanchez, Dominique Tarlé, Ed Caraeff, Barry Schultz, Al Satterwhite, Michael Brennan, Ken Regan, Brian Aris, Denis O’Regan, Douglas Kirkland, Greg Brennan, and founding member, bassist, and photographer, Bill Wyman. Wyman in particular always loved photography and when, in 1965, he was able to afford a good camera, he had a literal front row seat to the band — lensing them everywhere from planes, hotels, cars, and beyond. Opting for the moments when his subjects were unaware of the camera is when he felt he got his “best shots.”

As a lover of Linda McCartney’s work and career, getting a look into her own time with the band at a time when she was an editorial assistant for Town&Country Magazine and was assigned to interview and photograph the band as they chartered a yacht along the Manhattan waters. With both music and photography being male-dominated industries, McCartney’s imagery of the band brings a levity and vulnerability only she could capture. Rather than images of the glitz that comes from being a rockstar in the late ’60s, McCartney’s work shows the behind-the-scenes that aren’t polished — the sleepy, hazy days after late nights and partying. It’s insights from insiders like those that make the book much more of a music museum or gallery in your own home verses a static book, with every image and every story different than the next.

By giving both The Rolling Stones and the photographers that, quite literally, captured their rise, these tales became their origin stories, respectively. Although they showcase the band inevitably becoming the greatest rock band on the planet, they also show the things audiences and fans weren’t exactly privvy to — until now.

Mexico, 1982
Photo © Douglas Kirkland
New York, 1977
Photo © Ken Regan
Recording, Aftermath at RCA Studios, 1965
Photo © Gered Mankowitz
Keith’s Home, Sussex, 1970s
Photo © Tony Sanchez
Benefit Concert for Nicaragua, Los Angeles 1972
Photo © Al Satterwhite
Soho, London 1964
Photo © Terry O Neill

Check out more information on The Rolling Stones: Icons at ACC Art Books.

Words Kelsey Barnes

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