A new exhibition of photographs by the legendary Jim Marshall, ‘Rip This Joint: The Rolling Stones 1972’, will be at the British Music Experience (SE10) until 3 February 2013. Open daily 11am -7.30pm. Admission is included in the price of a ticket, starting at £12 adults. britishmusicexperience.com
Here are some of the best pictures, starting with Mick’n’Keith sharing a mic.
After photographing the Stones in the studio, Life magazine commissioned Jim Marshall to cover the infamous ‘72 tour. Also on the tour were Annie Leibowitz, Truman Capote and Robert Frank. Frank’s film, ‘Cocksucker Blues’ has never been released at Jagger’s insistence and is only ever shown if Robert Frank is in attendance.
The Stones’ American tour followed the release of one of their greatest albums, Exile on Main St., on 12 May 1972. The tour began on 3 June and ended on 26 July with a birthday party for Mick Jagger.
Loneliness on the road. Mick Taylor was the guitarist who replaced Brian Jones and was eventually replaced by Ronnie Wood – seen here on his own in his hotel room practicing his guitar.
Charlie Watts famously said being in the Stones was “5 years of working and 20 years of hanging about.” Here he looks bored sitting around, with his drum sticks, waiting to go on.
Mick’n’Jack. Rock critic Robert Christgau wrote that during the tour Jagger was in a playful mood: “undercut[ting] his fabled demonism by playing the clown, the village idiot, the marionette.”
The tour was one of the first large scale tours, as we now know them. The partying was excessive and the journalist from the magazine complained to the editor that Jim Marshall was partying with the band more than he was taking pictures – still Jim got the cover shot and a big photo feature and hundreds of great pictures.
Photographer Jim Marshall once revealed: “Whenever anyone asks me how I got the photographs I did, why I was often the only photographer present or got such unique access I reply simply, ‘Trust’. Without trust between the subject and myself I couldn’t work the way I did. I have to have total access, be allowed where I want, when I want and do my thing the way I do.”
While touring the States the band still found time to get into the studio to cut new material to capitalise on Mick and Keith’s peerless creative streak.
Keith’n’Jack. Keith Richards said of photographer Jim Marshall: “Once Jim was in he was another Stone. He caught us with our trousers down and got the ups and downs. I love his work, which must have been frustrating to do at times. But that is what happens on gigs like this. Wonderful work, and a great guy.”
The 1969 Altamont free concert, where a fan had been killed by a Hell’s Angel, continued to haunt the band. Due to a rumoured bounty from the Hells Angels calling for Jagger to be assassinated, Richards carried a .38 caliber revolver during the tour.
The backstage area is very basic, no glamour, trestle tables and bowls of fruit. Everyone in one room, and at this point they were the biggest band in the world.
More than just a tour, the Stones in 1972 became a major pop cultural event of the time. “The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World” were seen as purveyors of raw rock’n’roll energy, steeped in bohemian decadence.