Tag Archives: Gered Mankowitz

Rolling Stones photos: new Taschen book is a must-buy

The Rolling Stones by Taschen - Gered Mankowitz cover

Rolling Stones photos – Gered Mankowitz poster for new book. (Photo of Taschen, London by Gerald Smith.)

The Rolling Stones, the new book published by Taschen, is a magnificent collection of Rolling Stones photos. At £100/$150 or less, the mass market version is a must-buy.

A sumptuous large-format coffee table book, The Rolling Stones is a beautiful artefact, setting a new standard for collections of Rolling Stones photos – indeed, for photos of any rock musicians. It is now the definitive Rolling Stones photos collection.

Rolling Stones photos by top photographers

The Rolling Stones collects together an unprecedented number and range of Rolling Stones photos. Over 500 pages long, in a choice of sizes (large and very large formats), its photos document the band over half a century.

You’ll recognise many of the pictures – the book pulls together Rolling Stones photos by many of the top photographers of the rock era: David Bailey, Bent Rej, Gered Mankowitz, Guy Webster, Ethan Russell, Anton Corbijn, Dominique Tarle, Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Jean-Marie Périer, Terry Richardson… and 50+ others.

It also has Rolling Stones photos you won’t have seen before, including bonus out-takes from otherwise familiar Rolling Stones photo shoots.

The original images are high quality. Taschen have executed the project with exemplary thoroughness and panache: the reproductions are first-class.

Crucially, the book has the imprimatur of the “art world”: it includes a playful contextual essay by Waldemar Januszczak – easily my favourite art documentary-maker.  Januszczak’s endorsement is more important than that by an ex-US President Stones celeb fan, which I haven’t bothered to read.

Rolling Stones photos for investors

The Rolling Stones is offered in three versions.

Rolling Stones photos book by Taschen

The Rolling Stones – limited edition, cover photo by Gered Mankowitz

The “SUMO-size” (50cm x 50cm) limited edition of 1,600 includes an Art Edition of 450, with 75 copies fronted by covers by each of David Bailey, Bent Rej, Gered Mankowitz, Guy Webster, Ethan Russell and Anton Corbijn. Prices: David Bailey cover – £10,500/$15,000; the other five covers – £7,000/$10,000.

Copies 1-450 include a signed original print.

The other 1150 limited edition copies, numbered 451-1,600, have a striking cover photo from Gered Mankowitz’s early morning Primrose Hill shoot which supplied the cover for Between the Buttons. They are priced at £3,500/$5,000.

All 1,600 are numbered and signed by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.

Serious investors tempted by the limited edition will be reassured by the Rolling Stones’ market position, their signatures, the quality of the photographs, the renown of the photographers, the edition’s limit of 1,600 copies, the sheer bravado of the product itself, as well as the Taschen brand and its marketing clout.

Before I laid out £3,500-£10,500, though, I’d need to do some homework. I’d need some hard data on the aftermarket and resale value of comparable assets – high-end rock art limited editions, Rolling Stones collectables, as well as Taschen’s other de luxe limited edition books.

Rolling Stones photos for collectors and fans

The Sumo-size limited edition version is enormous – you’d need a very strong coffee table to hold it. It dwarfs the “XL-size” (33cm x 33cm) mass market version of The Rolling Stones, which is “merely” very big.

Rolling Stones photos - Taschen book

The Rolling Stones: Taschen’s XL-size mass market edition, cover photo by Gered Mankowitz

The XL-size has the same content, in a smaller format, and it’s priced at £99.99/$150 from Taschen and selected retailers (Hatchard’s in Piccadilly, London had stock when I visited). Amazon have been discounting what looks like the same version – though there is some confusion – to £65.

For collectors and fans of Rolling Stones photos, the XL version of The Rolling Stones is, quite simply, a must-buy.

Exhibitions of Rolling Stones photos

The Rolling Stones book was launched by a celeb-magnet exhibition, “It’s Just a Shot Away”, launching Taschen’s new Los Angeles gallery at 8070 Beverly Blvd, Hollywood.

Rolling Stones photos by David Bailey

Goats Head Soup shoot by David Bailey: cover for Art Edition 1-75 and limited edition prints

The show presented over a hundred photographs by 15 of the photographers featured in the book, with high-priced limited edition prints for sale.

When I visited Taschen London on 12 March – it’s opposite The Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square – it (and, presumably, other Taschen stores) had a selection of for-sale prints on display alongside different versions of The Rolling Stones book.

How the Taschen book of Rolling Stones photos compares

The new Taschen masterwork isn’t, of course, the only book of Rolling Stones photos you can buy.  Nor is it the only high-priced, de luxe, limited edition book of Rolling Stones photos.  I’ll be reviewing the best of the groaning shelf of Stones photo books here on ROCK ART EDITIONS soon.

Rolling Stones photos – documenting the Rock Age

Ever since the emergence of the Rolling Stones in the early 1960s, a succession of top photographers – and thousands of lesser peers – have queued up to capture them on film. And the resulting images have been powerful tools in building the Stones as a global brand.

Rolling Stones photos are a central plank of rock art. The Rolling Stones by Taschen, in documenting the premier band of the Rock Age, unwittingly documents the Rock Age itself.

More information: Taschen

Copyright: images © Taschen/Gered Mankowitz 2014 and Taschen/David Bailey 2014.  (Taschen London window display photograph by Gerald Smith.)  Text by Gerald Smith.  Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Rolling Stones box sets: triumph and disappointment

Rolling Stones box sets provide handy, collectable versions of most of the albums and nearly all the singles. Some of the box sets are beautifully packaged – models of rock art. Some aren’t.

Rolling Stones aficionados disagree about the music of the different releases, as well as their sonic quality. But this post – the first of a trio – isn’t about music or sound quality. It focuses on the packaging, the commercial rock art.

Rolling Stones releases have been generally housed in outstanding album and singles covers, with designs by top artists, notably Andy Warhol, David Bailey and Gered Mankowitz. Judged as rock art, however, Rolling Stones box sets vary.

The post-1971 singles are housed in one of the best packages, while the box set of contemporaneous albums is the most disappointing in the Rolling Stones catalogue.

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set

Singles 1971-2006

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set, 2011

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set is a triumph. Two well-fitting, secure, colourful boxes, individual card sleeves for all 45 CDs – most are replicas of the originals – a helpful booklet, all make for a desirable artefact. It’s appropriate housing for the memorable music it safeguards. The strong, unified design of the box set reinforces the Rolling Stones brand – creativity, fun, vivacity. The shocking pink was a surprise, but it works. The package is visually interesting: you can spend time enjoying and decoding it. True believers buy the Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set for the packaging alone. (They already own most of the music several times over.)

Rolling Stones Box Set (albums)

Rolling Stones albums, 1970-2005, box set

The Rolling Stones Box Set, 2010

By comparison, The Rolling Stones Box Set, the package of fourteen post-1970 studio albums recorded for Rolling Stones Records/Virgin Records and released in 2010 by Polydor, is unimpressive – judged purely as packaging, of course; it houses some of the high peaks of Rolling Stones music.

The fourteen albums come in plastic jewel cases, housed in a simple, flimsy cardboard slip case. Nothing else. And even the box has minimal design. Dismal. Perfunctory. Niggardly. If someone mistakenly bought me The Rolling Stones Box Set for Christmas, I’d quietly sell it or give it away.

The other Rolling Stones compilation box sets, of the ABKCO/Decca LPs and singles, are also a mixed bag. The de luxe re-releases of individual LPs – Exile on Main St., ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’, Some Girls, and GRRR! – have the same commercial aim (enrich the musicians) but a different creative purpose. I’ll be reviewing them all in due course.

The bottom line, of course, is that, in addition to housing some of the best rock music ever released, some of the Rolling Stones box sets showcase the finest rock art. As always with the Rolling Stones, art meets commerce. They get on very well, thank you very much.

Top Rolling Stones album covers: the next three

The top three Rolling Stones album covers – The Rolling Stones, Goats Head Soup and Out Of Our Heads (UK version), reviewed here last week – packaged great music. The albums are as pleasing to listen to as the album covers are to gaze upon. By contrast, the next best three Rolling Stones album covers – Between the Buttons, It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll and Dirty Work – contain weak albums.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #4 Between The Buttons

Between The Buttons, Rolling Stones, photograph by Gered Mankowitz

Top Rolling Stones album covers: Between The Buttons, ABKCO 2002 CD version, photograph by Gered Mankowitz

Gered Mankowitz’s cover photograph of Between The Buttons magically captures a bleary-eyed dawn on Primrose Hill, north London. It must have been one hell of a night before. If only Between The Buttons sounded as good as it looks. Only one track, Back Street Girl, ever gets an airing on my iPod.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #5 It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll

It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, Guy Peelaert cover

Top Rolling Stones album covers: It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll, The Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones Records, 1974, cover art by Guy Peelaert

Guy Peelaert’s witty album cover for It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll also portrays excess. In this case, the excess in Heaven supposedly inhabited by the male rock star, with its unlimited “chicks for free”. Peelaert sets the Rolling Stones in a cod-Classical tableau, worshipped by countless garlanded women, all clearly interested. Unfortunately, with Jimmy Miller having vacated the producer’s chair, the music on It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll is inconsistent, relying on a handful of strong tracks, notably Time Waits for No One, Till the Next Goodbye and Fingerprint File.

Top Rolling Stones album covers #6 Dirty Work

Dirty Work album cover

Top Rolling Stones album covers: Dirty Work, Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones Records, 1986, photograph by Annie Leibovitz

With photography by the celebrated Annie Leibovitz, the album cover of Dirty Work contrasts starkly with the album’s music. The weakest album in the Stones catalogue – only One Hit (To The Body) ever gets a hearing here – Dirty Work has one of the most striking covers.

The Rolling Stones were middle-aged by 1986 and struggling to remain relevant. While the music on Dirty Work didn’t manage to roll back the years, the colourful album cover succeeded: “we are forward-looking and youthful, even if no longer young”. A bold idea, and outstanding execution. Just look at those primary colours and smile! To be continued: more top Rolling Stones album covers to follow here on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS. What are your top three Rolling Stones album covers?

Rolling Stones album covers: the top three

Rolling Stones album covers tell you that they understand the power of images and have consistently wrapped their recordings in high quality sleeves.

Over a dozen Rolling Stones LPs were released with outstanding cover art. Not really surprising, given that they often commissioned top celeb/show biz photographers, such as David Bailey and Gered Mankowitz.

My top three Rolling Stones album covers are:
* The Rolling Stones,
* Goats Head Soup, and
* Out Of Our Heads (original, UK version).

Top three Rolling Stones album covers #1 The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones album covers: the first LP

The Rolling Stones LP, Decca, 1964

The telling cover photograph of The Rolling Stones, the band’s first album, was shot by Nicholas Wright.

The defiant young Stones, their faces subtly lit and coloured, and highlighted by the shot’s dark background, suggest they could be an important, maybe challenging, new musical force.

The absence of graphics – no LP title, no indication of artists – suggest that the Rolling Stones knew that their music would do the talking.

(Scroll down to my 28 April post for more on the cover art of The Rolling Stones LP.)

Top three Rolling Stones album covers #2 Goats Head Soup

Rolling Stones album covers: Goats Head Soup, by David Bailey

Goats Head Soup, 1973

Goats Head Soup has a striking yellow portrait of Mick Jagger wearing the hat of a Victorian “lady”, complete with protective veil. Inside, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Mick Taylor get a similar treatment, while on the back cover Keith Richards appears to be in the process of removing his feminine headgear.

Inside, there’s a head of an unhappy looking goat, bubbling away in a cooking pot.

What does it all mean? Androgyny? Voodoo? Black magic? David Bailey probably knows – he did the photo shoot and the album cover design.

Top three Rolling Stones album covers #3 Out Of Our Heads (UK)

Rolling Stones album covers: Out Of Our Heads (UK version)

Out Of Our Heads, 1965/2002

The cover of Out Of Our Heads (UK), shot by Gered Mankowitz, is probably the best photograph of the early Rolling Stones. I’ve long wondered what prop Mankowitz used to frame the band so well. (The Out Of Our Heads photograph above is the 2002 ABKCO CD release, complete with unnecessary added graphics – “uk”.)

The Rolling Stones, Goats Head Soup, and Out Of Our Heads (original, UK version) are my top three Rolling Stones album covers.

What are yours? Please Leave a reply – link at top of post.

Rolling Stones photos: top 5 books for the 50th anniversary

Aficionados of Rolling Stones photos are in luck!  The 50th anniversary in 2012 generated some very collectable photography books.

Here are my top 5:

Rolling Stones photos #1 Rolling Stones 50

Rolling Stones photos: the official book

The Rolling Stones 50, 2012

The official coffee table book has the richest content; it’s certainly the biggest. Unmissable.

Rolling Stones photos #2 The Rolling Stones Fifty Years exhibition catalogue

Rolling Stones photos

Rolling Stones 50th Exhibition

The catalogue of the official Rolling Stones exhibition, which I saw in Somerset House, London, features all of the lovely photographs on display at the show. Much slimmer than #1, above.

Rolling Stones photos #3 Rolling Stones – 50 x 20

Rolling Stones photos

Rolling Stones 50 x 20, Insight Editions

My favourite unofficial collection: the 20 in the title refers to the photographers whose work is presented, chapter by chapter. Includes photography by Michael Joseph – the front cover is from his inspired Beggars Banquet shoot – Gered Mankowitz and Barry Feinstein.

Rolling Stones photos #4 The Rolling Stones Photobiographie 1962-2012

Rolling Stones photos

Rolling Stones Photobiographie 1962-2012, Fetjaine

The Rolling Stones Photobiographie 1962-2012 (Getty Images; text, in French, by Francois Plassat, published by Fetjaine) is well worth checking out…

Rolling Stones photos #5 Chronique

Rolling Stones photos

Chronique des Rolling Stones, Chronique Editions

… as is a second French collection, Chronique des Rolling Stones, text by Philippe Margotin (published by Chronique Editions).

If you have a favourite book from the many other compilations of Rolling Stones photographs celebrating the 50th anniversary, please share it with fellow ROCK | ART | EDITIONS readers – please Leave a reply (at the top of the page).

Jimi Hendrix photographs by Gered Mankowitz on show in Leeds

Jimi Hendrix by Gered Mankowitz, 1967. (c) Gered Mankowitz 2014.

Gered Mankowitz is a key figure in rock art.

He’s best known for his photographs of the Rolling Stones. Most famously for the covers of Out Of Our Heads (the original UK Decca release, repeated on December’s Children in the USA), and Between The Buttons.

His 1967 portfolio documenting the explosive arrival in England of Jimi Hendrix captures the Swinging London Zeitgeist just as well.

Having colourised some of his original monochrome portraits, Mankowitz has been exhibiting them for several years.

The Experience: Jimi Hendrix at Mason’s Yard 1967 is currently showing at White Cloth Gallery, Leeds, until 12 May.

(Mason’s Yard was the London location of the photographic studio of Gered Mankowitz).

If you can’t make it to West Yorkshire, you can buy the set in the hardback book of the same name, published in October 2013 by Castle Books, available via Amazon for about £10.

If your pockets are somewhat deeper, these Jimi Hendrix images are also available as large format limited editions.