Photos: Iconic Shots of the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and More – Rolling Stone
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Photos: Iconic Shots of the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and More

Rolling Stone’s first chief photographer, Baron Wolman, opens his vault

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Jimi Hendrix

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

When Jerry Garcia arrived at Baron Wolman’s house in the summer of 1969 for a Rolling Stone shoot, the magazine’s chief photographer had no idea that Garcia was going to open up. The Grateful Dead guitarist was in a relaxed mood, and he began making funny gestures with his right hand. Only later did Wolman realize what he’d captured: the stub of what remained of Garcia’s middle finger, which had been chopped off in a childhood accident. “Jerry usually kept it out of sight – most people didn’t know about it,” Wolman re-calls. “It was the first time he revealed it so publicly.”

Rolling Stone’s chief lensman during its first three years (1967-70), Wolman shot some of the most memorable, unguarded images of the era. Many of them are collected in The Rolling Stone Years, a new collection of his work to be published by Omnibus in September.

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Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

The Grateful Dead

The Dead appear at their house in Haight-Ashbury after their 1967 pot bust, flashing middle fingers and guns. “I was slightly worried that they were going to do me bodily harm,” Wolman says. “I remember making funny faces,” says bassist Phil Lesh with a chuckle. “Baron took some great photographs.”

jimi-hendrix

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Jimi Hendrix

In February of 1968, Jimi Hendrix came to San Francisco for his first gig at the legendary Fillmore auditorium. Wolman was there, and the result was one of the greatest rock and roll photos of all time. "I was onstage and the music was so loud I put Kleenex in my ears," Wolman says. "In order to get a great live shot of a band, you have to be completely in-tune with them — if you see a photograph in your viewfinder, it's already too late. You have to anticipate their moves. I was so in touch with the band that night. I felt like I was playing my Nikon while they were playing their Fenders or their Gibsons."

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend at a piano, recording parts of Tommy in London, 1968.

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Grace Slick

Grace Slick – whom Wolman calls “the sexiest and most sensual” of all the women musicians he shot – makes an ironic statement out of her old Girl Scout shirt in San Francisco, 1968.

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa posing on a tractor at a construction site near his home in Laurel Canyon, California, 1968.

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Mick Jagger, 1968

“Baron wasn’t a hippie,” says Michael Lydon, an early editor at the magazine. “He was a regular guy, a serious professional photographer, and he knew how to be friendly and put people at ease. The unguarded expressions he got was because the musicians were looking at a nice guy who was just chatting with them. When you see B.B. King, you’re seeing the guy, not weirdness or distortion.” Before Wolman and his peers, “We knew the musicians,” says the photographer, “but we never saw pictures that reflected their humanity and what we knew about them and their lifestyles."

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin playing pool at her home in Marin County, 1969.

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Miles Davis

Miles Davis works out in a New York gym, 1969. “Listen carefully to my music; I play like I box,” Davis said. “You can hear the jabs, the crosscuts, the uppercuts. You can imagine that I’m boxing when I’m playing.”

Photograph by Baron Wolman courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story: The Rolling Stone Years

Two Girls

"[Blue Cheer] came to my studio for a cover shoot and brought Marlene and Vicki with them. One thing led to another, as it usually did in photo studios back then," says Wolman. Ultimately this photograph was featured on the 'Letters and Correspondence' page in Rolling Stone, April 30, 1970.