Previously unseen pictures of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles are
to go on display at a new exhibition celebrating the "Swinging Sixties".
By Roya Nikkhah
11 Jul 2010
It is the picture that The Rolling Stones never wanted the world to
see an image which might forever have damaged their credentials as
the bad boys of rock and roll.
A previously unseen photograph of the band looking anything but
streetwise is to go on display for the first time, revealing how a
wardrobe error embarrassed Mick Jagger and his band mates in their
Taken by Philip Townsend, the celebrated Sixties photographer, the
picture shows the band wearing preppy checked jackets with velvet
collars while promoting their debut single Come On in 1963.
The look is a far cry from the skin-tight leather and various states
of undress that the band have usually preferred when caught on camera.
Townsend, who took The Rolling Stones' first ever photo shoot earlier
that year when they were an unknown band in search of a record deal,
is credited with creating their "bad boy" image after Andrew Loog
Oldham, their first manager, asked Townsend to make the young men
look "mean and nasty".
But the photographer, whose defining pictures of the Sixties will be
displayed in a new exhibition, recalled the band's fury at being made
to wear the "naff" outfits by their manager for a promotional day in
He said: "Andrew had been offered some free clothes from a trendy
shop on the King's Road who wanted to dress the Stones, so he
accepted the offer, thinking he would get some sharp suits for the
boys to wear.
"But when they turned up, it was these awful checked jackets, the
kind all the Irish showbands were wearing at the time.
"The boys were furious and thought the jackets were really naff, the
total opposite of the tough image they were cultivating, but it was
too late to find anything else. They were rather sheepish about wearing them.
"The Stones tried their best to be mean and nasty, but they never
really were. The Beatles were the real bad boys."
The exhibition, Mister Sixties: Philip Townsend's Portraits of a
Decade, which opens at The Lowry gallery in Salford in September,
will also include a previously unseen picture of John Lennon, taken
during The Beatles' first meeting with the spiritual guru Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi at a meditation centre in London in 1967.
A playful Lennon is pictured sitting on the floor in front of George
Harrison and Patti Boyd, Harrison's first wife, with Lennon chewing
on a flower.
Townsend said: "George got very into the whole meditation thing, but
John wasn't so sure about it.
"During that meditation period, they never ate anything except fruit,
and I remember John was hungry so he probably just decided to tuck
into a flower."
Other images from the show will include photographs of Twiggy,
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and Sir Winston Churchill meeting
Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping magnate, in Monte Carlo in 1962.
Townsend, 70, gave up photography in 1970, following a decade of
working for publications including the New York Times and Tatler magazine.
He said: "It was an incredibly free decade, where the people you
wanted weren't being protected by pompous publicists. If you said
"Can I take your photograph?" they generally said "Yes", not like now."
Kate Farrell, the curator of special exhibitions at The Lowry, said:
"Philip's iconic shots from the swinging Sixties capture the essence
of a revolution in creativity that continues to influence today's
music and fashion trends, which have a resonance from that extraordinary era."