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  Blood and Glitter Special Feature

Cover of Blood & Glitter

BLOOD & GLITTER – BY MICK ROCK

Vision On - Publishers of Blood & Glitter

Limited Edition book & print by Showcase Editions

June 2001's Special Feature focused on the newly released photobook by Mick Rock titled Blood and Glitter.  On this page are a few of the many hundreds of images (many previously unpublished) of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust that appear in this book. 

"This is not intended to be a history, a critique, an apologia for the ‘Glam’ revolution - but it will indisputably be the most comprehensive single eyewitness account in picture and word. I was not an outsider looking in. I lived it. Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop remain friends of mine and we often revisit my archives from that magical period to fuel a myriad of retro projects. ‘All The Young Dudes’… well, we were all still very young in those steamy days of satin and tat." - Mick Rock

David Bowie &
Lou Reed (1972)
David Bowie (1973) Mick Rock &
David Bowie (1972)
David Bowie &
The Spiders (1972)
David Bowie (1972) David Bowie &
Lou Reed (1972)
David Bowie (1973) Pierre La Roche &
David Bowie (1973)
David Bowie (1972)

Read David Bowie's Foreword to Blood & Glitter

PICTURES

Blood & Glitter forms the most comprehensive eyewitness account of the 70s musical revolution:

The Rockers

  1. David Bowie
  2. Lou Reed
  3. Iggy Pop
  4. Syd Barrett
  5. Johnny Rotten
  6. Mick Ronson
  7. Debbie Harry
  8. Queen
  9. Mott the Hoople
  10. Roxy Music
  11. Gary Glitter

The Muses

  1. David’s wife Angie Bowie
  2. Transsexual model Amanda Lear
  3. Mime Lindsay Kemp
  4. Make-up artist Pierre Laroche

The Artists

  1. Filmmaker Derek Jarman
  2. Fashion Designers Bill Gibb and Zandra Rhodes

BLOOD & GLITTER - GLAM: AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT

Whereas most celebrated music photographers can claim to have documented a moment in music history, Mick Rock is one of the very few who could claim to have defined an era. Having lived at the centre of one of the most exciting and outrageous periods in the history of rock, Mick Rock was integral to the Glam story. On the scene at the right time, his pictures both document the moments and defined the era.

Rock’s career took off in 1972 after he met up with Bowie who at the time, "was best known, if at all, for wearing a dress on an album jacket". He soon became Bowie’s official photographer, a partnership that thrust them to the forefront of the Glam movement in both musical and photographic terms. Rock soon became the favourite lensman of many of the Glam scene’s leading players such as Lou Reed, Queen, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople and David Bowie. Responsible for nearly every image of the Glam period, Rock was instrumental in creating the Image of Glam that captivated the imagination of millions.

Shots include:

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Teatime at The Dorchester with David Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop (The Dorchester, June 72)

Bowie guitar fellatio with Mick Ronson (Oxford Town Hall, 72)

‘The Bohemian Rhapsody Shot’ – Queen II album session (London, Feb 74)

Lou Reed – Transformer album cover (King’s Cross Cinema, July 72)

Debbie Harry (NYC, 77)

However, Blood & Glitter is more than a ‘Best Of Glam’ photographic project. "Like every underground scene that becomes part of pop culture, history leaves out much of the real story – and the full story is much more interesting" comments Rock. "Glam was a mixture of theatre, sexual ambiguity and progressive art that drew in millions of fans whilst retaining its subversive edge."

Consequently, as a comprehensive eyewitness account of the period, Blood & Glitter is not just about the fantastic images of Glam icons we all came to imitate, but also some of the subversive stories and figures around these legends.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Rock was on set during entire shoot as the Special Photographer

Biba’s – the legendary Glam Department Store on High Street Kensington and the top floor Rainbow Room where many of the bands performed and the parties happened

Andrew Logan – sculptor and impresario of the Alternative Miss World

Derek Jarman (Film Director & one of the first Alternative Miss World’s); Duggie Fields (Glam Painter); Fashion Designers Zandra Rhodes, Ozzy Clarke, Bill Gibb; and even Screaming Lord Sutch in his performing days…

Mick Ronson – the no 1 guitar player from the Glam period

Bands such Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry; New York Dolls; Wayne County; Cockney Rebel; Pointers Sisters

Angie Bowie – David’s wife and primary female glam icon; Amanda Lear – Model / Muse / Singer / Transsexual; Lindsay Kemp – Mime supreme and Bowie’s mentor; Pierre La Roche – the Make-up artist

 

Rolling with the Rock
by Richard Benson

'And here's David Bowie, he wrote the foreword to my book, he's a mate of mine, the key to it all really.'

'And this is Iggy, Iggy Pop... Comes across as a primal animal on stage, but actually a very sensitive and intelligent man, heh heh ohÉ and this is Lou, Lou Reed - fabulous to photograph, does love to be difficult but was always very kind to me. Here's a picture of me taken by him, in fact. And here's Freddie!'

'He had a thing about his teeth, you know, had too many at the back which meant they protruded slightly at the front. He never wanted them to show, so I couldn't photograph him smiling or anything, and here's Johnny Rotten, and then Debbie Harry, and Siouxsie, and Patti Smith, all from the glammy end of punk, and here's an album cover I shot for a group called Leather Nun. As you can see, it shows a bound nun, heh heh heh. Very punky.'

His West London rock'n'roll drawl fills the lounge bar of the Columbia Hotel, laughter crashing like big, polluted waves over the businessmen's mid-afternoon murmurings and the tinkle of spoon upon coffee cup.

Mick Rock (real name), rock photographer (genuine article) to the shiniest and scariest of Seventies rock stars, is showing me proofs from his new retrospective book, Blood & Glitter (subtitle Glam: An Eyewitness Account).

Most of the hotel guests pretend they're not listening to the educated, lived-in, smokily sonorous and just-slightly camp voice that has bossed the likes of Iggy and Lou and Johnny, but really, they can't resist; not if their murmuring, tinkling adulthoods were preceded by an interest in Seventies rock music anyway.

Because if their favoured Seventies singer or band was important - if their style and music influenced the way that the young and inquisitive acted and thought about themselves - then the chances are that Mick Rock not only hung out with and photographed them, but also produced the pictures on which their public images were based.

Bowie's classic Ziggy-era pictures, like the one of him fellating the pick-ups of Mick Ronson's guitar; Freddie Mercury, hands folded across his chest, spookily uplit, teeth tidily tucked in (from a session that would inspire much of the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' video); topless, skinny Iggy holding a mike stand and looking as if it's just told him his girlfriend is sleeping with the drummer; Lou Reed on the covers of Transformer and Coney Island Baby.

Such shots have long sat upon proud pages in the rock'n'roll family photo album, but in 2001 you would also find photocopies of them on the mood boards of many young London fashion designers.

In the past two years the sort of glammy new-wave looks created and captured by Rock have been key inspirations for the newer-wave of young London fashion designers such as Anthony Symonds, Luella Bartley and Bottega Veneta's Giles Deacon, and fashion-slaves touting angular fringes and slim ties around W11 and SoSho.

It is also hard to believe that international designers who have been working with similar looks, like Dolce & Gabbana and Balenciaga, have not been studying old Rock sessions like the 1979 one that produced the sleeve for Blondie's 'Sunday Girl'.

On 'the north side of 50' now, Rock was born on Holland Road, West London (civil-servant dad, housewife mum) and studied modern languages at Cambridge. He wasn't all that interested in rock music or photography; what he liked were 'mad French poets', and he saw a lot of mad French poetry in the musicians he met when he started taking pictures at early David Bowie gigs in March 1972.

Bowie made him his official photographer and introduced him to like-minded performers who, inspired by ideas coming out of Andy Warhol's Factory in New York, were bringing a harder edge and larier look to late-period hippiedom.

Although rock historians now tend to regard the hippie, glam and punk eras as separate, he says there was really a lot of continuity between them, with glam containing elements of Sixties dippiness and late-Seventies nihilism.

'Glam,' Rock explains, with a mad poetical growl, 'was narcissistic, decadent and subversive, bohemian but also futuristic. It was Oscar Wilde meets A Clockwork Orange.'

He did plenty of practical decadence and subversion himself in the Seventies and Eighties, and has had the quadruple heart-bypass surgery to prove it. These days, living and working in New York, he is the epitome of the maturing rocker, with a yoga and Evian habit, a rather magnificent, imposing appearance involving shoulder-length, well-conditioned hair, aviator shades, multiple denim shirts and some very big, buckly boots, and a weakness for anecdotes.

David Bowie is the subject he talks most warmly about, although he declines to name favourites, and says he never had a session that didn't work ('You have to fall in love with your subject for a little while, you see'). Bowie, he says, is 'very smart, very confident about how he looks, and knows he is lucky to have a face that works with the cameras very well. Always willing to take direction. There's nothing he dislikes about his appearance, though - well, what the f**k would it be?'

From contemporary bands, he singles out Radiohead for praise but is open-minded about everything - unusual among mature rockers who tend to regard their youth as the pinnacle of pop culture. However, he does say, a little regretfully, that there seems to be less combination of music, image and lifestyle nowadays, and he wasn't terribly impressed by the last big band to try it.

'Oasis are so absolutely graceless and charmless, you know.' He sounds mildly appalled on behalf of the rock music genre. 'I suppose they think they're Johnny Rotten revisited, but they don't have Johnny's sense of humour, so they just come across as boorish. They don't have the ironic touch to them.'

© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 29 March 2001

MICK ROCK

After graduating from Cambridge University, Michael Rock decided to follow his fascination with rock’n’roll by taking photographs. His earliest key subject was Syd Barrett, founder of Pink Floyd. In 1972, he met David Bowie just before his Ziggy Stardust period and became his official photographer. Work followed with Lour Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen, and London’s ‘glam’ scene. His work is featured on some of the iconographic album covers of the 70’s, including Transformer, Raw Power, and Queen II. He moved to New York and worked with the seminal punk performers such as Blondie, The Ramones, Dead Boys and Talking Heads. His photo of Johnny Rotten became the Sex Pistols first national US magazine cover. Mick is a multi-award winning photographer. His iconic rock images, along with more recent photo-collage art and erotica, have been exhibited in galleries all around the world. His enthusiasm for rock’n’roll remains undimmed as he continues to photograph into the new millennium.

VISIT: www.mickrock.com: The photographer's own website

---This page last modified: 14 Jul 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)