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Digital Story: 

Ashley produced this digital story and audio mix during her internship at CBC Vancouver - Link to CBC story here (audio mix unavailable on CBC site.)

Works of one of rock and roll's most famous photographers on display in Vancouver

CBC News · Posted: Aug 13, 2017 11:00 AM PT

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One of rock and roll's most legendary photographers is giving Vancouver a taste of music history.

Bob Gruen has photographed rock legends from the Rolling Stones to David Bowie to Kiss and is displaying many of his works at the Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver this month.

"My idea was to tune in, turn on and drop out, which was the main career goal of the '60s," he told On The Coast's Ashley Fraser. "I started living with a rock and roll band called the Glitterhouse and they started using the photos I was taking of them for an album package … that's when I started meeting people in the record business."

Here are some of his most famous works, on display until Aug. 25.

Tina Turner

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"As it got towards the end of the show, I knew Tina liked to dance offstage with a strobe light flashing… I opened the exposure to one second to try and capture several of the flashes in one exposure," he said.

"The one picture there is kinda perfect. It just captures five images of Tina that captures the excitement and the energy that is Tina Turner."

John Lennon

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"When I came to see John Lennon I bought [the t-shirt] and cut the sleeves off with my buck knife to give it that 'New York' look and I gave it to John Lennon," he said.


"And it was a year later when we were on the roof and I asked John if he still had the shirt because we had the whole skyline of New York around us. … we had no idea at the time it would become such a popular picture. It was just one of many we did that day."

Led Zeppelin

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"[The Led Zeppelin photo] really kinda sums up the excess of the '70s. These four guys, shirts open, flyin' in the wind, and they have their own airplane," he said. "Dave Bryan of Bon Jovi ... told me he had that picture on his wall growing up and wanted his own airplane. He's one of the few people who actually grew up and got one!"

Deborah Harry

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"It's next to impossible to take a bad picture of Debbie Harry 'cause she is so beautiful. She was just walking across the street and I took this picture: this isn't a set up, this isn't a studio picture," he said.

"It's kinda lasted through the ages. Everybody wishes they could go to Coney Island and meet someone like that."

The Clash

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"I went on two bus trips across America with the Clash. A lot of people say they're the only band that really mattered… the Sex Pistols made people scream with rage, but the Clash gave people the reasons," he said.

"Joe Strummer used to come to New York a lot in the '70s and '80s and he used to sleep on my couch. We used to stay up all night drinking and carrying on. My wife and I, if we were going out to dinner with Joe Strummer, we used to remind each other, 'did you bring your sunglasses?' … Because if you go out with Joe Strummer, you're not going to get home 'til nine or ten in the morning."

Listen to the full story:

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast


Bob Gruen - CBC Radio - On The Coast - Ashley Fraser
00:00 / 00:00
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