Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First photo session

A further sign of Stu's imminent departure from the Stones' basic band appeared when Andrew Loog Oldham got the band ready for their first photo shoot. Crispian Woodgate and Philip Townsend took the first set of serious photographs on the Thames Embankement. Oldham: I made my first visit to the infamously rank and scummy Edith Grove flat to prepare the band for the Embankement snaps.

I had met Woodgate and Townsend on earlier PR episodes. In 1963 it was traditional for pop groups to pose for publicity photographs frozen, bland and blank, all uniform, rigidly smiling in a soft-porn lit studio. Down at the Embankement I put the Stones, minus Ian Stewart, up against a grim-looking wall near the river. The group were 'sorry' to have forgotten their recently acquired apparel and wore their own clothes.

That look, that 'just out of bed and fuck you' look - the river, the bricks, the industrial location - was the beginning of the image that would define and divine them. Word got out: the results of the Embankment photo session were 'disgusting'. The Stones were unkempt, dirty and rude. I loved the photos, got the picture, the penny dropped.

Adapted from the following source: Andrew Loog Oldham, Stoned, Vintage, 2001.

The Rolling Stones, 1963. Left to right: Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Missing: Ian 'Stu' Stewart, sixth Stone.

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