Miss Marianne Faithfull:

Miss Marianne Faithfull:
(Born December 29, 1946) Songs she inspired: She Smiled Sweetly, Let's Spend The Night Together, She's Like A Rainbow, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wild Horses, I Got The Blues, 100 Years Ago, Winter

Miss Anita Pallenberg:

Miss Anita Pallenberg:
(Born April 6, 1942) Songs she inspired: You Got The Silver, Sister Morphine (words by Marianne), Wild Horses, Coming Down Again, Angie, Beast Of Burden, All About You

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rock Dreams - Part 1

ROCK DREAMS. With a title like that, and a cover featuring Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and David Bowie sitting round having coffee together, how could I be anything but fascinated?

In 2006, when I was taking a year off from university and working some of the final months at Tower Records before the chain's nation-wide heartbreaking close on 26 December 2006 (our store - Tower Fairfax - closed that day, but most others closed a day or two before) when I was first introduced to a worn copy of this glossy, oversized book.  It was the night shift, and, at almost midnight on Monday, hardly anyone was perusing the massive store, so I carried Rock Dreams with me to the register I was to man, and began to carefully turn each luscious page. At the time, I thought I had uncovered some rare treasure, some book that I assumed (though I don't know why - chock it up to being a 19-year-old idiot) few people had ever seen or knew existed. I mean, what was this thing? It seemed too cool and too weird for mass consumption, although our store was sometimes a treasure-trove of little rarities (I got the audio CD of Cyrinda Foxe's awful autobiography there, some Gn'R and Stones bootlegs, etc).  Rock Dreams is a book of amazingly real-looking but made-up illustrations of rock stars from the early days of Frankie Laine and Fats Domino to the contemporary gods of Marc Bolan and Lou Reed (the book was published in 1973) by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert.  What's so interesting about the pictures is that they really are rock dreams - it isn't as if Peellaert is simply looking at a photo in Muziek Express and drawing it; he's visualizing, daydreaming, and fantasizing, he's creating the images of pop icons that we want to see, images that represent all the things - good, bad and ugly - that we as a culture have projected on the artists. They're all based on facts, of course - Janis Joplin passed out on a bed clutching a bottle of whiskey isn't even shocking or taking creative license at all, but stuff like Jerry Lee Lewis's 13-year-old bride toying innocently yet suggestively at her lingerie-looking wedding dress is a perfect example of the often poignant yet semi-uncomfortable underworld of decadence that makes this book so appealing. The illustrations are aided by the captions/text of Nik Cohn, who is the great artist's verbal counterpart, bringing to life these strange fascinations that exist somewhere between reality and fantasy - the very place, of course, that rock 'n' roll fans like me hold closest to our hearts.

This is only Part 1 and features a sample of 30-some illustrations from the book, but there are a lot more, so a Part 2 (and perhaps a Part 3) will inevitably follow. The Rock Dreams that I bought in 2006 was not, of course, a first edition, rather a reprint by Taschen. Many of the images spanned two pages, which is most unfavorable for scanning. I knew there must be a version that featured my absolute favorite photo in the book on a single page rather than a double, so that I could scan it completely and without that hideous spine down the center.  In June of last year (god, I can't believe it's 2012 already), I spent arguably the most romantic 30 hour stretch of my life with a man who also owned Rock Dreams, and I was delighted to find that he indeed had an older copy that featured said photo on one page.  It was easy enough to find on eBay (a site I spend countless hours on buying most of the stuff I feature on this blog), so I got one for myself (although even in this one, some of the images are spread over two pages).
Hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Sound as ever,

 My favorite photo in the book (which I'm sure comes as no surprise):
all photos scanned by me, credited to Guy Peellaert


NolalanD said...

amazing art! some cool juxtapositions, stones as ss, quiet titillating even for the seventies. can't beleve i have never seen any of these besides the cover pick.

sistermorphine said...

I love your blog! All your pictures are amazing, I love them so much that I posted some of them on my tumblr. I credited your blog and if you go to my dashboard you can see it, but the blog doesn't show it. Is it a problem?
I'm sorry for my bad english, but I'm italian :)

Leith said...

Thanks you guys! I'm so glad you dig it.

Penny Lane said...

Hey, I'm just crazy with your blog! Really, this is so amazing!
Well, I don't know if you will do that for me, but anyway, I've been searching for this photo of Guns N' Roses (http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/41135_130955263615351_100001026337536_164815_1595552_n.jpg) but without this gray band, for months and, man, I can't find it in nowhere. Could you help me? I visit your blog everyday and if you find the photo just tell me by here.
Thank you very much (and sorry for my bad english).

Julie Smith said...

Why did you stop posting? I miss your posts.

fashion-meets-art said...

wow i love your pictures.
and anita of course <3
lovely greets
maren anita

Can I invite you to my GIVEAWAY ???:

*dogeared heart necklace*


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Lucia said...

dude, these pictures are classic! especially that one of mama cass elliot & michelle phillips.


Anonymous said...

Leith, I really love your blog and your scans are *unique*
Will you keep updaing it?

Beverly xoxox

S said...

Merry Christmas :)

Steven Brown said...

I enjoy going through your blog a lot :). I had to follow. I hope you can check out my site: http://theproverbs.net and join if you would be so kind. Thanks for your time, hope to see you stop by. Happy Holidays and God Bless !


Maggie said...

Leith, were are you? :)

Leith said...

I'm still here!! Thanks for all the love - I promise I'll try to post more soon. Just have found it disheartening that so many if the photos I've scanned get lifted and posted elsewhere as if they were someone else's own.

Anonymous said...

Such a nice blog, Leith !!!
Found it few weeks ago, become really interested, almost addicted, but will you be posting new stuff? I want more (lol)
Looking forward to hear from you,
greetings from Portugal.

Did i mentioned it helped me with me DJ sessions saturday night?

Joao Castro

Julie Smith said...

I love our blog, please start posting again :)


MRats said...

Washington D.C. Leith, where are you?

What's become of your lovely blog? Did you find a boyfriend to fit the "romantic, fairytale" specifications you once described? I hope so, and that you're enjoying life to the fullest!

I've visited your website many times. It's obvious that you're an expert on early Rolling Stones history and familiar with the people who surrounded the band. You even devoted a blog to Spanish Tony Sanchez, which is why I'm posting this comment.

A few nights ago I searched the Internet for Rolling Stones videos from the late 1960s. I came across a 20-second clip entitled, "Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Tony Sanchez (Spanish Tony)". It's not a subject that would capture my interest, so I must have hit "play" by passing the cursor too close to the frame. However, when I watched, I realized right away that the man with Mick and Marianne is NOT Spanish Tony.

Remembering that I had seen photographs taken on that same day, I looked for them on Bing Images and I found that I was absolutely right. In fact, I posted a comment to that effect on You Tube. Since I'm only 99% certain I know who he really is, I wouldn't say. But I recommended that the host bring further attention to the video by challenging future viewers to guess the man's true identity. I doubt that will happen. It's more likely that my comment will be removed. But since I know your remarkable ability to locate even the most obscure photos of Marianne Faithfull, I'm wondering if you would solve the mystery either here or on You Tube. Perhaps you would even want to create a post about it, if you haven't lost interest.

The video is crowded with photographers, so I know there are more pictures than the few I found. If the idea tickles your fancy, have fun!

Julie Smith said...

I'd still love you to post again <3


Unknown said...

I bought this book when it first came out in 1973. I was 13. It's still on my bookshelf, well-worn and beloved.

Peellaert also created the LP covers of the Stones' "It's Only Rock 'n Roll" and Bowie's "Diamond Dogs". (Again, both of which I bought new and still have.)

Thanks for sharing your scans - lovely! The Stones '75 tour photos pulled me in. That was my first Stones show at the Forum in L.A. At the time, we all thought Keith was going to die - a rather nebulous concept at best to a 15 year-old - but loved his junkie glamour nonetheless and did our best to emulate it... ;-)

-blessed b9, Catalyst4Christ said...

PROVE! TO! ME! this finite existence
is more XX-citing than eternally savvy,
sassy, crass, kick-some-ass,
and I'll gitcha
a pitcher-O-beer
Upstairs, bro.
Besides.. Im buds withe Owner.

Bianca said...

My dad used to have a copy of this book and I grew up turning the pages wondering who these people are (or some). And now that I know them, and loving their music I can't seem to lose the image of these great artists on my mind. So I started finding out what their stories are, their history. Your blog and posts brought back a lot of memories, a lot of my childhood. Thank you Leith. I hope I can buy my dad another copy of this book.

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