According to Getty Images, the following are the top live moments from British music history for which there is no known photographic record…
Nick Drake performing live… anywhere!
Drake’s severe stage fright and battle with depression meant he failed to achieve commercial success during his tragically short lifetime. He is thought to have given fewer than twenty live performances before dying from an overdose at the age of twenty six, and although it is known he played at venues such as The Roundhouse in London, Birmingham Town Hall and the Goodwill to All pub in Middlesex, there are no known photographs of any of these gigs.
Pink Floyd live at the ‘14 Hour technicolour dream’ in Alexandra Palace, North London on 29th April 1967
Despite having only released their debut single ‘Arnold Layne’ a few months earlier, Pink Floyd headlined the all-night fundraising concert for the International Times; following performances from Yoko Ono and Soft Machine. They played at about five a.m. after travelling back from another gig in Holland, and photographs of the gig have never been unearthed.
The Doors at the Isle of Wight Festival on 29th August 1970
By 1970 The Doors had five studio albums and one live album under their belt, but were struggling with legal problems arising from Jim Morrison’s increasing dependence on drugs and alcohol, which resulted in his death the following year. Immediately prior to their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival, Morrison had faced trial in Miami for obscene behaviour on stage. Though a few BBC photographs do exist of this set, they are in short supply and high-demand.
Otis Redding at Finsbury Park Astoria in March 1967
Otis Redding played the Finsbury Park Astoria on the first night of the seventeen-date UK Stax/Volt revue; the tour coincided with the release of ‘King & Queen’, his album of duets with Carla Thomas, and the final studio album he released before his death in a plane crash in December that year. Photographs of him playing in London that year do exist, but none can be confirmed as being from the Finsbury Park Astoria.
The Who live at the Marquee in 1965
Having only formed the year before and seen their popularity boosted by pirate radio stations, The Who played out their rise to fame in Soho’s Marquee Club in 1965; the band performed at the venue twenty-one times between the release of their first single ‘I Can’t Explain’ in January, and their debut album ‘My Generation’ in December and thus far there is only one photo of them playing at the club, but with no confirmation it is from 1965.
The Tamla Motown revue tour of 1965
The one-off 1965 tour brought together The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Martha & the Vandellas and The Temptations; it opened at Finsbury Park Astoria and played twenty one venues in three weeks, including at the Liverpool Empire, the Wigan ABC and Glasgow Odeon, before their final date at Portsmouth Guildhall on 12th April.While there are press call shots of the artists, there are only a scant few of them actually playing live on stage.
Marc Bolan performing at the first Glastonbury festival in 1970
In 1970, Marc Bolan was just coming to public attention as the lead singer of T.Rex; however, it was as a solo artist that he replaced The Kinks last-minute at the first Glastonbury festival (tickets to which cost £1 and included a free pint of milk), since he happened to be travelling past on his way to play Butlins in Minehead. Though there are photos of the festival – considerably smaller-in-scale when compared to today – there are no known photographs of his set.
The Sex Pistols at Saint Martin’s College (6th November 1975)
The Sex Pistols managed to pull off one of the most infamous first gigs of Britain’s rock and roll elite, getting through just 20 minutes of their first-ever public set before the plug was pulled by a member of the band they were supporting (Bazooka Joe), leading to an on-stage altercation. According to reports, the set was cut short due to the fact the crowd packed into the tiny gig space thought they were ‘rubbish’. Though many anniversary celebrations of this gig have occurred, no known photographs of the original exist.
Radiohead’s first gig at the Jericho Tavern, Oxford (1986)
In the early 80’s ‘On a Friday’ – as they were known at the time – were familiar faces among the Oxford party scene, but they had yet to play in a conventional venue. Their public debut was in front of a small crowd at the Jericho Tavern in 1986. They would continue to gig at the Jericho over the coming years, this eventually paying off by being ‘discovered’ by producer Chris Hufford at a 1991 show, leading them to record a demo and sign to EMI shortly thereafter. Due to the fact that the first gig was sparsely attended, a photo of the night has yet to surface.
The list above of missing music photographs is only a guide, and members of the public are welcome to submit other previously-unseen images which they consider to be unique, unusual, or interesting. Of particular interest are ‘first gig’ photos of bands which are now household names.
The very best images submitted will be considered for representation by Getty Images – offering a potential source of income for the owner of the newly-discovered iconic photograph. Based upon the volume and quality of submissions, Endeavour London may produce a book containing the new images.
If you have found photographs of one of the events above, or located other interesting images that you think are unique to the history of British live music, then send a scan of the image and your full contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0044 207 221 1540.
The images will not be posted online nor used with your permission. The images must belong to you (having been taken by you or a family member, and now in your possession).
Endeavour London – www.endeavourlondon.com – Background
Endeavour London Ltd is a packager and publisher of illustrated books, specialising in history and sport. Endeavour was founded by Charles Merullo in 1986, who was a director of Getty Images up until this point. As a result, today Endeavour works in close partnership with Getty Images and enjoys unique access to their extensive – and unrivalled – image collections.