Inspiration: Jim Marshall

By Greg Cohen

What makes the quintessential rock & roll photograph?  Vintage 1960s/70s.  Black and white.  Grainy. Iconic performer.  As a site dedicated to music photography, this article will begin a new semi-regular feature in which we look back at classic rock & roll photography and the photographers that created it.

Often times those photos are grainy black and white images of iconic performers from the 1960s/70s because that is what many of us envision when we think of rock and roll photographers.  Classic images of the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix and the Beatles often are the first images to come to mind.  Jim Marshall produced many of the images we now think of us the classic, quintessential rock & roll photograph.

October 21, 1976 was the last live concert that Keith Moon played as a member of The Who before he passed away on September 7, 1978 (he played a couple more shows for filming the documentary The Kids Are Alright, but those were not in front of a paying audience as part of a concert tour).  Marshall was there to document that last show so one of his images from Keith Moon’s last concert in Toronto, Canada is the first photographer and image to be featured:

You probably know Jim Marshall’s work without realizing it.  From his famous Johnny Cash photo taken outside Folsom Prison to his icon image of  Jimmy Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Jazz Festival to the Beatles taking the stage at their final concert, Marshall captured the rock stars of the 1960s/70s in a deeply personal and intimate way.

Some of his iconic images include:

All photographs © Jim Marshall Photography, LLC

Marshall has more than 500 album covers to his credit, such as:

Marshall also has 6 books to his credit published during his lifetime:

  • Monterey Pop
  • Not Fade Away: The Rock & Roll Photography of Jim Marshall
  • Proof
  • Jim Marshall: Jazz
  • Trust
  • Pocket Cash. Pocket Cash: Photographs of Johnny Cash

Two more books of Jim Marshall’s photographs were published posthumously:

  • The Rolling Stones 1972
  • The Haight: Love, Rock and Revolution

Jim Marshall passed away March 24, 2010, leaving behind an archive of more than a million negatives.  Marshall’s llimited edition prints and books are available at


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