PERFORMING ARTS

Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer

Abrams. Oct. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781419742132. $32.50. MUSIC
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If there’s anyone who can claim that they were “there,” it’s Gruen. One of the most highly regarded rock photographers of all time, Gruen took pictures of everybody during the 1970s, from the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and Blondie to Elton John, David Bowie, and the Allman Brothers. His Zelig-like presence in the rock world makes for some great stories, which he reels off at a near-dizzying pace. Each chapter is jam-packed with tales—having breakfast with Ike and Tina Turner, bumping into Jimi Hendrix in Greenwich Village, snorting cocaine with the Hell’s Angels at an Elephant’s Memory concert—though some anecdotes aren’t nearly as fascinating as he thinks they are. Nonetheless, rapidity makes up for some of the less compelling pieces. Included throughout are iconic pictures of his famous subjects, such as John Lennon in his New York City T-shirt, Turner lit by strobe lights, and Led Zeppelin in front of the Starship jet plane, making the volume a treasure trove for rock and roll lovers.
VERDICT Rock fans will devour this narrative and find its “you are there” style eminently palpable.

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