A former music executive has found hidden in his attic roughly 1,000 never seen before photos of Rock Legends. The photos will feature in an exclusive exhibition stateside this April.
Last year, former music executive Michael Friedman’s wife happened upon an extraordinary find. As the couple were preparing to put their house in Connecticut on the market they began clearing out their home. In the attic, hidden in a box of paperwork from Friedman’s former life as a music executive, was about 1,000 undeveloped negatives.
Captured through Friedman’s lens between 1969 and 1973 were some of rock music’s most legendary icons, Todd Rundgren, Janis Joplin (featured), Mick Jagger, Rita Coolidge, Levon Helm all captured on film. For over four decades, Friedman had assumed the negatives had gone missing. When in fact a time capsule of rock music history had been stashed over his head.
Friedman discussed the feeling of finding the amazing photos, ‘I guess it’s kind of like waking up after a coma. All of a sudden there was a flood of memories I haven’t even thought about for so long. It was wonderful, exhilarating to be transported back to my youth.’
Friedman was a manager at the time and as a result he had a lot of exclusive access to artists, on a physical and more importantly emotional level. He was in their circle, so he was able to put his amateur photography skills to good use and capture artists on and off the stage. Capturing these candid moments in black and white, has resulted in a rare collection of intimate and high quality photographs.
In the 1960s, Friedman, a burgeoning musician, found work in New York as a publicist under manager John Kurland. That was for bands including the Bee Gees, Herman’s Hermits, Glen Campbell, and Paul Revere & the Raiders. After Kurland passed away, Friedman signed on with music honcho Albert Grossman.
The former executive recalls, ‘At the ripe old age of 25, I was working with a lot of big names like Dylan, the Band, and Janis Joplin. It was a lot different in those days. I was in the right place and right time. I loved all the music that Albert was working with—and it wasn’t hard to love that kind of music.’
Inspired by a photographer friend of his to get involved in picture making, Friedman would bring his camera along whenever he went from coast to coast attending shows and hanging out with the stars that he represented. Friedman explains, ‘Having that ability to get close and get candids [sic] backstage gave me a chance to take pictures that were unusual for that time. Most of the photography being done professionally were album covers and publicity photos and so forth. A lot of the time the artist is posing; no one was ever posing for me. Hopefully they were not aware I was taking pictures most the time.’
The photo collection is stunning and provides a unique insight into the lives of these iconic musicians on and off the stage. To catch a glimpse of what to expect there’s a small preview on Friedman’s page for the exhibition.