They say that if you can remember the 60s then you weren’t really there. It was the decade which represented a huge flowering of talent — artistic, musical, political and social.
Now the National Portrait Gallery has opened a major new exhibition of photographs of the most iconic musicians of the time — and many of the “recording angels”, the photographers, were Jewish.
Photographer Gered Mankowitz is heavily represented in the show, in which there are 150 photographs, 100 of which are exhibited for the first time.
In 1966, Mankowitz took a portrait of the Rolling Stones which became the cover shot for the Stones’ album Between the Buttons. In the same year, he shot a moody photo (of the Spencer Davis Group. And two years earlier, Mankowitz’s sharp eye showed the alluring charm of Mick Jagger’s then girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, as she lolled about in a pub.
There were Jewish artists in this wave of talent, too. From Beatles to Bowie features some early photos of Helen Shapiro (right), the Amy Winehouse of her day, whose rich, jazzy voice belied her youth. This picture was taken by Rex Coleman in 1962.
Barry Feinstein spotted the young Bob Dylan in the Topper shoe shop in London’s Carnaby Street in 1966, enjoying a rare moment of privacy as he tried on pairs of chukka boots. And photographer Dezo Hoffman profiled the quintessentially English band, the Kinks, in 1966.
Other pictures of Jewish interest in the show, which opened yesterday and runs until January 24 2010, include early images of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and pictures of nearly forgotten Jewish pop singers such as Mike Sarne and Elkie Brooks.
‘Beatles to Bowie, The 60s Exposed’ — National Portrait Gallery, until January 24. www.npg.org.uk