Let It Bleed.
Ethan A. Russell
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780446539043 $35.00 www.HachetteBookGroup.com
Mention the Rolling Stones and everyone knows instantly who you're talking about but how many people really know just what went on during their 1969 Let It Bleed tour? This book, which promises to take you where no other Rolling Stones book has gone before, is to open the lid on what really happened and reveal more about one of the most legendary bands of the century.
Ethan A. Russell has made his name by being the only photographer to have shot album covers for all three of what some consider the greatest groups in rock history: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who. He is also a multi-Grammy nominated photographer and director. A man deserving enough to be granted the privilege of writing such a brilliant book.
Let It Bleed gets off to a cracking start--Ethan provides the enthusiastic reader and Stones fan with his recollections from times past. He describes in detail the events which befell him one fateful night while the Rolling Stones could be heard playing in the background.
Ethan tells us the tale of how he became a rock photographer--something that was at that time very unusual.
During his years as an art student however Ethan was lucky enough to have met Brian Jones, the founder of the Stones. His story of that meeting was so interesting to read and will be of much importance to true Rolling Stones fans. The shots accompanying Ethan's piece show a relaxed Brian, playing with his dog and having fun. Ethan was able to note how Brian appeared with bags below his eyes. Could Brian's lifestyle already have begun to take effect on him? Ethan's words and descriptions of that meeting speak out to the reader in a frank and honest way. He does not glamorize what he witnessed and instead offers up the truth.
The next chapter of this book delves into drugs and how times had not been so good for the Rolling Stone members--1967 was a particularly bad year for them as many will probably recall. Keith's home in Redlands was raided, Mick was busted at the airport and Brian busted in his flat. It seemed to many that the authorities were out to make an example of them.
Bill Whyman tells of two Brians "one that was introverted, shy, sensitive, deep-thinking ... the other was a preening peacock, gregarious, artistic, desperately needing assurance from his peers."
Signalling the eventual passing of Brian Jones hundreds of white butterflies were released and Mick Jagger is seen in one photograph leaping forwards into them. This personally for me is a very memorable photograph with much meaning in it.
A casual photograph of Mick Taylor, Keith Richards and Sam Cutler enjoying breakfast together is included under a quote from Mick Taylor himself describing what the group was actually like way back in 1969.
There is much talk about what the Rolling Stones were like originally when they started out and Mick Taylor describes it, "in 1969 it was very small, and in a way, very intimate."
The photographs in black and white forever freeze those moments when band members Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards enjoyed lounging about back stage at the Forum and other places.
Almost every page of this stunning Rolling Stones book is full of photographs of the band. There are tons of reflections from the members and quotes which will stay glued in your mind.
Part three, of four, details the infamous Altamont concert which saw a lot of spaced out hippies, homeless people and really unbalanced individuals. There were reports of many fights and the pictures in this amazing collection illustrate how packed together the audience was. Tensions were running high and violence was breaking out. Photographs included help to capture the feel of that concert.
Also inside are some of the most iconic photographs of the Let It Bleed tour, ones you'll remember and maybe even frame.
An overall stunning book for every Rolling Stones fan to have in his or her collection. It delivers everything you could expect and ticks all the right boxes. Are you ready to rock?