TVD Giveaway: Smithsonian Rock and Roll: Live and Unseen
by Bill Bentley

It’s often been asked of us, for a vinyl-centric and certainly record store-centric website, what’s with all the live photography? Simply stated, it’s the beating heart of the artistry that puts those vinyl records in the record shops, and it’s also the live performance circuit where the artists are making the bulk of their bank these days. So, from such diverse points as San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, DC, and London among others, we’re there up front for the first three, then out.

To underscore the marriage between live performance and the photographers who capture each high jump, guitar thrust, and hip swivel comes Smithsonian Books’ Smithsonian Rock and Roll, a stunning and exquisitely designed coffee table-sized ode to the aforementioned artistry—whose timing is apt given that there are some who perhaps lose sight of the historic nature of the still image to document and amplify live performance.

We have a copy of Smithsonian Rock and Roll to give away to one of you, but first some official background on the dazzling decade by decade photographic overview that Smithsonian Books has assembled:

Prince at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina, Nov. 14, 1984. (John Rottet / Smithsonian Books)

Smithsonian Books has published Smithsonian Rock and Roll, a “gorgeous” (Parade) collection of mostly crowd-sourced rock and roll photography that features photos of some of rock’s most iconic artists—including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, The Who, Rolling Stones, and Metallica—along with accompanying write-ups from music industry veteran Bill Bentley.

It has received praise from the Washington Post, Parade, AARP, Mashable, Dangerous Minds and more, with the LA Times calling it “gritty, raw and uncensored…a candid compendium of musical history marked by the trapped-in-time moments that moved a concert-goer to raise camera to eye, or cellphone to air.”

Joni Mitchell at Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 11, 1974. (Amy Jaffe / Smithsonian Books)

In December 2015, the Smithsonian called on rock and roll lovers around the world to collect photos and stories of their favorite moments in music. Fans dug through attics, basements, closets, shoeboxes, digital cameras, and photo albums to upload great rock shots to rockandroll.si.edu. As a result, the book features 142 artists spanning more than six decades of music history that, presented together, create a kaleidoscopic history of the music, the concerts, and the fans.

Says Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips: “If rock and roll were a planet, Bill Bentley would be the head astronaut and Smithsonian Rock and Roll would be the operator’s manual.”

Zac Cockrell, Brittany Howard, Steve Johnson (drums), and Heath Fogg performing as the Shakes for the first time at Egan’s Bar, Tuscaloosa, AL, July 10, 2010. (David A. Smith / Smithsonian Books)

Blondie at CBGB, New York City, 1976. (Roberta Bayley / Smithsonian Books)

The Grateful Dead at the Chicago Coliseum, Nov. 27, 1970. (Marshall Bohlin / Smithsonian Books)

The White Stripes at the Cantos Music Foundation in Calgary on June 29, 2007. (Daryl-Anne Thomson / Smithsonian Books)

Johnny, Joey, and Dee Dee Ramone at Dooley’s, Tempe, Arizona, 1978. (Dorian Boese / Smithsonian Books)

Bill Bentley is a musical Zelig and “legendary record man” (Philadelphia Inquirer) who has spent over four decades in the industry, most recently as A&R Director at Concord Music Group and Vice President of Warner Bros. Records. He has been a drummer, record store clerk, DJ, concert promoter, music producer, and record label publicist. Through it all he’s also been a writer, and in 2007 he was given the ASCAP Deems Taylor award.

Enter to win by citing in the comments below your personal favorite concert photographer from any decade—and briefly why. We’ll choose one entrant with a keen eye and a North American mailing address a week from today, December 7, 2017. Our winner will be notified directly via email.

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Michael Abate

    Jim Saah for documenting the DC scene of the 80s.

  • Babyface Spinster

    Mick Rock! He’s shot them all. For LP covers, magazines, you name it. Great doc on him recently too.

  • Alex Levas

    If it’s indie rock, Peter Ellenby has covered it and given it the treatment it dutifully deserves. One need look no further than his best document to date, Every Day is Saturday to see his true commitment to the underground scene: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5021.Every_Day_is_Saturday#

  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text