Here's a question?

What have the following artists got in common?

Steve Winwood, Jack Bruce, Paul Carrack, Madeline Bell, Beverly Knight, Mica Paris, Imelda May, Roachie, Steve Overland, Vanessa Haynes, Joss Stone, Kiki Dee, Lulu, PP Arnold, Sam Brown, Louise Marshall & Gerry Beckley..  

Well, the answer is that they have all performed with the incredible STAKS BAND.  

STAKS are fast becoming a little bit legendary as everyone wants to play with them. I hasten to add that people are referred to as Legend's or Legendary all too often these days. Yes, it's is over used and doesn't have the gravitas that it once had. But, this band, who I am sure most of you out there have not seen or ever heard of, are very special indeed. Bob Dylan had a time when he had 'The Band' behind him. Yes, Rick Dank, Levon Helms, Robbie Robertson etc. The band were quite unique back in the day! So fast forwarding a decade or two and here we are with STAKS.  They are without doubt, world class! I have worked with so many bands and artists over the years and this band are about as good as it gets.  It's also refreshing to hear some of their influences coming through; one of which is the amazing Joe Cocker's 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' era. They are the band that everyone seems to want to perform with and if you see them, I think you will understand why!

Here are some shots of STAKS over the past couple of days rehearsing and some live shots as well. The actual gig was a rather superb private party. Lead vocals by the incredible Steve Overland and sensational Vanessa Haynes.     

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Keith Moon Dead at 32..

On this day, September 7th 1978, my Pan Am flight touched down in Los Angeles. It was mid afternoon and we had flown, non-stop from London. That might sound ridiculous to some people now. But, only a few years prior to this, most flights had to stop and refuel on the way. Usually in Bangor, Maine.  So, we landed and I was excited.. I filled in my i-94 (immigration form). We disembarked and headed into the terminal. I can still remember how I felt at that time.. I wanted to find post cards and send them home as well as call everyone I knew in the UK and tell them I had arrived. I was so excited! Funnily enough, I didn't actually do either. I just followed everyone and headed through passport control and immigration.  I was asked a couple of questions, like, how much money I had and where will you be staying whilst I was in the US. I got through that little quiz okay and then proceeded outside of the terminal with my suitcase and camera bag. So, now what? I had a few numbers of my relatives who lived out there. My grandmother, who lived in London, was, in fact, one of eleven children. Three of her sisters actually lived in LA I had my auntie Kitty, Connie & Bessie. So, the first call was to my auntie Connie who I knew lived in Sherman Oaks, CA. But, I hadn't seen her since she was in the UK when I must have been around 10 years old. I remembered her being absolutely lovely.  Firstly I had to change up some money and get enough change for a telephone box. Then get into a phone box and try and get hold of my aunt. I got through straight away and I heard her lovely quiet little English voice. I said, "Auntie Connie' she said, 'yes, who is that" I said 'Daniel'. She didn't know me as Danny. There was a kind of awkward silence. I realised she didn't have a clue who I was. I then quickly said, 'You know your sister in London, well I am her grandson" She then said 'Oh, Daniel! How are you?" I said "I am fine thanks, oh can I stay with you for a few days' She quickly said "of course you can. When are you coming to LA?" I then said "Well, I am already here, I am at LAX" I heard her gulp and again the silence.. She then asked me if I have got a car? She swiftly realised I was bloody stupid and that I had just arrived and got off a plane.. She then asked me where exactly I was. I told her where I was standing and she said I would have to wait a while and she would get on her way. Obviously in 1978 there were no mobile phones.  So, I  didn't move and just sat on my suitcase and waited. I think my aunt must have been around 80 then. So, the poor lady had to drive on her own to a place she never went to, miles away from home and it must have been a little daunting for her to say the least. Now this was such a busy airport. In fact it was all a bit frantic there.  It still is today! So, I was keeping my eyes peeled for auntie Connie. I couldn't remember what she looked like at all.  So, I waved at every lady of a similar age that pulled up or passed where I was sitting on the pavement, in the hope that it might be her.   I had one lady flip her finger at me and I sat there and thought what was that about. Then realised that there I was waving at women on there own in cars and she must have thought I was trying to pick them up. How funny was that! Then after about two hours, a little elderly lady came slowly along the side of the terminal and I knew it was her straight away. She looked just like some of her relatives in the UK.. She stopped, I got in and off we went. She drove out of the airport and we headed up on the 405 Freeway.. For those of you who know this part of the world, the freeway heads up a hill past the round building that was once a Holiday Inn where Sheryl Crow used to play piano and sing at weekends. Anyway, as we got to the top of the hill where you can suddenly see the vast San Fernando Valley and all sparkly lights everywhere. Then suddenly, auntie Connie put on the radio to get traffic reports as we were now in the evening rush hour. As she put the radio on, the first thing I hear is a news report saying Rock Star drummer Keith Moon was found dead in his London apartment. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was absolutely stunned. I explained to my auntie what this was about. She had never heard of The Who or Keith Moon. But, she understood once I had explained that he was a friend of mine and that he was now dead! I couldn't believe it. He had dropped me at Victoria Station the day before. He had died in his apartment in Curzon Place. The apartment owned by Harry Nilsson and also the same apartment where Mamma Cass from Mamas & Papas had died recently. For the next few days all I heard on the radio was The Who's latest album Who Are You! When we got back to my aunts house, the jet lag started to hit me and I was struggling to keep awake. My brother Simon had been on the phone as he was trying to find out where I was. He also gave me the horrible news about Keith. I am not entirely sure if Simon met Keith. My brother was quite young at the time, but, I have a funny feeling Simon came to the office and came into the Ship with us for a drink. I will ask him about that.. 

So, now it was time for bed. I knew that the next day I had to find a relative with a car that I could borrow and make a plan for me to head to see Paul Wasserman at Mahoney Wasserman PR, North Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills and say hello and show him my Dylan photos from Paris..  So, off to sleep, boy did I need it..

Below are a couple of photos reminding me of my first moments in LA.. The sunset and palm trees and a freeway sign for the 101 Freeway, heading to Sherman Oaks.. 

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40 Years ago today, I said goodbye to Keith Moon...

It had arrived and this was going to be my big day.. I had decided to head off to Los Angeles and try and get myself hired as Bob Dylan's official photographer.. yes, a very long shot. All I had was Paul Wasserman's business card. He was Bob's PR man. He had given me his business card when I met him in Paris earlier in the year. He had said to me, look me up if you get to LA. So, I had the transparencies of Bob that I had taken in Paris, and now I was about to head West and give this a good go..

When I was a little kid, I used to watch those big Hollywood movies on Sunday afternoon's at home in England with the family. So, from a very early age it was a kind of dream for me to go to America. Well, it was a dream and today it may well come true.  A few days prior to this I had visited my grandmother in North London and she had lent me a couple of hundred pounds. All in all I seem to remember having about £300 in total.

It was a sunny Wednesday morning 6th of September 1978, when I kissed my girlfriend who is now my long suffering wife, Lyn, goodbye at her house in Hatch End, on the outskirts of London. I jumped on a train and headed to my office.  Or more accurately, The Who's office in Wardour Street, Soho, London. When I got there, I ran up the stairs to reception. Yvonne was there sitting behind the desk.  She was very smiley and very funny. Every day when I arrived I asked her the same boring question "has anyone called for me Yvonne" to which the answer was almost always a little chuckIe and a 'NO'.  It was always funny asking her as nobody ever bloody rang me (well a few people occasionally). I wandered down the corridor and went into my office. There really was very little for me to do there. But, I had plenty of time to kill. Back in those days, the major airlines would offer out what was called 'Standby Seats' In other words, if a flight had what looked like 10 unsold seats, they would allow anyone waiting for standby to buy one in the last min and travel.. Now, the major trans Atlantic airlines back then were, TWA, Pan Am, British Airways and newcomers, Laker Airlines. They all had the standby sales desk at a big London railway station called Victoria. This was the only place one could buy a Standby ticket. So, there was I sitting in my office contemplating this very exciting impending episode in my life. I had made sure that everything that I had been meaning to do had been dealt with, which in truth was very little. In those analogue days all I had to do was make sure everyone had been sent photographic prints that needed them and that was really about it. Music magazines and papers, Sounds, Melody Maker and NME had everything from me that was required. I sat in my office and wondered what to do now. Was it too early to go to Victoria Station and get in line for a possible ticket? Then I thought, I know what I will kind of get on my way and stop off and see Keith (Moon) on my way. After all, he was so encouraging of me and we had been discussing for weeks about me trying to get on the Dylan tour.. He lived just off Park Lane at Flat 12, 9 Curzon Place, London. This was very much on my way to Victoria Station. So, off I went and turned up at Keith's flat. He hadn't long moved there. I might be wrong, but, I think he and his girlfriend Annette Walter Lax had only been there for a month or two. The apartment actually belonged to singer, songwriter and another Hellraiser, Harry Nilsson.. Anyway, when I arrived, Annette had been making some sort of pasta ( I think Spaghetti) I really cant remember. Keith and I spent a while chatting about various things and then he said, come on lets give you a lift to Victoria. It was only probably a mile from his flat. But, Keith didn't actually drive. At that time, he had a driver called Richard, we all affectionately called him Big Dick for no apparent reason, other than he was a bloody big bloke and his name was Richard, abbreviated to Dick.. So, there you go! I am pretty sure it was big dick that drove me and Keith to Victoria Station. We pulled up outside Victoria and said goodbye to each other.. He wanted me to let him know how I got on in LA. There were no mobile phones or emails in those days. Communication was really just a phone call to a house or office or an old fashioned letter. Keith was then heading back to the apartment as he was going out with Annette as a guest of Paul & Linda McCartney at the Buddy Holly film premier and party.    

As I walked into Victoria station, I wandered around and found the airline desks.  Although it was only mid or late afternoon, lines were already forming at each desk. I had a quick look at them and I had to chose which one I was going to try my luck with. I thought that the Pan Am line looked the shortest. Well that's what I thought at the time. It may have also been the fact that I had this romantic idea that Pan Am was the airline I should choose as  back in the 1920's & 1930's they had those wonderful flying boats. I am sure I had seen films with Pan Am flights landing in Acapulco or Rio de Janero etc. On that basis, Pan Am it was.  I then thought, right, there are 30-40 people in that line. Now, not all of them will be heading to LA. Some will be trying to get to NY, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston etc. But, I thought, who knows, they MIGHT all be aiming at LA. So, I didn't want to take a chance. I really wanted to one of the lucky people who got a ticket. I was conveniently wearing a blue Wrangler jacket, kind of similar to some of the Pan Am staff who were not actually at their desks. In fact I saw on the desks a sign that had just been placed saying 'This desk re opens at 6am'. Off I went and found a few sheets of white paper and got my pen out of my pocket and proceeded to head to the person at the front of Pan Am's line. "Good afternoon" I said. 'Now, you are first in line, number one, may I take your name?" The very polite person then gave me his name. I proceeded up the line and made a note of everyone. I spent nearly all night waiting in another part of the station. The next morning on the 7th of September at about 5:30am the next day, I slowly crept around to the area behind the line of potential Pan Am travellers. As soon as I saw Pan Am staff approaching the desk at about 6am. I was immediately at the front of the line chatting to person number one. Asking rediculous questions like did you manage to sleep, where are you heading. Do you have family in the US etc.. Then the card on top of the desk was removed and the desk was opened.. We were in business... I said to passenger number one, please hold on here for one moment as I had my big list with him at the top. I walked forward to the young lady on the desk. I was about 10 feet ahead of the line and i very quietly said to her. Good morning, have you any seats for Los Angeles? She had a quick look and said yes, we have six today. I said oh that's fabulous. I only want one please as we joked. I handed her my passport and the required amount of cash. All of this I was doing as discreetly as I could so that the people behind me couldn't see what was going on. I was leaning over the desk in a way that kind of implied that we all knew each other. She then said here is your passport and ticket Mr Clifford. Have a lovely time in LA. Please head outside and board bus marked for heathrow airport Terminal 3. I turned around and walked up to the chap who had politely been waiting and I said, "Okay sir, you are number one, please go to the desk" off I went and got on the bus. 

Once all of the lucky travellers had boarded the bus we were on our way to Heathrow Airport. As we were getting off at the airport I was waiting for my suitcase by the side of the coach and the man who was number one in the line behind me at Victoria, just quietly said to me 'Do you work for Pan Am' I said to him' No I don't. He looked bemused and said, "but, you took our names and wrote it all down on a list' and I just quietly said to him "Oh, I always do that'. I did laugh inside and walked inside the terminal and started my journey off to the USA and Los Angeles for the first time.. I was so excited.. 

From memory, the beautiful Boeing 747 Jumbo jet left Heathrow mid morning. This was all new to me. I had flown quite a bit around Europe. But, this was different. The plane was enormous compared to all other flights I had been on. We were given plastic ear pieces that were virtually, long plastic bendy hollow things that plugged into the armrest and we could all then watch the one screen that was being projected onto a white screen in the middle of the plane at the front. One could hardly see anything on that screen though and the sound through the bendy plastic tube was awful. But, I loved every minute of it. I got up and had a wander around the plane on this 11 hour journey and I remember being amazed when I looked down at the ground once we had crossed the Atlantic, where I could actually see tiny little trucks driving along what looked like Freeways. It was so exciting and I couldn't wait to get to Los Angeles. I didn't even mind standing with the smokers at the back, even though I have been a life long non-smoker. Yes, there was a smoking section back then. Hard to actually imagine that now..   

It was for me a wonderful flight and full of adventure and excitement. I was 20 years old and I was really trying to make a name for myself and get on that Bob Dylan tour.. I sat back in my seat and buckled up as we were now on the final approach into Los Angeles International airport.. Then it started to dawn on me.. where do I go from here.... I mean really! I am not joking, suitcase & cameras in hand, I didn't yet know where I was going to stay..  

to be continued..........

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John Altman presents - an evening with Bradley Walsh

Another amazing evening last night at the Pizza Express in Holborn, London. My friend John Altman had another fabulous 'Sold Out' evening with the hilarious and unbelievably interesting, funny and witty, Bradley Walsh. Bradley had only hours before stepped of a plane fromNew Orleans to London and jumped on the underground and turned up.. What a superb evening.. Here are a few shots of Bradley Walsh with John and a couple with one of the worlds greatest jazz guitarist's, yes, it's Mitch Dalton!

 

Bradley Walsh

Bradley Walsh

l-r Mitch Dalton, Bradley Walsh, John Altman

l-r Mitch Dalton, Bradley Walsh, John Altman

l-r Mitch Dalton, John Altman & Bradley Walsh

l-r Mitch Dalton, John Altman & Bradley Walsh

Bradley Walsh

Bradley Walsh

John Altman

John Altman

It's exhibition time! 'Up Close & Personal' Who wants to come along?

In all my years as a photographer, I haven't actually exhibited my work. Saying that, I did have one exhibition at the amazing Proud Gallery in London in 2006. It was a pretty crazy event and there was lots of publicity surrounding it. I did quite a few TV & radio interviews and on the opening night, which was guest list only. it was rather rammed to say the least. I had calls from celeb friends of mine saying that can't get on the guest list. It was a complete sell out so to speak. We had many celebrities show up there, including some Sex Pistols, Suga Babes, Pogues, Libertines, TV presenters and many more. The exhibition was exclusively my photos of my previous few years on the road with Babyshambles. That is, Peter Doherty, Kate Moss et al. So, this in itself caused quite a stir. 

Now, this evening event, on September 19th & 20th, is the first time ever that I have exhibited a broad selection of my photos. They will include, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, The Who, Queen, Pink Floyd. Rory Gallagher,  Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Chuck Berry, Squeeze, Tom Petty, Status Quo, Van Morrison, Shane MacGowan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, George Michael, Ian Brown, Oasis and quite a few more. 

Many of the photos will have the back story of how and where the particular image was taken. I must say, some of the information is rather interesting. Incidentally, all of the photos are limited edition prints and will be available to purchase for which we will be taking orders on the night. Whilst there is absolutely no obligation to buy anything, it may be worth me pointing out that it will only be about 13 or so weeks until the holiday season, yes Xmas etc. They might make a lovely gift for someone.. In any event, if you are do get to be on my guest list on the night, you can just enjoy the Champagne and other refreshments and have a look at the photos and have chat. I am planning on being there with the family on both evenings. 

The event is actually a private event in Central London, as mentioned above, on the evening of both, September 19th & 20th. It is being hosted by our wonderful lawyers, Keystone Law. They invited me to hold my first exhibition at their International Head Quarters in Chancery Lane, London. I am told it should be quite an event. They are inviting all of their lawyers and their clients as well. But, I have room for approximately people 50 on my personal guest list. So, if you fancy coming along and seeing these photos 'Up Close & Personal' for the first time, please go ASAP to the contact page on my website  ( www.dannyclifford.com ) and fill in your details and a message saying that you would like to come along and how many there would be of you. It is first come first served.. So, please do it now! Those of you that are successful in getting on the list will be emailed with the invite and full details in due course.

Oh and whist you are on the website, please join our mailing list..

 

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A little drink with Keith Moon, 40 years ago today!

In the late 1970's I had an office in The Who's management office in Wardour Street, Soho, London. I have always maintained that I didn't really need an office, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The Who were in and out of the office quite a bit at this particular time. They had just recorded their brilliant album, 'Who Are You' and the world was going mad for them. Keith came into the office to see Bill & Jackie Curbishley, who managed The Who. Bill & Jackie's office was up a spiral staircase in our office complex. When Keith came down after his meeting he wandered into my office and laid as usual on my couch (or his to be more precise). He asked me how much money I had on me. I said I have a bout 3 or 4 pounds! He then said quick give it to me and I will buy you a drink. He always did this. This was a regular ploy and I never got it back. I think Bill & Jackie were trying to keep his cash down to a minimum as they were trying to get him back on the straight and narrow and stop him living the crazy extravagant lifestyle he had become accustomed to. So, after handing my last few pounds to Keith, he then said see you in the pub. What do you want? I said I will have Gin & Tonic. Off he went. I gathered my things, as I usually didn't go back into the office once I was out with Keith. I closed my office door and wandered off down the corridor and down the one flight of stairs and straight into The Ship pub. This was right next door to our office. How convenient! I was walking along Wardour Street not too long ago and stopped and looked at the table where Keith and I would often sit. This was August 1978 and it was a lovely hot summer afternoon in London. When I look back now, it was kind of magical in Soho in those days. I suppose everyone likes looking back at the happy days, only remembering the good things, which is fine with me. So, back to The Ship and Keith.  I walked into the pub using the side door which was in the ally way. The pub was directly opposite our front door. There he was sitting like a naughty school boy. My Gin and Tonic was on the table. Keith was a very funny guy. Everything he did was entertaining and he wasn’t often serious about anything. Keith had just turned 32 a few days before and I was 20. Yes, there was an age gap, but that didn't really matter, we got on very well.  By the way, Keith was on this occasion wearing some horse riding clothes and hard hat. He also had a whip to ad some riding authenticity. I may well be wrong, but I have a funny feeling that Keith didn't actually ride horses, but I am sure there are better qualified people who would know the answer to that, like Dougal Butler and others. So, there we were chatting away about various things and one thing was Bob Dylan.  Keith new that I had recently been in Paris photographing Bob and he asked me if I was doing anything else with him. I said I was thinking of trying my luck and heading over to LA to try and blag my way on to Bob Dylan's world tour. It was going to be a real long shot for me. Firstly, I had no money and secondly, why would Bob hire me? Keith sat there and said "you should definitely go and try". I had actually made my mind up before Keith had said this anyway. But, like I said, my problem was lack of money.  We soon left the Ship and headed over to Berkeley Square, London and into the infamous 'Mortons Wine Bar'. Keith had a secret account there. So, we carried on our afternoon drinking session until late evening. I seem to remember making my move and escaping quite late and heading off home.  I was now plotting my first trip to the USA and I was also trying to work out how I was going to negotiate the madness of getting myself at 20 years old onto Bob Dylan's 'Street Legal' world tour.  If I was going to attempt it and head to Los Angeles and get on that tour, I only had about a week to get things organised and arrive in LA. 

 

Here are a few shots. One of the Ship in Wardour Street. The next shot is of the print shop (once a drum shop) and above it was Bill & Jackie Curbishley's  (Trinifold Management) offices. Last but not least the lovely Kit Moon. Keith's lovely mum. Coincidentally taken in Wardour Street outside the old Marquee Club. Photo taken when a blue plaque was placed for Keith there in 2009 

The Ship, Wardour Street, London. 

The Ship, Wardour Street, London. 

Above this Printroom was the Trinifold Management offices. My office was at the side overlooking the allyway.

Above this Printroom was the Trinifold Management offices. My office was at the side overlooking the allyway.

Keith Moon's mum, Kit Moon. Outside the Marquee in 2009.

Keith Moon's mum, Kit Moon. Outside the Marquee in 2009.

Big Happy Birthday to my mate, Glen Matlock

Happy birthday Glen. What a top bloke, proper geezer and of course, original member of The Sex PistoIs. Yes, he is the superb songwriter who wrote most of their songs. 

Here are a couple of shots I just found from one of our escapades. Both of these were taken in Istanbul, Turkey in 2004. He looks super cool don't you think? The first shot we took late at night down by the fish market. The second shot was taken in the covered, Grand Bazaar. By the way, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. It has 61 streets and 4000 shops.. No wonder Glen, the band, (The Philistines) and I decided to have a rest in a coffee shop.. #GlenMatlock #SexPistols #ThePhilistines #Turkey #Istanbul #Tourphotographer #NikonPro #BritishAirways #Tourism #RichKids #MusicPhotographer #Coffee #Howaboutwegoagain

Oh and Glen has a new album out about now. I cant wait to hear it.. Go and buy it, as I am sure it will be fantastic.. 

Istanbul, Turkey 2004

Istanbul, Turkey 2004

Istanbul, Turkey 2004

Istanbul, Turkey 2004

Iron Maiden & Clive Burr - March 2002

Where does the time go? I just stumbled upon some photos form the Iron Maiden, Clive Burr benefit concert in London in March 2002. I was actually looking for something completely different and saw the backstage and after show party pictures. Clive was a lovely guy and its all so sad that he left us so young! I think there were two nights, one after the other. Anyway, the Mighty Iron Maiden were on top form and Clive was lovely and very happy on the night. Here are a few pics from the night and a few from the after party.. Amazingly, this was 16 years ago. For those of you who know my daughter Sarah, check out these photos. She does love a party, or at least, did back then. Actually, what am i talking about, she still does!

Dave Murray & Adrian Smith (Stunning guitarists)

Dave Murray & Adrian Smith (Stunning guitarists)

The Mighty Bruce Dickinson..

The Mighty Bruce Dickinson..

Emily Cash, Adrian & Nathalie Smith

Emily Cash, Adrian & Nathalie Smith

My little girl, Sarah Clifford & Dave Murray

My little girl, Sarah Clifford & Dave Murray

Bruce Dickinson & Clive Burr

Bruce Dickinson & Clive Burr

Janick Gers, Clive Burr, Adrian Smith & Nathalie Smith.

Janick Gers, Clive Burr, Adrian Smith & Nathalie Smith.

Paddy Hegan, Clive Burr & Robert (California) Roberts

Paddy Hegan, Clive Burr & Robert (California) Roberts

Robert Plant at 70.. (and a bit about me!)

So, the amazing Mr Plant has made it to 70. When I think about the reputation that he and his band mates had back in the Led Zeppelin days, I find it all the more surprising. I think the first time I met Robert was at the premier for their film, The Song Remains the Same. I was there photographing it for Warner Brothers. The premier was in Shaftesbury Avenue, London in Autumn of 1976. I arrived there with my mate and fellow photographer, the late Matthew Taylor. The first thing I remember was Denny Lane getting all stroppy as someone had stepped on his new shoes outside the Warner West End Cinema. He was making quite a fuss about that for some reason. Matthew and I weren't allowed to go inside and watch the film which was a bit disappointing. We made our way round to the Floral Garden in Covent Garden where the after party was to take place. It wasn't long before everyone started arriving. It was quite an amazing place and was looking like it was going to be quite a party. There was sawdust all around the floor and jugglers on stilts along with fire eaters and more. As the A list guests all arrived and so did Led Zeppelin and their manager, the formidable, Peter Grant. Matthew and I were both ready and about to take all of the party pictures when suddenly, walking towards me was the aforementioned Peter Grant with 3 or 4 of his big lads.. He said to me, "who the fuck are you and what are you doing in here?". I stood there with 2 Nikons round my neck and I said 'Oh I am the Gardener' That was a big mistake! That was not the time to be the cheeky chap. I was lifted off the ground and thrown down a steep flight of stairs and literally kicked outside, OUCH! At least my experience as young kid doing judo helped. No, not to fight back, but to roll and fall without too much damage. As I dusted myself down and checked my cameras I heard a commotion and I watched in horror. Well, not quite horror, but surprise.  I saw Mathew being thrown off the balcony onto the roof of a Jaguar Limo below. Now, let me explain, it wasn't that high, it was about 6 feet (2 metres) from balcony to the cars roof. Those of you that knew Mathew may recall, unlike me, he had no natural padding, so to speak..I ran over to him and he was groaning, holding his ribs and leg. As this happened, Paul & Linda McCartney had come out of the party on their way off somewhere. They knew Matthew and I quite well. Matthew's Younger brother,  Barny, was actually going out with Linda's oldest daughter (Heather). So, we had been spending a lot of time with them at the McCartneys house in St Johns Wood, London. Anyway, they were not impressed with how we had been treated. Matthew and I trundled off to the nearest hospital where, he was treated for a broken rib.   Unfortunately, Warners Brothers didn't get any photos from us that night. Years later I was chatting to Jimmy Page about this and he just laughed and said how much he liked Peter Grant. Oh bugger, this post mostly appears to be about me! I should have spoken about my time with Robert in Oslo airport shoplifting, or further North with him up in the Arctic. in Tromso,  or any of the other hilarious stories. One thing that has been quite apparent to me over the years is his love of music, his knowledge of it's history and his brilliant sense of humour. He is a very funny man..  The music he has made since the days of Led Zeppelin is really quite superb. If you haven't heard any of it in recent years, do yourself a favour and go and buy it.  Anyway, as my brother Simon says (not a game, that's his name) it's not always about me! But reading this post it seems that it is!  So, I would like to finally stop talking about me and wish Robert, a Happy 70th birthday I hope you have a lovely day..  

 

Robert Plant London 1970's

Robert Plant London 1970's

Alison Krauss, Robert Plant & Bill Curbishley.

Alison Krauss, Robert Plant & Bill Curbishley.

Robert Plant, during the sound check..

Robert Plant, during the sound check..

How the West Was won film premier. London. Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page

How the West Was won film premier. London. Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page

Robert ad his band Strange Sensation with Nelson Mandela. This was taken in the Arctic.

Robert ad his band Strange Sensation with Nelson Mandela. This was taken in the Arctic.

Francis Rossi, Robert Pant and me.

Francis Rossi, Robert Pant and me.

Madonna 'The Queen of Pop' at 60....

On the 13th of July 1985 I was sitting in my little TV room in our cottage in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire (UK) with my baby girl on my lap and I was about to watch a rather special music event.  I sat there with my girlfriend (now my wife) Lyn and our first born on this hot day and got ready for the show. This big show was Live Aid! Now, I had up until then spent nearly all of my professional life as photographer in the music business. But, I had decided to not go and shoot this show. For years I had been quite close with Bob Geldof as I worked loads with him and The Boomtown Rats. Anyway, the show began. On came the band that I had some amazing times with and were again, close friends, Status Quo.  They opened the show with a storming 'Rocking All Over The World" They were amazing! I loved them. So, whilst I was watching more bands coming on stage that I knew well.  I was also watching the small select pack of photographers in front of the stage, I suddenly thought, I should be there! Then in an instant I thought, are you mad, Clifford. I had the best thing in the world on my lap, and that is exactly where i should be and where I wanted to be. So, Lyn and I just relaxed with our little girl all day and evening at watched band /artist after artist perform. Never again did I think, 'Oh I should have been there'. I seem to recall Bette Midler introducing Madonna at one point. I remember thinking, well this is new, as I had not seen Madonna before. On she came with a bang! That was probably the big launch for Madonna! I did go on to work with Madonna a bit through the years. As we all know, she is thought of as the 'Queen of Pop' and she is pretty amazing!    Here are a few shots that I have taken of Madonna. All of these were taken in a city starting with an L. There is no rhyme of reason for that, other than I just noticed that.. So, London, Lisbon and Los Angeles, here they are.. Oh and a happy 60th birthday Madonna..

#Madonna #QueenofPop #Music #Musicphotographer #Nikon #Live8 #TheForum #LosAngeles #London #LiveEarth #MTV #HappyBirthday #LiveMusic #Lisbon 

 

London

London

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

The opening night of Madonnas world tour. The Forum, Los Angeles, USA

The opening night of Madonnas world tour. The Forum, Los Angeles, USA

London

London

The Brit Awards, London

The Brit Awards, London

Mark Knopfler - Happy 69th birthday..

All I seem to do is post on peoples birthday's. Or at least it feels that way. I must do more than a birthday blogs! Anyway, it is of course the truly amazing Mark Knopfler's 69th birthday today. I have known him, not well i hasten to add for a long time. I first met Mark and the whole band, Dire Straits in early 1978. I was shooting lots for Phonogram records, and their Vertigo label around that time. Dire Straits were signed to Vertigo. I was asked to go and shoot them at their little residency at the Marquee in Wardour Street, London. I think I was asked by Bob Nolan at the record label. If you read this Bob, was it you that sent me to shoot them? Anyway, Dire Straits were bloody brilliant.. I worked quite a bit with them that year. Funnily enough, later that year is when I was in USA on tour with Bob Dylan, that Bob asked me to put him in touch with Mark, which I did. The rest is as the say, history. Mark met up with Bob and they worked together on Bob's next album 'Slow Train Coming'. I have photographed Mark quite a bit over the years and its always been an absolute pleasure. I was working with another fabulous band recently called The Staks Band who hired Mark's superb recording studio in West London. Mark was in the studio complex some of the time, so I showed Mark the photo that I have posted here from The Marquee 1978.  Mark has asked for a copy for himself. Which was nice, as I guess he liked it. I have now added this photo to the Fine Art print sales on my website. Anyway, Happy birthday Mark.

Here are a few photos of Mark Knopfler. The first is a very early Dire Straits shot at the Marquee, Wardour Street, London in early 1978. The next is with the great Joe Brown! Yes, Joe 'Bloody Brown. That was taken at the Lonnie Donegan benefit concert in 2004. The last photo was taken at one of Mark's own gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005.

#MarkKnopfler #DireStraits #Fender #Guitarist #Musician #SlowTrainComing #BobDylan #BrewersDroop #Music #Musicphotographer #TourPhotographer #JoeBrown #LonnieDonegan #LiveMusic #Marquee #TheMarquee #Vertigo #Phonogram #Nikon @markkopfler

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Country life!

During the morning I was sitting at my desk and working on a few things when I realised that there was a kind of dust cloud out the back. I look up and realised that there was something going on behind what appeared to be dust.  I decided to grab my camera snd head outside. I immediately heard the growling of vehicles & machinery. The farmers behind our house had decided to do some work in the field. It was quite amazing to me. Only because I am a city boy really. Born in the East End of London and lived in cities most of my life. Anyway, the dust that was coming off the field was immense and once it filters into our house, it will cause a big problem with all printers, cameras etc. So, doors and windows shut.. Here are a few shots of the scene before I saw the combined harvester and some of the Red Kites flying through the orange dust cloud along with one with blue sky after the dust subsided.. The joys of country life..  #Countrylife #Harvesting #Farmers #RedKite #Nikon @UKNikon #Countryside #Farm

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Tony Bennett is only 92 today!

All I can say, I am glad I had the pleasure of photographing him. I know quite a few of us music photographers have. But, I also have such happy memories of listening to his voice & music as a little child. My parents would often be playing his albums. In fact, I can remember on a hot summers day, sometime in the 60's, when my mum and dad sat us all down for a Sunday lunch and Tony Bennet was on the record player. Amazing voice and for me great memories. Happy 92nd to you Mr Bennett. Oh, by the way,I took this photo on 13th April 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England.

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Richard Wright - Pink Floyd

Today, 28th July, was the 75th birthday of the Late Richard Wright. Brilliant, unassuming and often the underrated member of Pink Floyd. In my opinion, he was a sublime keyboard player, writer and arranger. I first met and worked with Richard and Pink Floyd just prior to their stunning show at Knebworth, UK in 1975. Pink Floyd were and are still one of my all time favourite bands.  Richard's input and style, in my opinion, played a very big part in the band. He was coincidentally born in Hatch End, near Pinner, on the outskirts of London, the same town as my wife Lyn. I worked many times with Pink Floyd through the years and was thrilled when I was there in 2005 at Live 8, when they reformed for that concert. That was a big moment for me as a fan. I was photographing the whole of Live 8 from the photo pit and that was one hell of a show. The last time I actually spoke to Richard was in May 2007, backstage at The Barbican in London. This was at the tribute concert for former band member Sid Barrett, who, like Richard, was a founder of Pink Floyd. I remember being backstage and rather surprised when suddenly I was standing with all four members of Pink Floyd. They were all chatting and seemed to be getting along just fine. That was, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason and yes, Roger Waters. So, Happy birthday Richard and wherever you are and whatever you are doing I hope you too can now 'Shine On'

#RichardWright #PinkFloyd #Keyboard #Floyd #DarkSideoftheMoon #AbbeyRoad #Musicphotographer #England @UKNikon @PinkFloyd #LiveMusic #Tourphotographer #RogerWaters #DavidGilmour #NickMason

1974, London

1974, London

Live 8, 2005, London

Live 8, 2005, London

Backstage, Syd Barrett tribute concert.

Backstage, Syd Barrett tribute concert.

Happy 75th Birthday Sir Mick Jagger

A big Happy Birthday to one, if not the fastest moving & brilliant performers I have photographed. On a good day, Iggy Pop comes 2nd. Sir Mick is also an astounding songwriter. I remember turning up at Earls Court Arena in London in May 1976 and standing in front of the stage waiting for the show to start. I still to this day don't know why I did this. But, I took my usual camera equipment; two Nikon F2s bodies, lenses etc.. But, I also took along my Hasselblad. Now anyone who knows a bit about photography will know that the Hasselblad 500cm wasn't really designed for that kind of shoot. Anyway this daft photographer took it anyway. When one looks into a Hasselblad, the subject that is actually moving in ways that you could find hard to follow. Especially when it was Mick Jagger.. He was so fast and all over the stage.. That was my first time shooting the Rollings Stones live. I have worked with them quite a few times since and each time I have been very aware Mick Jaggers on stage sprinting and dancing. Anyway, it's not about me and my daft selection of cameras back in 1976. It's about the god like genius that is, Sir Michael Philip Jagger. So, happy birthday.

Here are a couple of pictures of the birthday boy. taken 27 years apart. The black & white photo I took at the gig at Earles Court in London in 1976. The colour shot I took on the 40 licks tour in either, Denver, Colorado or Phoenix, Arizona (I cant quite remember where), in January or February 2003. By the way, in my opinion, he looks God-Like in the colour shot don't you think? 

@MickJagger #MickJagger #SirMick #RollingStones #40Licks #EarlsCourt #London #1976 #RockNRoll #LiveMusic #MusicPhotography @UKNikon @TheRollingStones 

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Amy Winehouse - Sad, Sad day!

Seven years ago today, on the 23rd July 2011, I was sitting in a meeting in Maidenhead, Berkshire with my friend Mike, when my mobile phone rang. It was my friend Jon on the phone. He just said to me "Amy is dead". I was stunned.. I found it hard to take in. Although a part of me wasn't surprised. What a loss! What a tragedy!  In hindsight, this was a long time coming. At the time, when I heard this awful news, I remember being angry as well. I knew that there were certain people who had been leading Amy down the wrong path. Anyway, enough of that for now. She was such a talented, lovely person and missed so much by so many people.  I worked quite a lot with Amy (studio & Live) between 2004 and 2011. Here is one shot of her at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert at Hyde Park, London in 2008. The legendary singer, Paul Rodgers is bottom right on this photo. I seem to remember that the next day I was down at Glastonbury with Amy again.  She was performing on Pyramid Stage on the Sunday.. 

#AmyWinehouse #Amy #NelsonMandela #LiveMusic #HydePark #London #Gig #Mandela #Birthday #Singer #Songwriter #Performer #NikonPro #BacktoBlack #Frank #PaulRodgers #Free @amywinehouse

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It's another birthday - Happy birthday Brian Harold May.

The first time I met Brian was at Queen's Hyde Park concert in London 18th September 1976. In fact, that is when i met Brian, Freddie and the whole band. . Today is Brian's Birthday and I would like to wish him a wonderful and Happy Birthday. Here are a few photos of Brian, the oldest is from that first day when I met him in 1976 and a couple more recent shots.. Brian is a charming and lovely chap. Let us not forget, he is also a amazing guitarist, musician and songwriter.

#BrianMay #Queen #Guitar #Musician #LiveMusic #1976 #Portrait #FreddieMercury #Songwriter #NikonPro #brianmayforreal @brianmaycom

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Nelson Mandela at 100

In June 2005 I flew up to Tromso, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, at the top of Norway.  I, along with fabulous photographer & wonderful chap, Dave Hogan were the official photographers for this event, which was in aid of Nelson Mandela's 46664 charity. Many fabulous artists flew up there to take part. Some of those were Brian May & Roger Taylor (Queen) , Robert Plant & Strange Sensation, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Razorlight, Sharon Corr, Johnny Clegg, Zucchero & many others. It was a truly magical event. The sun was up 24 hours a day. No darkness at all, which was strange to say the least. I remember doing a portrait shoot with Annie Lennox as she came off stage at around midnight. It was so bright that she wouldn't take her sunglasses off.  When former president Nelson Mandela arrived up there, Dave and I were allowed to take some nice photos of Nelson Mandela.  This was a privilege to say the least.  As yesterday was what would have been his 100 birthday, here is one of my portrait shots of him on that morning back in June 2005. 

#NelsonMandela #Tromso #46664 #BrianMay #RogerTaylor #RobertPlant #Portrait #Photography #Norway #SouthAfrica #Charity #Concert #LiveMusic #Arctic #Mandela #NikonPro

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Staks & Squeeze @ Cornbury Music Festival

On Sunday (15th of July), I was back at Cornbury Music Festival. The last time I was there was quite some time ago and I was with Amy Winehouse, Elvis Costello etc.. I am guessing that was around 2004. This time I was there with The formidable Staks Band. It was a boiling hot day, which to be honest, I love.. I am not one who complains when it's too hot. I am only unhappy when it's too cold. Anyway, Staks were hot! They are such a brilliant band with stunning musicians & singers.. Quite a rarity these days! Staks performed late afternoon as it was cooling off a little. Special guest with them was the brilliant Eli 'Paperboy' Reed. Along with amazing vocalist's Shean Williams & Roachie. They were superb! It was lovely to see fellow music photographer Harry Herd today as well. He is such a nice chap..

The headline act on Sunday were old friends of mine.. The incredible SQUEEZE.. Quintessentially British and without doubt, one of the worlds greatest bands, real Rock n Roll Royalty. I photographed their superb show and after that we returned to the backstage / dressing room area where we grabbed all of our belongings and headed home.. 

Here are a few shots from the day of The mighty Staks & the legends that are, Squeeze..

#Staks #Squeeze #Livemusic #ChrisDifford #GlennTilbrook #NikonPro #Music #Musicphotographer #EliPaperBoyReed #Roachie, @Squeezofficial

L-R Tony Remy, Eli 'PaperBoy' Reed, Malcolm Fitzsimons & Roachie

L-R Tony Remy, Eli 'PaperBoy' Reed, Malcolm Fitzsimons & Roachie

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Eli 'Paper Boy' Reed.

Eli 'Paper Boy' Reed.

Roachie

Roachie

Shean Williams..

Shean Williams..

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Staks Band

Staks Band

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The Multi talented genius's & God's of songwriting,, Glenn Tilbrook & Chis Difford.

The Multi talented genius's & God's of songwriting,, Glenn Tilbrook & Chis Difford.

Glenn Tilbrook

Glenn Tilbrook

Chris Difford

Chris Difford

Simon Hanson

Simon Hanson

Yolanda Charles

Yolanda Charles

Stephen Large

Stephen Large

Yolanda Charles

Yolanda Charles

A Little Radio Interview

I did a little radio interview last week with Victoria Pearson. We had a brief chat about a few of my photos & a little bit about my life taking pics.. If you fancy a listen, its here :-https://www.mixcloud.com/KyleRickards/victoria-meets-03/

#PinkFloyd #AmyWinehouse #Photography #RollingStones #LiamGallagher #Oasis #BobDylan #Queen #MusicPhotography #Music #TheWho 
 
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