The Rolling Stones: Lost, rare and unseen pictures!

Photographer Gered Mankowitz shares unseen shots of The Rolling Stones in their revolutionary, mid-60s heyday.

The Rolling Stones 1965

by Danny Eccleston |
Updated on

GERED MANKOWITZ’s iconic photographs defined THE ROLLING STONES in their revolutionary 1965-67 phase. Lost, reclaimed, unpublished and rarely seen, here’s a selection from his dazzling new book.

THE BOY WONDER OF SWINGING LONDON snappers, Gered Mankowitz had already shot striking portraits of Marianne Faithfull when he was called into the office of Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, to find a young man in dark glasses behind an enormous desk, talking ten to the dozen. “It was almost like jive talk, quite difficult to follow!” laughs Mankowitz today. “But very amusing. Very exciting to be with. You felt that you were with somebody who was quite visionary.”

Mankowitz – whose passion for photography had been stoked by shutterbug Peter Sellers, a friend of his father, Expresso Bongo screenwriter Wolf – had already established a style, with shades of his heroes Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Loog Oldham had a hunch he was right for the Stones. And in fact his first shoot with the band – at his Mason’s Yard studio in Mayfair – would provide the timeless chiaroscuro of the Out Of Our Heads sleeve art.

The Rolling Stones Out Of Our Heads

It was the beginning of a series of adventures with the group, peaking with the band’s October-December ’65 tour to the States, after which Mankowitz accompanied Keith Richards to an Arizona dude ranch, for a short holiday channelling the Wild West.

I remember the stewardess on the flight asking very sweetly for our guns.

Gered Mankowitz

“We left with Colt 45s and a Winchester repeating rifle,” says Mankowitz, shaking his head at the memory. “I remember the stewardess on the flight from Phoenix to LA asking very sweetly for our guns. They all went in this cupboard, with the coats and briefcases.”

For all his juice with the band, however, his connection with Loog Oldham made him vulnerable when the Stones and their manager began growing apart. Suddenly, Mankowitz was noting the increasing presence of ex-Vogue snapper Michael Cooper, whom the Stones would commission to shoot the cover for Their Satanic Majesties Request.

And yet Mankowitz’s pictures have long outlived his day-to-day involvement with the Stones, helping define their moody, uncompromising image and, as he rightly notes, “lay down a sort of blueprint for a lot of music photography to come.”

In these selections from Mankowitz’s new book The Rolling Stones Rare And Unseen (out March 28 via Wellbeck), the evidence speaks for itself.

See more of Gered Mankowitz’s rare and unseen Stones pictures in the latest issue of MOJO! More info and to order a copy HERE!

The Rolling Stones, Mason’s Yard, Mayfair, 1965.

On his first day with the band, a shot that shows the context of the better-known “caged Stones” crop. To the right are stacked the boards between which Mankowitz, on a whim, would place the band for the nowclassic Out Of Our Heads (UK) and December’s Children (US) covers. “I like Brian in this: almost like a little boy with his knees tucked in.”

READ MORE: The Rolling Stones in mono reviewed

The Rolling Stones and family members, London, October 1965.

Collage of unpublished shots taken at TWA’s VIP lounge before the band and snapper flew to America. “There’s another frame out there – with Charlie looking morose. But we wouldn’t have printed a picture of Bill’s wife [Diane] and son [Stephen] – it just wasn’t a done thing at the time to promote wives and girlfriends. I did the collage especially for the book.”

Charlie Watts, LA Memorial Sports Arena, December 1965.

“We piss anywhere, man,” Jagger was reported to have said in response to the outrage over the group’s al fresco micturition in Forest Gate, March 1965 (which cost Jagger, Jones and Wyman a fiver each, plus costs at West Ham magistrates court). It’s hard to imagine the gentlemanly drummer actually relieving himself in a sink, so maybe he’s taking the piss.

READ MORE: The Rolling Stones pay tribute to Charlie Watts: "He was the rock the rest of it was built around."

Mick Jagger, Harley House, Marylebone, London, 1966.

“The money was beginning to flow in,” recalls Mankowitz, “and they were getting the expensive homes and cars and lifestyle. Their office got me to shoot them all at home, because there was such a demand for those kinds of pictures. Mick was just moving into Harley House. I think the cat was Chrissie Shrimpton’s, his girlfriend at the time.”

READ MORE: Mick Jagger's best songs ranked

The Rolling Stones on Primrose Hill, 1966.

Mankowitz first developed this blurring/vignette technique for shooting in recording studios, to de-emphasise distracting backgrounds. For the cover shoot for Between The Buttons, shot at the end of a recording session as dawn was breaking, the effect dissolved the trees and even the band. “Everything merged into everything else in this slightly trippy way.”

READ MORE: Keith Richards interviewed: “We're born to have fun. If you take it too seriously, you’re fucked.”

Keith Richards and Bill Wyman, Olympic Studios, 1967.

Mankowitz has bittersweet memories of his last session with the band, a recording date for Their Satanic Majesties Request. “They were breaking up with Andrew – creating a situation where it was intolerable for him,” he says. “He couldn’t be the producer because they weren’t responding. They weren’t turning up on time. And they were very stoned.”

The Rolling Stones Rare And Unseen: Photographs By Gered Mankowitz is published by Welbeck on March 28, RRP £35. It features a foreword by Keith Richards, an afterword by Andrew Loog Oldham, plus essays by MOJO's Will Hodgkinson, Peter York, Ben Sisario, Leah Kardos and Terry Newman. You can pre-order a copy HERE.

See more of Gered Manowitz’s rare and unseen Stones pictures in the latest issue of MOJO! More info and to order a copy HERE!

MOJO 365, with cover stars Liam Gallagher and John Squire
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