Thursday, 26 February 2009

Wendy Richard

Sad to note the passing of Wendy Richard, something of a British institution. Before Eastenders, before even Are You Being Served?, she first made her name in 1962 with the #1 hit Come Outside, recorded with Mike Sarne.

And here the two are, photographed by Harry Hammond (© V&A Images), as featured in my book Halfway to Paradise:

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Robert Elms

Thanks to everyone who made complimentary comments about my appearance on Robert Elms’ programme on BBC London today. And, of course, to Mr Elms himself.

I’d been on his show before, with Roger Crimlis, to promote our book Cult Rock Posters 1972-1982, and there are few broadcasters who are more fun to chat about the 1970s with. Which is what we were doing today, with me promoting the paperback edition of Crisis? What Crisis? Due out next month, it is.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

More Harry Hammond

To complete my register of Harry Hammond tributes, there’s an obituary in The Times that’s worth your attention. My thanks to James Owen for his careful work. And thanks too to Mojo who noted his passing.

Friday, 20 February 2009

The Last Word

Just for the record, the Radio 4 programme The Last Word, including a short tribute to Harry Hammond, is due to be repeated on Sunday evening and is available online.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Farewell to Harry Hammond

It’s been a week dominated by the late Harry Hammond. On Tuesday I went to Leamington Spa with Mark Eastment and Andrea Stern from the V&A for Harry’s funeral, which was deeply moving. My thanks to the family for their kind hospitality.

And today I’ve been at Broadcasting House, talking about Harry with Matthew Bannister for his Radio 4 obituaries show, The Last Word.

And, while on the subject of obituaries, it’s nice to see that Harry’s passing is noted by the American magazine Cashbox.

Here, just to add to the record, is one of my favourite Harry Hammond photos (©V&A Images), showing the great Jerry Lee Lewis in all his glory:

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Harry Hammond obituary

There is a very fine obituary to Harry Hammond in today’s Daily Telegraph. It’s really good to see the massive contribution he made to the development of rock photography being accorded the respect it deserves.

My thanks to Harry de Quetteville and Roger Wilkes for their help and courtesy.

In tribute to both Harry and Buddy Holly, here's a photo of the latter taken by the former (© V&A Images), which is on view in the Buddy Holly exhibition at the Proud Gallery:

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Harry Hammond

I’m very saddened to hear that Harry Hammond died yesterday.

Harry was, of course, the first great rock photographer in Britain, responsible for so many of the iconic images of the late-1950s and early-1960s, from Bill Haley to the Beatles.

I had the privilege of working with Harry on a book of his rock and roll photos, published last year as Halfway to Paradise. It was an extraordinary experience, going through the vast archive of his work that is held at the Victoria & Albert Museum – we barely scraped the surface with the images we were able to include.

In the course of researching the book, I spoke to a number of people about Harry and no one had a bad word to say about him. His enthusiasm, the respect he showed his subjects, and his long years of experience (he had started his career back in the 1930s) won him many, many friends.

Andrew Loog Oldham: ‘Of course we remember Harry. He always stood out a way from the other snappers who loathed us, wished us no good and could not wait to get back to snapping Vera Lynn.’

Cliff Richard: ‘Today’s paparazzi seem intent to present their subjects in the worst possible light. In the days of Harry Hammond, photographers only wanted to show the best of you. I guess that’s why it was always such a pleasure to have Harry around.’

Despite the upsetting news, I’m pleased that the book came out while Harry was alive – he was very happy with the wonderful reproduction and the high quality of the printing, and said that his work has never been better represented. Our thoughts now are with his widow, Peggy.

This is a shot of Harry reflected in a mirror, while taking a picture of Alma Cogan (© V&A Images):