Iconic Images from Noted Photographer Elliott Landy

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If you follow classic rock music, you very likely know the work of Elliott Landy from the covers of such landmark albums as Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, Van Morrison’s Moondance and the second (self-titled) album by The Band as well as his indelible images from the milestone 1969 Woodstock Festival, for which he was the official photographer. His pictures captured and helped define the essence of the artists he shot and the spirit of the late 1960s. Best Classic Bands is proud to feature Landy as the first subject of our ongoing Through the Lens rock photography spotlight, and in the coming weeks we will continue to post more of his landmark images. You can browse his catalog of photos and purchase signed fine art prints on his website, Landyvision.com.

This first post of his photos includes two artists whose music and images are symbolic of both classic rock and the era in which they made their timeless mark. (Click on each image for singular full page views.)

Jimi Hendrix, Fillmore East, NYC, 1968. Playing Gibson, Les Paul Photo By ©Elliott Landy, LandyVision Inc.

Jimi Hendrix, Fillmore East, NYC, 1968/Photo ©Elliott Landy

It is not hyperbole to say that Jimi Hendrix was one of rock music’s founding guitar gods. And now, 45 years after his passing, his influence on countless players still reverberates throughout rock as well as jazz, soul and other styles while new generations continue to discover his innovative and exciting playing plus his genius as a singer, songwriter and recording artist. His distinctive garb was pivotal in establishing late 1960s fashion.

This photo conveys the experience of seeing Hendrix perform at a time when the rock concert was rising from the counterculture to become an essential element of not just American but global popular culture. “Rock concerts were rites of passage, where people came to be together, to see the bands, and to get high from the music, the dance, and grass. The goal was to transcend the mundane vision of everyday life by reaching an ecstatic state,” Landy explains in his photo book Woodstock Vision, The Spirit of A Generation (available for purchase here). “Pop music had not yet become an international business and cultural phenomenon. Rock’n’roll was outside the norm of society, part of the ‘underground’ culture, and to be involved with it made you an outsider. A world of hippies, marijuana, free love, metaphysics, and political activism was born.”

Jim Morrison, The Doors, Fillmore East, NYC, 1968.  Photo By ©Elliott Landy, LandyVision Inc.

Jim Morrison, The Doors, Fillmore East, NYC, 1968/Photo ©Elliott Landy

“The musicians themselves could as easily have been members of the audience as performers onstage, and often they did mingle with the crowds after the show. There was a true feeling of solidarity, a unity of purpose, and the purpose was to change the world,” explains Landy in his photo book. “‘We want the world, and we want it NOW!’ was the anthem sung by Jim Morrison.”

Following Morrison’s death in 1971 in Paris, The Doors continued to be one of the strongest and most consistently selling acts in rock music for many years to follow. And he remained an emblematic rock superstar whose lyrics and look have had their impact on numerous rock acts from then to now as well as successive generations to follow.

Come back soon to Best Classic Bands to see more of Landy’s photography.

Elliott Landy

Elliott Landy

Elliott Landy began photographing the Vietnam antiwar movement and the New York City underground music culture in in 1967. He shot many memorable images of iconic rock’n’roll artists of that era such as Bob Dylan and The Band, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison and Richie Havens onstage, backstage and in intimate personal settings that can be found on his website, LandyVision, and on the covers of a number of classic albums. His documentation of that pivotal time in music and American culture culminated with the 1969 Woodstock Festival, for which he was the official photographer. His photographs have been published worldwide, including the covers of such major publications as Rolling Stone, Life, The Saturday Evening Post and more as well as calendars and photographic book collections. He has published a compendium of his photos, Woodstock Vision, The Spirit of A Generation, and authored the book Woodstock 69, The First Festival.
Elliott Landy
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