Monday, May 26, 2008

celebrating Robert M. Knight's ROCKIN' photography, with a great automotive tale besides (involving Led Zeppelin)

(above) tinted for effect by the photographer, here is Led Zeppelin arriving
at Honolulu Airport, 5-12-69, about to jump into photog Robert Knight's VW bus
photo copyright Robert M. Knight
(above and two below) Jeff Beck, guitarist extraordinaire and car collector
photos copyright Robert M. Knight

(above) John Lee Hooker, Cadillac man
photo copyright Robert M. Knight

(above) the great Iz, one of Hawaii's musical legends
photo copyright Robert M. Knight
(above) Brothers Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan;
Jimmie, as readers of ROCKIN' know, is a major Texas car guy
photo copyright Robert M. Knight
(above) Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant, 1972
photo copyright Robert M. Knight
(above) John Bonham, Led Zeppelin drummer, 1972
photo copyright Robert M. Knight
(above) Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, 1972
photo copyright Robert M. Knight
(above) the sepia version of the famous Honolulu Airport photo
photo copyright Robert M. Knight
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Noted photographer Robert M. Knight (shown at left, in a portrait taken by his wife, equally-noted photographer Maryanne Bilham, copyright 2004) has shot many of rock's elite, including Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Rod Stewart, Santana, Jeff Beck, and just about anybody who played a significant concert in Hawaii.
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Along the way, he became very close friends with Jeff Beck, and shot Beck on a number of occasions with his hot rod collection at Beck's British estate (that estate is shown in ROCKIN'). And, one of the great automotive-rock stories involves his friendship with the guys in Led Zeppelin. Herewirth, a snippet from LAS VEGAS LIFE, September, 2006 (you can read the full piece at http://www.limelightagency.com/robert_knight/news/news.html):
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"When Knight first visited London, on a journey from his [boyhood home] on Oahu in Hawaii, having earned enough travel credits at age 18, he contacted some friends who were looking after a photo studio where a movie was being shot. He was invited to visit. The film being produced was BLOW UP, the 1966 Michelangelo Antonioni classic about a photographer in swinging London.
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""Everything I witnessed that trip blew my mind," he recalled. "The girls were so cool looking and the music, oh man, it was everywhere, this new raw, rock & roll. I fixated on this band called the Yardbirds and its guitarist Jeff Beck. I said to myself, "This is the crowd I want to run with."
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"Knight returned to Honolulu and befriended local concert promoter Tom Moffatt, who opened the doors to the teenager's first live gig experience. Two of the guys onstage were named Mick and Keith.
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"In 1968, Knight relocated to northern California to attend photography classes at the San Francisco Art Institute. At the same time he wrote a letter to Rolling Stone Magazine editor and founder Jann Wenner--a Hawaii native--offering his services as a photographer. Within the space of a month in San Francisco, he'd been assigned to shoot the Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and Jethro Tull. He even got to shoot Jeff Beck, who was disbanding the old Yardbirds and parting ways with the other guitarist in the group--an axe prodigy named Jimmy Page.
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""I got the tip from Beck that Jimmy's new group, Led Zeppelin, was playing their debut American gig at the Whisky a Go Go on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood," Knight remembered. "Wenner sent me down to shoot the show, but when I got to the venue in the afternoon they wouldn't let me in because I wasn't 21. They called the hotel where the band was staying, the Chateau Marmont, and got Jimmy on the phone. He said, 'Send the kid over.' Knight hung out with the band at their hotel and shot the show. He'd become an unofficial roadie to the quartet that would soon change the face of rock.
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"Knight then rode with Zeppelin from L.A. to San Francisco and shot their Fillmore West performance. He also made a phonecall to his promoter friend Moffatt in Hawaii, hipping him to this brave new band from Britain, and urging him to book a concert in Honolulu immediately.
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"When Zeppelin arrived at the Honolulu Airport on May 12, 1969, Moffatt sent Knight over to the airport to pick up the band. "One of my most famous photographs is Led Zeppelin walking on the tarmac [between their plane and Knight's VW bus], carrying the master tapes of LED ZEPPELIN II, the album they were working on at the time. I drove them around the next couple of days in my VW bus, took 'em surfing, and to restaurants. It was a blast. And I'd finally turned 21!""
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Knight recently signed with the Limelight Agency. He helped develop the Guitar Center's inspired Rockwalk in L.A., and his photos are notably displayed as oversize blowups at nearly 200 Guitar Centers. He's also been associated, recently, with Fender Guitar's plans to tour a museum gallery of rock photography. I hope to interview him in the not too distant future.
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You can read more about Knight's life at http://www.modernguitars.com/archives/000072.html, and view more of his work at http://wwwrobertmknight.com/

40 comments:

kamagra said...

in the pictures, there's a man...israel kamakawiwo'ole is the name right? this men have a song that really is a heartbreaker, the famous "somewhere over the rainbow" precious!

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I consider every person should read this.

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