Mick Rock, a British photographer best known for his popular photos of rock legends such as David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Queen, has died.
Rock’s self-published book, Bowie: Days of the Century, was published in 2016 to promote the reissue of his extensive archive of Bowie photos and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” album. According to Music-Life, Rock sold the rights to his archive and asked that proceeds of the book go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. He also donated his final album, titled Rock Forever, to the organization, which was founded by Glaser’s son Matthew, in 1998. Glaser was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987. He died in 1999 at the age of 26.
Rock’s skill as a photographer, which he developed from a background as a music journalist, was first noticeable when he was still a teenager and wrote for music magazines. His cover shots for Biffy Clyro were like Rorschach tests for the author and music lover – they defined the band’s image and created an unprecedented anticipation for the album. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Rock began snapping Bowie, who he met at a party at Saatchi Gallery in London in 1977. Rock took almost every photo of Bowie’s tour. He and his wife, Charlotte Turner, also produced fanzines with Bowie’s songs, which they thought would provide collectors with a means to purchase artwork of his music.
Queen wasn’t far behind Bowie. Rock and his wife gifted Queen guitarist Brian May a gift of guitars and signed photographs from Bowie when they met at a dinner party in Stockholm in 1987. Queen is another band for which Rock produced albums, like the Prince-produced Ladybird and the new edition of their 1976 eponymous disc.
Rock is survived by his wife and sons.
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