You saw them in a pop-up gallery on Church Lane.
You know the photographer: Michael Friedman. The Staples High School Class of 1961 graduate had a long career in music. He managed Todd Rundgren and Kris Kristofferson — as well as (with Albert Grossman) Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band, Odetta, and Peter Paul & Mary. He did publicity for the Dave Clark 5 and Herman’s Hermits.
Nearly 3 years ago, he discovered an astonishing series of photos he’d taken almost 50 years earlier.
The Stones. Janis Joplin. The Band. Johnny Winter. Gordon Lightfoot. James Cotton. Ian and Sylvia. Rita Coolidge. Tom Rush. Professor Longhair. Paul Butterfield — all were artists Friedman worked with in the 1960s.
Friedman spent several months printing, restoring and mounting the photos. Each was up close, and personal.
After the Westport show, the photos headed to the California Heritage Museum in Los Angeles.
Now they’re in Cleveland — at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The exhibit includes the guitar that Janis Joplin played on “Me and Bobby McGee” in concert. Friedman’s photos of her with the instrument — which she used onstage only twice, and only for that song — are the only ones known.
It took more than a year for the exhibit to come together. His wife Donna Vita provided invaluable help.
Now it’s up, and attracting great attention. After the ribbon-cutting, Friedman was interviewed live by chief curator Karen Herman, at the Hall.
Friedman’s exhibit runs for 6 months. Yet when it ends, it’s not over.
His entire collection of over 100 images will be archived, in perpetuity.
Which makes sense. As Neil Young sings, “Hey hey, my my/Rock and roll can never die.”
(Click here to see many of the photos on exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.)