Dr. Hook Said it Best

There isn’t any musical fame barometer as iconic as a Rolling Stone cover photo. Even in the early days of rock, a band that got its picture taken for the cover was saying to the world, “We’ve arrived, and we’re officially a Big Fucking Deal.” There have been movies about it (Almost Famous), and songs about it (“Cover of Rolling Stone”), but the photos really speak for themselves. Each is like a visual history of pop music’s rapturous effect on American culture. And you can pretty much chalk up the phenomenon to the work of photographer Baron Wolman.

Back in 1967, Wolman was living as a freelance photographer in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, the epicenter of the psychedelic movement. During a rock symposium at Mills College, Wolman met a journalist named Jann Wenner, who was starting a magazine to document the growing rock scene. Wenner liked Wolman’s photos and asked him to come aboard what would become Rolling Stone. From the first issue in October of ΄67, Wolman’s photos captured the rise of the counter-culture, while his subjects -- Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix, Cash, Garcia, Daltrey, and Townshend, to name a few -- became paragons of the rock world.

Three years later, Wolman left Rolling Stone, but he continued to make artistic notches in his belt. His resume of portraits reads like a “top 100” list for the ages (Neil Young, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and on and on), a cast of characters you’d probably kill to see all in one place. And now you can, as Michael Joseph Artists’ Haven (2757 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) has collected the Wolman exhibit to end all Wolman exhibits. Joseph himself spent over a year collecting original copies of Rolling Stone from the Wolman years and will display them side-by-side next to the photographer’s huge portraits. If over 100 pieces of the greatest rock photos ever shot isn’t enough to entice you, consider this: Wolman will be at the gallery Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. to chat with fans about the glory days firsthand. It’s all free (the photos are for sale), and it will be on display until the end of December. Call 954-563-5157, or visit www.artistshavengallery.com.
Dec. 7-Jan. 1, 2007

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John Linn