'British rock icons in their pomp' – original prints from LA gigs at Sworders

Original photographs of Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Robert Plant and Elton John performing in their pomp come for sale at Sworders this month.

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Ed Finnell, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards - The Rolling Stones, Tour of The Americas, Los Angeles Forum, July 9, 1975, numbered 37/50, estimate £200-300 at Sworders. A detail is shown here.

The Design sale includes a cache of prints taken by music photographer Ed Fennell at legendary gigs held in Los Angeles in the 1970s. The auction at Sworders takes place on July 13-14.

Born in LA in 1956, Ed Fennell shot every major band that came through his city after attending his first concert in 1972.

At the Pirate Sound Rehearsal Space in Hollywood, he met many performers, some of them choosing to use his work in promotional materials or hiring him for official tour shoots. In the last 49 years Fennell estimates he has amassed close to 200,000 concert negatives.

In addition to publication in countless books, magazines and tour programs, Fennell’s photographs have appeared on four Rolling Stones album covers. 

Signed prints of photos taken during The Who’s Quadrophenia Tour, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellowbrick Road Tour and Rod Stewart and The Faces’ Ooh La La Tour are included in the sale. Each gelatine silver print, measuring 52 x 41cm, from editions of 50 taken from the original negatives, is guided at around £200-300 each. 

David Bowie, the subject of some of Fennell’s most iconic shots from the Ziggy Stardust (1973) and the Station to Station (1976) tours, was the photographer’s favourite, his stage sets always proving “photographer lighting friendly”. 

Led Zeppelin sets were always more challenging as “the lighting was terrible - dark and evil.“ Nonetheless he took some epoch-defining images of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant including those from the Physical Graffiti Tour in 1975.  

While Fennell has sold his prints through galleries in Europe and the US, this is the first time his work is available at auction in the UK. “I like auctions” he says. “I am an old hippy. People can buy direct from an auction house with less fees than if buying from a gallery. Gallery overheads are too high”. 

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The Who, 1973.

Ed Finnell, The Who, Quadrophenia Tour, Los Angeles Forum, November 23, 1973, numbered 29/50, estimate £200-300 at Sworders. 

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Elton John, 1974.

Ed Finnell, Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Tour, Los Angeles Forum, October 6, 1974, numbered 13/50, estimate £200-300 at Sworders.

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, 1973.

Ed Finnell, David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust - The Ziggy Stardust Tour, Long Beach Arena, March 10, 1973, numbered 16/50, estimate £200-300 at Sworders.

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Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, 1975.

Ed Finnell, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards - The Rolling Stones, Tour of The Americas, Los Angeles Forum, July 9, 1975, numbered 37/50, estimate £200-300 at Sworders.

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Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, 1975.

Ed Finnell, Robert Plant & Jimmy Page - Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti Tour, Los Angeles Forum, March 27, 1975, numbered 38/50, estimate £200-300 at Sworders.



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