Featured last month – here is the text of the article.
CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE
August 2013 p28-29
Location: La Valbonne, Kingly Street, London, 1975
Photographer: Terry O’Neill
Shot at La Valbonne – a nightclub and regular venue for record company press receptions – this rarely seen picture is an out-take from photographer Terry O’Neill’s shoot for the single sleeve of Bohemian Rhapsody.
O’Neill had shot Elton John since the beginning of his career, his shots appearing on five of Elton’s album covers, and the two acts shared a manager in John Reid (also manager of Kevin Ayres).
At the time, Bohemian Rhapsody was the most expensive single ever recorded and at almost six minutes long a massive gamble. It became their first hit single, the third best-selling single of all time in the UK and transformed them from proggy also-rans to National Treasures.
O’Neill reckons you could sense they were going go be famous. “It was Freddie’s voice,” he says. “He had a great voice and sometimes that’s all it takes – one really great member. But then on top of that Brian was a really great guitarist and Roger was a great drummer . . .”
O’Neill shot the band on and off afterwards and especially remembers shooting Freddie “with some opera singer” (Montserrrat Caballé). Had he changed? “No – he’d just matured and become more believing of himself. Everyone’s insecure at the start but he’d grown into being a top pop star.”
They all look quite serious in this pic. “Ah, that’s just for the shot”, chuckles Terry. ” I had to get them to be serious to get the shot to work – if they’d laughed it would have given the game away.”
Born in 1936, Terry O’Neill became one of the key chroniclers of the Swinging 60s and one of the greatest portrait photographers in the world. This image is taken from his latest book, Terry O’Neill – The A-Z Of Fame Fame [link to Amazon], published by ACC Editions. His next book will be a collection of his music photography.