Saturday, 18 June 2016
Roderick David Stewart was born in Highgate, North London in 1945, the youngest of five children of Robert Stewart and Elsie Gilbart. His father, a master builder was from Edinburgh and moved the family to London. The youngest of the family, Roderick had a happy childhood if unremarkable scholastic career at Hornsey’s William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School. His two loves were football and music and Roderick played centre half for Middlesex Schoolboys. The family loved Al Jolson and young Roderick watched his movies and played his records. As a young teenager he went to see Bill Haley and his Comets, listened to Little Richard before he bought his first record, Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody".
Roderick got his first guitar in 1959 and quickly learned to play "It Takes a Worried Man to Sing a Worried Song" within a year he was in a school skiffle group called the Kool Kats. He left school aged 15 started working as an apprentice silk screen printer, but harboured the idea he would become a professional footballer. Supported his father he had a trial for Brentford F.C. but failed to make the grade. Plan B swung into action and Roderick decided to become a professional musician. Working in a series of menial jobs including delivering papers from his father’s paper shop, casual labourer for Highgate Cemetery, aid at a funeral parlour, fence erector and sign writer, he joined several different bands including The Raiders. When the group went for an audition with Joe Meek, the famous produced took an instant dislike to Roderick and stooped the session before asking him to leave. Stewart became attracted to bohemian attitudes and left-wing politics and for a short time lived as a beatnik on a houseboat at Shoreham-by-Sea. He started to listen to folk music and became influence by American folkies like Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Derroll Adams and the young Bob Dylan.
Keen to blend in with the music Roderick learned to play harmonica (harp) and started busking with Wizz Jones. Together they travelled to Brighton, Paris, and finally to Barcelona. Sleeping rough wherever they Roderick was deported from Spain for vagrancy in 1963. Back in London, Roderick moved back home and worked for his brother in his painting and picture frame shop. His musical tastes changed after seeing Otis Redding perform in concert and listening to Sam Cooke Rod (the Mod) became fascinated by rhythm and blues and American soul music.
He joined the Dimensions as a harmonica player and part-time vocalist. Jimmy Powell hired the group as his backing band and Rod Stewart was relegated to harmonica player. The group became residents at the Studio 51 club on Great Newport Street in London but Rod and Jimmy Powell were soon at loggerheads. Rod left the band to join Long John Baldry and the All Stars in 1964 after Baldry heard him playing "Smokestack Lightnin'" on his harmonica. Long John Baldry and the All Stars became the Hoochie Coochie Men and Rod became a singer. His stage presence with spiked hair and mod attire got him a loyal following and soon he was billed with the band as "Rod the Mod" Stewart. The Hoochie Coochie Men became the resident band at the Marquee Club and released a version of Willie Dixon’s “You'll Be Mine” with Rod’s vocals featured in duet with Baldy on the B-side with "Up Above My Head." While still with the group and somewhat unusually Rod Stewart embarked on a simultaneous solo career and signed with Decca in 1964. He released "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," but it failed to enter the charts. Not long after Rod left the band after a fall out with Long John Baldy.
In 1965, Giorgio Gomelsky impresario and manager put together Steampacket as a white soul review live act. Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart had patched up their differences and at Baldry’s insistence Rod was included in the line-up , which was completed with , Brian Auger (organ) , Julie Driscoll (vocals) , Micky Waller (drums), Vic Briggs (guitar) and on bass Ricky Fenson (Richard Brown), Due to contractual difficulties, they did not release any recordings during their lifetime but some demos and bootlegs do exists. Steampacket played at various clubs, theatres and student unions around the country, including supporting the Rolling Stones on their 1965 British tour. Rod Stewart left in 1966, and the group disbanded soon after.
In 1965, Rod Stewart was featured in a 30-minute television documentary called "An Easter with Rod" (London Rediffusion). He also released "The Day Will Come" (1965) but it failed to chart. In 1966, Rod Stewart joined Shotgun Express as co-lead vocalist with Beryl Marsden. The line-up included Mick Fleetwood (drums) and Peter Green (guitar), Dave Ambrose (bass) and Peter Bardens (keyboards) . The band released one single "I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Round", and Rod had another attempt at solo success with "Shake", with the Brian Auger Trinity Both failed commercially. Rod Stewart then left to join the Jeff Beck Group at the start of 1967.
After Jeff Beck left the Yardbirds, he recruited Rod Stewart as vocalist and songwriter for his new band the Jeff Beck Group . The line-up included Ronnie Wood (rhythm guitar), Jet Harris (bass) and Dave Ambrose (bass), with Clem Cattini and Viv Prince trying out on drums. The band went through months of personnel changes, notably no fewer than four drummers before settling on Aynsley Dunbar and switching Ron Wood to bass. Beck signed a personal management contract with record producer and manager Mickie Most who had no interest in the group. During 1967 the band released three singles with only "Hi Ho Silver Lining" reaching the UK top twenty single charts. Frustrated that the band was not playing strict blues, drummer Dunbar left and was replaced by Roy Cook for one show, before Stewart recommended an old bandmate of his from Steampacket, Micky Waller went on to be their longest-lasting drummer. For the first year the grouped toured the UK and then went on to tour Western Europe in 1968. Almost broke the group recorded the album Truth before setting out on a make or break tour of the US which proved to be their breakthrough. Truth, which included three songs written by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart (credited as reached Jeffrey Rod)went to No. 15 in the US charts and its success ignited new interest from Mickie Most. Beck-Ola was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios and engineered by Martin Birch and reached No. 15 on The Billboard Charts.
Meantime Rod’s solo career continued with another flop entitled, "Little Miss Understood" on Immediate Records. Rod Stewart recorded his first album An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down for Mercury Records and this met with critical acclaim. However, rising tension within the band and on their fifth US tour in July 1969 and appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. Jeff Beck broke up the band on the eve of the Woodstock Music Festival, at which they had been scheduled to perform, a decision Beck later stated that he regretted.
In 1969, guitarist and lead singer Steve Marriott left The Small Faces. Ron Wood replaced him as guitarist and Rod Stewart joined them as their new singer. The band line-up was complete with original Small Faces, Ronnie Lane (guitar), Ian McLagan (keyboard), and Kenney Jones (drums). Their début album First Step came out in 1970 and was a modest success in the UK. The Faces became a popular live act and soon had a strong festival following. Their second album, Long Player, was released in early 1971 and enjoyed greater chart success. Towards the end of the year, their third album A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...To a Blind Horse contained a hit single with "Stay With Me," and the album reached the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic.
Lou Reizner (A&R man Mercury records) signed Rod to a solo contract in 1968 but contractual complexities delayed Stewart's recording for him until 1969. He sang guest vocals for the Australian group Python Lee Jackson on "In a Broken Dream", recorded in 1969 but not released until 1970. When it was re-released in 1972 to become a worldwide hit. Rod’s second solo album Gasoline Alley was also released in 1970 and came out to critical acclaim. His third album, Every Picture Tells A Story, featured the hit single "Maggie May" in 1971 and together album and single hit number one in both the US and the UK simultaneously and made Rod Stewart a household name. He then launched a US tour with the Faces.
As the tour progressed growing tensions within the band followed over Stewart's solo career enjoying more success than Faces’. Rod Stewart released Never a Dull Moment in 1972 and it reached number two on the US album charts and number one in the UK. "You Wear It Well" was a runaway hit single. The Faces released their final album Ooh La La, which reached number one in the UK and number 21 in the US in 1973. By the time of the recording Stewart was in daily dispute with the rest of the band but did tour Australasia, Japan, Europe and the UK in 1974 to support the album and the single "Pool Hall Richard". The following year the Faces toured the US twice before Stewart announced the Faces' break-up at the end of the year.
Rod’s Smiler album (Mercury) was released in 1974 and topped the UK album charts. The singles "Farewell" and "Mine for Me" had mixed fortune in the US. He switched labels to Warner Bros and moved to Los Angeles in 1975. Tom Dowd produced the next album Atlantic Crossing with a different sound based on the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Atlantic Crossing with its fast and slow sides was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and the single "Sailing", was a UK number-one, and remains his biggest-selling single in the UK. His version of "This Old Heart of Mine" was also a Top 100 hit in 1976.
The next album, A Night on the Town album was Rod’s seventh and went to number two on the Billboard album charts as well as going platinum. "Tonight's the Night" was a chart topper internationally; and "The First Cut Is the Deepest", a cover of a Cat Stevens song, went number one in the UK in 1977, and top 30 in the US. "The Killing of Georgie (Part 1 and 2)", about the murder of a gay man, was also a Top 40 hit for Stewart during 1977
Foot Loose & Fancy Free (1977) was the eighth album and featured Rod’s own band: Carmine Appice, Phil Chen, Jim Cregan, Billy Peek, Gary Grainger and John Jarvis. It contained another hit with "You're in my Heart” which reached the US top five. Both "Hot Legs" and “I Was Only Joking" also got a lot of radio airplay ". In 1978, Blondes Have More Fun, gave him another successful album with the smash hit single "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" Now more disco orientated Stewart's look evolved to include a glam element, including make-up and spandex clothes. After a court case it was shown the song's refrain was identical to Brazilian Jorge Ben Jor's earlier "Taj Mahal" and a lawsuit ensued. Stewart donated his royalties to UNICEF, and he performed it with his band at the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United Nations General Assembly in 1979.
By comparison the 80s were quiet for Rod Stewart with only a few hits. He did however, transcend musical changes and moved smoothly in to the hi-tech disco genre starting with "Passion," from Foolish Behaviour; and Tonight I'm Yours album (1981) had two hit singles, the title track "Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)" and "Young Turks." In 1983, "Baby Jane" (1983) was the lead single from his Body Wishes album and became number one in the UK and reached No. 14 in the US. Rod Stewart had four US Top 10 singles between 1984 and 1988, "Some Guys Have All the Luck" (1984), "Infatuation" (1984) and "Love Touch" (1986). In the UK, "Every Beat of My Heart" reached number two in 1986. In 1988, Out of Order, produced four top 15 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. These were "Lost in You", "Forever Young", "Crazy About Her", and "My Heart Can't Tell You No." He ended the decade on a positive note, when a remake of the Tom Waits song "Downtown Train" received a lot of radio play in 1989.
Whilst still instantly recognisable, Rod’s voice was changing and the 90s saw less aggressive singing. Vagabond Heart (1991) featured five singles, with the two most successful "Rhythm of My Heart “ and "The Motown Song" . "It Takes Two" with Tina Turner, was released in 1990 in advance of the full album's release, and reached number five on the UK charts, but did not chart in the US. A few years later, he released Unplugged and Seated (1993), which was recorded at MTV Unplugged concert and featured the hit "Have I Told You Lately." In 1995, Stewart released A Spanner in the Works containing a single written by Tom Petty, "Leave Virginia Alone", which charted but the latter half of the 1990s was not as commercially successful though the 1996 album If We Fall in Love Tonight managed to go gold and hit No. 19 on the Billboard album chart. When We Were the New Boys, his final album on the Warner Bros. label was released in 1998, it reached number two on the UK album charts.
It had been previously reported Rod was suffering from a benign vocal cord nodule, then in 2000 it was diagnosed he had thyroid cancer. Resulting surgery threatened his voice, and he had to re-learn how to sing. Meantime he left Warner Bros. and moved to Atlantic Records and in 2001 released Human with the single "I Can't Deny It. "
As a complete change in 2002, Rod embarked on a series four albums featuring great 1930s and 1940s pop standards written by great American song writers entitled The Great American Songbook. These were an outstanding success and spurned many chart entries. In late 2006, Rod Stewart made his return to rock music with the release of Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of Our Time, a featuring rock and southern rock milestones from the last four decades. The album reached the top of the pop charts. To complete his homage to classic pop Rod released the studio album Soulbook (2009) which was composed of covers of soul and Motown songs.
Rod Stewart signed on to a two-year residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas and released a Christmas album in 2012. In the next year he returned to rock and song-writing with Time, his twenty-eighth studio album, which he co-produced. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 1, setting a new British record for the longest gap between chart-topping albums by an artist. The gravel voiced rocker come crooner continues to appear live and touring arenas and concert halls worldwide.
Rod has been a life-long Scottish fan and supports Celtic Football Club.
Stewart R (2012) Rod: The Autobiography Three Rivers Press
Tuesday, 1 March 2016
Ann Lennox was born in 1954 in Aberdeen, the daughter of Dorothy (née Ferguson) and Thomas Allison Lennox.
Aged 16, she won a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London and studied the flute, piano and harpsichord before she dropped out to pursue her ambitions in pop music. Living on a student grant required her to supplement her income working part-time. She soon joined a folk band called Windsong, playing flute and singing. Later she became a member of Dragon's Playground. In 1975 Annie joined The Catch (Pete Combes Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox). They released one single, Borderline in 1977. The single was released in the UK, The Netherlands, Spain and Portugal but was not a commercial success. The band evolved into a new wave band called The Tourists.
Peet Coombes (guitarist and singer-songwriter), Dave Stewart (guitar), Annie Lennox (vocals and keyboards) were joined by Eddie Chin (bass) and drummer Jim Toomey. They released three albums: The Tourists(1979), Reality Effect (1979) and Luminous Basement (1980), as well as half a dozen singles, including "Blind Among the Flowers" (1979), "The Loneliest Man in the World" (1979), "Don't Say I Told You So" (1980) and two hits, the Dusty Springfield cover "I Only Want to Be with You" (1979) and "So Good to Be Back Home Again" (1980), both of which reached the top 10 in the UK.
Sadly, despite some chart success the group were critically savaged by the UK music press and when they became bogged down with legal wrangling with the band's management, publishers and record labels combined with personal tensions within the band, they decided to call it a day in late 1980. Lennox and Stewart felt constrained and wanted freedom to experiment with electronics and the avant-garde. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were in a hotel in Wagga Wagga, Australia, playing around with a portable mini-synthesizer, when they decided to become a duo. The name Eurythmics came from a musical exercise Annie was taught as a child. The pair decided to keep themselves as the only permanent members and songwriters, and involve other musicians in collaborations based on mutual compatibility and availability. The duo signed to RCA Records. Their first album In the Garden was recorded in Cologne and produced by Conny Plank and released in 1981. Two singles were released from the album in the UK, "Never Gonna Cry Again" and "Belinda". Neither the album nor the singles achieved much commercial success, although "Never Gonna Cry Again" charted at #63 in the UK singles chart.
The Eurythmics were a visual band and feast for the eyes with Annie Lennox known for her androgyny, sometimes wearing suits cut in a man’s style on stage. Dave Stewart was not only a gifted musician but he too had a flair for the visual. They got their first break opening on tour for Roxy Music
If a band was made for the video age, then it had to be Eurythmics. They had a long line of singles in the 1980s, including "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (a US number one and UK number two), "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)" (UK number one), "Love Is A Stranger", "Here Comes the Rain Again", "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves", "Who's That Girl?", "Would I Lie to You?", "Missionary Man", "You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart", "Thorn in My Side", "The Miracle of Love" and "Don't Ask Me Why".
The group had a decade of international success before Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart finally broke up musically. The group never officially disbanded. In 1990, Annie Lennox recorded a version of Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" for the Cole Porter tribute album Red Hot + Blue, a benefit for AIDS awareness.
By 1992 Annie Lennox had released her debut album, Diva, which produced several hit singles including "Why" and "Walking on Broken Glass". Diva was a commercial and critical success, charting No. 1 in the UK.
Annie Lennox went onto released six solo studio albums. Despite taking time out to bring up her two children outside of the media's glare, she continued to record. Her second album, Medusa, was released in March 1995 and consisted of cover songs originally recorded by male artists. The album charted at No. 1 in the UK and peaked in the US at number 11. The album yielded four UK singles: "No More I Love You's" (which entered the UK singles chart at No. 2, Lennox's highest ever solo peak), "A Whiter Shade of Pale", "Waiting in Vain" and "Something So Right".
In 1998, following the death of Peet Coombes, Eurythmics reformed to write and record Peace, their first album of new material in ten years. The single "I Saved the World Today" reached number 11 in the UK singles charts, and a remix of "17 Again" gave the duo their first chart-topper on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The band also embarked on a world tour, dubbed the "Peacetour", to support the album. The tour started at Cologne's Kölnarena and ended at the London Docklands Arena. All proceeds from the tour went to Greenpeace and Amnesty International.
Annie Lennox released her third solo album in 2003. Bare was a top 5 hit in the UK and the US, with three tracks reaching the top of the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were together again in 2005 on a collaboration on two new songs for their Eurythmics compilation album, Ultimate Collection, of which "I've Got a Life" was released as a single. The single peaked at number fourteen in the UK Singles Chart and was a number-one US Dance hit.
In addition to her career as a musician, Annie Lennox became a political and social activist, notable for raising money and awareness for HIV/ AIDS as it affects women and children in Africa. To promote Songs of Mass Destruction, she embarked on a North American tour called Annie Lennox Sing. "Sing" was born out of her involvement with Nelson Mandela's 46664 campaign and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), both of which are human rights groups which seek education and health care for those affected by HIV.
In 2010, she released a Christmas album entitled A Christmas Cornucopia featuring a collection of traditional festive songs. The album included one new composition, "Universal Child" with a second single "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen".
Annie Lennox released her sixth solo album Nostalgia which features a collection of her childhood favourite soul, jazz and blues songs. The lead single from the album was "I Put a Spell On You"
Annie Lennox continues to write and perform and has become not just one of the world’s greatest pop singers of the 20th and 21st centuries but also a much respected person who works for many charities and worthwhile causes.
Sunday, 28 February 2016
Brian Alexander Robertson was born in 1948 in Glasgow. He attended Allan Glen's School, Glasgow before graduating from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. At 21, he signed a publishing deal with Steve Morris and in 1973 released his debut album entitled, Wringing Applause. The album had and impressive line-up of musicians including Herbie Flowers (Bass), Paul Beer & Stephen Saunders (Euphonium) and Barry Morgan (Drums) but it attracted little attention. BA meantime worked as a session musician and played keyboards on recording for other bands including Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel’s (1976) Another Journey (B-Side of Come up and make me smile).
The same year Alexander Robertson released his second album, "Shadow Of A Thin Man", which featured George Fenton, Tony Hymas (keyboards), Frank Ricotti, Terry Britten (guitarist), Herbie Flowers (bass), Chris Spedding (guitar) and Simon Philips on drums. BA and Terry Britten formed an ongoing song writing partnership and in 1978, they wrote “Start all over again” for Cliff Richard which was released on his Green Light album.
Robertson and Britten wrote many more songs for Cliff Richard including "Wired for Sound" for Cliff (1979) was released on the Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile album and “Carrie" (1980).
BA Robertson enjoyed chart success as a solo artist with six hit singles, starting with "Bang Bang" in 1979 which written and produced by Terry Britten.
In 1980, his third album Initial Success was released credited to BA Robertson and contained his next three follow up singles "Knocked It Off", "Kool in the Kaftan" and "To Be Or Not To Be" which reached chart positions 8, 17 and 9 respectively. The album also sold well and sat outside the top thirty albums in the UK.
His next album Bully For You (1981) contained another hit single Flight 19.
The "R&BA" album contained his last Top 40 hit which was a duet with Maggie Bell and cover version of P J Proby’s "Hold Me" which reached number 11 in the UK Singles Charts.
During the early 80s Robertson combined his career as an artist in a writing and production partnership with bassist Herbie Flowers. They wrote and produced with an eclectic crowd, including Lionel Bart, Joe Brown, Jim Cregan, Ray Cooper, Micky Dolenz, Gillian Gregory, Georg Kajanus, Harry Nilsson, Phil Pickett, Annie Ross, Sandie Shaw, and Chris Spedding. BA also recorded with Frida (Anni Frid Lyngstad) from Abba, 83, and Lulu in 84. But by this time his music tastes had changed and BA started to develop his career in other areas.
He penned and sang the theme music to the BBC television series Maggie and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (Hello, Hello) and Brown Sauce's "I Wanna Be a Winner".
Robertson wrote and sang "We Have a Dream" for the 1982 World Cup Scotland squad (with John Sinclair Clarke) .
BA Robertson branched into acting and played the lead in the movie Living Apart Together (1982), directed by Charlie Gormley. He also wrote the score.
In 1985 BA Robertson started a song writing collaboration with Mike Rutherford (Genesis). Together they wrote "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)" for Genesis and Mike and the Mechanics’s "The Living Years". The latter was written after Robertson's father died twelve weeks before the birth of his own son, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1990.
In 1987 Robertson wrote (and produced) some of tracks on the Eddie and the Tide album Looking For Adventure.
He continued to write music for films and briefly became a television presenter. Jock 'n' Roll Parts I & II charted the history of pop music in Scotland and B. A. in Music featured contributions from contemporary musical guests. The show was made for Channel 4 but only had a short run. On air Robertson had a confrontation with Bow Wow Wow singer, Annabella Lwin during which she called the program a 'pretty shit show' and stormed off.
BA conducted the last on camera interview with Alex Harvey before Alex died in 1982.
Throughout the 80's and 90's he continued to write and work in the studio with an even more diverse group of artists, including Sam Brown, Roger Daltrey, Lonnie Donegan, Dave Edmunds, Bernard Edwards, Peter Frampton, Alan Gorrie, John Jarvis, Maz + Kilgore, Joe Sample, Helena Springs, Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) and Chaka Khan.
He wrote the theme for the Wogan Show and in 1986 he was commissioned to compose the music for The Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.
From the 90s on wards BA has continued to work both in the UK and the US writing, producing and more recently performing again.
Worth a listen
Brian Alexander Roberstson
All the Thin Men (1976)
Bang Bang (1979)
Knocked it Off (1979)
Kool in the Kaftan (1980)
To Be or Not to Be (1980)
Flight 19 (1980)
We Have a Dream (1982)
Ceud Mìle Failte (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes) (1986)
Duet with Maggie Bell
Hold Me (1981)
Monday, 18 January 2016
Iain Stewart Macmillan was born in 1938 in Dundee, Scotland. He attended the Dundee High School, graduated in 1954 before taking his first job as a trainee manager at a jute mill. In 1958 Ian moved to London to study photography at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). His first work was as a cruise photographer but he also went home to photograph street scenes, and tenement of old Dundee.
His moving portrayal of the disappearing sights of a city in regeneration are memorable and in the same spirit as Oscar Marzarolli’s Shades of Grey Glasgow 1956 -1987. Macmillan captured boys playing football in the back streets to a “scramble” (or scrammie) at a local church wedding where children scrabble for thrown coins.
He graduated in the early 1960s and his talent was soon recognised by magazines and publishers including the Sunday Times, the Illustrated London News, Tatler and Harpers & Queen. This brought the quiet Scotsman into the world of London’s Swinging 60s.
He took photographs for a book, The sculpture of David Wynne 1949-1967, and for Wynne's exhibition catalogue.
In 1966, The Book of London was published and Macmillan had been commissioned to take a series of photographs of life in the city. The photographer was introduced to Yoko Ono and photographed the avant-garde artist presenting a demonstration of "Handkerchief Piece". The photo shows Yoko and three others wearing handkerchiefs tied over their mouths. Yoko was sufficiently impressed by his work, she invited him to photograph her new exhibition at the Indica gallery, in St James’s. It was there that Yoko met John Lennon.
As his reputation grew the photographer was commissioned by many of the leading newspapers and magazines such as Tatler, the Sunday Times, Harpers & Queen to take portraits of celebrities from the worlds of sport, art, politics, acting and pop music. Examples include Pete Townshend of The Who, Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Twiggy, Floyd Paterson, Bridget Riley, Maggie Smith and Donald Sutherland to name but a few. Some of these photographs were used to illustrate the 1967 book ‘The Young Meteors: An Inside Report on the Rising Stars of London in Fashion, Entertainment, Modeling, Art, Politics, Journalism’ by Jonathan Aitken. In 1970, he took the cover photograph of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition’s album Something’s burning.
In 1969 John Lennon invited Macmillan to be the photographer for the cover of the new album, Abbey Road. The Beatles decided to name their last album after the road where Abbey Road recording studio stood.
On 8th August 1969, around 11:30am, Iain Macmillan climbed a stepladder about 10 feet in the air in the middle of Abbey Road and took six pictures of the Beatles walking on a zebra crossing near the EMI Studios. Police were hired to control the traffic and any stray fans. In total the photoshoot took ten minutes and produced arguably the most iconic photograph of the Fab Four.
In the first photograph John leads the group from left to right followed by Ringo, Paul and George. They kept this order throughout all the photos. There is a Mercedes pulling out of the studio behind them. John is looking away from the camera and Paul and George are in mid step. Paul is wearing sandals. Inthw second photograph they walk back in the same order. Good spacing but only John has a full step. The third shot captures them left to right again, full steps but they are all too far left. The traffic is beginning to build up with a taxi, two vans and a double decker bus waiting to come forward. Paul is now barefoot. In the fourth shot they are walking right to left again with Paul Ringo and George all in mid step. The traffic has gone through but the bus has stopped to watch. The fifth shot became the cover of the album and is the only photo where Paul smoking and with their legs in perfect formation. In the sixth photograph Ringo is slightly too far behind John and the bus has turned around to leave.
After the Beatles broke up Iain continued to work for John and Yoko on several projects. Macmillan took the picture of the wedding cake which featured on John and Yoko's Wedding Album (1969). He also designed the cover for Give Peace a Chance.
He later photographed the clouds on Live Peace In Toronto (1969), by John and Yoko.
Yoko asked Iain to morph the faces of John and herself for the back cover of a cover of the exhibition catalogue for her career retrospective, This Is Not Here, in 1971. Apple Records used the same images on the 7"transparent green vinyl pressing of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and "Listen, the Snow Is Falling" released in December 1971.
The same sequence of five images showing Lennon's face transforming into Ono's was used on the pressing of the album Sometime in New York City (1972). Macmillan was also involved in taking pictures for the cover, after living with them for a month the previous September.
Iain also collaborated on the film Erection, an animation of shots of a London hotel under construction with a soundtrack by John and Yoko.
In New York, he photographed much of Yoko’s avant-garde work, including the promotional film for her second album, Flies (1971). It proved a technical nightmare.
He also took the cover photo on Yoko's later editions of Grapefruit.
By the mid - 70s, Macmillan had returned to England and was teaching part-time photography at a college in Stoke-on-Trent. Then in 1980, Iain took the cover photo for the album Hinge and Bracket at Abbey Road which was a parody of the Beatles photo.
An exhibition of his works toured the US, Britain and Europe and the BBC used some of his photos in the series The Rock 'n' Roll Years. He moved back to Carnoustie, after his parents died in the 80s and with his beloved collie dog, Mac by his side took photographs of Scottish landscapes, his friends and families.
In 1993, Paul McCartney invited Macmillan to take another picture on the famous zebra crossing near the EMI studios in St John’s Wood for the album cover of Paul is Live. This time McCartney had for company an Old English sheepdog. Macmillan contrasted the simplicity of the earlier picture by including a team of policemen, press photographers and a lively crowd.
Iain sadly died in 2006 from lung cancer. Macmillan was always modest about his own achievements and retained a lasting affection for Paul and Linda McCartney.
Abbey Road Crossing Cam Live Feed
From Dundee to Abbey Road
Paul is Dead