Photo Trea­sures

…so Swedish pho­tog­ra­pher Larsåke Thures­son took his chance to grab an amaz­ingly can­did shot of The Bea­tles. It’s just one amaz­ing im­age from a ca­reer shoot­ing rock’s great­est stars.

Classic Rock - - Contents -

A se­lec­tion of never-be­fore-pub­lished pho­tos from Larsåke Thures­son’s 60s and 70s col­lec­tion of mu­sic icons.

For years, Swedish pho­tog­ra­pher Larsåke Thures­son’s neg­a­tives from the 60s and 70s re­mained packed away in boxes in his home in Stock­holm. No­body would ever have seen these gems, had it not been for his two daugh­ters who one day de­manded their dad got him­self a scan­ner.

From the early 60s to the mid-70s, Larsåke was a pho­tog­ra­pher work­ing with record com­pa­nies and pro­mo­tion busi­nesses, and through that he got close to many rock and pop stars. He loved mu­sic as well as pho­tog­ra­phy, and be­came well-known on the mu­sic scene, in record­ing stu­dios and back­stage. Most artists didn’t even no­tice he was there, and he was free to roam and take pho­tos as he pleased.

This in­ti­mate con­nec­tion with the mu­sic world has re­sulted in a col­lec­tion of around 65,000 pho­tos, most of which have never been pub­lished.

Af­ter great deal of scan­ning work, his crit­i­cally ac­claimed 3.2kg(!) pho­to­book Ikoner/Icons was pub­lished in Swe­den. Writ­ten in both Swedish and English, it con­tains 660 care­fully cho­sen pho­tos that show mu­sic icons as you’ve never seen them be­fore, some of which are printed on the next few pages.

The pho­tos are trea­sures in their own right, but the col­lec­tion is also some­thing of a time cap­sule from a vi­brant era. Not only did Larsåke take un­usual snap­shots of the artists them­selves – many of whom were still in an early part of their ca­reer – he also pointed his cam­era at the peo­ple around them: the fans, the jour­nal­ists, peo­ple they met in the street, chauf­feurs, road­ies. Un­like now, back then there were no body­guards pre­vent­ing Larsåke from get­ting close to his sub­jects. There wasn’t much com­pe­ti­tion photographically, ei­ther, as peo­ple doubted that this new type of ‘noisy mu­sic’ would even be played on the ra­dio. There was no point doc­u­ment­ing it, surely?

“The Bea­tles vis­ited Swe­den in 1964,” Larsåke re­calls, “and there was a big me­dia scrum on the run­way, as these things were done back then. The Bea­tles had just come out of the plane’s front door and started their de­scent down the stairs. But as I ap­proached, I no­ticed the back door of the plane was open… In­stead of join­ing the other jour­nal­ists and pho­tog­ra­phers, I took a chance and went up the back stairs, into the plane and walked through to the front en­trance. I shouted at them: ‘Hello! Look this way!’ And they did. You can see Paul wav­ing at me, and from this an­gle I also cap­tured all the me­dia peo­ple stand­ing fur­ther down – many of whom also be­came le­gends, in their own right.”

Not many pho­tog­ra­phers would have been able to shoot re­laxed pho­tos of the Rolling Stones back­stage, or The Who sleep­ing in their pri­vate plane. Or Bob Dy­lan play­ing silly bug­gers af­ter a press con­fer­ence. But Larsåke Thures­son did. On the next few pages are just a few of them…


“I was in­vited to fol­low The Who on their Scan­di­na­vian tour for a week. It was like be­ing with good mates. The photo be­low is the group in the plane, go­ing from Malmö in Swe­den to a gig in Odense in Den­mark. Band mem­bers to the left, in­stru­ments and equip­ment to the right, on this rather rick­ety air­craft.

“The shot above shows the state of the place af­ter that Odense con­cert – the Dan­ish man­ager (the man in the suit and glasses) was not happy!

“I re­mem­ber the Cus­toms peo­ple in Hels­ing­borg [Swe­den] be­ing rather dis­ap­pointed that they never found any­thing in the car and trailer when The Who were stopped on their way back to Swe­den [pho­tos right]. It was all quite in­no­cent at the time. I jumped into the trailer and got a shot from inside, cap­tur­ing the look on their faces.”


“Hen­drix was fan­tas­tic, and had a to­tally new sound. I had never seen any­one be­fore play­ing the gui­tar like he did – be­hind his head. I didn’t get what he was do­ing at first.

“The photo to the right is from a Jimi Hen­drix con­cert at Gröna Lund in Stock­holm in 1967. The host/pre­sen­ter, Herman Möller, even­tu­ally be­came fed up with the ‘noisy mu­sic’. Af­ter hav­ing asked the group to stop play­ing sev­eral times, in vain, he sim­ply pulled the plug and dis­con­nected the elec­tric­ity!

“The group then went on to play in­doors at a night­club, where I took this photo [above]. I also did an al­bum cover for Jimi Hen­drix and Cur­tis Knight, us­ing one of my black-and­white pho­tos.

“In my book Ikoner/Icons there is an essay writ­ten by the for­mer Swedish Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion & Cul­ture, Leif Pa­grot­sky. I think his lit­tle story il­lus­trates quite well just how easy it was to ap­proach mu­si­cians back in the six­ties and how very dif­fer­ent it is now.

“On May 19, 1967, a young Pa­grot­sky and his mate ap­proached the guard out­side the back­stage en­trance at the Con­cert Hall in Gothen­burg – they had come up with a great idea on how to get in: ‘We’ve been sent out by our school pa­per to in­ter­view Jimi Hen­drix, so we need to get in.’ ‘I see… Okay then,’ says the guard, and lets them in! Just like that. In a scruffy pantry, Jimi sits them down at his ta­ble and lis­tens to all their ques­tions, care­fully an­swer­ing them, kindly fill­ing in words wher­ever their school English lets them down. That sim­ply wouldn’t hap­pen in to­day’s world.”


“The band was in Swe­den in 1966 for a con­cert at Kung­liga Ten­nishallen [the Royal Ten­nis Hall]. I was al­lowed to hang around back­stage in their ‘green room’, and they never seemed fed up with me or wanted me to leave. On the con­trary, they were pleased to get some pho­tos – af­ter all, the pho­tos gave them a lot of PR for both their tour and records.

“Dur­ing their visit to Stock­holm last year [2017], I had a call from To­mas Ledin (an­other Swedish icon, also in the book). He was a party with the Stones. He had shown my book to Mick Jag­ger, who asked To­mas if he could please ask me if he could have a signed copy of my book. I brought a signed copy to him, and asked him to sign my book as well, which he did.

“I am cur­rently col­lect­ing au­to­graphs of as many of the Icons in my book that I can get hold of. If pos­si­ble I take a photo of them as well, pos­ing with the book. As well as from Mick Jag­ger, Joan Baez, Kris Kristof­fer­son, Paul Si­mon, Benny An­der­s­son and Agneta Fält­skog have all writ­ten in my book, plus around thirty oth­ers. And there are still many more to come!”


“The Kinks played at Nalen in Stock­holm in 1966, and they also ap­peared on a leg­endary Swedish TV show called Pop side [the Swedish equiv­a­lent of Ready, Steady, Go! or Top Of The Pops].


“It should re­ally be quite dif­fi­cult to iden­tify the per­son in this photo, given that all you can ac­tu­ally see is just a mic and… hair, but strangely enough a lot of peo­ple im­me­di­ately iden­tify Ja­nis Joplin when look­ing at this pic­ture – even younger peo­ple.

“I took the photo in 1969 dur­ing a TV record­ing at the Nar­ren The­atre at Gröna Lund in Stock­holm. Most of the time when shoot­ing bands dur­ing con­certs and stu­dio re­hearsals, I used a quiet Leica cam­era, and I hardly ever used ex­tra light­ing.”


“This was taken at a fan­tas­tic con­cert of the mas­ter of blues on May 7, 1969 at Gröna Lund in Stock­holm.”

THE BEA­TLES “On July 28, 1964, The Bea­tles vis­ited Swe­den for the sec­ond time and landed at Ar­landa air­port in Stock­holm, ahead of their con­cert at Jo­han­neshov Ice Sta­dium.”

Ikoner/Icons by Larsåke Thures­son is avail­able now. For more in­for­ma­tion go to about-the-book/In­di­vid­ual prints are also avail­able for sale, for ex­hi­bi­tions or pub­lish­ing – con­tact Larsåke’s agent in the UK: britt.warg@ google­

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