Vintage Backstage Photos Of History's Most Famous Musicians

Entertainment | By Harriet King | June 8, 2018

The lives of famous musicians are fascinating to all of us normal people with normal jobs. While we're waking up and heading to our 'nine to five' jobs at the office, these guys live a life of total excess - and they still manage to create and perform amazing music at the same time.

We're talking about The Beatles, The Rat Pack, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, David Bowie. They're all here and so are all of their famous friends. One thing is for sure: if you love music you're going to love this very musical list. We honestly felt like we were going back in time.

We'll never know how they do it, but at least we can get a glimpse into their glamorous lives with this collection of vintage rock and roll photos. We've curated some of the coolest pictures of some of the most legendary musicians in history. #49 will absolutely leave you breathless!

1. Jan Murray & The Rat Pack

Let's start with a classic! Here's the Rat Pack - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. enjoying a smoke and a laugh backstage at Carnegie Hall in 1961, whilst the group were at the peak of their powers. They, as much as Marilyn Monroe on the silver screen, personified an era, and provided the soundtrack to the Golden Age of Hollywood - even becoming film stars themselves, starring in the original 'Ocean's Eleven'.

Legend would have it that screen icon Lauren Bacall named the group after seeing her husband and part-time member Humphrey Bogart stagger home with the rest of the gang after a particularly boozy trip to Las Vegas, and that the members themselves preferred to go by 'the Summit' or 'the Clan'. But we don't know that for sure; all we can say for certain is that when the global entertainment industry was in its infancy, these are the men who taught us how to be cool!

2. The Beatles

Where would we be now without the Beatles? The original Fab Four completely revolutionized the entire music industry, taking it to heights of hysteria never seen before in the UK. Before Justin Bieber and One Direction, our parents and grandparents were screaming in excitement at John, Paul, Ringo, and George. Back in the 1960s, the whole world caught a heavy dose of Beatlemania!

Arguably Liverpool's most famous sons, the band are seen here early in their careers, lighting up cigarettes backstage at the Regal in Cambridge in 1963. There was no way back then that they could have known what was to come, from their redefining of what pop music sounded like to their experimental sounds of the late 60s, everybody knows at least one Beatles song. Each of the band went on to achieve great success on their own after the band split in 1970, and their impact continues to be felt to this day. You try to listen to 'Hey Jude' without singing along to the chorus - we dare you!

3. Bob Dylan & Tom Petty

A penny for your thoughts, Bob? Here's a candid image of one of the greatest and most respected singer-songwriters of all time, in a pensive mood. The guy sitting next to him isn't too bad either, that's Tom Petty! The two legendary country and folk performers are getting ready to perform at the first ever 'Farm Aid' in Illinois, back in 1985. The festival, which is based around raising money for farmers in the USA, continues to run to this day. It was founded by some more country legends - WIllie Nelson and Neil Young - and they brought in some friends to help get things off the ground. It helps when you have friends like these!

Already world renowned in their own right, Dylan and Petty joined forces in 1988 to form the Travelling Wilburys, a supergroup that also contained George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. And who knows - the conversation that started the whole thing off might have taken place right here, at the exact moment this picture was taken!

4. Madonna

Isn't that a look of confidence? Here's Madonna, staring down the lens of the camera with a smoldering look that suggests she's irritated at the interruption. Madonna is so famous that if alien life landed on our planet and scanned our media to work out who was in charge, there's every chance she's the one they would go looking for. A master of reinvention, Madonna is the ultimate musical chameleon, moving with and kickstarting whole changes in sound and style across four decades - and staying relevant the whole time.

This picture finds her at the start of her journey. In New York in 1979. All of her future successes were just dreams at this point, but there's no doubt that she knew, one hundred percent, that she was going to achieve them. A blend of naked ambition, unparalleled drive, and raw talent, took her all the way from a Material Girl to the undisputed Queen of Pop.

5. David Bowie & Paul Simonon

Bottoms up for the rock stars! Check out the hat on Clash bass player Paul Simonon as he enjoys a beer and a chat with the legendary David Bowie, in stylish New York in the early 1980s. This was a vital time for Simonon's band, as they fought to break through into the difficult and lucrative US market. We can't say for sure, but we'd like to believe that in this picture he's asking for advice from someone who's been, seen and done it all.

Bowie had already comfortably reached legendary status even by this point, having brought character performance into rock and roll more than anyone before him, fusing music and drama together to create a legacy that defined an era, his influence spreading for years both before and after this picture was taken. He remains in death as in life - the King of Style.

6. Flavor Flav & Tupac Shakur

Does anyone have the time? Oh, never mind, we see it. Here's Flavor Flav wearing one of his trademark timepieces backstage at the 1989 American Music Awards. We don't know who's holding the camera, but he doesn't look all that happy to see them. His friend, Tupac Shakur, looks a little happier though.

Still making their names back in the late 80s, both Flav and Shakur would become icons of the West Coast rap music scene, Shakur in his own right and Flav as part of the iconic group Public Enemy. Truly breaking through into the mainstream in the early to mid-1990s, both acts were hugely influential in bringing social and political content into rap music and popularizing it to the point it became part of the national conversation. Whilst Shakur's life was tragically cut short in 1996, Public Enemy continue making music to this day.

7. The Beatles

We saw these guys already a little earlier on, but hey, they're the Beatles, so they get to appear as many times as they like. By the way, Ring - Don't. Move. A. Muscle. We think there's something on your nose. And we think your friends might have noticed it, too.

The boys all look very happy and relaxed here considering they just started a revolution - this photo was taken after their Sunday Night at the London Palladium Show in 1963. This was their first major appearance on British television, to an audience of over fifteen million, and the night they truly became celebrities. The pop rock sound and screaming fans created such a frenzy that it made the news later that evening, and the front page of every paper the next day - one of which used the word 'Beatlemania' for the very first time.

8. Billie Holiday

There's so much going on in this picture. Isn't that the most photogenic dog you've ever seen? Do you think it looks happy or sad? And why is there a pineapple on the table? We'll never know, but it all appears to have been very funny to Billie Holiday. The First Lady of Jazz looks very much at ease in this environment.

Massively influential in the jazz and pop singing scene, Holiday's career spanned three decades and spawned a staggering number of hit albums and singles. It was no surprise when at the peak of her fame she transcended into the movie industry, too. Her star never really waned, and she was still one of the most in-demand performers in the world when she sadly passed away at age 44 in 1959.

9. Bob Dylan

Hey, Mister Tambourine Man, have a cup of tea. Bob Dylan, seen studying the camera with narrow eyes, looks surly and suspicious here. It might be because the tea isn't good. It might because someone's shoved him backstage in a room where the lightbulb is on the wall and there's exposed piping overhead. Or, more likely, it's because he knows what he's about to go and do.

This picture was taken at an iconic gig - it's backstage at Manchester's Free Trade Hall in 1965, in the middle of the tour where Dylan made the move from acoustic to electric guitar. What may seem trivial now caused uproar at the time, with one man screaming 'JUDAS' at Dylan during a pause in his set. Dylan responded by directing the band to play louder and faster - and folk music had given way to rock and roll.

10. James Brown

There are suits, and then there are suits. But at the same time, there are soul singers, and then there's James Brown. Ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you the original Godfather of Soul himself? Notice how adoringly his wife Deedee Jenkins is looking at him. That's the sort of look he would get from any record company executive in the world around the time. Brown was a bona fide star for decades, but this particular image was taken in 1973. And no, we don't know why there's a sink in the corner either. It doesn't seem to bother the man himself.

Brown was a ball of energy on stage, with an infectious smile and an easy charm that kept him popular throughout the years, with a string of hit singles and albums to his name. To us, he'll always be the man who played Apollo Creed to the stage in Rocky IV. RIP, Apollo...

11. David Bowie

If you're going to cross dress, you may as well take fashion advice from your other half. And so, David Bowie did. Here he is, being helped into a particularly exotic ensemble by his wife Angie, and an assistant, before a show in 1973. We don't know whether the black, fluffy thing in the middle of the shot is part of the outfit, or a stray bird that landed on the assistant's head just as the shot was taken.

This photo dates from the memorable time that Bowie was touring as Ziggy Stardust, the first of his alternate personas, and a study in fashion and androgyny that led to hits such as 'Starman' and 'Jean Genie', propelling Bowie to new heights and transforming him from a popular performer into an icon.

12. Saafir, Craig Mack, The D.O.C. & Notorious B.I.G.

Here's a shot that's dripping with attitude, and four men you probably wouldn't want to rub the wrong way on a dark night. Or ever. It's rappers Saafir, Craig Mack, The D.O.C. and Notorious B.I.G, taking a photo call after performing together at Chicago's Riviera Theatre in 1994. Looking at the style of the men, it could have been taken yesterday; all four of them played a part in laying down a template still followed by aspiring rappers to this day.

Saafir and The D.O.C. are happily still with us and still involved to an extent with music to this day, but Mack sadly passed away of heart failure a few years ago. As for Biggie - even over twenty years later we daren't speculate about the circumstances of his death, and any relation there may be to the case of Tupac Shakur. Decades after they died, that's a debate that's still ongoing with no signs of stopping.

13. Gladys Knight & The Pips

Hold up a second. If the camera is in the hands of the guy facing us, how come we're seeing the picture from this angle? Why are there flowers growing out of that woman's back? Why is Gladys Knight laughing and smiling, but her reflection in the mirror isn't? So many questions!

This lively shot of Knight, along with her band The Pips and some friends, comes from Harlem in 1973 and has all the hallmarks of the colorful and adventurous fashions of the time. They have every reason to be happy, they're already over a decade into a successful career, they've just released legendary songs like 'Midnight Train to Georgia' and 'Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me' and have well over a decade still to go!

14. ABBA

When you picture famous musicians backstage just before a performance, what do you imagine them to be doing? Are there lavish amounts of booze and other party treats everywhere? Groupies and hangers on hanging off every arm and chair? Sunglasses protecting eyes from the smoke that drifts across the place? Or are there just two very polite looking men reading National Geographic?

If you went with the second options, chances are you were thinking of ABBA. We don't know where their famous wives have gone, but Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus seem to be passing the time with some reading material, seen here in Copenhagen in 1975. Although it's equally possible that Andersson is desperate for anything to look at other than that crazy sweater Ulvaeus is wearing. Seriously, what's going on with that?

15. Johnny Rotten

Well, this is awkward. Someone arranges for you, as a fan, to meet your biggest musical hero backstage after a gig, and you're really looking forward to it - but there's one big problem. The band just split up, and this is the last gig they're every going to play. No wonder everyone looks so glum, especially front man Johnny Rotten - and he was never the happiest camper at the best of times.

Taken in San Francisco in 1978, this photo captures the moments immediately after Rotten walked off after playing a one song encore, during which he proclaimed 'This is no fun - at all' and threw down the microphone, having tired of life in the band and the unpredictability of bass player Sid Vicious. Those pictured with cameras must have barely believed their luck at being there by chance to capture history. As for the guy with the beard and the Stetson - we figure he just got lost on the way to somewhere else.

16. Dr. Dre, Kurupt & Snoop Dogg

We're not sure if this photo was taken in the middle of him cleaning the floors with a broom, or if someone's just stolen the top of his microphone stand, but either way we'll let you ask the questions of Kurupt in this picture. He looks angry. The man to the left as you look at the picture you'll recognize as Snoop Dogg, and the guy on the other side is...erm...what's his name? You know the guy. Legendary producer and rapper. Gave Eminem his breakthrough. Doctor...Dre! That's it. We can't believe we forgot about Dre.

This picture was actually taken backstage at the Source Awards in 1995, which was a flashpoint in the entire East Coast vs West Coast rap divide of the time. Many of those collecting awards on the night - including Snoop Dogg - took the opportunity to fire off verbal barbs at their rivals. A year later, Tupac Shakur was gunned down.

17. Tony Bennett & Stevie Wonder

Now we don't want to cast aspersions on the guys who are just standing around in the background of this photo, but if we were in a room, and noticed Tony Bennett standing next to a piano that was being played by Stevie Wonder, we would definitely shut up, stand still, and listen. And we can't imagine why anyone would be any different. Maybe there was something equally exciting happening on the other side of the room.

A charming photo in many ways, not least because it looks like someone pranked Bennett by telling him it was a dinner suit affair when everyone else was dressing down for the occasion, this snap was taken backstage at the Martin Luther King Gala in Atlanta, Georgia in 1992. We like to think that Wonder has a piano backstage everywhere he goes.

18. Elton John

Everybody starts somewhere, and that somewhere can be dramatically different to where they end up. Looking at this picture, you could almost be forgiven if you didn't recognize the bearded chap at the bottom, looking as if he regrets his life choices - but that really is Sir Elton John, sitting in what could pass for a prison cell, as he waits to perform at Doug Weston's Troubador in Los Angeles in 1970. That cold brickwork and the peeling walls are long way from the Vegas glamour that was waiting for him just a few years down the line.

A man who's always worn his heart on his sleeve amongst many other decorations, ever since making it to the big time Elton's life has been one long procession of hats and hit and high fashion, becoming a British icon and a Knight of the Realm. We wonder if he even remembers how he felt on this night, before it all started? And if he does, can he tell us what on Earth he has in his hand?

19. Elvis Presley & Sammy Davis, Jr.

It's no secret that Elvis Presley had a way with the ladies, and we're not saying his female guest here isn't enjoying his company, but it's Sammy Davis Jr. who looks like he's getting the biggest kick out of things - whatever the King is saying, it's got him in stitches. Maybe they're discussing his blue suede shoes, who knows!

This picture was taken in Las Vegas in 1970, but neither man looks to have got the memo about fashions changing over time; Davis every bit the 1950s Teddy Boy and Presley looking like he's forgotten where he parked his motorbike. It's all too much for the man in the sensible suit, who really looks like he'd rather be anywhere else. Perhaps it's his girl the King's talking to?

20. Gene Simmons

This is an image that we bet Gene Simmons wishes hadn't survived the passing of the years, but it has, and as we're all here seeing it in 2018, it doesn't look great. The KISS legend sits in a wheelchair, with a pose that suggests he's mocking the disabled. There's no other way of describing it.

We should point out that understanding of disabled individuals has come a long way since this was taken in a toilet in Detroit in 1976, and that Simmons probably intended this as a harmless bit of fun in a much less politically correct age, so perhaps it's not fair to judge him by modern standards. At the very least, given the elaborate stage makeup and costume and the basic surroundings, it's a very surreal picture.

21. Guns N' Roses

The very epitome of filth and swagger, here's Guns n Roses on the cusp of greatness. Dripping in sweat, sex, and style, there's a subtle air of arrogance emanating from each member of the band as they disregard the photographer. They're backstage somewhere in California in 1986, the year before their breakthrough as the new darlings of rock and roll.

Their surroundings seem to suit them down to the ground - a dirty, cramped room marked on the walls by all those who've come before them, and Axl Rose dressed like he's the captain of a vessel that's going to take us to some very sordid places. At least Slash looks happy to be there - although he's probably just relieved to have made it all the way to California from Stoke!

22. Diana Ross

Diana Ross, if you keep smoking like that, you'll lose the voice that made you famous! Dressed more like a head of state than a pop singer, here's the Motown pioneer taking some time out for a smoke and a think in 1975. Already hugely successful on the back of her time with the Supremes, her best years were arguably still ahead of her, with her film career only just beginning to blossom, and Chain Reaction still over a decade in the future.

It's where she is that may be the most remarkable thing about this picture; she's backstage at a concert, but not her own, nor anyone associated with the whole musical movement that she's famous for to this day - this is a comfortable couch that's been set up for somebody on a Rolling Stones tour!

23. The Jackson 5

Happy, smiling, and dressed to the nines - if you make allowances for the fashion of the time - at first glance you'd think that this picture captures the Jackson 5 at the peak of their powers, but it doesn't. Taken in 1973, this image comes right from the tail end of the original lineup's run at the top of the charts.

The focus of the group's attention is Michael, and it well might be - his solo career had already begun, and the success of 'Ben' had made him an international name in his own right. Behind the scenes issues with their recording company were taking their toll, and before long Jermaine was gone to start a solo career of his own. For the band, it was the beginning of the end. For Michael, the end of the beginning.

24. Joan Jett

This is a bit of a mixed message from Joan Jett. There's no mistaking what she means by the hand gestures, but there's a twinkle in her eye that suggests she doesn't really mean it. Perhaps she just wasn't in the mood to have her picture taken - something we can all sympathize with!

Looking every bit the rock star rebel in leather, in a dirty backstage room at Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, Jett was still finding herself with the Runaways when this photo was taken somewhere towards the late 70s.It would be a couple of years later, with the formation of the Blackhearts, that she would truly become the punk rock princess that a generation would fall in love with - a million miles away from the seemingly shy girl in the photo.

25. Keith Richards

It is said that when the world comes to an end, be it through natural disaster or nuclear war, all that will remain is the cockroaches and Keith Richards. There are more legends about the infamous 'Keef' than anyone could count, and if even half of them are true then he has a strong claim to being the most rock and roll man who ever drew breath.

Richards famously chain smokes whilst on stage, and this picture taken in in 1974 suggests he doesn't behave any differently offstage either, as he eyes the photographer with the sort of cool detachment that made him a style icon to many - including Johnny Depp, who's on record as saying he based his 'Pirates of the Caribbean' character on the Rolling Stones grizzled guitarist.

26. Led Zeppelin

A clarification for younger readers - no, this is not the Darkness wandering backstage after a gig in the 2000s, it's Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in 1977. We're not convinced Jimmy Page should be smoking that cigarette in an outfit that looks like it would go up in flames at the drop of a hat, and is it us, or is Robert Plant picking his nose very happily as he walks along behind him?

The tour this picture was taken from were pivotal moments for Led Zeppelin. They were on the comeback trail after missing 1976 completely when Plant was severely injured in a car accident. At the time, they were the biggest band in the world, and the timing couldn't have been worse. The tour, however, was a huge success, and the band reclaimed their crown immediately.

27. Metallica

Although this looks like a set of trainees at a mechanics, or the cast of a 1980s coming of age movie, this is in fact arguably the most accomplished heavy metal band who ever lived. Yes, folks, this is Metallica. The clue is James Hetfield over there on the right of the picture, making the cardinal sin of wearing his own band's t-shirt.

Taken in 1985, when the band were still experimenting with their sound and their hairstyles, this captures them in the pomp of their youth, raw and unexposed. A year later they would release 'Master of Puppets' and begin to make waves and change beyond all recognition. Note how pleased with himself Lars Ulrich looks, hugging his own arm there in the middle. He's probably thinking about how he'll go on to be instrumental in bringing down Napster.

28. Michael Jackson

Wouldn't you have expected someone to provide the King of Pop with a more salubrious setup backstage to prepare himself? Someone should have told the Germans. Shame on you, Bremen in 1997!

Despite a gold lame catsuit that would have made Elvis Presley himself weep with envy, Jackson looks nervous, a surprise for an artist of his stature. There are visible crossings-out on the paper pinned to the mirror; perhaps last minute changes to the set, which he, as a perfectionist, would not have welcomed? Given the year the photo was taken, this is truly a moment in time; it comes towards the end of his HIStory tour- one of the biggest selling albums of all time, but also Jackson's final major musical impact on the world, before his personal life came to overshadow his incredible success.

29. Nirvana

Was this picture taken in a mirror, or not? We can't work it out. At least Dave Grohl knows where to look; Krist Novoselic appears more interested in showing off his scarf, and Kurt Cobain is taking no part in the process whatsoever. What none of the trio who made up Nirvana could have known at the time is that everything from the way they dressed to the way they played was about to change guitar music forever.

Taken in Germany in 1991, this is the band on tour promoting their seminal album 'Nevermind', the record that made grunge a phenomenon and chased hair metal out of the charts. The photo reflects the style; moody, stark, and disorganized. It's difficult to imagine the Beatles attending a photoshoot in a public toilet, whereas with Nirvana, it just fits.

30. Ozzy Osbourne

Could it be that the same man who is famous for biting the head off a live bat also washes his hair with Evian? Apparently so, and we've got the picture to prove it. We don't think it's all that likely that Ozzy Osbourne accepted money to advertise the product, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that he was hot after coming off stage, and the bottle was the closest thing to him that could solve the problem.

The picture comes from a grand event - the first ever Live Aid in Pennsylvania in 1985 - and Osbourne certainly dressed for the occasion, in a flamboyant robe. Given the outfit, and the scale of the occasion, we can probably forgive him for getting a little hot under the collar and needing to cool off.

31. Patti Smith & The Stooges

This is a rarity - a couple of the Stooges managing to stay together for long enough to get a picture taken in the mid-70s! We suppose we have the influence of Patti Smith to thank for getting Iggy Pop and James Williamson together for the moment. They don't look too thrilled about it - note the awkward way Williamson has his arm round Iggy, without the famous front man making any attempt to return the gesture.

This picture, taken in Los Angeles in 1974, is especially interesting because it features artists going in different directions; it was the end of the Stooges, who broke up later that year, but things were only just beginning for Smith. One short year later, she would release her debut album 'Horses' and take the first steps towards being anointed as the unofficial poet laureate of punk.

32. Tina Turner

Take one out of Tina Turner's book. Sit down, have a cup of tea, and really take a look at what's going on in this incredibly busy photograph. What draws your eye first? Is it the fact that Turner has apparently got her corset on the wrong side of her dress? Is it the imposing poster of Jesus staring straight down at whoever dares sit in front of the mirror? Or is it the picture of the woman in the yellow and black striped dress in the bottom right, who appears to be reaching out of the wallpaper to hold onto a cable?

The whole scene - pictured in Rio de Janeiro in 1988 - is overstimulating, with an approach to decor taken straight from a teenager's bedroom. We don't blame Turner for needing to take a step back and pause for a brew. Sometimes, when everything's getting too much for you, a quick cuppa is simply the best!

33. Prince

Oh Prince, that just isn't fair. Nobody should be able to take something as basic as leaning on a brick wall and just make it so effortlessly cool. And the worst thing about it is that apart from the man himself, none of the elements involved in it should work.

A trench coat that he may or may not have borrowed from a detective should not be cool. A scarf that in no way goes with the coat should not be cool. Whatever that is on his right shoulder - and we think it might be chainmail, but we're open to suggestions - should not be cool. Aviators that are too big for your face? Definitely not cool. Hair that looks like it may ever so slightly have a lift on its own? Terrifying, not cool. But this is Prince, in Amsterdam, in 1991, and all together it just works. We don't think he did anything uncool in his whole life.

34. Robert Quine, Elvis Costello & Richard Hell

It's possible you've never heard of Richard Hell or Robert Quine, and you wouldn't be alone if that were true. They were the true pioneers of the punk movement - Richard Hell in particular being amongst the first to spike his hair and accessorize his clothes with safety pins - and even Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren admitted to 'borrowing' some of his band's style and sound inspiration from Hell's band the Voidoids.

One person who did know about them, and was a fan, was Elvis Costello, and he joined them for a gig at New York's CBGB in 1978, where this picture was taken - although there, nervously gripping his arm whilst sat between Hell and guitarist Robert Quine in the nicotine-yellowed backstage area, he looks like he may have been having second thoughts about the whole thing.

35. Aston Barrett & Bob Marley

The contrast between the wallpaper and Aston Barrett's shirt is so intense that we're surprised anyone could keep looking at it for long enough to take a picture, but we're glad they did, as otherwise we wouldn't have this thoughtful looking image of Bob Marley on tour in Birmingham in 1975. He must have taken a liking to England during the tour, as he moved to London from Jamaica the following year.

Presumably getting some last-minute practice in before the gig with guitarist Barrett - better known as 'Fams' and a trusted member of his 'Wailers' backing group, Bob looks like he's been distracted by something on the other side of the room. Or perhaps he just doesn't want to look at the shirt for fear of hurting his eyes. Also, can we talk about yet another bizarre placement of a sink in a dressing room?

36. Joni Mitchell, Mimi Farina & Herbie Hancock

Guys, it's rude to do private jokes in public. Whatever this trio are laughing at, we're hoping they shared it with the poor photographer in the end. Here we have Joni Mitchell, Mimi Farina, and Herbie Hancock finding a great deal of humor in whatever it is that Mitchell is reading. Maybe it's fan mail? Or maybe it's reviews of Mitchell's latest album - the picture itself was taken at Berkeley Jazz Festival at the Greek Theatre in 1979, at a time that Mitchell was experimenting with releasing jazz records. It was a major departure from her usual style and wasn't universally well received.

Hancock, by this point already a pioneer of the post-bop sound, would later go on to fuse jazz with electronica and remains influential to this day. Farina had already more or less left the music industry by this point, choosing instead to focus on charity work.

37. Paul and Linda McCartney, Mick Jagger & Bill Wyman

We've already seen from the earlier picture of Diana Ross that when the Rolling Stones play, anyone could turn up. Here we see that truth in effect again; we're backstage with the Stones at New York City's Palladium in 1978. Mick Jagger is holding the floor, and that's Bill Wyman stroking his chin thoughtfully in the middle.

Cast your eyes to the right of the shot, though, and you'll find Paul McCartney and his wife Linda, probably there to ask the Stones for advice on how they've managed to keep on going. Their own band, Wings, was in the process of putting together its third lineup and was moving towards the end. As for the girl on the left? We don't know who she is, but we're pretty sure she's after Jagger's beer.

38. The Righteous Brothers, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, John Lennon & Roberta Flack

Who put this team photo together? We're in New York for the Grammy Awards in 1975, and that's a real chalk and cheese lineup that someone's dragged together for a photo; from left to right we have the Righteous Brothers, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Roberta Flack.

It's a lot of star power, but at the same time, a grouping of people who don't obviously have a lot in common. They can't even get it together for this photograph; almost every single one of them is looking at a different camera, and in the case of Flack, she may even be looking for the exits! Note Bowie's bold decision to pair up a tuxedo with that white brimmed hat and leather clutch bag. Ever the fashionista.

39. David Bowie & Gerald Casale

He gets about, that David Bowie, doesn't he? Here he is again in Kansas City in 1977, to watch a gig at Max's. You may not recognize the man with him though, and most people don't. It's Gerald Casale from Devo.

Devo, unheralded in their own time, were new wave pioneers, eventually going on to gain a cult following and a major influence on bands that followed. With Casale playing a major role in their philosophy, their science-fiction style and use of cutting edge technology of the time like laser discs caught the attention of fellow trendsetter Bowie, and he looks happy here to have caught up with Casale for a chat about how things are going; even if he is a little dressed down by his impeccable standards.

40. Debbie Harry

In the late 70s, there was scarcely a man or boy alive who wouldn't have fallen over themselves to get the chance to meet Blondie's Debbie Harry. It appeared that desire also extended to the animal kingdom, because in Philadelphia 1978, a snake finally got the chance to meet its hero. We know we'd be taking the chance for sure!

Unfortunately for the snake, it doesn't look like the meeting went too well. Its making all the right moves - maintaining a respectful distance, bowing its head in deference - but Harry just isn't remotely interested. She's eyeing it with the same jaded disdain as someone would give to a partner who's just left wet clothes on the bed. The men who brought cameras to capture this historic summit must have left disappointed.

41. Paul Simonon

As well as being bass player with one of the most famous punk rock bands in history in the Clash, Paul Simonon could levitate, as we can see here. And if you think we're wrong, you tell us where the chair is in this picture. He's clearly still practicing the whole 'creative destruction' thing though, as a single upturned beer bottle isn't going to get anybody excited.

Giving us his best punk pout, with what looks like freshly tailored and sloganized clothes, Simonon looks ready for his big break and he's about to get it - the photo was taken at the Royal College of Art in London in 1976, the year before the Clash released their debut album and began the process of replacing the Sex Pistols as the leaders of the movement.

42. Fleetwood Mac

In yet another example of musicians not being able to agree on which camera they're supposed to be looking at, here's a strong entry from Fleetwood Mac, who based on the evidence of the picture, were having a good time when this one was taken at the Los Angeles Rock Awards in 1977.

Mick Fleetwood looks so keen to keep hold of Stevie Nicks that he's practically strangling her, whereas Lindsay Buckingham is looks like he's actually trying to drag everyone to a bar on the other side of the room. Christine McVie appears to be on her tiptoes just trying to make it into the picture at all, and as for John McVie - has he just given himself away as a time traveler by appearing to check his phone in the 1970s?

43. Freddie Mercury

Every aspect of Freddie Mercury's life seemed to be a performance; from the outrageous costumes, the extravagant style on stage and the elaborate theatre of his music videos, he was a consummate professional entertainer who seemed to love the spotlight and thrive in it like few have done before or since. So it's a real novelty to see him in a more down to Earth environment.

Seen here applying makeup backstage before a concert on their hugely successful 'A Day at The Races' tour in 1977, there's something almost reassuring about seeing arguably the greatest front man of all time in a thready dressing gown, surrounded by tea towels and plastic takeaway cups. It turns out he was as human as the rest of us after all - until someone handed him a microphone.

44. Jimi Hendrix

At first glance, this may appear to be a fairly unremarkable photo of Jimi Hendrix, if it was possible to take an unremarkable photo of a man who many consider to be the greatest guitarist who ever drew breath. Dressed for the stage and with a beer in hand, it looks as if he's being led somewhere by the man in front of him, and by the expression on his face they may be in dispute about something as they walk.

What makes this truly haunting, however, is that this is a photo of Hendrix taken on September 6th in Germany at the Love & Peace Festival, where he made his final appearance in concert. Just eleven days later, Hendrix was dead, passing away in his sleep as a lifestyle of hard drugs finally caught up with him. Whether this image captures him making his way to the stage or away from it, he's doing so for the final time.

45. Keith Richards

Have you ever wondered what Keith Richards does when he's not being a Rolling Stone? We have, and we're so glad that this picture has turned up to give us the answers we so desperately need.

Dressed impossibly stylishly - seriously, that outfit would look every bit as cool today as it did back then, and only services to enhance the rumors that Richards isn't as mortal as the rest of us - here's 'Keef' at Knebworth Pop Festival in 1979, beer in hand, on his way to make a special surprise appearance with fellow Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood. Because far from feeling the need to take a vacation when the Stones aren't on tour, it seems that Richards just wants to get back on stage at any chance that presents itself.

46. Mick Jagger

There you have it, kids. Proof that even Mick Jagger was young once. The longest-tenured front man in rock and roll history looks positively cherubic here, and obviously happy to be in company of whoever it is we can't see away to the right of the photo.

Dressed to his fashionable best, pairing a bold smoking jacket with a salmon pink cravat and a train driver's hat, Jagger almost looks like the kind of gentleman that a girl wouldn't worry about taking home to meet her parents. Unfortunately for him in that scenario, by the time this picture was taken in 1970, his reputation would already have preceded him - the Stones and their antics had already been big news for six years. We wonder how this smiling chap would have reacted if someone could have told him he'd still be trying to carry it off nearly 50 years later?

47. Patti Smith

We've noticed a theme here - lead singers or vocalists are always the ones who are standing up in photographs whilst everyone else sits around them. It must just be part of how life in a band works. Here's Patti Smith hanging out with some friends at The Boarding House Nightclub in San Francisco in 1975. Looking at the facial expressions, we get the impression the photographer just disturbed the group by walking through the door, and then made things worse by taking the picture.

By the time this picture was taken, Smith would have released 'Horses', her debut album, and begun a career that would see her inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But what on Earth does she have shoved down the front of her pants?

48. Pink Floyd

This picture was apparently taken in the middle of an interview in 1970 in Germany, but we're not convinced Pink Floyd's David Gilmour is completely paying attention to the questions. In fact, he has the expression and concentration of someone who's trying to play chess with the items in front of him on the table. Nick Mason seems to be handling the answers, whilst Rick Wright stares intently into middle distance.

Judging by what's laid out in front of them, the Pink Floyd boys either had a strong taste for Coca Cola, or a fondness for something it could be mixed with. We'll direct your attention to the short glasses next to the bottles and leave it to your imagination. The photo would have been taken some time around the release of the album 'Atom Heart Mother'.

49. Queen

Come on, guys. Could we not have done a little better than forcing one of the world's biggest bands to get changed before a concert in what looks like a high school gym? And even if that was necessary, couldn't someone have waited for Brian May to finish putting his shirt on before taking a photo? It just seems rude!

Even at the time this picture was taken - 1977 - Queen were a major touring act, onto their sixth studio album, but were perhaps still better known at home in Britain than in the US, where we find them here. Given the scale and scope of their usual stage shows, the environment seems a little humbling, and it all might be too much to take for John Deacon, who's sprawled out across a bench.

50. The Ramones

It may surprise younger readers to know that 'the Ramones' isn't just a label on cool t-shirts and accessories that you can pick up at a well-known high street store. A long time ago, they were a wildly popular, highly successful punk rock band!

By far the biggest influence on the punk movement in the United States, here they are at the Old Waldorf club in San Francisco in January 1978, and this is therefore one of the last pictures of the band before original drummer Tommy Ramone left, having become tired of touring. Popular to common belief, none of the band members were related; taking the surname 'Ramone' was a condition of joining the group. Without them, would sales of leather jackets and ripped up jeans ever have hit the same heights? We suspect not!



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