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History of Rock & Roll Images

The Frying Pan Guitar Patent

The patent for the Rickenbacker Frying Pan guitar issued in 1937.

Transistor Radios

Early transistor radios: the red Regency transistor released in 1954, and the green Sony transistor in 1955.

Alan Freed's Moondog Coronation Ball

Concert poster for the Moondog Coronation Ball thrown by Alan Freed of the Moondog Radio Show, considered by some to have been the first rock and roll concert.

Little Richard Rocks

The vivacious Little Richard pounds the piano keys during a live performance, c. 1956.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Singer Jerry Lee Lewis, like his influence Little Richard, stands as he performs a lively rock and roll song, c. 1957.

Chuck Berry "Duck Walking"

Musician Chuck Berry, an early rock and roll star, performing the "duck walk" with his electric guitar.


A young Elvis Presley, c. 1957.

The Beatles, Live

The Beatles perform for the first time on U.S. television as guests on the Ed Sullivan Show, 9 February 1964.

"The Beatles Are Coming!"

American fans await the arrival of the Beatles at JFK airport, 7 February 1964.

"The Beatles Are Leaving!"

Thousands of fans swarm New York's JFK airport waiting to catch a glimpse of the Fab Four before they return to England after a two-week visit in the U.S., 21 February 1964.

Young Rolling Stones

A photo of The Rolling Stones, "long hair" and all, taken in 1964.

The Beatles' Controversial Cover Art

The original "butcher" cover art for the Beatles album Yesterday and Today recalled by Capitol Records following complaints, 1966.

Revised Beatles' Cover Art

Captiol Records released this revised edition of the Beatles album Yesterday and Today after recalling the original version due to its controversial cover art, 1966.

Jimi Hendrix

The rock legend Jimi Hendrix, pictured at the height of his career, c. 1967.

Ad for a San Francisco Be-In

A poster for the Gathering of the Tribes, or the Human Be-In, event, a free concert held in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, 14 January 1967, the first of many free music-in-the-park events held in the late 1960s.

Jimi Hendrix Performs

A 1987 edition of Rolling Stone magazine featured an image of rock musician Jimi Hendrix on stage on the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, igniting his guitar at the end of his set.

Ad for Woodstock Music & Art Fair

A poster announcing the three-day Woodstock Music & Art Fair held in upstate New York in August 1969.

Woodstock Tickets

Tickets to the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.

Axis: Bold as Love

The cover art for Jimi Hendrix Experience's album, Axis: Bold as Love (1967).

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin—a powerhouse onstage, and considered by many to have been the first great female rock star.

Grace Slick

Fierce singer-songwriter Grace Slick, the front woman for '60s psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane.

The Rolling Stones' Controversial Cover Art

In 1968, Decca records withdrew the Rolling Stones, Beggar's Banquet album due to this "vulgar" cover art.

Ad for Pink Floyd's The Wall

Movie poster advertising Pink Floyd: The Wall, an animated film set to the music from the album of the same name, 1982.

Presley and Nixon

In one of the most requested White House photos—and one of the more startling—'50s rebel rocker Elvis Presley poses with Republican president, and former member of the House Un-American Activities Commission, Richard Nixon, c. 1970.

John Lennon's Last Photo

The February 1970 cover of Rolling Stone magazine is a photo taken by Annie Leibovitz on the morning of 8 December 1980, the same day John Lennon would be fatally shot in front of the Dakota apartment building in New York.

"Rock's New Sensation"

The October 1975 edition of Time magazine, featuring "Rock's New Sensation," Bruce Springsteen.

Prince Performs

Prince performs at Chicago's Uptown Theatre, c. 1980.


The band KISS, in full makeup, on the cover of their hit self-titled album.

KISS Without Makeup

The band KISS, without their makeup, on the cover of their 1983 release Lick It Up.

The Controversy of Love Sexy

In 1988 and 1989, record retailers throughout the country refused to stock this Prince album, Love Sexy, because of its provocative cover art.

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