it’s always a pleasure to introduce new work on some of our favourite subjects to our clients, and with a collection featuring Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry, Thin Lizzy alongside a wealth of other great names from the seventies and eighties, the archives of British photographer Chalkie Davies are a complete treat.
One particular highlight for me is the shot alongside, of Bruce Springsteen standing outside Hammersmith Odeon in 1975, under the "Finally. London is Ready" billboard, and which Chalkie recalls well. I will let him take it from here:
“In 1975 Bruce Springsteen was hailed as the saviour of Rock and Roll by the CBS hype machine in America, and he came to London in November 1975 to play two shows at the Hammersmith Odeon. But, Bruce was a shy and sensitive artist and the hype bore heavily on his shoulders. There was a party after the show in the Balcony Bar and I knew that the only way for him to get there from Backstage was to walk around the side of the building. I waited near the front of the Theatre with some fans when he walked alone towards us, wearing the same wooly hat that he had performed in. He looked more like a homeless person than a rock star. He signed a couple of autographs and then looked up at the big sign above the entrance. ‘Finally London is Ready for Bruce Springsteen’ it proclaimed.
I took this photo exactly at the moment he was reading it. His mood changed immediately and he appeared agitated and upset, I took no further photos but watched as he ripped down a poster inside the theatre before going upstairs and joining his party. After talking to a couple of the record company executives he told his manager to instruct CBS to stop the hype and let the music sell itself.
This is a very intimate moment in rock history and I’m very lucky to have been in the right place and the right time to witness it.”
Chalkie’s recollections really bring it to life, as do his recollections on each of the other photographs we are profiling on the website. Personally, I’m also very partial the front and back cover photographs from The Specials’ first album, and a ghostly shot of the band alongside The River Thames in London titled (of course) "Ghost Town". Phil Lynott with schoolboy fans at the Japanese train station is a cracker, as is with the shot of Phil and Graham Parker, and Bowie fans will recognise the session for the Absolute Beginners single. Check them out for yourself here, and make sure you read the story that goes with each image.
Chalkie’s work is available in signed limited editions, with a maximum cap of 45 examples of each image (and that means 45 in total across all size options).