Jagger and Hendrix star in My Generation: Glory Years of British Rock at The Public

By Ben Miller | 24 October 2011
A black and white photo of a rock star singing into a microphone
© Harry Goodwin and BBC
Exhibition: My Generation – The Glory Years of British Rock, The Public, West Bromwich, October 21 2011 – January 15 2012

If Harry Goodwin thought he was in for a tough time working with the RAF as a young photographer during World War II, he was in for further volatility when he was signed as resident photographer for Top of the Pops in 1964.

Goodwin found Jimi Hendrix playing guitar with his teeth, a grumpy Bob Dylan leaving unimpressed having been temporarily blinded by a flash and Elton John pouting smoulderingly into a mirror, white-rimmed glasses and shimmering suit to hand.

"There was a 12-week pilot of the series in 1964, and they needed someone to photograph the bands," he recalled.

The flair of an artist who had only previously sold "the odd photo to the Radio Times" was immediately apparent to his new commissioners, and he remained a fixture for ten years, portraying the likes of Paul McCartney, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, The Who and The Jackson 5.

"Top of the Pops was an iconic television programme, much loved by generations of people," reminisces Linda Saunders, the Managing Director of The Public, which has secured this tour from the V&A and is putting the photos on show as part of its Art of Noise exhibitions programme.

"The work of Harry Goodwin brings back to life the energy and charisma of the institutional show."

  • Open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Saturday (11am-3pm Sunday). Admission free.

More pictures from the show:

A black and white photo of a man in a suit playing drums and smiling
Little Stevie Wonder pictured on the drums at the Odeon, Manchester during the poorly-attended UK Tamla Motown revue tour (March 30 1965)© Harry Goodwin and BBC
A black and white photo of a man in a jacket with a peace message on it holding his chin
John Lennon gives Top of the Pops a chance
© Harry Goodwin and BBC
A photo of a group of young singers in flamboyant shirts
The Jackson 5 backstage at BBC Television Centre (November 12 1972)© Harry Goodwin and BBC
A black and white photo of a rockstar in a 1980s outfit looking into the mirror
Elton John (June 1972)
© Harry Goodwin and BBC
A black and white photo of a band dancing in sequence in a dressing room
The Who pose for the TV special, Into '71 (December 30 1970)© Harry Goodwin and BBC
A black and white photo of a young rockstar in a suit holding a guitar
Jimi Hendrix on stage at the New Century Hall, Manchester (January 7 1967)© Harry Goodwin and BBC
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