My favourite rock ‘n roll photograph of all time adorns the inside gatefold sleeve of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Pendulum album. It’s a shot taken from the stage, looking out over the audience. The only band-member visible is singer John Fogerty, his arms stretched out like a scarecrow and his back to the camera. What’s extraordinary about the picture is the audience reaction. Hundreds of faces in the crowd of thousands are clearly in focus, and each and every one of them is smiling gleefully, even ecstatically. I always wondered why. Had Fogerty just told a joke? Had he ordered gumbo for the entire auditorium? In my mind the moment catches the opening lines of ‘Travelling Band’, with the singer holding his arms out to emphasise the first couplet: “737 coming outta the sky… won’t you take me down to Memphis on a midnight ride.” I’d love to know what the real story is.
Anyhow, turns out the picture was taken by Baron Wolman, a photographer from the early days of Rolling Stone magazine. He even sells prints of the Creedence photo on his site. In one of those impulsive ‘I need one of those more than I need to eat’ moments I almost bought one, before realising that I actually wouldn’t be able to afford to eat if I did.