The Beatles on the Cover of Rock & Rowlands Flashback: Five Decades of Music Photography Rock & Rowlands Flashback: Five Decades of Music Photography Title

The World's Greatest
Rock and Roll Photography Book
Of All Time!
by John R. Rowlands


Rock & Rowlands Flashback photographer John R. Rowlands
John R. Rowlands' band The Sapphires

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Tina Turner Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Linda Ronstadt Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Rod Stewart Photo in Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones in Rock & Rowlands Flashback


Music and photography came together on September 26th 1960 in Ottawa Canada when 50s rock and roll star Brenda Lee came to sing.

The photographer John Rowlands with the Rock & Rowlands Flashback book John Rowlands, a 13 year old teen fan of the recording artist, with an advance on his weekly allowance and money made from his morning paper route bought a ticket. Sensing it was a long shot that she might ever be his girlfriend he took along his father's camera, a single roll of film and 12 flash bulbs. At least he would take her home in a camera.

The show over he followed his peers towards the exit until he saw a sign in a hallway that would change his life. It read "Brenda Lee and the Casuals" and it was their dressing room. Without a moment's thought he walked down the hall and knocked on the door not knowing what to expect.

Brenda's mother opened it and hearing that he wanted to tell her he enjoyed the show and ask for her autograph she allowed him in and introduced Brenda. The recording star and the fan sat beside each other and talked for half and hour, he got the autograph, her address and for carrying her suitcase to the car he got a kiss goodnight.

Once the film was processed he had tangible evidence of a treasure of memories of that girl, that rock and roll star, that sweetheart. He had locked her up in time on photographic paper and it kept the memories alive.

He sent the pictures to her address in Nashville.

Weeks later a letter requesting the negatives and accompanied by a check for $35 arrived. This was a small fortune for a 13 year old in 1960 when gold was $32 an ounce. He mailed off the negatives with no idea that the music business would soon take over his life.

Two months later John got a call at home from an adult and his mother reluctantly handed over the phone. The man asked him if he could take pictures of the guest on the local Coca Cola Campus Club radio show. "Just show up and take a roll of film, give it to his manager and he'll pay you $50."

The radio show ended with thanks and handshakes. Rowlands surrendered the film and collected his cash. The manager asked that Rowlands wait and he could meet the entertainer.

"John" said the manager, "this is Sam, ...Sam Cook."

It was like buying TEEN magazine on day and meeting everyone in it the next. You had to be insane not to like this.

Phone calls continued and next through his lens was Bobby Vee, The Ventures, Duane Eddy and then a rising population of local bands. This "kid" photographed with Dad's camera was right there to take them. Getting paid was a bonus. There was a lot to talk about at school now and it was all backed up with the goods, the photographs ...the proof.

Rowlands hasn't looked back as the Rock & Rowlands Flashback photography book will attest. At 18 he toured with the Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones and Beatles. He has worked with Elvis, Dylan and Springsteen and many of the icons of the music industry over the past 5 decades.

J.R. continues to photograph his musical favorites all over the world from his home in Ottawa, Canada.


David Bowie Archer Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback

the art of rock photography



Peter Frampton Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback Chuck Berry Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback



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Neil Diamond Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Mick Jagger Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Paul Stanley from Kiss in Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Young Michael Jackson Photo from Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Pete Townshend and Keith Moon in Rock & Rowlands Flashback

Bruce Springsteen from Rock & Rowlands Flashback

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