MusicStories

Rock bands photos before they became popular (updated)

5 Mins read

(Last update: 22 September 2020. 20 new photos added)

Rock music history starts with these photos. All these rock bands became popular in a year or two after these photos were made. And all of them had hundreds if not thousands of stylish photoshoots then, with professional lights, makeup, and expensive cameras involved. But not on these pictures, which are not even credited because they were made by the band’s friends or relatives when they didn’t believe that photo heroes will become world-famous.

Even more music history photos!

On many of these music history photos of the bands you used to listen to, you’ll find unknown faces, even if you used to think that you know rock music well. Don’t be surprised: bandmembers joined and departed, the lineup changed often. For example, the initial lead vocalist of The Queen left the band because he didn’t believe that Jon Taylor and Brian May will ever produce a good song. He switched to the jazz band instead and finished his musical career a few

Read more: Rock music photo history of the 60s in 33 pictures

years later. The Rolling Stones started as a band of five members, while you may know them as quartets. The Pink Floyd starts with Sid Barret as a vocalist, who left the band after Gilmore joined the team. Now this history of rock music stays in photos.

And there’s one thing which connects all these music history photos: integrity—a pure young-hood, raw talents, without layers added by popularity, producers, and labels.

Read more: 20 Rare pictures from UK tour of Bob Dylan in 1965 and 1966

ac\dc music history photos

AC\DC, 1978: This photo was taken in Sydney, 5 years after the band was founded, and two years before their first hit album “Highway to hell.” Vocalist and song co-writer Bon Scott is still here: he’ll pass away in two years because of alcohol poisoning.

Early AC\DC photo

This photo of AC\DC looks even younger. Circa 1969

Aerosmith, history photo

Aerosmith,  1973: This photo in New York was taken a few months after its first album release. Originally formed in Boston, the band recorded their song “Dream on” in NYC this year.

Black Sabbath music history photos

Black Sabbath, 1970: band released two albums in 1970th: “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid.” This photo was taken between records sessions. Though it received a negative critical response, the album was a commercial success, leading to Paranoid’s follow-up record.

music history photos

Deep Purple, 1968: this photo was made in May, in London, where bandmates recorded their debut album. It will top the UK chart and hit the 4th position in the US in just four months.

Depeche Mode music history photos

Depeche Mode, 1981: originally founded by Michael Gore and Andy Fletcher in 1977, the band changed its name several times until they gained David Gahan in 1980, and recorded their first album “Speak and spell” in 1981, which brought Depeche Mode on the top of the new wave.

Young Depeche Mode photo

And this photo of Depeche Mode. Dave Gahan is so young…

Kiss, early photo

Kiss, 1973: The started as Wicked Lester but renamed to “Kiss” in 1973 when guitarist Ace Frehley joined the band. The most bizarre photos in the rock history of the 70s picture this band.

Metallica, history photo

Metallica, 1983: the band was formed in Los Angeles in late 1981 when Danish-born drummer Lars Ulrich placed an advertisement in a Los Angeles newspaper, The Recycler, which read, “Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head, and Iron Maiden.”Guitarists James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner of Leather Charm answered the advertisement.

It may seem that this photo of Metallica was taken during their school years.

Pink Floyd music history photos

Pink Floyd, 1968: the tipping point time of the band. David Gilmour has already joined them, and Syd Barret hasn’t left yet. In several months Barret will depart for the solo career, and Gilmour will lead Floyd to its golden age.

RHCP early photo

Red Hot Chilly Peppers, 1984: formed by classmates at Fairfax High School in 1983, the band consisted of singer Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Hillel Slovak, bassist Flea, and drummer Jack Irons. Los Angeles never received such love from a single rock band since The Doors times.

Sex Pistols 1977 photo

Sex Pistols, 1977: This photo was made in the mid-1977 when Sid Vicious has replaced Glen Matlock. Genius managed by Malcolm McLaren, the band has a bombshell effect, changing the rock landscape forever. “Rock is sick and lives in London” was a headline for a cover story in the Rolling Stone magazine covering Sex Pistols phenomena.

The Sex Pistols young

Another early photo of The Sex Pistols

The Beatles history photo

The Beatles, 1957: Sir Paul McCartney is 15 on this photo, brought by parents to participate in a no-name band performance somewhere in Liverpool. Rock music history starts with this photo.

early photo U2

U2, 1979: In 1976, Larry Mullen Jr., then a 14-year-old student at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, Ireland, posted a note on the school’s notice board in search of musicians a new band. Six people responded and met at his house on 25 September. Set up in the kitchen, Mullen was on drums, with Paul Hewson (“Bono”) on lead vocals; David Evans (“the Edge”) and his older brother Dik Evans on guitar; Adam Clayton, a friend of the Evans brothers, on bass guitar;

U2 teenagers

And this U2 photo

Van Halen, early photo

Van Halen, 1972: Edie Van Halen formed his band in 1971, and took him 10 years to become one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the US. If Mozart was alive in the 20th century, his name was Van Halen, The Roling  Stone magazine wrote at the beginning of the 80s.

Rolling Stones, 1962: it’s their first performance ever. So many albums, titles, and outsold concerts lay before them. How can you imagine music history without this photo?

Young members The Rolling Stones

Young members of The Rolling Stones

The Doors early photo

The Doors, 1965: the band was formed this year, and believe it or not, not so many rock performers were brave enough to list a keyboardist among the bandmembers. Ray Manzarek was such a keyboardist. A genius behind Jim Morrisson’s charisma who fueled the band’s success.

The Police early photo

The Police, 1977: The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For most of their history, the line-up consisted of primary songwriter Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar), Andy Summers (guitar), and Stewart Copeland (drums, percussion). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Emerging in the British new wave scene, they played a rock style influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz. Considered one of the Second British Invasion leaders of the U.S., in 1983, Rolling Stone labeled them “the first British New Wave act to a breakthrough in America on a grand scale, and possibly the biggest band the world.

The Smiths

The Smiths

The Prodigy

The Prodigy

The Cure

The Cure

SODOM

SODOM

Sepultura

Sepultura

R.E.M.

R.E.M.

Napalm Death

Napalm Death

Mayhem

Mayhem

Manic Street Preachers

Manic Street Preachers

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Green Day

Green Day

Def Leppard

Def Leppard

Bee Gees

Bee Gees

Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys

Anthrax

Anthrax

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