On Tour with Bob Gruen

  • Written by 
  • Friday, 17 May 2013 10:08
John Lennon and Yoko Ono John Lennon and Yoko Ono Bob Gruen

Go on tour with legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen, who is one of the most well-known and respected photographers in Rock and Roll.

I was 24 years old when I met Ike and Tina Turner, and they were the first well known band I worked with. A friend of mine told me I should go see them and I became an immediate fan. Soon after that I went to see them again at a club called the Honka Monka Club, and brought my camera. I took some good pictures that night and at the end of the show Tina danced off stage with a strobe light flashing. I didn’t know where to set the focus or the exposure, but I thought that maybe if I tried a one second exposure I could catch several images of Tina in the flashes of light. One of the pictures came out really well capturing the energy and excitement that is Tina Turner! A few days later when I went to another Ike & Tina show I brought the pictures to show my friends. After the show one of my friends saw Ike Turner and pushed me in front of him saying ‘Show Ike your pictures!’ Ike looked at the pictures and took me into the dressing room to show Tina. They both liked my pictures a lot and asked me to come and work with them.

This changed my life and started my career. Ike introduced me to the publicist for their record company who took me to parties and introduced me to more people in the music business. Ike brought me to California to spend a week taking pictures there and one of those pictures became the cover for their “’Nuff Said” album, my first album cover photo. I also made a lot of video tapes for them; Tina liked being able to show the tapes to the Ikettes right after the show to help improve their act. An edited collection of these tapes is now available on DVD.

Ike and Tina broke up in the mid ‘70s but I remained in touch with them as they both pursued their solo careers. I was at the Ritz in New York in 1983 when Tina made her triumphant comeback show there and Keith Richards came backstage to congratulate her and I got a great picture of them together. It was good to see her continued success in the next 20 years, including a world wide TV duet with Mick Jagger. I was there in Paris when Tina recorded a video in front of the Eiffel Tower, and later in 2002 I was fortunate to again be in Paris to see Ike playing at The Meridian Hotel.

Bob Gruen
New York City
February 2013

01 – 02 Tina Turner, Honka Monka Club, NYC – July 8, 1970
03 – Tina Turner, Eiffel Tower, Paris, France – September 1984 04 – Ike Turner, Hotel Le Meridien Etoile, Paris, France –
February 2002
05 – Keith Richards & Tina Turner, The Ritz,
NYC – 1983
06 – Tina Turner, Backstage at Jones Beach Theater,
Wantagh, NY – August 1987
07 – Ike & Tina Turner with The Ikettes, International Youth Expo, NYC – July 5, 1971 08 – Ike & Tina Turner, Honka Monka Club, NYC –
July 8, 1970
09 – Tina Turner and Mick Jagger, Live Aid, JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA. – July 13, 1985 10 – Ike & Tina Turner, Empire Room at The Waldorf-
Astoria, NYC – March 1976


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Written By:

Bob Gruen

Tokyo Journal columnist Bob Gruen is one of the most well known and respected photographers in Rock and Roll. By the mid 1970s he was already regarded as one of the foremost documenters of the music scene working with major artists such as John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Elton John, Kiss, Aerosmith, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, etc., and also covering the emerging New Wave and Punk bands including The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones & Blondie.


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