It’s with nice disappointment that we heard of the loss of life of Tom Wright, photographer, very long time good friend and tour supervisor of The Who. An American from Alabama, Tom studied images at Ealing Faculty of Artwork within the early Sixties which is the place he launched graphic design college students Pete Townshend and his flatmate Richard Barnes to the dual pleasures of smoking marijuana and listening to American blues, jazz, people and R&B. Tom’s huge file assortment included artists comparable to Jimmy Reed, Lightning Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter and Snooks Eaglin, together with the likes of Joan Baez, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Julie London and Mose Allison.
When he was busted for possession and threatened with deportation, Tom obtained himself an airplane ticket again to America, leaving his whole file assortment within the arms of Pete Townshend. By way of this extraordinary and eclectic mixture of albums and singles Pete then started to develop his personal particular person, rhythmic model which later outlined The Who’s distinctive sound, shifting them away from being simply one other 60s beat group right into a ‘most’ R&B group and later the legendary behemoth that turned ‘the very best stay rock’n’roll band on this planet’.
When The Who toured the US in the summertime of 1967 as help band for Herman’s Hermits, Tom joined them as their highway supervisor and tour photographer and from these early days within the band’s profession got here a few of the most defining photos of the interval. He toured with The Who for an additional two US excursions in 1968, photographing the band continuously earlier than taking up the job of supervisor of Russ Gibb’s prestigious Grande Ballroom in Detroit for a few years.
Over the subsequent thirty 5 years Tom toured with Rod Stewart and The Faces, the Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Joe Walsh and The James Gang, Elvis Costello and lots of others, continuously photographing the bands, their crews, their reveals and life on the highway.
In 2007, with the help of Susan VanHecke, he wrote Roadwork: Rock and Roll Turned Inside Out, a gritty e book filled with tall tales, anecdotes and loads of fabulous black-and-white images of life on the highway within the US, revealed within the US by Hal Leonard and by Omnibus within the UK. Pete Townshend wrote the foreword through which he commented, “One factor is definite, had I not met Tom Wright, The Who would by no means have develop into profitable. We’d have remained The Detours, a stable little pop band doing what lots of of others have been doing across the identical time . . .”
Tom made his residence for a few years in San Antonio, Texas and in 1993 the Dolph Briscoe Heart for American Historical past on the College of Texas at Austin turned the repository for Tom Wright’s archive of over 120,000 images and 1000’s of rock music tape and phonographic recordings.
On the publication of Tom’s e book in 2007 The Heart for American Historical past honoured Tom Wright at a reception at Austin’s Headliner’s Membership with supporters, members of the family, and buddies gathering to acknowledge Tom’s contribution to rock and roll historical past. Among the many company have been the occasion’s host and speaker, Pete Townshend, and Joe Walsh and Ian McLagan.
Ian McLagen, Pete Townshend and Joe Walsh with Tom Wright and his household. Photograph by William Snyder
Relaxation in peace, Tom. You have been a one-off.
Above, Tom Wright and Pete Townshend. Photograph by William Snyder
“Tom Wright is the Jack Kerouac of rock and roll images” ~ Joe Walsh
“Tom Wright – a f**king nice photographer with a particular contact.” ~ Keith Richards
Portrait of Tom by Royce Deans.
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