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Rock Photographer Takes Us Behind the Scenes With Bob Marley, Keith Richards

Lynn Goldsmith dishes about some of her famous subjects in ‘Music in the ’80s’

spinner image chrissie hynde of the pretenders and bob marley photographed by lynn goldsmith
(Left to right) Chrissie Hynde and Bob Marley
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

For half a century, Lynn Goldsmith has photographed some of the biggest names in music for magazines including Newsweek, Rolling Stone and People. Her latest book, Music in the ’80s, offers a look at a decade that produced countless new stars and also gave new life to those who had hit it big in prior decades.

“As I started to put the pictures together, I realized what an amazing era it was,” she says. Music in the ’80s includes studio portraits as well as shots of artists in concert, at home and on the streets of New York. “I try to create an environment that is comfortable for them to be in where they feel there’s collaboration,” Goldsmith says. “I want it to be fun for me as well as fun for them."

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Here are a few of Goldstein’s behind-the-scenes stories.

spinner image woman on the street watching keith richards walk by
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Keith Richards: “The person who’s always himself and never a rock star is Keith Richards. What you see is what you get, and he’s very open,” Goldsmith says. “One of my favorite pictures in the book is a double-page spread of him. We were walking down 36th Street in New York, and this older woman obviously thought he might be somebody because I was taking his picture, but she had no idea. He’s just a gentleman and a lovely person all the time.”

spinner image a photo of reggae musician bob marley by lynn goldsmith
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Bob Marley: “There’s a picture of Bob Marley signing autographs and a crowd of people around him, and there’s also a picture of him looking really happy,” she says. “At that time, he had cancer, which caused him a lot of pain. It was really inspiring to me to see him be able to not only go out there and perform, but the way that he was with people. He was just open and positive and didn’t show the pain that he must have been going through.”

spinner image the go gos photographed by lynn goldsmith
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

The Go-Go’s: Goldsmith shot the band members early in their career at a house they shared. “It was great, because the Go-Go’s were new, and they were a bunch of girls all helping each other with their makeup. And then I’d gone to see them perform — which there’s a picture of — and I thought that they were the worst band I’d ever heard in my life!” she says, laughing. “People get better as they continue to play. U2 wasn’t very good in the beginning, either.”

spinner image chrissie hynde of the pretenders photographed by lynn goldsmith
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Chrissie Hynde: “Chrissie Hynde didn’t want any makeup,” Goldsmith remembers of her session with the Pretenders singer. “In those days — particularly before MTV really took hold and people cared more about what they looked like on film — you often had to break the barrier of [artists] feeling that what you were doing wasn’t authentic.”

spinner image a portrait of prince photographed by lynn goldsmith
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Prince: “Prince was pretty new at that point,” Goldman says of her 1981 shoot with the star. “But I mean, everybody knew when they heard Prince back then — I did, anyway. That was why I suggested to Newsweek that I wanted to work with him.” The image is still making headlines: In October 2022, a copyright infringement case based on Andy Warhol’s use of Goldsmith’s photograph went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

spinner image michael jackson at the jackson five victory tour in nineteen eighty four
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Michael Jackson: Goldsmith photographed Michael Jackson several times over the years. “He was pretty much the greatest show on earth as far as I’m concerned,” she says.

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