Art Music

Mick Jagger Turns 80 Today. 50 Years Ago, This Photographer Took Him to a Fish and Chip Shop

David Montgomery, The Rolling Stones, 1971. Image courtesy of the photographer.

For our Summer 2023 issue, CULTURED asked four iconic photographers to share a music-inspired summer snapshot from their archives.

“I was making a living as an advertising photographer, but I also did a lot of editorial work for The Sunday Times. I was shooting plenty of royalty and prime ministers for the magazine. I ended up taking this picture of the Rolling Stones as a favor for a friend of mine. I never went to clubs, I was not on the scene—I was the scene, if you know what I mean.

Mick [Jagger] was a couple of hours late; it was summertime and hot. The rest of the band was politely sitting around. By the time Mick came, we were all a bit hungry. There was a fish and chips shop down at the bottom of the road. I thought, Well, since they’re an English band, I’ll shoot it in a fish shop for some nice local color. Everybody eats fish and chips, nothing glamorous about it.

There were some teenagers in there, but nobody paid any attention to us. That’s the great thing about London, or England anyway. The band was busy talking amongst themselves, so I had my hands full getting them all to look at the camera. I was starting to get a bit fed up with it. I thought, Let’s just get this done. I want to go home and have supper. 

Mick was clearly tired, not the most dynamic, but you knew he was ‘the one.’ He was a little bit obstinate. I've gotten over it now, and I think he's great. He's a one-off character. I've been to four concerts of the band, and I can honestly say I was never let down. 

Photography by David Montgomery, 1971. Image courtesy of the photographer.

I moved into the studio where I took the indoor pictures [for the album shoot]. My wife turned it into a nice place. She said, 'Why don't we put up the picture of Mick?' So we made a six-foot-high print of Mick holding the album cover. It's taken us months to try and get in touch with him. It's like he does not exist, or he must think I’m some nutty guy who collects autographs.

I’ve photographed Jimi Hendrix, who was truly special, the Queen, and even Paul McCartney, but Mick is like electric, you know? Look, they’re the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world. That’s all there is to it. The fish and chips shop is still around, only it moved down a half a block. When I go there, I always think, Did that really happen? Was that really real?

For photographer Ming Smith on Black family and a summer jazz festival, click here.

For Jamel Shabazz on his photographic playground, Times Square, click here.

To look back at Derek Ridgers's experience with rabid Cramps fans, click here