Bob Gruen

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Bob Gruen
Bob Gruen.jpg
New York, New York, US
Years active1970–present
Spouse(s)m. 1995 Elizabeth Gregory Gruen
WebsiteOfficial website

Bob Gruen (born 1945) is an American author and photographer known for his rock 'n' roll photographs. By the mid 1970s Gruen was already regarded as one of the foremost photographers in music working with major artist such as John Lennon, Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and Kiss. He also covered emerging New Wave and Punk rock bands, including the New York Dolls, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones, and Blondie. Gruen has also appeared in films.


Gruen was born in New York City. He credited Ike Turner with starting his career. He first saw Ike & Tina Turner open for Sam & Dave at New York's Felt Forum in 1969.[1] He followed the Turners around to other gigs and took photos of them at the Honka Monka nightclub in Queens in 1970.[2] Gruen showed Turner the photos and was invited to work with them. "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," he said.[2] Gruen developed a friendship with the Turners who invited him to photograph them in California.[1] Gruen shot the cover of their 1971 album 'Nuff Said.[2] In 2012, Gruen released Ike & Tina On The Road: 1971–72, a documentary he filmed of the Turners at their home in California and on tour across the country.[3][4][5]

After meeting Ike & Tina Turner he began photographing Bob Dylan and served as John Lennon's personal photographer during his time in New York City in 1971. Gruen is best known for his photograph of Lennon wearing a New York City T-shirt. Other notable celebrities and rock bands photographed by Gruen include the New York Dolls, The Clash, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Patti Smith Group, Blondie, Led Zeppelin, The Who, David Bowie, Elton John, Aerosmith, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Courtney Love and Green Day.[6]

From December 2011 to January 2012, the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles held an exhibition of Gruen's photographs from his book Rock Seen.[7][8] Gruen's photographs have been on display at various galleries and art institutions, including the Morris Museum in New Jersey and Liss Gallery in Vancouver.[9][10][11] Since 1980 Morrison Hotel Gallery has been the primary representative for Gruen's photography.

In 2020, Gruen released his memoir Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer.[12]

As a humanitarian, Gruen has worked with many local and international charities to raise money in support of their life-affirming missions. A partial list includes: WhyHunger, Her Justice, Tibet House, The Kristen Ann Carrr Fund, The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Save The Music, MusicCares, and Aperture Foundation.[13]


Bob's magical photos and brilliantly telling captions together present a kaleidoscope of John Lennon's New York Period. It is beautiful, clear, and truthful. I know. I was there.

—Yoko Ono (John Lennon: The New York Years by Bob Gruen)

In June 2004, Gruen was presented with Mojo magazine's prestigious Honours List Award for Classic Image in London.

In 2007, he received the International Society of Photographers Outstanding Achievement Award and the Great Neck Arts Center Artist of Distinction Award.

In 2010, Gruen was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.[14]

In 2014, his film Ike & Tina On The Road: 1971–72 won the Living Blues Award for Best Blues DVD of 2013.[15]

For his many charitable contributions, Gruen received the first ever John Lennon Real Love Award at the 32nd Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert in December 2014.[13]


  • The Sex Pistols: Chaos (1990), ISBN 978-0711921214
  • The Rolling Stones Crossfire Hurricane (1997), Genesis Publications
  • The Clash (2004), ISBN 978-1903399347
  • John Lennon The New York Years (2005), ISBN 978-1584794325
  • Rockers: The Exhibit (Cosac Naify, 2007)
  • New York Dolls Photographs by Bob Gruen (2008), ISBN 978-0810972711
  • Rock Seen: Bob Gruen (2011), ISBN 978-0810997721
  • Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer (2020), ISBN 978-1419742132


External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tina Turner Blog Interview: Bob Gruen". Tina Turner Blog. November 13, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Gruen, Bob (May 21, 2018). "Bob Gruen's Electric Photos of Ike & Tina Turner". PleaseKillMe.
  3. ^ Britt, Grant (December 20, 2012). "DVD Review – Ike and Tina "On The Road 1971-72"". No Depression.
  4. ^ Butcher, Terrence (November 26, 2012). "Imagine This Power Duo Together Again: 'Ike & Tina: On the Road: 1971-72'". PopMatters.
  5. ^ "The other side of Ike and Tina Turner". Page Six. October 9, 2013.
  6. ^ Sun, Feifei (April 25, 2008). "Bob Gruen's Rock 'n' Roll Photo Opening". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 26, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Rock Seen - Bob Gruen - Exhibitions". Fahey Klein Gallery. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  8. ^ "Bob Gruen's Iconic Rock Photos". Rolling Stone. August 8, 2011. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  9. ^ "Bob Gruen: ROCKERS". Pearlstein Gallery. April 11, 2017. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  10. ^ "Bob Gruen: Rock Seen | Morris Museum". Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  11. ^ Kurucz, John (July 14, 2017). "From Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga, Bob Gruen's caught them on film". Vancouver Courier. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  12. ^ Arnold, Chuck (October 20, 2020). "Rock photographer Bob Gruen reveals true stories behind his classic shots". New York Post. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  13. ^ a b "39th Annual John Lennon Tribute". 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute.
  14. ^ "Bob Gruen". Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
  15. ^ "2014 Living Blues Awards". Living Blues Magazine. April 15, 2014.