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Bob Gruen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bob Gruen
Years active1970–present
Nadya Beck
Elizabeth Gregroy Gruen
(m. 1995)
WebsiteOfficial website

Bob Gruen (born October 23, 1945) is an American author and photographer known for his rock and 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 and raised in New York.[1] After he dropped out of college and quit his job in a photo booth at the New York World's Fair in Queens, he attended the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and took photographs of Bob Dylan performing.[2]

Gruen credits Ike Turner with starting his career.[3] He first saw Ike & Tina Turner perform at Madison Square Garden during the Rolling Stones' American tour in 1969.[a][4] In 1970, Gruen took photographs of them performing at the Honka Monka nightclub in Queens.[3] He showed Turner the photographs and was invited to photograph them in California. "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.[3] Gruen developed a friendship with the Turners and shot the cover of their 1971 album 'Nuff Said.[3] In 2012, Gruen released Ike & Tina On The Road: 1971–72, a documentary he and his then-wife Nadya filmed of the Turners at their home and on tour.[5][6]

Gruen 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, Sonny & Cher, Blondie, Led Zeppelin, the Who, David Bowie, Elton John, Aerosmith, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Courtney Love, and Green Day.[7][8]

Since 1980, Morrison Hotel Gallery has been the primary representative for Gruen's photography. His work is included in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.[9]

In 2008, Gruen's Rockers, a 280 photograph installation, exhibited at Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York.[10] 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.[11][12] His photographs have been exhibited at various art galleries and museums internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, Sotheby's S/2 Gallery London, the Morris Museum in New Jersey, Shelburne Museum in Vermont.[13][14][15]

In 2020, Gruen released his memoir Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer.[16]

Personal life


Gruen has a son, Kris Gruen, with his former wife Nadya Beck.[17]

Gruen has been married to Elizabeth Gregory Gruen since 1995.[4]

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.[18]



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 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.[19]

In 2014, his documentary film Ike & Tina On The Road: 1971–72 won the Living Blues Award for Best Blues DVD of 2013.[20]

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.[18]

Album cover photography



  • 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




  1. ^ Gruen incorrectly dates the concert as 1968 in the interview. The Rolling Stones' American Tour was in 1969.


  1. ^ https://www.fyimusicnews.ca/articles/2022/09/14/podcast-conversation-bob-gruen
  2. ^ Whiting, Sam (November 9, 2020). "Bob Gruen recalls the time the Clash got stoned driving down Mount Tamalpais". Datebook | San Francisco Arts & Entertainment Guide. Archived from the original on 2020-11-10. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  3. ^ a b c d Gruen, Bob (May 21, 2018). "Bob Gruen's Electric Photos of Ike & Tina Turner". PleaseKillMe. Archived from the original on 2018-05-22.
  4. ^ a b Gruen, Bob (2020-10-20). Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer. Abrams. ISBN 978-1-64700-013-4.
  5. ^ Britt, Grant (December 20, 2012). "DVD Review – Ike and Tina "On The Road 1971-72"". No Depression. Archived from the original on 2020-10-20.
  6. ^ Butcher, Terrence (November 26, 2012). "Imagine This Power Duo Together Again: 'Ike & Tina: On the Road: 1971-72'". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 2020-09-05.
  7. ^ Rodriguez, Michael (July 19, 2019). "Iconic rock photographer Bob Gruen to exhibit work in Kelowna". Kelowna Capital News. Archived from the original on 2019-07-20. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  8. ^ Lotz, Griffin (September 9, 2020). "'Right Place, Right Time': Inside the Archive of Rock Photography Legend Bob Gruen". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  9. ^ "Bob Gruen: ROCKERS". Pearlstein Gallery. April 11, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-03-03. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  10. ^ Sun, Feifei (April 25, 2008). "Bob Gruen's Rock 'n' Roll Photo Opening". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  11. ^ "Rock Seen - Bob Gruen - Exhibitions". Fahey Klein Gallery. Archived from the original on 2017-01-29. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  12. ^ "Bob Gruen's Iconic Rock Photos". Rolling Stone. August 8, 2011. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  13. ^ Kurucz, John (July 14, 2017). "From Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga, Bob Gruen's caught them on film". Vancouver Courier. Archived from the original on 2017-07-14. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  14. ^ Hallenbeck, Brent (February 15, 2017). "Shelburne Museum rocks out with 'Backstage Pass' exhibit". The Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  15. ^ "Bob Gruen: Rock Seen | Morris Museum". Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  16. ^ "Cameras, Chaos And Cognac: How Bob Gruen Photographed The Spirit Of Rock 'N' Roll". NPR. Archived from the original on 2023-05-29.
  17. ^ Hallenbeck, Brent (December 27, 2018). "How musician Kris Gruen went from New York City punk clubs to a Vermont organic farm". The Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  18. ^ a b "39th Annual John Lennon Tribute". 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute.
  19. ^ "Bob Gruen". Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2020-07-13.
  20. ^ "2014 Living Blues Awards". Living Blues Magazine. April 15, 2014. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11.