Courtney Love: Half the fucking songs were written in the studio.
Sean Slade (producer): We witnessed “Asking for It” from when it didn’t exist to when it got finished. It was fascinating. There was a certain magic going on.
Paul Q. Kolderie (producer): I always bring that up whenever people say “Kurt wrote the songs” — I can say he didn’t because I watched it happen.
Sean Slade: At one point Courtney was working out lyrics and she came up with a line that I thought wasn’t that good and I said, “Ah, that’s not happening,” and she goes, “Sean, you’re not my English teacher.” And I looked at her and said, “But Courtney, I am,” and she laughed. It’s rare to ever get someone with that level of lyrical talent. I stand in awe of that. When you are able to work with someone who is on that level, that literary level, who stands as a writer — it’s an honor.
Paul Q. Kolderie: Kristen is the secret ingredient; she made the whole thing gel and happen. It’s criminal she didn’t get to make any more records because it would have been great to see what came down the road.
Sean Slade: Kristen was just amazing. She’s such a natural talent, knew exactly what to play, played totally tight with Patty. I have to give her credit — and this has never happened on an album that we’ve done in all these years — every single bass track on Live Through This was from the basic tracks. There was no bass overdubs because there was no need to because they were perfect. It was an exceptional performance on her part. That’s like a singer doing an album’s worth of vocals in just one take. It just doesn’t happen.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon, December 17, 1961, by Albert Marrion, via beatlesource.
Albert Marrion recalls “This photo session was done for [Brian] Epstein as a friendly gesture against the wishes of my partner… I took about thirty photographs…but discarded all but sixteen negatives because many showed Lennon and McCartney acting up and spoiling the pose. No doubt, those negatives should have been kept, looking back.”
Mick Jagger, Los Angeles 1972, by Jim Marshall. “When they came to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles to overdub vocals and guitar for Exile on Main Street I was in the studio with them for about a week. I made Mick get up early one morning to take some posed shots. I waited 3 hours for him to get up and he didn’t look too happy about it.” [photo source] [caption source]
John Lennon and Ringo Starr’s last photo together, at The Dakota on May 29, 1979, via johnlennofficial.
Ringo saw John one more time in 1980. As he told Barbara Walters in 1981, “I saw him on the 15th November. I was staying at The Plaza. We went over to New York for a while. And I hadn’t seen him for a while because, you know, we see each other wherever we are. And he came over with Yoko and we had such a great time because they stayed five hours. And it didn’t matter that it was a year between we didn’t see each other, it was always fine when we did, but it was a particularly great time that we, that I had, anyway… Oh, man, they were happy. They were two people in one.”
Prisoner of New York: Elton John in the Elizabeth Taylor Suite at New York’s Sherry-Netherland Hotel, August 1976, by Ron Pownall, via medium
These pictures accompany a fascinating behind the scenes look at the interview that Elton gave to Rolling Stone’s Cliff Jahr, in which he admitted to depression, loneliness, and bisexuality:
“When the Rolling Stone cover story hit the stands in October of that year, it was explosive. Walter Cronkite covered it on the evening news. It seems surprising now to think of Elton as closeted, that his coming out would be big news, but at the time it was scandalous for an entertainer in the public eye to openly admit to being bi or gay. The aftershocks sent Elton’s record sales plummeting and he stopped giving live performances for several years. But for a few moments, in the privacy of his suite on a summer afternoon, he seemed almost giddy with relief. Finally it was out there, and it wasn’t such a big deal. ‘I would have said something all along,’ he told Jahr. ‘Nobody’s had the balls to ask me about it before.’”
Miles Davis, July 10 1973, London’s Rainbow Theatre, by Jill Furmanovsky. “It was difficult to shoot him live. He kept his head down and often turned his back on the audience. This was the best frame of the night – every muscle in his body is playing that note.”