In 1971, Rod Stewart released an album titled “Every Picture Tells a Story”. Fifty years later, as I prepare these “From the Crates” articles, I’m trying to give you an idea of ââwhat segments of the entertainment world looked like in the ’70s and’ 80s.
Backstage with the stars
I met the star of this article, photographer Rick Diamond, about 45 years ago. We probably met backstage after a gig, or at an event on a record label like a new album release party, a little private party with a star, or a big “throw down.” With all the rock-and-roll glamor and show business we could stand tall, that’s for sure. There were tons of backstage after-show parties with the performers.
Any radio station or record label that hosted an event always needed a photographer. I can honestly say that Rick Diamond is the best of the best. He is not only known for the quality of his work over the years, but for being a wonderful and kind guy. If anyone wanted to be a âname dropperâ of the rock stars he’s been with or dated, Rick Diamond would smash us all with the list of famous people he’s photographed.
Rick started his career in 1970 when he was in 10th grade. He photographed The Allman Brothers for a small newspaper and remembers being paid $ 50. He made his debut with some nice 35mm cameras his dad won in a game of poker while in the military.
The influence of Alex Cooley
Fast forward a few years into the ’70s, and Rick moved to Atlanta. Rick thanks pioneer Atlanta concert promoter Alex Cooley for his successful breakthrough into the industry. With Cooley’s Electric Ballroom, Great Southeast Music Hall, and other hot and hip venues for live music around this time, Rick was working seven nights a week!
Rick assumes he has photographed around 10,000 concerts in his career. His rule number one: all access, or no photos. He always delivered. We’ve all seen those shots of musicians sweating in themselves, the gear, the stage, and the fans as players go all out on a song. Rick was one of the guys who got these shots.
I have seen Rick at work many times over the years. He’s a good cool guy, still a pro. His personality and laid back demeanor have helped his career immensely. The majors started to use you and when the “big names” got used to having you with you. Rick still has the connection with the great artists of that time that still exists today. Most photographers never have this experience.
The Eagles and Irving Azoff
In the late 1970s, after spending three nights in the Omni, Rick and a label manager were invited to join The Eagles after the final gig. They met them in an ambulance, which was a nifty way to get away from a location. The ambulance took them to one of the smaller airports in the area – Rick doesn’t know which one – and once there they boarded the Eagles’ private plane and were “kidnapped” for a few minutes. days.
The first stop was in Birmingham, Ala. Conductors Don Henley and Glenn Frey were relaxed and cool with Rick in the flight and were comfortable with him taking candid photos, Rick recalls. They ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio. After this show, Rick was “cleared” to leave.
An interesting side note about this show: Rick recalls Eagles manager Irving Azoff walking around a venue before a show to check it out. In Cincinnati, he noticed groups of people pressed against the doors before show time because they wanted to rush to get the best seats at the general admission show. Azoff sensed the danger and announced that the Cincinnati show would be the Eagles’ last concert with general admission tickets. Not too late, the Who played a sold-out general admission show in Cincinnati and, while the band soundchecked, fans who had gathered early mistakenly thought the concert had started early and hundreds turned on. started to push their way through the gates. Eleven people died of asphyxiation after being stepped on. Dozens more were seriously injured.
Some other notable names Rick was close to at this time include Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, Mohammed Ali, Jacob Dylan of the Wallflowers, and other names I can ‘drop’ on his behalf.
Through his connections with the industry, Rick was the Grammy Award Photographer for over 20 years. He’s a well-known figure in Nashville after spending years photographing country artists. He has photographed major sports figures, presidents and former presidents, actors, comedians, news anchors and other legends.
I’ve had the privilege of browsing a few thousand of his photos, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve said, “Oh wow!” If you want to see a few of them, you can do so on the Rick Diamond Photography Facebook page.
Retired in Atlanta
Rick retired in 2019. He lives in the Atlanta subway. COVID-19 has slowed down his journey, as it has for the rest of us, but he is planning relaxed trips to visit the country. Of course, he will take pictures. He may be retired, but he always raises the camera whenever he wants.
Each picture tells a story. What incredible stories the photos of Rick tell.