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Herb Greene

Jerry With Flag by Herb Greene

Herb Greene

Herb Greene

Born in Indio, California, in 1942, Herb “Herbie” Greene is an American photographer known for his photographs of 1960’s San Francisco musicians. His artistic mother encouraged him to draw; however, his high school art teacher suggested photography,  and he bought his first camera, a 1959 Icon Contaflex. 

In the early 1960s, Greene held a position as a commercial photographer and moved into San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. He arrived just as the post-Beatle, LSD-inspired subculture took root and flowered in ballrooms filled with flashing lights, colorful graphics, and adventurous, eclectic music.

One day he met  Jerry Garcia at a bluegrass café, and The two became friends. Greene booked a portrait session with Garcia’s band, The Warlocks, later renamed the Grateful Dead. Greene became friends with many of the musicians of the era and photographed many of them. He contributed to the cover art for Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow.

Greene worked as a music and fashion photographer in the 1970s, and in 1974, Greene earned a Grammy nomination for his art direction of the Pointer Sisters’ second LP, That’s a Plenty

In the 1980s, he reconnected with the Grateful Dead and shot several sessions with them, contributing to the cover art for the Grateful Dead’s albums In the Dark and Dylan & the Dead. His portraits of the Grateful Dead members and their 1960s contemporaries appeared in several magazines, including Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Relix, and others. After Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995, Greene photographed the Grateful Dead’s surviving members and their bands.

He has published several photography books, primarily focusing on the Grateful Dead. Throughout his career photographing musicians, Greene’s photographs have become signature portraits for many musicians, including Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, Led Zepplin, Rod Stewart, Sly Stone, and The Pointer Sisters.

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Good music comes out of people playing together, knowing what they want to do and going for it.