Photographer Bob Gruen's best shot (Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry)

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Art Fag
Photographer Bob Gruen's best shot

Guardian UK

Andrew Pulver

March 16, 2011


I took this in Toronto in 1977. I'd known Debbie Harry for a couple of years. I remember the first time I got a call telling me to go and take pictures of a band called Blondie because the singer was an unbelievably beautiful girl and they were going to be big. Blondie were opening for Iggy Pop on their first major national tour.

When they were getting ready before the first show, Iggy Pop came in to say hello. I saw Iggy and Debbie talking, so I asked: "Can I get a picture of you two together?" We stepped into a bathroom by the dressing room. Instead of just standing there, he put his arm round her, feeling her up; she started licking his chest. A great music picture is all about attitude – and Debbie and Iggy have pure attitude. They just look cool.

I was using a built-in flash for the first time. It had just been invented. Before, you had to calculate the power of the flash . . . it was difficult to get a properly exposed colour picture.

Those scars you see on Iggy's chest were because he had a tendency to throw himself into his work. He'd literally throw himself into an amplifier or into the audience. I was totally taken with Debbie; I still am today. In my mind, she's the Marilyn Monroe of that generation. Someone has to be the most beautiful girl, and she's the one.

Bob Gruen is the subject of Rock'n'Roll Exposed , starting on Monday at 11pm on Sky Arts 1 HD.


Born: New York, 1945.
Inspirations: Man Ray , Weegee .
High point: Standing next to John Lennon in Madison Square Gardens when he was singing Imagine .
Top tip: Take a lot of pictures, because you're bound to get a few good ones. It worked for me.