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Legendary music photographer Mick Rock dies at 72

Rock shot iconic album covers for the likes of Queen and David Bowie

By Joe Goggins

Mick Rock, 2016.
Mick Rock, 2016. (Photo: Alamy)

Legendary music photographer Mick Rock has died at the age of 72.

The Londoner’s family confirmed his passing in a statement on his Twitter account in the early hours of this morning (November 19).

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share our beloved psychedelic renegade Mick Rock has made the Jungian journey to the other side,” the statement read.

Born in Hammersmith in 1948, the appropriately-named Rock became known as ‘The Man Who Shot the 70s’ for his extensive work with the likes of David Bowie, The Stooges, Queen, T. Rex and Lou Reed, among many others.

Rock shot some of the decade’s most iconic album covers, including Reed’s ‘Transformer’, The Stooges’ ‘Raw Power’ and Queen’s ‘Queen II’.

An outpouring of tributes from across the musical spectrum followed the news, with his family’s statement saying “to know Mick was to love him.”

Taking to Twitter, Ozzy Osbourne called Rock “a true rock star”, adding “heart breaking we have lost him, but he leaves us his incredible work .”

Also on Twitter, Miley Cyrus shared two behind-the-scenes photos from a shoot with Rock in 2020 adding: “IT WAS BARELY OVER A YEAR AGO I SAT WITH YOU BY THE WINDOW LISTENING TO BOWIE STORIES…. IT WAS MY HONOR.”

Goodbye for now my friend and comrade Mick Rock,” said Johnny Marr, as he called Rock a “visionary poet.”

“’Iconic’ is an overused word, but Mick Rock’s photos are that,” said music critic Simon Price on Twitter. “Lovely man, too.”

“Safe travels Mick Rock,” added Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess. “You made music look so exciting.”

Rock’s work spanned several decades, with contemporary artists like Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Shirley Manson of Garbage paying homage to him on Instagram. “Mick Rock Forever”, said O on her personal account, alongside two of Rock’s shots of her band from 2003.

Rock’s family closed their statement with a request for privacy. “Let us not mourn the loss, but instead celebrate the fabulous life and extraordinary career of Michael David Rock,” they said. He is survived by his wife and daughter.