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AC/DC - Manchester Apollo, 1982



In the late 70s and early 80s I had the privilege of photographing many of the biggest names in rock at the Manchester Apollo. Just printing only a handful of images at the time, my films were exiled to the family attic. 25 years and a change of career later - becoming a photography tutor at The Manchester College in 2010 - I unearthed and dusted off my negatives to begin the arduous task of digitalisation.

I was astonished with the quality after all those years in storage and quickly realised the significance and historical importance of many of the images. Several of the artists have since died and subsequently been catapulted to legendary status: Phil Lynott, Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, Bon Scott and the Ramones

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Thin Lizzy - Manchester Apollo, 1983

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Rory Gallagher - Manchester Apollo, 1982


Iron Maiden - Manchester Apollo, 1980 (featuring original lead singer Paul Di'Anno)

Around 1978 it seemed inevitable I would combine my two obsessions of rock music and photography. In this era the big names seemed to be permanently on the road, with a ‘must see gig’ in town nearly every week – it was the perfect time to document to film.


Ramones - Manchester Apollo, 1980

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AC/DC (Angus Young)- 1982

Today with the mass use of the mobile phone, management and promoters accept the futility of preventing  fans photographing gigs. Back in the day, there were strict rules in place, every gig ticket carried the warning ‘No cameras or recording equipment allowed’, equipment would be seized, or at worse, offenders would face prosecution. The solution? Dismantle camera, hide down the front and back of your trousers, pray you survive the ‘pat-down’, re-assemble once safely inside.

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Van Halen - Manchester Apollo, 1980


Scorpions - Manchester Apollo, 1980

Thin Lizzy - 1983

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Gary Moore - Manchester Apollo, 1983


U.F.O - Manchester Apollo, 1982


AC/DC - Manchester Apollo, 1980: Photographing from a fan’s eye view, added an energy to the imagery. This wide stage shot taken from the stalls won a Granada Television ‘Photograph of the Month Award’.


Rory Gallagher - 1982


The Jam - Manchester Apollo, 1979


Iron Maiden - 1980


Michael Schenker Group - Manchester Apollo, 1982


Michael Schenker - 1981

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Sammy Hagar - Manchester Free Trade Hall, 1979

Wild Horses - Manchester Polytechnic, 1980

Now studying Photography at Manchester Polytechnic, I decided to shoot bands legitimately from the front of stage, this meant applying for photo-passes from the record companies. I claimed I was working for music magazines that didn’t even exist; surprisingly it got me what I wanted.

Rory Gallagher - 1982


Ramones - 1980

Passes had to be collected at the stage door on the day of the gig, usually from the tour manager, if timed right, there was often an opportunity to watch the bands soundcheck. On one occasion, when collecting a pass for Thin Lizzy, I was asked to wait in the green room where the band were waiting to soundcheck, Phil Lynott asked me to complete his game of pinball, already on a high score, he jokingly threatened. “if you screw up, I’ll fu#king kill you!”


Thin Lizzy - 1983


Rory Gallagher - 1982

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The Who - Manchester Apollo, 1981


Thin Lizzy (Phil Lynott) - 1983

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Thin Lizzy (Scott Gorham) - 1983


The Who - 1981

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Saxon - Manchester Apollo, 1981

In 1984, I began fulltime work as a press photographer and the gig photography stopped. Although incredibly proud of my early fumblings with the camera, I can’t help thinking about all the great bands I subsequently missed.

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AC/DC (Angus Young) - 1982

AC/DC (Angus Young) - 1982

AC/DC (Angus Young & Brian Johnson) - 1982


Thin Lizzy (John Sykes & Scott Gorham) - 1983

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Harry Potts & framed prints


U.F.O (Pete Way) - 1982


AC/DC - Manchester Apollo, 1979 (with original vocalist Bon Scott)

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