From Joan Jett to Lady Gaga: Mick Rock's Iconic Rock 'n' Roll Photos

PHOTO: Iconic and never seen before images by legendary music photographer, Mick Rock debut at a photo exhibit, Dec. 7, 2011.  The photo exhibit will feature many of Rock?s iconic images of David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop as well as include never b
Courtesy Mick Rock

Time was, you had to really know a celebrity to photograph her with her guard down, licking her shoulder, a la Madonna Louise Ciccone (she still had all three names) in 1980.

Before the days of cell phone cameras and Twit-pics, Mick Rock was there -- backstage, in hotel rooms, off-hours, "getting into all kinds of mischief" -- with rock 'n' roll's most iconic figures. Queen, David Bowie, Blondie, the Sex Pistols, Joan Jett: He snapped them all, and then some.

More than a dozen of his portraits, new and old, have been collected into an exhibition that will travel to W Hotels across the country as part of the Symmetry Live series. ABCNews.com asked Rock for the stories behind the photos at show's opening reception at the W New York Downtown.

Madonna, 1980

"She hadn't even made a record. Somebody brought her up to my studio, and he would bring young people up, some not for any purpose other than to say hi. She had aspirations, and I just took a few pictures."

"[The pose] wasn't my idea. There was no "Baby" then. She was very brazen. She's had an amazing career since that day, and I take my hat off to her, because she broke a lot of ground in a business sense, for women. She took control of her destiny and she set the trail for people like Lady Gaga."

PHOTO: Iconic and never seen before images by legendary music photographer, Mick Rock debut at a photo exhibit, Dec. 7, 2011.  The photo exhibit will feature many of Rock?s iconic images of David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop as well as include never b
Courtesy Mick Rock
Lady Gaga and Bono, 2009

"You can see the similarities with Madonna and Gaga. I can see similarities with Gaga Ziggy Stardust, too, with David Bowie. [Madonna and Gaga] are both very talented, God bless them. And they're both Italian. There's something about these Italian girls."

PHOTO: Iconic and never seen before images by legendary music photographer, Mick Rock debut at a photo exhibit, Dec. 7, 2011.  The photo exhibit will feature many of Rock?s iconic images of David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop as well as include never b
Courtesy Mick Rock
Kate Moss, 2002

"I've got tons of pictures of her a bit like that. I actually did a shoot for V magazine, and it was going to be Ziggy Stardust meets Debbie Harry meets Johnny Walker. We did a ton of pictures. This is not a shrinking violet, and she looks fabulous. That's the belt that Lou Reed wore for 'Rock 'n' Roll Animal.' I said, 'I'm not going to shoot you like a model. I'm going to shoot you like the rock 'n' roll animal that you are, Miss Moss.'"

PHOTO: Iconic and never seen before images by legendary music photographer, Mick Rock debut at a photo exhibit, Dec. 7, 2011.  The photo exhibit will feature many of Rock?s iconic images of David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop as well as include never b
Courtesy Mick Rock
Peter Gabriel, 1973

"It was a long time ago. He's into surrealism, as you can tell by the photograph. It was a ridiculous reverse Mohawk, long on the sides and the chunk out the middle."

PHOTO: Iconic and never seen before images by legendary music photographer, Mick Rock debut at a photo exhibit, Dec. 7, 2011. The photo exhibit will feature many of Rock's iconic images of David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop as well as include never be
Courtesy Mick Rock
Joan Jett, 1982

"That's Joanie, what can you say? With her and Debbie Harry, was I spoiled in my years. I saw her about 18 months ago, and she still looks like that. But this picture defined her. I saw her as a female Elvis when I shot that."

PHOTO: Iconic and never seen before images by legendary music photographer, Mick Rock debut at a photo exhibit, Dec. 7, 2011.  The photo exhibit will feature many of Rock?s iconic images of David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop as well as include never b
Courtesy Mick Rock
Cee Lo Green, 2010

"I don't drink. I said, 'OK, Cee-Lo. You take the martini.'"

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