Ed Rosenbaum spent a huge portion of his formative years living in New York City going to gigs. He was 17 in 1977, a time where NYC was on the verge of economic implosion, and social unrest, crime and poverty seeped through every crack in the city.
But it was also a cultural melting pot. Street art was taking flight, and music scenes were bubbling away fiercely. The seeds were being planted for hip-hop up in the Bronx, and punk was tearing through the city downtown.
Imagine stumbling on this goldmine. A punter from the NYC found a bunch of old 35mm snaps he took of Bowie, Lou Reed, Freddie Mercury and The Jam in the 1970s.
During this time, Rosenbaum brought his trusty Panamax to every show he went to. Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, he photographed everyone from David Bowie, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, The Pretenders, The Jam, Blue Oyster Cult and more at notorious rock and roll venues like CBGB and The Palladium (which are sadly now closed) and Madison Square Garden, usually from the pit.
For years, his shots have never seen the light of day. This was until recently when he came across the long-discarded 35mm photo negatives and shared them with a NYU student he knew. Whispers of these golden snaps made their way to Esopus Magazine editor Tod Lippy, who immediately saw their potential.
The incredible photos are now being released as a collection called Golden Years, a forthcoming 56-page book published by Esopus. Check some of never before seen shots of rock’s greatest below.