Rock’s icons, through the lens of a Denver photographer

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(Photo: Dan Fong)
<p>Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones at the  Denver Coliseum in 1972.</p>

Back in the days when there was no question that rock music ruled, Dan Fong landed a few good catering gigs.

In the late '60s and early '70s, promoter Barry Fey asked Fong to provide food for musicians passing through Colorado. As it happened, the musicians were -- or were on their way to becoming -- legends.

So, in addition to whipping up 13-course luaus for bands like the Rolling Stones, Fong, who lives in Denver, brought along a camera to capture the moments. He found himself on a wild ride that took him into a limousine with The Who and backstage with stars like Mick Jagger and Stevie Wonder, where he snapped candid photos. He met a fledgling hard rock band, Led Zeppelin, opening for Vanilla Fudge.

He clicked photos of everyone he could, from Elton John to Joe Walsh. He took photos even when the artists didn't want him to, including Joni Mitchell in the early '70s. Cameras were not allowed at the show in Boulder, but that didn't stop Fong.

"I stuck my camera out between the curtains to take a picture and all of a sudden it got really quiet and you could hear my shutter go off -- 'click,'" Fong says. "And everybody heard and she turned around and looked at me. Soon after, the security guys showed up and escorted me out, but I already had the photograph."

He later worked extensively with the Doobie Brothers, including doing some of their album art. Today, he takes his camera wherever he goes and clicks whenever he can. But his biggest effort is in his studio, organizing his massive body of work, including long-undeveloped rolls of film.

The result, he says, will be at least one e-book of his work.

For now, some of Fong's photos are on display at the Robert Anderson photography gallery in Denver's Cherry Creek North through Jan. 3.