Veteran music photographer Steve Schneider released a new photography book, The First Three Songs. Featuring photos spanning over 50 years of live music, the book includes photos of artists such as the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and many more.
Available now, the 220-page book, which features 350 photos in total, is titled The First Three Songs as an homage to the popular instruction from artists that photographers only shoot the first three songs. However, many of Schneider’s shots come from well past the first three songs. For instance, as Schneider explains, a shot from the Grateful Dead’s closing show in 1978 of Winterland, the legendary San Francisco club, was taken at 5:30 in the morning.
“This was back in the days of film and I had saved just a few frames for when they would end. They started on at midnight, but I saved enough to capture their good-bye early in the morning.”
With photos ranging over 50 years, Schnieder’s photos, many of which were shot for UPI, document the evolution of concert photography, with the introduction of digital photography, and lighting, as bands began to light their stages for video and effects.
Other musicians featured in The First Three Songs include Tom Petty, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, and 10 of the concerts featured — including shows by David Bowie, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson and Neil Young — where ones where Schneider was the only photographer with official access.
“The book includes over five decades of photographs,” Schneider says. “In the case of Neil Young, as one example, you can actually see five decades of Neil in photographs.”
The First Three Songs is avaialble to order here.