The legendary '60s music scene is history, but some great moments from that era will last forever, thanks to Jim Marshall and his camera.

Annie Leibovitz called him The rock and roll photographer. Marshall died earlier this week, and NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates has this appreciation.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: Jim Marshall fell deeply and irrevocably in love in 1959. The object of his enduring affection: a Leica M2 camera.

(Soundbite of music)

BATES: One snap and there was no looking back. He spent most of his career documenting jazz artists and the blossoming rock scene in San Francisco.

(Soundbite of song, "Like a Rolling Stone")

Mr. BOB DYLAN (Musician): (Singing) Once upon a time you dressed so fine. You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

BATES: Joel Selvin is a senior rock critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. He and Marshall were close friends and worked together on several photo books.

Mr. JOEL SELVIN (Senior Rock Critic, San Francisco Chronicle): His photographs of Dylan helped sculpt that guy's public image from the very earliest days.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. SELVIN: His photographs of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane are among the most famous photographs of those people that were ever taken.

(Soundbite of music)

BATES: In an interview on NPR's DAY TO DAY in 2006, Marshall told me he and his subjects' careers were growing up together. They saw him almost as a peer.

(Soundbite of recording)

Mr. JIM MARSHALL (Rock Photographer): It was kind of known that you were taking pictures for publication and they just let you.

BATES: He got those startlingly intimate images by sticking close to his subjects, sometimes for days at a time. It was the only way he'd consent to work.

Mr. MARSHALL: All access, no doors to be closed, no conditions. That I can go and do what I want and move where I want.

BATES: And in that pre-publicist, pre-handler era, he got it.

(Soundbite of song, "Piece of My Heart")

Ms. JANIS JOPLIN (Musician): (Singing) Didn't I give you nearly everything that a woman possibly can? Honey, you know I did.

BATES: Janis Joplin trusted him enough to take unglamorous photos of her backstage. Marshall said she wasn't afraid to be shown warts and all.

(Soundbite of song, "Piece of My Heart")

Ms. JOPLIN: (Singing) That a woman can be tough. I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it.

BATES: He hung with Jimi Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and came away with indelible photos of a rock genius coming into his own.

(Soundbite of song, "Purple Haze")

Mr. JIMI HENDRIX (Musician): (Singing) Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

BATES: In 1969, he did Woodstock. All in all, Marshall shot some 500 album covers over the years. The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, The Who and The Grateful Dead all showed up in his Leica's lens.

Joel Selvin says after enough time has gone by, people will appreciate what he calls the remarkable maelstrom of music Jim Marshall walked through in the '60s and '70s. And...

Mr. SELVIN: We will see how truly unique and singular those people and those events were. And his viewpoint on it will be the way we see it.

BATES: Jim Marshall died in his sleep sometime Tuesday night. He was 74 years old.

Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News.

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