The archives of William "PoPsie" Randolph (1920 – 1978) are being researched extensively for an upcoming book, Photography by PoPsie: The Legend of Broadway. In a long and prolific career spent haunting the recording studios, jam sessions, concert halls, and nightclubs of New York City, Randolph chronicled the raucous postwar transformation of American Music – from swing and jazz to rhythm & blues and rock & roll – more vividly and more avidly than any photographer of his era.
The 60,000 negatives left behind after PoPsie's death in 1978 span the giddy, glitzy heyday of swing in the Forties, the hot and cool jazz subsequently spawned in the clubs of Fifty-Second Street, the rumbling emergence of black R&B and doo-wop, and the sudden explosion of rock & roll in the late Fifties. They also depict the rise of Brill Building pop and the British invasion of the Sixties, and the growth of rock into a multibillion-dollar industry by the Seventies.
1964 was a huge year for performers from the U.K. to come over to America and achieve stardom. In February, The Beatles blew the doors wide open and Americans were left hungry for more of the R&B flavored rock the Brits perfected.
The Rolling Stones were one of the many bands following in the wake of Beatlemania and their arrival in New York was nothing short of spectacular. They arrived on June 1, 1964, at the newly rechristened JFK airport and were greeted by shouting fans and Murray the "K" Kaufman himself.
"PoPsie" was contacted by CashBox Magazine to capture the event for posterity, and he got to spend the next two days following the Stones as they held court at the Astor Hotel and met with the press. Phil Spector and Gene Pitney showed up as well and they witnessed first hand the Rolling Stone "mystique."
The photo PoPsie captured in Times Square is one of the most requested of his images. It's easy to see why… This image captures the spirit of the Stones and shows they were ready to take the world head on.
42 years later, we are still in awe of the power and the majesty of the world's greatest touring band, The Rolling Stones. Once again, PoPsie had the gift of foresight in capturing the band for the ages.