The Image That Made Me Weep
published: 10 /
As part of our new series 'The Image That Made Me Weep', we are inviting a different guest with each edition to write of a music photograph that has had an impact on them. Scottish singer-songwriter Roy Moller writes of a 1960 photo of the Isley Brothers which also features his photographer father.
The venue is Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, January 22nd,1960. The gentlemen onstage are playing a show with Frankie Avalon, Clyde McPhatter, Johnny & the Hurricanes and, says the poster, “Cliff Richards”.
These guys are Isley Brothers, soul perennials. When I was twenty I bought a cassette of their 'Forever Gold', which turned me on to the courtly funk of 'That Lady', 'Summer Breeze' and 'Harvest For The World'. Later I discovered 'Behind A Painted Smile' (magnificent, frenetic), 'Your Old Lady' (utterly demented) and 'Love The One You’re With'. Speaking of which...
The fellow with the camera is my late father, Jim Kennedy, on assignment for 'The Toronto Telegram'. An affair with a reporter, Carol Hoffman, would result in pregnancy.
Carol gave birth to me in Edinburgh, where I was adopted - her trip probably financed by Jim’s brother Roy, a car dealer who made it big.
I’d learned my father was a photographer but didn’t discover his identity until a few years ago. It was intriguing to find online images he'd taken such as Sly Stone stomping on the Gardens stage - and a joy to at last be in touch with family. When Roy’s son Rob sent me this photo I felt proud to see Jim working. My sister Loretta tells me the dad we share met Elvis, presumably when covering his Toronto show in 1957. The King, Jim would say, was great to be with. I never met the Isleys, Elvis or my father but they all rock my soul.