Steve Schneider publishes the book of concert photographs “The first three songs”


The book features over 50 years of live concert photography featuring the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, and many more.

By Adam Majewski November 17, 2021 • 12:50 PST

Veteran music photographer Steve Schneider has released a new book of photographs, The first three songs. Showcasing photos spanning over 50 years of live music, the book includes photos from artists such as the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and much more.

Available now, the 220-page book, which contains 350 photos in total, is called The first three songs in homage to the popular instruction of artists that photographers only take the first three songs. However, many of Schneider’s shots come way beyond the first three songs. For example, as Schneider explains, a photo of the Grateful Dead 1978 closing show at Winterland, the legendary San Francisco club, was taken at 5:30 a.m.

“It was around the time of the movies and I had saved some images for when they ended. They started at midnight, but I saved enough to capture their early morning goodbye.

With photos spanning over 50 years, Schnieder’s photos, many of which were taken for UPI, document the evolution of concert photography, with the introduction of digital photography and lighting, as groups were starting to light their scenes for video and effects.

Other musicians featured in The first three songs understand Tom Petty, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Sound garden, and 10 of the concerts presented – including performances by David Bowie, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson and Neil Young – where those where Schneider was the only photographer with official access.

“The book includes more than five decades of photographs,” says Schneider. “In the case of Neil Young, for example, you can actually see five decades of Neil in photographs.”

The first three songs is available on order here.


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