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OMA The British Invasion collection


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Photo: Mick Jagger , Bob Bonis / courtesy BobBonis.com

Florida has long played muse to a certain kind of songwriter — your Jimmy Buffetts, your Bertie Higginses — but it may come as a surprise that a sunny day poolside at a Clearwater motel was the birthplace of the Rolling Stones’ breakthrough hit, “Satisfaction.” Or so Keith Richards claimed in his 2010 memoir.

Which fans the flames of intrigue for a show now at the Orlando Museum of Art.

The British Invasion is a collection of pictures taken by Bob Bonis, American tour manager for the Stones from 1964 to ’66. The snaps he took, mostly unpublished during his life, revel in and reveal his intimate access to the band, showing Mick, Keith and the boys not just performing and recording, but also in unguarded moments of downtime – like that fateful day by the pool.

Writing about the photos last year in The Paris Review, John Jeremiah Sullivan theorized that it wasn’t just Florida, but a certain blonde there that inspired Mick Jagger’s lyrics – a leap of fancy combining Keith’s remembrance and a newspaper report the next day claiming an 18-year-old girl made it past motel security to spend time with the band. Sullivan sees her wrist in the corner of one photo, the curve of her knee in another.

Is it all a figment of the writer’s imagination? No one can say for sure, so you might as well go and form your own reaction.

The British Invasion is at OMA until January 3rd.


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