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Jim Marshall dies; rock-and-roll photographer shot hundreds of album covers

Photographer Jim Marshall captured the greats of rock and jazz, including Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles.

Returning from Air Force service, he worked as an insurance claims adjuster until a chance meeting around 1960 with the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane in San Francisco launched his photography career.

"He asked me for directions to a club," Mr. Marshall said in 2004. "I told him I'd pick him up and take him there if he'd let me take his picture."

He hung out at North Beach jazz clubs until moving to New York in 1962, where he lived in Greenwich Village just blocks from Dylan and Judy Collins. In 1963, he was on his way to breakfast with Dylan when he snapped a memorable image of the enigmatic folk singer trailing after a car tire as it rolled down the street.

Mr. Marshall's career slumped in the 1970s and early 1980s, and his marriage dissolved. His fondness for drugs and guns led to run-ins with the law.

"I suffered from the arrogance of success," he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1997. "Cocaine made it even worse. I was not a pleasant person. I suppose there are some people who probably think I'm still not."

Mr. Marshall, who had no immediate survivors, revived his career slowly and worked over the years with younger bands, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and singer-songwriters Ben Harper and John Mayer.

In recent years, numerous galleries showed his work, and his pictures appeared in many books, including the one Mr. Marshall was promoting when he died, "Match Prints," with fellow photographer Timothy White.

Mr. Marshall's archive also includes portraits of jazz and blues artists, including Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. He photographed pianist and composer Thelonious Monk in his kitchen with the beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

"I'm basically a reporter with a camera," he told the Chronicle. "I don't manipulate. I don't contrive to make things seem other than how they are. I don't have a signature style.

"When you see one of my photos of, say, Merle Haggard, I want you to think, 'What a great shot of Merle Haggard,' not 'What a great Jim Marshall photograph.' "


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