The California Heritage Museum is pleased to present ROCK & ROLL LEGENDS, THE LOST NEGATIVES OF MICHAEL FRIEDMAN. Karin Levinson and Angie Behm are the Co-Chairs of the photo exhibit, and spearheaded the ideation, marketing and PR efforts. The museum's Director, Tobi Smith, and Donna Vita are the exhibit's Co-Curators.

Michael Friedman, former Manager and Music Producer, found himself standing quite literally in the hurricane’s eye of America’s folk, rock and roll, and pop music industry during the late 60s through the early 80s.  Friedman will present a remarkable collection of his never-before-seen, candid, black and white photos of iconic musicians and performers, including The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, The Band, and others, at the Santa Monica-based California Heritage Museum, from April 14 – July 15, 2018.

During the 1960s and early ‘70s era, Michael Friedman had the good fortune of working, traveling, and befriending dozens of highly respected and legendary musical artists.  While initially working as a publicist, and later as a manager and music producer, he was also an avid photographer.  Due to his unique access to dozens of top musicians and performers, his candid photography was able to capture the essence of that historic period in American folk, rock, and pop music.

Between 1969 and 1973 Friedman shot over 1,000 photographs, but before he even printed most of the photos, he packed the negatives away, and then lost track of them, eventually considering them lost. Then, in 2017, after 45 years, the long lost negatives were discovered in Friedman’s attic.

Now fully restored, they turn out to be a remarkable collection of candid shots of legendary musicians including The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, The Band, Todd Rundgren, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Butterfield, James Cotton, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, and other musicians. 

"Looking back, I think of the late 60’s and the early 70’s as a sweet spot in the history of American music,” Friedman now says. “There were so many talented young songwriters and musicians during that era, and I was very fortunate as a young man to be working with some of the most enduring and iconic. Photographically, my perspective was one of reportage - I wanted to capture the moment. No one was posing for me, because I was not a hired photographer but rather part of their team and a friend.  My hope is that many of the photos will give the viewer a glimpse of the artists as individuals, unselfconscious, relaxed, and just being themselves."

The California Heritage Museum has selected a collection of more than 60 stunning images for the exhibition:  ROCK & ROLL LEGENDS, THE LOST NEGATIVES OF MICHAEL FRIEDMAN.  The exhibition is scheduled to open on April 14, 2018 and continue through July 15, 2018.  The California Heritage Museum is open Wednesday thru Sunday, 11am – 4pm, and is located at 2612 Main Street in Santa Monica, California, 90405. 

The collection is then expected to travel to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where it will be exhibited and then archived in perpetuity as The Michael Friedman Collection.

More Information about The Lost Rock & Roll Negatives is available at:

Michael Friedman's career in the music industry began in 1967 at the New York City-based PR agency Ivor Associates when he was 24 years old.  At the time, Ivor's clients included The Mamas and the Pappas, Herman’s Hermits, Glen Campbell, and The Bee Gees, among others.  

While at Ivor, Friedman transitioned to management and music production when he and partner John Kurland signed an unknown band from Philadelphia called Nazz, whose leader was Todd Rundgren. 

In 1968, Friedman went to work with the legendary music business manager Albert Grossman, best known for managing Bob Dylan. Friedman helped run Grossman’s management firm (ABGM) in NY and brought Todd Rundgren along with him.  Among the other notable artists Friedman worked with at ABGM were Bob Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin, Paul Butterfield, Odetta, Ian and Sylvia, Ritchie Havens, Peter Paul and Mary, James Cotton, Todd Rundgren, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Professor Longhair, Tom Rush, and Gordon Lightfoot. At the time, Albert Grossman Management was considered the premier music management company in the US.

By 1970, Friedman had moved to Woodstock, NY, to work on the early stages of Grossman’s Bearsville Records and Bearsville Studios. He subsequently joined Bert Block in Connecticut, managing Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge.     

In 1980, Friedman joined Arista records to work with Clive Davis as Davis’s executive assistant. He and Davis worked closely on various projects, including heading up the formation of Arista's music video department.  Friedman's first two projects under the newly established division included "Dionne Warwick: Live in Las Vegas,” and the 1980 production of the first feature length music video entitled “The Kinks: One for the Road," filmed at the Providence Civic Center. These productions were joint ventures with Time Life Entertainment. The Kinks rock video marked an industry first, and the soundtrack resulted in the Arista double album, “One for the Road,” which went gold.

Friedman also oversaw all Arista distributed labels, including Dave Grusin’s and Larry Rosen’s Jazz label GRP Records. He later went on to form The Empire Project, a music production and management firm in New York, with Arista A&R executive Don Silver. There, the two men produced and managed such artists as Orleans and Mayday. 

In 1982, with marriage and a new baby in the picture, Friedman decided he had had enough of the pressures of city life and the music business, and moved to Connecticut to pursue his other longtime interest in antiques.  There he opened the Friedman Gallery, and Artafax, a European high tech design store, both in Westport, CT.

In 1992, he opened the Ash Creek Saloon, the first of three successful restaurants. Also in 1992, Friedman authored the highly acclaimed book “Cowboy Culture: The Last Frontier of American Antiques.”

Friedman has three daughters. He lives with his wife, Donna Vita, in Connecticut.

The California Heritage Museum is committed to promoting the diversity and rich history of California's heritage through exhibitions, lectures, publications and community events. The museum is located at 2612 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Please visit: