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Rock & Roll Memories

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When he was 15 years old, on a night when he should’ve been doing homework, Ken Regan sat down at the desk in his bedroom and made a list. “At the time, I was my school’s photographer, covering sports and a little bit of music,” he recalls. But that night, “I wrote down all the musicians I ever wanted to photograph. Dylan and the Stones were Nos. 1 and 2 on my list. I was just a poor kid from the Bronx-I never imagined I’d end up with these people.”

And yet, within a few years Regan would become one of music’s most trusted, sought-after photographers-friend to Mick, Keith, and even rock’s reclusive legend Bob Dylan. In his new photo book All Access: The Rock ‘N’ Roll Photography of Ken Regan, the renowned photojournalist and frequent PEOPLE contributor, now 72, recounts his journey from teen shutterbug to rock-star photographer, sharing highlights of his 55-year career-from Rolling Stones tour photos to intimate shots at home with June Carter and Johnny Cash. Remembering those days now, he says, “It’s like, did I do this? Was I really there?” He told PEOPLE’s Kristen Mascia some of the stories behind the pictures.

Mick Jagger

Montauk, N.Y., 1975

“This was at Andy Warhol’s house. It was amazing, right on the beach. They went there for a month to rehearse before their tour.”

Billy Joel

New York City, 1977

“He loved boxing, and I’d covered Muhammad Ali’s title fights. I said, ‘I’d love to put you in gloves.’ He said, ‘That means you’ve got to tell me more stories about Ali.'”

Keith Richards

Los Angeles, 1972

“Keith wouldn’t get out of bed till 6 or 7 at night. Sometimes they literally had to drag him up, put him on a stool and give him a guitar-then he came alive.”

Sonny & Cher

California, 1966

“Teen magazine assigned this. I was a kid, and I took my first plane ride to get there. This was Cher four noses ago. I think they enjoyed the fact that I was very young.”

Patti Hansen & Keith Richards

Worcester, Mass., 1981

“I honestly don’t think Keith would be alive today if it wasn’t for Patti. She got him off all the hard drugs and his quart of Johnnie Walker Red a day.”

Bob Dylan

Southwest U.S.A., 2001

“The first tour I did with Bob, there was a woman in the audience-gray hair-screaming and applauding. I asked the promoter who she was. He said, ‘Ken, if you ever want to work with Bob again, do not release those photos. That’s his mother.'”

Jo Wood, Jerry Hall & Patti Hansen

London, 1982

The Stones’ significant others “were terrific, but Patti was especially to die for. She loved getting photographed, plus she had these five gorgeous sisters she kept trying to get me to take out. Keith fell madly in love.”

June Carter Cash & Johnny Cash

Hendersonville, Tenn., 1970

“This was taken at their house. One night Johnny called and said he was having a few friends over. Kris Kristofferson walks in, Dylan, Jack Palance. I was glad I brought my camera!”

Bianca Jagger, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts & Keith Richards

Tour of the Americas, 1975

“The Rolling Stones were exciting guys to be around-vibrant, all talented.”