Big Bear Records has an extensive archive of photos stretching back to Jim Simpson’s time working as a photographer for Midland Beat and Melody Maker in the early 60s, capturing some of the biggest names in rock, pop and blues at the time up close and personal.


In addition, we have photos of many of the high profile names to have featured at the Birmingham Jazz Festival over the years. We are also pleased to have been able to engage award-winning Dutch documentary photographer Merlin Daleman as Festival Photographer in Residence since 2007, with his work being exhibited annually on the main concourse New Street Station since 2015.


We can supply high-quality prints of any of the photos featured on this website, as well as high-resolution copies of the image files for media use – please get in touch for details


Selected images from Jim’s collection are now available to purchase as an exclusive range of T-shirts, paying tribute to many of the greats of blues and rock’n’roll.


We also have sets of souvenir A5 postcards featuring rare photos of Black Sabbath taken by Jim shortly after he started managing the band available to purchase online.


All photos copyright Big Bear Music unless otherwise stated


Big Bear Photo Collections:


Jagger, The Killer & The Prettiest Man In Rock and Roll

Featuring stunning images of Little Richard, Nina Simone, Mick Jagger, Jerry Lee Lewis, Black Sabbath and others by Jim Simpson. The collection from Jim’s years of working as a photographer and journalist captures these amazing legends on their visits to Birmingham, showcasing their influence on the music industry both locally and globally.


Jazz, The Blues and The Bear

Featuring a number of legendary jazz and blues musicians captured in Birmingham, including Count Basie, Buck Clayton, John Lee Hooker, Tommy Tucker and Sonny Boy Williamson