Rolling Thunder


“From Jesse James to Tony Soprano, outlaws have always held a singular if ambiguous place in America’s popular imagination: we fear and loathe their appetite for violence, yet we envy and covet their freedom. In early 1965, LIFE photographer Bill Ray and writer Joe Bride spent several weeks with a gang that, to this day, serves as a living, brawling embodiment of our schizoid relationship with the rebel: the Hells Angels. Here, in a gallery of never-published photographs, Ray and Bride recall their days and nights with Buzzard, Hambone, Big D, and other Angels (and their “old ladies”) at a time when the roar of Harleys and the sight of long-haired bikers was still new, alien, and for the average, law-abiding citizen, simply terrifying. Above: Hells Angels, 1965 — the one previously published image in this gallery. None of the pictures that follow have ever been seen before.”
on life magazine

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