July 18, 2003 by

Phil Ceccola


Categories: Artists

Phil Ceccola, a rock photographer who took pictures of everyone from Elvis to the Boss, died on July 13 of brain cancer. He was 48.
Ceccola taught himself how to use a camera. When he was 12 years old, he launched his career as a rock photographer by shooting pictures of a Temptations concert in Atlantic City.
In the 1970s, Ceccola worked as the managing editor of the alternative newspaper, the Drummer, which granted him backstage access to most concerts. He toured extensively with Elvis Presley, and took 20,000 pictures of Bruce Springsteen, including the image that appeared on the cover of the album, “18 Tracks.” A collection of Ceccola’s Springsteen photos will be published in paperback this fall.
Other musicians caught by Ceccola’s lens include Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Waits and Elton John. For the past three years, while Ceccola fought a brain tumor, he also toured with Rick Springfield.

17 Responses to Phil Ceccola

  1. am

    Not a day goes by that i don’t miss you, my friend, we met by fate, you changed my life forever. Wish you were here today not for me but for your girls who miss you the most. The only thing that helps me make it is knowing you are watching over me and my children.

  2. john ceccola

    I’ve seen Phil’s pictures of Bruce Springsteen. I sorry to hear of his loss. I’m not sure if Phil is a relative but best wishes go out to his family.

  3. Mike C

    Phil was a good guy. He was unpretencious, and always willing to talk and give advice.
    If Phils daughters happens to read this, you should know that you were in his thoughts, even when you were not in his presence. I helped Phil move much of his belongings about a year prior to his passing, and of all the goofy eclectic junk and treasures he had accumulated, he seemed most proud of a small picture of his daughters.
    Rest peacefully Phil.

  4. Dona

    Phil was very special in many ways! Oh, the stories I could tell! He left a part of himself with so many people, me included! But especially with “his girls”, he loved you both very much!

  5. Barbara

    I don’t know where to start, so I will say this: I just discovered Phil’s death this past Saturday night and I have been grieving since.
    You see, Phil and I worked together back in 1974 to 1975, When we were both 19 yr old kids… 🙂
    Phil & I would go to the MainPoint together and Phil would do his thing, which he did best,like take his incrediable pictures of all the Acts and we would then get together and party with everyone after the show. We had such a great time.
    I have some very, very fond memories of Phil. In fact, Phil had asked me to go with him to see Bruce Springsteen’s tour, during Bruce’s College touring days. We spent the whole weekend with the band traveling around the Washington DC area and Phil even came to my rescue when Clarance Clemmonts wanted to hit on me… We had so much fun that we laughed and laughed all weekend. Boy was I ever excited to be there with Phil and the entire band for the weekend. It was great!
    In fact Phil had given me some pictures of Bruce and some other singers from back in the day and that’s what lead me to find out about his death.
    You see, The Antique Roadshow was here in South Florida this past Sunday at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe. They were having Gary Somer,the Rock & Roll Memobilia Guy there. Anyone could go to the Hard Rock and bring their rock memobilia. I was showig Gary some things, including a few of Phil’s pictures and he told me that he knew Phil. I was so excited about that news that I couldn’t wait to get home to find Phil and possibly try to call and speak with him and tell him that Gary knew him and to reminisce about the good old days. When I got home, I decided to go on the computer and look to see if Phil had a web site. As I excitablly told my husband that I found this web site and as I was reading the BLOG out loud, I couldn’t quite believe what my words were saying. That Phil had passed away…
    Gary had given me his email address and I emailed him asking,if he knew of Phil’s passing. Gary emailed me back the next morning telling me that he was not aware….
    To his Children, I wish you comfort,joy, health and happiness. Your father was an exceptional man, with such vision that he amazed me.
    I spoke with your Dad many years ago, when he was going thru some tough years. We had a wonderful conversation and we promised to reconnect. Life got in the way and that never happened.
    Your Dad told me that he had two wonderful little girls and that he was so proud of them and that he was greatful that you both were in his life.
    To the world, I would like to say that there are not too many people in life that could and would make a difference in someone eles life. Phil had that gift and I will be forever greatful to have known him and to have spent some wonderful, wonderful times together with him.
    I can just see him now with his Pentax Camera, man that guy could shoot!
    May G-d bless your soul and keep you in his comfort.
    Thank you my old friend for everything. I will always remember you.
    Love Barbara

  6. mikey

    I was drummer for the a’s. I haven’t seen Phil in 10 years and was saddened to hear of his recent passing. He was a great photgrapher and friend. I will never forget him.

  7. bill martin

    Phil’s Girls,
    I had no idea your dad had passed until tonight 1/21/06 when I was beginning to frame a photo shoot sheet of Iain Matthews he gave me back in 91 when I was touring with Iain. He was a good friend in the music business and loved the Strawbs so much. He signed his work “To one of the few people that love The Strawbs as much as I do” Phil
    He never told me he was a big photographer for a living. He used to buy music from me at conventions & I would see him at Strawbs & Iain Mathews shows. I am honored to have been his friend. See ya some time upstairs Phil, Bill Martin

  8. Greg Roccaro

    Hi Aurora;
    I am so very sorry to hear of your Dad’s death. I just heard from an old model collecting friend that he had passed. Your Dad was very very nice to me when I began Aurora Model Kit collecting back in the late 80’s and I still own and many models that he got for me. I will always have the fondest memories of him. I am sorry.
    Greg Roccaro

  9. Peter

    I remember meeting Phil at the Main Point taking pictures as was I since I worked there it was easy to roam about.I attended several parties at his Bridgeport digs where oddly enough we shared an unusal passion turns out we both collected buttons.I have some he gave me,wonder what happened to the ones I gave him?I introducted Kenn Kweder to Phil.I have pictures of the 3 of us together doing….never mind…..all best…Peter

  10. Tom

    Hi Phils family,
    I worked for Phil and Bernie years ago at Button Master and I wanted to express my condolences to all. Phil was a fun guy to work with and for.
    On another note, I remember the crew at Button Master babysitting Phil and Bernies first daughter. I am sorry I don’t remember her name. But it was fun entertaining a toddler.
    Bernie, if you read this, Buddy and Tommy say Hi. Buddy still is skateboarding at 45.. If you ever get interested in chatting with him or I contact me at roxborotom@yahoo.com
    I hope all is well with everyone.
    Take care – tom

  11. james w. carter

    Phil took the best photo I’ve ever had taken when I was a recording
    artist in Philly. He was a gentle soul and I wish I got to know him better.

  12. Robert Boyington

    I’m deeply sorry to hear of Phil’s early passing. I’ll never forget his jokes , and the time we spent at the Central Park on the main Line in ’76-’77. His Coca-Cola-looking logo comes to my mind every time i see the Coca Cola one. Lots of love Phil , i know God’s pulled out all the f-stops for your arrival………peace.

  13. nancy clark langan

    to phil’s family and friends: I met Phil in photography class senior year at Upper Merion High School. From there were memorable nights of tagging along with him to concerts and being able to sit in the press section to bus rides up to NYC to CBGB’s that phil organized. I also attended the parties at his Bridgeport apartment where phil would entertain his guests with his priest collar!! Phil and I drifted apart for awile but reconnected in the late 80’s. For his daughters-he spoke of the two of you all the time and loved you very much. I wasn’t in contact with Phil wnen he got sick and found out a few years ago that he died. I felt so sad and did not have anyone to talk to about him-being on oncology nurse I know it must have been painful at some point, but was happy to read that he kept going for as long as he could with what he loved. If anyone reading this knows where he is buried please contact me. nancylangan@comcast.net

  14. Sandy Hinkel Gerger

    I met Phil while working at Volt Tech, Inc, back in the 1970s where we created ads for the Yellow Pages. I remember him falling hard for Bernadette who also worked for Volt. He still had his ButtonMaster warehouse, but I guess he needed a steady paycheck while surfing the ups and downs of the music business. We became fast friends. We were both “creatives” in a corporate setting, which is always a challenge. Phil was widely misunderstood there, but he had a slew of loyal friends and admirers on the “outside”, including some world-famous rockers.

    Phil found out that I worshiped Bruce Springsteen (at the time, anyway) and promised to take me to a concert. He made good on that promise, and took me backstage to meet him and get an original Phil Ceccola photo signed. I was in rock and roll Heaven. Thank you Phil for that wonderful experience.

    Phil and I had some adventures together as platonic friends. A couple visits to the shore, and parties at his incomparable Conshohocken house, with Christmas lights up all year round, a Pachinko machine, a black fridge, and rock and roll memorabilia everywhere you looked. He was a huge influence on me; I greatly admired his confidence, creativity, and business sense.

    He even visited us right after our daughter Elizabeth was born.. this was years later. I attended his funeral, and nobody knew me there, but that’s OK. I hope Phil knows I showed up.

    Thanks, Phil, my old friend, for the precious memories. You passed away way too young. You will never be forgotten.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *