Oklahoma rock 'n' photographer sees one of his photo subjects 32 years later

Vernon Gowdy III took photographs of Pat Benatar in Oklahoma that were used in her autobiography. Wednesday in Concho, she signed his copy of the book.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY rmedley@opubco.com Modified: August 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm •  Published: September 1, 2012
Advertisement
;

It had been more than three decades years since Vernon Gowdy III last saw rocker Pat Benatar.

The rock 'n' roll photographer took pictures of Benatar for JAM Magazine in 1979 at the Boomer Theatre in Norman, and then took more at the Rocklahoma music event in 1980 on Owen Field.

Some of Gowdy's photos were used in Benatar's autobiography, “Between a Heart and a Rock Place: Memoir.”

Gowdy saw her again Wednesday when Benatar performed at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, but he wasn't allowed to photograph her.

She did, however, autograph his copy of her book.

Gowdy said he showed his business card and the photos in the book to a security guard who was able to get the book autographed backstage. But he was told he couldn't use his camera during the show.

“That was a bummer,” Gowdy said.

In 1979, Gowdy was a college student making a name for himself with his photographs of musicians for the music weekly JAM Magazine, then based in Oklahoma City. Gowdy later would take the cover photo of Sammy Hagar for his biography.

Gowdy, 57, said he still goes to a few rock shows to take photos, but not as many as he used to.

He has had a tough year. On April 3, his father Vernon Gowdy Jr., 79, was stabbed to death in his Oklahoma City home. Edward C. Williams, 18, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the case.

“It's one thing to have your parent pass away, but it is another when someone dies in a heinous way,” Gowdy said.

Seeing Pat Benatar was a good distraction in a difficult year. Gowdy said her show Wednesday was every bit as good as those he remembered from decades ago.

“She sounded great. Her vocals were just as good as they were 30 years ago,” Gowdy said.