Got the chance to go to a CD and book fair recently and picked up what is really a very nice second-hand book of photographs and memories by Michael McCartney (or Mike McGear as he is sometimes known).
Beatles books are dime a dozen – but this one is special because it’s an historic and unique window into the behind-the-scenes life not only of Paul McCartney and the Beatles, but the whole Liverpool scene which spawned the band.
Michael McCartney is the younger brother of Paul, and with camera in hand he had a backstage pass to record the evolution of the Beatles. His book is filled with amazing photographs from the very earliest days of his and Paul’s lives – from intimate family photos, right through to the onset of Beatlemania and the contrast of crowds everywhere.
McCartney’s photographs have been frequently used by his older brother, notably scattered throughout this film clip for the Wings song “Let ‘Em In” from 1976 (which also name-checks “brother Michael”):
Many of those images in the promo film clip appear in this book. Paul McCartney also used a Michael McCartney image for the CD single “No Other Baby”, a song taken from his 1999 album Run Devil Run:
Michael McCartney writes that the photograph (above) is of their cousin Bett Robbins (right), her son Ted (left)- with Paul sitting in the middle sitting in Ted’s pushchair. “By this time Paul was so obsessed with the guitar that he took it everywhere – the bogs, the bus, and even the beach….”. The photo was taken on the same day as this one below. It is the same group, but this time with Paul and Michael’s dad Jim McCartney included:
There are of course many photographs of Paul, but also some wonderfully unique images of the other Beatles as young men:
In this year of looking back on 50 years of the Beatles, Remember: Recollections and Photographs of the Beatles is well worth looking out for to add to your collection. It came out in 1992 so you will have to hunt around for it, but it’s a unique insight into the early days of the band. You can find out more about Michael McCartney in these two interesting articles: Part One and Part Two.