Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami.
Six cities pivotal in the success of The Beatles as their music and their fame burst into the world, changing a generation forever.
The year: 1964.
Captured on film by one of those at the very centre of the storm: Paul McCartney.
In 2020, a treasure trove of nearly a thousand photographs taken by McCartney on a 35mm SLR camera was re-discovered in his archive. It was realised that his photographs form a unique view of the months towards the end of 1963 and beginning of 1964 as Beatlemania erupted in the UK and, after the band’s first visit to the USA, four young men became the most famous people on the planet. These photographs serve as a personal record of this explosive time when The Beatles were inside looking out – right inside the eye of the storm.
Now comes a new photographic exhibition and a book, 1964: Eyes of the Storm – Photographs and Reflections by Paul McCartney. They present his photographs and memories from six cities, capturing these intense months with many never-before-seen portraits of John, George and Ringo.
In his Foreword to the book, and in the \introductions to each of the city portfolios, McCartney remembers: ‘what else can you call it – pandemonium’, and conveys his impressions of what Britain and America were like for him and his band mates in 1964 – the moment when the culture changed and the Sixties really began.
‘Anyone who rediscovers a personal relic or family treasure is instantly flooded with memories and emotions, which then trigger associations buried in the haze of time. This was exactly my experience in seeing these photos, all taken over an intense three-month period of travel, culminating in February 1964. It was a wonderful sensation to be plunged right back.
Here was my own record of our first huge trip, a photographic journal of The Beatles in six cities, beginning in Liverpool and London, followed by Paris (where John and I had been ordinary hitchhikers just over two years before), and then what we regarded as the big time, our first visit as a group to America’ – Paul McCartney
1964: Eyes of the Storm Photography Book Includes:
- Six city portfolios – Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami – featuring 275 of McCartney’s own photographs – and his candid reflections on them
- A Foreword by Paul McCartney
- Beatleland, an Introduction by Harvard historian and New Yorker essayist Jill Lepore
- A Preface by Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and Another Lens, an essay by Senior Curator Rosie Broadley
The book, to be released on 13 June, is accompanied by a major exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery from 28 June – 1 October, 2023.
The Gallery will display, for the first time, a selection of the extraordinary archive of rediscovered and never-before-seen photographs taken by Paul.
Like the book, the exhibition provides a uniquely personal perspective on what it was like to be a ‘Beatle’ at the start of ‘Beatlemania’ – from gigs in Liverpool and London, to performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York to an unparalleled television audience of 73 million people. At a time when so many camera lenses were on the band, these photographs share a fresh insight into their experiences, their fans, and the early 1960s, all through eyes of Paul McCartney. Find out more and get tickets here.
P.S. If you’re wondering about the cool music used in the YouTube promo video above it’s the McCartney track ‘222’, released as a bonus track on the special edition version of “Memory Almost Full“. The song was written for his youngest child, his daughter Beatrice, when she was aged 2. See The McCartney Project for more detail.