If you’re a Beatle fan and are anywhere near London between March 16th and May 14th this year it would be well worth visiting the Proud Chelsea gallery.
The gallery (at 161 Kings Road, London) is presenting what looks to be a terrific new exhibition called The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus.
The exhibition features many previously unseen photographs and provides a fascinating and deeply candid insight into the band during what would become a landmark occasion at the famous EMI Studio 1 in Abbey Road: The Beatles were about to perform live for the historic Our World program, broadcast to a world-wide television audience of millions.
Photographer David Magnus had a close relationship with the band dating back to 1963 when, at the age of 19, he was invited to photograph a then relatively unknown band during a concert at Stowe School. This early work with the group allowed Magnus unprecedented access throughout their subsequent rise to fame, and he gradually built up a portfolio of many rare and unique images. That, and a friendship with their publicist, Tony Barrow, got him exclusive access to document a pivotal moment in their career 50 years ago. On the weekend of the 24th and 25th of June 1967, The Beatles performed and recorded their song ‘All You Need is Love’ during a live broadcast for the BBC’s Our World program, the world’s first live, international, satellite television production, reaching over 400 million people around the globe.
Magnus documented rare, behind-the-scenes footage of the historical event, including wonderfully frank photographs of the band relaxing backstage away from the recording studio:
George and John grabbing a cup of tea during a break from rehearsals,1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)
The Beatles in the EMI Canteen under the watchful eye of one of the EMI commissionaires, 1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)
Speaking of the intensity of the band’s influence during that time, Magnus said, ‘As I came from the EMI canteen, one of the female studio staff stopped me, put a hand on my shoulder and said to me, “I must touch you as you’ve been in the same room as The Beatles.” It was as if I carried an aura from the Beatles. This to me sums up Beatlemania.’
The Beatles wanted the studio to have a real party atmosphere, and the band were all dressed in colourful clothes and were surrounded by flowers, balloons and placards. To further add to the atmosphere The Beatles invited a number of their friends to attend including Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Marianne Faithful, Eric Clapton, Jane Asher, Patti Boyd and Graham Nash – and Beatle manager, Brian Epstein. The images of him in this exhibition are the last ever photographs of Epstein with The Beatles as he died shortly afterwards.One of the last photographs of Brian Epstein with The Beatles before his untimely death just weeks later, 1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)
This collection is a captivating archive of an event that was not only a first for The Beatles but a first for the era of television, which ignited a social revolution and created the universal anthem of its era.The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus, Proud Chelsea, 16th March – 14th May 2017, www.proud.co.uk