Rediscovery of Paul McCartney’s photos of the Beatles’ invasion in 1964

Paul McCartney used his Pentax camera the same way he used his guitar: with complete freedom. And in early 1964, the 21-year-old took his new camera with him on perhaps the most significant musical journey of the 20th century: the Beatles’ invasion of America.

When the Beatles first visited the United States, Paul McCartney brought his Pentax camera with him. The pictures he took, long lost, have recently been found and form the basis of a new book and photo exhibition.

Paul McCartney

Hundreds of photos from that trip were recently rediscovered in McCartney’s archives: “It was really beautiful,” he said, “because I thought they were lost.”

The images collected in the new book 1964: Eyes of the Storm will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London later this month.

He offered correspondent Anthony Mason a tour of the exhibition.

McCartney explained his process: “When I’m shooting, I’m just looking for a shot. So I set the camera and just looked where I liked, you know? oh, that’s it. And without exception, you pretty much take a single photo.

“We were going fast. So you learned to shoot fast.”

Paul McCartney personally guides correspondent Anthony Mason through an exhibition of photographs of the former Beatle at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

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A photo was taken as the group arrived at the Deauville Hotel in Miami. Mason said, “I think your quote in the book was, ‘I can almost hear her scream.'”

“Yes you can!” McCartney laughed. “The policeman will arrest you, you know?”

Fans greet the Beatles in Miami in 1964.

Paul McCartney

“I also like the cop in the foreground who looks kind of confused by everything,” Mason said.

“I like the architecture of this hotel,” McCartney said. “But you know, like we said, that had to be done very quickly just to crack it.”

“But you have to have an eye for that.”

“It’s my left!”

The Beatles had started their journey in Paris. “And in Paris we got the telegram: ‘Congratulations guys, number one on the US charts.'”

“And you said you’re not going to America unless you have number one?”

“I know. And it was pretty bold to think that. But I saw some of our big stars go to the States and we were like, ‘Wow, he’s going to leave us now. He’s going to be famous there.” But then they came back and she were not famous. So I said, “If we go over there, you know, I really don’t want to come back with my tail between my legs.”

Preparing for her first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York City.

Paul McCartney

In America they played “The Ed Sullivan Show”. 73 million people tuned in. It was, writes McCartney, “the moment when all hell broke loose.”

Mason said, “Looking at these images is like looking at the world, looking at yourself. You seemed very comfortable.”

“Yes. I mean, you know, you have to think about it: we’re kids from Liverpool. And we’re trying to be famous, and it’s not easy. And we were like stars in America and people loved us.” We loved it. And having that number one was really the secret — because when the journalists, you know, New York journalists, ‘Hey, Beatle! Hey Beatles! Why are you here?” Whatever. We say, “We’re number one in your country!” Bingo!”

Beatlemania in New York City.

Paul McCartney

McCartney captured the commotion on the streets surrounding New York’s Plaza Hotel and the crowd that pursued them as they snuck through the side door.

Mason said, “There was a reporter who said you were like prisoners with room service?”

“Yes,” McCartney laughed. “That was kind of true. But we liked the room service. You know, we’ve never had that before!”

From New York, the Beatles traveled by train to Washington, DC. McCartney’s camera was also there.

As they traveled south, Paul McCartney snapped this photo of a railroad worker: “I love this guy. He’s like from my homeland. He looked great. And he held up his hand and a little smile. It’s nice. It’s “a great memory, you know?”

Paul McCartney

So many of McCartney’s pictures were taken along the way, including shots of a Miami police officer from his car pulling up next to him: “And that’s basically what I saw. And we had never seen police officers with guns. We.” That just didn’t exist in England.”


Paul McCartney

But in Miami, McCartney brought out color film. “It was like a vacation for us,” he said.

The Fab Four even had a few days off.

Mason said, “There’s some great shots of you looking like terrycloth jackets.”

“Yes, the hotel catered for them,” McCartney said. “Usually you get a robe, but this place, because it was Miami, had these little cool little short things – and hats! We lived in it for days. Even Brian.” [Epstein], our manager. We thought they were really cool pieces of clothing.”

John Lennon, Brian Epstein, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in Miami.

Paul McCartney

He caught George relaxing with an anonymous suitor: “Yeah, I don’t think I was trying to protect her identity in that picture,” McCartney said. “I love her bathing suit. So great. And you know, there’s George, like I keep saying, living life. He’s got a drink that’s probably a scotch and a coke. He’s tanned, the girl in yellow.” Bikini. It was extraordinarily nice for guys from Liverpool!”

George Harrison with a suitor in Miami.

Paul McCartney

At the end of February the band returned to England. In early April, the Beatles had the top five songs on the US charts. McCartney writes, “We spent the months and years that followed fighting for our lives.”



Mason asked, “Did you remember any of that when you saw it?”

“Sort of,” McCartney replied. “It was a very memorable time, you know?”

“But there was so much going on, I’m amazed you were able to process and retain it all.”

“Yes, I am too!”

McCartney doesn’t just look back on photos of his past; He revealed to the BBC last week that this autumn he will be releasing what he calls “the last Beatles record” – a John Lennon demo tape that McCartney remixes using the latest artificial intelligence technology. The music, like the images of Paul McCartney, is part of the Beatles’ enduring legacy.

McCartney said, “To me, it’s like a little piece of American history. And it’s my story, it’s the story of the Beatles. So it was great to rediscover these images.”

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The story was produced by Ed Forgotson. Publisher: Joseph Frandino.

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