In 2020, an extraordinary trove of nearly a thousand photographs taken by Paul McCartney on a 35mm camera was re-discovered in his archive. They intimately record the months towards the end of 1963 and beginning of 1964 when Beatlemania erupted in the UK and, after the band’s first visit to the USA, they became the most famous people on the planet. The photographs are McCartney’s personal record of this explosive time, when they, The Beatles, were inside looking out and were the ‘Eyes of the Storm’.
1964: Eyes of the Storm presents 275 of McCartney’s photographs from the six cities of these intense, legendary months – Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami – and many never-before-seen portraits of John, George and Ringo. In his Foreword and Introductions to these city portfolios, McCartney remembers ‘what else can you call it – pandemonium’ and conveys his impressions of Britain and America 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 three years before), and then what we regarded as the big time, our first visit as a group to America.”
Complementing this new publication, McCartney’s photographs will be displayed for the first time in the unprecedented exhibition, Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, at the National Portrait Gallery, London. The exhibition will run from 28 June until 1 October 2023, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.