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Titled 1964: Eyes Of The Storm, the project provides an intimate look at the months towards the end of 1963 and beginning of 1964 when Beatlemania took off in the UK, and the Fab Four rose to global fame after their first US trip.
The featured photographs are McCartney’s personal record of this historic period in music, and were shot in six cities: Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami. Fans will see many previously-unreleased portraits of John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
In his foreword and introductions, McCartney recalls the “what else can you call it – pandemonium” of that time of his career and conveys his impressions of Britain and America in 1964.
The idea for 1964: Eyes Of The Storm came about back in 2020 when nearly a thousand photographs taken by Paul McCartney on a 35mm camera was re-discovered in his archive.
“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,” says McCartney.
“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.”
McCartney continued: “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.”
The book also includes an introduction by Harvard historian and New Yorker essayist Jill Lepore, a preface by Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and an essay by Senior Curator Rosie Broadley.
1964: Eyes Of The Storm is due for publication on June 13 via Penguin (pre-order here). You can see the cover artwork, a preview image and the official trailer above.
The photographs will also be displayed for the first time in the exhibition, Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, at the National Portrait Gallery. It runs from June 28 until October 1, 2023.