Behind Beatlemania: Intimate Photos of Paul McCartney – Rolling Stone
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Behind Beatlemania: Intimate Photos of Paul McCartney

A new book chronicles the evolution of a musical icon

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Beatlemania officially exploded 50 years ago this month, as the Fab Four arrived in New York and delivered their historic first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In honor of this massive cultural moment, LIFE is releasing a hardcover book, Paul: 50 Years After the British Invasion, on March 11th. The collection features recollections from Sir Paul McCartney on his life and career, along with never-before-seen photos taken by Harry Benson, who accompanied the Beatles on their first American tour. To celebrate the release, check out some exclusive photos from the book.

First up is an intimate glimpse of McCartney and John Lennon playing Liverpool's Casbah Coffee Club during their formative days as the Quarrymen. Fun fact: The fan in the floral dress making googly eyes at McCartney is Cynthia Powell, who would go on to marry Lennon in 1962.

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Your Father Should Know

A teenage Paul McCartney poses with his father, Jim, and younger brother, Mike. It was Jim, a trumpet player and pianist who played in jazz bands, who bought Paul a trumpet for his 14th birthday. Wanting to sing and play an instrument at the same time, Paul traded the trumpet for an acoustic guitar.

Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasio

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The Early Years

This rocking shot from 1960 shows the band during its full-on greaser phase. At this stage, we're only looking at the Fab Three, with drummer Johnny Hutchinson and bassist Stuart Sutcliffe joining Paul, John and George. Careful observers will note that Sutcliffe's left hand is obscured, and there's a reason: His bandmates often encouraged him to face away from photographers to hide his mediocre bass skills. In 1962, at the age of 21, Sutcliffe tragically died of a brain aneurysm.

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Fan Foreshadowing

Here's McCartney in 1965, kicking back with a copy of the Fab Four fanzine The Original Beatles Book. Note the ominous headline, "Delicious Insanity: Where Will It End?," and the screaming girls on the back cover. 

 

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Epstein’s Boys

The Beatles became more marketable and business-savvy with the help of mentor/manager Brian Epstein, who followed the fly-by-night Allan Williams. This candid 1963 photo finds the band goofing off with their new confidant, gathered around the dining table in Epstein's classy flat. 

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Max Scheler/K&K/Redferns/Getty

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

During the frenzied fever pitch of Beatlemania, the band members were often trapped in their hotel rooms, ironically detached from the pandemonium they created. This shot of Lennon, McCartney and Ringo Starr lounging around with magazines perfectly captures that isolation. 

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Terry O’Neill/Getty Images

Recording ‘She Loves You’

Lennon and McCartney's songwriting partnership is the most revered in music history, and "She Loves You" is a quintessential example of their counterbalance. This photo shows Lennon and McCartney (the latter with his signature Hofner violin bass) recording that legendary early single on July 1st, 1963 – only days after writing it. 

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

Alone Again (Naturally)

This color portrait of McCartney was shot in 1964. Earlier that year, the group had become international superstars, leaving McCartney little time for intimate moments like this.

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

AP

Paul and Julian

The Beatles released the masterful Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, the same year this photo was taken. The cigarette-smoking McCartney is shown holding hands with Julian Lennon, John's first son. Nearby is Macca's former fianceé Jane Asher, with John trailing just behind the pack. McCartney claimed he wrote the 1968 classic "Hey Jude" for Julian, then struggling with his parents' divorce. 

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

Paul Meets Linda

McCartney met his future wife Linda Eastman on May 15th, 1967 during a Georgie Fame concert at London's Bag O'Nails club. This photo shows the couple meeting again four days later at Brian Epstein's London home, at the press launch party for the newly recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Mirrorpix/Everett

Two of Us

McCartney married Linda Eastman in a civil ceremony on March 12th, 1969, at London's Marylebone Register Office. This photo shows the newly wedded couple walking into their new life, joined by Heather, Linda’s six-year-old daughter from her previous marriage to American geologist Joseph Melville See.

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Bettman/Corbis

A Cup of English Tea

In the mid-Seventies, the McCartneys were flying high on the success of their new band, Wings. This laid-back photo finds the happy couple reclining for tea on a Tennessee porch in 1974: The previous year saw the release of Wings' blockbuster Band on the Run, while Venus and Mars would follow in 1975.

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

Ken Regan/Camera 5

‘This Is a Bass, Mr. Sullivan’

Of course, the defining moment of Beatlemania happened 50 years ago, with the band's debut performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In this humorous photo, McCartney shows off his trademark Hofner bass guitar to Sullivan as Lennon and Starr look on curiously.

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

David McGough/DMI

Good Evening, New York City

Here's McCartney hanging out in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1982. That same year, he released his excellent solo LP, Tug of War, which features staples like the John Lennon tribute "Here Today" and ubiquitous Stevie Wonder duet "Ebony and Ivory."

LIFE’s new Beatles book, Paul: 50 years after the British Invasion

20th Century Fox/Everett

Give My Regards to Ringo

In 1984, McCartney released Give My Regards to Broad Street, a soundtrack LP to the titular film (which he wrote and starred in). Though the project earned the multi-talented Macca some of the weakest reviews of his career, it did give him a reason to reunite with his old bandmate, Ringo Starr, who played drums on the soundtrack and acted in the film. This big-grin photo shows the former Beatles together in the recording studio. 

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