A Day in the Life of The Beatles by Don McCullinPublished to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon’s death, this previously unpublished collection of poignant photographs is a record of one day with The Beatles—just after Sgt. Pepper was released. In September 1968, critically acclaimed photojournalist Don McCullin was invited to spend a day photographing The Beatles in locations ranging from Paul McCartney’s garden to the banks of the Thames, as well as in their recording studio. The timing of this was, in hindsight, significant. The Beatles had just released Sgt. Pepper, Vietnam was in turmoil, and riots had spread through America’s cities and campuses. It was the moment when the innocence and optimism of the sixties darkened—the instant the youth movement, of which The Beatles were icons, converged with the antiwar protests, the civil rights movement, and the burgeoning counterculture. One of the most poignant photographs taken that day was of John Lennon posing as dead, surrounded by the other three band members. Lennon himself carefully choreographed the image as a pose of protest, but it is now seen as tragic and strangely prophetic. These images of four inspired artists at the pinnacle of success and on the cusp of transformation mark the passing of an era, and in them, we can glimpse our own lost youth.
Mad Day Out
By Helen Hall — February 2nd, The Beatles attracted hoards of fans wherever they went, so the entourage had to keep moving on to new locations, leading to a frenetic shooting schedule. Paul McCartney had originally asked Don McCullin to shoot that day, but five other photographers also showed up, including Mal Evans and Tom Murray, whose photographs are seen here. After Thomson House it has since been demolished , the band headed to the Mercury Theatre in Notting Hill, where, bizarrely, they posed with a real parrot. According to McCullin, the light in the old theatre was terrible, which probably explains the lack of photographs from that location. The Beatles then drove over to Highgate Cemetery for some quick poses outside, and then on to Old Street, where they climbed onto the roundabout in the middle of the busy thoroughfare and posed on a large concrete block below. Presumably fans were quick to spot the Beatles since this is a busy section of London, so they moved on to St.
They arrived in the evening, and parked their cars in Wapping High Street. The first photographs were taken near the corner of Sampson Street, before moving on to the concrete bed — now a park — between the two Wapping Pier Head buildings. To get to the second location The Beatles climbed the fence surrounding the eastern Pier Head building and sat on the grass. John Lennon changed into a black waistcoat and Paul McCartney went bare chested. Lennon swung a pickaxe at concrete, then lay down on the concrete slope.
The group was in need of new publicity images, and wanted to get away from the recording studio temporarily. The chosen day was 28 July The building, on Gray's Inn Road, was demolished in Thomson House had a photographic studio in its penthouse, which had been built for photographer Lord Snowdon and was often used by Apple's snappers John Kelly and Stephen Goldblatt. For the first shots, The Beatles stood against a blue backdrop and a fan was pointed at them to blow their hair away.
May Coming to Liverpool and seeing all The Beatles sites was a dream come true for me. Their jaunt took them all over the city that day, with snapshots taken by the celebrated war photographer Don McCullin. And the icing on the cake? Wasting no time in getting the tour underway, we jumped into Dear Prudence and Ian shuttled us off to Admiral Grove, the understated street where a certain Richard Starkey lived for twenty years before rising to fame with The Beatles. Ringo lived at 10 Admiral Grove with his mother Elsie and stepfather Harry and, once again, it was magical for me to see that the house looks just the same as it did over seventy years ago.