The Beatles in 1958: Rare early photo of the band found by Paul McCartney's brother

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 07, 2020, 10:31 AM(IST)

The band feature in around 10 minutes of the footage, which comes on the original 8mm film cassette on which it was shot. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph:( Others )

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The photograph shows Paul and George, both 15, and John, 17, rehearsing to perform at a wedding reception. George has his back to the camera, hence the name on the negative – George’s Back.


A rare photo of The Beatles has surfaced on the planet and we have Paul McCartney’s brother to thank for it. 

In the photo, the band can be seen strumming their guitars in his room. There’s Paul McCartney with John Lennon and George Harrison in what is thought to be one of the earliest colour pictures ever taken of the Beatles.

The photograph, which has never been seen before, was Paul’s brother Mike McCartney, who took it in March 1958.

It shows Paul and George, both 15, and John, 17, rehearsing to perform at a wedding reception. George has his back to the camera, hence the name on the negative – George’s Back.

Beatles Rare photo courtesy: Twitter

Interestingly, Mike stumbled upon the photo while going through old files for a new book. He said he was 14 when he took the picture – along with a well-known second image, largely assumed to be the first colour picture of the band – at his Auntie Gin’s house in Huyton, Liverpool, at the reception for her 19-year-old son, Ian Harris.

Dressed in grey jackets, white shirts and black ties, the band, then named The Quarrymen, appear to be rehearsing, with Paul open-mouthed, presumably mid-song.

Mike said: 'My filing system is non-existent, I’m always coming across lost drawings and pictures. I was going through some old files and came across a couple of negs and I realised that, because the other one was a better picture, I had put this one to one side.

'I realised, "Oh my God, I must have taken this one earlier because there they are rehearsing, George has his back to the camera".'

 

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'It was a lovely discovery after all these years. Sometimes negatives fade if they haven’t been stored properly but this one was in prime condition. In those days colour film was very expensive so it would have been a special present from Dad to get the colour film for me.

'We used to get Dad a £1 cigar every year for Christmas and he would have got this as my gift. It's brilliant to see their matching jackets in colour.'

Also read: The Beatles' iconic Abbey Road cover shot is 50 years old now

Harry Ian Harris, then 19, married Cecilia Jacqueline Gavin, 16, known as Jackie, in a Catholic church ceremony in Huyton on Saturday March 8 1958. Afterwards a party was held in their honour at 147 Dinas Lane, the home of Paul’s Auntie Gin.

Ian asked Paul to bring some musician friends to play at the reception. George Harrison had met the Quarrymen only the previous month, and had turned 15 just days before.

Also read: The Beatles' George Harrison's 'Inner Light' viral challenge has an Indian connection

The other, more famous image, also taken at the reception, has been widely published previously and is well known among Beatles' fans.

Mike’s limited edition book, Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpool, is due out next year from Genesis Publications (mikemccartneybook.com).

It includes unseen pictures, from his very first photograph taken with the family Kodak Brownie, to capturing the emerging Merseybeat scene.

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