‘Suddenly, we were in Wonderland’: Paul McCartney on his lost photos of Beatlemania

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The pictures the singer took of his friends and bandmates give a Beatle’s-eye view of the mania around the band in 1964. Seen here for the first time, these extraordinary behind-the-scenes moments capture four young men on the brink of immortality

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I always knew I had taken some pictures in the 1960s. At first, I couldn’t pinpoint the year, but I was certain we were quite young, just when the Beatles were really taking off. I never tried to find this collection – consciously, that is – but I kind of thought that it would just surface at the right time. There’s often a certain amount of serendipity involved. And while we were preparing for an exhibition of my late wife Linda’s photographs in 2020, I learned that my own had been preserved in my archives. When I first saw them after so many decades, I was delighted that these images and contact sheets had been finally located.

Self-portraits in a mirror, Paris. ‘After one of the Paris shows, we were at the George V hotel when a telegram arrived from Capitol Records in America. “Attention: the Beatles. Congratulations boys. Number one in the US. I Want To Hold Your Hand.” We ran around the hotel room and screamed and danced’

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