Author: BARRELL, TONY
The Beatles ascended like no band before, hurtling to the dizzy heights of international stardom in the early 1960s. Their counter-cultural vibes and unmistakable talent are still the subject of much discussion today – as is the rabid devotion of their fans. But how did one pop group become, as Lennon infamously quipped, “more popular than Jesus”?
The work of four photographers provides an enlightening insight into the band’s rise to fame. Ward captured the Fab Four when Beatlemania was still confined to their own home city – the band braved the icy Liverpool streets for a promotional shoot during the Big Freeze of ’62-63. O’Neill crossed paths with The Beatles amid the buzz of the Swinging Sixties, resonating with the band in 1963 as a photographer of their generation. Parkinson delivered a deceptively relaxed shoot later that year, when the band were recording their second album; while Bayes captured never-before-published candid shots of The Beatles filming Help! in 1965.
Accompanying these pictures, Tony Barrell’s text delves into the Beatlemania phenomenon – the good, the bad, the ugly and the odd. From the creation of their early hit records to the hails of confectionery that peppered stages after John claimed George had eaten his jelly babies, Beatlemania: Four Photographers on the Fab Four reveals how one band became a lasting sensation.