Fantastic photos of The Beatles in Paul McCartney 1963-1964 Eyes of the Storm exhibition

Fantastic photos of The Beatles in Paul McCartney 1963-1964 Eyes of the Storm exhibition

This February marks the 60th anniversary of The Beatles first visit to America. While fans will reminisce about their experiences witnessing Beatlemania from the outside looking in, there’s one person who has recently documented his experience from the inside looking out – none other than Paul McCartney!

McCartney’s Eyes of the Storm exhibit which opened in London in 2023 is now making its way to the US. It’s first stop in the States is in Norfolk, Virginia at the Chrysler Museum of Art. In May 2024, it then travels to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. 

In January 2024, visitors to the Chrysler Museum were treated to an informative lecture by Rosie Broadley, Senior Curator at the National Portrait Gallery in London, about the creation of the exhibit.

Fascinating behind the scenes facts reveal that Paul had not looked at these photos for 56 years until 2020 since he took them in late 1963 to early 1964. At the time, he never had prints made of the photos, only contact sheets. Paul never intended these to be seen by the public when he took them. He marked the contact sheets up himself with pencil, and then put them aside. Over the years, he thought the photos were lost.

Paul re-discovered the photos while he was working on a book on Linda McCartney. While going through the archive, he found one thousand photos that he had taken during the height of Beatlemania. Paul contacted the NPG thinking they would only want a few photos to display. Instead they decided to make it their premiere exhibition when opening up the museum again after the pandemic. Eyes of the Storm contains over 250 photos which is a lot for an exhibition.

Of his three bandmates, Paul seemed to get the most intriguing pictures of John Lennon. He caught John often in a playful mood in Miami swimming, or in a pensive mood while wearing his thick rimmed glasses. McCartney also captured a humorous photo of Lennon staring eye to eye with the clay mold of his soon to be finished bronze bust sculpture by British artist David Winn at the George V hotel in Paris.

A visit to Paul McCartney’s photo exhibit at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA

The exhibition has proven to be a living, breathing entity. Since it has been on display, new facts have been revealed about the identification of unknown people in some of the photos. Between Paul’s initial notations of names on his contact sheets, to his current day memories, McCartney did his best to identify as many people as he could in the photos he took during the whirlwind of Beatlemania in Liverpool, London, Paris, New York and Miami.

These memories came in handy for a picture of The Beatles first chauffeur, Bill Corbett. He drove the Fab Four around before Alf Bicknell, who most fans would recognize.

“Paul has been really involved through every step of the process,” Broadley explained. “When you were thinking about whether or not to include an image, he would tell you a story. There was one picture which to us was just of an old man, he said: ‘Oh that’s Bill Corbett, our driver, he was a laugh. He was an Eastender who blagged his way onto the Paris trip, he told us he spoke French, which he didn’t, to get the job’.”

But in one of the prominent photos Paul took of George Harrison poolside in Miami, he couldn’t identify the woman that was handing George a drink. After Paul’s photo book had been published and the exhibit was displayed, the Pollak brothers contacted the Gallery to reveal that it was their sister in the photo with George. They even gave the Gallery one of their own photos of their sister Linda (who has since passed) of her with George that day.

A tip for future visitors to the exhibit: If you scan the QR code on certain photo panels in the exhibit, you can listen to Paul McCartney talking about his photos. Or you can download the digital guide on Bloomberg Connects and listen in advance to comments on the exhibit by Paul McCartney, as well as an audio interview with Mary McCartney.

For more info about the exhibit on display at the Chrysler Museum through April 7, 2024, click here.

To purchase the official exhibit book of photos, click here.


For more Beatles news, follow Daytrippin’ on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.




Sign up for Daytrippin’s E-Newsletter and be the first to
receive the latest articles on Beatles news, merchandise and events!