Sunday, 28 September 2014

Beatles photographer: Terry O'Neill

Terry O'Neill: 'The pictures are so naive. They didn’t know what to do either, but it was the beginning of everything. They were recording Please Please Me, and people didn’t know they’d be big".

In 1963, young Cockney photographer Terry O’Neill snapped four unknowns from Liverpool as they took a break from a recording session at Abbey Road. The pictures were splashed across the front page of a national newspaper – and Beatlemania was born.

Terry O'Neill: "1963. The very first pop picture I took, in the backyard at Abbey Road. I didn’t know what to do, nobody had photographed a group before so I just got them outside with their guitars, and Ringo with a cymbal. It was the only thing I could think of. The pictures are so naive. They didn’t know what to do either, but it was the beginning of everything. They were recording Please Please Me, and people didn’t know they’d be big. But they were four great personalities, it shone out of them. John was in charge, you can see that he’s the leader from the picture, he was definitely the stronger force. He wanted to be at the front. John and Paul were a great double act, not just on stage. Off stage they were clever young hustlers. John had the irony, Paul the charm. They were nobody’s fools. George was a brilliant musician, but shy and serious. Ringo was new to the band and was a very funny guy. An editor had asked me to photograph the emerging youth culture. They just seemed to sum up the changing mood of the times. They had hair that was long for the day, and their clothes were smart, but relaxed, almost casual. I took the pictures back to the paper. They sat in the editor’s in-tray but one day there were no train crashes or wars or sensational trials to put on the front page, so he put The Beatles on it – and there was this amazing response. The newspaper sold out. It was a revelation – young people bought the paper because a young unknown band was on the front page. A few weeks later the record was released and it went straight to No 1. In weeks, they were the biggest news in Britain; in months the biggest news in the world – and the Sixties took off".
"Terry O’Neill’s Rock ’n’ Roll Album" is published by ACC Editions, priced £45 / $50.05
Source: The Daily Mail

3 comments:

phil overture said...

I thought these were taken during the She Loves You recording?

Roger Stormo said...

Could well be. After all, this is a newspaper article, so no amount of research is likely to have taken place. I always thought it was March 5th, at the From Me To You sessions.

marc w said...

"nobody had photographed a group before..."
Of course not, Terry!