You've seen her. That girl posing with the Beatles in French hats. At present, the copyright is held by Getty Images. This is how they caption the image: "English group The Beatles posed with a female actress and wearing a variety of French hats including a kepi and beret in Paris in January 1964. Clockwise from top left: John Lennon (1940-1980), George Harrison (1943-2001), Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr". So the model is not named, but she is described to be an actress. Place and time provided as Paris and January 1964. She strikes a pose, but she knows more than one:
For some, she's a mystery girl. And especially to people who write captions, it seems. And was the photo taken in Paris in January - or was it in London in December as a publicity image for their forthcoming residency at the Paris Olympia?
|This is a 60's ollector's card from Sweden, locally called a "filmis", with a mirror image of the photo.|
The caption here leads us to speculate if she's the fifth Beatle.
|In this German magazine, the image is again flipped, and the caption describes it|
as a scene from "Help!" with Eleanor Bronn (sic).
Out on the internet is a sleuth of false information, and captions are in many cases guesswork. The woman who is featured alongside the Beatles here, and also wearing the same outfit on a Parisian street is sometimes identified as Sylvie Vartan (the singer who shared the bill with the Beatles at L’Olympia the time), as artist Miss Mirabelle, who happened to pass by, as French actress and occasional model Sophie Hardy, and while I was doing my research, the names Eve Bowen and Mireille Darc also appeared.
Another Getty Image, the caption goes: "English group The Beatles posed with an unidentified girl in a street in Paris in January 1964."
This blonde has the same hairdo and outfit as in the photo studio, accessorised with a black scarf. No doubt a good way to protect against the chilly January weather in Paris.
Of course, John and Paul were no strangers to Paris,. As an early 21st birthday present in 1961, John had been given the lump sum of 100 pounds, and he and Paul left the Beatles in the lurch for a while, and went hiking for Spain. They never made it further than Paris, and there they happened upon their Hamburg friend Jürgen Vollmer who was studying photography in the French capital. They visited the artist's district of Montmartre, and upon revisiting the city in 1964, no doubt John and Paul wanted to show George and Ringo the sights.
John Lennon and his wife Cynthia had spent a belated honeymoon in Paris just a few months before the Beatles arrived in the city, from September 16, 1963. And lo and behold, once again John met a friend from Hamburg in Paris, this time it was Astrid Kirchherr.
The first concert the Beatles held in France was on January 15, 1964 i the Cyrano theatre in Versailles, whereupon they moved their act to L’Olympia in Paris the next day.
|The programme clearly shows the three biigest names on the bill.|
There were around ten acts performing on each of the shows, an the biggest names apart from the Beatles were Trini Lopez and Sylvie Vartan. There were three shows every night the four first days, after that they only played twice a night. There has always been a bit of confusion about who were the real bill toppers, but according to the owner of L’Olympia, Bruno Coquatrix, it was the Beatles.
|A page in the programme.|
|Another page in the programme is an advertisement for their French records, both 45's and albums.|
One of the photos we posted earlier in this story, was on display in Paris a few years ago, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Paris residency. From November 28, 2013 to February 8, 2014 the exhibition consisted of just a few photos from Paris, and more photos from the rest of the Beatles career. There was a note beside the photo, which mentioned a certain Eve Bowen.
|EVE BOWEN. The Beatles posing at Eve Bowen's photo studio, a few weeks before their tour of Paris. December 1963.|
However, this is just a photo credit. The note also claims that the photo in question was taken in December 1963, a few weeks before their arrival in France. We also find that Eve Bowen is credited as a photographer (or perhaps just a copyright holder?) in other pictures at the exhibition.
|Exhibition catalogue page.|
Bowen also took some photos of Jimi Hendrix in 1967. Some people over at the French Beatles site Lucy in the web are saying that she was Dezo Hoffmann's assistant at the time, and took a few photos of her own. So perhaps she did take these photos after all. But the time placement mentioned at this exhibition we doubt.
|The Beatles posing outside with the girl, Lutterbach is a Frensh beer from the Alsace district.|
The girl's name was Mirielle, according to Bill Harry. The quote is from Dezo's book «The Beatles Conquer America» (Virgin Books 1984).
|Clearly present in Paris, this photo captures photographer Dezo Hoffmann behind George..|
Another version has the girl as Mireille Darc (1938-2017), another famous French bombshell at the time. But compared to the Beatles photos, her 1964 hair is far too long.
|Mireille Darc in 1964 – too long hair.|
|Sophie Hardy was a young actress in Paris, mostly in 1964-67, and she also took modeling jobs.|
|Embed from Getty Images|
|This is Sylvie Vartan, the singer who shared the bill at L'Olympia with The Beatles,|
and often wrongly identified as the girl on the street and in the photo studio.
|Sylvie Vartan, captured in performance at L'Olympia in 1964.|
|Sylvie Vartan with Paul McCartney in 2008, when he once again performed at L’Olympia.|
|Ringo was also taking a few photos of his own at the photo studio session, Here is one of his photos of Paul,|
which is currently exhibited by Genesis Publications..
Ringo brought his own camera to the photo session, and took a few photos. The above one is one of his portraits of Paul, and here is an interesting newspaper clipping from back then:
|Ringo's photos. The clipping verifies that the actress was Sophie Hardy, but the photo of Jane Asher we're not so sure about.|
|Sophie Hardy at 73 or thereabout.|
And yes, we know that Dezo is credited as photographer on this EP cover:
|A rare version of this EP, which also exists with a different front cover, taken by Dezo Hoffmann.|
On June 6, 2018, L'Olympia is again revisited by a Beatle, as the venue is where Ringo and his All Starr Band open their European tour.
The Mersey Beat by Bill Harry
Lucy in the web
Model Agency Cindy Brace
The Daily Mirror