The Beatle Who Loved Flowers

 

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An Early Memory

<<My earliest memory of my dad is probably of him somewhere in a garden covered in dirt, somewhere hot, a tropical garden, in jeans, khakis covered in dirt just continuously planting trees. I think that’s what I thought he did for the first seven years of my life. I was completely unaware that he had anything to do with music. I came home one day from school after being chased by kids singing Yellow Submarine, and I didn’t understand why. It just seemed surreal: why are they singing that song to me? I came home and I freaked out on my dad: “Why didn’t you tell me you were in The Beatles?” And he said, “Oh, sorry. Probably should have told you that.”>>

Dhani Harrison

 
 

George Harrison in The Garden

“Sometimes I feel like I’m actually on the wrong planet, and it’s great when I’m in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think: ‘What the hell am I doing here?’”

George Harrison

 

“Being a gardener and not hanging out with anyone and just being home, that was pretty rock ‘n’ roll, you know?”

Dhani Harrison

 

George Harrison’s autobiography, I, Me, Mine, is dedicated “to gardeners everywhere”

A Symbol of Non-Violence Ideology

Man putting flower in National Guard gun

 
 

Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children. The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

Flower Power originated in Berkeley, California as a symbolic action of protest against the Vietnam War. In his November 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle, Ginsberg advocated that protesters should be provided with “masses of flowers” to hand out to policemen, press, politicians and spectators. The use of props like flowers, toys, flags, candy and music were meant to turn anti-war rallies into a form of street theater thereby reducing the fear, anger and threat that is inherent within protests. In particular, Ginsberg wanted to counter the “specter” of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang who supported the war, equated war protesters with communists and had threatened to violently disrupt planned anti-war demonstrations at the University of California, Berkeley. Using Ginsberg’s methods, the protest received positive attention and the use of “flower power” became an integral symbol in the counterculture movement.

 
 

George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, Derek Taylor and others in San Francisco, 1967

 
 

Hippies in Haight Ashbury

 
 

The iconic center of the Flower Power movement was the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco, California. By the mid-1960s, the area, marked by the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets, had become a focal point for psychedelic rock music. At the end of summer 1967, The Diggers (a street theater group who combined spontaneous street theater with anarchistic action and art happenings) declared the “death” of the hippie movement and burned an effigy of a hippie in Golden Gate Park.

All Things Pass

 
 

ALL THINGS PASS

(Homage to Lao Tzu)

“All things pass

A sunrise does not last all morning

All things pass

A cloudburst does not last all day
All things pass
Nor a sunset all night

But Earth… sky… thunder…
wind… fire… lake…
mountain… water…
These always change

And if these do not last
Do man’s visions last?
Do man’s illusions ?

Take things as they come
All things pass”

Timothy Leary

 
 

All Things Must Pass is a song by English musician George Harrison, issued in November 1970 as the title track to his triple album of the same name. Billy Preston released the song originally – as All Things (Must) Pass – on his Apple Records album Encouraging Words (1970), after the Beatles had rejected it for inclusion on their Let It Be album in January 1969. The composition reflects the influence of the Band’s sound and communal music-making on Harrison, after he had spent time with the group in Woodstock, New York, in late 1968, while Timothy Leary‘s poem All Things Pass, a psychedelic adaptation of the Tao Te Ching, provided inspiration for his song lyrics.

While discussing All Things Must Pass with music journalist Timothy White in 1987, Harrison recalled that his “starting point” for the composition was Robertson’s The Weight – a song that had “a religious and a country feeling to it”.

In his 1980 autobiography, I Me Mine, Harrison refers to the idea for the song originating from “all kinds of mystics and ex-mystics”, including Leary. Like later Harrison compositions such as Here Comes the Sun, So Sad and Blow Away, the lyrical and emotional content is based around metaphors involving the weather and the cycle of nature.

Although All Things Must Pass avoids religiosity, Allison writes that its statement on the “all-inclusive” transience of things in the material world explains why so much of its 1970 parent album, All Things Must Pass, “finds hope and meaning only in God, who does not pass away”.

The subject matter deals with the transient nature of human existence, and in Harrison’s All Things Must Pass reading, words and music combine to reflect impressions of optimism against fatalism. On release, together with Barry Feinstein‘s album cover image, commentators viewed the song as a statement on the Beatles’ break-up. Widely regarded as one of Harrison’s finest compositions, its rejection by his former band has provoked comment from biographers and reviewers. Music critic Ian MacDonald described “All Things Must Pass” as “the wisest song never recorded by The Beatles”, while author Simon Leng considers it “perhaps the greatest solo Beatle composition”. The recording was co-produced by Phil Spector in London; it features an orchestral arrangement by John Barham and contributions from musicians such as Ringo Starr, Pete Drake, Bobby Whitlock, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann.

 
 

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Some Things Remains

The song’s title and message provided inspiration for Barry Feinstein’s cover photo for All Things Must Pass (1970). In a 2001 interview, Feinstein admitted that the words “All Things Must Pass” had helped inspire his set-up for the photo, saying: “What else could it be? … [It] was over with The Beatles, right? And that title … Very symbolic.”

 
 

George Harrison commissioned Tom Wilkes to design an “elaborate hinged cardboard box” in which to house the three vinyl discs, rather than have them packaged in a triple gatefold cover. Apple insider Tony Bramwell later recalled: “It was a bloody big thing … You needed arms like an orang-utan to carry half a dozen.” The packaging caused some confusion among retailers, who associated boxed albums with opera or classical works.

 
 

Alternate image from All Things Must Pass photo session

 
 

The stark black-and-white cover photo was taken on the main lawn at Friar Park by Wilkes’ Camouflage Productions partner, Barry Feinstein. Commentators interpret the photograph – showing Harrison seated in the centre of, and towering over, four comical-looking garden gnomes – as representing his removal from The Beatles‘ collective identity. The gnomes had recently been delivered to Friar Park and placed on the lawn; seeing the four figures there, and mindful of the message in the album’s title, Feinstein immediately drew parallels with Harrison’s former band. Author and music journalist Mikal Gilmore has written that John Lennon‘s initial negativity regarding All Things Must Pass was possibly because he was “irritated” by this cover photo; Harrison biographer Elliot Huntley attributes this negativity to Lennon’s “jealousy” during a time when “everything [Harrison] touched turned to gold”.

 
 

Outtakes

 
 

Trade ad for the What Is Life single, February 1971

 
 

Apple included a poster with the album, showing Harrison in a darkened corridor of his home, standing in front of an iron-framed window. Wilkes had designed a more adventurous poster, but according to Beatles author Bruce Spizer, Harrison was uncomfortable with the imagery. Some of the Feinstein photographs that Wilkes had incorporated into this original poster design appeared instead on the picture sleeves for the My Sweet Lord single and its follow-up, What Is Life.

 
 

To mark the 30th anniversary of the album’s release, Harrison supervised a remastered edition of All Things Must Pass, which was issued in January 2001. Harrison oversaw revisions to Wilkes and Feinstein’s album artwork, which included a colorized “George & the Gnomes” front cover and, on the two CD sleeves and the album booklet, further examples of this cover image showing an imaginary, gradual encroachment of urbanization on the Friar Park landscape.

…It Takes a Train to Cry

Bob Dylan in the train from Dublin to Belfast. Photo by Barry Feinstein, 1966

 

“Well, I ride on a mailtrain, baby
Can’t buy a thrill
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby
Leanin’ on the windowsill
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it
You know my baby will

Don’t the moon look good, mama
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama
Flagging down the “Double E?”
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?

Now the wintertime is coming
The windows are filled with frost
I went to tell everybody
But I could not get across
Well, I wanna be your lover, baby
I don’t wanna be your boss
Don’t say I never warned you
When your train gets lost”

 

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry is a song written by Bob Dylan that was originally released on his seminal album Highway 61 Revisited, and also included on the compilation album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits 2 that was released in Europe. An earlier, alternate version of the song appears, in different takes, on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 and The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry has been covered by numerous artists, including Super Session featuring Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Steven Stills, The Allman Brothers Band, Marianne Faithfull, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Stephen Stills, Ian Matthews, Leon Russell, Little Feat, Chris Smither, Taj Mahal, Steve Earle, Levon Helm and Toto.

The imagery is sexual, and the song can be interpreted as an allegory of someone who is sexually frustrated. Dylan would return to similar images and suggestions in later songs, such as I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine and Señor (Tales of Yankee Power).

Dylan played the album version of the song live for the first time as part of his set in the August 1971 Concert for Bangladesh.

 

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This Too Shall Pass

George Harrison flipping the “bird”. Photo by Aaron Rapoport

 
 

این نیز بگذرد‎is an adage indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Sanai and Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. Jewish folklore often describes Solomon as giving or receiving the phrase. The adage and associated fable were popular in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in a collection of tales by the English poet Edward Fitzgerald (Polonius: A Collection of Wise Saws and Modern Instances). On September 30, 1859, Abraham Lincoln included a similar story in an address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in Milwaukee:

 

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

Kafkaesque Chain of Events

George Harrison on the set of A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester, 1964)

 

Among George Harrison‘s biographers, Simon Leng views All Things Must Pass as a “paradox of an album”: as eager as Harrison was to break free from his identity as a Beatle, Leng suggests, many of the songs document the “Kafkaesque chain of events” of life within the band and so added to the “mythologized history” he was looking to escape. Ian Inglis notes 1970’s place in an era marking “the new supremacy of the singer-songwriter”, through such memorable albums as Simon & Garfunkel‘s Bridge Over Troubled Water, Neil Young‘s After the Gold Rush, Van Morrison‘s Moondance and Joni Mitchell‘s Ladies of the Canyon, but that none of these “possessed the startling impact” of All Things Must Pass. Harrison’s triple album, Inglis writes, “[would] elevate ‘the third Beatle’ into a position that, for a time at least, comfortably eclipsed that of his former bandmates”.

Dark Horse

Dark Horse (1974), front cover

While the term “dark horse” had long been applied to George Harrison due to his success as a solo artist following The Beatles‘ break-up in 1970, commentators recognise the song as Harrison’s rebuttal to a number of possible detractors: those reviewers who criticized the spiritual content of his 1973 album Living in the Material World; his first wife, Pattie Boyd; and his former band-mates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Harrison also used the title for that of his record label, and his 1974 North American tour with Ravi Shankar would come to be known as the Dark Horse Tour.

 
 

The Tom Wilkes-designed front cover of Dark Horse features a 1956 Liverpool Institute high-school photograph presented inside a lotus flower, behind which a dream-like Himalayan landscape extends to the horizon, where the “deathless Yogi of the Ancient of Days”, Shiv-Goraksha Babaji, sits. While some observers have seen pointed similarities with the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover image, Harrison’s choice of artwork reflected his enduring admiration for Terry Gilliam‘s animation on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In the photo, a thirteen-year-old Harrison is pictured in the centre of the top row, his face tinted blue; school teachers appear dressed in long-sleeve tops bearing a superimposed record-company logo or Om symbol. Wilkes and Harrison disagreed over the size of the Babaji image, which the designer apparently disliked and wanted to reduce in size.

Inside the gatefold cover, around the edges of a tinted photo of Harrison and comedian Peter Sellers walking beside a Friar Park lake, text asks the “Wanderer through this Garden’s ways” to “Be kindly” and refrain from casting “Revengeful stones” if “perchance an Imperfection thou hast found”, the reason being: “The Gardener toiled to make his Garden fair, Most for thy Pleasure.” A speech balloon over the photograph contains the words “Well, Leo! What say we promenade through the park?” This line was taken from the Mel Brooks movie The Producers, a favourite of Sellers and Harrison.

 
 

Back cover

 
 

On the back cover, Harrison is pictured sitting on a garden bench, the back timbers of which are apparently carved with his name and that of the album. Similar to Harrison’s attire in the outdoor scenes of the Ding Dong, Ding Dong video clip, Leng refers to his appearance here as resembling the Jethro Tull character Aqualung. Terry Doran‘s photo, given the same orange hue as the one inside the gatefold, was also used on some European picture sleeves for the Ding Dong and Dark Horse singles around this time.

Dark Horse ’​s inner sleeve notes were all the work of Harrison himself, written on a plane early in the tour. Along with the first Harrison-album credit for FPSHOT, and the now-familiar “All glories to Sri Krsna” dedication, his purple pen records various in-jokes while listing the many contributing musicians. As well as the confusing inclusion of Boyd and Eric Clapton‘s names (leading to the assumption that they had actually contributed to the track), the song title Bye Bye, Love is juxtaposed with the words Hello Los Angeles, while “OHLIVERE” would appear to be a reference to Harrison’s new lover and future wife, Dark Horse Records secretary Olivia Arias. The latter is also included among the title track’s musician credits – her contribution being “Trinidad Blissed Out”. Under Ding Dong, aside from the appearance of “Ron Would If You Let Him” on guitar, Friar Park’s original owner, Sir Frank Crisp, is credited for providing “Spirit”. Arias’s face, in a photo taken by tour photographer Henry Grossman, appeared on the record’s side-two face label, while a corresponding picture of Harrison appeared on side one.

Art of Dying

Psychedelic portrait of George Harrison. Richard Avedon, 1967

 

“There’ll come a time when all of us must leave here
Then nothing sister Mary can do
Will keep me here with you
As nothing in this life that I’ve been trying
Could equal or surpass the art of dying
Do you believe me?

There’ll come a time when all your hopes are fading
When things that seemed so very plain
Become an awful pain
Searching for the truth among the lying
And answered when you’ve learned the art of dying

But you’re still with me
But if you want it
Then you must find it
But when you have it
There’ll be no need for it

There’ll come a time when most of us return here
Brought back by our desire to be
A perfect entity
Living through a million years of crying
Until you’ve realized the Art of Dying
Do you believe me?”

 

Art of Dying is a song by English musician George Harrison, released on his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. It was written in 1966–67 when Harrison first became immersed in Hindu spirituality, and its subject matter is reincarnation – the “art” in question being the need to avoid rebirth, by limiting actions and thoughts whose consequences lead to one’s soul returning in another, earthbound life form. The song was co-produced by Phil Spector and features a hard-charging rock arrangement that has been described as “proto-disco”. The backing musicians include Eric Clapton and the rest of the latter’s short-lived band Derek and the Dominos, as well as Gary Wright, Billy Preston and a teenage Phil Collins playing the congas.

For the last 30 or more years of his life, George Harrison repeatedly identified his first experience of taking the hallucinogenic drug LSD, with John Lennon and their wives, as being responsible for his interest in spirituality and Hinduism. The “trip” occurred by accident in February 1965, and he later recalled a thought coming to his mind during the experience: “‘Yogis of the Himalayas.’ I don’t know why … It was like somebody was whispering to me: ‘Yogis of the Himalayas.'” But it was a visit in August 1967 to the epicentre of hippie conterculturalism, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, that then persuaded him to abandon LSD and pursue a spiritual path through meditation.

The mention of “Sister Mary” refers to the Catholic faith in which Harrison had been brought up as a child. Speaking to author Peter Doggett, Harrison’s sister Louise qualified his embracing of Hinduism with regard to his upbringing: “Our family were Catholics, but we always had a global outlook. We were spiritual, not religious as such. George didn’t change as a person after he went to India [in 1966] …”

Rather than Sister Mary, Harrison’s original lyric named “Mr Epstein” – the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein. Given this reference to Epstein, author Bruce Spizer has speculated that Harrison was “contemplating life after the Beatles” as early as mid 1966, since “most of the song’s original verses recognize that even Mr. Epstein won’t be able to keep the group together or help out when it’s over …”

As Harrison explains in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, in most cases one’s soul does not in fact “leave here” after death, due to the karmic debt, or “load”, accrued through actions and thoughts carried out in one’s lifetime

The mention of “a million years of crying” is a reference to the endless cycle of rebirth associated with reincarnation, where the soul repeatedly fails to leave the material world and attain nirvana, otherwise known as moksha.

Since Harrison’s death in November 2001, the lyrics of Art of Dying have been much quoted as a comment on the nature of human existence.

Here Comes the Sun

Time Magazine cover. December 10, 2001

 
 

George Harrison. Photo by Mark Seliger, Los Angeles, 1992

 
 

“Here comes the sun (du du du du)
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Little darling
It’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun (du du du du)
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Little darling
The smiles returning to the faces
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes (five times)
Little darling
I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Here comes the sun (du du du du)
Here comes the sun
It’s alright
It’s alright”

 
 

Here Comes the Sun is a song written by George Harrison from The Beatles‘ 1969 album Abbey Road.

This is one of Harrison’s best-known Beatles contributions alongside Something and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The year 1969 was difficult for Harrison: he had quit the band temporarily, he was arrested for marijuana possession, and he had his tonsils removed.

Harrison stated in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine:

Here Comes the Sun was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that.’ Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton‘s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote Here Comes the Sun.”

 
 

Handwritten lyrics to Here Comes The Sun by George Harrison

 
 

As Clapton states in his autobiography, the house in question is known as “Hurtwood.” When interviewed in the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Clapton said he believed the month was April. Data from two meteorological stations in the London area show that April 1969 set a record for sunlight hours for the 1960s. The Greenwich station recorded 189 hours for April, a high that was not beaten until 1984. The Greenwich data also show that February and March were much colder than the norm for the 1960s, which would account for Harrison’s reference to a “long, cold, lonely winter.”

The song was covered by Peter Tosh in 1970 and released as a single, though was not widely available until its inclusion on Can’t Blame the Youth in 2004. In 1971, Harrison performed the song during The Concert for Bangladesh. Also in 1971, Nina Simone recorded Here Comes the Sun as the title track to her cover album released that year. American folk singer Richie Havens saw his 1971 version reach No. 16 in the U.S. The most successful UK cover was by Steve Harley, who reached number 10 with the song in 1976. Naya Rivera and Demi Lovato performed the song, as Santana Lopez and Dani respectively, in Glee ’​s fifth season episode Tina in the Sky with Diamonds. Their duet version appears on the album Glee Sings the Beatles.

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Through a Glass Onion

Glass onions were large hand blown glass bottles used aboard sailing ships to hold wine or brandy. For increased stability on rough seas, the bottles were fashioned with a wide-bottom shape to prevent toppling, thus making the bottles look somewhat onion-shaped.

 
 

I told you ’bout strawberry fields
You know the place where nothing is real
Well, here’s another place you can go
Where everything flows

Looking through the bent backed tulips
To see how the other half live
Looking through a glass onion

I told you ’bout the walrus and me, man
You know that we’re as close as can be, man
Well, here’s another clue for you all
The walrus was Paul

Standing on the cast iron shore, yeah
Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet, yeah
Looking through a glass onion

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
Looking through a glass onion

I told you ’bout the fool on the hill
I tell you man he living there still
Well, here’s another place you can be
Listen to me

Fixing a hole in the ocean
Trying to make a dovetail joint, yeah
Looking through a glass onion

 
 

Glass Onion is a song by The Beatles from their 1968 double-album The Beatles primarily written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. This is the first track on the album to feature Ringo Starr on drums. Starr briefly left the group during recording sessions for the album and was replaced on drums by Paul McCartney on both Back in the U.S.S.R. and Dear Prudence.

The song refers to several earlier Beatles songs. It also refers to the “Cast Iron Shore,” a coastal area of south Liverpool known to local people as “The Cazzy”.

The song’s “the Walrus was Paul” lyric is both a reference to I Am the Walrus and Lennon saying “something nice to Paul” in response to changes in their relationship at that time.

Lennon himself dismissed any deep meaning to the mysterious lyrics:

“ I threw the line in—’the Walrus was Paul’—just to confuse everybody a bit more. It could have been ‘The fox terrier is Paul.’ I mean, it’s just a bit of poetry. I was having a laugh because there’d been so much gobbledygook about Pepper—play it backwards and you stand on your head and all that.

 
 

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Get Back to The Staircase

Paul McCartney’s illustration. Even though it was John Lennon that had attended Art school, it was usually Paul McCartney who took an interest in the design for the Beatles record covers.

 
 

When the matter came up of the album cover for the first album of the Beatles, their producer George Martin proposed to call the album Off The Beatle Track. Martin was an honorary fellow of the Zoological Society of London, which owns the London Zoo. Martin thought that it might be good publicity for the zoo to have the Beatles pose outside the insect house for the cover photography of the album. Paul McCartney doodled a few sketches for a design with that title. George Martin advised the use of the theatrical photographer Angus McBean, a man he worked with in the past.

However the direction of the zoo turned down Martin’s offer, and instead, Angus McBean was asked to take the distinctive colour photograph of the group looking down over the stairwell inside EMI’s London headquarters in Manchester Square. George Martin clearly liked the title Off The Beatle Track., and when it wasn’t used for the album, he used it for his own LP with Beatles’ covers in 1964.

Martin was to write later: “We rang up the legendary theatre photographer Angus McBean, and bingo, he came round and did it there and then. It was done in an almighty rush, like the music. Thereafter, though, the Beatles’ own creativity came bursting to the fore.”

 
 

 
 

Around the third week of January 1963 a first session took place, at the studio of Angus McBean, in his London house. The Beatles wore their new, mole-colored velveteen performing suits. One of these pictures was used in September 1963 for the cover of the EP The Beatles’ Hits and later, in America, for the Vee Jay album Introducing The Beatles. For this album, however, Vee Jay mirrored the image.

This first photo session was not satisfactory and a second was arranged. McBean agreed to meet them at the EMI house in Manchester Square, London around mid-February 1963. The photographer recalled later: “As I went into the door I was in the staircase well. Someone looked over the banister – I asked if the boys were in the building, and the answer was yes. “Well”, I said, “get them to look over, and I will take them from here.”

I only had my ordinary portrait lens, so to get the picture, I had to lie flat on my back in the entrance. I took some shots and I said, “That’ll do.”

 
 

A number of pictures were taken with the four boys looking down over the railing of the first floor to the entrance of the building

 
 

 
 

But not everybody was convinced about Angus Mc Bean photo session. On March 5th, EMI staff photographer John Dove took publicity pictures of the Beatles in and round the EMI-house. On some of these also Dick James, George Martin and Brian Epstein can be spotted. Afterward he tried to make a suitable picture for the album-cover, with the Beatles fooling around with a parking meter at the nearby Montague Place and jumping of the steps of the EMI studio (later renamed Abbey Road Studios).

At last it was decided that the Angus McBean picture in the staircase was the best option. The cover made the staircase so famous that when, at the end of the ‘90s EMI vacated the premises at Manchester Square and moved to alternative office accommodation, the staircase was dissembled and painstakingly rebuild on the new premises.

 
 

 
 

In 1969, the Beatles asked McBean to recreate this shot. Although the 1969 photograph was originally intended for the then-planned Get Back album, it was not used when that project saw eventual release in 1970 as Let It Be. Instead, the 1969 photograph, along with an unused photograph from the 1963 photo shoot, was used in 1973 for the Beatles’ retrospective albums 1962–1966 and 1967–1970. Another unused photograph from the 1963 photo shoot was used for The Beatles (No. 1) (also released in 1963) and the bootleg Come Together (The Beatles In The ‘90s).