Paul McCartney

1964: Eyes of the Storm

by Paul McCartney

Reviewed by Meredith McGrane

“It was twenty years ago today….” Actually, it’s an incredible 59 years ago when the four boys that would revolutionize the rock and roll scene set out from Liverpool, England, and touched down in New York City. The Beatles landed in America in February 1964, and we’ve never been the same. In Paul McCartney’s new book, 1964: Eyes of the Storm, we’re invited into the musician’s personal archives from that life-changing time. A stunning coffee table book of 275 photographs shot by McCartney himself on a 35mm Pentax camera. A mix of moody black and white hotel portraits, working-class street scenes reminding the Brit of where he came from, and electric color captures in Miami where McCartney embraced the playfulness of it all. And so much more! McCartney invites the reader to journey back to the ’60s, when the country experienced assassinations, civil rights conflicts, and Vietnam all while The Beatles played on promising to hold your hand.

Through never-before-seen images, the reader travels along with The Beatles covering the terrain of Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami over a three-month period. The photographs, and Sir Paul’s intimate storytelling prose, capture moments in a flood of memories. Pages of contact sheets marked with a red X indicating McCartney’s favorites accompany real, raw, and unscripted images where the reader can witness bandmates John shaving, George sleeping, and Ringo…well, Ringo-ing. Quiet moments are juxtaposed with the frenzy of hysterical spectators that the mop-topped musicians attracted. McCartney shot those images often out of car windows, on the fly style. The book’s cover image captures such a scene — The Beatles’ car being chased by fans on foot down the streets of New York City.

This moving collection of words and images is, at once, a personal photo album, scrapbook, and journal of a time that McCartney truly worried, he notes in the text, “might not last forever.” The irony.

1964: Eyes of the Storm