1964: Eyes of the Storm

Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781324093060. $75. PHOTOG
McCartney opens his personal photo archive to reveal mostly unseen images of the Beatles from the end of 1963 through early 1964, marking the 60th anniversary of the band becoming a global mass-culture phenomenon. The book showcases photos from McCartney’s insider perspective, but it also looks out at what was happening around him at the time and offers personal reflections. Bookending explanatory notes by historian Jill Lepore and Rosie Broadley of London’s National Portrait Gallery provide a deeper understanding of the culture and era. The content and the context render the results extraordinary. Technology also plays a major role in this collection. Numerous fantastic images appear digitally enlarged, from printed contact sheets rather than negatives. This project is mindful of Ringo Starr’s 2013 Photograph, which was similar in concept with candid photos and recollections by the artist. Unlike Starr, however, McCartney focuses primarily on a single year. Readers will likely hope he continues with subsequent volumes covering the Beatles and beyond.
VERDICT This beautiful art book serves as a most welcome companion to Beatles scholarship and 1960s culture in general.
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