‘The Beatles by Terry O’Neill’ Photo Book Arrives

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The cover of the U.S. edition of The Beatles by Terry O’Neill: The Definitive Collection

A new photo book with previously unpublished images of The Beatles by legendary photographer Terry O’Neill has been published. The title, The Beatles by Terry O’Neill: The Definitive Collection, arrived in the U.S. on June 13, 2023, via Weldon Owen. The book is called The Beatles by Terry O’Neill: Five Decades of Photographs in the U.K., where it was published on March 16 via Welbeck. The 256-page book, notes the publishers, features the Beatles like never before in hundreds of previously unpublished images and exclusive unknown stories of the Fab Four by O’Neill, who had exclusive access to their lives in the studio, on stage, on tour, and at home. O’Neill died at 81 in 2019.

From the announcement: Celebrate the 60th anniversary of Please Please Me, the Beatles’ first studio album, with rare and never-before-seen photographs of the Fab Four from their early days in Liverpool through their prolific solo careers.

One of the photos from the book

This one-of-a-kind book also features exclusive interviews and profiles of the band, as well as commentary from O’Neill and notes and annotations from renowned art curator Terrence Pepper. The book includes hundreds of gorgeous photographs—many of them previously thought to be lost or never before seen—from their earliest recording sessions and backstage shots to portraits of the Fab Four at the height of Beatlemania. In addition, candid shots of their post-Beatles lives throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s give an insider’s view into their personal lives. Whether feeling like you’re backstage at one of their first stadium concerts to being a guest of Paul playing piano at Ringo’s wedding or part of the photography team from a 1991 portrait session with George Harrison, this collection of spectacular photography is a treasure trove for any Beatles fan.

The Beatles backstage (Photo: Terry O’Neill; used with permission)

The photos chronicle the Beatles from their early days as local artists playing at bars in Liverpool to international superstars. The book includes hundreds of never-before-seen images of the Fab Four on and off the stage, from candid snapshots to portrait stills. It includes photos of the June 1, 1963, EMI Studios (since renamed Abbey Road Studios) session at which “She Loves You” was recorded; the session’s sixtieth anniversary is this summer.

The book’s publisher and the O’Neill estate provided Best Classic Bands with an exclusive photo that’s featured in the book. O’Neill had noted, “We recently came across a packet of negatives from a party. On closer inspection, I remembered that these were photos from the opening night of The Beatles’ Apple boutique in December 1967.”

The opening party of The Beatles’ Apple boutique, Dec. 1967 (Photo: Terry O’Neill; used with permission)

Two days ahead of the public opening of the shop, a launch party and fashion show was held at the colorful building. Invitations to the party, created by John Lennon, read: “Come at 7.46. Fashion show at 8.16.” He and George Harrison were the only Beatles to attend the party, as Paul McCartney was on holiday in Scotland and Ringo Starr was filming Candy in Italy.

“It was a great opening and, for once, I wish I’d used color film, because the inside of the store—along with the outside—was electric,” said O’Neill.

The only drink available at the launch was apple juice, as the boutique had no alcohol license.

A deluxe edition, limited to 200 copies, that includes the book, a cloth-covered clam shell box, an 8″ x 11″ black and white chromogenic print of The Beatles’ recording “She Loves You” at EMI’s Studio 2 in Abbey Road on July 1, 1963, taken by O’Neill, a protective print sleeve, a digital signature with an embossed stamp, and a certificate of authenticity, is available here.

(Photo: Terry O’Neill; used with permission)

From presidents to pop stars, O’Neill photographed the front line of fame for more than six decades, and is one of the most important figures in the world of celebrity photography. His work is among the most sought-after and collected and has been the subject of several books and museum exhibitions all over the world. He received many of the highest honors in photography and art, including a fellowship into the Royal Photography Society and the title Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Related: Our obituary of Terry O’Neill

Best Classic Bands Staff

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