Brain Pickings

A Rare Archive: The Lost Beatles Photographs

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Last year, we swooned over Nowhere Boy, the lovely documentary about John Lennon’s little-known early life. This month, rock historian Larry Marion furthers our obsession with knowing the unknown Beatles in The Lost Beatles Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966 — a rare and revealing look at the iconic band through a series of intimate, never-before-seen photographs taken during The Beatles’ three U.S. tours.

The photos were taken by The Fab Four’s tour manager, Bob Bonis, who carried his Leica M3 camera everywhere, capturing pockets of wonderfully candid private moments tucked beneath the band’s overscheduled, overexposed public selves.

In 1964, The Beatles boarded their charter jet at Seattle-Tacoma airport, heading to Vancouver for their first-ever Canadian concert, and the fourth in their first American tour, at the Empire Stadium on August 22.

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

George Harrison and Ringo Starr get ready to go onstage in Detroit on August 13, 1966

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

George Harrison and John Lennon at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, August 21, 1966

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

George Harrison tunes up backstage at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium on August 16, 1966, in what was the first concert to ever be held at the now-iconic venue

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

Ringo plays with a toy gun -- allegedly a gift from Elvis Presley -- during The Beatles' stay at British actor Reginald Owen's Bel Air mansion in Los Angeles while on their 1964 U.S. tour

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

While on stage at Bloomington's Metropolitan Stadium on August 12, 1965, George Harrison turns around to face Bonis and gives him a warm thumbs-up

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

The Beatles begin the last tour they'd ever go on in Detroit, August 13, 1966

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

John Lennon in Portland, Oregon, on August 22, 1965

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

After the Vancouver shows, The Beatles flew to Los Angeles, only to find their reservation cancelled when the Ambassador Hotel was overrun by Beatlemaniacs. British actor Reginald Owen stepped in, offering them his Bel Air mansion for $1,000

Image courtesy of NPR / 2269 Productions, Inc. / NotFadeAwayGallery.com

Bonis, a man of honor and loyalty, felt wrong about capitalizing on his unprecedented access, so for 40 years his photos remained a rare treat for his friends and family only. He passed away in 1992, and almost two decades later, his son Alex decided it was time to share his father’s collection with the thousands of Beatles fans around the world in The Lost Beatles Photographs. We’re glad he did.

via NPR

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