Paul McCartney Unveils Archival ‘Beatlemania’ Exhibit at Brooklyn Museum: See His Personal Photos

When Beatlemania first swept the United States in 1964, a moment pinpointed in time by the band’s first-ever televised performance on The Ed Sullivan Show that February, only four people knew exactly what it was like to be at the center of such a revolutionary cultural frenzy: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Now, almost exactly 60 years later, American fans are getting the rare chance to see behind the curtain of The Beatles’ unprecedented rise to fame, all thanks to McCartney documenting the period with his personal Pentax film camera more than half a century ago. Upon being recovered from the living legend’s archives, more than 250 of his photographs were put on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London last year – and now, they’ve made their way to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.

Unveiled Friday (May 3), Paul McCartney Photographs 1963–64: Eyes of the Storm takes outsiders into the Liverpool native’s surreal reality when he was just 21 years old, on the precipice of becoming one of four of the biggest music stars history has ever seen. The immersive exhibit — a sample of which you can see below — also features video footage and archival materials and traces The Beatles’ ascent from touring at small concert halls in England to dodging hordes of rabid fans and paparazzi in the States.

“Since first arriving in New York in February 1964, Paul McCartney has built a strong, everlasting connection to the city,” says Catherine Futter, the Brooklyn Museum’s director of curatorial affairs and senior curator of decorative arts, in a statement. “His vibrant photographs from The Beatles’ first visit capture the energy of the city, the excitement of the American fans, and the frenzy of the band’s status as celebrities.”

“Yet the images also record The Beatles’ fun and delight with each other,” Futter adds. “Through McCartney’s lens, we feel the intensity of being at the center of such extraordinary events.”

The collection is now available to visit at the Brooklyn Museum through August 18, 2024. Check out a selection of McCartney’s rare photographs below.

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