The Beatles in the Courtyard, London, 1963
© Terry O'Neill

The Beatles in the Courtyard, London, 1963

By Terry O'Neill
About the image

This shot was taken on July 1, 1963 in the courtyard at EMI studios. That day they were set to record “She Loves You” the single that was released between the albums “Please Please Me” and “With the Beatles” and which became a major hit single for them worldwide. While ‘Beatlemania’ had just begun in the UK, it wasn’t yet to the point of mass hysteria, and the London “Pop” papers actually printed the Beatles plans to record that day. This turned out to be a big mistake, because by the time the Beatles arrived to begin the sessions, there were hordes of girls waiting outside!

Before the recording session began, the girls managed to push their way in to the building and wreak havoc upon all the recording studios seeking out the group. They opened all the doors they could find, disrupting multiple sessions, and alarming the notoriously conservative engineers. The police were ultimately called, and big changes were made from that day forth as far as publicity concerning the Beatles. Only a month later, they finished their legendary run at the Cavern Club and soon after that “With the Beatles” was finished and released to the world to great acclaim.  

It is remarkable what this photograph captures. It is an incredibly pivotal time in the Beatle’s career, and serves as the visual introduction of the band at a time where they went from popular local group to international sensation. It is also wonderfully composed and is truly a historical artifact. 

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The Beatles in the Courtyard, London, 1963
The Beatles in the Courtyard, London, 1963

 
 
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