In December 1961 The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein contacted a local wedding photographer, Albert Marrion, to see if he could take some pictures of the group.
The session, which took place on this day, was The Beatles’ first professional photography session. They had been photographed several times before, most notably by Astrid Kirchherr and Jurgen Vollmer in Hamburg, but never before as part of a contractually-arranged and paid-for session.
On 17 December 1961 The Beatles and Epstein arrived at Marrion’s studio at 268 Wallasey Village, Wallasey, Merseyside.
Midway during the month of December 1961, Brian Epstein called me and asked if I could take some photos of four boys he had started to manage. At first, I was reluctant to accept the task. We were primarily a portrait and wedding studio. In fact, the reason Epstein called me was I had been the photographer for his brother Clive’s wedding.
Brian had told me they were a scruffy-looking group in all-leather outfits, but quite harmless. I agreed and told Brian to have them meet me at my Wallasey studio the following Sunday, December 17.
At first, I asked my partner, Herbert Hughes, to take the photo session, but he flatly refused, wanting nothing to do with the beat group.
Sunday morning arrived and the four Beatles arrived at my studio. I remember those leather pants and jackets, the polo sweaters, and suede shoes to this day. Brian had spoken to them prior to the meeting so they were half serious in attitude. Every once in a while, John Lennon would stick his tongue out and make a wisecrack. John and Paul joked and laughed throughout most of the session. George Harrison was quiet and Pete Best didn’t speak almost at all.
It was pouring down rain and Lennon was beginning to irritate me. I, being bald at the forehead, Lennon frequently referred to me as ‘Curly.’
This photo session was done for Epstein as a friendly gesture against the wishes of my partner, Hughes. I took about thirty photographs of the Beatles but discarded all but sixteen negatives because many showed Lennon and McCartney acting up and spoiling the pose. No doubt, those negatives should have been kept, looking back.
Although Marrion remembered 16 photographs surviving, 17 still exist. One of the images later became famous when it appeared on the front cover of Mersey Beat magazine in January 1962 and was used for promotional cards.
Also on this day...
- 2013: The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 is released on iTunes
- 2010: Paul McCartney live: the 100 Club, London
- 2009: Paul McCartney live: Köln Arena, Cologne
- 1969: Mixing: Plastic Ono Band live: Lyceum Ballroom, London
- 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono are interviewed by WABC-AM radio
- 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono give a press conference in Toronto, Canada
- 1963: Radio: Saturday Club
- 1962: Television: People And Places
- 1961: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.