Please Please Me cover photoshoot

The Beatles were photographed for the cover of their debut album Please Please Me on 16 February 1963.

It was McBean’s second shoot with the band. An attempt earlier in the month was deemed unsuccessful, although an image from the session was used on the UK EP The Beatles’ Hits and on the US album Introducing The Beatles.

The final shoot took place at EMI House in Manchester Square, London. The photographer was Angus McBean.

As I went into the door [of EMI House] I was in the staircase well. Someone looked over the banister – I asked if the boys were in the building, and the answer was yes. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘get them to look over, and I will take them from here.’

I only had my ordinary portrait lens, so to get the picture, I had to lie flat on my back in the entrance. I took some shots and I said, ‘That’ll do.’

Angus McBean

McBean took a number of images of The Beatles looking over the balcony. In addition to the one used on Please Please Me, outtakes were used on the cover of the UK EP The Beatles (No.1) and the Red and Blue compilations The Beatles 1962-1966 and The Beatles 1967-1970.

The outtakes from the session were lost in 2003 by Apple Corps.

The Beatles recreated the Please Please Me shoot in 1969 for the aborted Get Back album. An image from that session was also used on the Red and Blue albums. The Get Back album was released in October 2021 as part of the Let It Be super deluxe CD and vinyl box sets.

Last updated: 21 February 2024
The Beatles live: Ritz Ballroom, Birmingham
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