The Beatles were photographed by Fiona Adams in London on 25 April 1963. One of the images, known as the ‘jumping Beatles’ shot, appeared uncredited on the cover of their 1963 EP Twist And Shout.
Adams (1935-2020) had recently returned to England after three years living in Australia. While temping at Boyfriend magazine’s publishers Picture Story she was assigned to photograph Billy Fury and Adam Faith, before her editor asked her to photograph The Beatles. At the time she hadn’t heard of the band.
They hadn’t been in London much before, and I don’t think they had a manager with them or anything. It was all very casual. Anyway, they came outside, and there was this great pit in the ground. It might have been a bomb site. I got down in the hole, and then I had the idea of getting them to jump.
They were wearing Cuban-heeled boots and there was lots of rubble around up there, so it probably wasn’t very safe, but they did it beautifully. Each of them jumped in a different style, as if they’d been practising.
The location was wasteland near the junction of London’s Euston Road, Hampstead Road, and Tottenham Court Road.
This emerged from one of my first assignments for Boyfriend magazine. I had met the Beatles (then little-known) the previous week [Sunday April 14th 1963] when they were appearing on the popular Thank Your Lucky Stars show, hosted that day by Jimmy Savile, at the TV Studios in Teddington. These were very early days and the Beatles readily agreed when I asked them to come in for a shoot.
Come in they did to our cramped little studio at No.21, Kingly Street, W.1. The day was April 18th., 1963. I had been keen at that time to break away from the conventional Hollywood-style of stage and studio shot. To this end, I would ride around on the top deck of London buses to search out possible locations. An abandoned area had caught my eye at the crossroads of Euston and Gower Street. This was still a London blitzed in parts and awaiting rebuilding.
As far as I remember, we all managed to pile into one taxi; the four Beatles, myself and Maureen O’Grady of Boyfriend – plus the camera gear! I climbed down the rubble into a bombed-out cellar, open to the sky, and had a wonderful session with the Beatles lined up on the wall above who couldn’t have been more co-operative.
Taken on this single roll of film was the Jumping Shot, the shot which John Lennon and [press officer] Tony Barrow chose for the cover of the Beatles EP album [sic] ‘Twist and Shout’.
I shot three rolls of film in total, the contact sheets are shown above with a blow up of the jumping shot with my original cropping marks for printing.
Despite Adams’ recollections, a diary entry by Boyfriend magazine writer Maureen O’Grady confirms the date to have been 25 April 1963, not 18 April.
The Beatles’ debut EP, Twist And Shout, contained four songs from the Please Please Me album. It was released in the UK on 12 July 1963.
Side one contained ‘Twist And Shout’ and ‘A Taste Of Honey’; the b-side featured ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’ and ‘There’s A Place’.
Adams photographed many leading musicians in the 1960s, including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Dusty Springfield, Georgie Fame, Billy J Kramer, and David Bowie. The photographed The Beatles on several subsequent occasions.
They were great fun and we always had a laugh.
I went on tour with them in 1966 and I remember being on a train with them from Munich to Hamburg which took a day but, with Beatlemania, things were getting difficult by then.
With thanks to Piet Schreuders.
Also on this day...
- 2015: Paul McCartney live: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
- 2014: Paul McCartney live: Estadio Nacional, Lima, Peru
- 2012: Paul McCartney live: Estádio da Ressacada, Florianópolis, Brazil
- 1976: John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s final meeting
- 1969: Mixing: Two Of Us
- 1967: Recording: Magical Mystery Tour
- 1966: Mixing: Got To Get You Into My Life
- 1964: Rehearsal: Around The Beatles
- 1963: Live: Mersey Beat Showcase, Croydon
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.