Friday 10 June 2016

Mania Days, The Beatles 1964 US Tour

In the summer of '64 hearts and souls across America were captivated by the music, charm and wit of The Beatles whose songs assaulted the US charts as a backlog of records took over the top positions. Beatlemania had touched down in the American heartlands, and it seemed that everyone wanted to touch, or be touched, by this new phenomenon.

Although Brian Epstein wanted no photographers to accompany The Beatles on the tour, Derek Taylor (Press Officer and friend to The Beatles) persuaded Epstein to allow Curt Gunther to join the touring party.

Limited edition book of Gunther's superb photographs – taken from the position of the privileged insider, they intimately show The Beatles onstage, backstage, meeting fans and press, relaxing and travelling.

The photographs capture the Fab Four from an intimate viewpoint, indicative of the relationship Curt Gunther established with the band while on tour. "I think there was real, genuine affection between the Beatles and my dad," says Steve Gunther (Curt's son). "He was there on every plane ride and in every hotel room." It was a coup of sorts to even photograph the band on tour — Gunther's involvement came only at the last-minute urging of the Beatles' press officer Derek Taylor, and against the wishes of Epstein. Even after joining the group's entourage, Gunther was unpaid, finding himself scraping by with a band not yet aware of the enormity of their following. "As the folklore goes," says Gunther, "he made that month's salary by playing poker every night and beating the Beatles. It wasn't Meet the Beatles," he adds with a smile, "it was 'Beat the Beatles.' "

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