Book of rare Beatles photos offers inside peek at iconic band

Thu Oct 4, 2012 2:51pm EDT
 
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By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The heyday of Beatlemania may have been nearly 50 years ago, but the Beatles and their music remain loved, scrutinized and relevant to an adoring public forever clamoring for more details of the Fab Four.

A new book, "LIFE With the Beatles," gives an inside peek at the band that split up in 1970. It features hundreds of never-before-seen and rare photos by the late Robert Whitaker, who was granted generous access to John, Paul, George and Ringo from 1964 to 1966.

Whitaker, who died last year at 71, was hired by the group's then-manager, Brian Epstein, and documented candid and personal moments from concerts to cover shoots. Editors of Life magazine compiled the photos into the book recently released by Time Home Entertainment Inc.

Whitaker's images end when the band stopped touring in the summer of 1966, but for the preceding two years he captured the Beatles in moments of happiness and humor, mischief and creativity, boredom and fatigue.

"We've used many of Bob's seldom or never-seen-before photographs," said Barbara Baker Burrows, director of photography for Life Books in New York. "He tried hard to catalog his work, and on a couple of trips to England I was able to encourage him to dig deeper into his files than he had done before."

Whitaker's access to the band came after he gained Epstein's trust when the Beatles performed in Australia. Though born in Hertfordshire, Whitaker had moved to Australia and was already a photographer when the Beatles invaded the Southern Hemisphere.

The young photographer initially turned down Epstein when offered a job, but he reconsidered after seeing the group perform.

The close access he was to enjoy for those two years is what makes the photographs unique, said Burrows.   Continued...

 
An undated handout photo shows members of the band The Beatles walk and sing as they are filmed during a promotional video for their song "Rain", in a garden outside Chiswick House. REUTERS/Robert Whitaker/Handout