ON THIS DATE (45 YEARS AGO)
May 19, 1967 – Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein hosted select journalists and broadcasters from the music and national press, in his home at 24 Chapel Street, London. The occasion was a promotional party attended by the Beatles to launch their new LP Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which would be released shortly. Epstein had bought the house on 20 December 1964, and lived there until his death on 27 August 1967. He hosted many parties at the house, the best-remembered of which was this press party for The Beatles’ masterpiece.
Once the press had sufficient time to take pictures, the Beatles stopped posing as a group and started to mingle with the other party guests. Amongst the photographers that night were Dezo Hoffman, who was the group’s primary photographer during 1963 and 1964, and Linda Eastman, who was meeting Paul for only the second time (the first was at the Bag O’ Nails night-club on May 15, 1967) and would eventually become Mrs. McCartney when the two married on March 12, 1969.
“I took my portfolio over to Brian Epstein’s office and left it with his assistant, Peter Brown… Peter Brown got back in touch and said that Brian had liked my portfolio and invited me to a press launch for Sgt Pepper at Brian’s home. Peter also said that Brian wanted to buy copies of two of my photos – one of Keith Moon wearing a lace cravat and one of Brian Jones at The Rolling Stones boat party.
So I went to the press launch where Sgt Pepper was played for the first time to the media, to take my first photographs of The Beatles. Because I was so used to working almost exclusively with black-and-white I didn’t have any color film with me, and had to get some from another photographer. I eventually sold a color print of The Beatles from this session for $100 and I thought that I had it made!”
~ Linda McCartney
The Beatles were photographed in Epstein’s drawing room and on the steps outside the front door. The guests were served champagne, poached salmon and caviar.
“I got one good photo that I liked, which is that thumbs-up one. The rest are just like everyone else’s photographs, but for that one I said, ‘Oh, come on, guys! You know?’ and that shows at least they were relating, because if you believe the press you’d never think John and Paul ever related.”
~ Linda McCartney