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Photograph of the Month - December 2012

Past display archive
3 December - 31 December 2012

Room 31


The Beatles (George Harrison; John Lennon),By Astrid Kirchherr, Gelatin silver print, 1962, NPG P1692

The Beatles (George Harrison; John Lennon)
By Astrid Kirchherr
Gelatin silver print, 1962
NPG P1692

Fifty years ago, in December 1962, the Beatles’ first single ‘Love Me Do’ reached its highest place in the UK charts at number seventeen. In the same year they signed their first contract with manager Brian Epstein, who inspired a professional attitude and smarter appearance. In May 1962 EMI producer George Martin signed the group to the company’s Parlophone record label and in August, drummer Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr. A recording of ‘Please Please Me’ made with George Martin at Abbey Road in November, became their first number one the following February.

Kirchherr was working as an assistant to the Hamburg-based photographer Reinhardt Wolf when she first saw the Beatles playing in the Kaiserkeller bar in 1960. She came to influence the Beatles’ look and became engaged to the group’s original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe before his untimely death in April 1962. This photograph was taken during the Beatles’ penultimate pre-fame trip to Hamburg, when they were performing at the Star-Club.

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