Before Paul McCartney He was even greeted with enthusiastic applause when he took his seat and was instantly given a standing ovation. Tribeca Festival. “I want all the girls to give a Beatles cry, please,” he politely asked the crowd if anyone still doubted whether he understood, and screamed so loudly that it sent shock waves into 1964.
McCartney joined Conan O’Brien Thursday evening at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center to promote her new book, “1964: Eyes of the Storm,” a collection of unearthed photographs. Between 1963 and 1964, McCartney took 275 photos with a 35mm camera documenting the Beatles’ incredible rise in Europe and their first visit to America. He told viewers that he thought McCartney had lost the photos, until a photo archivist in London recovered them in 2020. its center.
As part of the Tribeca Festival’s Storytellers series, McCartney took the New York audience back 60 years, providing context to his photos and reminiscing those pivotal years for O’Brien and the Beatles, recording a live episode of his podcast “Conan Needs.” a friend.”
A photo projected onto the big screen behind McCartney and Conan shows several Beatles posters affixed to the side of a building in Paris. It was early enough in the band’s career that McCartney was excited to see the Beatles branding in another country – in January 1964 it was still a novelty.
“The French were a little late getting the Beatles,” McCartney said. “There was a lot of screaming in England and the girls were going crazy for us. But when we went [to France]It was like, ‘Come on, prove yourself. And so we did.”
The photos that got the strongest response from viewers were candid, unprotected shots of John Lennon. In one shot, Lennon, wearing thick glasses that the public hadn’t seen at the time, gets into the back of a car, hand perched on his chin, and eyes looking away.
“Only you can have it,” O’Brien said of the photograph. “I see vulnerability and I see some anxiety.”
“I don’t know about the worry, but the vulnerability is very true,” McCartney said. “She’s had a truly tragic life.”
As a photograph of Lennon looking back over an airplane seat appeared on the screen, McCartney recalled the Beatles’ flight from London to New York in February 1964. In one photo, McCartney turns the camera to photographers looking into the lens with wide eyes.
“It was America where all the music we love came from. We are happy to be there,” McCartney said. “We had a press conference at the airport and we said, ‘Beatle! The Beatles!’ We knew what they charged us, if that’s any insult, ‘We are number 1 in your country!’ We knew we could say that.”
When the Beatles arrived in Miami, the band had a police escort. Fascinated, McCartney snapped a photo of the gun in the hip of one of the cops – his face cropped.
“I was very surprised to see a gun and ammunition,” McCartney explained, after which, to great applause, “we were very lucky in England. Cops don’t have guns.”
Ending the night on a sweet note, O’Brien told McCartney: “I’ve been lucky enough to be in my job for 30-odd years and I can talk to anyone. I can’t think of a single person who has brought joy to more people than you.
After McCartney left the stage with a true rock star farewell, the crowd dispersed, roaring with excitement. “You just witnessed history,” a mother said to her two young sons as they were leaving the building, and a man nearby agreed: “So… that guy was on the goddamn Beatles.”