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Recently Recovered Long Lost Beatles photographs
[Posted by Katie Hickox on Monday, 07/02/07 7:05 am] [Full Blog] [Related Posts] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Ian Wright, former London Times photographer, made his first public appearance this afternoon at Fest and tells the incredible story of how he recently recovered a treasure trove of thousands of previously lost, never seen and unpublished pictures of the Beatles taken from 1963 to 1969 when he worked for a local paper in Northeast England called "the Northern Despatch" before going to work for the London Sunday Times. In early 1963, starting at the age of 15, Ian , who worked part-time as a photographer, was given an unusual assignment to photograph the many new bands that would come from all over England to play. One of these unknown bands back in early 1963 was The Beatles and were received 5th billing on a program in which Helen Shapiro headlined and the Beatles were listed last, after the 12 Dancing Girls. Eight months later, The Beatles "rocketed to top billing" in a concert given November 22, 1963 at the Globe Theater in Stockton near Darlington.

Ian's negatives of those photographs that he took of The Beatles that night and over the next few 5 years were never published by The Northern Despatch and considered lost after the paper merged with another newspaper 30 years ago. As it turns out, when Ian called in 2004 to find out if they still existed, to his good fortune, the sister paper still had those never used negatives in storage and turned them over to him.


Ian not only took pictures of the Beatles but also photographed the Rolling Stones and many other emerging bands that toured in Northeastern England, near Newcastle. In addition to taking pictures, Ian said he got to know each of the Beatles because he had unrestricted access back in the early days when no backstage passes were required. He told how they were all practical jokers and how Ringo played a joke on a stagehand by giving him a pound to buy a paper with and then after the stagehand came back with the paper he went through counting out all the pennies (pre-decimal UK currency, 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound) after which Ringo chuckled and said, "keep the change".

Ian continued to stay in touch with The Beatles after they broke up and was on his way to New York City to interview John Lennon back in December 1980 when he found out that John had been killed.

You can see some of these unpublished photos of the magical performance of The Beatles at the Globe theater December 22, 1963 by dropping by Ian Wright's table in the Beatles Marketplace in Ballroom H at the Mirage Hotel.


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