Celebrating The Beatles, Please Please Me Turns 50

To mark the anniversary of the Beatles' first album, released 50 years ago today: a gallery of images featuring the Fab Four on the cusp of superstardom

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It might be hard to believe, but Please Please Me, The Beatles’ debut album, was released 50 years ago today. It was March 22, 1963, when the LP was rushed out by Parlophone, and it went on to spend thirty weeks in the UK album charts. This would be the start of a phenomenon few could have anticipated: within 18 months the band had not only conquered Europe and America, but much of the world. In celebration, TIME presents a series of intimate portraits of the group taken by renowned photojournalist Philip Jones Griffiths.

Shot in 1963, they are images as frank as they are revealing: Ringo Starr signs an autograph for a fan, appearing to be dressed in nothing but a shirt, tie and underwear; John Lennon gazes into Griffiths’ lens as Brian Epstein, The Beatles manager, stands nearby. Meanwhile, we see what might be a backstage ritual as Paul McCartney and George Harrison look into a mirror, seeming to prepare for a show. This was a time when they were on the cusp of worldwide fame, a time before the mania of Beatlemania. It’s wonderful to see them up so close.

More Photography from Time

7 comments
SuperDave
SuperDave

I heard it was about an affair Lennon was having. He wrote of being in a room with her that was made of "cheap pine". "Norweigan Wood" sounded better than "Cheap Pine"! Good choice there....

RobertBaker
RobertBaker

Can anyone explain the lyrics to Norwegian Wood? Is it about smoking weed? Unrequited love? A one night stand with a Norwegian girl? A pyromaniac?

teethdoody
teethdoody

@RobertBaker'Norwegian Wood' was an infamous sex dungeon that John & Yoko had constructed underneath the main offices at EMI. The song also marks the first time that the words 'good' and 'wood' had been used to form a rhyming couplet.

CLMARKS
CLMARKS

It is not hard to believe. I think it is intrcately easy to remember that.