Photographer and author Henry Grossman shares an intimate glimpse of The Beatles as can only be told from the photographer who knew them best
Apr 23, 2013
Photographer and author Henry Grossman shares an intimate glimpse of The Beatles as can only be told from the photographer who knew them best
Apr 23, 2013
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Good afternoon everybody from Washington I'm James Rosen and welcome to the foxhole we have a very distinguished visitor here with a -- in the foxhole he's actually in new York and I'm in Washington please welcome.
Henry Grossman Henry Grossman is a long time photographer who has photographs some of the world's most important and impressive subjects.
Among them The Beatles and he's the author of a new book a compilation of his photographs more than a thousand of them.
In a special slip case edition.
Which is not cheap.
And it's called places I remember.
Henry Grossman welcome to the fox -- thanks for joining us thank you James thank you very much.
Now this is a special edition published through curve Bender.
Which is a publisher where they based Henry they're based in Houston Texas OK and it's curve Bender dot com you actually wanna take a look at it and it's named after one of the machines to -- -- used to.
Ben -- you sound.
-- -- in the recording.
Now this is not your first book you've published with curve -- the first one tolls -- the first 11 the first.
-- kaleidoscope eyes.
And tomorrow night at the Abbey Road studios today -- life of -- does sergeant pepper.
There were recording.
And Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
And its chronological order from beginning in the evening to the end of the evening.
I was a fly on the wall I was not posing pictures at all.
And this second book places I remember.
It does it are all -- images that are in the first book in this book.
No not at all a couple from Abbey Road but not not -- -- this book is all the other things I did with The Beatles.
Okay now for the benefit of our viewers let me explain that Henry Grossman photographed The Beatles repeatedly between 1964.
And when was the last time you saw the 1970 know about 1968.
I think it was -- sixty -- -- -- -- also -- went on tour and George Harrison across the country with Ravi Shankar.
-- right okay and -- all you estimate that you took about 6000.
Individual photographs of The Beatles correct -- and it.
And is that's -- that's presumed to be the most by any photographer do we know I don't know I assume it's the largest unseen -- because -- never.
-- not to publish a book before.
And where they lost for some period of time what accounts for the sort of late emergence of them Henry.
James when they were originally syndicated -- life magazine afterlife ran.
Ran a story.
They return the negatives and contact and color slides to me in New York.
And I put them -- my in my archive I have no use of them immediately I was a busy photographer going to the White House going to have been thrown opera photographing dress rehearsals.
They're -- Broadway shows and personalities.
Okay what was the last time you had contact with the need The Beatles by the way.
I had a conversation with George.
When they were publishing.
A book of photographs that -- of an anthology of photographs -- them.
-- -- a table from him and -- -- to back.
That is close to 2000.
And I've heard of Paul actually wrote -- -- forward to this -- to to have a small practice.
OK so let's begin with.
Probably the earliest of the photos.
That we've selected of fifteen or so from the book that we want to get your thoughts on in this would be.
And I've labeled them from my producers in New York so Kevin and company let's bring up all four Beatles bow wowing.
During the Ed Sullivan Show what I like about this shot Henry and I presume you can see them with me is is that you see Ed Sullivan in this photograph.
But this was your first occasion photographing the fab four correct that's right.
What do you remember about it with time magazine gave me an assignment to the photograph The Beatles I went to the theater which is about a block and a half from where I lived at the time.
I was amazed that the number of people outside the theater standing in line in.
What making noise and we got into the theater.
And once the show started there were -- A loud hullabaloo because you could even hear the music because this screaming was so loud from the girls -- side.
Was there something artificial about the screaming in the sense that they would stop at certain times and begin again was -- just for the sake of the cameras or do you think it was truly an organic spontaneous and real thing beatle mania.
Totally organic there was a there was nothing set up for it.
There where that was what happened that's who The Beatles were and that's in the audience was as -- affect the next.
The next week I went to Atlantic City for -- for a performance a concert performance.
The screaming was the saying.
I -- Kleenex in my years I have photographs of a policeman standing at the front of the stage with his fingers in his ears.
Let's bring up John and Paul at microphones Kevin.
And we see now there that there were certain photographs were you you actually have access to their recording sessions.
Tell me what you remember about this photo because John Paul -- rather sweaty in in this photo.
-- of the photo I don't -- -- yes that photo was not in the studio that was in Austria.
They had been working on helped the movie and Austria.
And this is in the evening there in the middle do you wish to bat in the hotel and -- were just playing among themselves and singing.
Just as it is educating themselves.
That and do we know without man in the background includes all of you have no I don't have a a third -- of for them photographed moment.
Let's bring up the photographs Kevin and you can see you can show them each in turn that show Julian Lennon.
But we have a couple of photographs taken at -- this was the largest state that that John went and purchased.
With his wife and son in 1964 out in -- -- bridge which is outside of London.
And we see in the -- in these photographs alternately.
John with George holding Julian.
His young son John -- young son and then John with Patti Boyd as Julian spins it toppled -- alternate between these photographs what do you remember about that photo session if anything.
Henry what I love it and as a benefit had been visiting Georgia his home and it and after it took some pictures of Georgian -- together.
George said hey let's go over to John so we went -- visit John.
What eleven that the depressed that you showed is John is combing this is fixing -- -- hair I just photographed.
-- -- -- -- -- And later I have a picture of John fixing my apprenticeship and it makes it nice little series -- -- -- it was a cute little kid.
What in June serves about John Lennon's.
Marriage and home life.
It seems very middle class and an upper class middle class and the home was neat there was a -- home.
In the living room the road musical instrument photographs not photographs drawings engravings on the wall.
A very nice home.
He did have to get up several times to ask kids who would piled up at the window to look in to please leave him alone for a while yet.
-- And what did you observe about his interactions with his wife at that time Cynthia -- Nothing special just regular as far as I was concerned about that I did -- and special.
Let's bring up the photo Kevin of Ringo Starr.
In a lounge chair.
Sunbathing at his feet.
I gathered this was in the Bahamas yes it was a Bahamas it was during the making -- hope this was -- scene in the movie.
It was just I I thought that was kind of because federal more -- who's been there in that picture it still would have been girls all over the front.
It it is said that Ringo.
It elicited the greatest volume of fan middle of all four Beatles I didn't know that that's the route.
Now this this photograph showing women lying at the feet of Ringo Starr leads me to ask you Henry.
I know you you weren't a constant pouring companion there isn't -- -- Take up residence with The Beatles but nonetheless I wonder what your when your unique perch.
Enabled you to see about The Beatles and they're groupies their fans the women throwing themselves cut at The Beatles what did you observe about The Beatles and their.
The relationship with the fairer sex.
Well as a matter of fact what what I observed was that the -- could go anywhere without being mobbed.
And we're off the sect -- on the streets there were mobbed completely and doesn't matter that I -- I and but -- to John and Yoko here in New York years later and I.
Have deliberately not ask John if I could take pictures of his home.
Because I knew how much they hated being chased after by by the press the -- and Friday -- the from the fans mobbing them so I kind of stayed out of the way.
They were mobbed everywhere they went.
Did you and did you ever get a glimpse into whether they were of bailing themselves of all these women who were throwing themselves at them.
I have no idea no I did.
I mean in other words that aspect of The Beatles pouring life was shielded from -- Wasn't sealed that it just wasn't happening when I was around them I was -- their homes there wasn't happening there.
I was on location moves didn't seem to be happening there they were working and even in Austria and hope.
It set in Nassau and London.
Let's bring up the shot of Paul McCartney skiing.
Yeah which really makes him look like like the silver surfer superheroes of the kind -- amazing action shot really what do you remember about McCartney and his personality.
I love that he was -- this we -- intelligent charming.
We stood on the beach at one point in in Nassau and I picked up what looked like a fossil was a piece of -- -- they said Georgette how many years it took millions he used to.
Get this piece of thing here.
He took it for -- cost and open their error couple times tossed and as far out of the ocean as he -- and said well Henry I guess who set that went back a couple million didn't wait.
-- expect that.
Did you observe anything about the kind of creative competitive tensions between John and Paul I did not.
Nothing competitive that I saw.
At Abbey Road when we're doing.
The new new new recording.
Paul walked in sat down on the piano started playing some things and hey guys listen to this they all gathered -- a bad became their evenings work.
Anything -- -- -- right -- sense or see any rivalry between them I read about it later Ron.
It was there anything -- all the time you spend with them that would.
Deviated all from the kind of shorthand.
Notes that have been that have arisen the kind of mythology that.
John was the witty one poll was the cute one George the quiet one in Ringo the kind of happy go lucky one.
Where did you just see other facets their personalities that that would that would lead us away from those kinds of -- rough thumbnail sketches.
No not at all I saw all of those aspects in each one of them as a matter protected was in it's -- usual that.
More individuals would be as strongly.
Vibrant in each of those cut capacity -- and then unite.
To form a group.
That was equally strong and credible.
Was Lucy in the sky with diamonds the only recording session -- there's that you attended.
That was the one I was invited the best of one of -- comes I went and as a matter of fact life magazine had been wanting to interview them.
And couldn't get an interview so I brought with me the entertainment editor from life magazine it was in London and out of the studio.
This is -- unbeknownst to Brian.
Epstein and manager.
-- did you have dealings with Brian Epstein.
Yes -- did as a matter of fact when life magazine Putnam published season with syndicating them in London I had a telephone call from Bryant saying.
Henry we've never even -- a British photographer and into their homes please don't allow this to be syndicated in London.
The next day I got a table from him saying please disregard phone call I've seen the photos that I have a set.
-- To June to June.
Deal with him face to face.
I photographed very -- to do the week before he died as a matter of fact time magazine was doing a cover story on him.
And I went to in his office home and photograph of during the interview.
None other than that -- the only time I really met him.
-- was a week before he died -- and as students of The Beatles know Brian Epstein their manager who helped bring them from the cavern club in Liverpool to worldwide stardom.
Died from an apparent drug overdose.
In the summer of love in August 1967 at the age of 32 by all accounts Epstein was fairly troubled by that point.
The Beatles had stopped pouring he didn't really know what his place with the with the band would be and so forth.
Having photographed in just a week or so before -- dot I wonder if you were able to observe that this was a man in extremists.
I saw none of that and -- of of that.
He seemed very sure of himself it was terrific The Beatles were totally surprised I was with them in Wales with.
Where they were -- visiting the maharishi.
The day he died and they were stunned.
As a matter of fact I gave Paul and Jane the ride back in the car that time magazine it gives me.
Back to London after that was a long trip.
There were equal that we just haven't.
Do you call -- I think they said in response to -- -- -- questioning -- just that they were -- -- -- -- are pulling -- the press room.
-- microphones at -- saying.
What do you feel about Brian zionism as as does it you know at whatever -- had told us -- back is that what they wanna -- And I was just -- I was there as a friend in the car with them.
I was not questioning there was not a journalist.
Let's bring up the photo Kevin of three of The Beatles with Henry Grossman.
And tell us about this photograph -- Oh.
That's the house and there is staying in -- Nassau.
And John started to comb my hair that's me on the -- on the side that -- -- we know which what we would know which ones Henry Grossman okay good well you could hear a and they started coming here to make me fit in with The Beatles Ringo took the picture Ringo was quite a photographer.
And -- took that picture.
All right stand by -- we're gonna come back with you -- some more intimate glimpses of the fab four -- taken by the photographer who got to know -- best you're visiting the -- -- stay with us.
Welcome back to the fox -- I'm still your host James Rosen I'm still in Washington and Henry Grossman thankfully is still with us in New York.
-- Henry Grossman is the author of places I remember and a handsome new addition published by curve Bender publishing.
You can not check it out on -- -- dot com it is an anthology of about a thousand.
Of the 6000 photographs that Henry Grossman has taken.
Over a 46 year period with The Beatles.
Henry I wanna bring up some more photographs before we lose you -- let's bring up the one of John and George in the Bahamas.
Dressed in blue -- On the rocks would guitarists.
I think this was from the a sequence and help.
Where Paul performed another girl and these guys were just standing around more less -- -- at that point but.
You know Jon linen has said of the -- period the making of the film and movie and the soundtrack.
That there are basically smoking pot for breakfast.
And he called it his fat Elvis period and that's why he wrote help he said because he was depressed and getting fat.
And feeling trapped.
Were you able to observe any of that.
I didn't see any of that at all.
I enjoyed the photograph them together like this often -- -- -- -- together and residency.
There are moments -- did -- John's how's that.
George and John were -- -- get a -- There were friends then there was nothing to do -- this particular moment they weren't filming at this moment though we're on location in Nassau.
For the film.
So you weren't able to tell that they -- that they were using drugs.
Not at all I had no idea.
We're using drugs Henry no are -- using drugs right now you know I -- I -- -- -- father once I've never went back.
-- felt right.
Let's go to the photo that shows George standing in water I gather this is from the same session.
-- this Susan so also.
I love the water behind me this seems to be of immense city behind him here and I love that.
I took each of them some -- that I took Paul and John mean that is the dream of sitting on the beach.
Looking out of the water by themselves.
Just in off moments.
And this -- Drug -- in the water for scene in the movie at that moment.
And let's bring up the shot of George close up with his tells old pair of black and white shot I love shot now.
Georgia's by most accounts the -- who changed the most over the course of being the beetle.
And of course if you look at photographs of George Harrison by the time The Beatles were breaking up in 1969.
He's almost unrecognizable from the figure in this photograph.
Could you tell that he was changing did you observe that over the time that she knew it.
Just keep it he got deeper into philosophy but at this point this is a not so when I first got to know them.
And we're sitting at practice to.
The three of the guys and me and George came in I think was still in his pajamas.
And it looked like he'd just gotten up.
-- reach in my camera because I wasn't taking pictures at practice but it reached from my cameras in Georgia I've got to take this picture there's that menacing new look this way.
And I loved it because it's a compliment to his -- picture I was studying acting and I I figured this is what how much should look like.
Did you -- did you -- consider that any of the four Beatles was the best looking.
I saw them differently to each time met and obviously many that the fans thought Paul was the best looking.
But I have pictures of Ringo where he's extraordinarily good looking.
John that they all were at Georgia just.
I had some pictures of -- at his home that is so strong.
To -- with a wonderful strained tendon.
And I think and -- and the good looking.
I think I know the -- you talk about -- queries posed with that with the automobile yes.
Let's go to the shot of Paul -- Jane Asher.
Now Jane Asher was Paul McCartney's girlfriend and eventually his fiancee.
It was at her he was more -- living at her house during some of the peak years of beatle mania was at her parents' house where he wrote yesterday for example.
More -- -- to not to put too fine a point on it and he force -- Jane -- For Linda Eastman who became Linda McCartney and who spent 29 years -- -- to Paul but Jane Asher has never done a single interview.
About the five or six years where she was the girlfriend of the one of the most desired -- on the planet.
What can you tell us about Jane Asher who sort of like a sphinx like figure in Beatles history.
That's thinks -- who's charming at one point.
The she's reaching it people in that sequence and it just saw.
She's reaching around -- -- -- laughingly biting her finger.
She was in Wales were invested -- of meet the maharishi.
I like -- -- but I applaud her for not speaking out further.
And incidentally the time magazine cover story that we were working on at that time of the maharishi.
That with the boys in the maharishi.
It was the cover was being done by an artist -- scarf.
-- Dave married scarf.
Gerald scarf generates darkness.
Let's go to the picture of Ringo shave it.
Since you just mentioned Ringo -- as a handsome fellow that.
Ringo Starr is seen by some as just a guy who got really lucky and tagged on to something but I think.
People who appreciate music know that he was a genius in his own right.
What could you tell us about his interactions with the other Beatles I thought they.
I thought he was funny his intelligence was incredible the cover story shot the cover picture I -- life magazine.
He's wearing a scarf that's very secular tied it's very psychedelic.
That a -- ring going which I had the guts to Wear a -- like that.
I was very near the liberty of London Paisley tie and he walked up to me.
Figured my -- look me in the eyes of -- Henry if you did it would still be Henry but with a bright tie.
I don't love.
Did you were you able to see that how the other Beatles treated Ringo.
That you didn't -- route that they would -- any friends I I saw no difference in treatment whatsoever.
Because if you watch the George Harrison documentary the Martin Scorsese did for HBO -- in 2011 minutes George himself was was heard.
Talking about how.
This subtle demarcation between John and Paul who were at that time -- -- the writers of the of the group.
And the other two guys who were made to feel.
They not so many words that she could be replaced at any time.
I never -- that -- I don't know I never read that in what I saw I never saw them acting in any way like that.
And -- did you ever see them in anything less than happy.
And happy moments did you ever see them in moments of stress or fear word or acrimony at all.
No not at all they never last doubted anybody -- never stopped me from taking pictures.
There were marvelous and fun to be around.
Let's go to the shots at Abbey Road studios studio two I presume.
Having been where you took these photographs of them recording -- the song Lucy in the sky with diamonds which is off of the Sargent pepper LP.
How long did you spend with them on that one occasion.
Battle right from Reverend -- -- was 6:30 in the evening through past midnight as a matter of fact.
Now on this occasion.
Again as we conceived just by the radically changed appearance of The Beatles by early 1967.
They were they were indeed.
-- progressing in their consumption of -- mind altering substances.
And I wonder if at this point you had noticed aside from the cosmetic appearance.
Any changes in The Beatles their personalities their habits -- -- I hadn't I hadn't noticed any of that these clothes were not -- for for the public and for press.
This is the way they -- at home it was marvelous.
So I did see that night at one point George got up.
Left his instrument went into that engineer's room and pulled out of bank of condenses or something I didn't help that out.
Replaced it with another bank -- convinced -- and I thought how marvelous that he knows what the sound doesn't how to change the sounds the way he wants to hear it.
I was terrific.
-- staying with George Harrison and Kevin feel free to bring up one of the images of George Harrison I read a story.
Into quoting you Henry in which you were promoting places I remember and in which -- described having been at George's house.
And seeing this strange instrument which we now know was the Sattar and how -- so they can't find anyone to play it for me and you and essence said what to -- You looked at first row and it amazed me when he reached up and took down the instrument I thought it was just very different for decoration.
He took it down is that -- -- satire about a can't get anybody to teach me and I said George you make a lot of money he smiles that I said George you could probably.
Find the best Sattar teacher in India and bring him to live with you here.
In England first summer -- some such.
He wouldn't -- what better.
He went to India.
And the next time I went to visit Georgia a year later after you've been to India.
He greets me at the door in Indian garb barefoot looks out of my shoes and says well -- would you like to take your shoes off.
That means that a sitting on the floor with.
I -- -- -- you were closest of all four Beatles with George Harrison yes I was.
I don't know it just happened united.
When we were in -- he asked me to.
Defend what we got back to London I could take some portraits of him and patty and I did at one point he asked me along the way.
If I knew -- another word for some word was and I said well let's look -- up in a thesaurus he said what's that.
So I went out and bought him a thesaurus and years later I he's ever read somewhere -- -- -- That he said it was only when a friend bought me the gift of the -- that I was able to find all the words that needed.
Henry Grossman photographer.
And author of kaleidoscope eyes and most recently places I remember.
A beautiful slip case edition of his photographs of The Beatles he took more than 6000 of them.
There's a thousand to be found in this beautiful coffee table volume you can find it on -- -- dot com.
Henry Grossman we are honored that you visited us with us here in the foxhole I am honored to be here thank you very much James.
That's it for -- son James Rosen a Washington.
Please join us again in the foxhole in two weeks' time take care.
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