Beatles photog: They never asked me to stop

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — The Beatles were likely the most-photographed band of all time — so the idea of never-before-seen images of John, Paul, George, and Ringo seems impossible.

“I put them in my files. I had no time to do anything with them. I was busy working,” says photographer Henry Grossman, whose unprecedented access to the Beatles between 1964 and 1968 is documented in his book “Places I Remember: My Time With The Beatles.”

TIME magazine first assigned Grossman to photograph the band in 1964 during their first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

“People were screaming. I saw these four guys with long hair. Ringo was on the drums — I didn’t know his name was Ringo at that point. I found out later that afternoon,” recalls Grossman in a WTOP interview.

Grossman’s assignments covering the Beatles took him to Atlantic City, and the following year to the Bahamas and Austria for the filming of the movie “Help!”

“During lunch one afternoon George asked me if I could take some portraits of him and Pattie when we got back to London,” said Grossman.

After that informal session, Harrison suggested Grossman go to John Lennon’s home for more photographs.

Asked why he believes the Beatles trusted him, Grossman says “I didn’t want anything from them.”

“I was not looking to steal their time or their public persona, I was there as a photojournalist. Sort of like a fly on the wall,” said Grossman.

Eventually, Grossman says the band members stopped noticing when he took out his camera.

“They never asked me to stop,” says Grossman.

Grossman says five years ago he was approached by editors from Curvebender Publishing, who were working on a book about recording the Beatles.

“They came asking for a picture of the Abbey Road recording session. I brought out a slew of contact sheets. They were amazed,” says Grossman.

Grossman eventually provided photos documenting an evening from the Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band session in the book “Kaleidoscope Eyes.”

“Places I Remember: My Time With The Beatles,” contains over 1,000 images, most of which have never been published.

At 528 pages, “It’s a little heavy. It’s 13 pounds,” Grossman says of the limited edition book, which sells for $495.

Twelve hundred copies of the book were printed. It’s on sale now.

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