Rare picture of The Beatles in 1958 unearthed by Paul McCartney’s brother and unveiled in new book 

Strumming their guitars in his auntie’s front room, this is Paul McCartney with John Lennon and George Harrison in what is thought to be one of the earliest colour pictures ever taken of the Beatles.

The photograph, which has never been seen before, was unearthed by Sir Paul’s brother Mike McCartney, who took it in March 1958.

It shows Paul and George, both 15, and John, 17, rehearsing to perform at a wedding reception. George has his back to the camera, hence the name on the negative – George’s Back.

Strumming their guitars in his auntie’s front room, this is Paul McCartney with John Lennon and George Harrison in what is thought to be one of the earliest colour pictures ever taken of the Beatles

Strumming their guitars in his auntie’s front room, this is Paul McCartney with John Lennon and George Harrison in what is thought to be one of the earliest colour pictures ever taken of the Beatles

Strumming their guitars in his auntie’s front room, this is Paul McCartney with John Lennon and George Harrison in what is thought to be one of the earliest colour pictures ever taken of the Beatles

Mike stumbled across the negative while going through old files for a new book. He said he was 14 when he took the picture – along with a well-known second image, largely assumed to be the first colour picture of the band – at his Auntie Gin’s house in Huyton, Liverpool, at the reception for her 19-year-old son, Ian Harris.

Dressed in grey jackets, white shirts and black ties, the band, then named The Quarrymen, appear to be rehearsing, with Paul open mouthed, presumably mid-song.

Mike said: ‘My filing system is non-existent, I’m always coming across lost drawings and pictures. I was going through some old files and came across a couple of negs and I realised that, because the other one was a better picture, I had put this one to one side.

‘I realised, “Oh my God, I must have taken this one earlier because there they are rehearsing, George has his back to the camera”.’

The photograph, which has never been seen before, was unearthed by Sir Paul’s brother Mike McCartney, who took it in March 1958 while they were still known as The Quarrymen. Pictured: The Beatles in 1964

The photograph, which has never been seen before, was unearthed by Sir Paul’s brother Mike McCartney, who took it in March 1958 while they were still known as The Quarrymen. Pictured: The Beatles in 1964

The photograph, which has never been seen before, was unearthed by Sir Paul’s brother Mike McCartney, who took it in March 1958 while they were still known as The Quarrymen. Pictured: The Beatles in 1964

‘It was a lovely discovery after all these years. Sometimes negatives fade if they haven’t been stored properly but this one was in prime condition. In those days colour film was very expensive so it would have been a special present from Dad to get the colour film for me.

‘We used to get Dad a £1 cigar every year for Christmas and he would have got this as my gift. It’s brilliant to see their matching jackets in colour.’

Harry Ian Harris, then 19, married Cecilia Jacqueline Gavin, 16, known as Jackie, in a Catholic church ceremony in Huyton on Saturday March 8 1958. Afterwards a party was held in their honour at 147 Dinas Lane, the home of Paul’s Auntie Gin.

Ian asked Paul to bring some musician friends to play at the reception. George Harrison had met the Quarrymen only the previous month, and had turned 15 just days before.

The other, more famous image, also taken at the reception, has been widely published previously and is well known among Beatles’ fans.

His limited edition book, Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpool, is due out next year from Genesis Publications (mikemccartneybook.com)

His limited edition book, Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpool, is due out next year from Genesis Publications (mikemccartneybook.com)

His limited edition book, Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpool, is due out next year from Genesis Publications (mikemccartneybook.com)

It is entitled ‘John, Paul, George and Dennis,’ in reference to the fourth man, Dennis Littler, a neighbour of Ian Harris who was pictured next to the musicians drinking a glass of stout.

But after the new colour snap was previewed by Mike’s publishers on Tuesday, it caused much excitement among Beatles’ fans on social media. 

His limited edition book, Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpool, is due out next year from Genesis Publications (mikemccartneybook.com).

It includes unseen pictures, from his very first photograph taken with the family Kodak Brownie, to capturing the emerging Merseybeat scene.

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