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12

The Beatles - On the Road, 1964-1966

Nenad Georgievski By

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This wonderful coffee sized book is beautifully designed and structured. It is organized both thematically and chronologically, and each group of photographs is divided into various chapters. During the two year period when these photographs were taken, Benson has enjoyed an unfettered access in private and he immerses the spectator in the band's inner circle with brilliant on-stage photos, backstage candid shots, intimate images from various hotel rooms as well as snapshots from press conferences, parties, newspaper clips, commentaries and more. Obviously, Benson has photographed the Beatles more artfully and more prolifically than anyone else. There is a comment by Benson in the book's introductory interview that one of the reasons why the band was very popular was the access they provided for every journalist who approached them. As it can be seen from the photographs, the occurrences in the Beatles' life and work were happening in a quick succession almost at the speed of life. From the first photographs he took of them at various locations in Paris, the first arrival in the US and the appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show that kick started the British Invasion, publicity photos, moments of joy and respite in Miami, meetings with fans, shooting of their first feature film "A Hard Day's Night" and plenty of other moments, Benson captures the band's early phenomenon in all its triumphant glory and sometimes triumphant silliness.

But every photograph in this collection is spectacular and electrifying. They all merge the sense of discovery, magic, revelation and Henri Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment" idiom. The time period when these photographs were taken was the period of the first throes of Beatlemania. The Beatles were coming into prominence and have sparked a musical revolution. It is the start of what is considered to be the pinnacle of rock music's most heroic period of development. The band's 8-year reign in the '60s is a period when a seismic fracture in cultural history had happened. During this period, these four incredibly gifted individuals have contributed to an accelerated musical growth that morphed into a voyage into the unknown. They introduced fiction into the art of song writing and have revived the sensual. Because of that, there were out of the ordinary discoveries in melody, harmony, lyricism, rhythm, and production. Their music was great when it was made back then and it is still great and relevant 50 years afterward. It's a moment when the youth culture has matured into something adult. Fortunately, Benson was there with his trusted camera to witness and capture some of the band's most iconic moments.

Half a century later, the photos, many heretofore unpublished and all gorgeously produced, have been collected in this gorgeous book. With his unprecedented access, Benson has created a one-of-a-kind travelogue, capturing various moments of the unique and spectacular life of one of the most iconic bands in rock 'n roll history. As such it has a tremendous historical and cultural significance.

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