Skip to main content

6 snapshots of Paul McCartney's career with the Beatles and Wings

Paul McCartney
(Image credit: Harry Benson)

There are few lives in popular music as remarkable as Paul McCartney and photographer Harry Benson's book Paul captures key moments in the legendary musician's life with equally compelling intimacy. 

Published by TASCHEN, many of the 150 images in the book have never been seen before. Paul follows McCartney at the height of his fame with the Beatles; in the recording studio with wife Linda and their band, Wings; with his family and on the couple’s farm in the UK in the early 1990s.

Harry Benson / Taschen

Paul (book cover) by Harry Benson and Reuel Golden. TASCHEN, 2021 (Image credit: Harry Benson. Courtesy of TASCHEN)

Each numbered collector's edition hardcover book (No. 101-700) is signed by Harry Benson and packaged in an acrylic box. 

“I’m proud of the work that I’ve done with Paul over the years and grateful he’s allowed me to document some private and personal moments in his extraordinary life,” says Benson. 

Harry Benson. Courtesy of TASCHEN

Paul (book cover) by Harry Benson and Reuel Golden. TASCHEN, 2021 (Image credit: Harry Benson. Courtesy of TASCHEN)

The Glasgow-born photographer has had an incredible career of his own; photographing every US president since Eisenhower and documenting the Civil Rights movement. He was next to Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated. 

In addition to McCartney has shot some of the biggest personalities of the last 50 years, including Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Her Majesty The Queen. In 2009, he was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

Read on to see six photos from the book of McCartney during his time with the Beatles and Wings. 

Paul by Harry Benson and Reuel Golden is available now through TASCHEN. For more info visit TASCHEN.com

The Beatles in New York, 1964

Paul McCartney

(Image credit: Harry Benson. Courtesy of TASCHEN)

Paul and the band are on the cusp of full-blown Beatlemania during their first visit to New York on 7 February, 1964. After he's had a shave, of course. 

Two days later they'd play live for the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time Studio 50 in New York City. It's estimated around 73 million people watched the broadcast. 


A Hard Day's Night, 1964

Paul McCartney

(Image credit: Harry Benson. Courtesy of TASCHEN)

An intimate portrait during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night. McCartney is captured on a train leaving Paddington Station in London. 

The film itself begins with the band evading a horde of fans before boarding a train and the Richard Lester-directed musical comedy portrays 36 fantastical hours in the life of the Fab 4 as they prepare for TV performance.  


With the Beatles, Paris, 1964 

The Beatles

(Image credit: Harry Benson )

John Lennon and McCartney (with George and Ringo in the background) captured composing in their suite at the George V Hotel in Paris during January, 1964. 

The band were still a hard working performing machine at this time; they were in the city for 18 days of performances at the Paris' Olympia Theatre as part of a nine-act bill that included Trini Lopez.

The Beatles would sometimes play two or three sets each day, including a matinee performance. They only had two days off during the run. 

Songs in the set included From Me To You, Roll Over Beethoven, She Loves You, This Boy, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Boys, Twist And Shout and Long Tall Sally.


With Bob Dylan, 1975

Paul McCartney

(Image credit: Harry Benson)

The launch party for the Wings' fourth album Venus And Mars was a grand affair on board the Queen Mary ship moored at Long Beach, California. It was the first public meeting of McCartney and George Harrison since the Beatles split. 

But there were other big names in attendance too – including Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Dean Martin, Phil Everly, Cher and Bob Dylan.


With Linda, Los Angeles, 1975

Paul McCartney

(Image credit: Harry Benson. Courtesy of TASCHEN)

Paul and wife Linda pictured wearing multicoloured ponchos and caps in Los Angles during March, 1975. They may have been visiting the city as string overdubs were added to the underrated Venus And Mars ballad Love In Song at Wally Heider Studios on March 10.

The track was written by McCartney on 12-string guitar and for the recording he uses the upright bass that once belonged to Elvis Presley bassist Bill Black. Linda McCartney is also credited as a writer of Love In Song and provides backing vocals, hand bells and Moog on the recording. 


Wings Over The World, USA, 1976

Paul McCartney

(Image credit: Harry Benson. Courtesy of TASCHEN)

The high profile Wings Over The World tour spanned 1975 and 1976, seeing the band perform in Wings performed in Britain, Australia, Europe, the United States and Canada. These were McCartney's first live performances in North America since the final Beatles tour in 1966 and resulted in the films Wings Over The World in 1979 and Rockshow a year later.

Despite a Wings-heavy setlist, McCartney also played a number of his compositions from the Beatles during the tour including Blackbird, The Long And Winding Road, Yesterday and Lady Madonna. 


Paul by Harry Benson and Reuel Golden is available now through TASCHEN. For more info visit taschen.com

5 songs guitarists need to hear by… The Beatles

Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.