Beatles photo shoot with Jean Marie Périer

January 19, 1967 ?
Timeline More from year 1967
EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London, UK

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Jean-Marie Périer, a photographer for the French magazine “Salut Les Copains,” took photographs of The Beatles on several occasions over the years. In January 1967, for the last time, he visited the EMI studios at Abbey Road to photograph them. During this session, he took the photo that was used on the Beatles’ next single, “Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane,” which was released in February 1967.

Jean-Marie Périer and journalist Michel Taittinger’s visit was featured in an article published in the March 1967 edition of “Salut Les Copains”. The exact date of the photo shoot and interview is difficult to determine from the article, but some clues suggest that it might have been January 19. The article mentions that The Beatles were working on a “psychedelic” track called “Good news today,” which is likely “A Day In The Life“. It also notes that the previous day, The Beatles were recording in Studio One with 160 musicians.

The article also mentions that, on the day of the interview, John Lennon had the idea to add the voice of Mal Evans on the track. With a huge echo, Mal counted from 1 to 24; at 24, an alarm bell rang. The last clue indicates that the session ended at 3 am, and Paul and John continued the interview at the Bag O’Nail where Jimi Hendrix was performing.

Also, playwright Joe Orton remembered in his diary that he visited Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein on January 24, and that “A French photographer arrived with two beautiful youths and a girl. He’d taken a set of new photographs of The Beatles. They wanted one to use on the record sleeve. Excellent photograph. And the four Beatles look different with their moustaches.

January 19, the first day of recording “A Day In The Life“, is therefore a likely date. At this stage, The Beatles were unsure of how to fill the link section between the end of the second verse and the start of Paul’s middle eight. Currently, the transition consisted of a simple repeated piano chord and the voice of assistant Mal Evans counting out 24 bars. Mal’s voice was treated with gradually increasing amounts of echo. The 24-bar bridge ended with the sound of an alarm clock triggered by Mal.

However, There was no orchestra recording for the Beatles on January 18; and it was not reported that Paul saw Jimi Hendrix live on January 19 (Paul saw him live at the Bag O’Nails on January 11).

From Jean-Marie Périer on Facebook, March 4, 2021

Les Beatles à Abbey Road pendant l’enregistrement de « Sergent Pepper ». Cette séance sentait déjà un peu la séparation. En 1967, j’avais confié plusieurs photos à Brian Epstein, le manager des Beatles, pour être utilisées pour des pochettes de disques. Depuis, la société Apple Records n’a jamais accepté de me rendre ces originaux. Qu’ils continuent à les utiliser m’est égal, c’était le deal avec Epstein, mais non seulement ils ne les signent pas mais surtout ils n’ont jamais répondu à mes demandes. Cette société est sans doute dirigée par des types à la mentalité d’aujourd’hui, des gens qui raisonnent comme des machines, très loin de la légèreté des années 60. Ils n’ont aucune idée des rapports que j’avais avec ce groupe à l’époque. C’est très décevant…

English version: The Beatles at Abbey Road during the recording of “Sergeant Pepper”. This session already smacked of separation. In 1967, I had entrusted several photos to Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, to be used for record sleeves. Since then, Apple Records has never agreed to return the originals to me. I don’t care if they continue to use them, that was the deal with Epstein, but not only do they not sign them, they have never responded to my requests. This company is undoubtedly run by guys with today’s mentality, people who think like machines, far removed from the lightness of the 60s. They have no idea of the relationship I had with this group back then. It’s very disappointing…

Jean-marie Périer – From Jean-Marie Périer on Facebook, March 4, 2021

From Jean-Marie Périer on Facebook, April 11, 2020

Les Beatles en 1967. 50 ans qu’ils se sont séparés, je ne peux pas le croire, moi qui pensais comme beaucoup que je mourrais avant trente ans… Cette photo est la dernière que j’ai faite des Beatles, c’était au studio d’Abbey Road pendant l’enregistrement de « SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND ». L’atmosphère était déjà un peu lourde, John se démarquait, ça sentait peut-être la fin. D’ailleurs il regarde ailleurs. Avec Michel Taittinger et mon assistante Marianne Haas on avait monté à l’intérieur d’Abbey Road un studio de photo improvisé mitoyen de celui dans lequel ils travaillaient. La difficulté était de les avoir tous les quatre ensemble. Il y en avait toujours un ou deux qui parlaient aux anges sur les toits de l’immeuble.

Trois semaines plus tard j’étais retourné au bureau de Brian Epstein, le manager du groupe, pour leur montrer les images dans le but de faire des pochettes de disques pour le marché anglais. J’étais accompagné de ma soeur Anne-marie. Dans une autre pièce on entendait « Penny Lane », chanson de leur nouveau disque « Magical mystery tour » sur le point de sortir que le groupe était en train d’écouter. En les attendant je parlais avec Brian. Lorsqu’ils sont arrivés je leur ai projeté les photos, ils ont fait leur choix, ils étaient contents; mais après qu’a -ton fait? Je ne me souviens plus. En revanche ce que je sais c’est que quelque jours plus tard je me suis engueulé avec John, et je ne l’ai plus jamais revu. Je l’ai toujours regretté.

English version: The Beatles in 1967. 50 years since they split up, I can’t believe it, me thinking like many that I’d die before thirty… This is the last photo I took of the Beatles, at the Abbey Road studio during the recording of “SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND”. The atmosphere was already a little heavy, John was standing out, maybe it felt like the end. In fact, he’s looking elsewhere. With Michel Taittinger and my assistant Marianne Haas, we had set up an improvised photo studio inside Abbey Road, adjoining the one in which they were working. The difficulty was to get all four of them together. There was always one or two talking to the angels on the roofs of the building.

Three weeks later I returned to the office of Brian Epstein, the band’s manager, to show them the images with a view to making record sleeves for the English market. I was accompanied by my sister Anne-marie. In another room, the band were listening to “Penny Lane”, a song from their new album “Magical Mystery Tour”, about to be released. While waiting for them, I chatted with Brian. When they arrived, I showed them the photos, they made their choice, they were happy; but then what did we do? I can’t remember. What I do know is that a few days later I had a fight with John, and I never saw him again. I’ve always regretted it.

Jean-Marie Perier – From Jean-Marie Périer on Facebook, April 11, 2020

From Continuation of work on the song Penny Lane – The Beatles History (
From Continuation of work on the song Penny Lane – The Beatles History (
From Continuation of work on the song Penny Lane – The Beatles History (
2017 release of the “Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane” single

From Continuation of work on the song Penny Lane – The Beatles History (
From Continuation of work on the song Penny Lane – The Beatles History (
From Continuation of work on the song Penny Lane – The Beatles History (

Last updated on December 23, 2023

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Noel 4 months ago

I found a photo of George (presumably from that day) and Mirropix dates it as January 20th

The PaulMcCartney Project 4 months ago

Thanks Noel ! The recording session for "A Day In The Life" started at 7:30 pm on the 19th, and ended at 2:30 am on the 20th. So 20th is indeed a possibility if they ended the session by this photo shoot. Would you have the Mirrorpix URL of this photo of George ? Thanks.

Noel 4 months ago

I have a theory that the actual photoshoot took place the next session, and that Jean-Marie Périer was only talking about his experience with the Beatles on that specific session. Although I do see them doing the photoshoot when the session ended, it's also possible Jean-Marie and his crew came back the next day to take photos again (I only say that because they are wearing different clothes)

The PaulMcCartney Project 4 months ago

Thanks Noel. You may be right ...

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