Book Review: 1964 Eyes of the Storm, by Paul McCartney

This is a wonderful "coffee table book." Especially if you are one of those who grew up when the Beatles and Rolling Stones were all the rage. Of course, the Stones still are, sort of, an aging wonder personified by the ageless Mick Jagger. However as opposed to the bad-boy Stones, the Beatles were a combination of good ones, sort of, and definite musical talent, especially the song writing by Lennon and McCartney, which has stood the test of time. As it turns out, Paul McCartney also was an astute observer of the world around him and a chronicler of that world with his Pentax camera.

This 333-page book chronicles the year 1964, with the Beatles at the height of their world-touring and screaming fan popularity. McCartney combines his mostly black and white photos with descriptions of the band's whirlwind world tour of Liverpool, London, Paris, New York City, Washington DC, and Miami. The world changed for most of us on November 22, when President Kennedy was shot and killed by a deranged gunman. On a very personal note, Lee Harvey Oswald's bullet cut short Kennedy's life at exactly the same minute when my first child, an infant girl entered the world in the hometown of my teenage wife and myself. One of my confusing and enduring memories is of the nurses crying and wailing in the halls as we entered the hospital for the delivery.

"The Storm" affected so many of our generation in so many ways. It still does. The world of 1964 also featured a young and controversial boxer who converted to Islam and took the strange (to many of us) name of Muhammed Ali. 1964, the war in Viet Nam ... the year I graduated from college, and the three of us moved across the country from southern West Virginia to Phoenix, Arizona to start a new life. We had no relatives or connections there, but we made friends quickly with the other young people starting careers in the semiconductor business. 1964, a year of tremendous changes to the world and to the personal life of my young family.

McCartney's book is wonderful on its own, as a chronicle of the Beatles world tour.  For us of that time and place, it is more. It will have a place of memorable distinction in my home forever.

1 Response

  1. JK James George
    From Anon-1: (A retired pastor) On the day Kennedy was killed, I was in the hospital having a broken ear drum repaired. (playing water polo without ear protectors) The nurse came in crying and told me. I was in shock. Never got over that one.

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