Witness to a ‘Mad Day Out’ With The Beatles

One summer day in 1968—the last Sunday in July—the 25-year-old photographer Tom Murray had a remarkable experience. After only a few months working for The Sunday Times, he was given the assignment to spend a day with the Beatles . Though Murray’s remarkable career has included stints photographing people like the British royal family and some of the world’s biggest movie stars, that day still stands above the rest, as he writes in a forthcoming book about the experience, Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out With The Beatles, from which these photos are drawn.

The Beatles: Tom Murray's Mad Day Out book cover.
Archivum

As Murray relates, he didn’t actually know that the assignment on which he was being sent was to photograph the Beatles ; he only knew it would be a pop group of some kind and his job would be to assist the main photographer on the story. Had he known, he might have brought more than just two rolls of film along. But, thanks in part to his youth—he wasn’t “a so-called ‘adult,’” as he writes in the book—he quickly struck up a rapport with the musicians and was able to put those frames to good use as he followed them throughout the day.

“When I got home my mum asked me how the day had gone and I said, ‘it was really nice,’” he writes. “She asked when I had done and I said, ‘I spent all day photographing the Beatles’ and shut the door. She screamed and yelled…”

That day would turn out to be recognized as the last publicity shoot in which the band would participate before breaking up the next year. But even as the day got famous, unbelievably enough, Murray’s pictures mostly just sat in a drawer until 1998, when he exhibited the 23 images he had saved through the decades.