Picks and Pans Review: Linda Mccartney's Sixties: Portrait of An Era
by Linda McCartney
In 1966, Linda Eastman was one of 56,000 teenyboppers screaming her way through the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium in New York City. That may have been the last time she saw the music scene from the bleachers. By the next year she was a working photographer, getting close-ups of the Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, the Rolling Stones and The Who. She got so close up to the Beatles that in 1969 she married Paul McCartney.
In McCartney’s pictures from the age of psychedelia, we see the giant stars of late ’60s rock at the height of their game: Mick Jagger when time was on his side, Jerry Garcia before he started looking like Santa Claus, and Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison and Keith Moon (looking angelic in a white-lace cravat) before death jumped them offstage.
McCartney’s written accompaniment to her pictures is artless, but her photographs are a sigh-inducing record of the flower-child rock stars who sometimes really Were children. Saluting the camera with a bottle of Southern Comfort, Joplin looks like a high school girl trying to play Big Mama. Pete Townshend, already at the head of a head-banging band when McCartney photographed him in 1967, was just an awkward and lonely-looking kid.
McCartney’s head-on shot of a dour and puffy Brian Wilson, taken during a New York City meeting between the Beach Boys and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, confirms that things could sour in the California sun. And in her long section of Beatles shots, there are a few that tell you about the tensions that would pry the group apart.
But the main tone here is fond remembrance. At 25, Paul McCartney recorded “When I’m Sixty Four.” The joke at the time was that nobody could imagine him anywhere near that age. Now that he’s a 50-year-old family man, it’s hard to remember sometimes that he was once 25—until you open this book. (Bulfinch, $40)