Paul McCartney said he will always remember Astrid Kirchherr's "cheeky grin," adding that her style was like a "funky pixie"

By Phil Boucher
May 21, 2020 07:00 PM
Paul McCartney, Adstrid Kirchherr
Credit: Dave Benett/WireImage; Kai Uwe Franz - K & K/Redferns

Paul McCartney has paid an emotional tribute to his "dear friend," Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who died on May 12 in Hamburg, Germany. She was 81.

"Very sad news this week about Astrid Kirchherr," McCartney posted on his social media accounts Thursday, adding that he received the tragic information from German artist and record producer, Klaus Voormann.

"This brought back memories of our days in the clubs in Hamburg," continued McCartney, 77, referencing the Beatles' early days playing gigs in the German port city, long before they achieved global fame and changed the face of popular music.

"Astrid looked unique. She had a short blond haircut and wore a slim black, leather outfit which made her look like a funky pixie," he added.

"She would come to the club with Klaus and another friend, Jürgen Vollmer, and the three of them made quite an impression on us four lads from Liverpool. Their wit and conversation was really stimulating and we fell in love with Astrid's style."

This gift for fashion would go on to heavily influence the Beatles themselves through Kirchherr's skills as a photographer. She's also credited with creating the band's iconic "mop-top" hairstyles after cutting the hair of bass player Stuart Sutcliffe — who later became her fiancé.

Kirchherr remained close to the band long afterward, working as a set photographer on The Beatles' first movie, A Hard Day's Night, and in 1968, shooting images for George Harrison's solo project, Wonderwall Music.

Since her death — caused by a "short, serious illness," according to German publication Die Zeit – tributes have been paid by McCartney's bandmate Ringo Starr, 79, the estate of John Lennon and George Harrison's son, Dhani.

"Astrid took beautiful photographs of us," added McCartney, Thursday. "She used black and white film and achieved a stunning mood in her pictures that we all loved. She had a great sense of humour and later went on to marry Stuart our bass player. I have so many fond memories of our time together in the club or her home or a trip to the nearby seaside resort, Lübeck."

McCartney continued, "So sad for all of us who were her friends to lose such a lovely lady from our lives. I will miss her but will always remember her and her cheeky grin with great fondness. God bless you Astrid, see ya love! - Paul"