Noted photographer, Tom Murray had no idea that when he went to assist a photographer on a job, that he would be working with one of the most iconic musical groups - THE BEATLES! In 'Tom Murray's Mad Day Out With The Beatles' by Paul Skellet & Simon Weitzman, the book tells the true story of Tom's day with the Beatles. We took a moment to find out more about his experience, THE BEATLES and what he's up to now.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How did you know you wanted to become a photographer?
TOM MURRAY: I decided to become a photographer as I could not paint people, loved painting, my art looked a bit like Lowry’s painting, stick animal and stick people. I was motor racing at the time, but did not have the money to continue, I was just not fast enough.
I loved photography and thought it a quick and easy way to make a living, not realizing I could end up famous.
AM: Tell us how shooting with The Beatles came about and what that was like?
TM: I was working at the Sunday Times Studio, for the Sunday Times Magazine, a job Lord Snowdon recommended me for. I was asked to help one of the contract photographers, who was going to photograph a pop group, if I could drive him around, as it was a Sunday, I picked up my Red XK 150 Jaguar from my parents’ home in the Suffolk countryside and drove into London, when leaving the Sunday Times studio, he said bring your camera you might get some nice snaps.
We arrived at a rehearsal room, an old church type building, on entry I heard someone playing lady Madonna on the piano, opened the door, I said OH SHIT, it was Paul McCartney on the piano, Ringo & George drinking tea, John & Yoko chatting away, I said: “Is this the group,” yes it was the Beatles.
It was an amazing day, I had one camera, two rolls of film, and was with the Beatles, the most famous 4 lads in the world. We travelled all over London taking photographs, no one recognized us for some time, so we could stay for 30 to 40 minutes per location. There were no mobile phones etc!
AM: You weren't aware that you would be shooting them - when you realized it, did you know that it would be such a historical point in music/pop culture history?
TM: I had no idea that my photographs would eventually become world famous, or raise so much money for charity worldwide.
AM: What were the Beatles like and are there any stories that you can share from that shoot?
TM: The lads were like me, shaggy hair, fun to be with, they bounced ideas off each other all the time, when I got back to my mother’s to leave the car, she said what was it like, I said: “It was a Mad Day Out,” hence the title of the shoot and the name of my book, Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out.
AM: How did shooting with them affect your career going forward?
TM:Shooting with the Beatles had no effect on my career, as when the film proceeded, all the images were put in a drawer for many years, no one ever saw them for almost 25 years. Being the youngest photographer to photograph the royal Family the next year had immediate effect on my career, it was a big deal for a commoner to take such great photos.
AM: Did you ever work with them again and did you have a friendship with the band or individual members?
TM: I have never worked with them ever again, Paul has my images in his personal collection, as does Ringo, they have both signed my work for charity, I am at £1.3 million on my own and almost £12 million worldwide, the images are in the Museum of London, Radio & TV Museum of Los Angeles, as well as private collections.
AM: What is the goal in releasing this book and what do you hope happens when fans and enthusiasts read it?
TM: The Museum quality chromogenic archival prints are for collectors, they are limited edition, so slightly pricey, many Beatles fans wanted the book, and with the backstory from the 60’s, the book is meant for Beatles fans, so that they can experience the sixties, see in what context the Beatles, became such a large part of our lives. Even today, when fans meet me, they are from 9 to 90, probably the best fans in the world.
AM: As an acclaimed photographer, what other projects have you worked on that you would like to share?
TM: I now continue to contribute to charity, I hold photographic talks on how to take great photos, I am a Town Councilor for the Magna Carta Town of Bury St Edmunds, trying to make myself useful, I am working on a new book, my life in pictures, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, which will I hope be followed by my life story with a few pictures. The next big project will be July 28th 2018, it is the 50th anniversary of the now famous photo shoot, so who knows what we will have in store for fans of the best group in the world, The BEATLES.