CLEVELAND – Liverpool in the Sixties will take over the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s circular gallery in the Ahmet M. Ertegun Main Exhibition Hall this summer and fall. Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life, which opens to the public on June 26, features incredible black-and-white photographs documenting the origins of the British Invasion. McCartney will be making a personal appearance at the Museum on Wednesday, June 25 to share some of the inspiration behind his imaginative photographs.
“It’s the story behind the story of that magical era,” said Mike McCartney.
A self-taught photographer, McCartney perfected his art through years of practice and experimentation, using books from the local library for inspiration. His pictures include playful self-portraits of the artist experimenting with his first camera and intimate, informal scenes of family life in McCartney’s modest childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road. The exhibition is accompanied by quotes from the photographer, who reveals stories behind these images, from his father’s great fondness for playing piano at family parties, to numerous pictures of his first car, a Ford Classic.
“Mike McCartney is a terrific photographer,” said Jim Henke, vice president of exhibitions and curatorial affairs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “On top of that, he was in the right place at the right time. He was in Liverpool, when so many U.S. artists were playing there, and when so many Liverpool bands—including his brother’s band, the Beatles—were on the verge of greatness.”
Just as at home in front of the camera as behind it, Mike McGear (as he was known then) was at the center of the Merseybeat scene as a member of Scaffold. The group started as a humorous satirical act, but went on to top the charts with hits like “Lily the Pink,” “Thank U Very Much” and “Liverpool Lou.”
As a photographer, McCartney had access to some of the greatest rock and roll stars who played at such venues as the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton and Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club. The flash gun he used when photographing these acts onstage earned him the nickname “Flash Harry” from Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. His photographs show various aspects of the rock-star lifestyle, from the adrenaline of Little Richard onstage, to a considerably more relaxed Graham Nash snoozing on a train. Other musicians captured by McCartney’s lens include Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy J. Kramer, Jeff Beck and the Hollies.
Mike McCartney adds “As there are no photographs of the Beatles in the exhibit and as this is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I will be bringing some extra, surprise images, exclusive to the Cleveland exhibition, as a gift from me to you.”
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life will be on view at the Rock Hall until September 21.
About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.
The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors (65+), $13 for youth (9-12), $18 for adult residents of Greater Cleveland. Children under 8 and Museum members are free. The Museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.1939 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK or visit www.rockhall.com.