A new photo of the Beatles lets us see them with fresh eyes | Vanessa Thorpe

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The youthful carefree musicians captured in a way we had forgotten

The quiffs are combed, the faces shiny. A previously unseen photograph of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison playing guitar together in a Liverpool front room, before they became the Beatles, has given fans a fresh glimpse of an early moment of musical alchemy. Although it was published for the first time this Easter to commemorate the day the band hung up their instruments and turned their backs on each other 50 years ago, this grainy shot looks familiar.

Somehow, everyone already knew that these three boys once stood together like that, laughing, in rockabilly garb amid the trappings of postwar, lower-middle class gentility. The image is a confirmation, rather than a revelation, despite the fact it has not been seen before and that both the exact location and the occasion of its taking are lost in the past. The Beatles’ early story is such a part of a shared, imagined history.

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