A rare image showing (L-R) George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Drummer Pete Best is partially visible.
CNN  — 

Two previously unseen photos of the Beatles have been found, showing the band playing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1961, shortly before they shot to fame.

The images have been published to mark the 60th anniversary of the October 1962 release of “Love Me Do,” the band’s first single on the Parlophone label, according to a statement from Tracks, a UK-based music memorabilia dealer.

Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn said the photos were taken in July 1961.

Paul Wane, managing director at Tracks, told CNN that the photos were taken by a fan who followed the band in the early 1960s and had a camera, which was unusual for the time.

“Not many people had cameras back then,” Wane told CNN on Monday. “That’s why there are so few shots of the Beatles in the Cavern. There’s very, very, very few.”

Wane said the photographer is still alive and lives in the suburbs of Liverpool, but doesn’t want his name in the public domain.

“He followed the Beatles at some of the very early gigs,” said Wane. “He was on speaking terms with them.”

Although the photographer has lost the negatives of the photographs, Tracks has the original contact sheet from the roll of film, he added.

“It’s great these have come to light,” said Wane. “I was chuffed.”

Tracks works with Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, who said the photos were taken during a lunchtime or evening show in July 1961, just after the band had returned from a long stint of gigs in Hamburg, Germany.

“So slender has this marathon made them, it’s as if their heads and bodies are strangers, a look emphasised by the unusual clothes – leather trousers and cotton tops,” Lewisohn in the statement. “No other photos show them dressed this way.”

“Three months from here, John and Paul went to Paris and returned with what became known as ‘the Beatle haircut’. Days later, Brian Epstein saw the Beatles in the Cavern, offered to become their manager, and set them on (a) course that changed our world.”

The legacy of the Beatles – who formed in Liverpool in 1960 and broke up in 1970 – has far outlasted their 10-year run as one of the world’s most influential rock bands.

The “Fab Four,” as they became known, earned 20 Billboard number 1 singles across their career.

They took the music industry by storm, with genre-defying records, era-defining album covers and Beatlemania – the term coined to describe the fanatical hype surrounding the band.