Remembering Linda Eastman who passed away today in 1998. We delve into previously unpublished letters written by Linda Eastman, offering beautiful details of her romance with Paul McCartney.
Linda Eastman and Paul McCartney: it’s the story of the photographer and the rock star who fell in love, a pop romance for the ages. Now, the discovery of a series of letters written by Linda Eastman in the ’60s shed light on Eastman and the early days of the pair’s relationship.
Eastman was an American photographer, and one of the first females to capture some of the most important musicians of the ’60s, including the likes of The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan.
“I quit my job at Town & Country magazine to become a freelance photographer,” describes Eastman in one of the three letters, written to friend Miki Antony. “I’m doing very well – sell mainly to teen magazines ’cause most of my subjects are rock’n’roll groups – it’s so groovy – have photographed many English groups … The Stones were my favourite, went out with Mick Jagger, he’s really a terrific person, much to my surprise.”
In another letter, she attaches a tabloid clipping from June 1967.
“They say Beatle Paul McCartney’s latest favourite femme is Linda Eastman, a Yankee Doodle fan-mag [photographer],” claims the gossip column, written by Walter Winchell.
On the back of the clipping is an accompanying note from Eastman: “Thought you’d get a big laugh over the enclosed clipping. Have no idea where they picked up that lie, but it just shows how truthful newspapers are.”
As in turned out though, Winchell was bang on the mark.
“My reaction was a chuckle as I did know it was true,” Antony described in an interview with the Observer. “She stayed with me when she first came to London … [She said] ‘Guess who I dated last night? … It was Paul McCartney, and we had this lovely evening.’ She said Paul really liked white rabbits, and the next day she … bought a white rabbit and sent it to him. That night, she told me, he rang her up and said, ‘Thank you so much for the white rabbit, would you like to come out for dinner again?’ That’s how I knew they’d started dating. The rest is history.”
McCartney and Eastman met in a nightclub in 1967, McCartney claiming he was immediately drawn to her. At the time Eastman, who was a fan of The Beatles, had a crush on Lennon – however, she quickly developed a connection to McCartney, the “cute” Beatle.
Despite The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein forbidding the band’s members from dating publicly, eventually, each of them rebelled. However, it was McCartney who remained a bachelor the longest, until he finally met Eastman. In 1969, two years after their meeting, they married in London.
After The Beatles split in 1970, McCartney and Eastman went on to form Paul McCartney and Wings, in which they both performed. Both avid vegetarians, Eastman also became an animal rights activist and published several vegetarian cookbooks.
Sadly, she passed away from cancer in 1998 at the age of 56. McCartney describes one of the things he loved about Eastman was her love of “wilderness and freedom”, and that upon her death he “cried for a year”.
The letters are being sold through Chiswick Auctions in London, as part of their Autographs sale on January 29th.
A major exhibition of Linda’s photographs, co-curated by McCartney, is also currently being held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.