Unseen Beatles photos from first U.S. concert on display Feb. 9

The Beatles in Washington, D.C.
The Beatles were photographed by National Geographic photographer Fred Ward during their first U.S. concert on Feb. 11, 1964, at the Washington Coliseum in D.C. Ward’s Beatles photos, including rare color performance shots like this one, will be on display Feb. 9 in Camarillo.
(Fred Ward / (c) Award Agency 2014)

Beatles fans who want to go the extra mile -- literally -- to mark the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s storming of America can hop on the 101 Freeway on Sunday and head to Camarillo for an exhibition of some rare and in some cases previously unpublished photos of the group’s first U.S. concert in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 11, 1964.

Fred Ward, a National Geographic photographer and writer, was on freelance assignment and covered the Beatles’ arrival by train in Washington two days after their barnstorming debut performance Feb. 9, 1964, on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Previously, Ward had been photographing high level political figures including President Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and he also shot Elvis Presley circa 1956. He traveled to Washington and shot some of the only known high-quality color photographs of the Beatles’ concert at the Washington Coliseum.

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Ward’s son, Christopher, has been sorting through his father’s prints and negatives and is printing several shots for the first time to show Sunday at Sessions at the Loft gallery, 2465 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. The free event will run from 3 to 6 p.m., and will be followed by a ticketed event that includes dinner and a performance by a Beatles tribute band.

“Some of his Beatles photos were published at the time in a booklet,” Christopher Ward said, “but many of them were never printed up.” He said his father shot three rolls of color film during the Coliseum concert, and several more rolls of black and white images.

Some can be viewed on their website,, where a number of 8x10s are being sold for $250. “We’re not trying to get rich off these,” Christopher said. “I’ve seen some other photographers’ shots going for $7,000. We want them to be accessible to fans.”

On Sunday night, exactly 50 years after the Sullivan show appearance, CBS will air “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles,” featuring many of the contemporary musicians who appeared on this year’s Grammy Awards telecast paying homage to the Beatles. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr also perform, separately and together.



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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2

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