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Photos of The Beatles at the Washington Coliseum on the 11th February, 1964. These pictures were taken by Fred Ward, a National Geographic photographer and writer, who was on freelance assignment to cover the Beatles’ arrival by train in Washington two days after their debut performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Previously, Fred Ward had been known for photographing political figures including President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. He took these amazing photos, thought to be the only high-quality colour photographs of the Beatles’ concert at the Washington Coliseum (he also shot a couple of rolls of black and white pictures). Almost unbelievably, a lot of these photo remained unprinted and unseen until 2014 when Fred Ward’s son, Christopher had some printed from the negatives for an exhibition in LA. 

Pics: Fred Ward.

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“I went down to Florida to make this photo after being asked if I had any ideas on what to do with the Beatles as a cover. It was my idea to put them in a pool—but we couldn’t find a heated pool, the water in the pool we did use was cold, and there was always the problem of other press trying to get in. It would have to be a pool that we could close off to everyone else. So, in the end, it was a very quick shoot in a private pool, with the Beatles shivering and singing in the water before jumping out.”

[John Loengard, Time magazine, 5th July 2014.]

LIFE Magazine photographer, John Loengard lines up his famous shot (which he never considered to be very good) and a colourised version of the photo. c. 14th February, 1964.