The day thousands of US teens were swept up in Beatlemania

This Feb. 11, 1964 image provided by the David Anthony Fine Art gallery in Taos, N.M., shows a photograph of John Lennon taken by photographer Mike Mitchell during the Beatles first live U.S. concert
This Feb. 11, 1964 image provided by the David Anthony Fine Art gallery in Taos, N.M., shows a photograph of John Lennon taken by photographer Mike Mitchell during the Beatles first live U.S. concert
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A young John Lennon belts out a tune to an unseen throng of screaming fans as Beatlemania officially arrives in the United States.

The striking image is one of a collection of rarely-seen photographs, taken at the Beatles’ first live concert on American soil, that have gone on show for the first time.

They were shot by Mike Mitchell, a press photographer aged just 18 at the time, who was at the Washington Coliseum, Washington DC, in February 1964 for the gig that helped to confirm the band’s status as the biggest in the world.

Snow and freezing temperatures didn’t stop thousands from crowding into the venue for the seminal event, which took place two days after the band’s iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

At a time when America was still coming to terms with the assassination of President John F Kennedy the Fab Four were credited with filling a vacuum in the lives of an army of disenchanted young people and sparking a transatlantic invasion of British popular culture.

“You cannot forget 8,000 screaming girls,” Mitchell said in an interview with Reuters.

“It was like the birth of my generation.”

But the shots from that night remained largely out of public view until Mr Mitchell spent close to 1,000 hours in front of a computer screen many years later turning the negatives into a series of remarkable images.

Taken without a flash, the pictures, which also include George Harrison in full flow and a more thoughtful-looking Ringo Starr smoking a cigarette, were first unveiled at an auction at Christie’s in New York City in 2011.

Mitchell’s portraits are now the centrepiece of a month-long exhibition at the David Anthony Fine Art gallery in Taos, New Mexico, where they are expected to attract thousands of visitors.