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Beatles for sale: rare Fab Four photos in colour

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  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

These are some of the first colour pictures of the Beatles in America, recently unearthed, which show the Fab Four in the year they took the US by storm.

When the Beatles arrived in the United States in February 1964 they triggered unpre­cedented scenes of hysteria.

Some 73 million TV viewers tuned in to watch them on the Ed Sullivan Show, while 8,000 fans turned out for their first proper concert in Washington.

And within just a few months of Beatlemania sweeping America, they were back for their first full US tour.

Now dozens of rare, previously unseen photographs, which captured the band during the triumphant summer visit, are to go under the hammer.

They are creating quite a stir because – unlike most photographs of the tour – they were captured on colour film, which was hugely expensive.

On-stage performances, a press conference, private parties and informal poses were captured by the late US photo­grapher Robert Peck.

Experts believe they could raise up to £15,000 at auction in Stockport, Cheshire, on 22 March – 50 years to the day after the Beatles released their first album, Please Please Me. The auction will be broadcast live on the internet due to the demand.

Mr Peck, who died in 2002, had left the photographs in his Hollywood home, as part of a vast archive. Most have not been seen publicly before. The 65 slides include shots taken at their famous gig at the Las Vegas Convention Centre and at the Beverly Hills mansion of Capitol Records boss Alan Livingston.

Ernie Sutton, treasurer of the British Beatles Fan Club, said: “It is a delight to see colour photographs from that historic tour.”

The Beatles were already hugely popular in Britain before they flew out in February 1964 to the US, where they were just beginning to make an impact.

They spent two weeks in the US on their first visit, but played only two lives shows, before returning for a month-long tour in August, when they attracted crowds of up to 20,000 screaming fans.

By the end of the year, a third of top ten hits in America were by British acts, including the Dave Clark Five and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Paul Fairweather, of Omega Auctions in Stockport, said: “This is a fabulous collection, particularly given that all the slides are in colour. We are expecting worldwide interest and estimate that they will achieve in the region of £10,000-£15,000.”

 

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