1964: The Beatles sweep through the great US cities, drawing tens of thousands to airports for the merest glimpse.
They play for no more than half an hour per concert. A Hard Days Night has guaranteed them star status in the cinema and they laughed their way through Help! in Technicolour. Paul dreams that he has written Yesterday - and has. They are the first band to play a baseball stadium, Shea in New York, breaking records for crowd fever, numbers and good cheer. Oh, and they go to Buckingham Palace to receive medals from the Queen and, by now, more or less accept it as their due. They are, however, as happy and polite as can be.
'Wherever they went, they brought Beatlemania with them. They couldn't help it; it was a form of real love. George would say many years later that the world used them as an excuse to go mad and then blamed it on the Beatles, but there is a parallel theory that it was time for the world to go that sort of mad - get down a bit, loosen up, and like Uncle John in Long Tall Sally, have some fun tonight. The crowd scenes are awesome and, in retrospect awful. How did no-one get killed?...
Press and fans greet The Beatles as they arrive by train in Washington
George photographs Ringo on the train from Washington DC to New York
17 November 2010
The Beatles played their legendary first American concert at the Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964.
"Live At The Washington Coliseum, 1964" - the concert film - is available for download in its entirety with the digital Beatles Stereo Box Set on iTunes. The box set contains all 13 remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs, Past Masters, and the complete set of Beatles mini-documentaries.