Meet the Beatles: The US did, 50 years ago

It was a really, really big show.

On sunday, 9 february 1964, I lived in one of an estimated 73 million households that were tuned into CBS’s The Ed Sullivan Show. Not because of Elvis. There was something new in the air.

That something new had arrived from Britain two days prior: The Beatles landed at New York City’s JFK Airport for their debut appearance in the states to promote the US release of Meet The Beatles. Thousands of (mostly) teenage girls – followed by reporters, photographers and all manner of press – raced to the arrivals terminal to greet them.

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notable nights in entertainment, beatlemania, the beatles in the US, music milestones, 50th anniversaries, the ed sullivan show, cultural milestones

On the heels of the Kennedy assassination, the country needed something to move past mourning. The Beatles, with their sound, their look and their energy, proved to be the tonic. The US also got a sample of their sly, quick wit.

After the release of the album, which my siblings kindly purchased and played – and played, I knew every word, even though I was very young. I was ready to sing along with The Beatles and the rest of the nation.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah”
On The Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles opened (over a screaming audience) with All My Loving, followed by Till There Was You, and wrapped with She Loves You.

Newsweek dedicated its 24 feb 1964 cover to the mop tops along with this review of their first Sullivan appearance.

notable nights in entertainment, beatlemania, the beatles in the US, music milestones, 50th anniversaries, the ed sullivan show, cultural milestones, newsweek cover 1964“Visually they are a nightmare: tight, dandified, Edwardian-Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair.  Musically they are a near-disaster: guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat… Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of “yeah, yeah, yeah!”) are a catastrophe…”

“The big question in the music business at the moment is: will the Beatles last?… odds are that they will fade away, as most adults confidently predict.”

Washington Post reviewer, Lawrence Laurent, went even further in adding:

“…imported hillbillies who look like sheep dogs and sound like alley cats in agony.”

“It Won’t Be Long”
Variety reported that in celebration of The Beatles’ 50th anniversary appearance, CBS will air a two-hour special about the Fab Four on 9 feb 2014/8pm that will feature top musicians covering classic Beatles tunes.

Will you watch it?

Photo: Fans line up outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in 1964. /Universal Music Group/Copyright CBS Photography 1964 / Photo: Detroit Radio Memories Autographed album

2 Responses to “Meet the Beatles: The US did, 50 years ago”

  1. lg Says:

    I will definitely be watching. It seems like yesterday that we all watched the Ed Sullivan show to see the Beatles.
    Yes, I had almost every album and 45 – and played and played them until there were grooves and scratches in the vinyl and the liner notes were smudged. How wrong those critics were. Music changed and evolved, as it has continued to do. What memories….

  2. Janet Giampietro Says:

    It certainly was an event.

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