Feb 8, 2009

45 Year Anniversary of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show

In October of 1963 Ed Sullivan & his wife were at the London Airport with hundreds of teenage girls creaming for the Beatles. Sullivan asked "Who the hell are the Beatles. Shortly after this Sullivan's London contact got in touch with a Brian Epstein connection and went to see a Beatles show. As they got bigger & bigger in England word got to Sullivan. He agreed to meet Brian Epstein in NY at Delmonico's Hotel & Restaurant. A deal was made to have the Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan show three time in February for $10,000. Epstein wanted more but realized how big the exposure in America would be & accepted, asking the Beatles be the headliners.

On February 9th, 1964 rock & Roll history was made in 73 million households as the Beatles made their live TV debut. The press had jumped on the Beatles American arrival two days earlier after some great promoting by Epstein warning America "The Beatles Are Coming". By now everyone wanted to see who these Beatles were.

Shortly after 8 PM Sullivan made the famous announcement: "Now yesterday and today our theater's been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agreed with me that the city never has the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool, who call themselves The Beatles. Now tonight, you're gonna twice be entertained by them. Right now, and again in the second half of our show. Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles. Let's bring them on."

The theater erupted in loud screams as the largely female audience went wild. The band broke into "All My Lovin" with Paul leading the vocals, then he sang the slow ballad "Till There Was You". During the song, the camera focused on each member of the group, with his first name superimposed on the screen. When it came to John Lennon, "SORRY GIRLS, HE'S MARRIED" appeared below his name. Lennon despised this, & tried keeping his marriage a secret. All in all the Beatles were kool, never showing signs of pressure. They just did their thing & took over the show.

Next up the boys rocked the country with "She Loves You" which summed up their new big beat sound. The loudest screams occurred each time John, Paul, and George went "Woooo" and shook their heads. When it was over, The Beatles took their customary bow. For the first time ever, British entertainers had conquered America. The likes of these guys were never seen before. Their hair was considered long at the time, their music very different & new, their look totaly English & kool, they were four individuals instead of a solo guy with back up singers, and yes they could sing.

Thirty five minutes later Sullivan again introduced The Beatles. They rocked out to "I Saw Her Standing There" & "I Want To Hold Your Hand". The camera man couldn't hear the commands from the director in his head set due to the screams & loud music. But they did a great job of scanning closeups of the band & the crowd. After it was over, Ringo jumped off the drum kit & the Beatles went over shaking Sullivan's hand & waving to the crowd.

History was made on both the television & Rock & Roll fronts. The door was now open for rock musicians to be accepted by main stream media & TV. Thousands of future musicians were enlightened and realized this was what they wanted to do. It was one of the most important & influential moments in the history of American Art & culture. The famous question is still asked today by those who were around as it happened "Where Were You the night the Beatles were on Sullivan"?

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