Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The British Invade…and No One Seems to Mind

After arriving in America on February 7 1964, the Beatles made their American television debut on February 9th to an estimated audience of 74 million viewers (roughly 40% of the population).  In the weeks before their appearance, the Ed Sullivan show received over 50,000 requests for tickets to fill a studio that held 703. The Beatles invaded and American culture would never be the same again.
Whether they liked the Beatles or not, people recognized that their appearance on Ed Sullivan was an event not to be missed. Some historians have even cited a dip in crime numbers across the country during the time of the show to depict the hold of the Beatles over American culture. Whether those numbers are accurate or not, it’s hard to deny that the show marked a major shift in American pop culture history. After the Beatles broke through in American markets, they were quickly followed by other British acts including the Rolling Stones and countless sound alikes. The Beatles began to compete with the American icons of rock and roll they originally modeled themselves on including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and countless others.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Hey, she just did a post on the Beatles two days ago, maybe she needs to get off this topic.” To which I say, this is my blog. Truth be told, had I been alive in 1964 I would have been recreationally stalking the Beatles just like the girls in the audience at the Ed Sullivan Show.
Where were you when the Beatles debuted on American television? If you’re closer to my age, how about your parents? Who’s your favorite Beatle?
Here is the Beatles 1st appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show where they performed “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Notice that during the performance, the television stations identified each band member by name. When the camera turned to John Lennon, the caption read “Sorry girls, he’s married.”

[Images via VirginMedia and MichaelManning]


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