Sunday, February 9, 2014

VIDEO: The Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan 50 years ago today

50 years ago today, The Beatles debut on The Ed Sullivan Show launched Beatlemania and the British Invasion in North America.

The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964 is one of the most watched television events ever — with 74 million people tuning in to see the group perform five songs during the variety hour.

The band’s first live US appearance is considered by many historians and critics as one of the most important moments in music and television.

That Sunday night, the group performed “All My Loving”, “Till There Was You”, “She Loves You”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

The Sullivan appearance was actually the sixth time The Beatles had been featured on American television.

In September of 1963, Dick Clark played “She Loves You” on his Rate-A-Record segment on American Bandstand.

On November 18, 1963, the band were featured in an NBC News story that aired on the Huntley-Brinkley Report.

CBS News ran a story on The Beatles on the morning of November 22, 1963, the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas; a repeat broadcast on the evening’s newscast was cancelled while the nation focused on the Kennedy event. Walter Cronkite eventually repeated the feature again the CBS Evening News on December 10, 1963, reportedly resulting in a rush-release of the single, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on December 26.

On January 3, 1964, Jack Paar featured footage of the band recorded in concert in the UK.

Below is a chronological look at the Beatles’ appearances on US TV leading up to, and including, footage from the Ed Sullivan debut in February of 1964 (excluding American Bandstand).

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