Beatles, 60 years ago today on the Ed Sullivan Show

Beatles, 60 years ago today on the Ed Sullivan Show

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles made their first live appearance on American television, on the “Ed Sullivan Show”. In the morning the group rehearsed the performance in the television studio; George Harrison, influenced, was physically replaced by Neil Aspinall, the Beatles’ road manager.
In the afternoon, the group, this time complete, recorded ‘Twist And Shout’, ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ in front of a different audience than that of the evening; the recording would be broadcast on February 23, by which time the Beatles had already left the United States.

The Beatles’ evening performance, broadcast between 8pm and 9pm, took place in front of 728 spectators in the television studio, but was seen on television by a record number of 73,700,000 spectators.

In the first part of the broadcast the Beatles played ‘All My Loving’, ‘Till There Was You’ and ‘She Loves You’. Other guests followed – Georgia Brown & Oliver Kidds, Frank Gorshin, Tessie O’Shea – and the Beatles closed the broadcast by playing ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, the song that on 1 February – few days earlier – had gone to number one on the “Billboard” charts.

The Beatles’ first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show” is considered a milestone in the history of pop culture, and is considered the official start date of Beatlemania (and the so-called “British invasion”) in the USA.

The Beatles’ next live appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show” was held on February 16 (audience estimated at over 70 million viewers). The third was recorded on February 9th, while on May 24th Ed Sullivan aired an interview and a clip of “You can’t do that”.

The following year, 1965, the Beatles returned to the “Ed Sullivan Show” on August 14, to record a guest appearance that was broadcast on September 12. On that occasion they played “I Feel Fine”, “I’m Down”, “Act Naturally”, “Ticket to Ride”, “Yesterday” and “Help!”.