Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show

On this day 47 years ago, The Beatles made their first live American television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
In the weeks leading up to the historic performance, The Beatles had already hit number one on the U.S. charts and the anticipation surrounding their arrival from England had not been seen around The Ed Sullivan Show since Elvis Presley in 1956.
When the Beatles landed at New York’s JFK Airport on February 7th, 1964, they were met by hoards of reporters and screaming fans. The Beatles would spend the next two days cooped up at The Plaza Hotel, as fans posing as hotel guests tried to sneak in and catch a glimpse of the band. CBS was flooded with requests for tickets, even Walter Cronkite and Richard Nixon called in to try and score tickets for their daughters to that week’s Ed Sullivan Show! Ed actually had to announce during the prior week’s show, “Coincidentally, if anyone has a ticket for The Beatles on our show next Sunday, could I please borrow it? We need it very badly.”
At 8 o’clock on February 9th 1964, 73 million people gathered in front their TV sets to see The Beatles’ first live performance on U.S. soil. That evening, 60% of the televisions turned on were tuned in to The Beatles on Ed Sullivan.
The Beatles performance on Ed Sullivan was unforgettable. They opened with “All My Loving” to the screeches from teen-aged girls in the audience. The Beatles then followed that hit with Paul McCartney singing “Till There Was You,” before wrapping up the first set with “She Loves You.” The hour-long Ed Sullivan Show broadcast concluded with The Beatles singing two more of their hits, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show

The final of The Beatles' first three Ed Sullivan Show broadcasts had been pre-recorded back in New York City at the beginning of their trip. For this show (broadcast on this date, in 1964), the band played Twist and Shout, Please Please Me and I Want To Hold Your Hand. The program went out the day after The Beatles had landed back on British soil, after they'd fulfilled their long-held dream of winning-over the USA . 

The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand - Performed Live On The Ed Sullivan Show 2/9/64

‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ was the first Beatles’ record to top both the UK and the US charts. It was also their first to be recorded on a 4-track, as opposed to the usual 2-track, tape machine. The Beatles had the song well rehearsed when they made the first of 17 takes on October 17th 1963. 

Following The Beatles’ historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan show on February 9th, the single – already at No.1 in the charts – gained further momentum. They taped a performance of the song earlier in the day of their live appearance and it was shown on the Sullivan show of February 23rd, which helped maintain the song’s popularity. This avalanche of publicity, engineered by Brian Epstein, helped the single to stay at the top for seven weeks, which made it the longest-running No.1 of their career to date (until ‘Hey Jude’).

1 comment:

bj funnelcloud said...

thanks for the flashback...I saw the Beatles Live the first time they were on The Ed Sullivan Show. You couldn't hear them because of the screaming girls. Ed Sullivan had to stop the show..and threaten to discontinue their performance. I was only 5 years old, but my Mom and Dad made an exception that we all could stay up because my two eldest sisters loved The Beatles the Oldest was 13 years old.

That was as live as I ever got to see them. But, I will cherish it forever. My eldest sister taught me their music well. When I got older we harmonized well....because we had great teachers in The Beatles.