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Beatles invasion was 50 years ago: Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964 on Ed Sullivan Show

It was fifty years ago today, that the four lads from Liverpool, England, peacefully invaded the American shores and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, one of the most popular television shows of that era.

Appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, left to right, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivana, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, left to right, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivana, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Photo: Express Newspapers, Getty Images
The Beatles with Ed Sullivan as they prepare for their performance. Right to left: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Those were names that would be etched into American pop culture and stay there for fifty years.

And counting.

To paraphrase the Beatles hit song, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

It was fifty years ago today
Paul, John, George and Ringo taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
They're music was guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to you
Direct from the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show
The act you've known for all these fifty years
The Beatles

It was "live" from New York.

The Ed Sullivan Show.

The audience was waiting for the host of the show, Ed Sullivan to say those magic words.

"The Beatles."

Ed Sullivan was 62-year-old at the time, and as Time magazine said back then, he has as much charisma as "a cigar-store Indian." If you tuned in on Sunday nights, as a majority of TV watchers did, you were in for "a really big shew."

With that introduction, "The Beatles!" by Ed Sullivan, they launched into a crisp version of their soon-to-be-hit song, "All My Loving." It was a cut from their new LP, "Meet the Beatles," which topped Billboard's charts the following week and remained there until it was knocked off by their second album.

At 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on Feb. 9, 1964, an unheard-of 60% of American TVs were tuned to CBS. That translated into 74 million people, in a total of 23.24 million homes, a record for any TV show, according to Time magazine.

The Beatles' second album was called, The Beatles' Second Album, and went to number one on the album charts in the US, knocking off "Meet the Beatles!" It was the first time an artist replaced itself at number one on the US album charts.

The British invasion had begun to be followed by musical band after musical band. This time the British invasion was a peaceful one, filled with music and joy.





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