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Fans remember watching the Beatles on TV on Feb. 9, 1964

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Here are some stories we gathered from a request on Facebook asking about the Beatles 50th annivesary.

We'll start with our own. Our family, like many, were all in front of the TV watching "The Ed Sullivan Show" to see, among other things, the Beatles. We'd recently purchased the mono “Meet the Beatles!” album for my sister and the 45 RPM singles for me.

As we sat to watch, my father remarked about their hair and how it was too long. But I ignored that and watched the show. Funny thing was when the Rolling Stones came on the Sullivan show a few months later, he realized the Beatles were “four fine youngsters,” as Ed said.

There's another reason Feb. 9 is a special day for us. Our only son, Phil, was born on Feb. 9. So happy birthday, son.

There are some great stories in here. A couple have some Beatles connections to them. Our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed. You can read the stories by clicking on View the Photos above.

Bill York
Bill York Wikimedia Commons

Bill York

“I was one month shy of my third birthday. The youngest of four, I was exposed to music at a very young age. That night I was on my dad's lap watching the show with him and my sisters. When the Beatles came on, I started bouncing on my dad's lap and kicking my feet in time. I remember this as well as being told later that I did it.

"My mom was in the dining room doing some ironing. When she came into the living room to see what the fuss was all about, all she could do was laugh at their "long" hair. As for me, that appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' sealed the deal. I've been a Beatlemaniac ever since.”

Rachel Case
Rachel Case Courtesy Rachel Case

Rachel Case

“I had four older sisters and one younger brother but there was such a gap between my brother and me and between my youngest older sister and me that I felt all alone.  My sisters had their music and interests and my little brother had his thing but I was adrift until one day when I heard The Beatles were coming.  I had heard 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' but didn’t really understand what was afoot. 

"When I saw them on the news and heard they were going to be on 'The Ed Sullivan Show,' something clicked for me.  I knew that, at last, I had something of my very own, something that I didn’t have to share with my little brother or my older sisters.  I can’t describe how I felt watching them on the Sullivan show, but I knew my life was changed forever.  I felt that my world had turned from black and white to color and there was no going back. 

"I immediately started exploring radio stations and found a few that I could pick up at night on my little a.m. radio.  There was Cousin Brucie in New York, Jerry G in Cleveland and Bruce Bradley in Boston.  I would go back and forth between them all every night to catch every Beatle song that I could.  I would actually go to sleep with my ear resting on my radio and wake up with the pattern of the case on my face.

"I was obsessed and I lived and breathed the Beatles from that moment on.  I found a friend who was equally obsessed and we started hanging out all the time and sharing new records, magazines, bubble gum cards, books, whatever we could get our hands on with our beloved Beatles on them.

"My mother thought I was crazy, I think. Actually, I think a lot of people thought I was crazy and have continued to think that for the rest of my life to this point but I have found that there are many other 'crazy' people out there who share my obsession and who know that we are the lucky ones, the ones who were there at the birth of Beatlemania and lived through those beautiful years and whose lives were affected and will always be affected by their music, their style, their outlook on life and the fact that they sang about love and showed us the way.

"I can’t imagine my life without them.  My children often thank me for raising them with Beatles music and with their philosophy of life.  My oldest daughter once told a friend when asked what religion she was raised in, 'I was raised in the religion of The Beatles.'  I have never been so proud."

(The picture is a page from Rachel's school notebook.) 

Barbara Vaughan
Barbara Vaughan Wikimedia Commons

Barbara Vaughan

“I could ramble on forever about The Beatles. I will be brief. At the tender age of 11, I knew that these four young men were and would continue to change music and our culture in a very lasting and fun, positive way. They had a tremendous effect on me from a music standpoint and I never looked back. It is something that only the generation that experienced those three appearances will ever be able to wrap their heads around.

"Their initial impact and continued ability to re-invent themselves and everyone else through their music is something that only happens once, period. I was lucky enough to witness the magic when I did, and that magic continues to this very day.

"One postscript: I saw Paul McCartney in 2002, third row, center stage. He winked at me. I will treasure that moment, the experience, and The Beatles' music till the end of my days and consider myself lucky to have been there from the beginning.”

Rockwell Sheraton
Rockwell Sheraton Wikimedia Commons

Rockwell Sheraton

“This was the most defining night of my life, I knew at that point what I wanted to do and man did I do it. My father who was British bought us a house right down the street from the famous Abbey Road Studio. The famous picture of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road was on the corner from my house. I went to England met the group and we are friends until this very day.

"I ended up playing with many bands including Harry Nilsson and each of the Beatles. It was an honor to be at this amazing event backstage with my old friends. George Harrison was the nicest man I ever knew.”

Tari Walsh-Kelley
Tari Walsh-Kelley Wikimedia Commons

Tari Walsh-Kelley

"Like so many die hard Beatles fans of 50 years, I am one. My heart fell hard on the night of 'The Ed Sullivan Show' back on Feb 9!! Glued to that black & white telly as we all were, my heart became fixed and life has never been the same!! I am known about town/work, and family as 'Beatle Tari.'

"It means the most to those of us who have them in our souls and go to all lengths to keep buying their music, even though we still own it all, smile...attend the shows, both theirs and tribute shows, Mark and Carol's 'Fest for Beatles Fans', etc etc etc..”

Shelley Lazar, VIP Director for Paul McCartney
Shelley Lazar, VIP Director for Paul McCartney Wikimedia Commons

Shelley Lazar, VIP Director for Paul McCartney

“Feb. 9, 1964...the Lazar kids all piled on to their parents' bed to watch the Ed Sullivan show.  Right before the show began, my father came to the doorway of the bedroom...wearing a mop on his head and carrying the wooden mop handle as if it was a guitar...and he started singing 'I Want to Hold Your Hand.' 

"I told this story to Paul and we both laughed and laughed...”

Debbie Martin
Debbie Martin Wikimedia Commons

Debbie Martin

“I wanted to share my little story. It was my birthday on Feb. 9, 1964. My mom let me watch 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' I was young but I liked that cute drummer shaking his head around. I was hooked. I had to get a tiny transister radio and listened as much as I could. My mom laughed at me and said they were singing 'P.S., I Love You' to their girlfriends back in England. I would cry.

"Yes, I was one of those girls. I was too young to see them but they got me through many hard times. My mom died when I was 14. The music and Ringo helped me so much. I have loved him for 50 yrs and I hope to tell him one day and just get a hug.

"I have seen Paul and Ringo a few times, but wish I could have seen all four lads back then. I still cry when I see Ringo ...it's a girl thing !

Diane Carroll
Diane Carroll Wikimedia Commons

Diane Carroll

“On Feb. 9, 1964, I was 11 years. and with my parents at my cousin's house in the Bronx.  My parents wanted to leave, but I begged them to wait so we could watch 'The Ed Sullivan Show.'  They said 'ok' and me, my cousin, Margaret Rose (one year younger than me) and our parents watched the show. My cousin and I were giggly and ecstatic. The parents, not so much.  I'll never forget it. 

"I bought their albums the second they came out. I had their pictures from magazines on my bedroom wall and kissed them each night. I bought the bubblegum cards and we all would talk about the Beatles at school.  It was a joyous time I'm proud to have been part of.

“I wanted to see them in Forest Hills, but my parents didn't get me tickets. Same for their first show at Shea in 1965.  Finally, I got to see them at Shea in 1966 (Aug. 23) with some of my cousins.  Oh, what a night!!”

Edd Raineri, host of the weekly “The Beatledd Fab Four Hour” on WRKC-FM in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Edd Raineri, host of the weekly “The Beatledd Fab Four Hour” on WRKC-FM in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Wikimedia Commons

Edd Raineri, host of the weekly “The Beatledd Fab Four Hour” on WRKC-FM in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

“I was just a kid in 1964. I did NOT want to watch The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th. I remember arguing with my father about what program we should watch that night. He wanted to watch Sullivan. As he was the boss in our house, we watched Sullivan.

"Well...by the end of the night, I was in the bathroom mirror upstairs combing my hair down over my forehead! The Beatles had just plain floored me! My father? He’s 84 years old and STILL does not like The Beatles!"

Joey Self
Joey Self Wikimedia Commons

Joey Self

“I was 5, or as I would have said then, 5 1/2, when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.  I remember my dad and I had the TV on, I don't recall if my mom was in the room.  I am not positive it was the first appearance, but I think it was.  Anyway, I had never heard of the Beatles, but I think my dad (who would have been 37 at the time) had heard about them.  It wasn't unusual for us to watch Sullivan, so maybe he hadn't, but I seem to think he had it on specifically to see what the fuss was about.

“They came on, and Dad started the catcalls at the screen.  Me, I didn't know how wrong he was about such things, so I adopted his opinion, and I hated them, too.  We made fun of their hair and the "Yeah Yeah Yeah" stuff.   Even though I was 5, I could read, and I do remember seeing the show that had the subtitles, including John's "Sorry girls, he's married." (Someone may have read it to me, but I do remember seeing that).

“When it was over, I decided I didn't like the Beatles, and that's how it remained for me until I heard "Hello Goodbye" in December of '67.  It was one injustice that my dad did to me that I can't quite forgive! :) (Yeah, not really, all was forgiven before he died 10 years ago next month)"

Pat Matthews, Owner/Programmer Beatles-A-Rama!!!
Pat Matthews, Owner/Programmer Beatles-A-Rama!!! Wikimedia Commons

Pat Matthews, Owner/Programmer Beatles-A-Rama!!!

“In January, I attended a birthday party and someone had the 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' single and they played it over and over for like two hours. So, I was hooked and PRIMED for the appearance on the Sullivan Show a couple of weeks later. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the old Zenith black and white and being completely knocked out! Needless to say, my mother and father were not impressed. The next week when they were on Ed’s show again, we were at my grandmother’s house, so the age of the audience shot up considerably. I was mesmerized by every note and the surprise (at least to me) was that my grandmother, 73 years young actually like them!

"Those are fond memories that will always be with me. It was a great time. A time that fueled my interest in music, radio and of course, The Beatles! I became a collector of their records immediately and have used them and more to program Beatles-A-Rama!!!"

Dorrit Takach
Dorrit Takach Wikimedia Commons

Dorrit Takach

"My father was extremely concerned when my older sister and I told him we HAD to see the Beatles. He was worried, because Baltimore was a not so safe area, and my sister and I had to take a bus from Glen Burnie to get there. Finally though, my dad understood how important this was, so he let us go. The magic day was Sept. 13, 1964. It was pouring down rain, but who cares? Jackie DeShannon was on first. 'What The World Needs Now.' That poor woman, she had to come on before the Beatles. Most people drowned her out, wanting to see the you-know-whos.

"The Beatles then came on, and I couldn't believe the excitement! Two things stand out in my mind: my sister telling me, 'Do NOT embarrass me by screaming..', which was hilarious, since she screamed more than me! The second thing was John introducing a song saying, 'Okay everybody, clap your hands." Everyone is screaming. 'Okay then,' John continues, 'Everyone stomp your feet..' Everyone is screaming more. 'OKAY THEN,' John shouts, 'Just SCREAM!!' The place went crazy.

"My sister and I also saw 'A Hard Day's Night,' earlier in the day, just around the corner. After the concert, we noticed a big crowd across the street at the Holiday Inn. That was the only decent hotel then.(my, how times have changed..) We planted ourselves with the other fans. Someone shook the curtains toward the balcony, and we all thought it was John.

"Then, we couldn't believe our eyes. Ringo came out on the balcony, waving to all of us! My sister and I then realized we needed to catch the bus home. One of the most exciting days of my life..”

Marty Rudnick
Marty Rudnick Wikimedia Commons

Marty Rudnick

“I grew up in San Jose, CA. I was 9 years old, but there were already a few songs that I had connected with: 'Stranger on the Shore' by Mr. Acker Bilk, 'Java' by Al Hirt, and of course 'Be My Baby' by the Ronettes.  My older brother was obsessed with the drums, so he constantly listened to Sandy Nelson LPs like "Let There Be Drums." Folk music and hootenannies were big. On Sunday night, Feb. 9, 1964, it was apparent that we were going to watch The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. 

"I don't remember any discussion other than it was going to be a big deal. I'm sure my pupils must have instantly dilated. It was a huge hit with my sister and myself; while my brother mentioned that Ringo wasn't holding the sticks correctly, and my parents were seemingly tolerant but privately horrified by the noise, the screaming and the haircuts.

"I remember that certain things changed overnight: You had to choose your favorite Beatle. You had to choose between the Beach Boys and the Beatles. The mood had lifted following the JFK assassination. Children my age were borrowing their mother's broomsticks as proto-air guitars to put on mock-Beatle concerts in the vacant lot down the street.

"For the rest of the decade, the most amazing songs came out of the radio. It was like 'The Wizard of Oz,' when the movie suddenly went from black-and-white to color.

Karla Gleske
Karla Gleske Wikimedia Commons

Karla Gleske

"I saw the Beatles Aug. 27 1964, a Thursday night at Cincinnati Gardens. i was 14! It was over 100 degrees inside. Girls were fainting even before the show started! We didn't have close seats but it was enough we were in the same room as the Beatles.

"I will never forget the sound of the "screaming" that went on constantly! My friend lost her voice that night. I wasn't a screamer...I just couldn't believe I was there. They played 27 minutes....that was all but we weren't disappointed.

"After the concert we sat outside waiting for 'mom' to pick us all up. We were drenched in sweat let me tell you, but so happy! Also saw them at the ballpark in 1966' October I think. Wasn't a sell out as the night before they were rained out so we had to go back the next day.

"It was great as well but will never forget that first time! Just saw Paul in Indy this past July,,,,with that same screaming friend from 1964.”

Michael Whittington
Michael Whittington Wikimedia Commons

Michael Whittington

“In February of 1964, I was 7 years old.  We (family) lived in Atlanta Georgia.  Our next door neighbor had a son who was 16.  He was a nice kid who didn't mind me hanging around with him and his friends while they played basketball in the driveway.   They had a record player that was in the garage and would play 45 records while playing basketball.  

"I'll never forget the first time I heard 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' and 'I Saw Her Standing There'.  What I still remember to this day was how different it sounded compared to anything I had heard before.  

"They (neighbor kids) put me in charge of selecting the records to play and i kept playing The Beatles over and over again.  I remember this like it was yesterday. All this was happening about three weeks before The Ed Sullivan Show performance.  I wasn't usually allowed to watch TV on a school night, but Mom persuaded Dad to let me watch The Beatles on Sunday night Feb. 9.  Thank God for Moms, right?  

"All in all, it is a great memory that i will always have."

Sean Anglum
Sean Anglum Wikimedia Commons

Sean Anglum

 “On Friday afternoon, Feb. 14, 1964, Mr. Daniel Jeran’s sixth grade class from Longfellow Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colo. was preparing for their end of day Valentine’s party. With the classroom decorated and the sugar highs kickin’ in, the class sat in excited anticipation for their glimpse at America’s, no, the world’s hottest new sensation, The Beatles. They would be appearing live in this very classroom in mere moments. As the classroom door opened, a few girls started to scream…it was them! At lunchtime recess, I was approached by a fellow classmate (probably Craig Warner or Bruce Baan, but my memory is a little foggy on that detail) to join him and two others to do a skit at this afternoon’s party. The plan was to lip-synch; just like we saw our favorite singers and groups do all the time on American Bandstand, to a song by The Beatles. With less than a week under our belts from seeing these four Englishmen on Sunday’s Ed Sullivan Show, they were ripe for parody and adulation from our other classmates. I quickly agreed to be one of the mop tops! An older sister of one of our group owned the “Introducing the Beatles” album and had allowed their sixth grade sibling to bring it to school for our party. Under threat of death if anything happened to it, I might add.

"Little did anyone in our class know that the Fab Four themselves would be making a Valentine’s appearance at Longfellow Elementary! Mr. Jeran was in on the plan and let the four of us leave the party and go across the hall to the school’s music room, where we could get a good ten minutes of lip-synch rehearsal in, and don our four Beatle wigs, also generously supplied by our classmate’s older sister. Upon reflection, I wonder what she was doing with FOUR wigs ?!

"But I digress. I don’t actually remember which song we were rehearsing, but I knew that I wanted this album immediately! It sounded great. Or FAB! I had my mom already take me to Altone’s Record Round-up on Monday after school to buy the 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' 45, and I had plans to save allowance money for the “Meet the Beatles!” album.

"Now, after hearing these new songs, I had another album’s worth of songs to save up for. A financial dilemma, “Beatle Savings,” that I deal with to this very day!

"Mr. Jeran walked into the music room and collected the album, while telling us to get ready. He headed back to our classroom to put it on our record player, ready for our debut. It was now SHOWTIME and we scurried back across the hall and gathered outside our classroom door, waiting for our big introductions. Oh, the small item of having guitars and drums was taken care of with three brooms and a stack of cardboard boxes from our janitor’s closet, waiting at the front of our classroom. Our stage manager teacher had thought of everything.

"We could hear Mr. Jeran ask everyone to take a break from their partying and return to their seats. He announced that he had received a phone call earlier in the day and had been asked to invite four special guests to our party. He went on, schmoozing the fidgety crowd, the audience’s sugar high building. Then, in his best Ed Sullivan impression (it was bad) he said loudly, “Here are The Beatles!”

"Playing along, our class erupted in delighted cheers and screams as we came running into the room. We hurriedly grabbed our broom stick guitars as Bruce Bann bravely sat on a stool behind the cardboard Ludwigs, two wooden rulers in hand, ready to channel Ringo Starr. I really don’t remember, nor care, who the other two guys portrayed, I just knew that I was JOHN!

"It was obvious to me from the first moment I saw the real group on Sullivan, I wanted to BE John Lennon. Mr. Jeran dropped the needle and we did our thing. We jumped around a helluva lot more than the real Beatles did, but we were just releasing a joy that, for a brief few minutes, we could BE the Beatles! We shook our long hair, and the class went wild. There was as much laughing at us as there was clapping and screaming, but we were having the time of our lives.

"All too quickly the song ended, we four quickly looked at each other and made a mad dash for the door. Mr. Jeran yelled to the class that we had to get back to England right away and to give our special guests a big round of applause.

"A few minutes later we slowly wandered back into the classroom, sans our wigs and instruments, and blended into the sea of sixth graders dancing their heads off to the rest of the “Introducing the Beatles” album. But, I was hooked….on The Beatles, on performing and on the buzz of that crowd. It was the start of a wonderful life."


 

John Gore
John Gore Wikimedia Commons

John Gore

“Growing up for the most part as an only child from a broken marriage, I found my friends and idols in unusual places when I was a little guy. My best friends were (and to a great extent still are) my cousins.

"I recall a time right after the JFK assassination where I was a generally lonely 7 year old boy who looked forward to Dad's Sunday excursions every week. One particular Sunday, we went to the Nagle's suburban Chicago home for a family thing... that was one good thing about the Gores, back in the 60's we were often together on Sundays.

"Although cousin Art and Marilyn have different memories, I recall after dinner (though I don't recall dinner) laying on the floor with my cousins all excited because my cousins were all excited about something I knew absolutely nothing about.

“Then it happened, and the rest is history. This Sunday represents the 50th anniversary of the event that has truly shaped my life. After that night, companions for the lonely boy were always there to hear, occasionally to see on television, to read about in 16 Magazine, then later in Rolling Stone, then later in Billboard, then later in every freaking context you can imagine.

"I'm not sure I ever did a DJ show without some contribution from them. I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Marty Babicz
Marty Babicz Wikimedia Commons

Marty Babicz

"Exactly fifty years ago tonight, on the evening of February 9, 1964, my family and I were huddled up in front of the television, like millions of other people, watching a special event on a popular Sunday night television series. That’s right; we were watching 'The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' starring Patrick McGoohan on Walt Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color” on NBC. In my family it was always "Lassie" then "Disney" then it was off to bed for my sister and I, while our parents stayed up to watch 'Bonanza.'  

Once, in early 1964, there was an exception to that routine.  That was the time we watched 'The Ed Sullivan Show' to see the foreign artist who had the No. 1 hit that was sweeping the country.   That's right; on Jan. 5, 1964 we watched Ed Sullivan to see the Singing Nun sing her big hit, 'Dominique.'

 

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