This month represents the 48th anniversary of the arrival of The Beatles on American soil.
On February 7, 1964, at 1:20pm, four British musicians from Liverpool, England arrived in New York City at the newly-named Kennedy International Airport. Originally known as the Quarrymen, the group had already been performing since the late 1950’s and were charting songs in the UK, but Beatlemania had not yet taken America by storm.
Their first hit in the States, “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” recorded on the Capitol Records label and written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was released on December 26, 1963. Within weeks, the song soared to #1 and every single Top 40 radio station in the U.S. caught the fever. Locally, radio stations KLIF, KBOX, KFJZ, and KXOL was rocking to this extraordinary group from England. And the listeners went wild!
On the TV side, Ed Sullivan, known as one of the savviest people to spot new talent and showcase them on his CBS TV show, invited the group to appear on February 9, 1964. This prime time appearance solidified Beatlemania all over the country. A record 73 million people tuned into CBS to see them. One interesting item was that this appearance was the last time The Ed Sullivan Show would be televised in black and white. The next week, the show started broadcasting in color. The Beatles missed a color TV appearance by one week!
By April 1964, the Beatles had the top five best selling singles in the U.S. And many more of their songs hit #1 up until their breakup in 1970.
Today, the Beatles music is enjoyed by millions around the world and by new generations. While we no longer have John Lennon and George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr continue to record and perform. If you watched the Grammy Awards this past weekend on KTVT CBS 11, Paul was there singing a new song, “My Valentine.”
See you next time!