Friday, February 9th, 2024

Looking Back on the Beatles’ Star-Making Ed Sullivan Performance on the 60th Anniversary

Beatlemania hit the U.S.A. in full force after John, Paul, George and Ringo played ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ on Feb. 9, 1964

It was 60 years ago today… that Ed Sullivan helped the band to play! The Beatles touched down in New York City for the first time in February 1964, and Friday marks the 60th anniversary of the group’s legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Paul McCartneyJohn LennonGeorge Harrison and Ringo Starr had achieved success in their native England — but after 73 million viewers tuned in to catch their Sullivan set, Beatlemania was in full swing in the States, too. Two days after they arrived in New York, the Beatles played five songs on Sullivan’s CBS Sunday night variety show, which at the time was one of the most-watched shows in the country.

“Just received a wire, they did, from Elvis Presley and Col. Tom Parker wishing them a tremendous success in our country,” Sullivan told the audience. “Now tonight the whole country is waiting to hear England’s Beatles.”

All eyes were on the four lads from Liverpool as they sang “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to rapturous applause. Though music legends now, their faces were new to the millions watching at home, and each Beatle’s first name flashed below his face onscreen, with Lennon’s cheekily declaring, “Sorry girls, he’s married.”