Monday, February 3, 2014

Beatlemania 50 Years Later

It was 50 years ago this week that our lives were changed. The Beatles came to America! Already a mania in their home country (Great Britain), the Four Lads from Liverpool (John, Paul, George & Ringo) were also headed up the charts in this country with a number of major rock & roll hits.

When they arrived in New York City (February 7, 1964) over 4,0000 teenagers (mostly young girls) showed up to overwhelm the police and some 200 journalists who were on hand. Here's what it looked and sounded like in the newsreels at the movies. As you can hear, the narrator was not exactly all that impressed.......

The highlight of the Beatles' first three week U.S. tour came on Sunday night, February 9, 1964. That's when 73 million people (about 40% of the U.S. population at the time) tuned in to watch the group perform on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW on the CBS Television Network.

It's an event I am pretty sure almost everyone of us in our generation watched that night and remember to this day. Here it is to enjoy again (both performances during that hour-long show) plus some bonus footage of the Boys out on the town in NYC at what appears to be the Peppermint Lounge. Just click below and scroll down......,the-ed-sullivan-show-first-appearance,qp8rul.html

What happened that night was repeated the next two Sunday nights (February 16 & 23, 1964)with Beatles performances on The Sullivan show. The second appearance (on remote from Miami) pulled in another 70 million viewers all by itself. While we in the VU Centennial Class (1973) were only 12 or 13 years old at the time, being a part of Beatlemania and the resulting British Invasion of rock groups to the American pop charts likely became a part of our everyday lives in what we bought (Beatle records), what we listened to (on the radio and on our high-fi set) as well as how we dressed and wore our hair. Indeed, it continued to shape our culture in some ways even while we were all together on campus (1969-1973) and in the years since.

At the time in early 1964 the long hair and clothes (Nehru jackets) were considered pretty out there, especially by adults. Now looking back, the hair seems rather short and the clothes somewhat dressed up (at least by later fashions of the groups we liked in the late '60s and early '70s and beyond).

It all began 50 years ago this week. Who can believe it's been half a century. 

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