First performance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show

“Ladies and gentlemen… the Beatles!” The screaming and the applause from the audience drowned out Ed Sullivan’s words. In the studio there were 728 people; at home, there were 73 million, a record audience. On the 9th of February, 1964, America was glued to the small screen to watch the premiere of The Beatles on national television.

Their arrival to the land of Uncle Sam was anticipated for weeks. Two days before their television performance, news reports from CBS and ABC broadcasted the arrival of the Liverpool quartet to the airport, illustrating the power of Beatlemania that, in those days, contaminated America.

The first chords of “All My Loving” got the audience in hysterics. They followed up with “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You.” The cameras zoomed in on each member of the band, with their name appearing on the screen. When it was John Lennon’s turn, an additional information for the less knowledgeable fans: “Sorry Girls, He’s Married!”

The band finished their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show with “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Although The Beatles have appeared in three more programmes of the popular variety show, their first performance was immortalised as a landmark of the American popular culture, which continues to impress spectators, over fifty years later.