46 years ago today, the Beatles took the stage on the Ed Sullivan Show here in NY for a 5-song set that changed the world of music forever:

It’s tempting to chalk up this performance to a more innocent age in rock, and it was, but if you’re familiar with the Beatles’ live performances before February 1964, you know it’s more a reflection of a more innocent age in television; they were usually not this tame.
Three things stuck out at me watching this. One is how young George Harrison was. A second is how heavily they leaned on songs featuring Paul McCartney; you’d almost not know John Lennon was a major figure in the band. And the third was the graphic reminding the ladies that, sorry, John was already married.

8 thoughts on “Beatlemania!”

  1. Kind of amazing that the packagers thought the Beatles had to be Paul’s band in their introduction to the US audience. Obviously they chose to go Non-Threatening for the girls in the audience choosing cute Paul over grownup John; but in doing so they passed a great deal of the Beatles’ appeal. Oh, I suppose it worked out all right!
    Somehow this reminds me of the time when Mickey Mantle first came up. The Yankees briefly considered converting him into a full time lefthanded hitter.

  2. Paul was featured even more than was planned — during the second appearance of the night, John’s microphone was out. Too bad, because John’s voice adds an edge to almost everything.

  3. Sorry girls, he’s married. Little did everyone know that John was getting it on with any woman he could get his hands on. True about George, he was only 20 at the time of the Ed Sullivan Show. (He would turn 21 in a few weeks).

  4. I had just turned 8. Ed sullivan was “must see TV” in my house and I’ll never forget the screeching, fainting reactions of teen girls.
    My older brother idolized elvis Presley and, at last, I had something from “my generation.”

  5. When we are dismissive of “boy bands” (and not wrongly, given how they are packaged) it’s worth noting that the Beatles were one, as were the Jackson Five. Sometimes, real talents do come out of those kinds of groups, though they don’t have to.

  6. jack, did not know that about John’s mike, you can see he looks pretty disinterested by the end of the set.
    Jerry, one band I often cite is Hanson. Those guys made bubblegum crap, but you could tell they had real talent. I actually have two of their songs from about the last album they did before dropping off the grid, they were just starting to grow up and get good. Too bad they disappeared, they might have matured into a real band.

  7. I had just turned 8. Ed sullivan was “must see TV” in my house and I’ll never forget the screeching, fainting reactions of teen girls.
    That’s rather sad…
    I always thought you were a dum bass 23 yr old with a degree in “___ studies” odr “journalism.
    How did someone as dumb as you make age 50?

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