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Oh Look Out! Part 19, The Beatles and Ed Sullivan
by John T. Marck

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Ever wonder what things were like when The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show? Do you know how many times they appeared, and the songs they sang? Find all the answer here! The photo at right is from The Baltimore Sun Paper, (AP Photo), announcing their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. In the photo The Beatles are pictured, left to right; Lennon, Starr, McCartney and Harrison. However, in the photo caption, they are listed as Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr!


                      Oh Look Out!

The Beatles and The Ed Sullivan Show

Part 19

Oh, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

When The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that February 1964, it was and remains the most important event in the history of rock music.

Those of us in our forties today remember with fondness and excitement the atmosphere created by four young guys from Liverpool, England. As all of us remember where we were during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, we likewise remember being mesmerized in front of our small black & white television sets on Sunday February 9, 1964, at 8 p.m., when the Beatles made their first American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

In preparation for their appearance, the CBS Television office on West-Fifty-Third Street in New York was overwhelmed by more than 50,000 requests for tickets to a studio that held 703. During their appearance, the Beatles sang five songs in the following order: All My Loving, Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, and I Want To Hold Your Hand. On this night, 73 million people watched The Beatles. Their appearance had such an impact that most normal activities in America came to a standstill watching their performance. Criminal activity in most of the major cities and towns in America was put on hold, and getting a taxi or bus in New York was almost impossible, until their performance was over. Mass hysteria resulted wherever the Beatles appeared, and Beatlemania was created. Can you imagine 73 million people watched? That's a lot of people. But, I must say that when I see the films of that amazing performance today, it is just as exciting. Oh, and for the girls who watched - do you remember when the camera was focused on John Lennon when The Beatles sang Till There Was You? The television stations superimposed the words, "Sorry Girls, He's Married," over Lennon. Oh well...

The Beatles went on to appear, either in person or on video tape, eight more times on the Sullivan Show. For their first historical visit, and the next two, The Beatles received $10,000.00 plus pay for their expenses.

The next time The Beatles appeared on the show was on February 16, 1964. This would be a live performance from their hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. In preparation for this appearance, The Beatles played to a live audience during the afternoon at the hotel, then at 8 p.m., played the Sullivan Show live performance via satellite. The Beatles sang six songs; She Loves You, This Boy, All My Loving, I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You,and I Want To Hold Your Hand.

The next Sullivan performance came on February 23, 1964. Technically, this was their first performance, because The Beatles recorded this performance on February 9, 1964, before their historical "first" appearance. This program was taped that afternoon for airing three Sundays later. The Beatles played three songs, Twist and Shout, Please Please Me, and I Want To Hold Your Hand. This was the performance, if you remember that Ed Sullivan thanked The Beatles for "being four of the nicest youngsters."

On Sunday, May 24, 1964, The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast an interview that Ed had with The Beatles, where they talked about their new movie, "A Hard Day's Night." Combined with this interview was a tape of The Beatles singing, You Can't Do That, from the movie. Although seen this night, this video section did not make it into the final movie cut.

When The Beatles came back to America in 1965, and while preparing for their famous concert at Shea Stadium in New York, they taped six songs on August 14, to be aired on the Sullivan Show on September 12, 1965. The Beatles played six songs; I Feel Fine, I'm Down, Act Naturally, Ticket To Ride, Yesterday and Help! Although taped, this would be the last "live" performance The Beatles did for The Ed Sullivan Show.

But, The Beatles still appeared a few more times, via tape. The next time was on June 5, 1966 when the show aired two music "videos." They were for Rain and Paperback Writer.

More than a year later, The Beatles appeared again via a music video. On November 26, 1967, The Beatles sent Ed, through their road manager Neil Aspinall a video of The Beatles performing Hello Goodbye.

The Beatles had two more appearances on the Sullivan Show via music "videos." The next came on February 12, 1967 with Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever, and the final performance was on February 15, 1970. In this they played Two Of Us, and Let It Be.

Although The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show nine times, they actually only set foot on his stage at the Ed Sullivan Theatre that one time on February 9, 1964. Each time after, it was either telecast live from another location or on video tape.

The only Beatles' to return to the Ed Sullivan Theatre were Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Ringo appeared in 2000 with his All Star Band, and Paul appeared in December 1992, to tape his "Up Close" MTV Music Special. Today the Ed Sullivan Theater is the home of David Letterman and his "The Late Show with David Letterman."

The photograph of The Beatles seen at the beginning of this article was one that I had saved all these years, from the Baltimore Sun Newspaper, February 9, 1964. It is interesting for several reasons. First, to me, it is a nice memento of The Beatles historic US visit and their first appearance of The Ed Sullivan Show. Next, if you noticed, whoever wrote the photo caption got the names that coincide with the picture quite wrong. In the photo, the Beatles are from left to right: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The caption reads: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

Copyright John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author, or the registered copyright holders. Except as otherwise stated above, all information contained in this article, EXCEPT song titles, and photographs, John T. Marck.

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