Top image: AP Photo / Associated Press
It’s a wonder the microphones did not malfunction. The teenage shrieks were piercing as the Beatles kicked into “All My Loving.” It was not just the opening to that evening’s Ed Sullivan Show, it was the start of the British Invasion, precisely seven years and five months to the day after Elvis made his debut in that New York theater. The Mop Tops wrapped up their opening set with “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You.” Later in the program, the quartet returned to rock “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
The world was not the same after that broadcast on February 9, 1964, broadcast. Certainly not the music world, at least.
Let’s take a peek behind the scenes at some fascinating numbers and photos from that historic Ed Sullivan Show.
It all began with a change encounter at a London airport.
Sullivan and his wife Sylvia were traveling in Heathrow Airport when they spotted a crowd of British youngsters standing in the rain to await a plane. They were hoping for a chance to spot the Beatles, who were returning from a jaunt in Sweden. Sullivan noted it was like Elvis all over again and looked to book the band for his own variety show.