February 7, 2015

February 7, 1964: The Beatles Arrive in U.S.

If you're old enough to remember the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, you probably also remember the day the Beatles came to America.

In fact, it was just 77 days after the tragic event, and country needed a change of mood. The Beatles provided it. They were already a phenomenon in Europe, of course, and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" had already become a #1 hit in the U.S. But even the Beatles were amazed at the reception they got.

"We got off the plane, and we were used to ten, twelve thousand people, you know," Ringo later said in an interview. "It must have been four billion people out there. I mean, it was just crazy!"

In truth, there were nowhere near 4 billion in the crowd. But even 3,000 fans can make quite a ruckus, especially when they're teenagers who are simply mad for the Fab Four.

Two days later, the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed to an estimated TV audience of 73 million -- a full 34% of the American population. The Nielson people said it was the largest television audience ever recorded. A week later they appeared on Sullivan again, and again garnered an impressive audience.

It was the beginning of The British Invasion.

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