A Brief History
On February 9, 1964, Beatlemania hit the US when the Fab Four made their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, snagging 73 million American viewers. The Ed Sullivan Show, at a time when most Americans had a choice of only three channels, was the big time for performers, a rite of passage.
The Ed Sullivan Show ran from 1948 to 1971 for over 1,000 episodes, making it one of the building blocks of TV history. Some of the other iconic appearances on the “shew…” included:
Elvis Presley in 1956, although Ed had vowed to never feature Elvis on his show. After Elvis appeared on other shows, Sullivan gave in and the event was epic, viewed by a then record 60 million viewers.
The Rolling Stones in 1964, only after agreeing to change the lyrics of a song.
And The Doors in 1967, who were also required to change lyrics, but did not!
Question for students (and subscribers): What other epic appearance would you add to this list? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Hunt, Andrew. Beatlemania in America: Fan Culture from Below. Bloomsbury Academic, 2028.
Ilson, Bernie. Sundays with Sullivan: How the Ed Sullivan Show Brought Elvis, the Beatles, and Culture to America. Taylor Trade Publishing, 2008.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Bernard Gotfryd of The Beatles in February 1964, is from the Bernard Gotfryd collection at the Library of Congress. According to the library, there are no known copyright restrictions on the use of this work. Mr. Gotfryd’s photographs were restricted during his lifetime. Mr. Gotfryd died in 2016.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.