Episode 49 (Bonus): The Beatles' first Ed Sullivan performance, 60 years later

To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, our guests revisit the evening that the Beatles graced their living rooms for the first time, on this special episode of Everything Fab Four. These Beatles lovers include Steven van Zandt from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, R&B singer Darlene Love, actor Billy Bob Thornton, and even one lucky audience member from that first Ed Sullivan performance. It's almost impossible to imagine what it was like to be at ground zero of American Beatlemania on February 7, 1964, when the group landed at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, which had been renamed some fifty days earlier in honor of the fallen leader. The band’s Pan Am flight was met with the screams and fanfare of some 5,000 people, whom the Beatles claimed to have heard—incredible as it may seem—even as the plane was taxiing along the runway.  As writer Stephen Glynn presciently remarked, “The spirit of Camelot, shot down in Dallas, Texas, had flown over from Liverpool, England, and the unprecedented euphoria that greeted the group seemed part of an expiation, a nation shaking itself out of its grief and mourning.” There is little question that the Beatles’ timing in the history of the United States was uncanny, as well as a welcome respite from the national malaise, but one cannot overlook the power of marketing in a new media era unlike any that the postwar world had ever seen.  Capitol Records had saturated the city with posters announcing, “The Beatles Are Coming,” while New York’s WMCA and WINS radio stations had given away T-shirts—and, rumor has it, $1 each—to thousands of teenagers who greeted the Beatles that Friday afternoon on the JFK tarmac. Released in December 1963 by Capitol, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” had sold more than one million copies by mid-January, an astounding feat for a group that had been largely unheard of on American shores scarcely a month before.  On Sunday, February 9, the Beatles launched into a spirited rendition of “All My Loving” to begin their set on the Ed Sullivan Show before some 73 million television viewers, a figure that accounted for nearly 40 percent of the population of the United States at that time. It was popular music’s big bang, and like that incredible instance in the birth of the universe some 13 billion years ago, it is still resonating. --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/everythingfabfour/support

Om Podcasten

Everything Fab Four is a podcast from Wonderwall Communications and Salon focused on fun and intelligent stories about the enduring cultural influence of the Beatles. No other band, or popular entity for that matter, has had the world-wide impact the Beatles have. They are part of our human fabric, they created music that still brings people together, and across continents and generations there are individual Beatles stories to tell. In each episode, renowned music historian, author, and Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack hosts a special guest to share theirs. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/everythingfabfour/support