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Old Feb 06, 2004, 04:03 PM   #1
SF4-EVER
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Default When the Beatles hit America

From CNN:

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There are also other links, pictures, and Beatle facts on the site.

When the Beatles hit America

U.S. arrival 40 years ago changed pop music, culture

By Todd Leopold

CNN

Friday, February 6, 2004 Posted: 12:20 PM EST (1720 GMT)



(CNN) -- It was all in the future then.

Turn left at Greenland. Carnegie Hall. He's very clean, isn't he? You've got to hide your love away. "Rubber Soul." Bigger than Jesus. LSD. Let me take you down. "Sgt. Pepper." All you need is love. The maharishi. Yoko and Linda. The rooftop concert. You never give me your money. Paul is dead. April 1970. "Let It Be."

It was all in the future then. At the time, on February 7, 1964, the Beatles were four young men heading across the Atlantic on Pan Am Flight 101. They were accompanied by their manager, Brian Epstein, and friends Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall; producer Phil Spector and his group the Ronettes; and a handful of journalists.

The Beatles were heading for New York for an appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," followed by a handful of concert dates. Then they'd go back home.

Photographer Robert Freeman, who took the cover photos for every Beatles album from "With the Beatles" to "Rubber Soul," was on the plane. He remembers them as cool, cracking jokes. "They weren't nervous. It was just another thing to deal with," he said.

But maybe they were a little concerned.

Yes, the group had the No. 1 U.S. single -- "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Yes, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were vaguely aware that Beatlemania -- which had overtaken Britain and much of Europe -- was showing signs of erupting in the United States.

But still: We were talking about America.

"The thing is, in America, it just seemed ridiculous -- I mean, the idea of having a hit record over there," Lennon later recalled. "It was just something you could never do."

"[Harrison] mentioned all the big American stars who'd come across to Britain," recalled a reporter for the Beatles' hometown paper, the Liverpool Echo, in Philip Norman's biography "Shout! The Beatles in Their Generation." "He'd been across [to the States], unlike the others; he knew what the place was like.

" 'They've got everything over there,' Harrison said. 'What do they want us for?' "

'We needed something'

Maybe it was just time. The country was in a funk. President Kennedy was dead, shot 77 days earlier.

"I remember the period well," recalled Billboard chart historian Fred Bronson, author of "The Billboard Book of No. 1 Hits." "Living through it, I didn't think we thought we needed something to lift the nation up. It's only looking back on it now, you realize the nation was depressed. I think now it's obvious -- we needed something."

Maybe it was just talent. Martin Goldsmith, author of the recent "The Beatles Come to America" (Wiley), said he believes the band would have swept the United States even if Kennedy hadn't been assassinated. "Lennon and McCartney were superb composers -- their songs were brilliant and remain brilliant," he observes.

He starts singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand," with its phrases dipping down the musical scale -- "Oh yeah I'll/Tell you something/I think you'll understand/When I'll/Say that something" -- and then jumping an octave -- "I want to hold your HAAAANDDD!"

"The structure underpins the message. It's very simple and very profound at the same time," Goldsmith said

Maybe it was just money and media. Capitol Records, which had rejected three Beatles singles in 1963 (the songs, released on other labels, bombed miserably), poured $50,000 into a promotional campaign. Celebrities wore Beatle wigs. An amused Jack Paar played a clip of the Beatles on his talk show. "The Beatles Are Coming" stickers were everywhere.

Betting on the future

Or maybe it was magic, the whole ball of wax, a phenomenon waiting to happen.

Consider this: In August 1963, a New York agent named Sid Bernstein reserved Carnegie Hall for a Beatles concert. He scheduled it for six months later -- February 12, 1964. He was going completely on gut instinct; at the time, the group couldn't have been arrested in America.

Or consider this: In October 1963, Ed Sullivan and his wife were in London, stuck at Heathrow Airport because of the tumult surrounding a Beatles arrival from Sweden. When he found out what was causing the delay, Sullivan, who had the highest-rated variety show in America -- a Sunday night ritual for millions -- filed the name of the group away.

Accounts diverge about what happened next. About two weeks later Epstein flew to New York, where he had arranged a meeting with Sullivan. According to "Shout!," the host planned to book them as a novelty act for one show. But a recent article in American History maintains Sullivan wanted them for three.

At any rate, the Beatles were booked as headliners for three consecutive shows. Again, before they'd had a hit in America.

Which is how, on February 9, 1964, Sullivan looked out at the 728-seat CBS auditorium jam-packed with a handful of adults, boys and apparently hundreds of screaming girls and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles!"

The invasion of youth culture

The Sullivan show remains one of the highest-rated nonsports programs of all time. Nielsen estimates 45 percent of the country watched the show -- more than 73 million people then. Apocryphal tales maintain that not a single crime was committed in New York during the Sullivan hour.

From there, it was a whole new world.

In his satiric, semifictional Beatles biography "Paperback Writer," author Mark Shipper -- playing fast and loose with the facts -- invented a debut album for the group. "We're Gonna Change the Face of Pop Music Forever," it was titled.

It's a joke.

But think: "Sullivan" cemented its stature as the place to see the latest rock 'n' roll acts. Bernstein went on to promote the Beatles' 1965 and 1966 landmark Shea Stadium concerts; he later offered $100 million for a 1976 reunion show.

The British Invasion came in a rush. The Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Kinks, the Dave Clark Five, on down to Herman's Hermits and Freddy and the Dreamers.

"I think [the Beatles] allowed the British Invasion to happen. I don't think any of those groups would have paved the way," Bronson said.

And then there was youth culture.

The Beatles had long hair; men grew their hair long. Youthful pop music wasn't taken seriously; the Beatles got people to take it seriously.

One generation "got" it all, another didn't. Into that generation gap fell Vietnam, women's liberation, ideas about civil rights, the sexual revolution, and on and on and on and on.

"In many ways, the Beatles' arrival set off a wave of changes," Goldsmith notes.

But at the time, they were four young men traveling to the United States.

And it was all in the future then.
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Old Feb 06, 2004, 06:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

Interesting article! I always like readin about what it was like cuz i was never there [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
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Old Feb 07, 2004, 01:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

TODAY IS BEATLES' DAY! [img]graemlins/rainbow1.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/rainbow2.gif[/img]

Thanks for this wonderful article.

Some 25 years after the Beatles' meteoric trip to America, Pan Am became history. After the fatal flight from Lockerbie (sp) in late 1988, Pan Am soon became a footnote in history.

The Beatles' voyage across the Big Pond is something that will always be celebrated, yeah, yeah, yeah!

It's 60 Beatle degrees in my neighborhood today (from the type of weather reports given in Beatle degrees on this day in 1964)!
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Old Feb 07, 2004, 01:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

Great article!!! I like how the writer reminded everyone that Sgt. Pepper and Let it Be were years later, because it puts things into perspective.

HAPPY BEATLE DAY EVERYONE! It's as if Christmas time is here again!

[size="1"][ Feb 07, 2004, 02:57 PM: Message Edited By: One_Sweet_Dream ][/size]
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Old Feb 07, 2004, 02:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

Happy Beatles Day to all, great to be here to celebrate the 40th anniversary with all of you. [img]graemlins/music1.gif[/img] * [img]graemlins/sgtpepper.gif[/img] * [img]graemlins/music1.gif[/img]
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Old Feb 07, 2004, 06:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

it doesnot seem like 40 years. i was 12 and a screaming beatle fan watching sullivan holding the tv touching them thinking maybesomehow i really was.it was special and magic and simply the best ever. no one can even come close to that. it was the best.
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Old Feb 07, 2004, 07:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

What a great day this is! I've had this sense of excitement concerning this day for a long time now. Celebrated by buying the latest Rolling Stone, which has the boys on the cover, and buying "The First U.S. Visit," which I watched for the first time today. That's the best I can do, as I wasn't here 40 years ago. But these are all reminders of just how great the Beatles were--and are. Who would have thought then that we'd be recalling this today, 40 years later?

Happy Beatle Day! Yeah, yeah, yeah!
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Old Feb 07, 2004, 07:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

A VERY SUPER HAPPY GROOVACIOUS BEATLE DAY ALL!!!!
Oh what a Happy Day for all of us!!! It is because of those guys that we (us Linkers) are "all together" here now! What would life have been like had they not come here??? Oh--I don't even want to imagine!!! I'd like to believe that I was there (JFK Feb 7, 1964/Ed Sullivan Feb 9) in my previous life (I'm 22--23 in March, right now)! Yea, I must have been!!! Anyway...this is such a great day for us all!!! Have a happy one everyone!!! And be sure to listen to your Beatle cds, and watch your dvds!!! Peace love and BEATLES!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old Feb 07, 2004, 08:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

Quote:
Originally Posted By kc:
What a great day this is! I've had this sense of excitement concerning this day for a long time now. Celebrated by buying the latest Rolling Stone, which has the boys on the cover, and buying "The First U.S. Visit," which I watched for the first time today. That's the best I can do, as I wasn't here 40 years ago. But these are all reminders of just how great the Beatles were--and are. Who would have thought then that we'd be recalling this today, 40 years later?

Happy Beatle Day! Yeah, yeah, yeah!
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Wow, I did EXACTLY the same thing- bought Rolling Stone and the First U.S. Visit! I'm watching the DVD chronologically, so I stopped it before the Ed Sullivan show part began. I'm also watching the corresponding part on the Anthology DVD. I wasn't around in 1964 either (I wasn't even around yet in 1974 or 1984...), but it makes me even more excited for this whole flurry of Beatlemania; it's just fantastic!
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Old Feb 09, 2004, 02:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

Great article! Unbelievable, that itīs 40 years ago already! And today, February 9th, is the 40th anniversary of the first Ed Sullivan performance! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] *Imagine how amazing this first US visit and the Beatlemania must have been for our boys! I bet they wouldnīt have believed it back then, if someone had told them, that this first visit is gonna be such a celebrated event even 40 years on.
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Old Feb 09, 2004, 07:08 AM   #11
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Default Re: When the Beatles hit America

Happy Happy Beatle Day everyone. What a great article, and I did that, too. Bought a Rolling Stone, and the DVD of their first USA visit. I WAS around then, 13 at the time, and lived in Rochester, NY. Touching the TV, crying for George to please come to his senses, and make me his girlfriend. Life was never the same after that. I have Beatle blood running though my veins forever!!
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