theedsullivanshow copyKENTUCKY (2/10/14) ― Fifty years ago, four young musicians from Liverpool, known as the Beatles, took America by storm, and set new standards of music for generations to come.

When the "fab four" landed at the John F. Kennedy International Airport on Feb. 7, 1964, two days before their performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” little did they know, before their plane touched American soil, the first shrieks of Beatlemania were already sweeping across the nation.

With rag mop hairdos and guitars, thousands of delirious teen-aged girls chanted “we want beatniks,” the fab four were shocked into momentary immobility as they left the plane to face the American mob.

With just enough recovery time, they were able to wave, smile and dance a jig for their gasping audience.

On Feb. 9, the four mop-topped entertainers arrived at the Ed Sullivan Show for their first two dress rehearsals in front of full hysterical audience.

With their own string and percussion instruments, plugged in behind a curtain, they exchanged relaxed, easy grins, as Ed Sullivan wandered onstage.

Camera crews loaded shots of the audience of young girls screaming, leaping from their seats and throwing their arms in the air.

That evening, during the performance, they sang in perfect harmony, stomped their feet with their electric guitars and swooned the ladies in their tight black suits and long hair.

The same night, an unheard of 60 percent of American TVs were tuned to CBS to watch the fab four on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Everyone wanted to have a look at the source of all the chaos.

The audience in the living rooms may have been split down the middle, but the makeup at the studio belonged to the Beatles.

The phenomenon unfolded in living rooms across the country, the viewing audience estimated 74 million people, reflecting a total of 23.24 million homes.

Even after half a century, the Beatles commercial success commenced an instant wave of changes with how music is perceived.

The group continues to be celebrated for its cultural impact and innovation.

John, Paul, Ringo and George are credited with shifting pop music from buoyant schoolboy love songs to world anthems of peace and community.

Amber Averitt
SurfKY News Reporter

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Posted on 2/2/14

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