50 years ago on February 7, 1964 when the doors of their PanAm flight opened at JFK Airport in New York City, the Beatles were blasted by the welcoming screams of hundreds of young people. America welcomed in a vitality and freshness that some say energized emerging cultural and societal creations and changes.
“The cultural revolution of the 1960’s is always, and with good reason, associated with the Beatles,” Paul Addison, No Turning Back: The Peacetime Revolutions of Post-War Britain.
“The personalities, the songwriting, the freshness of their look and sound, the palpable exuberance they radiated onstage, on record, or simply talking off the cuff. Pop music had never know the like—if ever, which could be seriously debated—since the brief initial explosion of Elvis Presley. And no British act had ever come remotely close to generating the same degree of heat, hysteria, and pan-cultural recognition,” Shawn Levy, Ready, Steady, Go: TheSmashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London
“They are part of a collective, universal memory — one that I believe goes back farther than 50 years,” E. Levy, Subscriber
“We were just a band who made it very, very big—that’s all,” John Lennon
73 million people tuned in to watch the Beatles first American appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964. Here are some recollections of that night 50 years ago:
“A definitive moment for personal freedom, allowing, encoraging independent thought and action. It seems that the Beatles performace was a moment in history which changed a nation of young adults from followers of the pre-described to individuals with specific and common goals. Magic! Oh how we need more of that!!*”
“How cool John was. By far the coolest of the lot…(No rock musician of
our generation was ever cooler). The “tsk tsking” from the adults in attendance. In retrospect, who can blame them? Their world was never the same. The talking at school the next day about what we all witnessed.”
“While it was the big WE for the boomers, at age 12 I was very much aware of the US/THEM between the generations as I rocked out and my parents watched in horror.”
On Sunday, February 9, 2014, the Grammy’s celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show” with “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A Grammy Salute.” Here’s a link to the NY Times review: