The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show – 2/9/64

This was an amazing event. The Beatles, who most of us didn’t know about a few months earlier, were on the Ed Sullivan Show, a TV variety show that also included plate twirlers and Topo Gigio. The show was watched by a record 73 million people. The Beatles were very young and handled their sudden fame with incredible grace and humor.

With hindsight, the Beatles deserve even more credit than they got when they were around. They could have played it safe and kept doing simple rock and roll based on R&B but they took lots of chances. It’s a long way from “She Loves You” to “Strawberry Fields Forever” but it was only four years in actual time. All kinds of musicians followed the path blazed by the Beatles.

Initially, they paved the way for other British groups, known as the British Invasion. As I recall, the second most popular British group when the Beatles first became popular was the Dave Clark Five. Their popularity only lasted a few years and they were eclipsed by bands like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Who who have created enduring music.

Near the end, they got back to their roots with songs like “Get Back”, “The Ballad of John and Yoko” and “Don’t Let Me Down”. These are some of their finest records.

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