On February 7, 1964 the Beatles made their first visit to America. On the same day just a year before, their first U.S. single had been a total flop. On this edition of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen explores the year leading up to the British invasion with Bruce Spizer, author of The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America. Hear rare outtakes, unreleased versions of some Beatles classics and the story of their journey to America - a story often told... and often told wrong.
On February 7th 1964, the Beatles arrived at Kennedy International Airport. Screaming fans greeted their arrival, partly an organized campaign by Capitol records to make sure this would be a media event. Their charm and wit at the press conference took the skeptical media by surprise. This is an excerpt from the DVD, The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit.
That evening in a New York Hotel, the Beatles were all over the AM rock and roll stations, including 1010 WINS where DJ Murray the K hung out with the band, later calling himself the 5th Beatle. This is an excerpt from the DVD, The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit.
This is the opening song on their first of 3 appearances (February 9th) on the Sunday night variety show, hosted by Ed Sullivan. It's the seminal event that made the Beatles part of American culture, with what was, at the time, the largest audience to ever watch a television program: 73 million viewers. This is an excerpt from the DVD, The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit.
After the Ed Sullivan show, the Beatles took a train to Washington, DC and played their first American concert. Notice the makeshift stage and the small size of all the equipment. This is an excerpt from the DVD, The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit.