This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearances in the United States, and the beginning of the U.S. version of “Beatlemania.” When the Beatles touched down in New York on February 7, 1964 few knew that American music and culture would change forever. The Beatles arrived in a country still mourning the loss of President John F. Kennedy, assassinated just months before. Americans were ready for something that would lighten the somber mood. The Beatles delivered some levity and joy.
The Beatles had come to America to perform on the Ed Sullivan TV show, and more than 70 million people tuned in. It was then the largest TV audience ever for an entertainment show. Laurel Bowman takes a look back.