The Beatles take the US by storm: a revolution in music culture
On February 9, 1964, the United States had just entered the peak of time known as the “British Invasion.” It wasn’t a military invasion, but an invasion of culture thanks to four young men: John, Paul, George, and Ringo, also known as The Beatles. On this very day 52 years ago, they took the stage on the Ed Sullivan show. They stole the hearts of young women across the country and helped with their oversea popularity.
The Beatles were formed in Liverpool, England, in the year 1960 after the then 16-year-old John Lennon started the group with a couple of his friends from school. Before they were known as The Beatles, their name was first the Blackjacks, next the Quarrymen, and it then changed to several different things until they decided on just The Beatles. With their iconic name, they started to take England by storm with their first album that was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studio. “She Loves You” became the fastest selling record in the UK at the time and became their first single to sell one million copies.
With all this exposure, the media was constantly following them, along with many fans. The Beatles toured the UK three times in the first half of the year, and everywhere they went they were greeted with even more screaming fans. Their second album “With the Beatles” became the second album to sell a million copies in UK history.
Here in the United States, Capital Records refused to issue their music until negotiations were done to at least release some of their songs in 1963. They grew successful in the US after the release of their songs and after a massive $40,000 marketing campaign. It then came to a point where every other song on the radio was one from The Beatles, and the spread throughout cities caused Capital Records to rush release their new single “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which then went on to become a number-one hit.
On February 7, 1964, The Beatles left their homes in England, with about 4,000 fans gathered to see them off, to travel to America where their lives would forever be changed. Two days later, they gave their first televised performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which was watched by over 73 million people in the US.
This one show skyrocketed their popularity in the United States and led them to have 17 number one hits. Their first single to make the top 40 was “Love Me Do.” With many critics telling them they would never make it overseas, take the wise words of The Beatles and “Let It Be.”