It Was 49 Years Ago Today…

Beatlesbanner1101934-004-CD2C8F59I was just a young, working class Cleveland boy — two months shy of my 6th birthday — and what happened on this day, 49 years ago, at 8:00 pm ET on Sunday February 9, 1964 became an unforgettable moment in my life.

2e76b29da002e58a18b357d85a67a91ae0a2392aOn that incredible, magical, epochal day, The Beatles – Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — made their first live appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York City. There were just three TV channels in those days – and most televisions in America had their rabbit ears tuned in to the Sunday night broadcast that marked the U.S. debut of the rock n’ roll band that would soon transform international pop culture.

Beatles_399x400Upon their arrival in New York and in the months to follow, I was besotted by The Beatles. My older brother Peter and I would hang out beneath our neighbor Dino Zaccardelli’s bedroom window on West 33rd Street, listening to the glorious, transformative album that Dino’s mom had just bought for him: Meet the Beatles.

I vividly remember how Peter and I listened to that thrilling album over and over, playing passionately along on badminton rackets posing as guitars. Unfortunately, we rocked out while standing on his older brother’s car – and that got is in trouble. (We left a lot of jubilant, rocking footprints on his hood and fenders.)

220px-IntroducingtheBeatlesAt the time, I had no clue that Meet the Beatles was actually the second Beatles’ album released in the United States. Ten days before the release of Meet the Beatles, Chicago’s Vee-Jay Records released the Beatles’ first U.S. album, Introducing…The Beatles.

As far as my brother Peter, Dino and I were concerned, Meet the Beatles was where it all began – and The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS 49 years ago was our introduction to full blown Beatlemania.

usa_meet-the-beatlesFrom those indelible days in February 1964, my life was changed in ways I am still learning to appreciate. To have grown up during Beatlemania is a formative, fundamental  blessing that subsequent generations cannot possibly understand or fully appreciate. (Because they take rock & roll for granted.)

My daughters learned to love The Beatles.

RR0910_603_lgBut I was grew up with The Beatles.

49 years ago – my brother Peter and I got lucky.

All us kids got lucky.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!



Filed under Art, Beauty, Music

7 responses to “It Was 49 Years Ago Today…

  1. rob

    You’re lucky to have an older brother at age 6 I really didn’t get it until about a I really didn’t get it until about a year and a half later.

  2. Great article, Paul! I still have my original vinyl of those two albums. One can often hear the Beatles blasting in our home. HELP just started playing on my iPod…too funny.

  3. Mark

    I was 13 when the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan show. It was as if my life turned upside down that night. Everyone our age can remember where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated, but I would bet most also remember exactly where they were the night The Beatles officially came into our lives. It has been a never ending ride on Abbey Road since. I still have vivid memories of keeping my transistor radio on under my pillow at night, trying to keep from waking my family, and just hanging on until the next Beatle hit came on the air. I went through a lot of batteries leaving the radio on as I fell to sleep!

    • Alexandra Myshkin

      I was eleven that night. It changed the world for me. I felt connected. I also slept at night with my transistor radio next to my ear. The world was both smaller and larger than it had ever been before. Imitating no one, my response to the Beatles and their music was profound, transforming, and utterly authentic.

  4. I believe I was standing in the room when the Beatles first played on the Ed Sullivan Show. If so, I couldn’t quite process it. However, I am very proud to say that Brad Hall and I pooled our change together and bought the VeeJay release of the Beatles’ first recordings available stateside. And it was the half-gatefold album! (Whether that was the first VeeJay release, or whether it was the regular jacket, I don’t know.) This was not my first Beatles album, however. Though I was suspicious, my first purchase was the “Hollyridge Strings Play the Beatles” because it was the only one I could afford at a buck-fifty. Needless to say, it did not get played much. Brad, can you scan the VeeJay cover?

  5. The lads from Liverpool. We were indeed lucky to witness the British Invasion.

  6. Great to hear everyone’s memories of that special night! Thanks for sharing that formative moment in our lives. The Beatles forever.

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