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America meets The Beatles

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On Feb. 7, 1964, one of the world’s most popular and iconic bands, The Beatles, arrived in America for the first time. People dubbed this “Beatlemania,” a record-breaking, life-changing period of time, and the biggest shift of culture and music.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr boarded Pan Am flight 101 one early London morning. They arrived at JFK Airport at 1:20 p.m., touching America’s soil and over 4,000 screaming fans’ hearts.

“There were millions of kids at the airport, which nobody had expected. We heard about it in mid-air. There were journalists on the plane, and the pilot had rang ahead and said, ‘Tell the boys there’s a big crowd waiting for them.’ We thought, ‘Wow! God, we have really made it!’” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology. Shortly after their arrival, the band had their first press conference in the JFK airport, their first American interview.

Two days after their arrival, The Beatles made their first live, record-breaking appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. 73 million people watched the band play All My Lovin’, Till There Was You and She Loves You. Not only did millions of people watch them perform, they also witnessed fans going absolutely insane over the popular band.

“It was very important. We came out of nowhere with funny hair, looking like marionettes or something. That was very influential. I think that was really one of the big things that broke us – the hairdo more than the music, originally. A lot of people’s fathers had wanted to turn us off. They told their kids, ‘Don’t be fooled, they’re wearing wigs,’” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology.

They later returned to play I Saw Her Standing There, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and She Loves You. Today, The Beatles still hold the record for having the most views on national television with an estimated 73,700,000 viewers in 23,240,000 homes in the United States watching the Ed Sullivan show.

After their time in New York, they traveled to Miami for some relaxation, greeted by almost 7,000 fans once they landed. The band later rehearsed for their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show for two days. The performance took place on Feb. 16, just one week after their first appearance in New York, at The Beatles’ Miami hotel, the Deauville, from 8-9 p.m., in front of an audience of 2,600. CBS had given out 3,500 tickets, and police had to calm angry ticket holders who were denied entry.

“America was the best. It was a dream, coming from Liverpool,” Ringo Starr said in The Beatles Anthology.

Today, America still celebrates this important event in music history. The Beatles will forever be an important influence on music and its culture.

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America meets The Beatles