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Rock Rewind: The Beatles on Ed Sullivan

The big news this weekend (no, not the Olympics, the other big news) is that February 9 marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 during their first trek to the United States.  Many mark that appearance as the beginning of the British Invasion for rock & roll, and certainly a moment that affected the musical landscape in this country.

The music industry counts this as such a significant milestone that The Recording Academy is hosting a special televised concert event Sunday night marking the occasion. Titled The Night That Changed America, the show will air on CBS, and will feature numerous bands and artists covering classic Beatles tunes, culminating in a reunion onstage by surviving members Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.

With all these goings-on, it seemed only fitting to dedicate this week’s Rock Rewind to The Beatles’ Ed Sullivan Show performance.  As you might guess, that footage, while familiar, is rare and precious, so it’s difficult to find much of it online to share with you here.  However, I managed to find a minute’s worth of footage from their performance of “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” as well as live audio of the five songs The Beatles performed that night. Enjoy!

About the Author


Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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