Sunday, February 9th will mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. A record-breaking 73 million people tuned in to watch four lads from Liverpool perform “All My Loving,” “Til There Was You”, and “She Loves You” amidst the deafening screams of audience full of teenage girls. As Michelle Geslani so poignantly put it in her piece earlier today, “It was pandemonium like the music world had never seen before, and, frankly, a sweeping sensation that, despite their current Billboard hits, the music industry in the US had not anticipated.”
But what about the performance made it so significant? Why did The Beatles win the hearts of America? On tonight’s episode of Rock it Out! Blog, Sami invites Barry Faulk, a Florida State University professor and author of British Rock Modernism, 1967-1977: The Story of Music Hall in Rock, to examine the rise of Beatlemania in the United States. They discuss why the performance was so significant in the band’s life, why other bands that played Sullivan aren’t as celebrated, and what would have happened if The Beatles never appeared on the show.