Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan show
The 9th of February 1964 AD
Brian Epstein, who certainly had a flair for promotion, negotiated a deal with The Ed Sullivan show that instantly catapulted the band from a radio craze to a national sensation in the USA. They appeared on three shows, singing at the top and bottom of the programme, giving them huge exposure: Ed Sullivan’s variety show on CBS was watched by about 50 million normally anyway, though the band’s first appearance had an estimated viewership of 74 million. Legend has it they had been offered better money for one show; but the repeated national exposure was worth far more than any fee.
Their first Ed Sullivan outing was on February 9 1964: they sang All My Loving, Till There Was You, and She Loves You in their first call; I Saw Her Standing There and I Want to Hold Your Hand when they returned at the end. Girls in the audience duly screamed; Ed Sullivan beamed (it did his career no harm); and across the USA kids were electrified by the energy, the charm, and the sexiness of the Fab Four. Perhaps as Brian Epstein had hoped The Beatles contrasted glaringly and youthfully with other acts on the bill, some of them past their sell-by-date. They had broken America in an evening; when they returned the following two Sundays it was just to confirm their new superstar status.
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