Saturday, February 7, 2009

Beatles History: The Beatles Arrive in New York, February 7, 1964

One of the greatest Beatles facts in America is the great stir caused by the arrival of the Beatles on February 7, 1964, two days before their debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Pan Am Clipper was greeted at Kennedy Airport by 3000 fans screaming with Beatlemania, largely due to the release by Capitol Records of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in mid-January. Radio stations in New York (and other cities around the country) began playing Beatles songs around the clock. Disc jockey Murray the K did live on-air interviews with the Beatles from their suite at the Plaza hotel. George had previously flown to the states to visit his sister, but none of the Beatles was quite ready for the pandemonium that followed them everywhere, from airport to limousine to hotel to the CBS theater (now named The Ed Sullivan Theater, where The Late Show with David Letterman now airs). With such a throng of people everywhere, there was now an even greater need for moving the Beatles around by switching their entrance and exit points and using fake cars to fool the gathered crowds. Within days of their arrival, Beatle wigs went on sale, guitar sales began to climb rapidly, and millions of male teens, to the dismay of their parents, began to grow long hair. Record sales also spiked during the Beatles two-week stay. A paradigm shift was occuring that reverberates to this day. Nothing was ever quite the same in music or culture. While the Beatles would later deny having such an impact, they were, at the very least, catalysts for the enormous changes of the 1960s.

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