Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Birth of Beatlemania in the United States

One of the lesser known Beatles facts is how Beatlemania spread so quickly in the United States in the early days of 1964, shortly before the Beatles made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The group had been having steady hits in Great Britain in 1963 with songs such as "Please Please Me," "From Me to You," and "She Loves You." George Martin thought that "She Loves You" alone should have been able to crack the American market. Swan Records had released the song in August of 1963, and the teens on American Bandstand laughed at it.

By November of 1963, the deal had been cut between Brian Epstein and Ed Sullivan to have the group appear on his show in February. Capitol Records therefore agreed to release "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in January. On December 10, 1963, however, the CBS evening news ran a short piece on the phenomenon of "Beatlemania" in Great Britain. On December 17, 1963, disc jockey Carroll James played "I Want to Hold Your Hands" on Washington, D.C.'s WWDC. When the station received constant enthusiastic requests to play the song, Capitol records moved up its release date for the song to December 26, 1963. New York radio stations then began to play the song, and by January 16, the entire country was listening to the song, which had by then sold one million copies. When the Beatles finally appeared on Sullivan, Beatlemania was firmly rooted in the United States.

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