News

50 years later, legacy of The Beatles lives on

50 years later, legacy of The Beatles lives on

THE LADS FROM LIVERPOOL: The Beatles, wearing black suits and mop top hair, appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Feb. 9 1964, to screaming crowds in what became a seminal moment for the British band, and U.S. television. Photo: Associated Press

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of arrival of The Beatles coming to America. On Feb. 7, 1964, the Fab Four – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr – arrived from the U.K. at the newly-named John F. Kennedy International Airport to the tears and screams of teenagers all across America.

That Sunday, Ed Sullivan introduced the band to a captivated American audience of more than 73 million viewers—at the time a television record.

The Beatles, wearing black suits and mop top hair, appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9 1964, to screaming crowds in what became a seminal moment for the British band, and U.S. television.

PHOTOS: The Beatles ‘Ed Sullivan’ appearance | Beatlemania | How The Beatles spent 1964

Nearly 50 percent of American households with televisions tuned in to see the show.

Technicians on the set 50 years ago explained that the “crowd shot” was born that night in 1964. The teenage audience was so hysterical that a camera was devoted entirely to their reaction, a television first.

THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED AMERICA

CBS will celebrate the anniversary with a concert on Sunday, 50 years to the day that The Beatles first performed on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

The concert, “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles, was filmed last month and included tributes by a number of performers.

In a rare joint appearance singing Beatles numbers, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were flanked on stage by artists including Stevie Wonder, R&B singer Alicia Keys and country singer Keith Urban to celebrate that night in 1964.

WATCH: Why call yourselves The Beatles?

McCartney and Starr paid special tribute to their former band members, John Lennon and George Harrison. Lennon was shot and killed in 1980. Harrison died of cancer in 2001.

“We were in a band called The Beatles and whenever we play George and John are always with us,” Starr told the crowd. McCartney said: “Tonight we are remembering our beautiful friends John and George.”

McCartney, playing guitar, and Starr on drums, brought the tribute to a rousing close both with “Hey Jude” and another classic Beatles song, “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

The concert was attended by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, 80, and Harrison’s widow, Olivia. The last time McCartney and Starr performed Beatles songs together was to celebrate Starr’s 70th birthday, in 2010.

In a three hour tribute before they appeared, a series of artists performed Beatles numbers.

British pop duo Eurythmics – singer Annie Lennox and musician Dave Stewart – reunited to perform “The Fool on the Hill,” and U.S. singer Katy Perry sang a version of “Yesterday.”

EXTRA: Beatlemania was big | Then & Now: 1964 versus 2014

Oscar-winning actors Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges and Sean Penn were among a Hollywood crowd which danced along to the music.

Even the Beatles’ backing musicians were not anonymous journeymen: they included The Eagles’ Joe Walsh and singer-songwriter Peter Frampton.

The tribute airs Sunday evening on CBS. Check local listings for time.

Recent Headlines

5 hours ago in National, Olympics, Sports

Flame lands in troubled Brazil for 94-day relay to Games

21-overlay-1

President Dilma Rousseff lit the Olympic torch in Brazil's capital on Tuesday and pledged that political turmoil engulfing her nation would not harm the first Games to be held in South America.

6 hours ago in Music

Desert Trip is going to make October a memorable month

bobdylan

Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Neil Young and more are set to take California by storm this fall.

12 hours ago in Music

Paul McCartney meets ‘Blackbird’ inspirations

paulmccartney324810027294

Paul McCartney met two members of the "Little Rock Nine," who helped inspire the hit Beatles song.

13 hours ago in Entertainment

Jim Beam fills 14 millionth bottle of bourbon

jimbeam807686855761

Jim Beam has filled and sealed its 14 millionth barrel of bourbon since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, achieving a first in the bourbon industry.

13 hours ago in Music

Stone Temple Pilots shoot down Scott Stapp rumors

scottstapp

Stone Temple Pilots have denied reports suggesting the former Creed rocker is set to become their new lead vocalist.