From the Billboard Archives 2/15/64: Beatlemania Sweeps the Nation

Six days after the Beatles' defining performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on February 9, 1964, Billboard was on red alert for all things Beatlemania, publishing its February 15th issue with no less than six stories on the fully engaged hype machine under the issue headline "U.S. Rocks and Reels From Beatles' Invasion."

The Beatles' 'Night That Changed America:' TV Review


"The group, which was first introduced to U.S. TV audiences on the Jack Paar show via film a month ago, arrived here for its live TV debut on Ed Sullivan's show."

"At Kennedy Airport here, Beatle Greeters began lining up at 4 a.m. Friday to await the group's arrival that afternoon."

"President Lyndon B. Johnson visited here late last week, but his arrival was overshadowed by the Beatles' invasion."

"Jim Lounsberry, king of the teen-age hop specialists here, planned a Beatles Dance for his Sunday hop in Elgin, Ill., and was placing television sets around the hall so the kids could see the Beatles during their history-making appearance on the 'Ed Sullivan Show'."

"Dealers describe the Beatlemania as the most virulent form of record fever since the heyday of such artists as Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers. Even then, neither Presley nor the Everlys had more than one record going for them at a time. Currently, the Beatles have no less than four singles and three albums."

"The usually staid and conservative Midwest has virtually flipped its wig over the mop-headed Beatles from Liverpool."

"The Southern California market has gone on a Beatle binge, according to a Billboard survey here."

"The University radio station at nearby Notre Dame played "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (Capitol) for one hour straight last week and students responded by storming the studio en mass (though whether in approval or protest no one was able to figure out)."

"Great Britain hasn't been as influential in American affairs since 1775."

"The Capitol-Vee Jay lawsuit over Beatles product was in what one attorney described as a 'state of limbo,' with counsel for both sides due in Appelate Court last Friday (7) afternoon for further hearings." [Vee-Jay released "Introducing... The Beatles" ten days before Capitol released "Meet The Beatles!" -- Vee-Jay ended up filing for bankruptcy in August, 1966.]

You can all but smell the newsprint and cigarettes in the air at the Billboard offices across the country whilst Beatlemania put America in a stranglehold. Bonus points to the management and label of the Searchers, doing their best to capitalize on what surely was a short-lived victory:

Get out those coke bottle specs and fedora while you peruse the full issue below.