An astounding 73 million Americans watched The Beatles rock “The Ed Sullivan Show” for the first time exactly 50 years ago today on February 9, 1964. The historic moment signaled the true beginning of Beatlemania in the U.S., and it effectively introduced the soon to be legendary Liverpudlian band to America. But rather than describe the screaming fans that greeted Ed Sullivan announcing the words, “The Beatles!,” or the five now-classic tunes the Fab Four (in matching suits) treated the audience to, you can watch it for yourself in the video player below.
As you can see, John, Paul, George and Ringo performed two sets during that Sunday evening broadcast: first “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You,” followed by “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” later in the show. (The video above begins with the group’s first “Ed Sullivan” show, but also includes other Beatles footage and subsequent “Sullivan” Beatles performances.)
Even Elvis Presley had a hand in welcoming the Beatles to America on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that first night. During the program, Sullivan mentioned that the King and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, had just sent the band a telegram wishing them success in the U.S.